By Natalie Dillon, CSDA President
As I take over the reigns as your new President of CSDA, I am both honored and excited! Honored to be given this opportunity to serve you and help lead this organization. To all the CSDA Presidents that have come before me, thank you for what you have done for this organization and the child support profession. You have helped build this organization to what it is today. Each of you have brought your unique talents and experience to mold this organization, dealing with unique challenges and issues.
I especially want to thank Sharon Wardale-Trejo for her service as President. Although her tenure was cut short by two months due to the changing of our officer terms to coincide with the calendar year, she has accomplished as much or more than someone who might have had the full 12 months. Sharon oversaw the solicitation, hiring and transition of our new Executive Director, Ross Hutchings. She has led the organization through a reinvention and start to a rejuvenation. Through her leadership we have established internal policies, expanded CSDA activities through our committees, shored up the organization structure and continued building our relationship with DCSS. Thank you, Sharon for all your efforts and extra time you spent this year!
I am excited as we move into 2017. We have built our foundation, having developed our vision and mission. We have identified our purpose and goal, which sets the direction for our association for years to come. From that, we have developed three platforms along with goals and specific strategies (see Ross’ article on the Strategic Plan). At our first meeting in January, we will be introducing our tactics which will help us achieve these goals. Within the first two months, I plan on meeting with all the committee chairs to discuss how their activities this year can help further these goals. This will align all the elements within CSDA to focus our energies on accomplishing what we set out to do. We are also working on expanding our Board Orientation as we move our Board to be more strategic, focusing on the big issues and focus on being proactive, anticipating future needs and challenges – developing strategies to future the work.
At the September Membership Meeting the issue of “One Voice” came up – that is, our ability as individual Directors to come together through your professional organization (CSDA) to collectively discuss issues of importance, voice varying opinions, look at how it will affect various areas of our industry and if there is a consensus of opinion, put that opinion forward. We have had the opportunity to demonstrate that with two separate issues (Medi-Cal referrals and the request to de-publish the Wilson case) to do that. We are in the process of defining our procedure and building an infrastructure to better facilitate this effort. We want your voices heard and when there is agreement, promote or advocate that.
Advocacy has arisen as one of the most important activities Directors feel CSDA should be involved in. We are fortunate to have Don Semon who has taken the lead on this and is working to help us develop the issues we need to advocate (and/or educate) and move them forward.
In addition to all the committees our Directors serve on with DCSS, we are striving to eliminate redundancies and come together as two entities. Two new areas we are developing is an expanded orientation for new Directors and a combined effort to develop a new brand for child support. We look forward to identifying additional areas where we can collaborate.
With the addition of Ross as our Executive Director, he brings new ideas and a fresh way of looking at our activities. His goal has been to build CSDA into a tight community. The Board supports his efforts in getting out into the field to visit each Director and LCSA. The ability to meet one-on-one to hear what each of your issues are and work to determine how CSDA can help will go a long way in strengthening our organization.
My goals this year are to:
- Implement the tactics in our Strategic Plan in furtherance of our mission to educate, collaborate, and advocate in support of California’s families.
- To strategically align the work of the Association by aligning the work of the Board, Membership and committees with the organization’s vision and goals.
- To build on our culture of engagement and participation to ensure that we thoughtfully and respectfully consider various points of view as we work to improve our program and outcomes for children and families.
Once again, thank you for this opportunity to lead this wonderful organization – one that I have been personally committed to for many years. We are poised for growth and increased productivity. I know by working together we can accomplish much. My line (and email) is always open – I want to hear from you so that I know we are on the right track. Thank you all for the time and effort you put into CSDA. Together we are stronger.