Karla J. Abney
As many of you know, I am currently serving as the Interim President since October 20 and am serving in my second term as the Vice President of GWSCSW. Serving as the Vice President has allowed me to become familiar with the many complex tasks involved in being a leader in our wonderful Society.
I would like to share with you a bit of my background. I was born and raised in Washington DC. Yes, I am a true Native Washingtonian! I am a graduate of the University of Virginia, where I earned a BA in American history, all with the intent of attending law school. I attended the University of the District of Columbia, graduating in 1992 with a BS in Nursing (BSN). I earned my MS in Nursing (MSN) from Catholic University’s Conway School of Nursing. After working in the profession of nursing for over 30 years, I decided to reinvent myself in 2017 and pursue an MS in social work (MSW) from Catholic University’s National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS). Graduating in this May, I am an LMSW, working at Sheppard Pratt Outpatient Mental Health Center – Gaithersburg. Ever the eternal student, I am back at NCSSS pursuing my PhD in social work
After joining the Society as a graduate student, I met several members who made me feel welcome, and encouraged me to volunteer. Taking the plunge, I decided to run for Vice President. With a deep interest in social justice, I joined the Anti-Racism Taskforce and began to bring the message of anti-racism and social justice issues to the forefront of the Society. I am happy to announce the Social Justice Branch is now an official part of the Board. The Social Justice Branch will continue to address issues of antiracism and institutional racism as are currently being addressed with the recent ASWB report, and other social justice concerns including issues of importance to the LBGTQ+ community, women, and other marginalized communities.
Priority for my tenure will be to continue and increase the number of Society networking events and opportunities to connect socially, as well as offering our mentorship program, low-cost therapy for MSW students, and continue plans to establish a low-cost supervision program. There are plans to hold a GWSCSW Town Hall in the new year and establish regularly scheduled listening sessions between the Board of Directors and the membership.
I would like to take this opportunity to encourage and welcome your feedback. What would make the Society more inviting and appealing to you? Of course, not every suggestion can be enacted, but I believe some very helpful information will emerge from your feedback. What would be helpful? What would be enjoyable: I would like to foster a feeling of connection and the sense that this is a Society for everyone.
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