Richard Yep

One of the best things about being the executive director of the American Counseling Association is that I have the opportunity to work with a great team of dedicated staff. Some have been here for less than a year, while others have been with the association much longer. There is great diversity among our staff. It would be an understatement to say that we are intergenerational, multicultural and different in many ways.

One thing I value in the staff is what they all contribute toward making ACA and the counseling profession so successful. Hardworking, knowledgeable and possessing a strong desire to please our members — those are just a few of the hallmarks that many of my colleagues exhibit.

Unfortunately, there are times when I have to say farewell to those who are taking a new path. And there are those for whom I have a deep respect because of their contribution to our organization. That leads me to the topic of this column. While I am happy to see her embarking on a new chapter in her life, I am also a little sad to announce that my friend Mary Janicke has retired from ACA after 54 years of dedicated service.

Mary’s last day with ACA was Nov. 30. During the Governing Council meeting that was held two weeks prior, she was recognized with a standing ovation from the entire board and others in the room.

Mary was here when four associations came together in 1952 to form ACA (then the American Personnel and Guidance Association). She was here through the good and the not so good times. During her tenure, she saw the organization develop into the world’s largest organization representing the counseling profession. Mary has witnessed ACA grow to 19 divisions, four regions and more than 40,000 members.

Mary was here before any of the states or the District of Columbia had enacted a counselor licensure law. She was here before there was a CACREP, an NBCC, an ACA Foundation or many of the countless other organizations that have played a key role in the development of the profession. While I have obtained a great deal of knowledge and a solid base of experience in my nearly 20 years with ACA, Mary was starting on her path with the association four years before I was even born.

Mary Janicke has worked for 55 ACA presidents and all nine of the executive directors. While I had hoped that Mary would stay through “my watch,” I am pleased to see that she is entering a new (and hopefully more relaxing) chapter of her life. She will be able to focus on many of the activities she enjoys in her leisure time and get to know all the neighbors in her new community.

I was touched when Mary said that she would still be willing to come in from time to time if she could be of help with specific projects. That’s yet another wonderful characteristic of a dedicated ACA employee, and it’s an offer of which I intend to take full advantage.

Without Mary Janicke, ACA will be missing someone who really is a part of our living history. However, we are a better organization because of the many contributions she made in a career that spanned more than five decades. While we will no longer see Mary on a day-to-day basis, we will take solace in knowing that she is finally enjoying the fruits of retirement that she so richly deserves.

In a future issue of Counseling Today, we will be talking to Mary about her long career with ACA. And, for those of you who have known Mary and would like to contact her, you can still use her e-mail address ( through January. She will continue to receive mail until that time at 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304.

If you are celebrating a holiday this month, or simply taking some time off to enjoy the pleasures of winter, the staff and I wish you a peaceful season.

As always, I hope you will contact me with any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have. Please contact me via e-mail at or by phone at 800.347.6647 ext. 231.

Thanks and be well.