Dreams need structure to become the future

I subscribe to orator Marcus Garvey’s statement “A people without the knowledge of their past is like a tree without roots.” In alignment with Garvey’s statement, ASWB publishes an annual report to examine our “roots” and identify our “tree,” or association accomplishments. Through the annual report, ASWB leadership informs our members and other stakeholders about ASWB’s achievements over the last year. My focus in this message is on the accomplishments of the ASWB Board of Directors in the final year of ASWB’s 2014–2018 Strategy Map and the Board’s activities in developing the new 2019–2021 Strategic Framework that will launch next year.

The Board of Directors provided governance oversight and support of the CEO’s operational efforts to enhance technological capacity; promote activities toward achieving practice mobility for social workers across jurisdictions; increase public, academic, and professional knowledge about ASWB as an organization; and begin building collaborative relationships with social work regulators outside the United States and Canada. All of these achievements fulfilled the strategic initiatives of the 2014–2018 Strategy Map: expanding member services, bridging the boundaries of social regulation, strengthening leadership for the future, and broadening stakeholder relationships for the regulatory community.

The ASWB Board of Directors participated in governance undertakings during 2018 by meeting in person four times, by attending several additional meetings via electronic means, and by responding to email votes. As the Board reviewed its own processes, it revised and improved orientation and training for incoming Board members. Board members also evaluated and recommitted to their roles as association ambassadors. During assigned outreach efforts, they educated stakeholders about the association and the value of professional regulation for public protection.

The most important ASWB Board accomplishment in 2018 was planning for ASWB’s future by collaborating with staff and a strategic consultant to develop the 2019–2021 Strategic Framework.

The ASWB Board of Directors adopted former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s ideal that “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” I propose that dreams are important, but they are not enough. The ASWB Board of Directors conceptualized dreams for the future for ASWB but knew that without a framework providing structure, the dreams might not become a reality. During the August 2018 ASWB Board Advance! Board members and executive staff with the assistance of strategic consultant Paul Meyer developed ASWB’s 2019–2021 Strategic Framework.

As part of the strategic planning process, the Board examined the association’s mission and vision because these building blocks serve to guide all major decisions of an association. Through an iterative process, the Board arrived at an amended mission statement that better reflects the role of the association in supporting members’ public protection mandate and a challenging and aspirational vision that will serve the association well into the future.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.Eleanor Roosevelt

With mission and vision defined, the three forward-thinking, ambitious goals of the strategic framework emerged:
• Advance knowledge and acceptance of social work as a licensed profession
• Facilitate mobility by licensure through endorsement
• Curate research for best practices in regulation

The ASWB Board of Directors in collaboration with the ASWB executive staff presented the strategic framework to membership during the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Delegate Assembly, where delegates affirmed it with great enthusiasm.