Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, Founder and Karen Wulfson, LMFT, Co-Founder, created and led the SM-WLA AAMFT Networking District as the Co-Chairs from 2007-2014.
From 2009-2013, the highly successful LA-CAMFT SM-WLA AAMFT collaboration presented monthly networking meetings that were well attended, interesting and invigorating, joint gatherings for the members of both organizations, and the local therapist community.
Just a little history: In October of 2007, Lynne Azpeitia and Karen Wulfson sent out an invitation for members of AAMFT to join us for our first leadership planning meeting for the new SM-WLA AAMFT Networking District. We received an enthusiastic response and, from that first meeting, established a large SM-WLA Core Leadership Team (CLT). That CLT then went on to organize a series of highly popular networking meetings for the local therapist community, held at The Daily Grill Restaurant, in Santa Monica.
The Santa Monica-West L.A. AAMFT Networking District, was a professional community that aimed to increase the business, professional and clinical expertise, success and visibility of MFTs, students, and interns, who served the local communities on the Westside and worked with individuals, couples, and families in private practice, community and governmental agencies, schools, clinics, businesses, counseling centers, and hospitals.
Family-friendly mental health professionals who attended SM-WLA District networking meetings expected to take home high quality business, professional and community information, and resources to use personally, and in their particular practice setting with clients, employees, colleagues, and organizations.
While SM-WLA was growing and thriving, in 2009 the Los Angeles Chapter of CAMFT, now led by Jonathan Flier, was in the process of redefining itself, as it reached out to develop a new Board of Directors and to increase membership and participation in meetings.
In March 2009, because of the great success Lynne Azpeitia, MFT, and Karen Wulfson, MFT, had with starting, developing, and maintaining the Santa Monica-West LA Networking District Meetings, their core leadership team member, and new LA-CAMFT President, Jonathan Flier, MFT, asked Lynne and Karen if they would partner with him to help him revitalize and start up LA-CAMFT again and let LA-CAMFT use the successful meeting format, forms, policies, procedures, marketing, and committee structure that they had originated.
Lynne and Karen generously agreed to help Jonathan rebuild LA-CAMFT and to let LA-CAMFT use the intellectual property, meeting registration process, meeting program format, structured networking process, table host hospitality system, meeting documents, and CEU distribution system they had created.
The two groups (SM-WLA and LA-CAMFT), with Board members in common, quickly decided that, since we all have similar goals for networking, making connections, and providing educational opportunities for our members, we would much prefer to work together to establish a local therapeutic community. So, in April of 2009, we held our first collaborative event at the Beverly Hills Country Club. Our collaboration was an instant hit, and we continued to grow and enjoy our inter-organization connections.
Since that initial request in 2009, the Santa Monica-West LA Networking District of AAMFT (SM-WLA) and the Los Angeles Chapter of CAMFT (LA-CAMFT) partnered together for 5 years to bring the local MFT Community together for a Brunch and Networking Meeting most months from April 2009 through September 2014.
During that time, Lynne Azpeitia, MFT and Karen Wulfson, MFT, SM-WLA District Co-Chairs and Jonathan Flier, MFT, LA-CAMFT President, worked together along with the boards and committees of both organizations to transform monthly meetings into an interesting and invigorating joint gathering for the members of both organizations and the local therapist community.
As a result of this collaboration and change of venue from Santa Monica Daily Grill to the Beverly Hills Country Club, attendance at the combined SM-WLA LA-CAMFT meetings increased from 65-70 people per meeting to 100-125 per meeting, increasing opportunities for connection, jobs, internships, and other opportunities.
During the five year partnership both organizations were proud to offer quality professional development presentations, CEUs, and opportunities to network with other local professionals at our meetings for an affordable price.
These warm, welcoming and friendly networking meetings featured brunch, networking, speakers, announcements, opportunity drawings, our famous participant contact list, office space list, a huge literature table and CEUs.
The shared collaboration between SM-WLA AAMFT and LA-CAMFT ended in October 2014. SM-WLA AAMFT was dissolved in 2014 by AAMFT-CA and their $10,000 plus treasury was absorbed by AAMFT-CA.
This article was previously published in 2014 on the SM-WLA webpage of the AAMFT California website.