Top 5 things to do to find some balance in your life…

One week into the New Year, and I am already sick of hearing about resolutions made, and resolutions lost. I have my own list of priorities for the year — not resolutions, not goals — but my own personal priorities that represent a balance of both my  personal and professional life. They are in a single document on my mobile devices, and I am scanning them each week.

Here are a few of mine:

  • Continue to live a healthier life through diet and exercise…because I feel better about me.
  • Continue to add good reading to my “to read list”…because it is good for my mind and soul.
  • Continue to grow in skill and my work as Executive Director of the MCBA…because it makes us a better bar, and is good for staff and volunteers, and makes me happy.
  • Continue to write a little each day…because it exercises my mind.
  • Continue to make time for friends and family…because being loved and laughter is good for me.

What I worked hard to do in developing these priority areas, was to make certain I had balance between personal and professional; thinking activities and physical activities. My goal is to review this list once a week to make certain I am not losing sight of any. There are probably another 6-8 of these priority areas for me, but I do need to keep a few things secret!

As I review my list, it occurred to me that perhaps this blog can be dedicated to helping you identify some of your own priorities that provide you some balance in your life. Here it goes:

Top 5 things to do in the New Year with the Monroe County Bar Association and the Foundation of the MCB:

      1. BarSTOP — the MCBA BarSTOP is a new, and very fun, monthly event held on the third Thursday of every month at the Hyatt Regency. This FREE, no registration, end of day gathering is intended to simply create a relaxed venue for you to meet friends and colleagues at the end of the day for conversation and laughs. No speeches! Friendly bar special prices. Next BarSTOP is next Thursday, January 16th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Bring some folks and meet some new folks…including our new crop of new admittees!
      2. CLEs — during those cold and blustery days of winter, it might be a perfect time to review the list of upcoming live CLEs to see if there are any hot topics that would interest you. Or, if you really don’t wish to go out at all, check out our long list of online programs that you can view from the comfort of your office, or your favorite chair at home. Survey after survey of members tell us that what they value most about our programs is that programs are delivered by local attorneys, with high-quality content and materials.
      3. Curling for a Cure with the Young Lawyers Section being a young lawyer is not a requirement in order to participate in this event on Feb. 8 (6-8 p.m.). I plan to go and I am neither young (though I am at heart) or a lawyer (though I have learned a lot from all of you over the years), and it will be fun. Our “young ones” really LOVE it when some of their more senior colleagues attend one of their events. They are enthusiastically welcoming of all new-comers to one of their events. They are not closed to YLS members only. This is Olympic Season, and here is your chance to try one of the more popular Olympic sports without being an Olympian. For more details, contact Merritt Smith.
      4. Jazz For Justice — for a 4th year in a row, the Foundation will be hosting the increasingly popular Jazz For Justice event at Harro East on Friday, March 21st starting at 5:30 p.m. This creative collaboration with the Eastman School of Music and their talented student musicians is a blend of incredible jazz, food tastings from around Rochester, adult beverages, and wonderful auction items. But the best part time with friends and colleagues in a relaxed and entertaining environment, all while raising funds for the charitable good works of the Foundation. Watch for the invitation in early February.
      5. Section & Committee Meetings — one of the best member benefits we offer is access to one of our 32 committee and section meetings. It is in these meetings that colleagues meet and dialogue, where referrals are made, where information is shared and learned, where friendships are made, where problems are resolved, where CLE’s and events are created….so if you are not in the room, with a seat at the table, you are missing out. Come be part of the dialogue. If you don’t know where you belong or where you want to be, call me and I will be happy to figure this out with you.

The theme running through these 5 items is that they will provide you with some balance in your life that will encourage:

      • good health through exercise (the curling),
      • more laughter through fun times with friends and colleagues (the BarSTOP),
      • strengthening of your brain (through CLE),
      • new business development and learning from your peers ( Committee & Section meetings and networking)
      • nurturing your soul (through great music, food and friends, and contributing to a good cause at the Jazz For Justice)

So see, those annual dues that you pay to the MCBA are rich in value if you just get up and get out….

Peace and good health in 2014.

Thanks for checking in,


Learning the technology…it never stops!

I am preparing to present to the House Finance Committee, and then to the Board of Trustees, some projections as we prepare for the 2013-14 budget. I have some pretty extensive reports that I want to translate to a variety of charts because I do believe it is easier to communicate those projections in the form of a chart vs. a spreadsheet.

In addition, I am working on a presentation for an upcoming ABA Meeting at the Annual Bar Leadership Institute Conference in Chicago. I will be there in mid-March, along with MCBA President-Elect Diane Cecero, when we attend “bar presidents school.” I am one of two presenters at a session for the new presidents titled, “Ensuring Your Bar’s Financial Future”. I am planning to use several of the same data charts at that program as well that will demonstrate the historical trends of this association with regard to membership, CLE participation, and other measurable benchmarks. I am tracking a variety of demographics including age, gender, and practice areas.

So recently I sat down to look at a blank Excel sheet, and to take the data, build the spreadsheet, then hit the magical keys to spit out the beautiful charts. Only problem is — I have not done one of these in a while, and my technique was off. So I determined that my Excel skills were a bit rusty, and a refresher course was in order.

So today, in between a few meetings here, and one at the Hall of Justice, I am taking advantage of one of our MCBA Member Benefits at is a website rich with training opportunities on everything from Excel to PowerPoint to Word to Outlook to how to build a blog, and the list goes on. is a free to members, and I have to tell you — I am really impressed!! It is easy to follow, and convenient.

Deal is, you need to come to the bar to take one of the free programs since it must be taken on a dedicated computer at the MCBA. So when you have an hour or two, call ahead, reserve the computer, come to learn, and enjoy the free coffee or soda that goes along with it.

In this age of technology, the learning NEVER stops. And if the MCBA and can play a role in keeping you ahead of the curve, then I believe we have made a small contribution.

I promise that when I complete the course, I will publish one of my very impressive charts. Watch for next week’s blog and let me know what you think. If you are interested in signing up to try one of the hundreds of online classes, contact Dajaneé Parrish at at 585-402-7198.

Meanwhile, thanks for checking in…