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10 Questions for Debra Persinger, Executive Director of FSMTB

The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards was formed in 2005 with the intention of bringing state boards together in the spirit of collaboration to address the needs for consistent scopes of practice and entry level standards across the country, the need for a valid and reliable licensing exam that would be accepted in all jurisdictions,and the need for a common database with licensing and disciplinary information and the ability to store critical documents.

After a Job Task Analysis with over 7,000 participants was completed, the MBLEx (Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam) was born and made available to member states. 31 state boards, plus the District of Columbia and Peurto Rico are now members of the Federation. Debra Persinger was hired as the Executive Director in 2005. I recently had the opportunity to find out more about her and the Federation.

LA: What is your background in the massage profession? Are you now or have you ever personally been a massage therapist?

DP: I am not a massage therapist and probably never will be a massage therapist unless I could be exempt from having to touch people’s feet! I have degrees in human nutrition, human development and human services – I guess you could say I like to study humans – oh, and a post graduate diploma in teaching. I like to improve the human condition and I am also big on standards – a perfect match for my work with the Federation. I was hired for my combined expertise in association management and credentialing but I have also taught at universities, conducted research, published books, counseled violent offenders, facilitated support groups, taught ethics workshops; and in my parallel career path I am a working mom!

LA: How long have you been with the organization?

DP: I have been with the FSMTB since September 2006.

LA: Have you been in the same position with the organization since you started, or did you climb through the ranks?

DP: I was hired as executive director and I retain that title today. I have been a staff of one so that is not to
say I was not the receptionist, file clerk, meeting planner, marketing director, candidate social worker, political correspondent, finance officer and myriad other titles. Recently I got an assistant so now I have climbed out of the ranks of receptionist and file clerk.....READ MORE

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