Melissa Wood Brewster, LICSW, WSSCSW Board President
In my recent New Year’s email to the membership, I reflected on our opportunity to start over, try again or even begin something new that hasn’t been done before. The launch of this first digital newsletter is a great example of trying something new. The board engaged in many lively discussions about going digital, and we concluded that this format will offer a more streamlined approach for members to voice their experience and connect with each other’s ideas in meaningful ways. Members will be notified of new digital content through the listserv and our Facebook page, a process that will help us engage more with our website and access these resources. I am certainly looking forward to reading more clinical content and clinicians’ creative writing in this new format.
While we attempt something different in the New Year, we are also maintaining some important original goals. We will continue to integrate a social justice lens into our clinical learning, and to offer opportunities for smaller gatherings and community discussions. In addition, we aim to strengthen our connections with younger members and local graduate programs. And finally, we want to make our organization more accessible to all clinical social workers in Washington State, regardless of work environment or location.
While I am grateful to our current board members and other volunteers for their energy and commitment in continuing to tackle big goals and create significant programming, I want to acknowledge some members whom we are losing. First, I want to honor Jenny Heutmaker, our treasurer for the past 2 ½ years, who recently stepped down to help attend to family matters. We are forever grateful to Jenny for all her hard work in getting us more fiscally organized and responsible. She updated our tax filing and our non-profit status, she created new policies, helped us find alternatives to spending reserves and paid close attention to matters that cannot be overlooked. Thank you Jenny for all your time, effort and contributions! I can’t overemphasize how valuable you have been on our board and to the organization’s wellbeing.
I also want to honor our members who have recently retired or are on the cusp of retiring. These individuals have contributed a great deal to the growth and establishment of WSSCSW over the last several decades. Many of them have been board members, and even presidents. Since I joined, several have also served as role models and mentors for me. As uncomfortable as it may feel not to have them around as much, I trust that the knowledge they have passed on will help us continue to lead our organization, stay current with our ever changing professional and cultural needs, and maintain our original mission and vision.