Candidates for NASW 2021 National Election  

Board of Directors


Vice President


Anthony Estreet

Biography

Anthony Estreet

Anthony Estreet is a tenured Associate Professor at Morgan State University. He obtained his PhD from Morgan State University, his MSW from Virginia Commonwealth University, and his MBA from University of Maryland. Estreet has held several positions within NASW at the national and state levels. He is Chair of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs specialty practice section committee and is a member of the National Ethics Committee. He was the National Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification region VI representative and the immediate past president of the Maryland Chapter. Estreet is co-chair of the addictions track for CSWE and an active member and founding President for the Baltimore Legacy Chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers. As a social work educator and practitioner, he is a national trainer for SAMHSA and has over 15 years’ experience in consultation and technical assistance related to addressing mental health and substance use.

Platform Statement

As a candidate for the Vice-President position, if elected, I will continue to utilize my leadership, academic, and practice experiences in a manner that supports the membership and organization move towards a more inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist approach to social work. During these critical times of pandemic, political uncertainty, and increasing social injustices, we must continue to grow and advocate as a profession. It is my belief that our social work profession is in a great position to lead the way for changing the hearts and minds of our nation. It is imperative that we come together as a profession and be on the forefront of these difficult conversations that impact many of the clients and communities we serve. If elected, I plan to work with the NASW board, staff, and chapter leadership to ensure we are supporting and strengthening social workers and students so they can continue to advocate for and support the people and communities we serve.


Guadalupe Lara

Biography

Guadalupe Lara

Guadalupe G. Lara, LMSW, joined NASW in 1976. She received her MSW from Wayne State University and BS in Sociology from Central Michigan University. She serves as Director of the Senior Wellness Center for LASED, Inc. in Detroit, Michigan. Previously, Lara worked 25 years at the Detroit Medical Center in a variety of leadership positions. She has been a board member and President of NASW Michigan Chapter, elected two different terms to the NASW Board and awarded Michigan Social Worker of the Year by her peers. She has been named by five different Michigan governors to lead commissions and recognized by 47 organizations for her advocacy on behalf of the disenfranchised. Currently, she serves as Vice-Chair of the Credit Union One Board of Directors and member of the Michigan Elder Abuse Council.

G Lara Platform Statement

It is a privilege to be considered for the position of Vice-President for the NASW Board of Directors. Since the inception of my career, my focus has been to promote social justice and inclusion through my work in education, practice, and community engagement. My core areas have been health, child welfare, cultural diversity and conflict management. When NASW was established in 1955, they sought to ensure that vulnerable people gained the resources to lift themselves from poverty. Today NASW is a leader in the country and a respected voice in rebuilding our fractured society. If elected, I will support the NASW mission and work to complete our goals. I will adhere to our code of ethics and be a voice for our social work profession. Social workers are key in rebuilding our fractured society into one that provides inclusion and equality for all citizens.


Treasurer


Ryan Estes

Biography

Ryan Estes

Ryan Estes, MSW, MBA, LCSW, LCAS, CCS is the Treatment Operations Director for Coastal Horizons Center. Estes received his MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill, an MBA from UNC-Wilmington, and a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University. Estes is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed clinical addiction specialist. His work at Coastal Horizons Center focuses on program development, fiscal and policy oversight, and clinical and administrative consultation. Estes oversees $30M of a non-profit budget, his supervisory chain includes over 300 employees and he has successfully added 250 social work positions at his company. Estes is a part-time adjunct faculty for UNC-Wilmington. He is part of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, treasurer for NC Child Board, and a national Protective Factors trainer. He is also a former president of the NASW-NC Chapter Board, the current NASW Board region V director, a member of the NASW national Finance Committee, and a voting delegate.

Platform Statement

As a candidate for the position of Treasurer, I bring a wealth of business acumen and an unrivaled dedication to the position. I have been an active elected member of NASW for approximately ten years, have an intimate knowledge of the Association’s fiscal strengths and deficiencies, an MBA used in non-profit work, and passion to build strengthened communication with our members and chapter staff. During my tenure as president of NASW-NC, the chapter remained financially solvent, retained membership growth rate that exceeded the national trend, and supported the diversification of funding streams. I have established relationships to work closely with our national and chapter leadership to strengthen our fiscal position. I humbly ask for your support in this election and, in return, I will relentlessly pursue the advancement of social justice, govern fiscally with transparency, and ensure our Association applies its fiscal resources to better meet members’ needs.


Troy Brindle

Biography

Troy Brindle

Troy Brindle, LCSW is Chief Operating Officer for Access Services and serves as National Vice-President of Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) for Refresh Mental 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 serves on the NASW Board as region IV director and on the Bylaws, 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. He serves as chair for the Coalition for the CommonHealth. Brindle was featured on the nationally televised Informed Series with Rob Lowe for his pioneering work in BHI.

Platform Statement

NASW is the most influential voice for our profession. If elected as 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 Operating Officer for a large non-profit behavioral health organization in Pennsylvania. 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 challenges faced in a post COVID-19 world. 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.


BSW Student Member


Alexis Gallegos

Biography

Alexis Gallegos

Alexis Gallegos is a student at Eastern Washington University (EWU). He serves in a volunteer capacity as secretary with the EWU Chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS). His work responsibilities include communicating with members, strategic planning, mentoring students, and leading small groups. Additionally, he is a volunteer with The Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network Hotline and Raíz of Planned Parenthood of Washington and North Idaho. Of special honor and significance is Gallegos’ induction to the NSLS. Gallegos considers this honor as being applicable to the social work field because the induction program teaches the foundations of leadership and as an inducted member, he has learned multiple communication styles and servant leadership as ways to improve communities. He has also learned how to stay on a path of continual self-improvement and service to others, two of the ideals that are found in social work.

Platform Statement

Before returning to EWU, I worked two jobs. I woke up at five to work in the fields and around midday, I would go home and get ready for my second job at the hospital. Often, I did not return home until midnight. This experience taught me the value of working hard for what I am passionate about - a career that helps others. This is a foundation of the social work profession and NASW, as is the advancement of sound social policies. Since my enrollment at EWU, I have attended a Foundations of Leadership course, DISC communication training, several “Know Your Rights” trainings, an Anti-Oppression Mass Incarceration workshop, and Latino Legislative Lobby Day in Olympia, WA. I also testified in support of HB 1697/ SB 5814 (extension of Apple Health for youth), and I served as a panelist with the Washington Census Alliance and the North East Commissioner on Hispanic Affairs, Lili Navarrete.


Esther "Estee" Sigal

Biography

Esther Sigal

Esther (Estee) Sigal is a junior at SUNY University at Albany. She is pursuing a BSW and a BA in Public Policy and Administration, with a minor in Organizational Communication. She is a member of the NASW-NYS Chapter’s Student Committee, which works on increasing students’ involvement in events and getting them prepared for a career in social work. She works as an assistant preschool teacher in Albany. Sigal is an active member of Alpha Phi Omega, the International Community Service Fraternity. Additionally, she is a board member of the Chabad on Campus Jewish Student Group. Sigal previously interned with a Nassau County, NY legislator for two summers working on constituent services. She advocated within government departments to help solve issues within the legislative district.

Platform Statement

I am extremely honored to be slated as a candidate for the NASW Board BSW Student Member position. If elected, I plan to institute a mentorship program for BSW students, so they are able to be connected to professionals within their specialized field of social work practice. Social workers can be found in a variety of practice settings. It is important for BSW students to have role models throughout the breadth and depth of the profession to whom they can aspire. If elected, I will also advocate for student membership to be more accessible to students, especially students who want to belong to NASW but cannot because of financial hardship. I am committed to serving NASW and upholding its mission and bylaws with my organizational skills, determination, and desire to make a difference. I hope to represent BSW students nationally to the best of my ability.


Region III Director

Diane Bessel

Biography

Diane Bessel

Diane Bessel holds a Doctorate in Sociology from University at Buffalo and a Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA/MSW) from Case Western Reserve University and a nonprofit management graduate certificate. She participates in the Special Commission on Macro Social Work Practice and holds ACOSA, ISP, and NSWM memberships. Bessel serves as MSW program director and chair of Sociology & Social Work at Daemen College. She is responsible for leading accreditation efforts, securing resources, and teaching research, policy, diversity, and practice courses. She is also a non-profit consultant specializing in program design and evaluation, grant writing, board development, strategic planning, and systems change efforts. Bessel served as NASW-NYS Chapter Board’s vice president, treasurer, and region V representative and participated in efforts to identify new chapter leadership, increase continuing education and advocacy efforts, and develop a comprehensive strategic plan. Bessel was honored with the NASW-NYS Social Worker of the Year award in 2020.

Platform Statement

Social work’s mission is to enhance human well-being and meet the basic needs of all people, especially those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. Nevertheless, our profession has imperiled the lives of the very populations we hope to serve through our involvement within and besides racist and oppressive institutions and systems. I believe it is incumbent on NASW to play a key leadership role in efforts to reform, dismantle, and, where necessary, abolish these harmful structures. We must also engage in a critical examination of social work ideologies, frameworks, and practices. If elected Region III Director, I am committed to using my training as an anti-racist educator, research and facilitation skills, and voice to advocate for NASW to use the full power of the Association, including necessary financial resources, to set organizational priorities that will advance these efforts and support the development of a more just, equitable, and inclusive society.


Lenora Colaruotolo

Biography

Lenora Colaruotolo

Lenora Colaruotolo, LMSW, completed her graduate studies at the Greater Rochester Collaborative MSW program. She later worked as a social worker for University of Rochester Medical Center, serving Eastman Institute for Oral Health and hospital Craniofacial Team. During retirement, she has maintained a faculty appointment at URMC, and continues to teach in SUNY Brockport’s MSW program. Colaruotolo’s involvement in NASW began in 2003 as MSW student representative for NYS Chapter Board. Additional experience on the NASW-NYS Board, includes member at large, vice president, and co-chair of the Executive Director Search Committee. She also served as chair of the Committee on Nomination & Leadership Identification and the Program Committee and served on several committees including: Political Action, Finance, Personnel, and Program. Colaruotolo is a past recipient of the NASW-NYS Genesee Valley Division Social Worker of the Year award, the URMC Board Excellence Award, and the Graduate Studies of Nazareth College Award for Excellence in Social Work.

Platform Statement

As a candidate for the position of the NASW Board Region III Director, my interest in this position reflects a long-term commitment to the mission of our professional Association, emanating from my volunteer role as a MSW student representative for the NASW-NYS Chapter Board in 2003. Further, I have been an active member of NYS Genesee Valley Division Steering Committee since 2004. Considering the recent pandemic, subsequent economic crises, and resultant exposure of class divide and its inequalities, social workers are well positioned to play an important role towards building a better future. There is much work ahead of us! Given my diverse work experience highlighted in my biographical statement, my leadership skills, a commitment to being involved, and a proven dedication to our profession and professional Association, I ask for your support so that I can contribute to the mission of our Association as Region III Board Director.


Bidania Criscuolo

Biography

Bidania Criscuolo

Bidania Criscuolo is a High School Social Worker in Nassau County. She obtained a MSW degree, with a concentration in Integrated Health, from Stony Brook University, School of Social Welfare. She is the recipient of multiple awards and scholarships including recipient of the Health Resources and Services Administration grant, National Association of Puerto Rican Hispanic Social Workers scholarship and the National Sex Ed Conference Pay It Forward scholarship. Criscuolo is a member of the NASW-NYS Chapter’s Program Committee and the Peer Review Team which are responsible for the development of New York Statewide program plan. She is a member of the School Social Work Association of America, and the National Association of Puerto Rican Hispanic Social Workers. Criscuolo also serves as a committee member in the Families Program with the LGBT Network whose purpose is to build a supportive community for same sex headed households.

Platform Statement

As a Latina who saw the impacts of poverty and injustice in my community, I became committed to bringing attention to the issues impacting those populations who are too often spoken over. As social workers, we are readily relied on to fix or save others, rather than taking the opportunity to help amplify the voices of those marginalized populations we seek to support. Although I may be new to the field of social work, I have been guided by the same ethical values and principles upheld by the NASW. My work in management, sales, and community organizing has led to a vast array of experiences that will help me successfully fulfil my duties as the Regional Director for New York State.


Region IV Director


Sierra McNeil

Sierra McNeil

Biography

Sierra McNeil earned her Master of Social Work from The Temple University School of Social Work. While at Temple, she served as the MSW student representative for NASW-PA Chapter Board and re-instituted the student chapter of the Association of Black Social Workers. McNeil serves as the coordinator at Family Resource Network where she works with family members of loved ones in the behavioral system. She trains providers on the importance of family inclusion in the recovery process for adults in the behavioral health system. Additionally, she is NASW-PA Board member at large and the chair for the Social Justice Committee. She has instituted a peer support group for black female social workers, drafted position statements in response to current social justice events and presented at the statewide conference on “Performative Allyship”. McNeil brings the knowledge of organizational leadership and the passion of being a proud social worker.

Platform Statement

My commitment to NASW and the field of social work is simple: I strive to create opportunities that promote awareness of underrepresented groups in spaces that largely negate the importance of true and effective inclusion of marginalized groups. NASW has been a fierce advocate for social workers in many aspects. However, I have an expanded vision of what I believe the organization can accomplish for its members and individuals served. As someone who is in the first few years of their career, I believe I am able to look at the issues that face our profession with fresh eyes, allowing me to speak to the challenges and issues faced by those beginning their careers as social workers. If elected, I look forward to working with other members of the board to meet these challenges and position our organization, our profession, and our clients for greater success.


James Andrews

Biography

James Andrews

James H. Andrews, LCSW-PA, LICSW-MA is a clinical and forensic social worker whose pronouns are he/him. He holds a MSW from Rhode Island College in Providence, RI and a BS/BA in business and psychology. He is a PhD candidate at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, with research in threat assessment/violence prediction. Andrews is a member of the faculty at University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and adjunct faculty at Simmons University MSW program in Boston, MA. Additionally, he has thirty-five years as a clinical/forensic social worker, administrator, and consultant. He provides forensic social work and clinical consultation to private practitioners, lawyers and courts as a recognized national expert in practice and ethics. Andrews is a former president of NASW-PA Chapter, and serves on the NASW-PA Clinical Care, Conference, Communications, Legislative, and Social Justice committees. He has served multiple times as a NASW-PA delegate. He helped pass Act-76 on diagnosis.

Platform Statement

It is an honor to be nominated for the NASW Board Region IV (OH, PA) Director position. Serving on the NASW Board would be a natural next step in my service with NASW. At its core, social work is about service to others and providing a strong voice for those who have been silenced. As we enter a new century, examining social work’s role and image in the national conversation on hatred, racism and social justice seems vital. Social work is uniquely positioned to contribute to this conversation. I will work to ensure our seat at that table. In the classroom, I urge my students not to ask for permission but rather insist on being heard. Yet this advocacy also requires attentive listening of perspectives different from our own. I promise to advocate and listen to OH & PA social workers to best inform my role on the NASW Board.


Region VI Director


Jenny Conger

Biography

Jenny Conger

Jenny Conger is a social work coordinator at Penn Medicine Princeton House and has been working in the field of mental health and addiction recovery for the past ten years. She earned her MSW at Rutgers University and holds the LCSW and LCADC licensure in the state of New Jersey. She has been a member of NASW-NJ Chapter since 2010 and was elected to the NASW-NJ Board of Directors as first vice president serving from 2018-2020. Currently, she serves on the chapter CNLI and has been involved with the PACE and Finance committees at the chapter level. Conger has volunteered at the NASW-NJ annual conference each year. She is a certified clinical supervisor for social workers seeking to obtain their clinical license. Most recently, she was appointed to a five-year term on the Freehold Borough Recreation Commission, which oversees borough recreation areas and organizes town-wide community events.

Platform Statement

I am honored to be considered for the position of NASW Board Region VI Director, during the 2021 NASW national election. With membership of more than a decade with the New Jersey chapter, I have served in a variety of roles including working with students, clinicians, administrators, hospitals and private practitioners. The common thread of social work values connects us all, locally and across our country. As a regional director of the NASW Board I will apply both my direct practice experience, advocacy experience and my personal determination to represent the membership. I am committed to working towards ensuring that the region and members across the country are able to provide quality services and supports for social work clientele, and to connecting different social work chapters with each other to maximize our shared impact. Thank you for your support and the opportunity to serve and promote the profession and the Association.


Philip Pratt

Biography

Philip Pratt

Philip Pratt works with the District of Columbia Child & Family Services Agency as the team lead resource development specialist & kinship programming advisory coordinator. He was awarded the Agency Director’s Inaugural Four Pillar award. He received his MSW from Howard University and BSW from Southern University. In 2018, while at Howard, he was active in student government and was the first associate director of graduate and professional affairs for the Howard University Student Association. Additionally, Pratt was elected executive president of the university’s Social Work Student Council Association. He is a member of NASW-MD Chapter where he serves as board member at large and member of the chapter’s Legislative Committee. Pratt is also a lifetime member of the Southern University Alumni Federation, and member of the Howard University Alumni Association and School of Social Work Alumni Association.

Platform Statement

Greetings! I am Philip Pratt, a candidate for the NASW Board Region VI Director position. I serve as the NASW-MD Chapter board member-at-large and believe that I am qualified for this role because I adhere to three things, C.A.T., that is: Communication Advocacy and Transparency. By electing me to this position, this would ensure that there is continuous representation to show the strength of diversity on the NASW Board of Directors and, to bring to the NASW Board, the diverse perspectives of Region VI to help inform the Board’s decisions. By drawing on your support, we can build a better and more diverse tomorrow that embraces what NASW continues to strive toward, enhancing personal growth and commitment to social justice. I look forward to your vote and support.


Region VIII Director

Kristi Wood

Biography

Kristi Wood

Kristi Wood is a lecturer and faculty field liaison in the Department of Social Work, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and a foster parent trainer for the Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development system. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Wood has served at the NASW-WI Chapter as branch representative, secretary, president-elect, and president. She has also served as a member of the Legislative/Social Policy and Executive committees. At the national level, she has served as a member of the Child Welfare Specialty Practice Section committee. Wood has worked in the human services and social work field for approximately thirty years, primarily in residential treatment, group home, and foster care environments. Together with her partner, she has fostered over forty sons and assisted many of them in their transition to adulthood. Her foster daughter is a child welfare manager.

Platform Statement

I am a fierce advocate for the social work profession and the people we serve. Collectively, our voices are powerful, and NASW is a strong catalyst for positive change in our world. The past year has changed all our perspectives. We are simultaneously living through physical, socio-economic, racial, and disinformation pandemics. Vaccines inoculate the immune system just as compassion and mindfulness can inoculate our entire beings. As a society, we need to get better at thoroughly listening to one another and social workers are in perfect positions to help create this change. As the poet Amanda Gorman so eloquently states in The Hill We Climb, “If we are to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all of the bridges that we’ve made.” Thank you for the vital work that you do, and for supporting me in the NASW election process.


Dafna Berman

Biography

Dafna Berman

Dafna Berman is a psychotherapist with Froedtert & the Medical College of WI. She received her MSW from Washington University in St. Louis and her MBA from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, with emphasis on Healthcare Management. Berman serves on the NASW-WI Board as the southeast branch representative and has served as a member-at-large on the Executive Committee. She is a member of the Chapter’s Professional Standards & Regulations and the Legislative & Social Action committees. Berman serves on the WI Department of Safety and Professional Service’s Behavioral Health Review Committee. On the national level, Berman serves on the expert panel tasked with reviewing and updating NASW Mental Health policy statement. Berman has over twenty years of experience in social work. Her practice focuses on individuals with chronic behavioral health conditions, specifically trauma related. She enjoys home improvement projects and spending time with her adult daughters and furry grandchildren.

Platform Statement

Dear region VIII colleagues, I am running for this office because I want to advance our profession’s position in the 21st century. If elected the NASW Board Region VIII Director, 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 would like to see us engage in more multidisciplinary collaborations to engineer sustainable solutions for old and new social problems. I have been involved in my chapter’s efforts and initiatives to address reimbursement, credentialing, suicide prevention, gun safety, and conversion therapy. I am passionate about equity and inclusion, police reform, and reducing disparities. I have taught seminars about ethics and boundaries, chronic suicidality, and AI uses in social work. At my workplace, I am 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!


Region IX Director


Anthony Bibus

Biography

Anthony Bibus

Anthony Bibus is a social worker licensed by Minnesota’s Board of Social Work. He holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota School of Social Work and a MA and BA in English. In 2012, he retired from Augsburg University’s social work department, where he served as the BSW director and department chair. For three decades he has been an active NASW member serving the NASW Minnesota Chapter as a member of the conference planning team or moderator at conferences/events and serving on multiple committees. Bibus has been a long-term member of other national and regional associations including CSWE and has worked periodically with ASWB. He is a contributor to the CSWE/ASWB/NASW Curricular Guide for Licensing and Regulation. His practice and studies in child welfare, supervision, and ethics led to several publications, most lately on cultural humility. He is the recipient of the NASW-MN Chapter’s Social Worker of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards.

Platform Statement

I am grateful to be nominated for the position of NASW Board Region IX Director (IA, IL, MN). If elected, I will be available to members and chapters within the region. I have been a social worker for five decades and have been active with many professional associations. One of my chief goals if elected to the NASW Board will be to encourage and strengthen collaboration among social work associations. Social workers across the country must have a voice in NASW’s work. Another goal will be to work with the Board to keep our Association on sustainable fiscal footing with transparent processes. I look forward to this opportunity jointly with you to influence policies, build relationships, and continue teaching, learning, and maintaining professional standards locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. NASW is our resource for broadcasting the value of social work and nurturing our dual focus on direct service and social change.


Jessica Hoeper

Biography

Jessica Hoeper

Jessica Hoeper is a licensed independent social worker and an IMH-E®/Infant Family Specialist. She completed her undergraduate degree at Minnesota State University at Moorhead and her graduate degree at St. Catherine’s/St. Thomas joint MSW program. Hoeper is self-employed as a human service consultant/coach/trainer offering clients reflective coaching and professional development trainings (i.e., art of having difficult conversations, emotional intelligence, professional dangerousness in child welfare, ethics, etc.). Prior to launching her business, she worked in the field of child welfare for approximately 15 years, holding positions in juvenile justice, child protection and child and family services. Additionally, she developed and teaches a child welfare topics course for St. Scholastica in Minnesota. Hoeper is a member of NASW-MN Chapter. She also has professional affiliation with Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health.

Platform Statement

My name is Jessica Hoeper, I own and operate Ray of HOPE, a limited liability company that works with human service systems to empower reflective practice in social work. I am keenly aware that we are “whole” people and that we bring our “whole” self into our work as social workers. I work with my whole being to support reflective practice in human services. Because we bring our whole selves into our work, we need to have a high level of self-awareness and how we as social workers impact the world around us through our work and our citizenship. We as a body of social workers through the NASW, have unique skills and abilities to deeply connect with others and empower love over judgement. I have worked across the state of Minnesota, in private and public sectors and I look forward to taking an active role in serving the Association and the social work profession.

National Committee on Nominations & Leadership Identification


Region XI Representative


Cassandra Bowers

Biography

Cassandra Bowers

Cassandra Bowers has been a member of NASW for over twenty years. She holds a PhD and a LMSW license from the state of Michigan. She is semi-retired but continues to work on a part-time basis at Wayne State University School of Social Work where she has held the position of BSW coordinator from 2000-2016 and full-time faculty from 2016-2019. She has also served as secretary for the National Baccalaureate Program Directors, Inc., (2009-2012) and was a member of the Executive Committee and co-chair of the Michigan Continuing Education Executive Committee Collaborative.  Bowers also served as the Region VIII Representative of the NASW national nominating committee.  She has received several honors including: Cathedral Church of St. Paul’s recognition of the Homeless Project Program (2017), Michigan Health Council’s 2013 Building Michigan’s Healthcare Workforce award and the Greater Detroit Association of Black Social Workers’ award (2012).

Platform Statement

First, it is of great import to me to ensure we have the brightest and best representing our discipline.  My experience with the Michigan Collaborative and the N ASW National Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification (NCNLI) and other leadership positions that I have held, provide me with the knowledge, skill, and ability to perform the role of the Region XI NCNLI Representative.  If elected, it will be my honor to serve our professional Association and carry out the duties and responsibilities of the position.  Thank you for your support.


Blanca Sanchez McGee

Biography

Blanca Sanchez McGee

Blanca McGee has spent the last twelve years as a school social worker in Grand Prairie, TX. In 2003, she received a master’s degree in Social Work from Barry University in Miami, Florida and is pursuing her Doctor of Social Work at Tulane University. In 2016, she received President Barack Obama’s Volunteer Gold Service Award with special service commitment to education. McGee is a member in good standing of NASW and has continued to serve the NASW North Central Texas Fort Worth Area Branch Steering Committee since 2013. From 2016 to 2018 she served as a member of the National Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification, and from 2018 to 2020 she was chair of the NASW-TX Chapter CNLI. McGee is also a member of the School Social Work Association of America and served as a board member for the School Social Work Association of Texas.

Platform Statement

I believe that strong leaders are abound within the social work profession. Identifying and supporting them is a role that I have enjoyed as a member of NCNLI. For over five years I have advocated for social workers in leadership positions. I believe that as a social work leader, I have a high level of commitment to NASW members. I am honored to serve alongside some of the best social workers in Region XI. As a champion for social work, I have not always achieved the goals I set, but I have never stopped working to advance the ideals of social work practice. I believe I have great communication skills, with my willingness to listen being a strength. If elected the Region XI Representative, I will listen, advocate, and support social workers. Service and commitment to NASW members from Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, and New Mexico will be an honor and a privilege.


Region XIII Representative


Margaret “Peggy” Polinsky

Biography

Peggy Polinsky

Peggy Polinsky is a social work researcher and administrator who is retired but continues to work as a consultant and evaluator. She has a PhD from USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, an MS from Columbia University School of Social Work and a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She joined NASW in 1982 and has remained committed to her professional organization. She served the NASW-CA Chapter in many capacities, including vice president, Professional Standards Committee; chair and member of the Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification; and member of the Task Force on Licensing, and Social Work Image Council. Polinsky has been involved in several efforts to enhance the public’s image of social work, including being co-chair for the development of the display entitled "100 Years of Social Work: 1898-1998," which has been displayed nationwide. She leads a group of social workers in a timeline update project to include the years since 1998.

Platform Statement

My social work career has focused primarily on quality of life, substance abuse, and family strengthening, in county, state, and national arenas.  I have published numerous journal articles and book chapters and serves as a reviewer for Social Work Research and the journal of the Society for Social Work and Research and board secretary and evaluator for The National Turner Syndrome Camp, Inc. Through all these engagements, I have built multiple networks that will serve me well if elected.  I am eager to continue my efforts to strengthen NASW by ensuring qualified and eager candidates are identified for the elective positions that become available each year. Only the best candidates can provide the best leadership and, as I have done at the California Chapter, I would work diligently to identify these leaders for the national CNLI.  Thank you for your support.


Toby Hur

Biography

Toby Hur

Toby Hur is a field education faculty at UCLA Luskin Social Welfare Department. Previously, he was director of Membership Services for the NASW-CA Chapter . He worked as a program director, health program manager, and crisis counselor for Koreatown Youth and Community Center. He also worked as a clinical social worker for the emergency medical departments at King Drew Medical Center and Los Angeles County USC Medical Center ; and was DCFS’ Children’s Social Worker, hospice worker; and program coordinator for A3M, an Asian Pacific Islander bone marrow donor recruitment program. Hur serves on the Social Services Committee of the Cardinal Manning Center and the Advisory Board of Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Center. His practice interests are in nonprofit management; technology application in human services; social enterprise; resource development; social and economic justice; community engagement; social marketing; and behavioral science.

Platform Statement

The NCNLI provides important and often crucial support to the NASW Board in identifying and fostering the future leaders of our Association. No other resources are more important than our members. In this time of turmoil with growing inequities, racism, and public health crises, an association of professional social workers is more essential than ever as a steward of professional identity deeply rooted in social justice. If elected the Region XIII NCNLI Representative, I will work with the chapter leadership to identify leaders of different abilities, identities, ideas, and life experiences. Diversity may give the appearance of equity, but we must reach deep within our ranks to identify and elevate the members who are not often heard but whose ideas and actions can help NASW to become a progressive and innovative voice for the social work profession.