Cheers from the Chair

Russell Rawlings

North Carolina Bar Association

Ten years ago I went kicking and screaming to my first NABE Communications Workshop in Orlando, Fla. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate the hard work that had gone into planning the event, or the excellent program that the inimitable Francine Walker put together; it’s just that I did not feel as if I had the time to spend four days in Florida.

I didn’t get it.

We returned to Orlando this fall for what proved to be another outstanding workshop. Having long since been fully indoctrinated into the benefits of interacting with members of the NABE Communications Section, I was among the first to arrive and the last to leave. I cannot begin to thank everyone enough for all that they did to make this workshop a sterling success, beginning with all of the section members who attended. It did my heart good to visit the NABE website and see the words “Sold Out” emblazoned across the screen. I trust that everyone involved in planning, programming and presenting knows how truly grateful I am for their efforts. I am forever indebted to the workshop chair, Sharon Nolan of the Chicago Bar Association, for taking the ball and running with it for the better part of two years.

The lasting benefits of this and every other workshop I have attended only begin with the events denoted in the program. Added value is found in informal settings, whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself to engage in one-on-one conversations. That’s how we get to know one another; more importantly, it’s how we come to appreciate one another.

This year, for instance, I learned a valuable lesson just from taking the time to visit with a colleague in the hotel lobby. This is an individual who has always impressed me, but until this moment I never fully realized what is was that made him special. As the conversation wore on and we discussed any number of issues, I realized that he never says anything bad about anyone. The opportunity presented itself many times, but never once did he take the bait. Instead, he either chose to find something positive to say or said nothing at all.

Taking the high road is not an original concept, but it’s nice to be reminded that there are people who still do it, and that I should do it too.

Thank you Dominick Alcid, for doing so.