Friday, July 1, 2011

web site

Just found a really interesting web site...The Purposeful Leader. Check it out at

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Huge honor

I am feeling hugely fortunate and honored as a woman social worker and leader. I recently found out that I will be the first woman dean at the University of South Carolina College of Social Work. What a personal honor and great step for all women social work leaders!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Resource

I've just found a resource that has some interesting materials on leadership. The Journal of Healthcare Leadership is an open access (i.e. free to readers) peer-reviewed journal. It can be found at

Happy reading!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Leaders work to move systems forward and aim for transformational change. This is great,and results in positive growth; but transitions, even truly positive ones, are hard. One of the big challenges of leadership is to be positive about change while acknowledging the difficulty of transition.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


It seems to me that one of the challenges of leadership is to get change processes moving without doing too much of it oneself. Do too little and you don't build any momentum. Do too much and no one else feels any ownership. Titrating that dichotomy can be tricky...I wonder how others do it?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


"The largest question facing the human race is not when will you learn, but when will you act on what you've already learned." - Neale Donald Walsch

Leadership and action are inextricably intertwined. However, action without thought, and thought in isolation from others, are both meaningless. So leaders need connection, contemplation, and action.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Last week I had a chance to lobby on the Hill for NASW, promoting the Social Work Reinvestment Act. I was surprised at how easy it was...staffers were interested in what I said and I think I actually made a difference. Goes to show you that having passion about your topic can make you a really convincing and engaging speaker.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

HIV and the social work curriculum

One thing a social work leader can do is provide guidance regarding the curriculum, making suggestions for ways in which the social work curriculum can be strengthened to better meet the needs of the community. My colleagues and I offer some suggestions for incorporating more HIV content in the social work curriculum in the article at the site below.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lately I have spent a lot of time thinking about stories and storytelling, and about how our history is such an integral part of the identity of social work.

If you will allow me for a moment, I'd like to put in a plea for a connection between history and social work and storytelling that is near to my heart. As we all know, the social work profession and social work faculty are aging, with a majority of us over fifty and a great number of us near retirement. As this generation retires and leaves, a vast quantity of social work history will go with them.

So my plea is to not let that history be lost. Just as NASW honors social work pioneers, I hope each of you will work to honor the social work practitioner and academic elders in your agencies, schools and departments, and to capture their stories through recordings and writings. It’s important to us and to the future generations of social workers we wish to shape.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The NC General Assembly began its long session this past week, and I've heard lots of people bemoaning the budget and the leadership, and falling into general despondency. As a leader it is important to balance realism with ongoing energy and optimism, so people don't become paralyzed and hopeless...but don't see you as Pollyanna and naive.

I think the message I'd like to convey is that this is a time for building and strengthening relationships, working to lose as little ground as possible, asking hard questions about whether we are truly lean and mean, and positioning for when the economy and political forces turn.

Stay strong and stay focused and stay together, all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


To my horror I realized recently that I haven't posted to this site in months...not weeks, but MONTHS. This is awful, but it made me start thinking about time and how we use it. Social work and social work education are cultures of the busy--somehow having too much work and being too busy seem to be signs of virtue or value.

But what this does is take away from our time for introspection, something essential for a social work leader. We need to give ourselves permission for time to think, to be creative, to just be. I'm as guilty of this as anyone I know, and it's a goal of mine to change that.

I found a wonderful quote that helps me with this, and I share it with you:

"To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times."
Thomas Merton

Peace, all