Leadership Conference

Hello IMHCA Members,

Have you ever wondered what your board members are up to? Why do you pay dues to a larger organization? What does it take to run a non-profit board for a professional organization?

Well, part of this answer will be in this newsletter to our members. The IMHCA board has been working all year on their strategic plan goals (see a future post for these details). As a part of this, we sent 3 of our board members to Leadership with our national affiliation, the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA). AMHCA hosts an annual conference along with a leadership conference and IMHCA tries to send a group to leadership every year. At these conferences, we learn a great deal about how to operate our organization and help it to thrive. This year we sent our Past President, Kasey Peterson, our President, Courtney Ackerson (ME!), and our Secretary, Kenya Rocha. Don Gilbert was there as a member of AMHCA, the treasurer. We also had representation from a past president, Erik Oostenink. With this group, we had a LOT of fun, but we also got a lot accomplished.

Leadership started off a little rough with cancelled flights… missed flights… late arrivals… and rushing to the leadership activities; however, we all made it there and were able to get a lot out of the experience! I want to share a little of that with the membership!

We started by advocating on the hill in Washington D.C. The conference was in the suburbs, so this was a bit of a trek. Kenya attended the advocacy boot camp prior to heading out on the bus. Kacey and I meet up with her while she was meeting with staff from Senator Grassley’s office. We had the help of the AMHCA lobbyist in our meeting. Talk about a good briefing. She was so organized and informed, it made our job so much easier. We ran over a bit on time talking with this staffer, but she had great questions! We then met with Cindy Axne’s office. She is so supportive of our efforts and this became more of a discussion about what issues mental health providers are facing right now and what the barriers are to people accessing mental health. We gave some statistics on mental health services and provided some resources for the staff. AMHCA hosted a reception for the legislators and staff. The honored a member of congress for their advocacy and assistance in getting legislation passed.

The next day was a full day of the Leadership conference – 8:00AM through 6:00PM! We had representation across breakouts. Topics ranged from compliance, governance, membership, and using our partnership with AMHCA to our full benefit. We also spent time with other chapters just gathering resources, sharing information and successes, and networking to get what our chapters needed. In doing this, our chapter has been given access to Georgia’s Supervision training that they have launched and been using successfully. This is to accompany the change in Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) for supervision (a five year plan) that will be in full effect in October 2020. Your executive team will be attending the Iowa Board of Behavioral Sciences meeting on September 12, 2019 to discuss supervision training and this process.

Here is a link to IAC for the rules:



Continuing education


The executive committee held a meeting after a full day of Leadership to debrief about the sections of the conference attended and combine information. We cannot wait to continue leading IMHCA in the direction of growth and development. Please stay tuned for more newsletters from your President.

Thank you all for your membership and dedication to this profession! I will chat with you all again soon.

Courtney Ackerson, LMHC

IMHCA President