Sometimes things really do seem to come full circle. That was the feeling I had last week while attending the Council on Accreditation (COA) National Conference. This conference is held once every three years and the last time, 2009, I was employed as the Director of Volunteer Services and Accreditation Commission for COA and directly involved with planning a number of conference activities. Now, three years later, I am the President of my own consulting company that helps human service organizations successfully navigate the COA accreditation process.
The conference was a homecoming of sorts, almost like a college reunion. I was able to reconnect with numerous past volunteers from all over the US and Canada and a good number of former colleagues. I saw clients that I have worked side-by-side with (the team from Consumer Credit Counseling in San Juan, Puerto Rico was a great surprise) and finally was able to put faces to names of clients from Alabama and Tennessee who’s work had been conducted solely on a remote basis. A number of positive new connections were made as well.
COA offered strong programs on current trends in combating child trafficking and exploitation (led by Love146), developing an organizational code of ethics (facilitated by professors at the Catholic University of America) and strategic risk management (presented by the CEO of Lutheran Services Florida). The keynote speaker, Christopher Kennedy Lawford, did an excellent job speaking about substance abuse recovery. Of course, a big congratulations goes out to Ulysses Arteaga of the Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services who was awarded the Consuelo Foundation 2012 Peer Reviewer of the Year!
Overall I heard positive feedback from attendees about the conference and a desire to ensure that the quality of the accreditation standards is maintained at the highest level.
It will be interesting to see what everyone has been doing when the next COA conference comes around in 2015, so mark your calendar!