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Perspective and Approach

Professionalism is difficult to define, but perhaps it is best described by reference to four dimensions of our vocational pursuit: first, there is the matter of competence: how well we actually do what we say we do, and especially how well we foresee the long-range impacts of what we do. Second, there is integrity: what are the motives with which we do what we profess to do, and especially how much personal responsibility we are willing to take for the consequences of our work. Third, there is the matter of honesty: what we know from the inside about what we do, whether we take short cuts or are too eager to cover up mistakes. And fourth, there is perception: how do those for whom and with whom we work perceive the work we do, and the value our patients and clients place on the work for which we have been trained and through which we now practice.convention

There has been a considerable amount of "self-questioning" among the so-called "high wall" professions in recent years, notably among those who practice law, medicine, education and religion as vocational pursuits. These were the original professions for which our nation's first colleges and universities were founded for the training of (notice) young men. The so-called ideal of society was that ten per cent of the population would reach the heights of a profession, and then make themselves available to serve the needs of the remaining ninety percent. Those days are gone - but old assumptions die hard.

The movement upward of the ninety percent is, in fact, what our democratic society is all about. The movement is expansive, liberating, exhilarating for those who might be the first in their family to achieve a university degree. But the same person soon confronts the realization that the norms that have guided their endeavors have changed, and in some instances, their value as a professional is being newly examined. This has never been more clear than in the accounting profession, as, following Wall Street collusions, standards are now in flux as the profession sorts out just when and where the firm has to take an independent stand against the interests of their corporate clients.

What we are experiencing might just be a modern variant of what the Asians called the "withdrawal of the mandate of heaven," so that the professions are now having to re-shape themselves without exhausting their working capital in the process. This can only happen by intense work from within each profession itself. Pressures from the outside may define the urgency of the situation, but a profession, by the very nature of its internal dynamic, must recover from within those four dimensions that provide the legitimacy to the vocation.

CommunityNexus Consulting welcomes the opportunity to work with professional societies as they work to expand and enrich their mandates to serve the greater good of society. Our partners have assisted a number of professional organizations with Visioning a Future, energizing their membership toward new initiatives, and expanding their charitable resource base, including:

  • NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NEGRO WOMEN, Alexandria, VA
  • AMERICAN HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY, Mount Vernon, VA
  • NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS, Washington DC
  • SOCIETY FOR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION, Madison, WI
  • MEDICAL GROUP MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION, Englewood, CO
  • AMERICAN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION, Bethesda, MD
  • AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN, Washington, DC
  • BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON CONFERENCE COUNCIL ON MINISTRIES
  • NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION, Bethesda, MD
  • NORTH AMERICAN COALITION ON RELIGION AND ECOLOGY, DC
  • NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION, Alexandria VA
  • NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES, DC
  • MINORITY HEALTH PROFESSIONS FOUNDATION, Washington DC
  • LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS EDUCATION FUND, Washington DC
  • NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING, Washington DC
  • PUBLIC TECHNOLOGY INC, Washington DC
  • AMERICAN ASSOC OF NURSERYMEN/Horticultural Research Institute
  • NATIONAL CENTER for MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN, Wash, DC
  • LOUISIANA TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION -- Baton Rouge, LA
  • NATIONAL ASSOC OF STATE DIRECTORS OF SPECIAL EDUCATION