Here we are, already September and getting ready to say goodbye to summer. I am hoping yours was good and that there were some moments of relaxation and rest in the midst of our beautiful Wisconsin summer.
My name is Donna Altepeter. I am your new President of NASW Wisconsin. I am so honored and pleased to work in leading and representing your professional interests. I have served in the past few years as NE branch chair and then last year as President Elect. I have enjoyed meeting many of you along the way and hearing what matters professionally and just getting to know you personally. I am originally from St. Louis, MO and received my MSW from St. Louis University. Most of my professional work has been in health care settings along with 25 years of teaching primarily at the BSW level. I happily accepted early retirement from UW Oshkosh last May and have been active in social work practice with Agnesian HealthCare in Fond du lac since that time. This is a critical and exciting time to be a social worker and to be active in our professional organization.
While summer is a great time to slow things down I can tell you that it never slows down in the NASW Wisconsin office. We are so very fortunate to have Marc Herstand serving as our Executive Director and he is a very active director. Marc continues to push on in legislative action that impacts our practice, including issues re: mental health services in our schools, anti regulatory push against professional standards in our field, and social work safety for the many of you who do practice in the community, visiting clients homes where safety is not assured. He is busy as well planning our upcoming Fall conference. This year it will be held in Milwaukee. By now you should have received information on this. Don’t miss it! We have top notch workshops and speakers and it is sure to be a great learning opportunity and an enjoyable way of accumulating your continuing education hours.
Soon after our conference in October, you will have an opportunity to vote. While most of the attention is on the presidential election, I urge you to pay attention to the local elections as well. In fact, the local elections have the most direct impact on your practice and the clients you serve. Make sure you vote and vote informed. Know the issues that impact social work practice, investigate the candidates and vote. Additionally, encourage others to vote as well and if you can, volunteer in your community to serve at polling places or to assist to get people registered to vote. Voting is not only our right, but our responsibility, particularly as social workers.
Last week I was fortunate to attend the Association Leadership Meeting with other executive directors and President’s from across our nation. It was a great opportunity to connect with them and to come together to make our organization improved and unified. We are in the midst of a “modernization” process. This work will make us truly, one organization with more equal and accessible benefits for all members regardless of state chapters. It is not without growing pains but we are working hard to maneuver through these in order for our members, YOU, to see the benefits in your membership.
Keep your ears open for news from your reps, but do not hesitate to contact me should you have questions, concerns or wish to serve our organization in some way. I would enjoy hearing from you.