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“Board Level” – Winter 2019 ANZ ACBS President’s Update

Squeezing in just before the wildflowers of Spring, I bring you the Board’s Winter Update.

Membership Launch

2019 has been a year where ANZ ACBS has focused on getting both local and sustainable. In the four years I’ve been on the Board, there has been the intention to bring in a paid Chapter membership. Paid membership increases the capacity of our Chapter to resource our members through affordable local and online opportunities for learning and connection; sharing the operating cost of the organisation in a more equitable way. This new Membership launched on 1 August this year, to a warm reception by the ANZ ACBS community. Members are invited to share their core values during the sign-up process, and you can see these reflected in the gorgeous graphic above.  Full details of our membership package can be found here. Note that it is a requirement of ACBS that all Chapter Members also belong to the international organisation, and you can check your membership status and join here. Thank you to my fellow Board Members, and our highly skilled, tech-savvy Executive Officer Kali Madden for bringing this long-held vision to fruition.

Recent Events

In June this year around 50 of our ANZ ACBS community took off overseas to the ACBS World Conference in Dublin. In my last update, I highlighted the many contributions our members were making to the conference program. It was a magnificent week of learning and connection, with the final plenary being delivered by our own past-president Louise Hayes as she completed her term as ACBS President. Louise’s plenary launched ACBS’s new strategic plan, which focuses the international organisational growth around four pillars:

Expanding and improving ACBS digital presence – Eric Morris – Lead; Tiffany Rochester – Champion

Centering Science – Louise McHugh – Lead; Jonathan Bricker – Champion

Creating a culture of empowerment and productivity – Jessica Borushock – Lead; Laura Silberstein-Tirch – Champion

Building a culture of competency to support effective dissemination in ACBS – Robyn Walser – Lead; Nanni Presti – Champion

Louise’s plenary was live-streamed to facebook (Thanks to Daniel Simsion and Eric Morris). The Strategic Plan is available on the ACBS website, with options for members to sign up to be involved. In the coming months, the Chapter Board will have the opportunity to review the international strategic plan and to reflect on how it may inform our own strategic directional locally.

Meanwhile the Perth Events Team has been busy, with TWO winter events this season. In June around 80 people gathered for a presentation from Educational ACTivists Naomi Terpsis, Tracy Klonowski and Iva Filipovska presenting From the clinic to the community: Partnering with ACT-informed Psychologists working in schools to achieve system-level change. These three school psychologists shared their journeys into the world of ACT and all things CBS. They told us about how ACT has impacted their work, their professional growth, their influence in their school communities and their personal lives. They also invited us to collaborate with them and other school psychologists to expand the application of CBS in our school communities. We are very grateful for their willingness to share their time, resources and energy with us. At the event we also hosted our first Book Swap, coordinated by Alyssa Garrett. Attendees brought more than 20 quality resources to swap. The presentation was recorded and is now available for free download to all Chapter members.

In July the Perth Events Team hosted a presentation by Ms Shadia Rahman and Dr Toni Pikos-Sallie, playfully named De-Stigmatising Muslims (DSM). The evening’s presentation included an overview of Islam, including the demographics of the Muslim community across the world and in Australia, and an overview of the six core beliefs and five core practices underpinning Islam. We heard about some of the more likely issues that may be present for Muslim clients, and particularly young people, including what may make it harder for some Muslim people to access services. The evening concluded with a You-Can’t-Ask-That-style Q&A.

The Perth Events Team is a delight to be involved with, and I am grateful to my co-collaborators, Andrew Duirs, Mitch Hart, Alyssa Garrett, Genja Lusnats, Jess Gilbert, Adrian Schonfeld,Tracy Hart, Naomi Terpsis, Tracy Klonowski, Iva Filipovska and Lorna de Sancha.

In August, our Melbourne Events Team hosted an ACT Student Interest Day. Building Blocks for Behaviour Change, co hosted with Northwestern Mental Health, was attended by 130 people. It was superbly organised and presented by Eric Morris, Daniel Simsion, Emma Caruana, and Lisa Soares. My gratitude to this terrific team of trainers for their willingness and generosity in sharing their time, knowledge and expertise to invest in our next generation of practitioners and researchers.

Upcoming Events

Thanks to the hard work and determined commitment of Board Members Sara Boucher and Claire Turner, our next Skills Intensive is being hosted in Dunedin, New Zealand. With trainers Ben Sedley, Giselle Bahr and Kathryn Whitehead, this event is designed to broaden and deepen the skills of even the most seasoned ACT professional. Full details of the event can be found here, and early bird registrations close at the end of October.

Can’t make it to New Zealand? Details of our next skills intensive in Australia will be released soon.

In November this year Adelaide is the host city for the Australian Association of Social Workers Conference. To coincide with this event, ANZ ACBS members Carolyn Minchin and Grant Dewar are hosting a networking dinner for social workers, students, and other interested professionals themed around self-care, forgiveness, and fun. Tickets to this 9th November event will be available soon, and will be a free event for ANZ ACBS Chapter Members. Check back here, or across our social media platforms for ticket sales in the coming days.

Our local event teams are gearing up for their next events in Victoria and Perth. Melbourne folks can head to the Clyde Hotel on 24th September to hear Julian McNally present on “RFT from the Inside-Out”, tickets available now. Perth folks can head to the Wembley on November 14th for a presentation from Adrian Schonfeld and Shona Erskine on ACT applied to Performance Psychology. Tickets will be available soon, check back here or across our social media platforms in the coming days.

Meanwhile our Event Teams in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide are all gearing up to launch their local events in the coming months. Want to see something happening in your home town? Log in to your membership to download info on how to get your own local events team happening, or email us and we’ll help you get started.

The ANZ ACBS AGM will be an online event, 2pm AEST 17th November. New Board members will be announced at this meeting; along with an overview of the work of the Chapter over the preceding 12 months, and a sneak-peak at plans for the year ahead. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions of your Board members and to get more of a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of our oganisation. In the coming weeks a call for nominations for new Board members will be sent to all Chapter Members. People wishing to make or accept a nomination for a Board position; and those intending to vote will need to be financial members of the Chapter.

ANZ ACBS Chapter Conference 2020

Conference Chair Karen Hielkema and Programme Co-Chairs Giselle Bahr and Liz Maher are hard at work bringing together the details for our late-2020 Conference in Auckland. The Conference and Board teams are committed to providing an affordable, accessible conference that also minimises our carbon footprint, so there is much to negotiate with local providers while the team makes their final selections. We are looking forward to announcing dates and details as soon as possible.


Eric Morris, Daniel Simsion, Linda Nicholson, Sara Boucher and Melissa Schellekens having been scoping out the best options for hosting our Webinars. We are looking forward to launching this series soon.

I am grateful to the continued commitment and work of our Executive Officer, Board and Chapter volunteers. These people give generously of their time, expertise, energy and heart. Participating in the work of our Chapter is deeply rewarding when collaborating with such values-committed people. Send me an email if you would like to be more involved with any of the activities of our Chapter, there is room for many more 🙂

Wishing you a spring-time full of moments of beauty, meaning and connection; and maybe with a sprinkle of new growth too.



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