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  • Writer's pictureNASW-IL Staff

From the Pen of the President: June 2019

Mary Gollings NASW-Illinois Chapter President

Doing what I love and loving what I do. When I talk about career planning and career trajectory, I always ask, "What would be your absolute dream job?" Even if it doesn’t exist, I want to know what it is so we can identify what skills and experience they should seek out to best prepare themselves for opportunities ahead. If I had my “dream job," it would be promoting the work and the profession of social work full-time. I can talk for weeks about the impact a social worker has on a client. I can go on and on about the influence social work has on communities and the services provided. And if an agency head or a lawmaker gives me an inch, I will walk them a mile explaining the improvement a social worker can have in increasing services provided, access to care, and meaningful outcomes because this is what we do, and I am so proud to be a social worker. I believe the Social Work Workforce Initiative we started in 2018 exemplifies the commitment to helping our workforce remain strong and our place in the job market as practitioners well known. I am proud of the many bills we have pushed for to improve services, access, and treatment. And I am humbled by all of you who I have had the pleasure of meeting and who have been sharing your talent, your expertise, and requests for us to fight even harder as our communities and world keep changing. You only prove my point of how powerful a social worker is in the world. I will continue to fight for our profession and for those we serve as a social worker and member of NASW. Serving as president of the NASW-Illinois Chapter really was my absolute dream job.

I am thrilled that Grisel Rodriguez-Morales will become the next NASW-Illinois Chapter President. Her expertise, compassion, and drive will serve our chapter and profession well.

I want to also send out a sincere congratulations to the class of 2019 graduates. Go do great things, and go after your dream job!

Until we meet again, remember, even on the hard days: What you do matters. You matter. Social work matters. NASW matters. We are stronger together.

Mary Gollings (MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; LCSW) is currently social work supervisor at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, IL, overseeing clinical social workers in medicine and surgery services, primary care, and specialty clinics. Prior to serving the profession as supervisor, Mary worked in the VA system’s Geriatric Extended Care services and inpatient medicine service. She then served for several years as program coordinator and clinical social worker for veterans with sinal cord Injuries. Prior to joining the Jesse Brown VA, Mary worked at the Captain Lovell Federal Health Care Center. Mary has served on local, regional, and national committees to help with efforts on system redesign and process improvement as well as promotion of patient-centered care. She has also served on local and regional professional standard boards and continuing education committees to ensure that the highest level of professional standards in social work are met. Mary serves as field instructor for second-year MSW students and as mentor for social workers new to the professional field to assist them in their professional growth. Mary served on the NASW-Illinois Chapter Board of Directors since 2010 as member at-large and served as treasurer for the chapter’s Political Action Committee (PAC). Mary also served as chair of the 2015 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Conference. She is an active volunteer with JDRF, mentoring children with Type One Diabetes and their families, as well as fundraising for research in the field.

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