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GRAWA President’s Message: Expressing gratitude for GRAWA’s Board of Directors

Jodie Ryan

Jodie Ryan

A board is only as good as the people who serve on it. With the Thanksgiving holiday only a few weeks away, I thought it was a perfect time to give credit where credit is due. This month my column is devoted to my Board of Directors. To that end, please bear with me as I count the many ways that I am grateful:

Katie Courtney, GRAWA President-Elect: I am thankful that Katie agreed to serve as president-elect and that she is truly devoted to GRAWA’s mission. Among other things, Katie is leading the charge for the 2018 WBASNY Convention and is chairing our 35th Anniversary Committee. I am thankful for Katie’s constant involvement with GRAWA and that she will be leading the board next year.

Pamela Reynolds, GRAWA Immediate Past President: I am thankful to Pam for giving me the opportunity to serve as the 35th GRAWA President. Pam has been a great sounding board for me and is always available to give advice or answer any questions I may have. My transition into the presidency was easier and a bit less scary because of Pam, and I am thankful for that.

Alissa Brennan, GRAWA Secretary: Alissa accepted the position of secretary almost simultaneously with accepting a new position at a local law firm and while planning a wedding! When most would have declined the invitation, I was elated that Alissa agreed to serve as secretary and is doing a great job. Alissa truly is an asset to the board and for her, I am thankful.

Meghan K. McGuire, GRAWA Treasurer: Most importantly, I am thankful to Meghan for agreeing to serve a third term as GRAWA’s treasurer. Meghan’s skill in preparing the budget, paying expenses, and monitoring GRAWA’s financial well-being is impeccable. I can sleep at night knowing that our budget is accurate and that Meghan is on top of every dime, fee or snafu that comes our way. Because Meghan’s math skills exceed those of most lawyers, I am incredibly thankful!

Stacey Trien and Destini K. Bowman, Program Committee Co-Chairs: Stacey and Destini recently coordinated and arranged the Constitutional Convention Forum, which was held last week. Other recent events they organized were the New Member Reception and Sam Patch Cruise for the Diversity Clerks. They are currently putting on the finishing touches for our Holiday Party and Holiday Shopping Event. For all their efforts in planning such wonderful events, I am thankful. If anyone ever needs a party planner, either one of these young ladies could answer the call (please wait until May when my term is up!).

Alison Moyer and Erin Heintz, Judicial Evaluation Co-Chairs: Alison and Erin recently assisted with GRAWA’s participation in the Judicial Candidates Forum, which was held Nov. 2. The judicial evaluation process is something that is very important to GRAWA; the committee is currently evaluating the process, including our Judicial Candidates Luncheon, in hopes of continuing this longstanding GRAWA tradition. I know at times it can be a thankless job that involves an incredible amount of work and devotion. I am thankful that I have these two ladies holding the reins as we travel down a path that may not be as smooth as it had been in prior years.

Marlene Attardo and Josie Sheppard, CLE Committee Co-Chairs: I am thankful for both Josie and Marlene and their recent efforts in planning the Diversity, Inclusion and Retention CLE. They are also working on collaborating with MCBA and RBBA on additional CLE, so stay tuned! They truly work together like two peas in a pod, and I am thankful that they both agreed to take on this position.

Victoria Munian, Media Chair: Victoria is responsible for uploading photos and other updates to our webpage and other media outlets. Her role on the board is critical to keeping our members updated and for shining the spotlight on award winners, special events and other recognitions. Thank you, Victoria, for all you do.

Heidi Gregory, Nominations Committee Chair: Heidi is in her second term as Nominations Chair and has been such a valuable addition to the board. She has acted as a mentor to many (including myself) and her breadth of experience on the board is priceless. The Nominations Committee is busy year-round and is responsible for nominating members for various awards, both local and statewide. I thank you, Heidi, for leading the committee and for all you do.

Adele Fine, Legislative Committee Chair: Adele stays on top of any and all legislation that may affect the board’s interests and attends WBASNY meetings to keep apprised of the latest legislative issues. She was also very involved in the recent Constitutional Convention Forum. I value Adele’s opinions and her persuasive qualities and am truly thankful she agreed to join the board this year.

Diane Cecero, Membership Chair: Diane has served in a number of GRAWA board positions and having her as the membership chair has been a delight. Her efforts to increase our membership are nonstop, and I value the experience, knowledge and charisma she brings to the table. We have our eye on the 300-member mark, and I am thankful for all Diane has done and will do to get us there.

Robin Marable, Diversity Committee Chair: Robin is a wonderful addition to the board and is currently planning our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Robin also agreed to serve on a screening committee appointed by Mayor Lovely Warren to review qualifications of the Judicial Hearing Officer to be appointed by the City of Rochester to adjudicate traffic violations. Robin is a true asset to the board.

Carey Ann Denefrio, Laura Myers and Hinna Upal, Delegates: These women are our three delegates who attend regular WBASNY Board meetings on GRAWA’s behalf. They are the face of GRAWA at those meetings and have a significant role in advancing GRAWA’s mission. I am thankful for the three of them and their willingness to travel on the weekend to attend meetings throughout the year.

Margaret Sanchez, Executive Director: There are no words to express how thankful I am for Margaret and Sanchez & Associates. Much of Margaret’s work is done behind the scenes, but let me assure you that in practically every GRAWA event that takes place, Margaret had a hand in it. I am appreciative for all she has does on a daily basis for me and for GRAWA as a whole.

As Frederick Keonig said, “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” For me, these board members remind me of this each and every day!

Jodie Ryan is of counsel in the Rochester office of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP, and president of the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys.

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