By Ona Alston Dosunmu
As I prepare to travel to Monterey for my first Annual Meeting since becoming Executive Director of the California Lawyers Association, I am feeling celebratory. Preparing for the Annual Meeting is a huge undertaking and I’m extraordinarily grateful to the volunteer leaders, particularly those on the Annual Meeting committee, and our professional team from Sacramento, who worked so hard to make it happen. And we have a lot to celebrate!
The Annual Meeting is an extraordinary opportunity to recognize our volunteer leaders and to honor our profession. One of the highlights of the Annual Meeting will be the swearing in of our new leadership by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on Saturday, October 12, in conjunction with the California Judges Association.
For those of you who missed the announcement: on September 17, the CLA elected Emilio Varanini as President, Jeremy Evans as Vice President, Chip Wilkins as Board Chair, Betty Williams as Board Vice Chair, Sara Rief as Secretary, and Ryan Baron as Treasurer. The new officers become “official” two days after the Annual Meeting adjourns on October 14. The new leadership team has been preparing for their year in office. While Chip and Emilio have not made any official pronouncements about their goals for the year ahead, having worked with them in their prior roles, I anticipate that they will emphasize relationship-building at all levels of the organization and continue efforts to improve communications among all elements of CLA, among other priorities.
Another opportunity provided by the Annual Meeting is the opportunity to remember that ours is an honorable profession, which positively impacts lives every day. Lawyers get a bad rap but the truth of the matter is that our colleagues in the profession are doing amazing things every day all over the state, the country and the world. We will honor some of these trailblazing rock stars Thursday, October 10, at our Annual Meeting Opening Night Awards Reception. From removing barriers for differently-abled people to diversifying the profession to setting a high bar for professional contributions just a few years into a career, we will acknowledge the tremendous contributions made by stellar California lawyers and in so doing, remember why our profession is a noble calling.