NASW National Election 2024


Voting for candidates in NASW’s national election is open May 1-31 to NASW members in good standing. An email from Intelliscan Inc. will be sent to you with a link to your personalized ballot. To vote by mail, you can request a hard copy ballot by emailing Ballots must be received by May 31 to be counted. To learn more about the candidates on these pages, visit the election slate webpage.

NASW Board of Directors

Sharon-Gandarilla Javier

Vice President
Sharon-Gandarilla Javier (Fla.)
Gandarilla-Javier is president of the NASW Florida Chapter. She is a retired New York City police officer with more than 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.

Fatima Salman

Vice President
Fatima Salman (Mich.)

Salman works at the University of Michigan School of Social Work as the ENGAGE Innovative Technologies Manager. She also is project manager for the Employment Equity Learning and Action Collaborative and an Adjunct LEO Lecturer at UM. Salman has a BS in biology and LMSW in community organizing and management, also from UM. Salman is president of the NASW Michigan Chapter and chair of the NASW Council of Chapter Presidents.

Joshua Brewster

Joshua Brewster (Iowa)
Brewster is a social work leader with more than 20 years of experience in a variety of settings. As the system director for social work and vulnerable populations at CommonSpirit Health, he directs the practice of about 650 social workers in 140 hospitals across 22 states. He has master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota in social work and health care administration and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine. He is the 2nd vice president for budget and finance for NASW-Iowa.

Troy Brindle

Troy Brindle (Pa.)
Brindle is CEO of Phoenix Behavioral Health. He received his MSW from Rutgers University and BSW from Cairn University. Previously, Brindle co-owned Springfield Psychological (Pa). He is adjunct faculty to Cairn University’s BSW program. Brindle has served on the NASW Pennsylvania Chapter board in various roles since 2011.

Hailey Méndez

MSW Student Member
Hailey Méndez (Ariz.)
Méndez is a second-generation Puerto Rican and a first-generation college student. She is pursuing her MSW in policy, administration and community practice at Arizona State University. As a student worker at ASU, predominantly as a teaching assistant for undergraduate psychology and social work classes, Méndez works with infants under 1 year old and teaches English online. She received a BS in sociology with an emphasis in social work from Grand Canyon University in 2022.

Emonie Robinson

MSW Student Member
Emonie Robinson (Calif.)
Robinson, a human rights advocate, is pursuing an MSW at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Robinson’s advocacy journey began at Chabot College, where she advocated for foster youth, Black transfer students, individuals impacted by systemic challenges, undocumented students, and nontraditional students pursuing higher education. She is an MSW intern with nonprofit Foster Nation, where she provides support to former foster youth.

Ancy Lewis

Director, Region III
Ancy Lewis (NYS)
Lewis is 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. She earned an MSW from New York University in 2001. Through her company, Velocity Visions Inc., she provides training and workshops locally, nationally and internationally.

Gerald Myers

Director, Region III
Gerald Myers (NYS)
Myers provides clinical social work services via private practice and through the organizations Black Men Heal and BetterMynd, and voluntarily through Give an Hour. He is a part-time instructor at Syracuse University School of Social Work. He also chairs the Advocacy and Government Relations Committee at the NASW-New York State Chapter. He earned an MSW from Syracuse University School of Social Work and a DSW from Simmons University.

Yasoda Sharma

Director, Region IV
Yasoda Sharma (Pa.)
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 scholar in domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, international social work, and human trafficking. She is a member of the NASW Executive Committee, chairs the NASW National Committee on Women’s Issues, and serves on the NASW International Committee.

Keith Blackwell

Director, Region IV
Keith Blackwell (Pa.)
Blackwell works as clinical coordinator for inpatient care management at the Easton and Warren campuses of St. Luke’s University Health Network. Blackwell earned a BSW and MSW from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, and is enrolled in the DSW program, focusing on leadership and education. He is chair of NASW-Pennsylvania’s Northeast Division.

Sharon Dietsche

Director, Region VI
Sharon Dietsche (Md.)
Dietsche began her social work career in child welfare and evolved into clinical work. She is a past senior practice associate at NASW and director of the Prevention and Early Intervention division at the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health. Since December 2023, she has served as executive director for NAMI Montgomery County. Dietsche earned her BSW and MSW from the University of Central Florida and a has a certification in Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Northwestern University.

Tiffany L. Mayers

Director, Region VI
Tiffany L. Mayers (N.J.)
Mayers is a director at Rutgers University and teaches master’s-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. She also has experience in government records, policy and marketing urban redevelopment. Mayers has been a member of the NASW-New Jersey Chapter since 2012 and is the outgoing board secretary. 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.

Dafna Berman

Director, Region VII
Dafna Berman (Wis.)
Berman is a clinical social worker and works as a psychotherapist at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin. 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 president of the NASW Wisconsin Chapter.

Emily Kenney

Director, Region VII
Emily Kenney (Wis.)
Kenney 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. She works with agencies across Wisconsin to coordinate efforts to improve community well-being by providing effective social and health services.

Jean E. Balestrery

Director, Region IX
Jean E. Balestrery (Minn.)
Balestrery holds a joint PhD in social work and anthropology and an MA in anthropology from the University of Michigan. She earned an MSW from the University of Washington and a BA from Brown University. Balestrery is an interdisciplinary scholar-practitioner with more than 20 years of experience in social work research, teaching, training and practice. She is dually licensed in mental health and substance use disorder treatment. She is founder/CEO of Integrated Care Counsel LLC, a Spirit of Eagles Hampton Faculty Fellow and works as a licensed independent behavioral health clinician. Balestrery is a member of the NASW National Committee for LGBTQ+ Issues.

Leticia Villarreal Sosa

Director, Region IX
Leticia Villarreal Sosa (Ill.)
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.

National Committee on Nominations & Leadership Identification (NCNLI)

Rachel Jackson

Region XIII Representative
Rachel Jackson (Calif.)
Jackson manages a boutique private practice and is employed as an EAP clinical manager with Elevance Health. Her experience also includes 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. Jackson has served NASW-California as an assistant regional director and as a member of the Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification and the Professional Development Committee. Jackson was the Region XIII Director (2020-2023) on the NASW national board of directors.

Hector Palencia

Region XIII Representative
Hector Palencia (Calif.)
Palencia is a UCLA field education faculty member and co-director of the school social work/PPSC (Pupil Personnel Services Credentials) program. He teaches mental health and school social work-specific courses at UCLA, and conducts postgraduate PPSC training for students across California. Palencia is an author and has participated in research regarding school safety. He has served on various NASW committees and Delegate Assembly. In addition to an MSW, Palencia holds an MA in systematic theology.

Social Work Advocates National Association of Social Workers Spring 2024 Cover

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