Counseling Today, From the CEO

CEO’s Message: Being thankful year-round

Richard Yep November 1, 2021

Richard Yep, ACA CEO

Every November, many in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving. For some, it’s an extra day off from work. For others, it’s a chance to eat way more than needed or to start their shopping for the holidays.

But there are others who use this holiday to gather with friends and family, to reflect on what they are grateful for and to help those who are less fortunate. I believe these three elements of Thanksgiving need to be practiced every month of the year. It can be uplifting to recognize those we are thankful for and to reach out and help those who are facing challenges such as food insecurity or being unhoused.

Some of you know where this is going. I look at the counseling profession and see that many of you are doing this amazing work all year, not just at Thanksgiving. I honor you, I am in awe of you, and I am thankful for you.

There are many things for which I am thankful, and one mainstay has been my work with the staff of the American Counseling Association. During my 32 years with the association, I have worked with so many incredibly talented, compassionate and dedicated individuals. They show up ready to work (whether in person or, over the past 20 months, virtually) day in, day out. And they are undaunted by obstacles that are put in ACA’s path.

I remember when the association was experiencing serious financial trouble more than two decades ago, and to keep things going, staff had to do more with less (literally). But very few, if any, left ACA during that time. Why? Because we have been blessed through the years with a dedicated group of amazing human beings.

So, when I reflect on what I am thankful for, in addition to my family, I also include the terrific group of staff people who are dedicated to helping make the counseling profession even better.

Some of you are aware that I informed the ACA Governing Council this past summer that this would be my final year as your CEO. My time with the association is slated to come to a close on June 30, 2022. Although I won’t bore you with a trip down my 32 years of “memory lane,” I want to make sure that I share some reflections that highlight my time with the association. Some people spend more than half their working life in the same organization. In my case, it is more like half of my entire life that I have been with ACA.

Although I still have another seven CEO columns to write, I wanted this one, during the month when this country celebrates Thanksgiving, to express my gratitude to my colleagues. The talent that we now have is truly exceptional. I hope you know how much I appreciate you. (Perhaps I need to make this column mandatory reading for all ACA staff.)

As always, I look forward to your comments, questions and thoughts. Feel free to call me at 800-347-6647 ext. 231 or to email me at You can also follow me on Twitter: @Richyep.

Be well.

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