Dear ACC Greater Philadelphia Members and Friends:
Wow, where does the time go? As the clock ticks down and I reflect on 2022, I must first take a brief moment to emphasize how truly humbled I have been by the opportunity to serve as a leader of ACC Greater Philadelphia over the last ten years and – most especially – to follow in the footsteps of so many exceptional Past Presidents who shaped this Chapter for nearly four decades. I was also incredibly privileged to work side-by-side with so many dedicated and passionate professionals: our Officers, Board of Directors, Network and Committee leaders, chapter members, sponsors, and, of course, our wonderful and tireless Chapter Administrators, Chris Stewart and Denise Downing and Chapter Assistant, Joanne Ray, all of whom give so much of themselves to make this a world-class organization focused solely on providing best-in-class educational and professional networking opportunities to our members.
In October we travelled to Las Vegas, Nevada for ACC Global’s Annual Meeting where we celebrated our global organization’s 40th Anniversary. Over the course of reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, I was so proud to represent our chapter and was happy to see that we are consistently recognized as one of ACC Global’s premier chapters earning a Gold Chapter of Distinction award – the highest possible rating. The award is given only to those chapters who excel in several areas - governance/operations; membership recruitment; programming; awards/recognition programs; scholarships/pro bono work; and marketing/public relations. And that is, of course, thanks to our nearly 1800 wonderful members who are some of the most active and involved members in the world.
In November we held our long-awaited Fall Gala at the Reading Terminal Market after being postponed from 2020. In spite of a Phillies World Series loss that night, we had a fantastic time dancing, connecting, eating, drinking and recognizing participants in our Diversity Corporate Internship Program. Our Gala is one of two times a year we gather with all of our members and Sustaining Sponsors (without whom we would cease to exist) and it was truly a memorable occasion. November also saw the return of our Paralegal Forum after a two-year hiatus. What a great way for our network of para professionals and legal assistants to commune, share knowledge, get educated, and hand out some awards (over delicious lunch of course!)
Now, in December, as we look forward to many more programs and events (including our Chapter Holiday party on December 13!) we can reflect on all we’ve accomplished this year as a chapter:
- We strengthened and deepened our commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging by hosting our first (and second) annual Diversity Summit and weaving these important topics and priorities into everything we do. We can truly say now that we have DEI&B in our DNA!
- We continue to recognize the toll our careers place on our physical and mental wellbeing and have committed to improvement by forming our Health and Wellness Committee, which has implemented some great programs like standing desks at CLEs, a meditation room at our IHCC, and group workout/networking sessions. Of course, we have also continued our close collaboration with Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, a wonderful organization committed to reducing impairment among the legal community.
- We hosted or co-sponsored more than 80 events.
- We provided nearly 100 hours of CLE sessions and certified many thousands of CLE credits for members in PA, NJ and DE.
- We exceeded 1,800 members.
- We increased our leadership efforts in pro bono, diversity and community service.
- We continued to enhance our publicity and social media presence, engaging a marketing firm to provide us with a branding refresh for our communications and increasing content on our social media.
Of course, we cannot reflect on 2022 without expressing a heartfelt note of gratitude to our long-term Chapter Administrator, who announced her retirement effective in 2023. Over the last 22 years, Chris has been the engine that has kept our chapter running. Presidents and Boards come and go, but Chris has been our constant guide and has been the single most important factor in helping the organization achieve our loftiest goals! While we are sad to be losing Chris (though she promises she’ll be around, if only to give us a hard time!) we are thrilled to introduce Denise Downing as our new Chapter Administrator. Denise brings with her years of experience with organizations like ours, and her company, Neff & Downing Management Services, has been a leader in the association management space for more than 40 years. Please join me in welcoming Denise and her team to ACC Greater Philadelphia!
ACC Greater Philadelphia is in a very healthy place, but I’m even more excited about our future. I couldn’t be more pleased to hand over the reins to our next President, Lisa Fleischer, who will bring her organization, determination, and charisma to the role and ensure our continued success in 2023. This Chapter will be in excellent hands and I look forward to all the many great things that we’ll accomplish under Lisa’s leadership.
In the meantime, I wish everyone a safe and festive holiday season, and a very Happy New Year!
Daniel R. Slawe
ACC Greater Philadelphia