By Oyango A. Snell
CEO and Executive Director
In May, we celebrate mothers to honor their sacrifices and the love that they have for their children. While the celebration of motherhood can be traced back to ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals to honor mother goddesses, Ann Reeves Jarvis’s work, along with several other notable women, prior to and during the Civil War era, helped make the celebration of mothers thrive in the United States. Anna Jarvis sought to celebrate her mother, Ann Reeves, who organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health at a memorial service on May 12, 1907. As a result of this memorial service, the celebration of mothers became an official United States holiday in 1914.
As I have traveled around the State of California to meet bar leaders and members of our Association, I have met many women leaders who sacrifice time with their families, work, and their personal lives to dedicate their gifts and talents to helping the California Lawyers Association (CLA) become what it was designed to be—a courageous, mighty voice for all California attorneys, a vehicle to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal field, and a forum to help lawyers thrive in their practice, in society, and in their personal and professional lives. It has been an amazing journey to date, and I know we have a lot of work ahead to realize our true potential as an association.
March 23, 2022, marked my first 100 days as CEO and Executive Director of CLA. I have met with many bar leaders throughout California and abroad, worked with our passionate, committed member leaders to foster a culture of collaboration, took pivotal steps to right-size CLA’s staff to ensure that we have the human resources required to successfully serve our members, and worked with the Board of Representatives to adopt CLA’s first-ever strategic plan.
The one word that comes to mind when evaluating the state of CLA stems from my depiction of the work of Ann Reeves Jarvis, and that is “thriving.” I believe CLA is thriving to be the premier voluntary bar association of choice for California attorneys. I believe that CLA is thriving to enhance its culture and become a first-class premier employer. I believe that CLA is thriving to be a diversity champion and a living example of fostering an equitable and inclusive field. I also believe that CLA’s offerings, through our Sections, provide the most substantive, diverse, high-quality educational content in our nation, which helps lawyers realize greater potential, successful practices, and holistic, healthier lives.
Let us remember the sacrifices of all mothers, including attorneys and those in supporting roles who sacrifice so much to help our association and the legal field realize its true potential. Let us continue to thrive together to become the association we were destined to become—a voice for all, a fighter for fairness and equity, and a champion of diversity and inclusion.
On behalf of the entire California Lawyers Association Professional Team, we wish you all a Happy Mothers’ Day celebration.