Best-selling author to speak at conference

Brené BrownSocial worker and New York Times best-selling author Brené Brown is known for helping people transform their feelings of vulnerability into acts of courage.

As the latest keynote speaker announced for the NASW national conference —“Social Work: Courage, Hope & Leadership,” taking place in Washington, D.C., July 23-26 — Brown plans to present “Daring Greatly: Social Work and The Call to Show Up, Be Seen and Live Brave.”

Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and a columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine. She is a distinguished scholar who tackles the subjects of shame, vulnerability and authenticity.

She said vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotions, like fear, grief and disappointment, and the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation and creativity.

“When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives,” she said in a statement to NASW.

Two other keynote speakers have been scheduled to appear at the conference:

Robert ReichRobert Reich: A secretary of labor in President Bill Clinton’s administration and Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkley. Reich is co-founder of The American Prospect magazine, and a regular contributor to the New York Times, Huffington Post, Salon and NPR.

Steve PembertonSteve Pemberton: Author of A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home, which chronicles Pemberton’s early life in the foster care system.

He is the chief diversity officer and divisional vice president at Walgreens, and Fortune Magazine named him one of “Top 20 Chief Diversity Officers in Corporate America.”

Conference attendees also will hear from plenary speakers who will discuss the latest issues and trends in social work. They include Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health; Paolo del Vecchio, director of the Center for Mental Health Services, SAMHSA; and Enola Proctor, director of the Center for Mental Health Services Research at Washington University in St. Louis. They will present “Integration of Health and Behavioral Health: Are We Ready to Walk the Talk?”

Nationally recognized social work ethics expert Frederic Reamer, professor of the School of Social Work at Rhode Island College, will discuss “The Interface of Ethics and Technology.”

Doua Thor, senior adviser for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; Diane Bell McKoy, president and CEO of Associated Black Charities; and Karina Walters, professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work, will present “Social Justice 2014: We Aren’t Finished Yet.”

Other conference activities include:

  • More than 100 breakout sessions.
  • A social work film festival that will spotlight films that feature social workers, are made by social workers or have a focused public attention on issues that are important to the profession.
  • A special evening reception of NASW and NASW Foundation National Awards recipients.