The New Professionals Task Force: A Year of Change
Megan Wilen, LCSW and Elizabeth Rogers, LMSW; Members, New Professionals Task Force Steering Committee
The New Professionals Task Force was formed in 2006, through the support of NASW-NYC, by a small group of social workers new to the profession. This group initially came together to address working conditions and to share our experiences as social workers in New York City. We started with approximately 15 people who formed the core of the Task Force, and we have expanded to include a larger community of over 350 members with whom we connect through regular emails and monthly events around the city.
The Task Force has continued to evolve since its inception, guided by the needs and interests of new professionals. We recently elected a new co-chair for the Task Force; Ricardo Torres joined Alison Franks in shaping our agenda and interfacing with NASW-NYC leadership. Launa Kliever, who previously served as one of the co-chairs of the Task Force, is currently the Interim Associate Director of NASW-NYC. New Professionals have also been elected to serve on the Board of Directors of NASW-NYC as Members-at-Large, and as members of the Nominations Committee, helping to shape the agenda of NASW-NYC and giving voice to the particular concerns of new professionals. Following these changes, the Task Force established a new subcommittee structure, focusing on Events, IT Communications, Research and Advocacy, and Special Projects. This allows us to utilize the special talents and skills of our vast membership while moving our work forward.
The New Professionals Task Force (NPTF) recently met with the NASW Pioneers of the NYC Chapter for an evening to discuss the future of social work and to comparatively share our experiences in the profession. This was an exciting night for all involved, as it gave new professionals a context in which to reflect on how social work has evolved in New York City and thoughts about what direction we would like to help move the profession.
On January 29, 2009, we held our Semi-Annual Event at NASW-NYC entitled “A Year of Change: Resolutions for the Field of Social Work”. At-large members of the NPTF gathered to discuss how new professionals can instigate change: for themselves, for their agencies and for the field. We were lucky to have two excellent speakers who were each recipients of the NASW Emerging Social Work Leaders Award in 2007 and 2008, respectively - Jamie Favaro and Kevin Lotz. Jamie and Kevin instilled hope and inspired members of our Task Force to create change by becoming “inside operatives,” bringing energy and new ideas to the workplace. Jamie encouraged social workers to be proactive, not reactive: define goals, institute change, and track outcomes in their programs or agencies. Kevin, a former NPTF Steering Committee member, urged new professionals to become good supervisors and to take leadership within their agencies.
Task Force members were invigorated after hearing the success stories of their peers. Excitement about redefining the social work profession and the value of new professionals within that room was palpable! In small groups, members discussed the importance of connecting with social work mentors, building connections between practice methods of social work and bridging the gaps between book knowledge and field practice.
In this vein, the NPTF Steering Committee is instituting Educational Meet-Ups to alternate every other month with our Social Networking Meet-Ups. Our first, in time for Social Work Month in March, focused on Self Care and was a great success! We will facilitate future Educational Meet-Ups on Licensing/Job Search, Community Organizing, Multiculturalism/Cultural Competency, and Mental Health/Substance Abuse Treatment. The NPTF will work with other committees and task forces at NASW-NYC to create these presentations. We envision utilizing new professionals to facilitate the Educational Meet-Ups as well.
Please join us at one of our upcoming events if you would like to meet with other new professionals. We are hosting a Social Networking Meet-Up on April 19, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. (karaoke at Iggy’s, located at 1452 Second Ave.) and an Educational Meet-Up addressing Job Search and New York State Licensing on May 21, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. (location TBA.)
If you would like to be added to our email list and/or if you have questions about any upcoming events or about ways to get involved, please contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.