In early September, I finally had my first visit to Edmonton. I’d been invited by the Women’s Legal Forum and Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association to speak at an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first woman called to the bar in Alberta, Lillian Ruby Clements. The focus of the event was female lawyer trailblazers and, specifically, their lessons learned in law and in life. When I first got the call from organizer Teresa Haykowsky and she explained what it was all about, I said, “But I’m not a lawyer.” She hesitated for a few moments, but only a few, and said that was just fine and they’d still love to have me come and speak.
That was great, I thought, it’s a fundraiser for a great community group (iHuman Youth Society) and there’ll be hundreds of lawyers who I will get a chance to meet. But then, I hesitated, what do I have to say that’ll be inspirational, not to mention why was I included with this stellar group of speakers that included Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Côté, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Joanne Veit, Alberta Ethics Commissioner and former QB judge Marguerite Trussler, and First Nations lawyer Corie Flett? Alberta Provincial Court Judge Rosanna Saccomani was also honoured with the first ACTLA Ruby Clements trailblazer award.
It is of no consequence, but in case you were wondering, the 400 or so lawyers and others at the event were supportive and laughed in all the right places.
But, more importantly, I was so incredibly inspired by all the speakers’ stories. Many of them had faced adversity in the profession, rising above it in their own ways. Veit and Trussler had been lawyers for decades and you can imagine some of their stories. Flett, a relative newcomer to the profession, faced some of the same. They all found what worked for them and part of that was mentors, sponsors, and others who supported them — men and women, professionally and in other ways as well. And it was that support that allowed them to flourish and for everyone in the justice system to thus benefit from their knowledge, expertise, and desire to give back to their communities through their professional and volunteer work.
I wish everyone could have been in Edmonton that night to hear their inspirational stories and to feel the extraordinarily positive and uplifting vibe at the event.
A few nights before that, I hosted the second annual Canadian Lawyer InHouse Innovatio awards, which recognized innovation in the in-house bar. There were 13 winners this year. They again set the bar high, but of particular note worked as teams (sometimes really large ones) to achieve their goals. Read all about the winners on our web site and be inspired to take some of their achievements home to your law house.
Inspiration is everywhere in this profession. Get some today.