2019 A Year of Firsts!

By: Marvo Reguindin
Executive Director
Fall 2019: Volume 75, Number 2

I want to start this year-in-review report with great news. After over 10 years of WSPA ending the year with a loss, I’m thrilled to report that we have broken that cycle and are projected to end 2019 with a healthy net gain. This was not an easy task and I applaud board treasurer Dr. Julia Mackaronis for standing firm on many financial decisions, and the Board of Trustees for reviewing the budget and forecast mid-year and making some hard decisions on cuts that would ensure the association would end the year in the black. A 2019 annual report highlighting the finances will be sent out in the first quarter to members.

In 2018 we moved our website mid-year to a new membership service that would help us track our membership numbers more efficiently. 2019 will be our first full year with the new service and we are looking to end the year with 502 members. The table below shows that our membership count has become stable for the last 2 years with a slight growth.

Year 2019 2018 2017
Member Count 502 492 420

In 2019, a the Legislative Action Committee (LAC) was established and began working with our lobbyist to review mental health legislation during a long legislative session. This was like drinking from a firehose and we need to applaud the commitment of the LAC Committee Chair, Dr. Casey Ward, for establishing policies and procedures for working with the lobbyist. Over 250 bills were reviewed and the committee provided positions of “Support, Oppose, Change Language, or Remain Neutral” on 176 of them. Drs. Ward, Wiesner, and Slaughter provided live testimony in support or opposition of bills on behalf of WSPA, and the association also provided input on Governor Inslee’s 2019 Comprehensive Mental Health Reform Recommendations.

Congratulations to Dr. Samantha Slaughter, who hit the ground running as our new DPA and has done an amazing job. Her report can be found at this link.

After eight months of planning the 2019 Convention was a very big success. Staff and board members report hearing only positive comments on the quality of the programming and smooth organization of the event. During the convention, the annual Washington Psychologist Awards were presented (see related article), and a celebration breakfast and ethics workshop for newly licensed psychologists was held. The convention also had 9 students present their research posters with the top three posters given cash awards.

I want to thank the entire board for all of their volunteer work and commitment to WSPA and especially Dr. Dominika Breedlove for her leadership as president, and Dr. Julia Mackaronis for keeping a watch on the budget, which helped the association end the year on a positive note. WSPA will be in good hands as she takes the helm as board president in 2020. A lot of thanks and praise goes out to Dr. Sonia Venkatraman as she terms off the board. She has served as WSPA’s first two term president, established the new benefits-based membership levels, worked on the past three conventions, and has helped to establish a new renaissance for WSPA.

Lastly, I want to thank my staff serving WSPA: Sierra VanderHoogt, for all of the day to day interaction she has with members; and Karena Kliefoth, my graphic designer for keeping the WSPA brand strong and professional.