2013 Participant Reflections

SCP Leadership Academy 2013: Participant’s Reflections

The 2013 SCP Leadership Academy (LA) was held following the National Multicultural Conference and Summit, with  5 students and 5 early career professionals coming together  to further develop their leadership potential in a multicultural context.  In this second iteration of the Leadership Academy, faculty guided participants through discussions of what it means to be a leader in SCP with particular emphasis on understanding the influence of intersecting identities on leadership development.  The participants met with and observed the SCP Executive Board’s interactions during the midyear meeting and processed their observations.  In our discussion of paths to leadership, faculty shared personal stories of involvement and service.  These leaders shared successes, challenges, and even failures as a means of encouraging participants to persevere as they pursue ways to enact their passion and provide service to the field, to valued communities and to society. This year’s LA faculty are: Barry Chung, Katharine Hahn Oh, Julia Phillips, Sandra Shullman, Zoeann Finzi-Smith, and Melba Vasquez.  Following are the reflections of some of our participants.  Please be sure to join us in Hawai’i for programs related to the Leadership Academy!


Jennifer Chang

Jennifer Chain

I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Leadership Academy this year. The weekend far exceeded my expectations. I was touched that our faculty spent so much time and effort to create an amazing experience for us. I appreciate getting to know the leadership journey of current Executive Board members and reflecting on my own experiences and goals for leadership in SCP. The readings and discussions of the Leadership Academy focused predominately on the multicultural context of leadership. The faculty provided alternative models of leadership that is more congruent with the culture and leadership styles of women of color. As a woman of color, I felt that I am valued for my strengths and potential contributions to Division 17. This experience demystified leadership in APA for me. I now understand the history and systems of SCP on a personal level. I can also begin to see my place within SCP as a future leader. The weekend went by so fast and at the same time, I felt that I have gotten to know the faculty and my fellow participants deeply. Life-long relationships were established in Houston. I came back to Eugene feeling rejuvenated, motivated and proud to be a counseling-psychologist-in-training.

Bryana FrenchBryana H. French, PhD

My experience at the Division 17 Leadership Academy (LA) was nothing short of amazing.  After an invigorating National Multicultural Conference and Summit, participating in the Leadership Academy reignited my passion for social justice work and research.  As we read the Heppner, et al. (2000) and Delgado-Romero, et al. (2012) chapters on Counseling Psychology history and maturation, I was reminded of how phenomenal Division 17 is, and of the important work so many counseling psychologists have done to lead psychology and the broader society in multiculturalism and social justice. As a leadership academy participant I realized, from reading Dr. Melba Vasquez’s chapter on women of color leaders, just what an essential role we have as counseling psychologists to lead the field, and recognize what I can bring to this need as a Woman of Color. The Leadership Academy also demystified the process of becoming a leader within APA and I felt honored to hear about the process and pathways that leaders in APA have experienced including Drs. Rosie Bingham, Melba Vasquez, Barry Chung, and Julia Phillips. The faculty were all warm, receptive, encouraging, and transparent. Being able to participate in the Division 17 Mid-Year meeting was particularly helpful to better understand how governance works and the process of decision making, strong leadership, and collaboration.  Finally, the connections I made with my fellow LA participants were equally exciting and powerful in my career development.  I am certain that these dynamic individuals will continue to push me to think outside of the box and will form relationships that I will cherish throughout my career.  As I reflect on my experience at the Leadership Academy, I am realizing now more than ever the importance of continuing and expanding Counseling Psychology’s legacy in this changing global context.  I feel so fortunate to be among leaders in the field – and have a sense of responsibility to help it flourish.

James Lyda 2013 SCP LA Photo

James Lyda, PhD

Imagine an experience in which you are surrounded by diverse, yet like-minded people at all stages in their careers, each of whom has a vested interest in supporting their communities, of which you have now become a part. That was the leadership academy experience for me. It reinforced the notion that leadership comes in all forms, from the wise elder to the energetic student. I had the privilege of being selected with a cohort of some of the best and brightest people I’ll ever meet. As an early career Leadership Academy participant, it was extremely energizing and rejuvenating to be able to connect with early career peers. Just as importantly for me, being able to connect with extremely impressive student academy participants afforded me the opportunity to reflect on my own career journey thus far, and even pass along some of my own experiences. Bearing witness to the early stages of greatness in my peers, and being able to say, ‘I was there when,’ is an awesome thing.

“Be willing to try, show up, and do a good job.” Important words, but when they come directly from the likes of a Dr. Melba Vasquez, a Dr. Barry Chung, a Dr. Rosie Phillips Bingham, a Dr. Julia Philips, a Dr. Katharine Hahn Oh, or star-in-the-making Zoeann Finzi-Smith, they tend to stick with you. (Apologies for the name dropping, but believe it or not these were the 2013 Leadership Academy faculty!)  From a practical standpoint, the leadership academy provides hands-on insight into the inner workings of the Society of Counseling Psychology. A great opportunity, yes, but any SCP member can sit in on the meetings, or go to the website and look up an org chart. More importantly, what the Leadership Academy did for me was to bring to light that “the Society” is made up of real, down-to-earth human beings, who happen to be some of the biggest names in our field. People who are so excited to talk to you, provide support, and nurture you as a developing professional. Making those real, human connections demystified the process required to obtain leadership opportunities, making it seem less intimidating. I found myself saying, ‘okay, I think I can sit in that person’s seat someday.’  Why? Because participation in the academy made me feel like I already had a seat at the table. Now, all I have to decide is where to go from here, and opportunity abounds.