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Currents - Sept. 2011 - Annual Meeting Overview
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2011 Annual Meeting

Succeeding on the Strength of Our Convictions in Social Work: Breaking Through in Extraordinary Times

From left to right: Lorraine Gonzalez, chair, Annual Meeting Planning Committee; Social Work Image Award winners Joanne N. Smith, Jose Ortiz Ortiz, and Obiageli Blessing Okoronkwo-Egwu.

On May 12, 2011, approximately 200 NASW-NYC members and guests gathered for the Chapter’s 56th Annual Meeting entitled: Succeeding on the Strength of Our Convictions in Social Work: Breaking Through in Extraordinary Times.

In discussing and choosing this year’s theme, members of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee wanted to create a program to help social workers in NYC feel connected to the passion that initially brought them to the profession, especially during these current times of massive budget cuts, increasing responsibilities and dwindling resources.  Invited speakers were asked to address this guiding question: What kinds of things can social workers do to unleash that passion and energy to “break through” these difficult circumstances in order to be as creative as we want and need to be?

The meeting began as Chapter President Susan Nayowith took the stage to welcome members of the audience. Many attendees had stopped by the Rally Against Budget Cuts that was taking place simultaneously just several blocks away on Wall Street — an example of the "extraordinary times" we are facing.

Next, Dr. Steven Huberman, Founding Dean of the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work, presented NASW-NYC with a unique gift – a check for over $5,200 which covers membership fees of all incoming MSW students at the School. Touro is the first College in the United States to take such an initiative, and Dean Huberman stated that an annual enrollment check to NASW will be a budget priority in years to come.

Keynote Speaker, Phil Coltoff highlighted the ways in which we, as social workers, must stay grounded in the collective strength of a shared knowledge base, while embracing and incorporating new perspectives that are oriented toward the future, rather than defined by the past. (Click here for a summary of Mr. Coltoff’s remarks.) Featured panelists, Darrell Wheeler and Kalima DeSuze responded to Mr. Coltoff’s speech, and shared experiences from their own careers in which they were able to harness their passion to accomplish extraordinary outcomes with, and on behalf of, clients and communities in NYC.

In celebration of the wonderful work that social workers do, the Chapter recognized four outstanding professionals whose collective work is truly inspiring. Madelyn Miller, LCSW, ACSW, CGP, Chair of the NASW-NYC Disaster Trauma Committee, was the recipient of the Chapter Service Award.

Winners of the Social Work Image Award were selected from over 25 nominations submitted by NYC social workers: Obiageli Blessing Okoronkwo-Egwu, LMSW, ACSW; José R. Ortiz

Top Left: NASW-NYC Chapter President Susan Nayowith; Chapter Service Award Recipient, Madelyn Miller; and NASW-NYC Executive Director, Robert Shachter. Top Right: Dean Steve Huberman, Touro College School of Social Work. Bottom Left: Panelists Kalima De Suze, NASW-NYC Board Member and Darrell Wheeler, National NASW Vice President.

Ortiz, LCSW; and Joanne N. Smith, MSW. Click here to read more about each award winner. Click here to review the nomination criteria for the Social Work Image Award.

Students from each of the schools of social work were recognized at the Annual Meeting for their outstanding achievements. The NASW-NYC Student Award recipients were: Cara Aloisio, Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service; Julie Danziger, Adelphi University School of Social Work; Anna M. Erlbaum-Rumelt, Yeshiva University Wurzweiler School of Social Work; Michele Grier, Columbia University School of Social Work; Shelley Gramms, Long Island University School of Social Work; Wendy Kaplan, Lehman College School of Social Work; Adam Lukeman, Touro College Graduate School of Social Work; Maryam Toloui, New York University Silver School of Social Work; and Tammy Williams, Hunter College School of Social Work. The Georgia McMurray Award recipient, presented to only one student selected from nominations from each of the schools, was Contessa Pou, Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. And through its Second Annual Scholarship Program, NASW-NYC PACE chose two scholarship recipients. Receiving the Miriam Dinerman Memorial Scholarship was Onlielove Alston of Columbia University School of Social Work, and receiving the David Roth Memorial Scholarship was Joan Hunt who attends the Siberman School of Social Work at Hunter College .

Following the Meeting and reception, the Chapter held its first-ever Annual Meeting After Party, an event that turned out to be a hit. Guests purchased $5 tickets to enjoy drink specials and informal networking at a nearby bar. All proceeds went to support the Chapter’s programming.

Plans are under way to hold the 2012 Annual Meeting in March in conjunction with the celebration of Social Work Month. Chapter leadership and staff hope you will join us next year. Please look for the Save-the-Date notice via email.

Click here to read a summary of Mr. Coltoff's remarks

Click here to view a list of the 2011 Annual Meeting Co-Sponsors

Click here to view the Chapter Circle of Support

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