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Meet Your AC Member: Katie Bozek

Name: Katie Bozek

Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Where do you call home? Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Tell us a little about yourself. How do you spend your time outside of KAAN?

Along with serving KAAN, I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and run a small private practice serving my local community. I provide mental health services for kids, teens, couples, families, and individuals across the lifespan. Before being involved with KAAN, I was involved with our national and state MFT professional associations.

I also serve as a board member for the West Michigan Asian American Association (WMAAA), and the Michigan Board of Counseling. I believe community work at the local level is an important piece to supporting community work at the national level, and vice versa.

2019 WMAAA Gala with other Board Members.

Outside of work, I enjoy going to my children's various sporting events and ballet performances. Most days you will find me out on a trail on a run, or in the kitchen baking (have to balance them out!)

Bozek family at a family wedding this past year.

What is your role on the Advisory Council?

President/Executive Director.

How did you hear about KAAN? How did you decide to get involved in the AC?

I first heard of KAAN when the conference came to my hometown of Grand Rapids in 2013. I helped organize some of the local needs related to the conference and also presented in two sessions. When the position for the Executive Director opened up, Kim McKee nudged me to apply. I was intrigued because I was at a different place in my career and my own adoption journey, where I felt I would be able to give back in a different capacity. I wanted to be able to give back to the community in a meaningful way and provide space for others to engage with and explore various parts of their adoption journey.

How many KAAN conferences have you attended?

I have attended 3 KAAN Conferences: Grand Rapids, MI in 2013; Pittsburgh, PA in 2016; and Minneapolis, MN, in 2019 (my first as Executive Director!)

What issues/topics related to adoption are you most interested in? (e.g., What types of topics have you presented on or attended at previous KAAN conferences?)

The topics I have presented at KAAN conferences have typically been what I was working through at that time. I have presented on running a local group, racism, racial/ethnic identity development, and parenting as an adoptee. In general, I am passionate about having everyone's narratives be part of the overall adoption narrative. I believe in the power of storytelling and the impact it has on a person's perspective of themselves, others, relationships, life, and the world in general. Adoption itself may be a moment in time, but there are ripple effects that are felt for generations after in various ways. It is important to make room for discussions around all of those in validating, respectful, and meaningful ways.

KAAN 2016 panel: Recentering the Race Conversation

What do you love most about the KAAN community?

Since starting in the Executive Director position, I have been able to experience the KAAN Community in a different way and from a different perspective. There are many aspects that I love about the community, but the one that has struck me the most this past year is people's desire and willingness to give back to the community in so many ways. KAAN has impacted many people's lives over the years. It is amazing to hear how they have been impacted, and they have turned that around into wanting to provide that opportunity for others. It makes my heart very full when I hear and witness these stories.

2019 KAtCH screening of A Letter to Sang-Ah

What is a fun or random fact people might not know about you?

I don't know if these would be considered "fun" or "random," but I played the flute for 13 years (elementary through college). I love music and how it can evoke different emotions and memories in a person. I also have competed in triathlons over the years as a way to push myself and stay focused.

Anything else you'd like to share with the KAAN community?

I would like the KAAN Community to know that though there are some changes to programming and what KAAN has to offer, the heart of KAAN is the same. We are here to provide a space to share our experiences and learn from one another. I look forward to continuing to connect with people and serving the KAAN community in the best way I can.

Adoption is a journey, and I hope that KAAN can be part of yours.

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