Verbal Beginnings recently had the opportunity to be a sponsor at the Women in Behavioral Analysis (WIBA) Conference in Nashville, TN. This is the third year the conference has taken place and it proved to be a big success. ABA professionals from around the nation were able to come together and collaborate through a shared love of the ASD community. We had the chance to ask WIBA founder Devon Sundberg a few questions about the history of WIBA and the importance of the conference.
Verbal Beginnings: What’s the story of how WIBA came about? How did you come to be involved?
Devon Sundberg: Truly WIBA came about through the intersection of several of my life experiences. In 2015-2016, I co-chaired our state ABA conference and learned that it was truly an enjoyable experience. Also through the years, my husband and I had been raising our 3 daughters and we run an ABA center. My experience as a mother of daughters along with my professional experience made me realize how gender always affects how we approach the world and how the world interacts with us. We saw a need and wanted to address it.
VB: What’s been your biggest joy in seeing it come alive for the 3rd time?
DS: This year was the best year yet. It really went off without a hitch. It was good to see that our culture of vulnerability and acceptance strengthened this year and it seemed that more attendees with diverse backgrounds felt welcome. From behind the scenes, I began to experience how increasing the diversity of our field made us stronger and happier.
VB: Did you get a chance to attend any of the presentations? What was one of your favorites?
DS: I always attend the invited presentations. My favorite was Shahla Ala’i-Rosales’ presentation on cultural responsiveness as I knew the least about this topic. I am beginning to learn how I am privileged and that self-awareness is pushing me forward to becoming more culturally sensitive. I also learned how being culturally sensitive is beneficial through relating to the culture of client families and supporting that culture. In turn, we can have better results for the client family, ourselves and the science of behavior analysis.
VB: Lastly, what would you say is the #1 thing organizations should do to “empower, celebrate and mentor women behavior analysts and highlight their contributions to the field” on a day-to-day basis?
DS: I’m not sure there’s one simple thing that organizations can do. I don’t think there’s one thing that we do at our organization. Like being disciplined about ethics prevents us from engaging in unethical behavior, we also have to be disciplined about how gender and other factors affect our daily experiences. I would suggest that organizations commit to prioritizing education on race, gender, sexuality and other factors that contribute to our collective and individual experiences with each other and the people we serve. If we do this, our interactions will be more effective and rewarding.
For more information about WIBA or WIBA Conference 2020, click here.