Dear WAMFT Community,
It has been an honor and deeply gratifying to serve WAMFT as president and to help advocate, champion, and support the MFT profession in Washington State. I have been privileged to witness the hard work of our board members, committee volunteers, and membership to provide more training and networking opportunities, more scholarships for students and those interested in becoming an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, a more robust and informative website, and a larger presence in Olympia through our advocacy efforts. We have done so much in such a short amount of time, and it is truly because of the work of our board, our volunteers, your membership dues, and the additional generosity of your donated dollars and time.
Looking back at the last two years makes me feel proud of the direction WAMFT has taken to better diversify our board, to provide more training content year-round with the April Spring Ethics Training Series, Building a Better Us, Mentor Day, Pre-conference and Conference, and to showcase numerous panel discussions and networking opportunities through Building a Better Us and Community Cafe. We now certify continuing education units, and this has helped us to provide a platform for our members and those outside our organization to offer important training opportunities to advance the knowledge and skills we collectively have as a community of MFTs. We now offer advertising to help connect members to various events relevant to the field such as outside WAMFT trainings. We continued to offer a DOH-approved Suicidality Prevention and Intervention workshop uniquely integrating systems theory in the framework. Our advocacy efforts have grown significantly the past two years, and I am proud to say that WAMFT’s name has become more visible with Washington State lawmakers and among our sister behavioral health organizations.
During my term, I have been so impressed with the hard work our program manager, Cary Amber, Michele Sullivan (treasurer) and Billie Tyler (at-large board member), have done to make our website a more user-friendly and informative resource and experience for MFTs at various stages in their career journeys.
Our program manager, Cary Amber, has been invaluable to the success of WAMFT. I cannot imagine getting half of what we have been able to accomplish these past few years without her meticulous and thoughtful work. She has provided huge levels of support to our members and the board in terms of communication, website management, and the creation of processes to improve how work is accomplished in an efficient, timely manner.
The growth of our advocacy efforts with our lobbyist in communication with lawmakers and other key stakeholders is marvelous and could not be possible without the leadership and hard work of our outgoing at-large board member and legislative committee chair, Charity Laughlin. She, along with her legislative committee members and WAMFT’s lobbyist, Amber Lewis, have been instrumental in elevating our visibility and influence with Washington State lawmakers and other critical partners in communities that directly affect the sustainability and viability of our profession.
Danesha Deloatch, one of our at-large board members and clinical committee chair, has done great work in communicating with our members via email and social media to help highlight WAMFT happenings as well as to offer resources and field questions from clinical members. She has also done a great job hosting town halls to hear from members about what they need from WAMFT.
Our Mentor Day chairs, Krista Merca (preclinical board member) and Leanna West and Amisha Gandhi (both student board members), worked hard to bring a comprehensive Mentor Day experience for students and preclinical members by offering excellent keynote speakers and targeted discussions and mentoring opportunities relevant to students and associates. Krista finishes her term this year, and we are so grateful to have benefited from her passion, experience, and work on behalf of our associate members.
Another one of our at-large board members, Macy Dong, has continued to work hard to promote student scholarships and CE authorization as well as organizing the April Spring Ethics Training Series.
Theresa Winther (secretary) has brought a wealth of knowledge to the priorities and goals WAMFT has. Her leadership has helped shape how the board has important conversations about the state of our profession and what we need to continue to do to advocate for ourselves. I am excited that she will also serve as co-chair of our legislative committee along with Ashley Lacy starting in January 2023. Her understanding of policy, law, and advocacy will continue to elevate our voices in the state.
Rochelle Cousineau Pope (at-large board member), Billie Tyler, and Astrik Price (incoming at large board member) have worked tirelessly and creatively to build out excellent programming for Building a Better Us, which is now a staple WAMFT program that offers excellent training and discussion on important topics as well as expands our reach across the state to keep us better connected and informed.
Anthony Pennant, soon-to-be president, curated a fantastic pre-conference and conference experience this past year that was our first ever hybrid event and the first ever to be hosted at Pacific Lutheran University. His vision has truly made the conference experience more inclusive and responsive to the diverse needs of MFTs and clients for today.
Michele Sullivan, our treasurer for the past three years, has done an incredible job in helping WAMFT develop diverse revenue streams with a keen eye for maintaining the utmost integrity and fiduciary responsibility. Her impact is immeasurable in that her keen leadership has strengthened the financial stability of WAMFT and has helped our organization to be on a path toward growth and vitality.
In 2023 we will see some exciting transitions. Anthony Pennant will begin his term as president with Billie Tyler serving as president elect. Rochelle Coucineau Pope will serve as treasurer, and we will gain two new at-large board members: Astrik Price and Claudia Johnson. Astrik has served WAMFT for several years with Membership Services through Building a Better Us, Community Cafe, Mentor Day, and Conference. Her initiative, passion, and energy will be put to great use. Claudia has been a WAMFT member for several years and has been eager to serve on the board for almost as long. Her enthusiasm for people and the profession will be a wonderful asset to the board. Finally, Jitani Mosley will be our new preclinical board member. She moved to Washington from Georgia. She has a military background and a passion for MFTs.
Read more here about our current board members and about our newly elected members. Please take some time to read our blog post about our board members, Michele, Krista, and Charity, who will finish their board service this month.
I am excited and confident that the WAMFT board of directors will continue toward a path of excellence and innovation that embodies our mission to network, educate, and advocate for the enrichment of our members, the advancement of our marriage and family therapy field, and the health of our professional community in Washington state. Here’s to a wonderful 2023 where WAMFT will continue to serve our members.
Thank you to everyone for your service to WAMFT and the work and service you offer your clients and communities. I am proud to be part of WAMFT and to have served as your president these past two years. Without our members, there is no WAMFT. Thank you for showing up and working hard. Happy holidays to all! Onward and upward!
Michelle Finley, PhD, LMFT
WAMFT President (2021-2022)