Recognizing Emerging Leaders – Promoting Social Work Leadership
Assuring the future of a strong social work profession has always been a part of the vision of the New York City Chapter of NASW. However, in the last several years, this focus has received more attention with the encroaching retirement of social workers in executive-level positions and the rising concern about who will fill their shoes. As a result, the Chapter made a commitment to recognize new professional social workers who exhibit leadership through making substantive contributions to the profession and the Annual Awards Dinner Celebrating Emerging Social Work Leaders was born.
The critical importance of this event extends beyond the recognition of the truly impressive achievements of a given year’s honorees; the Dinner serves as a call to action to cultivate even more leaders and to encourage their continued support. It is our hope that other new professionals will be inspired to nurture their own leadership qualities. It is our hope that schools of social work with expand their focus on leadership development within their curriculums. It is our hope that institutions will dedicate energy and resources to the nurturing of leaders, will implement the innovative ideas of these leaders to enhance social work practice, and will collaborate with these exceptionally talented professionals to create positive change in the system of human services.
Our ability to take such steps as a profession will not only permit social workers to continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of the services we provide, it will allow us to exert influence in the program development, policy and political arenas and to attract resources so that these services are preserved. In addition, such commitment to leaders and leadership will solidify the profession’s capacity to command a strong presence on the stage of human services in New York City and to help the public see social workers as experts in matters of social and human conditions across the nation.