NASW 2024 National Election Slate

The National Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification (NCNLI) is pleased to present the slate of candidates for the NASW 2024 national election.

Vice President

Sharon Gandarilla-Javier (FL)

Sharon Gandarilla-Javier

Biography: Sharon Gandarilla-Javier is president of the NASW Florida Chapter. She is a retired New York City police officer with over 20 years of experience in both law enforcement and social work. She received her PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Albany, her MSW from Fordham University, and MA in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Dr. Gandarilla served previously as an assistant professor at Morgan State University and has over 10 years of experience as a licensed social worker. She presents at NASW conferences, universities, and on panels as an intimate partner violence specialist. Dr. Gandarilla has been a member of the National Association of Social Workers since 2013, as well as the New York City Patrolmen Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the International Federation of Social Workers.

Platform Statement:  I am committed to NASW because I have an ongoing desire to promote social justice for everyone who has been disenfranchised and oppressed by the very structures that are supposed to protect them. As a licensed social worker and former police officer, I understand the importance of intersectionality, public safety, and restorative justice and the impacts they have in poor communities. Since 2020, I have witnessed the social work profession facing significant challenges in higher education, work-life balance, higher wages, and more recently, licensure. As your Vice President, I will work alongside NASW and President Yvonne Chase to advocate for higher pay and pathways to licensure at all levels of social work practice. Lastly, the social work profession is growing globally, and I believe that NASW has the potential to foster an environment that encourages learning, creativity, diversity, equity, and inclusion for all.

Fatima Salman (MI)

Fatima Salman

Biography: Fatima Salman works at the University of Michigan, School of Social Work, as the ENGAGE Innovative Technologies Manager. She is also Project Manager for the Employment Equity Learning and Action Collaborative and an Adjunct LEO Lecturer at UM. She completed her undergraduate degree with a BS in biology and received her LMSW in Community Organizing and Management also from the University of Michigan. Salman is president of the NASW Michigan Chapter and chair of the NASW Council of Chapter Presidents. She serves on the program committee at The Children’s Center in Detroit and on the community advisory panel for Detroit Public Television. She is a fellow of the Detroit Equity Action Lab, an appointed member of the State of Michigan's Growing Michigan Together Council and has received the 2023 UM SSW Innovation in Research and Teaching Award.

Platform Statement: I am a macro social worker who advocates for the voiceless, organizes for communities, and connects to the needs of the people. At the state level, I have provided leadership on elevating the profile of social workers, forming a taskforce specific to workforce development, cultivating an anti-racist organization internally and through outward facing activities, and ensuring our members are being seen and heard. As Chair of NASW COCP, I made strong efforts to ensure chapter presidents are supported; through mentorship, training on board governance, op-ed and media training, and increasing membership across the United States. I have served in several state and national level boards for the last 30 years and have a deep understanding of organizations and nonprofit leadership. With a deep commitment to our Code of Ethics and the belief that social workers have the skills to create effective change, I ask for your vote for Vice President.


Joshua Brewster (IA)


Biography: Josh Brewster, MSW, MHA, is a social work leader with 20+ years of experience in a variety of settings. He has been a licensed independent clinical social worker in Minnesota, Michigan, and Iowa. He is a C-ASWCM through NASW, he is also certified in case management (CCMC) and a fellow in healthcare administration (ACHE). He has master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota in social work and healthcare administration and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine. As the system director for social work and vulnerable populations at CommonSpirit Health, he directs the practice of 650+ social workers in 140+ hospitals across 22 states. Previously, he taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota, led large social work teams in academic medical centers, and managed a $95+ million departmental budget at the Minnesota VAHCS. He currently serves as the 2nd vice president for budget and finance for NASW-Iowa.

Platform Statement: The treasurer of the board not only ensures the board is meeting its fiduciary and regulatory duties, but also acts as a key member of the board in working with staff to meet the goals and objectives of NASW. Based on years of experience across settings and locations I bring broad and unique clinical and practice perspectives to the board; having a solid understanding of administration and finance I can work to help balance NASW’s goals with the realities of our financial restraints. We need to, in a financially pragmatic fashion, deliver value to our members, support the work of local chapters, advance the social work profession, and maximize our social and racial justice impact. Although my skills and experiences will inform my work on the board, it will be my passions for social work and in addressing the challenges we face that will make me a successful treasurer.

Troy Brindle (PA)

Troy Brindle

Biography: Troy Brindle, LCSW, is Chief Executive Officer for Phoenix Behavioral Health. Brindle received his MSW from Rutgers University and BSW from Cairn University. Previously, Brindle Co-Owned Springfield Psychological (Pennsylvania). He is adjunct faculty to Cairn University’s BSW program. Brindle served on NASW-Pennsylvania Chapter Board since 2011 as a division chair, Delegate Assembly representative, president-elect, and president. He served on the NASW Board as region IV director and on the By Laws, Governance, and Finance Committees. In 2015, Brindle received the Alumni Recognition Award from Cairn University and in 2019 was recipient of the Rehabilitation & Community Provider Association Service Innovation Award for Pennsylvania. Brindle serves currently on the NASWIC Board and has been featured previously on the nationally televised Informed Series with Rob Lowe for his pioneering work in Integrated Behavioral Health.

Platform Statement: If elected to the NASW Treasurer, I will use my influence to serve members, advance our profession and support the financial stewardship of NASW. During my career, I have been a clinician, advocate, and business owner. Currently, I serve as Chief Executive Officer for a for profit behavioral health organization in New Jersey. Fiscal stewardship is critical for an organization’s longevity. I have successfully balanced fiscal, clinical, and business best practices to maintain viability and sustainability for over twenty years. I have used my influence and expertise to encourage change at local, state, and national levels. I possess a diverse skill set that would benefit NASW in navigating the financial stewardship of member resources. By securing your vote, I would be honored to serve as Treasurer to support NASW in navigating any fiduciary and organizational challenges that may lie ahead.

MSW Student Member

Hailey Méndez (AZ)

Hailey Méndez

Biography: Hailey Méndez is a second-generation Puerto Rican and a first-generation college student. She is pursuing her MSW in Policy, Administration, and Community Practice from Arizona State University. As a student worker at ASU, predominantly as a teaching assistant for undergraduate Psychology and Social Work classes, she also works with infants under one year old and teaches English online. She received a BS in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work from Grand Canyon University in 2022 and studied for two semesters in South America and received an ESL/TEFL teaching certificate. She has excelled academically, achieving honors at every level while overcoming difficult life circumstances. Additionally, she is a volunteer community organizer with multiple local advocacy groups on and off campus.

Platform Statement: I am very honored to be considered for this position and am committed to NASW’s mission and ethics for the social work profession. I believe what makes me qualified to be on the board is that I am a lifelong learner. Although I enjoy debates and seeing both sides, I have never allowed comfortability or tradition to justify the perpetuation of injustice. Living in other countries taught me adaptability and the ability to work toward a common goal with people unlike me. I believe that social work has the potential to create significant change in this society and the world because we value both individuals and seek justice at the same time. I hope to be a small part of what makes our profession unique by allowing us to continue to question ourselves and our priorities.

Emonie Robinson (CA)

Emonie Robinson

Biography: Emonie Robinson, a human rights advocate, is pursuing a MSW at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Robinson’s advocacy journey began at Chabot College, where, as Boordinator and community college partnerships mentor. In these roles, she advocated for foster youth, Black transfer students, individuals impacted by systemic challenges, undocumented students, and nontraditional students pursuing higher education. Robinson’s dedication to human rights fuels her academic pursuits, with aspirations to earn a PhD. Currently, she serves as an MSW intern with Foster Nation, a non-profit organization, where she provides support to former foster youth. She remains committed to actively participating in initiatives that fortify community organizations, specifically addressing systemic barriers for underserved populations.

Platform Statement: I will be a dedicated advocate, committed to facilitating dialogue, ensuring that the voices of students are not only heard but actively shape the policies and initiatives of NASW. With a background in fostering collaboration, spearheading initiatives, and advocating for underserved communities, I aim to contribute to NASW's growth and development. My experiences as a classroom teacher, program leader, and advocate position me to represent the student membership, bridging communication, and addressing pertinent social justice issues. I am committed to leveraging my skills to enhance NASW's impact and ensuring the student voice remains central to our mission. Social justice is the foundation that ensures equitable access to resources, amplifies marginalized voices, and dismantles systemic barriers. My advocacy for social justice is a call to action. Through collaboration, thoughtful initiatives, and a commitment to equity, I aspire to contribute meaningfully to NASW's mission.

Board Region III Director

Gerald Myers (NYS)

Gerald Myers

Biography: Dr. Myers provides clinical social work services via private practice and through the organizations Black Men Heal, BetterMynd, and voluntarily through Give an Hour. He is also a part-time instructor at Syracuse University School of Social Work. He is also the current chair of the Advocacy and Government Relations Committee, NASW-NYS Chapter. His research interests include the Liberation Health framework, therapeutic use of the Nguzo Saba, Narrative theory, & comparisons of Afrocentrism and Eurocentrism. Dr. Myers earned his MSW degree from Syracuse University School of Social Work and his DSW from Simmons University.

Platform Statement: My deep commitment to the principles of social work, willingness to work collaboratively, appreciate systemic issues, and think strategically positions me to contribute meaningfully to the continued success and growth of our community. Ethical leadership and transparency are paramount for the success and credibility of our organization. If elected, I will champion open communication, ethical decision-making, and accountability to ensure that the Board operates with integrity and the utmost commitment to our members. Our members are the heart of our organization, and their well-being is of utmost importance. I will work to enhance member engagement initiatives that prioritize the health and resilience of our professional community. I am excited about the prospect of serving as the NASW Region III Director and contributing to the continued success of our organization. Together, we can strengthen our impact, uphold the values of social work, and create a vibrant and inclusive community for all members.

Ancy Lewis (NYS)

Ancy Lewis

Biography: Ancy Lewis, LCSW, currently serves as the Assistant Director of Field Education at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. She collaborates with social service agencies in New York and across the country, focusing on enhancing the practicum education of MSW students as they enter the social work profession. Graduating with an MSW from New York University in 2001, Lewis has gained extensive experience in social work services, working with adults, children, families, child welfare, mental health, and older adults. Through her company, Velocity Visions, Inc., she provides training and workshops locally, nationally, and internationally, covering topics such as toxic stress, leadership, communication, burnout prevention, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, self-care, mental health, anti-racism, diversity, equity, inclusion, and emotional intelligence. Lewis’ collaborative approach and effective communication skills have led to strong partnerships with clients, agencies, and students from diverse backgrounds.

Platform Statement: My name is Ancy Lewis, LCSW, and I bring with me a wealth of experience, passion, and commitment to advancing the social work profession in our region. My experience with varied social work environments equips me with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities that social workers face in our ever-evolving landscape. For over 22 years, I have engaged with various fields within social work, including mental health care, home and community-based care, work with children, families and older adults. I am currently involved in social work education, leadership, and training. I am committed to serving NASW Region III, with integrity, transparency, and a passion for advancing our profession. My vision for NASW Region III is one of inclusivity, empowerment, and innovation. I want to create a platform where we collaboratively build up social workers at all levels and specialties. Let’s create a strong future for our profession!

Board Region IV Director

Keith Blackwell (PA)

Keith Blackwell

Biography: Keith S. Blackwell, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, ACM, CCM, CCTP, currently works as the Clinical Coordinator for inpatient care management at the Easton and Warren Campuses of St. Luke’s University Health Network, celebrated with the Rising Star Award for outstanding service. He is also appointed as President at Haven’s Tapestry, a non-profit devoted to mental health for those in animal care. Blackwell is a proud double graduate from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, with a BSW and MSW, and is enrolled in their DSW program, focusing on leadership and education. Blackwell serves as the NASW-PA Northeast Division Chair and as a committee member for the CSWE’s Council on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression. His memberships with CMSA, NOFSW, NAPSW, CSWE, NASW, SSWLHC, PSCSW, and IFSW, mirror his vast interests and signify his unwavering commitment to nurturing the influence and power of social work.

Platform Statement: As a candidate for the NASW Board of Directors, I am committed to upholding the mission and ethical standards of NASW. My qualifications for this role are deeply rooted in my professional journey and academic achievements. My hands-on experience in a variety of clinical and leadership roles reflect my dedication to the social work field and my ability to lead with integrity and innovation. I am prepared to act diligently and prudently in the best interests of NASW, to manage its affairs responsibly, and to participate actively in board meetings. My pledge extends to respecting fellow board members and staff, maintaining confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest, and ensuring the proper use of NASW funds. I am devoted to fostering the well-being and high esteem of NASW, both internally and in the broader community.

Yasoda Sharma (PA)

Yasoda Sharma

Biography: Yasoda Sharma, a tenured Full Professor at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, holds a PhD in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a prolific scholar in Domestic Violence, HIV/AIDS, International Social Work, and Human Trafficking, and actively engaged in community-based research. Her dedication extends beyond academia, as she serves as the Vice President of the Board for the Domestic Violence Center for Chester County (DVCCC), leading its Strategic Planning Committee. Dr. Sharma exemplified her involvement with DVCCC by actively contributing to its reaccreditation with the Pennsylvania Association of Non-Profit Organizations. Currently, she serves as a member of the NASW Executive Committee, chairs the NASW National Committee on Women's Issues, and serves on NASW International Committee, showcasing her dedication to advocacy. A first-generation immigrant Asian woman of color, if elected, Dr. Sharma pledges to advocate for LGBTQIA+ and ethnic minorities women's rights locally and globally.

Platform Statement: I am Dr. Yasoda Sharma, running for NASW Regional Director for Region IV. I am committed to furthering the mission of NASW to promote the quality of social work practice in the United States through services to promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. I have a comprehensive understanding of global challenges, particularly in women's health and LGBTQIA+ rights. I bring a wealth of experience in advocacy at local and global levels. I have served as a board member since 2022 and have developed a deeper understanding of tasks responsibilities and insights into NASW organizational operations and this positions me as a valuable contributor to advance the growth of the profession. As a first-generation immigrant woman of color, I am devoted to advocacy and collaboration with fellow social workers. Together, let's amplify our impact and advance our profession by working in unity toward maintaining and promoting high standards of practice.

Board Region VI Director

Tiffany L. Mayers (NJ)

Tiffany L. Mayers

Biography: Tiffany L. Mayers currently works as a director at Rutgers University and teaches masters-level courses in clinical social work and social policy at Rutgers School of Social Work. She is a part-time mental health clinician, focusing on children and families. Additionally, she has government experience, in government records, policy, and marketing urban redevelopment. Mayers has been a member of the NASW-NJ Chapter since 2012 and is the outgoing Board Secretary. She also serves as a consultant to NAMI NJ’s African American outreach program. Her passion stems from caring for a child with ADHD, and learning the importance of education, advocacy, and self-care. Mayers is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, serving communities within Middlesex & Somerset Counties in NJ. She earned her DSW from the University of Kentucky, her MSW from Rutgers University, and her BA in Psychology (minor in Social Work) from Seton Hall University.

Platform Statement: Vote for me as your next Region VI Director! I have been dedicated to the fields of psychology and social work for 20 years, and a member of the NASW since 2012. My passion stems from my personal and familial history with mental health. Since, I have continued to create effective change as an experienced social work consultant. As a clinician, I am enhancing the lives of children and families facing mental health challenges. As an advocate, I am eradicating stigma and fostering safe community spaces, especially for marginalized people. As a professor, I am preparing the next generation of social workers for clinical social work and social policy. As the Region VI Director, I will be an organizational leader and keep my finger on the pulse of all things social work. I want to serve because I am a proud social worker and that is what we humbly do!

Sharon Dietsche (MD)

Sharon Dietsche

Biography: Sharon Dietsche’s impactful social work career began in child welfare and evolved into clinical work. Her experience encompasses key leadership roles, including Senior Practice Associate at NASW and Director, Prevention & Early Intervention Division at the DC Department of Behavioral Health. Dietsche’s contributions expanded to the Center for Adoption Support and Education, where she served as Director of Program Operations, before assuming the role of Executive Director at Embark Behavioral Health. Since December 2023, she has served as Executive Director for NAMI Montgomery County. Dietsche's commitment extends to her board membership at the National Organization for Youth Safety, and in 2023 she provided counsel to President Biden and his domestic policy staff on mental health access and the teen mental health crisis. Dietsche holds a bachelor’s and master’s in social work from the University of Central Florida and earned certification in Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Northwestern University.

Platform Statement: I became a social worker due to the profession’s foundation in social justice. My lived experience as a child of immigrants and a woman of color with a disability motivates me to improve social determinants and advocate for those from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. My executive experience would support NASW in its new phase of leadership. I have overseen expansions and organizational transformation as well as successfully implemented strategic plans. I possess strong budgetary and management skills. Creating policy and advocacy agendas have also been a key focus. My platform revolves around three key pillars: 1) Strategic Governance – transparent and accountable practices, effective risk management, and a culture of integrity, ethics, and compliance. 2) Innovation and Adaptability – agility, investing in technology, and research & development. 3) Stakeholder Engagement and Social Responsibility - enhanced communication channels, DEI measures, responsiveness to the members and the social work profession.

Board Region VIII Director

Dafna Berman (WI)

Dafna Berman

Biography: Dafna Berman is a clinical social worker and works as a psychotherapist at Froedtert & the Medical College of WI. Her practice focuses on chronic behavioral health conditions related to interpersonal trauma. She received her MSW from Washington University in St. Louis and her MBA, with a Healthcare Management concentration, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Berman is the president of the NASW Wisconsin Chapter. Previously, she served as the Southeast WI branch representative to the Board and as a member at large on the chapter's Executive Committee. She is also involved with the Professional Standards & Regulations and the Legislative & Social Policy committees. On the national level, Berman participated in the Association's expert panel tasked with updating the NASW Mental Health Policy Statement for the Social Work Speaks publication. She enjoys spending time with her daughters and furry grandchildren, home improvement projects, and playing the piano.

Platform Statement: I am running for this office to advance our profession’s position in the 21st century. As your representative, I will work to strengthen the competitive edge we need to thrive and lead in a rapidly changing environment driven by innovation and disruption. I want to see us engage in more multidisciplinary collaborations to engineer sustainable solutions for old and new social problems. I am passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion, social justice, and reducing health disparities. I have taught seminars about ethics and boundaries, chronic suicidality, and AI uses in social work. At my workplace, I was involved in designing an anti-racist educational curriculum for employees. I am excited and energized about the opportunities ahead and will be honored to work for you!

Emily Kenney (WI)

Emily Kenney

Biography: Emily Kenney, LCSW, has spent the last decade working primarily in homelessness and housing services. She has been a social worker within a federally qualified health center, benefits acquisition, and has held management roles in crisis mental health case management and homeless services. Currently, she works with agencies across the state of Wisconsin to coordinate efforts to improve community well-being by providing effective social and health services. She brings expertise in collective impact work, change management, and cross-sector strategies. Her work focuses on equity for individuals to bring improved community and societal outcomes. She has volunteered in leadership roles of the Wisconsin Chapter for the last decade. In that role, she has worked to elevate social work through the Wisconsin Chapter board, the Legislative and Policy committee, the chapter’s Political Action Committee, and actively attending and presenting at the statewide annual NASW-WI conference.

Platform Statement: I believe that the strength of our association is through our members. Social work is crucial to the fabric of our communities. It is through social work that we can elevate wellness for all. It is through social work that individuals are supported, families and groups are brought together, communities are lifted up, and effective policies are written. The profession of social work is diverse, and our expertise is needed to tackle some of the most important and pressing issues in our society. As a leader on the board, I will bring my person-centered focus, blending clinical and macro social work. I will bring my expertise in systems change work, with an emphasis on collaboration and collective impact work. I believe that NASW is strong because of its diverse membership and leadership across the local chapters and a formative presence in D.C., and there is strength in our collective work.

Board Region IX Director

Leticia Villarreal Sosa (IL)

Leticia Villarreal Sosa

Biography: Leticia Villarreal Sosa is a higher education leader. Her research includes Photovoice with the Muslim/Arab and Latinx communities in Chicagoland as a tool for advocacy, and a Spencer-funded immigrant student equity project. Her forthcoming book focuses on the testimonios of Latinas in Chicago who significantly transformed health, education, and social services. She was awarded a grant from the New York Life Foundation to develop a culturally informed response to grief and loss certificate program for school-based professionals. She has received several honors including the book of the year award for her book, School Social Work: National Perspectives on Practice in the Schools, the best conceptual article published in 2021 in the International Journal of Social Work Education for her de-colonizing approach to study abroad, the Davlin Diversity Leadership Award in 2022, and the Gary Lee Shaffer Award in 2023 for significant contributions to the field of school social work.

Platform Statement: It would be an honor to serve as NASW Region IX director. I bring an important blend of lived and professional experience to the board. I have three decades of experience in direct practice and in higher education. My own lived experience as a daughter of Mexican immigrants brings a level of sensitivity to understand how social workers can bring cultural responsiveness to our own perspectives and interventions. I am also extensively involved in global social work initiatives and hope to foster global connections with NASW. Nationally, I have provided consultation and professional development in areas such as equity and clinical social work, ethics, immigrant youth, and trauma informed practice. I am committed to the profession and hope to be a part of NASW’s existing projects and new initiatives. Specifically, I hope to support the work that NASW is doing regarding equity and advancing the profession in numerous ways.

Jean E. Balestrery (MN)

Jean E. Balestrery

Biography: Jean E. Balestrery holds a joint PhD in Social Work and Anthropology in addition to a MA in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, a MSW from the University of Washington and a BA from Brown University. Balestrery is an interdisciplinary scholar-practitioner with more than twenty years’ experience in social work research, teaching, training, and practice. Balestrery has presented research nationally and internationally and continues to advance knowledge through peer reviewed publications. Balestrery is dually licensed in mental health and substance use disorder treatment fields of practice, with the following current: Founder/CEO - Integrated Care Counsel, LLC, Spirit of Eagles Hampton Faculty Fellow and employment as a licensed independent behavioral health clinician. Balestrery is a member on the NASW National Committee for LGBTQ+ Issues, serving as a SAMHSA Grant Reviewer and participating with diverse stakeholders in co-production of knowledge discussions pertaining to western science and indigenous traditional knowledge.

Platform Statement: I have been a National Association of Social Workers (NASW) member for more than twenty years and during that time I have looked to NASW and its Code of Ethics as a source of guidance and wisdom. My social work experience is diverse and broad, spanning clinical practice, training, supervisory and research roles. I have developed and facilitated professional CEU training through multiple NASW chapters and have served as a NASW chapter committee member for annual conference planning committees and a mentoring committee. After completing my Joint PhD, I contributed to a NASW social work podcast featuring research to advance health equity. Also, I was selected as a panelist and contributing author for the NASW policy statement on “Sovereignty, Rights and the Wellbeing of Indigenous People” published in Social Work Speaks, 2nd Edition, NASW Press. Currently, I am serving as a member on the NASW National Committee for LGBTQ+ Issues.

NCNLI Region XIII Representative

Rachel Jackson (CA)

Rachel Jackson

Biography: Rachelle Jackson, LCSW, is a social work educator and practitioner. Her diverse work experiences include employee assistance programs, child welfare, international adoption, and integrative behavioral health. She obtained her MSW from California State University, Long Beach and is licensed in California and Nevada. Currently, Jackson manages a boutique private practice and is employed as an EAP Clinical Manager with Elevance Health. She has served as a past member and Chair of the Solano County Mental Health Advisory Board, past 1st Vice President of the Vallejo Branch of the NAACP and is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Jackson has served NASW-CA on the local level as an Assistant Regional Director for Region C, as a member of the Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification and the Professional Development Committee. Most recently, Jackson served the NASW Board of Directors as the Region XIII Director (2020-2023).

Platform Statement: I am sincerely honored to be nominated as a candidate for the position of NCNLI Region XIII Representative (CA). I am interested in this position because I care about the standards of our profession and the power of advocacy we have as a group. I am passionate and dedicated to our profession and committed to the beliefs of the Association. If elected, I will utilize my extensive social work network to seek qualified candidates who desire to support and engage with other dedicated social work practitioners. I want to be a liaison between the California regions and the National Office to support opportunities for new leadership. I appreciate your support and thank you for your consideration.

Hector Palencia (CA)

Hector Palencia

Biography: Hector is an LCSW, MSW, MA, PPSC/CWA who also holds an MA in systematic theology. He is a UCLA field education faculty member and co-director for the school social work/PPSC program. In addition to teaching mental health classes and school social work-specific courses at UCLA, he also conducts postgraduate PPSC training for students across California. Palencia is an author and has participated in research regarding school safety. Palencia also serves on many local and state advisory boards and committees regarding school social work and consults with the school district's mental health programs. Palencia is a mental health advocate and has worked on projects related to children, newly arrived unaccompanied minors, and LGBTQ youth and pushed for social justice policies. He has participated in various NASW committees such as Tech Counsel and the R and I committee and has served as CNLI leadership and Delegate Assembly.

Platform Statement: In today's political climate and unrest resulting from war, racism, and destructive policies, it is more crucial than ever that social workers continue to be agents of social change. As professed agents of social change, we must ensure our profession's continued strength and growth in our advocacy. For this to happen, we need critical positions filled by NASW members representing the diversity in our community and, more importantly, people who represent the ethical principles we value as social workers at the local, state, and especially national levels. If given the opportunity to be your NCNLI Representative for Region XIII, I would collaborate with chapter leaders to identify leaders in our field who are unwilling to stay quiet in the face of social injustice and recommend candidates who will continue to move NASW in our progressive advocacy towards equity and social justice.