Leadership Messages

From M. Janice Comer,
ASWB President
From Mary Jo Monahan,

Two weeks after the 2015 Annual Meeting, ASWB CEO Mary Jo Monahan and I set the stage for our working relationship by attending a Chief Executive/Chief Elected Officer workshop. Two weeks later we represented ASWB at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Roundtable, where we advised representatives from major social work organizations about our Model Regulatory Standards for Technology and Social Work Practice and our efforts to place the spotlight on practice mobility. I joined the Mobility Task Force as co-chair to support this important work.


A rigorous schedule of “rehearsals” was established, including biweekly meetings with the CEO as well as regular meetings with task force leadership and again with all task force members. Our singular focus was the debut of our Mobility Plan at the Education Meeting in Jersey City, New Jersey. The performance was well received and the audience gave valuable feedback that was used to refine the emerging strategy.

Taking the Mobility initiative on the road, ASWB leadership made presentations to social work educators, practitioners, and students during conferences held by the Baccalaureate Program Directors, the National Association of Black Social Workers, and CSWE. The final performance in 2016 was presenting the Mobility Plan to membership at the annual meeting in San Diego, California, where more feedback was collected.


Leadership development also played a major role. Board members wrote goals and objectives to guide and evaluate our work, which was mission driven and focused on accomplishing the 2014–2018 Strategic Plan. The script was refined as Board members collaboratively identified a set of norms and defined the culture needed to deliver a stellar performance.

At our retreat in August, the Board set the stage for our next strategic plan. Highlights included identifying what is important to the Board, refining our culture and how we work together, and discussing our roles as ASWB ambassadors.

I am proud to be the first Board president to participate in ASWB committee meetings as an ex-officio member. I also worked with the Foundation Task Force and the Foundation Review Board, as evidence of my commitment to servant leadership.

After reviewing my first year as president, I am particularly proud of three things:

  1. All committee appointments were effective
  2. The Board was fully engaged, making information-rich, mission-driven decisions
  3. Despite challenges, we are moving closer to the goal of Mobility

I look forward to completing my second year as your proud but humble president.

M. Jenise Comer, LCSW, ACSW, MSW
ASWB President

In 2016, Mobility took center stage in three unique production modes and styles of communicating:

  • Live Performances
  • Collaborative written publication
  • New Mobility Website

Live Performances

Throughout 2016, the 16-member Mobility Task Force took on the transformative challenge of engaging our member boards in strategic discussions to “achieve social work practice mobility and license portability in our lifetime.” These robust discussions occupied center stage at the 2016 Education Conference, Moving Forward: Social Work in the Age of Mobility,” in Jersey City, New Jersey, and the Annual Meeting of the Delegate Assembly in San Diego, California.

Both meetings were staged intentionally as collaborative working meetings in order to be transparent and to engage our members and critical stakeholders in identifying Mobility priorities. The audiences at each event were invited to provide feedback through focus groups and surveys, which helped the Mobility Task Force to better understand jurisdictional needs.

Collaborative written publication

The introduction of technology into social work practice, particularly telehealth practice, has offered unprecedented opportunity for social workers to practice across jurisdictional boundaries—giving them mobility in ways not imagined before. In 2016, ASWB worked collaboratively with three other social work organizations, the National Association of Social Workers, the Council on Social Work Education, and the Clinical Social Work Association to develop Technology Standards in Social Work Practice following the publication in 2015 of ASWB’s Model Regulatory Standards for Technology and Social Work Practice. The four organizations took multiple “live performances” on the road to share this eagerly awaited publication with the social work community.

New Mobility website

ASWB’s new Mobility website, www.movingsocialwork.org, is a valuable platform for achieving two-way communication with our members, stakeholders, legislators, and the public. It serves as a place to gather, to share information and ideas, and to answer calls for action.

Thanks to all who joined us for a very productive, strategic, and transformative year of moving forward on the Mobility initiative.  We can be proud to come to center stage and take a bow together!

Mary Jo Monahan, MSW, LCSW
ASWB Chief Executive Officer