Affiliate Leaders Train to Lead in the Year Ahead

Vol. 39 No. 6


Raul Chacon, Jr., is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate, a 2013 ABA YLD Scholar, and an Associate with the Greenwood Village, Colorado, firm of Burns, Figa & Will, P.C.

The 2014 ABA YLD Spring Conference started off with a bang in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as ABA YLD Affiliate leaders attended a special training program. The four hour training program was held on May 15, 2014, and was designed specifically to prepare young lawyers for affiliate leadership positions.

The leadership training program, called “Affiliate Leadership Training: Now You’re a Leader,” was designed to play a special role in the conference since the planning stages of the Spring Conference. Erica Grinde, ABA YLD Conferences, Programs & Products Director, was enthusiastic about the special efforts of Anna Romanskaya, ABA YLD Affiliate Assistance Team Director, to coordinate the training, stating that it was included in conference programming at no additional fee for conference attendees and provided additional value for participants attending the conference.

The Unique Needs of Affiliate Leadership

Although this was the first time the leadership training was offered, Romanskaya has thought about holding such training for several years. Romanskaya explained: “I was the president of our new lawyer division [in California], and during my time as president-elect, I had the opportunity to go to the bar leadership institute.” Romanskaya described the bar leadership institute as a weekend-long training program designed specifically for state bar presidents and presidents-elect. Topics covered included strategies for planning and implementing goals for the bar year.

Although she found the bar leadership institute valuable, Romanskaya noted that the institute was not specifically tailored to the unique needs of young lawyers in Affiliate leadership positions. “By definition, a young lawyers division is an entity within an entity, so the dynamics are a little different.” Romanskaya came back from the bar leadership institute inspired and set out to design and implement a leadership training program that addressed the needs of Affiliate leaders in young lawyers divisions across the country. Because Affiliate leaders generally work as leaders of a young lawyers division that functions as part of a larger state or county bar association, they often face unique issues.

After additional conversations with other Affiliate leaders, Romanskaya pitched the idea of leadership training programming to ABA YLD Chair Mario Sullivan, who gave her the freedom to implement her ideas. With the help of the Affiliate Assistance Team, Romanskaya developed programming for the leadership training. The Affiliate Assistance Team worked with Elizabeth Derrico of the ABA Division for Bar Services to develop programming. Because the Spring Conference is largely focused on Affiliates, the programming was rolled out in Pittsburgh.

Enhancing Leadership Skills

The programming, although targeted toward chairs-elect, was open to anyone attending the Spring Conference. Goals during the ABA YLD Affiliate Leadership Training included enhancing board leadership skills; facilitating peer-to-peer networking and exchange of ideas; developing skills for leading a young lawyer organization within a larger state or county bar organization; and obtaining tools for maintaining ABA YLD relevance to members, the larger organization, and the public.

Themes and topics addressed included discovering and developing your leadership style; creating S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals; designing your organizational structure; crafting an effective action plan; developing your talent management strategy; building a collaborative team environment; running successful meetings; and the ABA and YLD as your partner.

Leadership Training Kicks Off

The Affiliate Leadership Training started off with a plenary session addressing leadership skills, with Connie Walker, Law Clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr., of the Western District of New York, delivering remarks. Planning sessions were held that were tailored to the Affiliate leaders’ budgets to implement their Affiliates’ programming. Julie Colton of Voelker & Colton, LLC, and Jim Creenan of Creenan & Baczkowski facilitated “Structural Planning for Leadership Year.” Elizabeth Derrico of the ABA’s Division for Bar Services and David R. Watson of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association facilitated “Action Planning for Leadership Year.” During the Closing Session, Paige Greenlee of Sivyer, Barlow & Watson, P.A., discussed “Collaborative Team Building.” Finally, Anna Romanskaya presented a discussion of ABA YLD and ABA resources for Affiliate leaders.

Affiliate leaders attending the leadership training were provided not only with training but also with resources and materials that they could use to implement their goals during the upcoming bar year. Although this was the first year of the training, and was called the “beta year” by Romanskaya, over 40 registrants signed up in advance for the training and benefitted from it.


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