President’s Message: Musings on Chapter Involvement, Leadership, and Relevance

Randi Gottlieb
President, LA-CAMFT

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Last month I asked you to join me in setting intention for our chapter for 2016 and shared some of my own priorities: To nurture and sustain our current quality programming while also increasing our focus on the practice of therapy within the broader world context. I outlined the specific steps I plan to take in order to bring these intentions to reality, and I invited you to get involved.

I am excited to share that the board and I are ready to launch the Leadership Development Skills-Building Workshop Series – free to members – as one very concrete way of adding value to chapter membership, supporting members to get involved in leadership, and ultimately, increasing the sustainability of our chapter. Topics for the series include:

  • Leadership Defined: Qualities and Characteristics
  • Vision, Mission, Objectives, Outcomes, and Evaluation: Moving from Idea to Implementation
  • Facilitation Skills: From Board Meetings to Retreats, Building Consensus and Strategic Planning
  • Creating and Sustaining Team
  • Public Speaking and Written Communication
  • Conflict Resolution

On January 10th, we held an Involvement and Leadership Gathering for people who had indicated their interest in joining the LA-CAMFT leadership team. The energy and excitement could not have been greater as we got to know each other, learned more about people’s individual interests, and matched interests with the chapter’s needs and opportunities.

It was a remarkable experience; an explosion of interest, of commitments to become involved and to fill existing vacant leadership positions, of suggestions for new programming, new special interest groups, and new ways to increase cultural and ethnic diversity and community models of service.

I’ve been pondering what it was that made this experience so powerful? What caused the shift in having so many people want to get involved, rather than not?

If you are someone who attends LA-CAMFT events but has not gotten involved in chapter leadership, I am genuinely interested in understanding why that is so and in getting your feedback about the following speculation. Might it be that you (we) have been framing the issue of involvement from a needs paradigm?  When asked, people often describe the reasons they attend LA-CAMFT events are primarily related to networking so they can find an internship (find interns), find an office (rent office space), get referrals (find someone to take a referral), learn about employment opportunities, (market employment opportunities), etc. They state that they can’t get involved in chapter leadership, however, because they “don’t have the time”.

When we are busy focusing on filling our needs, we have no time left over to “volunteer” to fill the “the chapter’s needs”.  From this paradigm, it may appear as if the two are separate interests competing for the same precious, finite, commodity we call time.

Here is my speculation: It’s not that the people who attended the Involvement and Leadership Gathering have more time or less needs than others, rather that they simply operate from a different paradigm; they see involvement as an essential part of the energy cycle of give and receive, ebb and flow. They understand the interconnectivity between involvement in the greater context and actualization of their individual needs. They see getting involved as opportunity to create relevance, to co-create a chapter that reflects their own values, and as the microcosm is to the macrocosm, of co-creating the world that is one in which they, too, can personally be most fulfilled.

If this way of thinking is new to you, I invite you to give it a try. Come join us in creating an LA-CAMFT that reflects YOU!  The invitation to opportunity is yours.