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Home / Expert Opinion / GRAWA President’s Message: GRAWA looks forward to more members, programs

GRAWA President’s Message: GRAWA looks forward to more members, programs

Melanie Wolk

Melanie Wolk

Happy new year, and what a cold new year it has been! I hope that everyone enjoyed their respective holidays and have now made all of their new year’s resolutions. As we start 2014, I know that most of us try to take inventory of last year and plan for the upcoming year. GRAWA does the same thing.

Over the last two years, we have been trying diligently to reach a goal of 300 members. This is not an easy goal, but it is achievable. As of the publication date of this article, we are a mere 15 members short of our goal. I tried to think of something witty to “convince” people to join, but quite frankly, between our present members and GRAWA’s programming, I could think of no better reason to join. So, for all those, men or women, that haven’t “gotten to it yet,” now is the time! Please help us reach our goal of 300 members and join by the end of this month.

Besides evaluating our membership goals, GRAWA also takes inventory of our programs over the last year. We look to fill any “gaps” and to see if we can possibly schedule more and diverse programming. While we just don’t know how we are going to provide more programming than we did last year, we are increasing the amount of CLEs in the upcoming year. The events begin as early as next week, so mark your calendars.

Specifically, this month we have two wonderful continuing legal education programs. On Jan. 15, we are starting off the winter season with an ethics CLE. We have three wonderful women presenting with the Hon. Judge Morris moderating. This is a “don’t miss” event and it fulfills those dreaded and often missing ethics credits.

Then on Jan. 17, GRAWA is co-sponsoring a CLE with the MCBA and the RBBA on “Everything you Need to Know to Become a Judge.” This is the CLE for you if you have ever wondered how people become a judge or wanted to pursue that professional avenue in the future.

The afternoon CLE has an all-star cast with individuals from the Board of Elections, party chairs and judges from Monroe County City, County and Supreme Court and Federal Magistrate and District Court judges. After the CLE, enjoy a reception with the presenters.

If CLEs are not your cup of tea, we have other events coming up. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we again have our “Day of Giving.” We are doing various projects with several nonprofits, and there should be something for everyone.

In the morning, we are painting at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood and participating in a educational and informative brunch with the YWCA. In the afternoon, we are working at Foodlink and Volunteers of America. We hope that you will join us on Jan. 20.

Also, on Jan. 17, we are holding our first annual De-Stress Event at the Adirondack Lodge at Midtown Athletic Club. This event will have Dr. Michael Scharf and Dr. Autumn Gallegos teach the participants about the effects of stress and develop stress management skills. This event will be followed with a Spa Night at Luxe in March so that we can truly de-stress.

On Feb. 7, GRAWA is having its annual Go Red event, were we pair wine and chocolates in support of the Heart Association. Also, along with the RBBA, GRAWA is celebrating the election of our first female mayor, Lovely Warren, on Feb. 13. We are also scheduling our next Wine Club event, which again will have limited space, so keep your eyes on the eblasts and the website. There are many other things in the works, so please watch our website.

Finally, we would like to give special acknowledgments and congratulations to two of our members. Mary Lowenguth is an Athena Award finalist. The luncheon is scheduled for Jan. 16 and we welcome anyone to join the GRAWA table. Please just sign up at Also, Connie Walker has received the NYSBA Kay Crawford Murray Award. She will be receiving the award at the NYSBA annual meeting on Jan. 28. Please consider celebrating with us and Connie in New York City. Both of these women were nominated for their respective awards by GRAWA, another member benefit.

A brief Redmond update, he is doing quite well. He enjoyed lots of family over the holidays and finally kicked his cold in Florida over New Years. We celebrated his six month birthday with him crawling across the floor and pulling himself up on anything he could reach up on. He is now “couch walking” between furniture and I fear that we are going to have an early walker, with all the bumps and bruises that follow.

Melanie S. Wolk is special counsel with the law firm of Goldberg Segalla, LLP, and is the 31st president of the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys.