By: Dominika Breedlove, Psy.D. WSPA Board President Fall 2019: Volume 75, Number 2
It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as your Board of Trustees President for the past year. 2019 brought a lot of exciting changes for our Association, and it’s difficult to put into words how incredibly rewarding and inspiring it has been to serve at the forefront of it all. Although it’s difficult to summarize the past 12 busy months in one brief communication (and to recognize all our leaders and contributors across all branches of WSPA), I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the most significant initiatives and successes of 2019.
As many of you know, we began this year with one of the biggest transitions this Association has ever seen after Dr. Lucy Homans, our esteemed Director of Professional Affairs (DPA) of 25 years retired in late 2018. Although it was a no small feat to step into such capable shoes, Dr. Samantha Slaughter has done nothing short of a phenomenal job this year as our new DPA. From day one on the job I have been continuously amazed how Samantha manages to fulfill her DPA responsibilities so competently and expertly, so that none of you would ever know she was a rookie.
We’ve had several additional changes in leadership this year that were of vital importance. First, Dr. David Wiesner replaced Dr. Slaughter as WSPA’s Federal Advocacy Coordinator at the beginning of this year, bringing with him several decades of important experience in legislative advocacy and governance. Second, it’s especially difficult to capture succinctly what thrilling 12 months it has been for our Legislative Advocacy Committee (LAC). Under the inspiring leadership of Dr. Casey Ward, the LAC is quickly becoming one of the most dynamic and influential groups in WSPA’s history. As the year is closing, the LAC has recently seen another successful transition as Drs. Ward and Wiesner and now co-chairing this committee. Finally, 2019 has seen several successful projects and changes related to our Continuing Education (CE) Committee, including our prolific and vibrant two-time Past President, Dr. Sonia Venkatraman stepping into the CE Committee Chair role this past summer. You may look no further than the amazing success of our annual Convention this past October to glean the caliber of the work that the CE Committee has been accomplishing.
I have greatly enjoyed leading our WSPA’s Graduate Student Association (WSPAGS) Revival group this year, and actively continue to participate in our billing project with APA that would allow psychology trainees to bill Medicaid. Among other important initiatives this year, we worked to standardize and streamline the Board Member expectations and recruitment process, while the Board also approved the new Committees and Subgroups Policy and Procedure. This past summer the membership voted to approve our bylaws changes, which strengthened the leadership pipeline and ensured important student and ECP representation on the Board. Lastly, two different but equally important successes that involve our relationship with APA this year included WSPA being awarded a grant to continue pursuing Prescriptive Authority (RxP) for psychologists and being approved by APA to provide the home study CE’s. Speaking of RxP, I trust many of you have seen the communications and updates shared by the RxP Task Force Chair, Dr. David Shearer (I can’t wait to see what he does in 2020!).
As full as the first six months have been, the fall and early winter months brought perhaps some of the most meaningful changes of 2019. First, it’s perhaps not surprising given the many transitions in leadership this year, that the Board commenced an open search for a new contract lobbyist this fall. The culmination of several months of actively searching, interviewing, and negotiating led to Ms. Melanie Smith becoming WSPA’s new lobbyist as of 12/1. I am beyond thrilled and excited for Ms. Smith to represent our Association. She was the Board’s unanimous first choice for this position, and she brings over 13 years of professional lobbying experience, an absolutely invaluable expertise in healthcare advocacy in Olympia and across the State, coupled with her high energy, enthusiasm, and a lived commitment to her work. Welcome aboard, Melanie!
I decided to leave you with one of the best updates for the last part of this letter. As many of you know, the Board has been working for some time to meaningfully address the Association’s precarious financial standing. Throughout 2019 the Board continued to make what were at times extremely difficult budgetary adjustments. As a result of a lot of hard work, countless hours of financial analysis, and many Board discussions, I am pleased to let you all know that for the first time in well over a decade, the Association is projected to end the year with a significant net gain. There are too many individuals to thank for this amazing accomplishment (You know who you are).
A very special “thank you” for EVERYTHING good that happens with WSPA goes out to our Executive Director, Marvo Reguindin, and our Office Manager, Sierra VanderHoogt. We so greatly appreciate your commitment to WSPA, and the constantly superb quality of your work on our behalf. At this point, I suspect the Board of Trustees is getting a little tired of how much I have praised each one of them. What a fantastic team we’ve made! Thank you to our membership for successfully voting in Drs. Mackaman and Wiesner for their respective, new terms with the December election that concluded on 12/27.
With only a few days remaining in my term, I am excited to formally facilitate the transition into the President’s role to Dr. Julia Mackaronis, whom I greatly admire for her strong leadership qualities. I am confident she will not only continue to lead the Association in a very positive direction but also will make her own unique contributions and new accomplishments next year. I will remain on the Board in 2020 and will continue to work on several different projects, which we initiated this year.
In closing, thank you so much once again for the honor and privilege of serving as the Association’s President this year. I will treasure this experience forever, and I am grateful to each one of you for continuing to support our Association with your membership and everything else that you do to contribute to WSPA on behalf of Washington’s psychologists.
May the new year bring you and your family peace, joy, and happiness. Let your dreams take flight in 2020!
Dominika Breedlove, Psy.D.
Board President, 2019