Dear ATSA Colleagues:
I hope that everyone is enjoying a productive New Year. It is a great honor to write my first column as ATSA President.
First, and most importantly, we all owe Past President Robin McGinnis our gratitude. During her presidency, she played a critical role in bringing in our public policy consultant (Alisa Klein) and increasing our presence in this vital area. This was not always an easy process. Robin not only had the vision; she worked extremely hard to make it happen. Likewise, Robin remained very active in the nearly endless details of organizing ATSA’s conferences in Chicago and San Diego. In 2007, she accomplished much of this in the absence of an Executive Director, that is, until Maia Christopher came on board in October. Finally, Robin played a lead role in keeping the office functioning throughout the search for and hiring of our new Executive Director. This included the especially vital role of keeping office morale high from two thousand miles away! She has been truly tireless, often returning emails at five in the morning and calls late into the night. Robin McGinnis deserves all of our most heartfelt thanks.
Recent weeks have also been exciting. Our new Executive Director, Maia Christopher, has stepped into her new role wholeheartedly, and office morale and productivity have never been higher. Our public policy efforts have earned us new levels of respect, influence, and impact—thanks to our outstanding Public Policy Committee, as well as consultant Alisa Klein. Our membership numbers are at an all-time high; with much thanks due to our Membership Committee, led by Bob Shilling. Our Education and Training Committee, led by Mike Miner, is continuing to oversee our Mentorship program and exploring other options for expanding our services to members. Our new Organization and Development chair, Gerry Blasingame, is developing ideas for building alliances with other organizations. We are indebted to outgoing chair Peggy Heil for her efforts in this area. Other committees are in good health, with David Thornton taking over the Research Committee (after a very successful two years of leadership by Robin Wilson), and Becky Palmer taking over the Ethics Committee. Grace Davis continues to chair our Fundraising Committee, and I am working with others to re-vitalize our Professional Issues and Strategic Planning committees.
This year’s conference planning has already begun. We’ll be congregating in Atlanta, a city known for its charm as well as its excellent location. Our conference committee co-chairs are Eric Imhof and Leo Cotter. The theme is “Teamwork in Trying Times: Improving Our Responses to Sexual Abuse.” More information is available at www.atsa.com (Editor’s Note: See also the flyer in this issue of the Forum). We look forward to seeing you there!
I am very committed to a number of efforts during my two years as ATSA President. As promised, I am working to ensure that ATSA board activities are transparent to every member. To this end, I am working with Forum Editor Robin Wilson to make sure that our newsletter contains updates of our activities. I am also working to make sure that ATSA does whatever it can to collaborate with other organizations who share ATSA’s mission. To that end, I am working with several members of the Board to gather information and ideas about how best to strengthen the integrity of ATSA’s mission and purpose while reaching out to like-minded organizations. I am also committed to creating a welcoming atmosphere and professional support for students, new members, and others who represent the future of our organization.
In the final analysis, my hope is that after two years as President, we will all continue in reducing the harm of sexual abuse while enjoying professional camaraderie along the way.
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