Just about two weeks ago, I was given the honor of being one of the 13 finalists for the Women’s Council Athena Award. I have to tell you, it was an incredible honor, and humbling. I recall my first meeting with the other 12 finalists, and a little bit of the “why am I here?” feeling started to kick in. On the day of the luncheon, in the room of 800+ people, I looked out from the dais to see so many extraordinary women in attendance at the luncheon, and once again I asked myself, “so why am I here?” The Women’s Council manages to make ALL of the finalists feel celebrated from the moment you learn the news when a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrives in your office, with a letter carrying the news. After that it is a series of events, introductions and getting to know 12 other incredible women leaders. On the day it was wonderful to be joined by my mom, two of my children, two of my brothers, the MCBA staff, members of the Board and lots of other friends and members in the audience. It was a great day! Only sad part about not being the “recipient” is that I had prepared some brief remarks that were all about bragging rights on the incredible, hardworking lawyers we have in Rochester.
Hard work is part of the DNA my parents passed on to me and my 5 brothers. My oldest brother, Peter, ran a business college in Prague. My second brother, David, just returned to Rwanda yesterday where he is the Executive Director of a CHABHA (a program that is assisting children that are living with AIDS/HIV or were orphaned as a result of the disease and the unrest in Rwanda). My third brother, Mark is a chef at the B&B Ranch in Cooperstown. Fourth brother, Tom, assumed the reigns from my Dad and took over the family business, R. G. Loewenguth Company, a very successful metrology and gauging representative. And the youngest brother, Eric, also a very successful salesman, like his Dad and brother, Tom, with Seimens. (Eric is the guy we call when Mom needs a new set of hearing aids, which is all too frequent since she loses them). Like all of you, we work because we need to provide for our families, and because we love what we do.
We don’t work to receive kudos or daily praise, but I’d be lying if I did not say, as humans, we do value those moments when someone says, “Hey, nice job!”
In my case, the Athena nomination was made even more sweet in that it came from our good friends at GRAWA. It was GRAWA’s Nominating Committee that led the charge on my nomination, with letters of support from my president, Diane Cecero, and Partnership Campaign Chair, Justin Vigdor. I have valued my relationship with GRAWA since the very beginning, and have always worked hard to support them, and in return, they welcome me as a “member”. Considering all the great women of GRAWA, the fact that I was nominated by them, made it all that much more meaningful.
As bar associations, we look for opportunities to celebrate our members and their many accomplishments. Just this week down in New York City at the New York State Bar Association meeting, our past president, Connie O. Walker received the Kay Crawford Murray Award, given by the Committee on Women in the Law of the New York State Bar Association. This award is presented to an attorney who enhances diversity in the profession and advances the professional development of women attorneys. Connie deserves to be celebrated for all she does in the MCBA and in the community.
Like GRAWA’s Awards Committee, the MCBA has its own Awards Committee whose purpose is to review potential awards, and submit nominations of our members for consideration. In her second year as Chair, Beth McDonald, is a tireless advocate for celebrating her colleagues and their hard work. Now in the first quarter of the new calendar year, Beth and her small, but dedicated committee, are encouraging members to submit nominations for the many awards presented at Law Day and the Installation Dinner. Amongst the awards we will be celebrating:
The Outstanding Jurist Award — From the Association and presented at Law Day. Nominations due: March 5.
The Humanitarian Award — From the Foundation and presented at Law Day. Nominations due: January 31.
The Adolph J. Rodenbeck Award — From the Association and presented at Law Day. Nominations due: March 5
The Charles F. Crimi Award — From the Association and presented at the Annual Installation Dinner. Nominations due: March 28.
The Raymond J. Pauley Award— From the Academy of Law and presented at the Annual Installation Dinner. Nominations due: March 28.
Senior Attorney Award for Service — From the Association and presented at the Annual Installation Dinner. Nominations due: March 28.
Emerging Bar Leader Award — From the Association and presented at the Annual Installation Dinner. Nominations due: March 28.
When I walk through the hallways and meeting rooms of the MCBA and the Telesca Center for Justice, seeing so many of you on a regular basis, attending one of our 32 committee and section meetings, presenting a CLE, working for the Foundation on Jazz For Justice, or supporting one of the legal service partners in the Center, I think we need to find a way to award all of you. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. However, I do wish to take this moment to encourage you to think of nominating a friend or colleague for one of the many awards presented in the months ahead.
For me, being recognized with another group of successful women, many of them non-profit Executive Directors, or leaders of for-profits, it was being recognized and celebrated with your peers that made it all so meaningful. So I encourage you to take a few minutes to read over the various award criteria, and consider nominating a friend or colleague. None of us are ever comfortable having the lime light on us, but if we can get comfortable with that, and with accepting the praise, we must admit — it is a lovely feeling. Not to mention, you earn a little more respect from your younger brothers and children, if only for a short while, because they are proud of you.
Lastly, if you are interested in being one of the Award Committee Champions that prepare, develop and review the nominations for submission, I know Beth McDonald would welcome your participation on the committee. Please give me or Beth a call.
Thanks for checking in. Stay warm…