We would like to be the first to thank Denise Egan Stack, LMHC, who has been the dedicated president of the International OCD Foundation board of directors for the past four years. In today’s blog, Denise talks about the changes she has seen at the Foundation over the years and looks back at her time on the board. Denise will be succeeded as president of the board by Shannon Shy, Esq. — keep an eye out next week for a blog by Shannon about his new role.
Dear IOCDF community,
After four years as president of the IOCDF Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that I am handing over this role to Shannon Shy. There is no doubt in my mind that Shannon will be an effective leader during this next phase of expansion. Shannon is committed and passionate about our cause. He consistently uses our mission to guide his decision-making and he brings people to into the IOCDF community to see our mission in action. As the architect of our most recent strategic plan, he understands the direction in which the IOCDF needs to grow and how to get us there. He has my full support, and I look forward to working with him to help realize these goals.
As I transition from this role and reflect back, it’s hard for me to believe that I have been a part of the IOCDF community for almost twenty years! I first became involved in the Foundation in several different, overlapping ways. In 1997, I was one of the staff members who helped open the OCD Institute at McLean Hospital. With Michael Jenike as our medical director, I was almost immediately introduced to the Foundation community and got involved in their efforts. I met Patti Perkins, started attending the Annual Conference, and participated in the Ask the Experts online Q&A forum.
Shortly after, I started to volunteer with the OCF of Greater Boston (now called OCD Massachusetts), which is one of the longest-running affiliates of the IOCDF. I was eventually invited to take over OCD Massachusetts and serve as president, which I did for 17 years. One of my first projects with this new group was an initiative that is still very near and dear to my heart — the “OCD in the Classroom” project. After some initial brainstorming with folks at the Foundation and in local schools, I had the privilege of organizing a teacher’s conference in the Boston area. We taped this conference and the video is a core resource in the current version of the “OCD in the Classroom” kit. This kit has been widely disseminated over the past decade, sent to educators who wanted to learn more about OCD and used by our affiliates to help raise awareness of OCD in schools. As a therapist who currently works with many teens and families affected by OCD, I still look back on this contribution with great pride. I eagerly look forward to the upgrade and revamp of this program (yet another change in the works at the Foundation for 2016!) as well. I can assure you that I will once again have my hand in this critically important resource!
It was this combination of my involvement in the affiliate, my work at the OCD Institute at McLean Hospital, and my participation in the “OCD in the Classroom” project that led me to the IOCDF’s Board of Directors. At first, I was invited to give input to the board as an affiliate representative, and then in 2008, was asked to join as a full board member. In the eight years since then, I have held various positions on the board, including secretary and, most recently, president.
During these last four years as president, it has been my privilege and pleasure to serve the IOCDF community. I am pleased to say that with the help of a passionate staff and board dedicated to improving the lives of everyone in the OCD and related disorders community, we have accomplished many things. OCD Awareness Week is now global; the 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Awareness Walk will take place in four locations in the US (with many more to come!); and the Behavior Therapy Training Institute’s (BTTI) training model has been replicated by other organizations and is a staple of our own training program. I have also seen a significant evolution in the level of sophistication in our outreach, visibility, and awareness initiatives, including the launch of a new logo; a redefined mission statement; an upgrade of our websites; expansion of our reach through social media; and an increased emphasis on pediatric OCD, BDD, and hoarding disorder… so many new and important things.
While I acknowledge these many accomplishments as I transition out of this role, I also realize how many more things we need to do. When I joined the board of directors I thought, “The sky is the limit for what the IOCDF can achieve.” And I still feel as strongly about that today. Together, there are so many things we can accomplish.
Most of all, I want to thank you, IOCDF community: it has been an honor to serve you all of these years.
Denise Egan Stack
The appreciation is definitely mutual, as we’d like to thank Denise for her years of hard work and dedication to the IOCDF. We look forward to her continued service on our board and in the OCD and related disorders community!