It’s hard to believe the holidays are upon us already. It feels like just yesterday I was stepping into Jason Evans’ shoes as Chair. So much has happened with the Forum this past year, including hosting a wide variety of monthly networking and charity events for our members, the recently successful Forum after party at the SDCBA's Stepping Up to the Bar, and starting new traditions like the Barrister’s Ball signature event that will only continue to grow and improve with each successive year.
I have learned a lot about myself and what it means to be a leader this past year. Leadership is not about a title or designation; it’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Leaders lead by example, and set the standard for others to follow. They encourage participation and open discussion of ideas, and inspire others to greatness. I would encourage many of you to think about applying for leadership positions next year in whatever organization you are a part of. As new lawyers, and particularly as solo attorneys, your success is dependent upon referrals, and referrals come from people who know you, or know your name. Volunteering for various organizations and applying for leadership roles will help accomplish both of those things. I started out as a member of multiple legal and non-legal committees and organizations, and put in the time and effort to work my way up to positions of leadership in each of them. I can easily say, without a doubt, that my leadership involvement in these various committees and organizations has been a contributing factor in my law firm’s success. I challenge each of you to find a way to give back to your community and get involved next year.
Reflecting on this year, I’d like to take just a moment to thank my Vice Chair Michael Olinik who spent timeless hours editing the monthly For the Record newsletter (which won an award this year), soliciting and writing articles, and supporting all my big ideas for the Forum. I’d also like to thank my awesome executive committee members, Michael Finstad, Ashley Rawlins, Phil Simpler, Morgan Marsland, and Chris Green who volunteered their time, energy and ideas which really contributed to the Forum’s success this year.
This will be my final letter from the Chair, as my successor, Mike Finstad, will be taking the reins next year. For those of you who don’t know Mike, he was the inspiration behind our non-profit networking mixer this year, and worked hard to make our networking events a success. He is a solo attorney focusing on business, tax and non-profit law, and a new father to a beautiful baby girl. Mike has the leadership experience in serving on non-profit boards and planning events, and has some big ideas for the Forum next year. You will also see more of Phil Simpler and Ashley Rawlins two amazing individuals who have been re-elected to the 2018 committee, along with some new faces, Monica Willian and Mellania Safarian. I know they will all do a great job next year.
It has truly been my pleasure and honor to serve as your Chair of the Forum for Emerging Lawyers this year and I hope to continue to see you all at future Forum events.