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Massage Today
July, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 07

NCB Promotes New CEO

Interim CEO Mike Williams recommends promotion of Steve Kirin

By Kathryn Feather, Senior Associate Editor

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork recently announced the promotion of Steve Kirin from Chief Operating Officer to CEO.

Interim CEO Mike Williams, who has been with NCBTMB since the fall of 2011, believes his transitional role is nearly complete and recommended Kirin's promotion to the post, saying it was a "natural progression of the changes implemented at NCBTMB over the past twenty months."

In his role as Chief Operating Officer, Kirin was responsible for the overall operational performance of NCBTMB. He has more than 25 years of experience in management, sales and marketing and establishing operational core functions within organizations. Williams brought Kirin to NCBTMB in December 2011, shortly after his own arrival and the two have worked closely through the many changes the group has ushered in over the past several months. According to Williams, those changes include:

  • Moving NCB from a paper-based organization to a digitally-efficient organization, including online registration for its products and thus reducing registration time from weeks to minutes.
  • Establishing a new credential (Board Certification) to allow those qualified and interested to distinguish themselves within the profession and with the public.
  • Strategizing and building a new website, social media presence and a cooperative sounding board of member volunteers, thus enabling better communication and engagement with the profession and the public.
  • Bringing a stronger focus to the significant problem of human trafficking and strengthening the industry's relationship with the Polaris Project.

Steve Kirin - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark During his tenure as interim CEO, Williams certainly shook things up, promising in a May 2012 interview with Massage Today that, "We are totally changing everything we do. In the past, we have over promised and under delivered. With these improvements, at every point where NCB and the profession intersect there will be significant upgrades." At the time, Williams believed the massage industry was at an interesting crossroads with some therapists practicing under stringent standards similar to other health care professions while others were engaging in illegal or fraudulent activity which ultimately undermines the profession. He said at the time that he believed the best way to establish greater credibility for therapists was by raising the standards.

The board certification credential was the perhaps the biggest change NCBTMB implemented and generated the most questions from therapists. The requirements for obtaining the new NCB board certification credential include passing the Board Certification Exam, 750 hours of education, 250 hours of hands-on work experience (25 hours of community service may be credited toward this requirement), successful completion of a criminal background check and a commitment to adhere to the NCB Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. According to the NCB, additional qualifications for this credential will be determined based on feedback from the profession.

For those therapists that graduated from a program with fewer than 750 hours of education, they will be required to complete continuing education for make up for the difference. These continuing education courses must meet NCB's definition of continuing education and be taken from an NCB assigned school, an NCB approved provider or an accredited college or university. For currently nationally certified massage therapists to achieve board certification, they must meet the board certification eligibility criteria as of their next recertification date and passing the board certification exam will not be required.

NCBTMB - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Once board certification is achieved, recertification will need to be completed every two years and must be completed within 90 days of the expiration of a therapists certification. According to NCB, in order to retain an active board certification status, therapists must complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years and 100 hours of hands-on work experience or massage-related volunteerism, administration, teaching, curriculum development or writing and publishing of research. For therapists who are unable to meet the recertification requirements due to extenuating circumstances, inactive status is available for up to four years. While in an inactive status, therapists may not identify themselves as a Board Certified Therapist.

In instituting this change, NCB believes that the new credential - by including additional education, hands-on experience and a background check - will ensure that therapists achieving this credential will have the proper foundation to better serve their clients. NCB will also determine additional qualifications for this credential based on feedback from the profession.

"We've succeeded in a complete programmatic transformation of NCBTMB, including realignment of staff and programs and services to ensure an optimal structure supporting the needs of the profession. With the launch of these initiatives, it is now time to name a permanent CEO who will devote his full time and energy to continue the momentum we've created," said Williams. "There is simply no better candidate than Steve Kirin to continue this role."

"Steve has provided constant and critical support during the changes and advancements over the past year and a half," said Board Chair Sue Toscano. "This is now a natural and exciting progression for all of us. On behalf of the Board, we're grateful to Mike to be at this point of transition; and we look forward to Steve's leadership as we continue to evolve."


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