Friday, March 27, 2015

Honoring Marylou Sudders, NASW-MA member

This week included one of those celebratory events that live on in social workers’ minds as one of many successes. This week, we celebrated the appointment of the first social worker to become the Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services.  It was the profession’s time to shine as we acknowledged Marylou Sudders.  For those of you who were not present at the happening, I am posting my remarks so that you get a flavor of how wonderful Governor Baker’s appointment is to all of us.

“Good afternoon – social workers, friends of social work, legislators, and Madam Secretary, Marylou Sudders. My name is Carol Trust and I welcome you to an Oscar-level event.  The winner?  Our own Marylou – Secretary of Health and Human Services.  Who is this Marylou?  NASW member, model of inspiration to social workers, exceptional tennis player, and lady who needs little sleep to make big things happen.  Your extended family, the National Association of Social Workers and the MA Chapter of NASW (the 3rd largest chapter in the country, out of 55) is beaming over your appointment as Secretary, not only because you’re one of us, a proud social worker, but because you are an extraordinary example of how social workers display that winning combination of clinical savvy, organizational acumen, and strategic muscle. You know well how public policy issues effect people’s private, personal problems.  You know well that social work requires more than a big heart.  It requires intuitive qualities, diplomatic presence, unstoppable advocacy, and statesmanship tenacity.  You are all of those and more.  Your outstanding achievements and skills are remarkable.  Your positive “can do” attitude, professionally and personally, is memorable.  As an innovator, and tireless advocate, you are respected by peers and legislators.  In short, Marylou, you dazzle all of us in this room and beyond.  The MA Chapter is thrilled to have you in its family of distinguished members.”

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What Are We Celebrating?

It seems like this year’s month of March is number one on the hit parade for events to don your party wear.  The celebrations are continual.  First, we have March, which has been designated as Social Work Month.  March is also the beginning of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the National Association of Social Workers.  Closer to home, the Chapter is celebrating Massachusetts-specific events: the Annual Awards Celebration, where extraordinary social workers and public citizens are recognized for their outstanding contributions to clients, the profession, and to social and economic justice campaigns; the appointment of Marylou Sudders, NASW member, as the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  NASW, along with Boston College’s and Boston University’s Schools of Social Work, are hosting a reception at the State House, to acknowledge our champion of social work values in her new position; and at the end of the month, LEAD, the MA chapter’s annual Legislative Education and Advocacy Day, where social work students and professionals roll up their sleeves to lobby on the Chapter’s priority legislation.

Traditionally, I am not enthusiastic about celebrating many national holidays: Mother’s Day?  My birthday?  Valentine’s Day?  I say, “Be nice to me every day, and I will return by appreciation every day as well.”  As for celebrating social work, I share the same sentiment.  I do cherish the profession I chose.  I celebrate every day, in quiet and expressed ways, that social work is a marvelous career.  It connects me to people regardless of my mood or my daily assignments: my staff, the NASW members who call for advice, to share a problem or complaint, or a non-social worker who is looking for information and direction.  On certain quiet days, I look at my phone and say, “Ring, ring, will you?!” if the phone has been too silent.

Thank you, social work, for this great gift of involvement, satisfaction, and challenge.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Bother me!

I recently received a phone call from a long time (30+ years) NASW-MA member who was surprised that I answered my phone with the usual “Hi, this is Carol.”  “Is this really Carol or her voice mail?” she asked.  I had the sense that getting directly through to me was like calling the White House and having the President answer the phone.

I was surprised at first, and then wondered if one of the reasons I don't get as many phone calls as I used to when I was a staff person might be because members may feel that they won’t get me directly, or they don't want to bother me with what they may consider a simple or silly question, or that maybe they should know the answer and don't want to appear uninformed or dumb.

Hogwash to all those reasons, I say.  I (and my entire staff) want to hear all of your concerns, every question, even if you feel they may be dumb, and we want you to call, email, and fax.  And if you insist on feeling that you might be bothering us, then bother away.

All of the staff at the chapter office, as well as our four wonderful Regional staff persons, are waiting for your calls, your questions, your comments.  We are here to serve you.  So call away.  And I, especially, expect to hear more from you.