Richard Yep

Each June, the American Counseling Association comes to the close of its fiscal year, but more important, we begin the transition from one leadership group to another. For the past 12 months, the ACA staff and I have worked with a group of highly dedicated volunteers who truly have the best interests of the profession in mind. These leaders have chosen to commit their time, energy, ideas and hard work to advance the mission of our association and to enhance the counseling profession.

Although a new group of leaders is standing at the door ready to take on the challenge of a new year of service, we would be remiss if we failed to acknowledge those who served with such distinction this past year. To the thousands of volunteer leaders at the state, regional, division and national levels, I want to personally thank you for making this a successful year in so many ways.

ACA’s membership numbers are at their highest point in several years, we had an outstanding turnout at our Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, and participation in our blog, podcast series and online education offerings grew to new levels. Last summer, we launched the ACA Institute for Leadership Training, which brought together counseling leaders from all over the United States for training, networking and conversations with public policy officials on Capitol Hill. And, of course, we finally saw the fruits of our labors when California became the final state to enact a counselor licensure law. As we look ahead, this year’s leadership has been instrumental in laying the groundwork for future success on behalf of the profession, as well as on behalf of those whom our members serve.

We are certainly thankful for all ACA members’ support for the good things we have accomplished throughout the past year. We also appreciate the work performed by the ACA staff. However, I want to reiterate my thanks to the leadership teams at all levels for the efforts they have made to move the agenda forward. To those of you who served this year as volunteers and leaders, thank you.

As the executive director of ACA, I have the good fortune of working closely with our volunteer leadership team. One of the closest working relationships is the one I have with the ACA president. This year, our association benefited greatly from having Lynn Linde serve as our chief elected officer. Lynn brought to the table decades of experience as a competent, dedicated and compassionate leader. Regardless of the situation, challenge or crisis, she was there to support staff and leaders. At this point in our history, Lynn was the right person at the right time to lead ACA. She has been, in a word, unflappable. She never lost her cool and was always the first to show her support and appreciation for those around her.

Few members realize how much work the ACA president does during her or his term of office. However, as the organization’s executive director, I am keenly aware of the sacrifices made by and the energy required of our top elected officer. I personally have come to depend on Lynn for many things. Her advice has always been right on target and very much appreciated.

Next month, we welcome a new crew to the leadership team. This column, however, is dedicated to those of you who voluntarily agreed to serve this past year — another year in which ACA grew and thrived. You did much more than simply serve as caretakers of a 58-year-old organization. Rather, you have left the association in better shape than when you started. The profession is better and stronger because of your efforts.

Take ownership, take pride and, now, take a rest!

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

Thanks and be well.