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Symposium 2014

Symposium 2014: A Huge Success

Sherry M. Cohen, LICSW, Symposium 2014 co-chair; Private Practice
Mary M. Ward, LICSW, Symposium 2014 co-chair; Supervisor, MA Department of Children and Families
With contributions by Jonas B. Goldenberg, LICSW, NASW-MA Director of Clinical Issues and Continuing Education

NASW-MA’s 13th biennial Symposium 2014 held on April 3rd-4th at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center, received accolades from participants, many of whom reported they were inspired with new, stimulating ideas and concepts. Over 800 social workers and mental health clinicians from all areas of Massachusetts took part in more than 100 workshops earning up to 16 CEs. Sponsors, exhibitors, advertisers, and our knowledgeable bookseller added a rich layer of resources.

Pre-symposium intensives, 3-hour workshops, a mainstay of all past Symposia, were well-attended and covered a variety of relevant topics, including: DSM-5, coaching, diagnosis, ethics, end of life issues, and others. The Thursday evening intensive included a viewing of the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom. It was a special treat for a capacity crowd. This compelling and thought-provoking film was followed by a presentation on the issues of sexism, institutional racism, and psychological issues experienced by the talented back-up singers, music industry, and our country.

Keynote Maurice Boisvert, LICSW addresses the crowd at Symposium 2014.

Maurice “Moe” Boisvert, LICSW, kicked off Symposium 2014 with an electrifying and motivating keynote speech. Among the many lessons he imparted, Moe encouraged the audience to develop a personal plan to create a healthy balance in one’s work/life equation, using client successes, team support and innovation. He engaged the audience effortlessly using his humor, along with his wealth of experience and wisdom, and was received with great enthusiasm and appreciation.

Eighty, 90-minute workshops throughout the two day event covered a plethora of topics such as mindful parenting, clinical documentation, mediation, group work, PTSD, CBT, research, addictions, military, yoga, trauma, political action, and disaster preparation. Comments about the workshops included, “very beneficial and necessary,” “thought-provoking session,” and “excellent informational content.” This year Symposium 2014 also offered five, 3-hour workshops: Leadership Skills…, Bullycide…, …Work[ing] with Latino Clients..., Beyond LGBT…, and Safety for Social Workers. These longer workshops gave participants the opportunity to explore these issues in greater depth.

The annual NASW-MA Chapter awards ceremony took place during the Friday luncheon, where over 700 attendees honored and heard from some of the most talented social workers in Massachusetts. As a distinct tribute, and just days before the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, special awards were given to the Social Work Departments of the seven major trauma hospitals in Greater Boston, in recognition of their extraordinary service following this tragic event.

Many participants reported that Symposium 2014 was “the best ever.” The energy was awesome. Comments such as “superb”, “amazing”, “exciting” and “inspiring” were heard throughout the two days.

The Program Committee of Symposium 2014 worked diligently from December 2012 until March 2014 to ensure a comprehensive, well-rounded program. Juried (blind) proposals (submitted by anyone interested in presenting) as well as invitational and intensives were reviewed and discussed carefully and meticulously in order to create a high quality program.

Program Committee Members

  • Sherry M. Cohen, Co-Chair
  • Mary M. Ward, Co-Chair
  • April Berry-Fletcher
  • Betty Chan
  • Ruth Cohen-Spiegel
  • Wendy Dalwin
  • Caryl Diengott
  • Carol Dorr
  • Lee Ellenberg
  • Deirdre Fay
  • Mark Gianino
  • Janel Lucas
  • Sonia Pinnock*

We want to thank the two Silver Sponsors, Eliot Community Human Services and Partners HealthCare, as well as the many exhibitors and program advertisers. Their support of NASW and the social work profession helps keep our registration costs among the lowest for any comparable conference.

Special thanks go to the many volunteers who worked hard before, during and after this event to make it such a success! Thanks also to the NASW-MA Board of Directors, social work and administration staff, and Carol J. Trust, LICSW, Executive Director. Finally, we want to give our special thanks to Jonas Goldenberg, LICSW, Director of Clinical Issues and Continuing Education. His ongoing support, good humor, and professional coordination and implementation of the Symposium were integral to its success. Stay tuned for another fabulous Symposium in 2016.

*Sonia Pinnock, who passed away shortly before the Symposium, will be remembered fondly by the program committee members and the entire NASW community.

Scenes from Symposium 2014

  1. A warm welcome from NASW-MA Executive Director, Carol J. Trust, LICSW.
  2. Members of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families at their exhibit table.
  3. Gary Bailey, MSW, ACSW presents the workshop “The Color of Fear: The Paradox of Race and Oppression in the 21st Century”.
  4. Enid Shapiro announces Hugo Kamya, PhD, LICSW as the recipient of the Greatest Contribution to Social Work Education Award.
  5. Jeanette Merren, MA, recipient of the Public Citizen of the Year Award.
  6. Marilyn Edelson, LICSW, MCC leads the “Coaching for Health and Wellness” workshop.
  7. (L-R) Yvonne Ruiz, Chapter Secretary, Gary Bailey, Past President, Olga Roche, DCF Commissioner, Ray Walden, Treasurer, Carol Trust, Executive Director, Chris Hudson, President, Enid Shapiro, Awards Committee Chair, and Jennifer Holloway, Simmons College Student – Over 700 people enjoyed the vibrant and moving Awards Luncheon at Symposium 2014.
  8. Maurice Boisvert, LICSW presents “Leadership Skills for Social Workers: Competencies and Qualities”.
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