Hello, everyone. I am truly honored and privileged to serve as the President of the Louisiana Counseling Association (LCA). I want to acknowledge the leadership of my predecessors, the Executive Director, and the Executive Board members for their commitment to serve LCA members and their continued motivation to strengthen the association. I extend a very warm welcome to all new and returning members. Thank you for your interest and membership in LCA. I am grateful for your continuous engagement, participation, shared leadership, and contributions to the mental health care community.
LCA provides a great place to come together to sharpen our skills, voice our needs, organize new, needed strategies, and channel our energies. We must never rest on our laurels. I ask each LCA member to reach out to Louisiana counselors who have not yet chosen to affiliate with us and invite them to join the association. We can show them that unity is in their best interest and enriches our entire profession.
These challenging times and the increasingly diverse cultural landscape profoundly impact our work and the clients we serve, requiring us to help each other and collaborate with our communities and the helping professions at large. I hope that together we can strengthen the purpose of LCA by embracing our diverse membership (with inclusiveness and equity for all members, including leadership). I ask for authentic feedback and collaboration from all those involved in the counseling profession. I seek constructive partnership and collaboration with other mental health professionals as I strongly support a vision of unity in the counseling profession.
With a shared vision, LCA hopes to focus on ensuring member benefits and enhancing member satisfaction by centralizing information, resources, and communication, as well as increasing the accessibility of resources. I also aim to strengthen the collaboration between LCA divisions and committees while increasing diversity in leadership and membership. LCA stands proudly and firmly to advocate for our profession while giving back to our communities.
The theme for the conference this year is "Together Again." I chose this theme because I felt it is straightforward, unequivocal, and genuine. For two and a half years, many of us have patiently waited to be together again. The past two LCA Annual Conferences have been virtual due to COVID-19. LCA’s Executive Director, Diane Austin, and LCA Presidents Eric Odom (2020-2021) and Dr. Reshelle Marino (2021-2022) have worked hard to deliver a stable video platform delivery system for conference attendees to earn their much-needed CEUs. We are planning for the 2022 LCA Conference to be in-person. Like last year, the Tradewing platform will be used so attendees can experience the Pre-Conference Institutes and view some of the workshops after the conference has ended. Tradewing provides video platforms for associations to engage members and also allows LCA members to post on our community bulletin board. I am very excited to see so many people posting there.
While I am discussing the engagement program, I want to make sure that each of you knows that you can earn 1 CEU per month by attending the Ask the Expert Series provided through Tradewing (beginning July 1st). You can also find our mission statement for the online community, watch a video explaining how to use Tradewing, and read the Tip of the Week (submitted by LCA members). In addition, the person who makes the 500th post in our LCA Community Bulletin Board will win a one-year LCA membership.
As LCA President, I pledge to work hard for each member. One of the best ways to do that is through actions that support and encourage every division, while fully respecting their autonomous LCA affiliation. With the support of many counselors and individuals who also believe in the power of service to others, LCA will continue to serve through advocacy, making our voices heard now and into the future. We will continue to strive for social justice, for an end to racism and discrimination and continue to demand that everyone be treated humanely regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, cultural background, or socioeconomic status.
Please never forget that as a member of the Louisiana Counseling Association, you are our most important and greatest asset, and we want to hear from you. We want to know what is important to you, and we are here for you.
Thomas “Tommy” Fonseca, Ph.D., LPC-S, LMFT, NCSC, NCC