April 18, 2013

Look for ALA Currents next Thursday
This Issue Sponsored By

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Member focus

Meet ALA's New President
Another term has come and gone for our ALA leaders, but that also means we have a new Association President to introduce. Click through to meet Paul Farnsworth, ALA's new President who took over the reins this week during the 2013 Annual Conference & Exposition, and read his welcome message that discusses the benefits of ALA.
[Meet Paul]

Welcome, New Members
ALA is proud to welcome 116 new members who joined the Association in the month of March. That brings our new member count for the first quarter of 2013 to almost 450! Click through to view a complete roster of our new members, and be sure to involve them at your chapter's next event.
[View the new member list]

Chapter Selects Its Volunteer of the Year
Congratulations Norma Ayala! The Greater Los Angeles Chapter has named Ayala its Volunteer of the Year. Ayala is an Office Administrator for Gipson Hoffman & Pancione, and received the award, in part, in recognition of her work as chairperson of the Chapter's Community Connection initiative, the annual Justice Jog.

The Justice Jog is the Greater Los Angeles Chapter's largest community initiative and raises awareness and funds for nonprofits that serve the legal sector in addition to the community. Ayala was also recognized for her work with other local charitable organizations outside of her ALA chapter.

Does your chapter have a member achievement to share? We want to hear about it! Please email Associate Editor Kelly Zimmerman with your member news.


Association news

Annual Conference Recap
Check out the Annual Conference website for a daily recap of all of the education — networking — fun!
[Read more]

Session Recordings
Pre-order your recordings of sessions from the 2013 Annual Confernce & Exposition.
[Read more]

2013 Law Firm Financial Management Conference
Make plans and budget now for the Law Firm Financial Management Conference. Meeting dates, registration fees and hotel rates have been announced. Conference registration opens this summer.
[Learn more]


Committee corner

Connecting the Dots: Planning an ALA Annual Conference
By Mark Bridgeman, CLM

In September 2012, with my appointment as the 2014 Annual Conference Chair for Toronto, Canada, I began my journey as part of the already very dynamic and successful 2013 ALA Conference Committee for National Harbor, Maryland.

While much of the education planning was either completed or winding down, as a previous Conference Committee member in 2011, I was very familiar with not only planning educational sessions, but the next steps. They included speaker contacts and coming up with some creative marketing ideas to bolster not only interest in the conference, but early conference registrations, too. In December 2012, the 2013 Conference Committee suggested shifting our marketing focus to social media avenues, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the Conference blog. Blogging for the social media sub-committee ended up becoming our favorite pastime as we approached the homestretch to National Harbor.

We began getting the word out about many of the highlights of the Conference, such as our high level Keynote speaker, Peter Sheahan, the variety of brand new Conference session offerings, such as the Seasoned Administrator, The Future Law Firm Series and more. This social media frenzy ignited the interest of some of our business partners to get involved and take part in our blogs and became one of my tools and allowed me to connect the dots, as I began developing my roadmap to begin another journey planning the 2014 Annual Conference, held in Toronto May 18-21, 2014. While the contrast between the 2013 and 2013 Conferences seemed vast (foreign stage vs. U.S. stage, etc.), on many levels, I felt as though they were aligned.

While in Toronto planning, I shared my strategic vision, which included building upon the creative educational offerings that would connect the dots for all facets of our membership, including the large firm administrator, the corporate and government sectors, the functional specialist, our international members and beyond. Having such a dynamic, engaged friend and mentor in 2013 Conference Chair Karen Glowacki, I was able to see and share the end first with the team of committee members and provide them with the vision of success as we began to connect the dots in our planning journey.

As I was writing this article onsite at the 2013 Annual Conference, I thought it was appropriate to solicit the thoughts of some of my 2014 Conference Committee team. Here, they share what it means to be involved in such an important part of planning — not only the educational programs, marketing and other conference components, but being a part of changing the future direction for the ALA conferences.

Linda Ryan of the Toronto Law Office Management Association (TLOMA) shared that she has been a member of ALA since 1989, with a short break for few months once when she changed firms. She shared that never in those 23 years have she felt like a part of a team until now. Of course she has certainly been part of the local TLOMA and has formed lifelong friendships with some of those people but has always felt like an outsider in ALA until this Conference Committee experience. It has changed her perspective entirely. She has met some amazing people with whom she believes she will stay in touch with long after May 2014.

She's also has known for some time that the world is shrinking and as far as she's concerned, the more people she meets outside of Canada, the more she will learn and grow as an administrator and as a human being. Linda is thrilled to be a part of this team and can't wait for next year to show off her city, Toronto, and the wonderful work that our team is doing.

With the conference in Canada Larry Butler of the Calgary Chapter hoped to be able to have some input on what sessions would be presented. Larry tells me that he has been pleasantly surprised by how much emphasis has been put on making sure that the international members have appropriate educational sessions. He shared that be believes that the team that has been assembled has been great to work with and have been focused on making the Conference work for everyone in the Association.

Clara Onderdonk of the Rochester Chapter said she enjoys working with the variety of professionals that she wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to work with. She enjoyed being involved in the process of discussion and development in order to create a meaningful and timely session/program and turning it into reality.

Julie Hill of the Gateway Chapter said that being on the planning committee has introduced her to other areas within the legal industry that she wouldn't normally manage as a functional specialist. For example, she now understands more about the financial aspect of the law firm. She also believes that it has provided her with a new opportunity to network with peers — and develop lasting friendships.

Lorri Salyards, CLM of the Tulsa Chapter views her role on the 2014 Conference Committee as being able to project the issues our industry and firms are facing and will face in the next 2-5 years and create educational sessions that will ready legal administrators for the challenges we will face in our positions. We must arm ourselves with the knowledge to lead our firms through changing times, and not only succeed, but become stronger, more profitable firms. We are leaders — let's lead!

For myself, being a government, law firm and corporate administrator for many years, I understand the different educational components that are necessary to continue to develop our various professional attributes to keep us several steps ahead of our counterparts and always on top of our game. Being a part of this strategic planning process with such a dynamic, diverse and international team of professionals has not only connected all of the dots, for all of us on the 2014 Committee, but also encouraged us to look well beyond 2014 in order to envision success as our Association continues to be the global leaders in the business of law.

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