New Leaders of NYC’s Social Work Community Generate Excitement and Inspiration at Awards Dinner
Given the importance of having social workers in leadership positions in human service organizations, the need to recognize and nurture the next generation of social work leaders cannot be underestimated. This perspective inspired the New York Chapter of NASW to initiate an Emerging Social Work Leaders Awards Dinner in 2007.
On December 3, 2009, NASW-NYC honored sixteen emerging leaders in the profession (pictured on pages 13 – 15) at its Third Annual Dinner at the Grand Harmony restaurant in Chinatown. Chosen from over fifty nominees, this year’s honorees exemplified the important contributions that new social workers are making to the profession.
Dr. Willie Tolliver shared succinct but compelling remarks, emphasizing the significance of the evening’s event within the context of the broader need for leadership development. Dr. Tolliver’s new book, Stories of Transformative Leadership in the Human Services – co-authored by Dr. Steve Burghardt – serves as a guide for human service organizations in their efforts to implement new models of leadership. (For more about the book in light of the Chapter’s priority on the social work workforce and working conditions, please see page eight.)
Two special guests were in attendance and shared inspiring remarks. New York State Senator, Liz Krueger was present to acknowledge the accomplishments of 2009 Honoree, Noelle Tutunjian who serves as Special Assistant to Senator Kreuger. A long-time policy advocate, Senator Kreuger underscored the need to actively cultivate the leadership abilities of social workers. Another 2009 Honoree, Christopher Murray was joined in celebration by newly-elected Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio. Mr. de Blasio noted how the dedication that he observes in social workers makes a vital difference in the various jobs they hold.
The Ira Jackson Trio contributed to the upbeat mood, and Master of Ceremonies, Gary Parker, engaged attendees with his enthusiasm. Surpassing last year’s numbers, over 325 people attended – an accomplishment during such tight economic times. The large turnout spoke to the value of celebrating new leaders, and the festive atmosphere demonstrated what can happen when social workers gather together surrounded by friends, family and food.