2020 IDEA Award Recipients
As the undisputed leader of the business of law, ALA members and chapters are encouraged to strive for excellence. ALA's IDEA Awards are presented to ALA chapters, committees, regions, individuals, firms, or organizations (including business partners) that create unique and innovative programs, services and events that improve our ALA chapters and/or legal communities. The IDEA Awards recognize new practices that deliver great value and transformational impact through innovative achievement.
New York City Chapter
Diversity Newsletter: PRISM
Contact: Jenniffer Brown
The New York City Chapter established its diversity and inclusion committee in 2013. But this committee went further than the legal management-oriented education, resources and community building expected of it. The committee decided to create a newsletter solely dedicated to diversity and inclusion topics — even going so far to make it free of ads. After extensive research and the forming of an all-volunteer project team, the PRISM newsletter was born in 2015. The first edition enjoyed immediate success, gaining record readership and being shared at ALA events and by ALA publications, chapters and business partners. The publication has only grown more sophisticated in the intervening years, serving as a model for other chapters and member firms. Perhaps the most unique aspect of PRISM is that it does not just analyze diversity and inclusion issues as they relate to the workplace — it also studies historical trends and celebrates the vibrancy of the community through write-ups about cuisines, cultural events, holidays, media and more.
New York City Chapter
Introducing the Professional Journey Support Group
Contact: Rose Jaworecki
The idea for the New York City Chapter’s Professional Journey Support Group was sparked in 2018 when then-President Jenniffer Brown heard from a chapter member who felt like persona non grata due to her unemployment status. Jenniffer realized that the tenured professionals within the chapter could be sharing the highs and lows they had experienced in their own career journeys to help members — particularly the historically disadvantaged — who were currently at a low point caused by job loss, underemployment or personal issues. Members Francine Lahm and Rick D’Aversa were deputized to develop the Professional Journey Support Group, which would be in line with the chapter’s Mind, Body and Soul vision for its programming and networking. The group evolved to serve various “clients,” such as someone looking for a sounding board to evaluate opportunities, someone in need of résumé assistance and interview support to find a new job, or someone transitioning to retirement. It combines empathetic support, practical advice and the power of professional networks to help members find their path. ALA business partner Loeb Leadership lent their expert input in 2019 to sharpen the group’s mentoring, which the New York City Chapter considers “priceless” and true to the spirit of the ALA community.
Orange County Chapter
OC-ALA Mobile App
Contact: Donna Bustos
The Orange County Chapter of ALA rolled out its very own mobile application in August 2019. It centralizes and streamlines the communications and resources found on OC-ALA’s website, but in a user-friendly interface that’s easily accessed from the phone or tablet of a current member or business partner. The app, which is available for download in the Apple and Google stores, features a newsfeed, event calendars, newsletter archives and galleries. Additionally, there are directories for chapter leadership, members and business partners to make it easy to connect. Users can even opt in to receive push notifications for important alerts and reminders. Although OC-ALA is still evaluating the full impact of the app, anecdotal evidence already points to improved awareness and engagement. From an administrative perspective, the BiznessApps-powered program was easy to use and was affordable. It comes with 24/7 support and the ability to display business partner logos and ads, providing yet another perk to support the chapter-business partner relationship.