Meet Your Leadership Team Series: Education Committee Chair

By Brie Scrivner, MA, Board Member-at-Large, and ASDAH Education Blog Coordinator

Welcome to the first in a new series where I sit down (have a Zoom call) with members of the ASDAH Leadership Team. It’s been a big year for change and everyone has been hard at work on the strategic plan for ASDAH moving forward.

When I joined leadership as Board Member-at-Large, summer 2020, I was blown away by the people who have come together to form this team. Living in the Deep South, I often feel cut off from some of the cultural movements happening around the US. Having monthly meetings with individuals working to enact positive change in their communities has been inspiring- and not in the generic inspo way, in the (to modify a Madalyn Murray O’Hair quote) “two hands at work do more than a thousand inspirational social media posts ever could.”

The first in the series is a conversation I had with Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, our Education Committee Chair. We spoke immediately after our February Education Committee Meeting.

Note to reader: The following is a transcript of a Zoom interview I did with Chelsea Fielder-Jenks. It has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Mon, 2/8 1-1:30PM • 26:08

SPEAKERS

Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, Brie Scrivner

Brie

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I know, we just had the education committee meeting, which is already an hour out of your day. You know, I’ve been really fortunate that I get to know you all during the monthly Leadership meetings. I thought that it would be a great opportunity for the rest of ASDAH membership to get to know you all, as well. So, let’s get started.

What’s your name and what are your pronouns?

Chelsea

Yes, my name is Chelsea Fielder-Jenks and my pronouns are she/her/hers.

Brie

As you know, my name is Brie and I also use she/her/hers.

Let’s start at the beginning. Where are you from? Where’d you grow up?

Chelsea

I was born and raised and still live in Central Texas. I live in Austin now. I got to Austin as soon as I could! I appreciate it’s culture, yummy food, music and events. I’ve always loved Austin, so I had to get here as quick as I could.

Brie

Right on, did you go to school in Austin, as well?

Chelsea

I did not actually. I went to school in San Marcos, which is a beautiful small town, south of Austin on a beautiful river. I was fortunate enough to do both my undergrad and grad there on that beautiful campus. So, I lived in San Marcos for most of my college career, and in graduate school I moved to Austin and then commuted.

Brie

Well, that leads into this next part, tell me about your professional life. What are some things you do, have done, would like to do?

Chelsea

Oh, gosh, feel like that’s a big question. Because I feel like for me, that’s constantly evolving. So, my answer to this question now will likely change in the future, because that’s just who I am.

I’ve always been somebody who has enjoyed wearing multiple hats – I enjoy doing diverse things. That also shows up in my professional life. I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor, and a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist in private practice. So one of the hats I wear is Therapist, but I’m also a Supervisor and provide supervision for LPC-Associates. I also facilitate workshops and trainings. I enjoy freelance writing. I also find volunteer work rewarding and actively participate in non-profits, like ASDAH. 

I have to keep things fresh for me. Wearing multiple hats allows me to do that and it’s really rewarding to be able to build diverse relationships with folx in my professional life. In the future, I want to continue to grow personally and professionally. I see myself continuing the work I’m doing now, yet continuing to evolve. But, who knows? Maybe I’ll also become an interior designer in two years. Who knows? There’s no way to know. [laughs]

Brie

That’s too funny. We just had my partner’s dad, who is a retired contractor and remodeler, come to our house that we just bought. It’s an older house and I’m wanting to turn the basement laundry room into like a laundry/mudroom situation. While listening to the plans, I was like, “you know, I’m extremely handy, I can help you,” and, an hour later, I told my partner, “forget the PhD, I can be a contractor. It’s immediately rewarding and I get to use saws!” So, you know, there’s no telling.

Chelsea

Yeah, no joke. I’m not making this up. I have also been having a similar discussion. You don’t have to include this in the interview. But, yeah, long story short, something happened to the outside of our house that we’ve had to repair and now that has snowballed into, “I’m going to start flipping houses”.

But you know, that’s one day. And then the next day, I’m taking LSAT prep questions online thinking maybe I’ll go to law school. I understand how that goes. [laughs]

Brie

That’s fantastic. Always exploring new things. Tell me, how did you find out about ASDAH?

Chelsea

As I’m thinking about it, I think I came across ASDAH years and years ago, when I was first entering into the eating disorder field and learning about Health at Every Size® (HAES®) . That’s how I was introduced to HAES®, through  the eating disorder profession. So, I think I knew about them [ASDAH] and how they supported the health and every size movement and disseminating the principles.

But it didn’t really click with me, like, “Oh my gosh, like, this is an organization that I can be a part of” until, I think it was, was it 2018. Something like that. When I was putting together trainings for local health care professionals, about HAES®, and the importance of size diversity. When putting together that training, I came across ASDAH again, and then this time, it stuck. It really resonated with me. I was like, “Oh my god, these are my people!”

I’m fortunate enough to be in our Austin Community. The clinicians that I work alongside are very like-minded and I have many wonderful HAES® colleagues alongside me here in Austin. But, when it comes to trying to, reach out to those people beyond that little bubble, to all the healthcare professionals, to the larger community,  and things like that – it felt a little daunting.

So, to find this international organization of people who are encouraging one another to think differently about health and who have all this information and research – it’s like, “Okay, this is amazing. Sign me up now!”

That’s exactly what I did, I signed up and joined. And then it wasn’t too long after that, maybe a year or so after that, I saw the call go out to membership to get more involved and to join committees. They had an education chair committee opening and I was like, “Oh my gosh, could I do this? Like this sounds amazing. I get to work alongside all these other amazing people who are doing amazing things. What an amazing opportunity,” and at that time, I was education chair of our local Central Texas Eating Disorder Specialists. I thought, okay, maybe this is the time to take my training wheels off and do this for a bigger organization that has an even bigger reach. So, I applied and was very fortunate to be welcomed on as the education committee chair. So, that’s how I’m here now.

Brie

Well, that’s convenient, because I was next about to ask you about what inspired you to seek a role in leadership, but you’ve already done that. So, tell me, if you had access to unlimited resources, just like ridiculous amounts of money, time, people, whatever, what would you have ASDAH do? What are your Big Dream/Impossible Hope ideas? Or maybe even not so impossible?

Chelsea

Yeah. Well, I feel like maybe you’re getting to know me enough now where you know I fantasize a lot about really big ideas. I identify as being a creative person. I’m the one going, “I envision, like we could do this or this, and this,” so, what’s lovely is that I have other folks who can ground me in reality and be like, “okay, Chelsea, here’s what we need to do first”.

When you asked me this question, my mind goes all kinds of places. Oh, my gosh, we could have a brick and mortar community centers where people could come to do non-judgmental HAES® principled movement, or community gatherings, or where amazing HAES® advocates and speakers come in and offer continuing education events in person, or discussion circles and learning circles. And so that’s where my mind goes. But again, you know, maybe we need to start off with just one. One. Somewhere.

Brie

Well, so the next question is a little bit more realistic. What are three things you’d love for ASDAH in 2021?

Chelsea

I would love to see us host an amazing webinar. We just like wrapped up our education committee meeting. So, this is like what’s on the brain. But I would love to get a webinar out there. A successful webinar where we have a lot of members join in along with non-members join – that would be amazing. I would love, and you’re doing a wonderful job with getting us there, but regular blog posts, at least monthly, would be a great place to start. That’s what my goals are. That’s what I’m hoping to achieve.

Brie

So, how about some fun questions? To be fair, I think they’re fun, but let’s be real- I’m a medical sociologist, so my idea of fun is probably weird. What’s a typical day like for you?

Chelsea

Ha! Um, this is gonna be interesting, because it’s really quite mundane [laughs]. During the week, my day starts off with wrangling children. So, you know, getting my two and four year old up, having breakfast, then negotiating, you know, things like putting on shoes and getting them out the door. And then doing some kind of grounding and centering practices, which often looks like sitting for a little while doing nothing and just taking some deep breaths.

In this stage of my life I find this important because I’m always doing something with the kiddos, or in my practice, or elsewhere.  My days really vary because of those different hats I wear, so it could be days like today, where I’m kind of focusing more on ASDAH things and our meetings, making sure that we’re moving things along in the education committee.

Other days, I’m meeting with clients during the day. Or I’m meeting with my LPC Associates for supervision. Or I’m preparing for upcoming trainings or workshops. I try to balance the day’s to-do’s with breaks by going outside and going for a walk or taking a pause to do my own dance party in the afternoon. An afternoon slump dance party, why not? [laughs] And then usually by that time, it’s time to pick up the kiddos to get dinner started.

Once the kiddos are home, one thing that I’ve realized is that it’s pretty much impossible to do anything else other than just be a mom…and parent, when you have a two and four year old. So, once the kiddos are home, I’m doing whatever we need to do or whatever they want to do. I’m try to prioritize engaging with them. We have dinner, time to play and interact, and then our bedtime routine. And then the evening struggle begins, “should I go to sleep? Or should I do all the other things that I want to do?” Like, you know, binge watch my Netflix show? That struggle is real. [laughs]

Brie

Well, what is your favorite show, movie or book? Whatever you enjoy doing?

Chelsea

Yeah, so it really varies greatly. It varies based on the season as far as like television goes, like, “what’s out, what’s new?”

Right now, my husband and I have gone back and we started watching The Sopranos. So, it’s an oldie but goodie and it’s our first introduction to it. So, we’re not rewatching. It’s amazing. But yeah, I really am an avid television show watcher. I could list off all the shows that I watch and love. But that would take too long… I will say that one of my most recent favorite series was The Queen’s Gambit, the mini-series on Netflix. I loved it, I was obsessed, and obsessed still, with it. And then I also enjoy reading. But I do so in a very erratic fashion. Meaning I start one book, get partway through, then get distracted by another book, and then I pick up that book. I’m kind of notorious for picking up one book, starting it and then like, “Oh, I heard this great thing about this other book. Let me just pick up that book,” and then I’ll kind of flip flop back and forth. I do finish them, but it takes many, many returns back.

Brie

That’s completely ok! I’m like that with shows. My partner watches a lot of TV and loves it and they’ll try to get me into a show, but I can’t just watch a show because I need to know everything about everything all the time. And so, I’ll watch half an episode then I’m like, “what inspired this? where they film?” and next thing you know, I’m doing a deep dive on the archeology of that area. So, I usually have to watch things on my own bizarre timeline.

Well, what would you say is your 2021 theme song going to be?

Chelsea

Oh, man [big sigh] why is this one so hard for me? Um, so I’ve been kind of obsessed with those amazing Tiktok dance videos that are happening and they’re in V-formation doing amazing dances and okay, oh my gosh, this is like my highest aspiration ever: being in V-formation doing amazing coordinated dances.

So, I’ve been obsessed with this dance troupe. They dance in V-formation to the “Pump It Up” song. I don’t know the actual song title.

Brie

I know what you’re talking about. The song. I mean.

Chelsea

That’s…everybody should know what I’m talking about when I say, “you know the Pump It Up song.” I mean, it’s amazing watching them dance to that. So, to try to answer your question, I guess it’s not just a theme song, but that’s the kind of energy that I want to be bringing in to 2021: just gathering in V-formation and dancing in synchrony on beat. [laughs]

Brie

That’s fantastic. Well, I hope that you make that happen this year, and also that you record it… 

Do you have anything else that you’d like to add?

Chelsea

I don’t think so. Trying to think…we need more folks! Folks on the Education Committee, so people join us! Please, come.

Brie

Yes, absolutely. That’d be amazing.

Chelsea

Like, we need people power. Please join us!

Brie

We meet the second Monday of the month at noon. So, if someone wanted to join, or they just wanted to come to a meeting and see how it was, would they just email you?

Chelsea

Yes!

Brie

Okay. Well, I will put your contact information at the bottom of this so people can reach out. And of course, if anyone wants to write a blog, they can send it to me and I’ll put my contact below, as well. Thanks, Chelsea!

Chelsea

You’re welcome. And thank you!

Brie

See you next month!


If you’re interested in joining or learning more about ASDAH’s Education Committee, you can email Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, LPC-S, CEDS and ASDAH Education Committee Chair at chelsea@thrivecounselingaustin.com

The next Education Committee meeting is scheduled for April 12th  at 12pm CST.

If you’re interested in submitting a blog post for publication, email Brie Scrivner at briegood@uab.edu for more information..


Chelsea Fielder-Jenks is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor in private practice in Austin, Texas. Chelsea works with individuals, families, and groups utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and EMDR frameworks. Chelsea is committed to ASDAH’s mission and incorporates HAES® principles throughout the various roles in her life. Chelsea also serves as the Education Chair for Central Texas Eating Disorder Specialists, a HAES-principled non-profit for eating disorder professionals. She is an expert contributor for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope. She has extensive experience working with adolescents, families, and adults who struggle with eating, substance use, and various co-occurring mental health disorders and has presented at regional, state, and national conferences. You can learn more about Chelsea and her private practice at ThriveCounselingAustin.com


Brie Scrivner headshot.Brie Scrivner is a Ph.D. candidate and Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Fellow
(2020-21) in the Sociology Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she teaches courses specializing in sex, gender, and health. Her research interests focus on gender, stigma, embodiment, and feminist methods, with specific emphasis on the roles of fat stigma and oppression in shaping contemporary health discourse.