Growing up in rural Minnesota, Joyce Wilson (MSW ’68) PhD, LISW, knew nothing about social work. Yet she sees now that her humble beginnings, along with the sales skills and empathy she developed as a clerk in her town’s general store, prepared her well to become a leader in the field. Wilson spent six years with the Red Cross during the Vietnam War before entering GSSW. MSW in hand, she moved to New Mexico specifically because its culturally diverse population lacked mental health resources. “This was a place I could pioneer!” she says. Wilson honed her skills at a university-affiliated mental health center, earned her PhD and worked on a disability-related grant just as the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. In 1980, she founded the state’s first employee assistance program, contracted with dozens of clients, achieved national accreditation and eventually created a statewide EAP network.
Joyce Wilson, MSW ’68