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GRAWA President’s Message: Reflecting on a year as president

grawaprezFor my last column, I am taking a moment to reflect on the year, particularly the people who contributed to GRAWA’s efforts and some of the events and successes that we had.

It has been an exciting year. GRAWA offered numerous activities and events for members and for the community. There were too many to list them all here, but they included: volunteering for events at Wilson Commencement Park; a wine cruise for participants in the MCBA’s Diversity Clerkship program; a “headshot” event with the RBBA; GRAWA’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Community Service; GRAWA’s annual Go Red event to raise funds for the American Heart Association; a screening of the documentary “I’m Not a Racist, Am I?” with follow-up discussion; and, of course, our annual Holiday Party.

These events were all coordinated by GRAWA Committee Chairs and members and were tremendous successes. GRAWA’s CLE Committee planned numerous CLEs on topics including Post-Conviction Advocacy for Survivors of Trafficking, Education Law, and Veterans legal matters. We also collaborated with some of our sister chapters of WBASNY to offer events including a reception for the newly appointed Justices of the Fourth Department, a “Gavel Gap” CLE addressing diversity on the bench in New York, and a luncheon with Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. Additionally, GRAWA’s Nominations Committee worked tirelessly to promote our members in the community and at the state level.

Several GRAWA members served in positions with our parent organization, the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”). As always, they represented GRAWA and the Rochester community admirably. And we are excited that our own Greta Kolcon will be sworn in as president-elect of WBASNY in a little over a week. She will be the first GRAWA member to serve as president of WBASNY. Congratulations, Greta!

GRAWA continued to work jointly with the Monroe County Bar Association and the Rochester Black Bar Association on projects and events to promote diversity and awareness on matters impacting our profession and the community. As always, GRAWA appreciates the MCBA and RBBA’s willingness to work together.

Our successes would not have been possible this year without the time and effort of many people, and in that regard, I would like to extend a few “thank yous”:

First, I want to thank the GRAWA Board for their constant, dedicated work and support. I was excited coming into the year because of the caliber of people serving on the Board, and they exceeded my expectations. Every Board member made significant contributions to their positions, and to GRAWA as a whole. I am deeply grateful for their efforts.

Second, I appreciate the influence and assistance of our members, too, whether as members of GRAWA committees, participants in GRAWA events, or general supporters of GRAWA efforts in the community. They make GRAWA great, and their hard work does not go unnoticed.

And, last but not least, I also extend a very special thank you to Margaret Sanchez and Sanchez and Associates for their hard work covering the administration and “behind-the-scenes” efforts for GRAWA — and for keeping me on task.

In closing, it has been an honor and a privilege to be president of GRAWA this year and to work with such an outstanding group of people. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity.

Pamela Reynolds is an associate attorney in the Rochester office of Littler Mendelson and president of the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys.