Rolling Up My Sleeves

James KellyFrom the President

Thank you for electing me NASW president. I am humbled and enormously grateful to be selected by you, my colleagues, for this honor. To those who have gently and ably guided me through this orientation year, thank you for your time and patience.

Early last year, the NASW News staff asked me to respond to a series of questions designed to inform the membership of my platform for candidacy. I replied that the key issue for the social work profession is promoting an up-to-date, educated and active social work culture by successfully implementing the Social Work Reinvestment Initiative. Furthermore, building upon the 2005 Social Work Congress mandate of "unifying and advancing the profession" by communicating to our constituents the idea of a "whole social worker" is essential.

My presidential strategy seeks to:

  • Demonstrate how being a part of NASW helps social workers empower others by promoting standards, showcasing advanced practice and clearly defining scope and areas of practice.
  • Connect people, resources, legislators and others in power — and help staff develop new resources to support the profession.
  • Engage members in advancing the established goals of the association and profession.
  • Continue improving the image of social work and championing workforce development.
  • Develop legislation and policy that raise the profile of NASW among opinion leaders.
  • Expand NASW's role in helping the country serve its veterans and their families.
  • Position the social work profession to face global realities.
  • Leverage chapter strengths and successes to increase impact with national leaders.

I believe the organization's key challenges are retention, growth and increased membership participation — and that my role is to help energize the membership, build new partnerships (corporate and nonprofit) and find additional resources to support development efforts.

Of critical importance is raising the visibility of NASW in media and policy circles. I hope to build on what has already been accomplished — under the able leadership of my predecessors, Elvira Craig de Silva and Gary Bailey — to reach out to more elected social workers, further engage the powerful media community and increase collaboration with like-minded organizations.

Your feedback on our progress is appreciated, so I hope you will take time to review, and respond to, the proposed goals of the upcoming NASW Delegate Assembly. At this August meeting, elected delegates will adopt new three-year goals for the association which guide and focus all organizational activities. These goals were developed by the National Board of Directors' Program Committee, modified by the Delegate Assembly Planning Committee and then submitted to the board for approval. Comments on the proposed goals can be posted at any time before Aug. 1.

Again, thank you for allowing me to serve you and the social work profession through our excellent NASW organization.