Welcome WBA Members and Friends!
Thank you for the honor and opportunity to serve as your Women’s Bar Association President for the 2022-2023 Bar year. I am very excited to lead and work together with all of you this year.
It is because of my own story and the stories I hear from my fellow women attorney friends and women generally every day that I chose our theme for the 2022-23 Bar year: Choosing Courage, Leading Authentically, Being Well.
Our personal and collective journeys take us on many a winding road. We are here, this year, to be together, to celebrate each other, to have this moment in our own personal journeys.
In what was most likely the 1870s, Ellen Spencer Mussey, co-founder with Emma Gillette of the WBA and American University’s Washington College of Law, was attending her first suffrage meeting. She said about that meeting, “Susan B. Anthony presided, with nearly all the leading women of that day on the platform. I sat next to Lucretia Mott, the Quakeress, and before long she turned to me and said, ‘Thee is frightened,’ and I had to admit that I was.”
We are at another point in history where I truly see our fundamental human rights as women threatened. I have to admit, I am a little frightened too, but I take courage in knowing that the WBA and its brilliant coalition of minds will continue to support women in their collective and personal journeys as it has for 105 years.
I believe that we cannot live in fear, but instead work with our fears as companions to encourage us to be courageous, to step through them and the shame that can shackle us — to speak up where we are called to do so.
We all have our stories, and we need to tell them. Let’s be present, vulnerable, step through fears and stand in our truths. Each of us creates change, each of us matters, our stories matter. And, our stories are not the same for a reason. We are here to learn from one another.
The WBA matters and has mattered to so many for 105 years – but the WBA is not just about us. It is about women and girls all over this country and the world (something that my 17-year-old daughter, Kate, reminds me of every day just by being her and watching her grow). It is about doing the work we must, during our turn, to make their professional and personal lives more secure and certain.
This year, we will be continuing last year’s foundational work by the Advocacy Committee to ensure we have thoughtful structures and protocols in place to responsibly use our platform and our voice to advocate – as we have for 105 years – on issues critical to the WBA’s mission and membership.
Let us also work this year to take better care of ourselves, and that includes finding moments throughout the pandemic (that we are still living with) to see one another in person.
In support of this focus on wellness, the WBA Well-Being Committee is committed to bring even more programming to our WBA membership to help us all take better care of ourselves. And further to this end, we plan to host our first ever WBA Well-Being Retreat on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala in February of 2023!
With the WBA Salons Committee, we will have more listening sessions with one another on topics that concern us, interest us, or just simply engage us more fully.
Finally, we are committed to provide our members with even more exclusive content, including bi-weekly one-hour programming on professional development, information on new topics of concern, well-being and more. Of course, WBA members will continue to benefit from the 1000+ resources in the WBA Career Toolkit Committee developed last year!
WBA membership is not limited to women, nor is it limited to licensed, practicing attorneys. If you are part of the legal community, support our mission, and want to be part of our efforts during this Bar year, please join us! Most of our events are open to non-members, and we encourage you to participate.
I sincerely, and with great joy, appreciate you all and look forward to working with you this year.
Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia 2022 Annual Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C. on May 19, 2022 (Rodney Choice/Choice Photography)