Theresa Faulkner Nominated as Outstanding Advocacy Leader
Theresa A. Faulkner, PhD, was nominated as an outstanding leader by a colleague who served with her on the Wyoming Psychological Association (WPA) Board. She was singled out for her charismatic promotion of psychology at various levels within the state and federal government, as a president of WPA, and during other WPA leadership duties.
Faulkner's exceptional achievement was launching an initiative to recruit and sustain several early career psychologists (ECPs) involvement in WPA leadership positions. Similarly to many SPTAs, graying leaders in Wyoming were continuing to serve in the various leadership positions, often refilling another position, year after year. Her sense was that the work of running the organization needed to be better distributed among a broader representation of psychologists to avoid burning out seasoned members and to learn about the newest practices in the field from some of the younger members.
As an incoming president of WPA, she seized the opportunity to create new leadership by countering the challenges expressed by the reluctant ECPs — time famine and a felt sense of not being ready for taking on leadership responsibilities. Through her warmth and gentle humor, she persuaded the ECPs to join leadership as a way of decreasing their isolation. She also promised to provide ongoing support to each of them. She was able to obtain their commitments to join leadership by expressing her animated beliefs about WPA; her discussions focused on the last year's achievements and the opportunities that could be built upon.
One of the most compelling arguments she raised with the ECPs was the striking example of how WPA had become reactive rather than proactive. When Medicaid rates were cut substantially, the cut for psychological services was bigger than the cuts for many of the other health care professions. The new leadership was able to commit to a constant presence at both the regulatory meetings and in the legislature. The vigilance has led to having state leaders more regularly hear the testimony of psychologists, which is substantially informed by research literature. Visit Faulkner's website for more information.
Finally, the skills and knowledge of psychologist leaders/advocates will be highlighted throughout the year so that we all can continue to learn further about highly efficacious leadership and advocacy.