Sue Pressman, ACA’s 69th president

In the spirit of resilience, as we pivot out of the darkness and into the light, everything is possible. The sky is no longer the limit. 

On Feb. 18, a NASA helicopter named Ingenuity, attached to a rover named Perseverance, landed in the Jezero crater on Mars. On April 19, Ingenuity took its first of several flights on the planet, while Perseverance continues exploring Mars’ terrain. It’s a pretty fascinating and uplifting success story.

There is much hope after more than a year of turbulence and sacrifice. I see optimism for new beginnings, new opportunities, new ways to work, new ways to come together and new ways to appreciate one another. That is my vision as we look to the future.

Looking back on my leadership journey over the past year, it has been a privilege to lead and represent you — professional counselors — at virtual conferences and meetings, nationally and internationally. Some of my work has involved creating task forces for the betterment of the association; establishing the first-ever ACA anti-racism commission to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of ACA and our profession; creating an organization-wide mentorship program with more than 500 member participants (a special thank-you goes to all the mentors who are volunteering and providing wisdom to early professional counselors); supporting the continued progress of the interstate compact for counselor licensure portability across state lines; delivering keynote addresses and presentations on important aspects of counseling; contributing to legislative advocacy; opening the ACA Virtual Conference Experience (with the largest number of attendees at an ACA conference — over 6,000 — in more than 30 years); collaborating and making decisions on important issues affecting the counseling profession with our amazing Governing Council volunteer leaders … and the list goes on.

You might ask how those things could have been accomplished in the midst of a pandemic when the world was locked down. My answer is that thanks to the ingenuity and perseverance of resilient professional counseling colleagues, an incredibly talented and dedicated ACA staff, and our new world of digitization, we didn’t skip a beat. We figured out how to continue serving those in need of counseling services, reaching out to one another and our clients through technology, and connecting to the world from dining room tables, home offices or, in my case, a 1948 pinewood-paneled attic.

As I think back on a year that has become a career highlight for me, please join me in reflecting on the quotes that were included in my Counseling Today columns. Each served as a driver for that month’s column.

July 2020: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” — Helen Keller

August 2020: “If I have learned anything from my colleagues and the events of this past year, it is to not be afraid to speak up.” — Sue E. Pressman

September 2020: “Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you were meant to be, and to begin to honor that in the best way possible for yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey

September 2020: “You have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.” — Oprah Winfrey

October 2020: “Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision.” — Stevie Wonder

October 2020: “We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.” — Stevie Wonder

November 2020: “Every person has access to quality professional counseling to thrive.” — ACA’s vision as stated within the strategic plan

December 2020: “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Maya Angelou

January 2021: “Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties” — Helen Keller

February 2021: “The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” — Socrates

March 2021: “Mental Health + Work + Leisure = Life & Career Happiness” — new formula from Sue E. Pressman

April 2021: “I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.” — Maya Angelou

May 2021: “Let go and have a little fun.” — Lele Rose

June 2021: Theme: “Ingenuity and perseverance” 


“And the beat goes on.” — Sonny & Cher

Thank you for the privilege and honor ACA! — Sue E. Pressman