Association for Specialist in Group Work

Editor’s note:
Information for each candidate, including biographical information, qualifications and reasons for seeking office is published below and in the December issue of Counseling Today. Online voting for all ACA, division and region elections will begin Dec. 1. The following answers are published as the candidates submitted them. They have not been edited.



Ana Puig

ASGW has been my professional home since 2008. Most of my clinical experiences over 25 years have been grounded in group work and belonging in this family of practitioners, teachers, and students is a source of great pride and fulfillment. I feel called to serve the organization that welcomed and soon challenged me to step-up, contribute, and lead. I have regularly presented at ASGW’s biennial conferences and served as co-chair of the International Committee and the Awards Committee. I am currently chair of the Product Management Committee. I have contributed to ASGW publications and led an editorial team for a special issue of the Journal for Specialists in Group Work focusing on International Group Work Practice, Research, and Teaching. I believe that my professional training and experiences have prepared me well to assume the responsibilities of President-Elect and serve ASGW for the required three years. I have many years of experience serving in and chairing strategic planning committees and preparing publication content for large audiences, planning, organizing and coordinating a variety of events. I have led planning meetings for diverse stakeholder groups and assigned roles and tasks for committee members. My past and present leadership experiences attest to my qualifications and abilities for the office of President-Elect. Group work is my passion and I am fully committed to advancing the mission of ASGW by using my past and current leadership, culturally diverse, collaborative, national and international experiences to support our organization’s strengths and to help it continue to grow. I would be honored to help lead the way with all of you. I want to contribute to ASGW because ASGW has been a welcoming home for me. I would be honored to serve all ASGW members in a spirit of passionate, creative, and collaborative leadership.


Julia Champe

Since my first experience as a group member, nearly 20 years ago, I’ve been a ‘groupie.’ Time and again, first as a member and later as a group facilitator, teacher, and supervisor, I have witnessed the transformative power of groups. One of my greatest professional pleasures is teaching group and inspiring developing practitioners to become group workers. An ASGW member since the early 2000s, I served four terms on the ASGW Human Rights and Diversity Committee, two as Chair. I am an editorial board reviewer for JSGW and have been an active participant at ASGW conferences, presenting with colleagues and students on a variety of group work topics. I am a recipient of an ASGW Emerging Scholar award and have co-authored several articles on group work theory and practice, two of which have received the JSGW Article of the Year award. It would be an honor to serve ASGW as Treasurer, and an opportunity to give back to an organization that has been a professional ‘home’ for me. As ASGW Treasurer, I will be committed to contributing to the organization’s important work by ensuring that ASGW financial resources are well-managed.

Kara Ieva

Hello Counselors! My name is Kara Ieva and I am an associate professor for the Counseling in Educational Settings program at Rowan University. I am excited about the potential to serve as Treasurer for the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW). Group counseling is a passion of mine and I feel that it has multiple benefits for all participants and counselors. I have been fortunate to provide group counseling to high school and college students for the past 15 years, and that experience truly enhances my teaching, research, and practice. I have served ASGW in a variety of capacities through the years, including Research Committee member from 2008-213, the Co-Chair for the Human Rights Committee (2010-2013), and Professional Development Chair (2013-2016). Additionally, I have served a three-year term as treasurer for the New Jersey Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (NJACES). I have finally chosen to run for office, because I believe in the mission and vision of ASGW and look forward to being able to further serve the larger ASGW community.

Kathy Ybanez-Llorente

I am honored to be nominated for the position of Treasurer for ASGW. I am an Associate Professor at Texas State University and have been a counselor educator for 13 years. I provide post-graduate clinical supervision and have 9 years of clinical experience working with children, adolescents, and families in community agencies, private practice, and inpatient psychiatric settings. Facilitating groups for adults with severe mental illnesses, substance abuse, process groups, anxiety reduction groups with elementary aged children, and groups utilizing play therapy techniques have molded my approach to teaching, namely utilizing group principles to manage classes while facilitating experiential learning. Since 2001, service to the profession has been integral to my professional identity. Serving in various roles on an Executive Board of a large ACA division for 8 years allowed me to understand how a division Treasurer works with ACA to establish service agreements, the importance of increasing and maintaining membership, and successful production of conferences. As President of TACES, I worked closely with Treasurers to oversee finances and ensure fiscally responsible spending. Similar to ASGW’s relationship with ACA, TACES worked closely with TCA. I served as Treasurer of a Chi Sigma Iota chapter in graduate school, and as faculty advisor helped bring a CSI chapter from a zero balance to a financially healthy position, allowing for the freedom to increase professional development. Presenting at the 2016 ASGW conference allowed me to witness the ease with which ASGW members created connections and supported colleagues, both new and old. I look forward to working with colleagues who share a passion for group work. With my past experiences conference planning, fiduciary responsibility to members, and financial management of division funds, I would be honored to use my previous leadership experience to be a part of the continued growth of this dynamic organization.