NASW-NC Social Work Blog

Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.

My Journey to Social Work: Ryan Estes

Ryan Estes (2)NASW-NC would like to introduce you to the 2014-2015 NASW-NC Board of Directors.

Each of our amazing board members chose the profession of social work for a reason and we would like to share their stories with you.  Stay tuned for a post about each of the social workers who represent YOU on the NASW-NC Board.

Ryan Estes, LCSW, LCAS, CCS
South Central District Representative

To pinpoint a moment when I became a social worker feels somewhat impossible. Was it when I was required to volunteer in high school? When I chose to actively volunteer in college? When I started my first job in the helping profession? When I graduated with my MSW from UNC Chapel Hill? I share this because I think the journey is fluid for many of us, and it is only with retrospection that we discover we are indeed a social worker. After leaving undergrad with a Psychology major, I pursued work in a Wilderness Therapy program in North Carolina. Though not titled a social worker, I feel I refined many of the qualities that one needs to succeed in this profession. This program afforded me the opportunity in innumerable ways to move forward with seeking a Master of Social Work.

Currently, I am a Program Director for Coastal Horizons Center, Inc. “Coastal” is a well-established nonprofit located in Wilmington, NC. My tenure with this agency has led to great opportunities including working with a diverse array of clients, supervising MSW interns, providing clinical supervision for new associates, and honing managerial skills. I have taken the opportunity to provide many services in the agency to gain experience in a breadth of clinical experience, but for the last two years primarily serve more in a managing role. These roles gave me the clinical time to gain my LCSW, LCAS, and CCS.

After my Masters, I was talked into a membership at the NASW Fall Conference. It seemed like an innocuous decision at the time. Little did I know that as the field challenged me to define myself as a professional I continued to come back to NASW resources to ensure that I was upholding my beliefs. This took the form in free continuing education, consultations, an accessible place to review the Code of Ethics, and networking at hosted training. My pride in our association continued to develop and it allowed me ways to continue to grow within it. My recent decision to join the board was a thoughtful decision of how I felt I could best give back to my profession and our clients. In this position, I want to connect with the members in my district to find how they would like to be best represented and ensure that their voice is found and heard.


Learn more about the NASW-NC Board of Directors and what NASW-NC does for the social work profession in North Carolina

Learn more about past and present NASW-NC Board Members.


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