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GRAWA President’s Message: A whirlwind year comes to a close for GRAWA

Melanie Wolk

Melanie Wolk

Whew, we made it! It has now been slightly over 11 months since I took office as the GRAWA president. During this time, GRAWA has held more events than ever before (due to our dedicated members and board), increased its membership to over 300 members (thank you, Heather Neu) and our first member is being nominated as an officer to the Women’s State Bar, WBASNY — Greta Kolcon.

GRAWA’s successes are due solely because of the time, dedication and energy that its members put into the organization. I have learned many things this year about the organization, the members and myself. However, the one thing that I have fully come to appreciate, is that it is not any single member that makes the organization great. It is not the president, or a board member or a particular committee chair that keeps the organization moving forward; it’s the diverse, intelligent and giving membership as a whole that makes GRAWA, in my opinion, the best legal women’s organization in New York state.

During this year, I had a baby (whom you all know), changed jobs and often wondered if I should seek “professional” help in light of all that was going on. Despite all these changes, I never once questioned that I had the support and encouragement of our members, whether it was related to GRAWA business, professional questions or personal choices.

In fact, I was often overwhelmed by the acts of kindness and collaboration that allowed me to adjust to all the changes and grow as a leader. While I cannot say that I handled everything perfectly over the last year, I have few regrets and never once regretted my decision to take this role. Next year, I look forward to being able to re-invigorate our Guys for GRAWA program and participating with the committees again as the past-president.

There are many people that I owe a debt of gratitude to over the last year. The space that I am allotted here just does not permit me to thank everyone. However, I would be remiss not to thank the board that let me serve with them, GRAWA’s committee chairs and all of the past presidents. These individuals have provided guidance, advice and, at times, not-so-gentle nudging to make my job and this past year truly awesome.

Everyone also took on just a little more responsibility early in the bar year so that I could have more time with my son. Thank you. Tiffany Lee will be following as the 32nd president of GRAWA and I cannot thank her enough for her friendship, patience and willingness to be president-elect.

We are now planning our last event for the GRAWA bar year, Installation Dinner, which likely will be my favorite event this year. We will be accepting renewals at the dinner and I hope to see everyone there. Not to rest on our laurels, two days after Tiffany takes office, on June 4, Judge Kaye will be joining us again for our annual Breakfast & Conversations.

I encourage everyone to attend this annual event, which allows our members to have an intimate breakfast with a true leader. Additionally, please keep a lookout on the e-blasts for upcoming Newly Admitted Women Attorney events and a reception for our past president and newest Western District Judge, the Hon. Elizabeth Wolford.

This is my last (public) monthly update on Redmond. I must note that the “Redmond Paragraph” has by and large been everyone’s favorite paragraph in all of my articles. We continue to have a fun, happy and loving child. We now have six teeth and he eats everything that he sees his father eat, including garlic hummus, Thai food and wings.

We finally had our first call from daycare with his first “injury” that he inflicted upon himself; he is fine and didn’t cause any permanent scarring. He continues to sleep through the night, as he is exhausted from his active days and refusal to nap. He also can now take a few steps at a time, which is the most ungraceful and frightening thing I have ever seen.

Redmond will be making a brief appearance at the Installation Dinner cocktail hour so that he can greet and flirt with all of the members. I hope that everyone will be able to join us there.

Melanie S. Wolk is a partner with Trevett Cristo Salzer & Andolina, PC, and is the 31st president of the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys.