Building structures in 2018 for transformative change

2018 was a year of realization that as we enter our 40th anniversary year, ASWB has evolved into a complex, mature, and influential organization. In our daily business work and relationships, the organization handles emerging complexity and increasing intricacy, while anticipating challenges and opportunities for the sustainability of the organization into the future. By thinking and responding strategically, ASWB adopted Daniel Burrus’s FUTUREVIEW™ principle from The Anticipatory Organization that “how you view the future shapes your actions today, and your actions today will shape your future.”

Throughout 2018, ASWB focused on building three distinct structures that continue transformative change and ensure future sustainability. These separate structures support ASWB’s physical growth, our organizational future, and our most valuable resources of staff and volunteers.

Corporate headquarters in Culpeper

Final site preparation at ASWB’s future address of 17126 Mountain Run Vista Court in Culpeper, Virginia, was completed in 2018, heralding the construction phase of ASWB’s new corporate headquarters that begins in 2019. During the ASWB Board of Directors 2018 Advance! in August, the Board members visited the property, where they met our builder and architect. The Board then joined staff at a delightful reception at the Culpeper Center. All future August Board of Directors meetings will be held in Culpeper in our new headquarters.

2019–2021 Strategic Framework

One of ASWB’s biggest accomplishments was developing the 2019–2021 strategic framework, which was achieved through significant collaboration with our members, volunteers, staff, and respected stakeholders from the three pillars of our profession—social work practice, education, and regulation. All contributed meaningful insights. The strategic framework is “future forward” and lays the foundation for ASWB to enter new leadership roles. It will take the dedicated involvement of staff, our regulatory members and volunteers, and our Board of Directors over the next three years to reach our “stretchy strategic goals”!

The strategic framework is more than a series of goals and objectives to be accomplished. It outlines a vision and framework for our future that will assure sustainability of ASWB’s leadership in the regulation of the social work profession.

Leadership throughout the organization: Operations and governance

I challenge all of us, whether staff members, Board members, or volunteers to embrace the theme “Daring Leadership” as ASWB moves forward into 2019. Brené Brown, author of Dare to Lead, informs us that “daring to lead is doing the brave work, participating fully in the tough conversations; and showing up wholeheartedly.”

In 2018, ASWB strengthened staff leadership with the addition of Heather Foley, CPA, who was hired as director of finance and administration. Heather brings deep experience in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations and is working collaboratively with the ASWB treasurer to assist the Board of Directors in fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities. The Member Services department has expanded to include strategic initiatives and is leading the implementation of the 2019–2021 Strategic Framework. The IT department, which grew to five staff members in 2017, has become fully engaged in programming and software development on a range of projects as they enhance ASWB’s technological capacity.

The ASWB Board of Directors has truly mastered the Governance as Leadership model of determining our preferred future. In both operations and governance, the Board is acting on the three levels of fiduciary, strategic, and generative thinking as the accepted and normal way of operating. I believe that Governance as Leadership is in ASWB’s DNA now, and it has become indispensable in governing ASWB, is valuable to the organization, and is most satisfying to the members of the ASWB Board. We are living the successful balance of partnership to fulfill ASWB’s core mission: To provide support and services to the social work regulatory community to advance safe, competent, and ethical practices to strengthen public protection.

Adopting an “anticipation mindset” as the guiding force this year helped ASWB be less reactive and more anticipatory—not adjusting to or becoming complacent about the continuing concerning political climate but being more steady and deliberative in our responses. We are taking a longer “FUTUREVIEW™” and are being more strategic in our responses. Although threats to the stability of professional regulation continue, with this mindset it seems that they are not as insistent and persistent.CEO Mary Jo Monahan