Amy Colver, LCSW
Melody Griffith, MSW, LMSW, OSW-C
AOSW Communications Director
Jeanice Hansen, LCSW, OSW-C
To submit a story or information for inclusion in a future issue of AOSW Newsletter, contact Amy Colver or Melody Griffith on the list above.
It is so humbling to be writing to you as president of AOSW. What an honor to serve in this role! I am struck by the idea that my articles in 2018 focused on various aspects of leadership and now that I am leading this organization, I’m thinking primarily about service. In my search to explore my simultaneous feelings about being a servant and a leader, I came across the work of Robert K. Greenleaf. He coined the term “servant leadership.” Referred to as a philosophy, a concept and even a model, servant leadership has appeared in the literature since the early 1970s.
According to the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership:
- The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.
It was so validating to read this. My title may be “president” but I want each and every one of you to know I am here to serve you. This will hopefully resonate with each of us serving our patients. My goal is to serve AOSW, its strategic priorities, mission, vision and goals while leading alongside our dedicated, enthusiastic Board of Directors and Kellen, our management company.
Earlier in my career, I didn’t realize the extent to which “service” is a gift, both to those we serve and ourselves. Service is also one of the guiding ethical principles in the NASW Code of Ethics. The code states, “Social workers elevate service to others above self-interest.” Service is about connection to others or to something greater than ourselves. I must say the feeling is authentically natural. There are many choices that led me to this point in time; the sum total of my experiences led me to take conscious risks on this journey as I seek opportunities to do more—to give more. I truly appreciate your votes, support and encouragement that helped me to get here.
- A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong.
Our board is already hard at work on numerous projects and initiatives, which you’ll be reading and hearing more about throughout the year. While we each strive to make membership in AOSW worthwhile to support us professionally, it is through this representation in the broader health care community that AOSW will continue to grow and live up to our strategic priority to be THE catalyst for the advancement of oncology social work.
Each of us has unique intrinsic talent. I believe that by supporting and encouraging our members, we are all better and stronger. According to our 2018 Member Needs Survey, nearly 47 percent of you have been members for one to three years. Please tell me how you have grown and developed in our profession since you first joined AOSW. I am very interested.
- The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
I have had the amazing privilege to serve as president-elect under the mentorship of Catherine Credeur, LMSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, and Tara Schapmire, PhD, MSSW, OSW-C, FNAP, FAOSW. Both taught me everything I know about the benefits of shared governance. My service to date has been my most positively enriching professional experience. Power has been shared freely with me and, as a result, AOSW has reaped the benefits of this supportive, symbiotic relationship. I know firsthand what it means to have a group of people put your needs first while carrying on with the business needs of our organization. Thank you immensely, Kellen and our outgoing, incoming, and remaining board members who showed support when I needed it most.
While the AOSW president is the most visible person in the organization, none of us would be successful without the teamwork and collaboration that occurs behind the scenes. I know what it means to have people help me perform at the highest level possible, challenge me to always strive for more and step into uncomfortable territory. I will be seeking opportunities to challenge each of you to do the same.
To our new board members—Nina Miller (Advocacy Director), Michael Grignon (Finance Director) and Brittany Moore (Communications Director)—Welcome! I look forward to working with each of you. To the outgoing board members—Sarah Conning (Advocacy Director), William McDermott (Finance Director) and Andrea Karoff (Communications Director)—thank you for your service! I’ve learned so much from each of you. Your contributions to AOSW have set the stage for success well beyond your tenure.
If you have thoughts or ideas, my fellow board members and I want to hear from you. If you have an interest to serve AOSW, let us know the areas where you could become involved. If you have concerns, we take them seriously and will do our best to address them. Together we can make AOSW continue to be the catalyst for the advancement of oncology social work.
I wrote this column as we prepared to celebrate this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” As your 2019 president, I will be asking myself this question as I continue to explore the concept of servant leadership.
About the Author
Eucharia Borden, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Eucharia Borden, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
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Around AOSW—Growth, Progress, Transitions
Around AOSW—How Do You Value Yourself?
Around AOSW—My Goals for This Year
Around AOSW—Stress or Sanity? Your Choice
Director's Report: Membership
From the President-Elect: Challenging Social Injustice
From the President-Elect: Defining Our Role in Crucial Moments
From the President-Elect: Reflections On Leadership