From the President
Dear Members, Colleagues, and Friends,
We have come to the close of the bar year and what a year it has been. I would like to thank all of you for your support of the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association over this past year. It has been an honor to lead our bar association and I am truly grateful for the opportunity.
This year has felt like our coming out party, if you will, as we transitioned from COVID times into a more stable, freer atmosphere which has allowed us to gather together again. We began our bar year with a trip to see the Richmond Kickers and then dived headfirst into Dobbs and personhood at our first luncheon of the bar year. Prof. Carliss Chatman of Washington and Lee Law shared her scholarship with us, giving us much to consider as we continue to navigate the reality of a post-Roe existence.
In November, we held our Fall Mentorship Social continuing our partnership with the Richmond Women’s Law to provide meaningful mentorship to law students. Additionally, Zafreen Farishta, a salary negotiation strategist and founder of The Pay We Deserve shared tips with us for navigating workplace negotiations.
In December, as is our tradition, we gathered together to celebrate the holidays. And while we were saddened to say goodbye to pianist extraordinaire Tommy Whitten, we were pleased to honor him and to welcome a new pianist, Bruce Sullivan, who performed wonderfully.
In February, after returning from the holidays and embarking on a new year, we celebrated Black History Month in collaboration with the Hill Tucker Bar Association and Soulidifly Productions at an exclusive advance screening of the feature film Freedom's Path. Through ticket sales, we were able to raise in excess of $2000 for the Mid-Atlantic Black Law Students Association.
In March, we enjoyed our Spring Mentorship Luncheon and honored this year’s Phoebe P. Hall Mentorship Award recipient Julie McConnell who shared a very personal story of how she came to the practice of law and inspired us with her dedication to public interest law.
In April, we were joined by Delegate Jeffrey M. Bourne, Delegate Carrie Coyner and Senator Ghazala F. Hashmi at our Legislative Breakfast for a lively discussion of various laws coming out of the General Assembly and other legal developments.
And finally, this month, we will honor our Woman of Achievement Award Recipients, Judge Doris Henderson Causey of the Virginia Court of Appeals and Judge Vanessa Jones of the Chesterfield Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court and hold our Annual Meeting.
In my final President’s Message, my theme is joy. Perhaps you are familiar with Marie Kondo. She is the author of the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Her advice when deciding what items in your home to keep or discard is to hold each item in your hand and ask yourself “Does this spark joy?” That’s easy advice to implement when deciding whether to keep the blouse in your closet that you haven’t worn in three years or the gnome collection you inherited, but it is harder when dealing with things that are intangible. Sometimes what we really need to do is take inventory of the intangibles in our life and decide whether they spark joy. Does it spark joy to overcommit yourself? Does it spark joy to say yes when you really want to say no? And while we are at it, perhaps we should ask ourselves if we are choosing joy enough in our lives. This is a notion I have been examining in my own life. I am in awe of people who seemingly seldom lose sight of the things that bring them joy and put those things first. I am equally in awe of people who can choose the good, choose joy while in the midst of stress or challenges.
As we end the bar year, that is my wish for all of you. I have spoken with countless members over this last year with inspiring stories of choosing joy, whether that was welcoming a child into their lives, embarking on a new adventure professionally, or refocusing their practice or lives in a manner that increases their ability to embrace joy and curate the life that they want. May you all have the space and freedom to do exactly that. You deserve it.
- Finding Me by Viola Davis – Although not strictly a book about joy, what stuck me about this book was Viola Davis’ ability to move past the unbelievable strife and unimaginable pain she experienced throughout her childhood. It is a testament to the power of forgiveness if you choose it, to choosing joy despite it all.
It’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month!
Here’s a couple other ways to celebrate: