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.
To every social worker I have ever met, social work is more than a profession, it is a vocation, a passion, a personal mission and a life purpose. I can say that my journey to social work probably started at birth because I was born to parents with progressive, feminist and social justice values (even if they didn’t use those words). I believe they and the artist/commune/hippy communities I was raised around fostered in me a deep sense of empathy and fairness that only found a home once I found the field of social work. While I began my official career exploration in undergrad as a Psychology major at Missouri State University, I was drawn to an MSW program at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. In this program I found my tribe, and found my specific passion in community organizing, advocacy, social movements and the foundation of the social work profession itself. To this day I always answer the question in a job interview about my own personal shero with Jane Addams, pioneer mother in social work and the Settlement House movement.
I have worked in a variety of social work settings, mostly in a community organizing, outreach and engagement capacity in four different states over the course of 15 years on issues ranging from neighborhood vitality, substance abuse prevention, community development, affordable housing, child care, and social and economic policy. I also received my PhD in social work during this time and taught for two years as an Assistant Professor in the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University. Currently I work as a Policy Advocate with the North Carolina Justice Center, a non-profit organization working statewide to end poverty in North Carolina by ensuring that every household has access to the resources, services and fair treatment it needs to achieve economic security. As a budget and tax policy advocate, I help to translate and message economic analysis to a multitude of partners and individuals throughout the state and work in coalition with partners to ensure an adequate and fair state revenue system and an economy that works for everyone in North Carolina.
I have been a member of NASW for 13 years since joining as an MSW student. I firmly believe that people like me who have pursued a more “macro” approach to a social work career are needed to help guide and inform the social work profession, and we also have a lot to learn from those who are engaged in more direct and clinical practice on a daily basis. I believe in giving back to a field that has so willingly accepted me and helped me find my place in this world. I see my new role on the NASW-NC board as an extension of this service, as an exciting opportunity to connect with social workers throughout the state, and to continue to build an inclusive and dynamic vision for our profession.