Director - Region XI
LaTonya Scriven Charles
Biography: LaTonya Scriven Charles obtained an MSW from Smith College, an MBA from Louisiana State University, and is pursuing her PhD from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has founded and manages different agencies with the primary purpose of providing behavioral and mental health care to members of the community. Charles has successfully owned and managed Bayou Mental Health Services, LLC for almost a decade, which has become one of the premier and accredited mental health counseling agencies operating in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. She has served on the Louisiana Board of Social Work Examiners where she used her social work knowledge to enhance social work practice. Charles was awarded the “Top Twenty Under 40” in her community as well as other nominations and awards and is consistently tapped by groups and organizations for her vast expertise and contribution. As a licensed clinician, Charles applies diligent analysis, object approach, and strategic thinking in all her endeavors whether dealing with a single client, business entity, or an institution.
Platform Statement: As a member and leader within the organization, I have demonstrated that effective decision making is based on clear strategic thinking as well as an understanding of the issues and concerns that are relative to the profession and community that we serve. This approach has shaped my work over the last 20 years in various positions with nonprofits, agencies, and as an entrepreneur.
If elected the NASW Board Director for Region XI, I would fulfill my responsibilities in a proactive, positive, and informed way. I will continue to be committed to the efforts of moving the profession forward, promote awareness, and engagement with members of NASW. As a former president of the NASW Louisiana Chapter, I understand the decision-making processes that are needed to reflect and foster diversity, inclusiveness, equity, as well as provide constructive and safe environments to address the NASW vision and mission.
Jessica Hope is a global justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion practitioner for over 15 years. She holds a master’s degree in Advanced Generalist Social Work from Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis. She further expanded her advocacy conversations into the disparities of poverty by becoming a Certified Financial Social Worker. She uses data science and evidence-based practices, focused on measurable outcomes, to hold leaders accountable and influence change for equality and belonging. Hope is a 20-year army veteran. She served as a suicide intervention specialist, equal opportunity, sexual assault advocate, resiliency advisor, and senior people leader. She counsels on how these issues intersect with the whole person concept, military leadership, culture, resiliency, and wellness. Hope is a diversity and inclusion board member for the Society for Insurance Research, a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Society for Human Resources Management. She has extensive work experience with local, state, and federal government representatives.
Platform Statement: It is a privilege to be a candidate for the NASW Board Region XI position. After military service, I returned to the south as soon as I could and I am excited at the opportunity to tackle issues impacting our region. I am passionate about linking the macro to the micro, sharing the impact of high-level policies on individual people. My breadth of work spans from national policy influence, local government planning, and a myriad of corporate, military, law enforcement, and non-profit experience. I am known for leading with extreme ownership, fierce belief in the goodness of others, listening intently, and saying hard things with the come from of love. I ask the same of those around me and bring these values with me into this position. You can count on me to advocate for our profession and meet complex and challenging topics head on.
Director - Region XII
Biography: Esther J. Langston received a BA in Business Education from Wiley College, a MSW from San Diego State University, a third-year certificate in social work and gerontology from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles and a PhD in Human Service Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is professor emeritus of social work at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV) and director of the Family Support Services Division for the Center of Academic Advancement and Enrichment at UNLV. Langston has held numerous leadership roles at the NASW chapter and national levels including:
member-at-large and secretary of the NASW Board of Directors; Council of Chapter Presidents’ chair; member Personnel committee, National Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification, Audit and Awards Committees and chair of the Legal Defense Board and the National Committee on Women’s Issues. She is also past president of the NASW Nevada Chapter. Her organizational affiliations include: Council on Social Work Education, Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors, American Society on Aging, CIMPAD, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Platform Statement: The primary functions of NASW are to provide service to members, maintain fiscal stability and a governance structure that enhances the program and services of the Association. If elected, my goal will be to work with the membership of Region XII, the Board of Directors, and staff to ensure programs and services reflect the mission of NASW and the diversity of Region XII. I will work diligently to foster collaboration among the states within the region and other parts of the Association. I have served on numerous boards including: NASW, NASW Nevada Chapter, Council on Social Work Education, Baccalaureate Program Directors and other boards at the international, national, state, city and community levels.
My commitment and dedication to the social work profession and my leadership experience have equipped me to carry out the tasks for the position of region XII director.
Biography: Michelle Pliske is assistant professor of social work at Pacific University and director of field education for the BSW program. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Washington, MSW from Portland State University, and DSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a licensed clinical social worker and registered Play Therapy supervisor. Pliske provides clinical supervision to post-graduate mental health professionals and counseling to children and families impacted by trauma and adversity. She has served on the NASW Oregon Chapter board as regional representative, vice president, and president. Pliske is a member of BPD, CSWE, NASW, APT, WPATH, and ISTSS. She has earned post-graduate certifications in animal assisted human health, trauma-informed care, EMDR, and play therapy. Pliske engages in research and scholarship focused on social work leadership, pedagogical practices, and pediatric mental health.
Platform Statement: My intention in wanting to serve on the NASW Board is to support the mission of social work. If elected, I will work diligently to elevate the social work profession, create sustainability practices within social work, and work with leaders to transform policy which better positions social workers in the field to navigate complex social challenges. I believe we need to organize and build opportunities to join our voices for creating social change. My service to the social work profession and NASW at the national level will utilize my academic experience, strong background in clinical practice, and years of successful organizational leadership. I intend to work collaboratively and diligently with social work organizers and allied professionals to develop stronger coalitions in developing new thinking to address large social problems impacting our workforce across the nation. Thank you for your consideration and I appreciate your vote and support in my candidacy.
National Committee On Nominations & Leadership Identification
Biographical Statement: Yterenickia ‘YT’ Bell serves as the Senior Advisor, Voting at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. She graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and political science and a master’s in social work and public administration with a focus in economic development and planning. She has worked previously as the national organizing director at Care in Action/National Domestic Workers Alliance supervising state directors and program managers in seven core states, while developing electoral and legislative strategy for state and federal campaigns. Bell is a native Georgian and has worked as a social worker and public policy professional serving vulnerable communities and solving complex problems for over a decade. She is serving her second term as a Councilwoman in the City of Clarkston where she works diligently to create an inclusive city.
Platform Statement: “You do not make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering, and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”-- Shirley Chisholm
I am honored to have been nominated for the Region VII NCNLI Representative. I have been a long-standing member of NASW and have held leadership positions at the national and local level. Previously, I served as an alternate member of the National Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification and the north regional representative for the NASW Georgia Chapter. As such, I am working diligently to cultivate an innovative strategy to engage members and ensure that we have representation at the State Capitol during the legislative session to proactively represent the interest of the members. I am running for Region VII NCNLI Representative to be a liaison between national and local chapters to ensure efficient communication, improve member retention, and recruit qualified candidates for leadership opportunities. If elected, I will strive to ensure that NASW’s policies align with social work’s core values. Thank you for your support.
Biography: Neal Sinha serves as a Group Therapist for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Broward County and RECO Intensive – Delray Beach Addiction Treatment Center. Sinha received his BSW, summa cum laude, from Florida Atlantic University, and is pursuing his MSW at Barry University in Miami. He is the recipient of Barry University’s Dr. Neta Kolasa scholarship awarded for his academic performance, commitment and capability in client empowerment and self-help, leadership ability, and practice and interest in administration and social policy. Sinha’s experience with NASW began as the BSW representative for the Broward Unit, and soon as the BSW representative for the Florida Chapter where he serves as the MSW representative. In 2021, Sinha won the award for Student Social Worker of the Year in his local unit. That same year, Neal co-authored a chapter in “Social Work in Digital Societies,” published by McGraw Hill, and in 2020, was published in the magazine, “Social Work Today.”
Platform Statement: The impetus for my career as a professional social worker began over twenty years ago when I was the client and social workers were there to help me to get to where I am today. Now that I have been on both sides of the table, as client and social worker, I stay involved with NASW to support and uphold the ethics and expectations of our profession. In addition, to assist in helping push us forward to a post-COVID world. As social workers, it is essential that we uphold the same standards that we expect of others and put the right people within our organization in the right places to help lead us to where our profession takes us in this unexpected future. I ask for your support to be elected the Region VII representative for the National Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification.