Letter From The President Of The Washington Metropolitan Chapter Of The Association Of Corporate Counsel

2008-01-01 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

In the beginning of 2007, the WMACCA Board adopted a five-year strategic plan to ensure that WMACCA stays strong, vibrant, and effective. I very much appreciate the support that the WMACCA Board members provided in this planning effort, as they did in all the activities and initiatives the chapter has undertaken this year.

With one year under our belts, it is a good time to note our accomplishments in meeting these goals of the strategic plan:

• Membership: In 2007, we have made great efforts to get more members involved in WMACCA by recruiting new volunteer leaders for our Forums, providing more opportunities for members to participate on panels and present programs, and sponsoring community service events and pro bono activities. Thank you to all who have participated. Thanks, also, to board member Tom Hickey who, as membership chair, has taken on the important task of ensuring that we remain the largest ACC chapter.

• Finance: In 2007, WMACCA took important steps to ensure continued stable funding for programs and activities by adopting a new sponsorship program. The new model was very successful. We are extremely grateful to all our sponsors for their support of the chapter - not just financially, but by participating in and supporting all of the programs and activities we provide.

• Programs: In 2007, we provided a stellar array of more than 60 CLE programs, and greatly increased the number of participation opportunities for WMACCA members in programs and events. We made many events more accessible by increasing our use of teleconferences and Web seminar technology. Thank you to Vice President for Programs Kevin Lapidus and board members Stephen Dwyer and Jennifer McGarey, for all their efforts.

• Operations: In 2007, we added new staff members to manage the greatly increase services and provide additional member services. Thank you to Frost Telegadas, regional coordinator, for all the programs and events she organized in our Virginia service area; Robin Hayutin, program manager, for handling the calendar and program logistics; Susan Verner and Kay Bailey, for being jacks-of-all-trades in support of the chapter, and Beth Sherman, for her work on the Corporate Scholars Program.

• External Affairs and Advocacy: We have continued to enhance the image and reputation of WMACCA and the in-house bar among members of the bar, bench, press, political leaders, law-related organizations, service providers and business leaders, by making new contacts with leaders in these areas and involving them in WMACCA activities.

• Corporate Counsel Awards: This year's Corporate Counsel Awards Reception was bigger and better than ever. We have seen evidence of the perceived value of the Corporate Counsel Awards as winners of the awards have included that information in their professional biographies and company filings and press releases. Many thanks to Manik Rath, WMACCA Vice President for External Relations, for his leadership of the awards program. We also are grateful to the members of the legal and business communities who have supported the awards program by serving as judges over its first three years, helping us recognize an outstanding group of finalists and winners.

• Corporate Scholars Program: The Scholars Program had its most successful year, with nine students receiving scholarship awards and participating in summer internship opportunities - the largest class of Scholars in the Program's four-year history. We were also thrilled to be able to increase the scholarship stipends this year. Because of the success of the chapter's sponsorship program, we also were able to ensure that we have funding for the 2008 Program. Thank you to Brandon Fitzgerald and Vanessa Allen for their leadership of this program, as well as to all the WMACCA members who participated in selecting and mentoring the Scholars, and to the organizations who hosted the internships.

• Pro Bono and Community Service Activities: Board member Bob Gans led a tremendous program this year, greatly expanding our use of pro bono and community service activities to provide new and different opportunities for members to participate in WMACCA, improve our outreach to disadvantaged communities in our service area, and enhance the reputation of WMACCA and its members. In addition to Bob, we thank all the WMACCA members and sponsors who participated in the projects we sponsored. Look for more of "Team WMACCA" in 2008.

We hope our members will join us on Wednesday, January 30 at noon, for our WMACCA Annual Meeting and Signature Luncheon Program. We will elect new officers and directors for the chapter, and kick off the new year. Our keynote speaker at the meeting will be Robert S. Bennett, a senior partner with Skadden Arps, who is renowned in his field as an exceptional trial lawyer who has represented many corporations and individuals (including directors and officers) in high-profile matters. Mr. Bennett will share his insights into the defense of corporations in the SOX era and managing the public relations aspects of a high-profile case.


Mary Kennard