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Dear Members:

                                                     This letter comes to you with a                                                               message of gratitude and                                                                       encouragement! The past few                                                                 months have been significantly                                                               hard on all of us and I recognize for                                                       some more than others. So many                                                           areas of our lives are being                                                                     touched  by the state of the world; whether it be your health as we take extra precautions to stay safe and healthy against the Covid-19 virus - or - on a deeper more internal level as we reflect and are coming to terms with the reality that racism, racial disparity and social injustices still exists to this day. We also acknowledge the importance of challenging the status quo!

As social workers, the current times have reminded us of the reason we chose this profession. We stand together and focus on the principles of our code of ethics and on the wellbeing of our society. I want to encourage us all to be anchored and grateful. Be anchored to the truth and the facts. An anchor is defined as “a heavy object attached to the rope and used to secure a vessel to sea bottom”. I encourage us to be informed but not dismayed, always seek the truth and not swayed by the uncertainties of the day, friends, be anchored.

I also encourage us to be grateful- Showing gratitude in difficult times helps to elevate our mood and helps us to move forward. Let us be grateful for the opportunity to be in this beautiful profession called “Social Work”, to show compassion, to be a voice, and to be a change maker.

I encourage you also to take exceptional care of yourselves and practice self-care and here are just a few of my favorite tips:

  1. Take the time to reflect each day by …praying, meditating, journaling, going to therapy or speaking with a trusted friend.
  2. Move each day for 30 min or more… walking, practicing yoga, cardio or strength training.
  3. Connect to your creativity or sense of adventure, enjoy time with family, friends, enjoy a hobby, learn a new skill (practicing safe social distancing).  

I am also writing this letter to you as a farewell and a welcome to a new chapter for all of us! It is with  gratitude that I share with you, that I will be taking a new direction in my career and for this reason I am stepping down as Unit Chair. With that said, we are currently seeking a successor so please consider and inquire.

My time as Unit Chair has been filled with many enriching experiences. Some may not know this, but I had the privilege to fill the unit chair vacancy upon completing my graduate degree from Barry University in December 2010. As the unit chair position was again vacant, I welcomed the opportunity in 2017.

So I am calling on all membership to take the time to consider this opportunity and ask you to step forward. Is that you? Are you reading this and thinking this could be my next career move or my next adventure…?

Important to note that unit leadership position is a 2-year commitment and you have the option to assume an additional term. You also can recruit members to be on your steering committee. They are a very important part of unit leadership because they will help coordinate and facilitate unit activities.


  • I was able to expand my network of professional relationships by leaps and bounds, and many of my colleagues are now trusted confidantes and professional advisors.
  • I was able to increase my professional skills in leadership, advocacy and community organizing. Some of the few opportunities that came as a result:

  1. I was invited to be a guest panelist, at our 2019 Student Summit.
  2. I represented NASW in multiple local community organizations in the Treasure Coast.
  3. I was able to contribute and represent NASW and the social work profession as a member of a State-wide First Responders Support Task Force to address the effects of the pandemic and helping in creating a state wide first responder survey soon to be released.
  4. I launched my own life coaching practice with a focus on self-care coaching and adding psychotherapy services in the near future.
  5. I am advancing in my career as I assume a new role as Director of Social Services in Long Term Care.

  • I was able to expand my continuing education and learning alongside colleagues who attended our unit’s scheduled monthly continuing education workshops.

  • I was able to enjoy planning and facilitating, fun Social Gatherings - Whether it was gathering for holiday parties sponsored by our wonderful senior living communities or enjoying ourselves with some good food and spirits at local restaurants, or speed networking at local wine room…. We sure know how to have fun!
  • I was able to start a new initiative with the help of steering committee member Candice Rasa, LCSW, IET and launched The Breakfast Club” Peer Support Groups. It has been great new way to connect and support our private practitioners, increasing our resource lists and case consultations. It also allowed us to connect and invite other licensed professionals in all fields including psychologists, licensed mental health clinicians, and licensed marriage and family therapists, interns etc..
  • I was able to lead and plan Annual Social Work Month Celebrations were always a great time to plan, from decorating to presenting awards to deserving professionals, giving away gifts and more. We could not have had such wonderful events without the support of our conference committee/aka Steering Committee members and our Sponsors!  
  • Lastly, I was able to be at the table at Quarterly Board of Directors meetings to plan Chapter activities, and discuss annual legislative agenda to promote and move forward legislation was not only eye opening but powerful to be a voice amidst all of the voices of change.

There is so much more I can add to this list. However, I hope that gave you a good idea of the amazing benefits of being a unit chair and if interested please call   (850) 224-2400 / (800) 352-6279 or send an email to Jim Akin at


Thank you to Executive Director, Jim Akin and the Board of Directors, Executive Leadership, Past President -Carol Campbell Edwards, Current President-Susan Mankita for this amazing opportunity. To our office administrators:  Jean Krier and Chris Call you both were so wonderful and made life so much easier!   

And finally, to my Steering committee members to whom I would not be able to fulfill my duties without, please know you are Awesome!  It is wonderful to have people on your corner whom you can trust, who are honest, and encourage you every step of the way, Brett Hall, Laura Kremer, Lesley Frederick, Kate Mccormic, Candice Rasa, Betty Acierno, Emily Flowers Yahn and Nancy Polites.


The Treasure Coast Unit will continue meetings and programming as scheduled until further notice and I along with Steering Committee members will be available as we transition with new leadership.


Treasure Coast Social Workers “Open Forum” Let's talk about it... COVID, RACISM, COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH & OTHER CURRENT ISSUES" -Virtual Event scheduled on August 5th and 6th, 2020.

Breakfast Club Peer Support Group – for our next virtual meeting August 13, 2020.

Please see upcoming events to register.

Be well and be safe,

Susana Lopez-Sierra, MSW, RCSWI

Breakfast Club - Peer Support Group for Private Practitioners is meeting monthly on the 2nd Thursday of the month at a new time 8:30 am at Addington Place of Stuart (Formerly known as Allegro)  located at 3400 SE Aster Lane, Stuart FL 34994.

A continental breakfast will be provided.  Candice Rasa, LCSW facilitates the group and we welcome all professionals in the behavioral health field to join us. If you have any questions about the meeting please email us at

The committee Plans Regular Monthly Continuing Education Meetings/Workshops:

Our Unit CE Meetings will be held monthly at a designated location date and time. A light meal and refreshments will be provided at every meeting and made possible through our sponsors.  Locations will be on a “Rotating Schedule” at a designated location in either Martin County, St. Lucie County and/or Indian River County. ​

If you are interested in being a presenter, we ask that you simply send us a note via email with your request at

Mark your calendars and visit this page regularly for upcoming CE & Networking meeting news.

We hope to see you all soon!


Vacant - Unit Chair
​Brett Hall, LCSW - North Sub Unit Chair


Lesley Frederick, MSW - Committee Member

Katie McCormic, LCSW - Committee Member

Nancy Polites, LCSW - Committee Member

Candice Rasa, LCSW, IET – Committee Member
Laura Zel Kremer, LCSW - Committee Member