Words cannot express how privileged I am to serve as President for the Mississippi Women Lawyers’ Association for 2014-2015.
But, I’m going to give it my best shot. . .
I am so honored to have the opportunity to serve an organization that has provided me so much support and fellowship. On behalf of the 2014-2015 Board of Directors, I would like to welcome our members, both new and returning, and encourage each one of you to utilize MWLA as it was imagined by its founders – a supportive, diverse community for female attorneys throughout Mississippi.
In contemplating this year’s theme, I happened upon a little bit of historical luck coupled with the perfect coincidence while channel-surfing—the ultimate form of serendipity. The 2014-2015 year coincides with a special anniversary for all lady lawyers: the 100th anniversary of the first female admitted to the Mississippi Bar.
Seriously? This falls during my term as MWLA President?
Oh, for the love of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, thank you. . . .
But, to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds—you do not want to mess up when you have 100 years’ of history to honor.
Struggling with how to incorporate this special occasion into our theme, an afternoon of rare, uninterrupted television time took me across an interview with one of my favorite actresses, Shirley MacLaine, where she said one of the most profound comments I’ve heard:
"I’m pleased that I saw a trail and I walked down it without knowing what I was going to find."
This comment resonated as I wondered where any of us would be without 100 years’ worth of women who had this very same thought. Where would we be if without these women who blazed the trail without knowing if they could (or would) make a difference?
In celebration of those women who paved the way for others, this year’s theme is “Trial by Fire: 100 years of Blazing a Trail.” It is my hope that we can use this year to honor past, current, and future leaders while continuing to chronicle our past to prepare us for the future. I encourage you to participate in these efforts to further this organization’s purpose.
Looking ahead to this year, I cannot help but be excited at the wonderful opportunities—whether educational, social, or community-based. MWLA will continue to support both Dress for Success: Metro Jackson and Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers’ Association. We will also, once again, put together a team for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. We will also hold our annual Day of Leadership on May 8th.
On behalf of all amazing ladies who make up your Board of Directors, I am excited to see you all at one of the upcoming events. Please check the calendar of events and sync your smart phone calendars accordingly!
However, MWLA’s greatest strength isn’t the CLE we provide at our membership meetings, the awesome speakers we line up for events, or even the great happy hour socials we throw. . .it’s the membership. It’s YOU. MWLA covers the entire state – from Tishomingo County to all the way down to the Gulf Coast and every creek, dirt road, and county in between. I challenge each of you, right after you fill out your membership or renewal form, to send it to a colleague, a friend, a former law school study buddy, and, YES, even that opposing counsel that refused you an extension for those discovery responses. (Hey, she needs love, too. . . )
Women supporting women starts with women encouraging women to get involved.
Be the change you want to see in our profession!
Finally, I want to thank the Board of Directors for “being that change” and getting involved. They are an exceptional group of women and I look forward to working with each of them this year. If you are interested in committee work, need more information on our events, or just want to let us know how great you think MWLA is, please feel free to email me or any of the Directors.
Again, thank you all for giving me this opportunity to blaze my own trail in this organization and, most definitely, “be the change” I want for our profession.
Greta L. Kemp, President
Mississippi Women Lawyers’ Association