2017 Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speaker Day 1: Linda Rosenberg, MSW
President & CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health

Date: Thursday, June 15 @ 9:20am – 10:30am | Pope Auditorium

Topic: In 1940, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “This is no ordinary time. We cannot tell from day to day what may come.” Change is difficult, transitions are not always smooth. In light of a new Administration in town, a new dynamic in Congress, and a bumpy road ahead for health care, Roosevelt’s words echo today.  We are confronted by an alternate reality, one that may leave more than 14 million people without affordable health care, as early as 2018. We’ll examine the impact of new politics and policies on healthcare and how your organization can survive and even thrive.


Linda Rosenberg is a national expert in the financing and delivery of mental health and substance services. Under her leadership, the National Council for Behavioral Health has become our nation’s most effective advocate for behavioral health prevention, early intervention, science-based treatment, and recovery.

Harnessing the voices of the 10 million adults, children, and families served by the National Council’s 2,800 member organizations, Rosenberg helped secure passage of the federal parity law, expanded integrated behavioral and primary care services, introduced Mental Health First Aid in the U.S., and built an array of organizational, clinical and workforce improvement initiatives. The National Council’s strong support of the Mental Health Excellence Act will result in the first comprehensive effort to establish community accountability for the health of people with serious mental illnesses and addictions, the consistent utilization of evidence-based practices, and the standardized measurement of outcomes.

Rosenberg was Senior Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health prior to joining the National Council. She has over 30 years experience in designing and operating hospitals, community and housing programs, and implemented New York’s first Mental Health Court. Rosenberg serves on an array of boards of directors and is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

Linda Rosenberg - NSWM

Keynote Speaker Day 2: Suzanne Dworak-Peck, MSW, ACSW, LCSW

Date: Friday, June 16 @ 9:20am – 10:30am | Pope Auditorium

Topic: Training and experience gained during social work education are helpful in practice and provide a specific advantage, an edge, when navigating complex situations in business settings. Social workers’ understanding of relationships and essential communication skills can lead to business success. By taking advantage of this unique positioning, social workers can discover that good business is often good social work.


Suzanne Dworak-Peck served as President of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).  Elected in 1986, her term of office ran from July 1, 1987 to June 30, 1989.

Suzanne Dworak-Peck is a Past-President of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), which represents more than 600,000 social workers in over 116 countries around the world.  She is IFSW’s first, and only, Ambassador.  She is immediate Past-President of NASW Assurance Services, Inc. (ASI).   She is also the founder of NCN, the NASW Communications Network, Inc.  NCN has provided the media and entertainment industry with a centralized information and resource outlet for social issues, nationally and internationally and other programs including the “Si” awards to recognize outstanding portrayals of social workers and social issues.

She received her BA in psychology from the University of Southern California, where she also earned her MSW as an NIMH Fellow.  A social work practitioner, Suzanne Dworak-Peck has spent much of her career working with vulnerable and traditionally excluded populations as well as providing clinical supervision and treatment to families and individuals.  She has taught and held social work field faculty appointments.  At USC, she chaired Los Amigos, and currently chairs the Board of Councilors for the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.  She is a USC Trustee.

Dworak-Peck chaired the California Board of Behavioral Sciences which regulates the legal practice of over 40,000 licensees in clinical social work; educational psychology; marriage, family, and child therapy; and professional counseling.  As President and founding member of the California Coalition for Mental Health representing over 30 mental health organizations and as president twice of the California Council of Psychiatry, Psychology, Social Work and Nursing, she represented more than 40,000 mental health professionals.

Dworak-Peck is also a Past President of the California Chapter of NASW and chaired the Political Action, Legislative, and Koshland Awards Committee and served on the Social Work Image Council.  Currently she is a board member of the California Social Work Archives, CSWA, and founding member of its Hall of Distinction Committee to recognize California’s most significant social workers.  She is an Honorary Member of The New Center for Psychoanalysis.

Her activities in NASW at the national level included the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee.  She was Co-Chair and Treasurer of the PACE Board of Trustees.  She also chaired the Delegate Assembly and the Western States Coalition.  She chaired the International Rhoda G. Sarnat Committee and the Campaign Advisory Committee for NASW Foundation’s National Social Work Public Education Campaign.

She served as President for North America of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and as the U.S. delegate on the Executive Committee.

Among her honors is the distinction of Social Worker of the Year, California Chapter; Selection as one of five social workers to represent the profession in the NASW Centennial Exhibit; Governor’s appointment to the White House Conference on Families and Governor’s appointment to the Board of Behavioral Sciences.  NASW co-presented her with the first International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award for advancing the public image of social work.  She is an NASW Pioneer.  She received CSWA’s Nickel Award for Outstanding Professional Services by a Social Worker, a USC Alumni Merit Award and the IFSW Mouravieff Apostol Medal for Outstanding Contribution to International Social Work.

Suzanne Dworak-Peck - NSWM Confernece Keynote

Closing Keynote Speaker: Anne Williams-Isom, JD

Date: Friday, June 16 @ 2:30pm – 3:30pm | Pope Auditorium

Topic: Anne Williams-Isom will speak to the values and benefits of informed, competent, and relevant leadership as it relates to this year’s conference theme of Mission, Morals, Morale and Money.


Anne Williams-Isom is the Chief Executive Officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone®, overseeing the organization’s comprehensive pipeline of programs, which serve 12,000 children and 12,000 adults.

Ms. Williams-Isom found her calling to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families when she was still a child herself. Growing up with a single mother in Queens, she witnessed firsthand the many challenges confronting kids in struggling communities. Yet she also learned that, with the right support and opportunities, they have the potential to overcome those challenges and realize their ambitions.

Ms. Williams-Isom received a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from Fordham University. Soon after, she began working in Community Affairs for the New York Police Department in Brooklyn. Working in Brooklyn in the 1980s, at the height of community policing, further fueled her commitment to social justice—but it was only after graduating from law school at Columbia University that she fully came to appreciate the complexity of social problems and the pivotal role of the community in solving them.

After receiving her J.D., Ms. Williams-Isom practiced law for five years at two of New York’s most prestigious firms. She then took on the position of Director of the Office of Community Planning and Development at NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). There, she oversaw the development of crucial community partnerships, including a partnership with HCZ.  During the creation of the original HCZ Project in the 1990s, Ms. Williams-Isom worked with Geoffrey Canada, offering strategic counsel on integrating preventive services into HCZ’s neighborhood-based network of programs. She also instituted the first ACS Leadership Academy for Child Protection, providing professional development for the staff overseeing investigation of the 55,000 reports to ACS of child abuse and neglect each year.  Throughout her 13-year tenure at the agency, Ms. Williams-Isom remained steadfast in her primary goal: to strengthen families and support vulnerable children.

In 2009, Ms. Williams-Isom joined Mr. Canada to become HCZ’s Chief Operating Officer, overseeing operations across the organization. As COO, she worked to advance HCZ’s data-driven culture of accountability, spearheading numerous initiatives to strengthen services and improve outcomes for HCZ’s children and families. Ms. Williams-Isom assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer on July 1, 2014. She has been featured in articles in The New York Times and Crain’s New York Business.

Ms. Williams-Isom is routinely sought after for her expert advice and guidance on child welfare and community development. She currently serves on the Advisory Council of the recently created My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, inspired by President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and since 2011 she has served on the board of the Icla da Silva Foundation after a dear friend was diagnosed with leukemia. The foundation helps to save lives by recruiting bone marrow donors and providing support services to children and adults with leukemia and other diseases treatable by marrow transplants. Ms. Williams-Isom is an active board member committed to building awareness and raising resources to find a cure.


Ms. Williams-Isom was appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to his Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board in January 2016, and was selected to be a part of the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows Program in December 2015.

She is also the recipient of a Public Interest Achievement Award from the Public Interest Law Foundation at Columbia Law School (2015) and an Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Families Fellowship (2007-2008).