2012 Felise Levine, Ph.D.
Passion. Goals. Accomplishments. These are probably the three adjectives I’d use to summarize my year as President of SDPA. SDPA was the last thing on my mind before I went to sleep and the first thing I thought about when I woke up. From large goals to small details I felt the huge responsibility of seeing these through and the great satisfaction of accomplishing goals. Having been on the Board since 2008, I also felt a great connection to the members and had worked hard to regain balance and transparency within SDPA. SDPA had regained its spirit and 2012 was the year to continue our growth. I took office feeling excited, scared and privileged to lead SDPA.
We began the year with a strategic planning meeting for the new Board held at SDPA and a well attended “Meet the Board” hosted by Tricia Heras and Yuri Hofman. The Board and I were excited to tackle several projects and we set the agenda for year as 1) regaining APA approved CE sponsor status; 2) increasing our commitment to raising public awareness of psychologists and of SDPA; 3) enhancing the brand/value of SDPA to our members by increased media outreach and community service; 4) reviewing member categories; and 5) securing SDPA’s financial stability.
My first priority for SDPA was gaining APA approval status as a continuing education sponsor. The first action of the Board was to write a strong letter of concern to APA about their review process. This letter allowed me greater leverage to negotiate with the head of the APA CE Approved Sponsor Department for permission to submit a new application for the upcoming renewal cycle (rather than wait the required year to reapply). In order to regain our status as an APA approved sponsor, we worked diligently to revamp our CE procedures so that they were in compliance with APA requirements. Our CE committee revised their Policies and Procedures so that roles and responsibilities both within the committee, with staff and with the Board, and the Newsletter Editor were clearer for everyone. Then I spearheaded the writing of our application and Keny and I set up procedures for keeping accurate documentation on file for future applications. Success! In the spring of 2012, we were granted a two-year approval. I think the most important achievement of my year, as President was the accomplishment of this goal. I also committed to writing our next renewal application in 2014 (result: APA granted us a five-year approval).
Second, we turned our attention from a more internal (within SDPA) focus to one that was more external, looking at our relationship to other organizations, the media and the community at large. For example we co-sponsored a Stop Bullying event with United Way and San Diego Unified School District. In addition, the Board’s strategy to increase our visibility in the media and the public sector was also successful. With the benefit of Member-at-Large Richard Levak’s expertise, we established a media presence on television and in the Union Tribune, with the goal of becoming a significant voice in the San Diego media for mental health issues. We also hoped that with SDPA as a voice for psychology and psychologists, we could increase the appeal of SDPA membership to licensed psychologists in San Diego who were not members. In keeping with these goals, we also passed a new Mission Statement that included a commitment to community service.
Third, with Treasurer Bob Hirsch at the helm, we reorganized our finances and made our tracking methods and categorization of expenses more consistent and streamlined. This enabled SDPA to better understand our actual costs for events and other projects. Another financial accomplishment included the decision of this Board requiring SDPA to maintain a reserve fund of approximately 30% of annual operating expenses. For 2012, this amount was approximately $50,000. We committed to using our reserve as a safety net in times of emergency only. In addition we changed membership renewal to coincide with the year-end, making tracking of SDPA expenses and management of the office work flow easier. We published our new Membership and Referral Directory and were pleased to be in a solid financial position to be able to reinstitute the Directory as a member benefit and absorb the cost of the first copy for members.
2012 was also a year of reorganizing our organizational documents, office staff and our office space. Under the guidance of President-elect Linda Altes, we rewrote our Employee Manual and continued to review and update our Policies and Procedures Manual and the Chair’s Manual. We upgraded the responsibilities of the part-time administrative assistant position and hired a new employee in this capacity. We also created a more professional office space by redecorating, purchasing new furniture and office equipment, painting, clearing out clutter and outdated files, and converting important paper files into digital files. We continue to be aware of our carbon footprint and work on ways to reduce paper. I think the SDPA office became a place that more appropriately reflected SDPA as a professional organization.
SDPA continued to have an active voice in government affairs and in cooperation with CPA, was a major supporter of the legislation to prevent sun setting of our Board of Psychology. We also supported the new law banning the use of “conversion therapies” for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered teens. We were very pleased that in October, the Union Tribune published our first op- ed piece that I co-authored with Richard Levak about this new law. In keeping with the goal to cultivate GAC relationships, Janet Farrell and CPA representative Lori Magnusson also provided in-service training (about dealing with difficult constituents) for the office staff of two of our local legislators.
The year also had its share of frustrations and disappointments. We continued to be challenged by our website and problems with Affiniscape. In the Spring of 2012, we began to convert to their newer edition in the hopes of reducing office time spent solving web issues. Unfortunately, both the service and quality of this software management system remained problematic. Also, the District Attorney informed us that they were not going to continue their 2010 investigation of SDPA’s missing funds from the years 2008-2009. The Board of Directors, in consultation with legal council, believed that SDPA proceeded with due diligence in thoroughly documenting evidence of missing funds and that the decision by the D.A. to close the investigation was out of our hands. We reluctantly accepted their decision.
This summary barely describes the myriad of regular activities of our organization such as the superb Newsletter edited by Katherine Quinn, the on- call consultation services of our Ethics Committee or the ongoing programs reviewed and approved by our Continuing Education Committee. Our twenty-four committees and association services continued to provide members with opportunities to network, to work collaboratively around shared interests and projects, and to serve the public.
In summary, 2012 was a good year. We accomplished much, such as:
1) CE: Regained status as an APA approved CE sponsor.
2) Financial: Established a reserve fund for SDPA.
3) Gala: Clarified goal of Gala as social and fundraising.
4) Committees: Improved committee visibility on website through committee pages.
5) Government Affairs: Increased our commitment to legislative advocacy 5) Social networking- launched Facebook page.
6) SDPA-F: Reviewed feasibility of an SDPA Foundation (501c3) and decided it was not financially viable.
7) Staff: Changed office staff and hired a half-time assistant for our office administrator.
8) PR: Published a new SDPA brochure; created new banners for our SDPA tables at events and our conferences.
9) Community Service: Published a STOP Bullying Handbook; and sponsored a community service event in collaboration with San Diego Unified School District on Stop Bullying attached to our fall conference.
10) Membership: Added new member Affiliate category; reduced ECP dues; changed member renewal date to coincide with year-end.
11) Office revamps-- Replaced outdated equipment, transferred old paper files to digital files, redecorated the office.
12) Social: Sponsored well-attended Holiday Party with 70 committee members, chairs and board members.
13) By-laws: We created a new mission statement.
14) Media Outreach: SDPA representatives increased television appearances and Op-ed pieces in Union Tribune.