President’s Message: Consistency and Change

Randi Gottlieb
President, LA-CAMFT

Bidding “fare thee well” to Rena Jacobs and Judith Weigle

Change is the only constant. Herodotus

Everything changes and nothing stands still. Plato

How well we know this to be true! So then, how do we create chapter sustainability in the face of constant member and leadership change?

Let’s turn to the concept of Form Constancy; i.e. the ability to recognize forms as the same in spite of variation in environment, position, and size. And let’s use the river as an example. A river has a constancy of form based upon a number of elements (river bed, river banks, and water that flows from source to a large water body) that remain the same in spite of variation. Some of these elements, such as the course or size of the river, change slowly over time, while the element water itself, the exact water molecules flowing down the river, are ever-changing, moment to moment.

LA-CAMFT, like the river, has a consistent form based upon a number of consistent elements. It’s river bed is made up of foundational documents and historic record (bylaws, contracts, policies, procedures, oral history). It has a steady stream of regular activities and events that flow within its river bank boarders of known geographic venues. It’s chapter members and chapter leaders make up the water flowing down the river, and like the water, they too are ever changing.

I am holding this analogy in mind as I search for just the right words to say “fare thee well” to Rena Jacobs and Judith Weigle, two exceptional women who are stepping down from the LA-CAMFT Board of Directors. There is a part of me that cries out “No, don’t go, don’t leave us!” It is the part that has become attached to the illusion of permanency and stability regarding the chapter related to their presence and contribution. To continue with the river analogy, I felt the initial rush of adrenaline that comes when our gently floating raft comes within hearing distance of the thunder of a major white Class III rapid. Then luckily, my parasympathetic nervous system response process kicks in with calming resources that allow me to remember that I know how to navigate this change process, that Class III is not Class V, and LA-CAMFT is very durable! It can easily make it through narrow passages and stay steady moving over crashing waters. I look around me and see the many rowers still in the raft, each with their paddles in hand, ready for the signal to move forward. I know that after the rapid we will enter a calm eddy where we will be able to find other chapter members for whom these newly vacant board positions will be their opportunity to jump aboard and serve! I remember that even though change is the only constant, every year we grow in our succession planning so that LA-CAMFT will sustain over time. And with that knowing deeply settled in my heart (and gut), I can truly give thanks to Rena and Judith for the years they served on the board, and for their tremendous contribution to our chapter and to the broader therapy community it serves.

I give deep gratitude to Rena for her brilliance and tenacity. As LA-CAMFT’s first Communications Chair she forged the path of coordinating and overseeing three distinct arenas of chapter communication: Website, Social Media, and Newsletter. Rena recruited Laurel Jones to become our new Webmaster and graphic designer. Rena painstakingly researched internet platforms and data systems in search of a way to better integrate our various data needs: membership, event registration, and website. She led our process to develop a new chapter brand, bringing board members to the table to work with her and Laurel. She shepherded the process of redesigning our website from stagnant and outdated to vibrant and dynamic. She steadily nudged and prodded us to “get over” our resistance and upgrade our chapter presence on social media, establishing our chapter Facebook page. She provided the bridge and the glue between all facets of Voices, our eBulletin newsletter, from initial concept to design, content, layout, new internet technology, and linkage to Website. What Rena Jacobs brought to LA-CAMFT during her two year term on the board is no less than a complete transformation of our communication design and technology on every conceivable level. We are so fortunate to have had her on board for those few years. Her contribution to LA-CAMFT will live on for many many more.

To Judith, I am grateful for her panache and verve! As a mediator, mediation coach, and paralegal, Judith had direct experience of just how much overlap there is in the world of family law and family therapy. She first came to LA-CAMFT seeking to better educate herself and to network with therapists who had a similar understanding and interest. She will likely be remembered most for the tremendous work she has since done partnering with Victoria Goldfarb as co-chair of the Constructive Uncoupling Special Interest Group, facilitating monthly dinner presentations and discussions among therapists, mediators and lawyers. The Constructive Uncoupling is finishing a first amazingly successful year and in now in the process of planning year two. It is important to note, however, that Judith first brought her energy, enthusiasm, and willingness to get involved, to the job of Network Event Business Card Drawing. Judith managed that small job with keen attention to detail and artistic flair. As Stanislavski said, “…there are no small parts only small actors”, and Judith quickly proved that she is no small actor! Finally, we are indebted to Judith’s managerial leadership and meticulous organizational and written skills as the first editor of Voices, our eBulletin newsletter that launched January 2016.

So dear ladies, please know that the gift of your time and talent as members of the LA-CAMFT Board of Directors has contributed so much to our therapy community. We look forward to seeing what great things you will be doing next!