Elevate ALA Award Recipients
Northern Virginia Chapter
Education was a focal point for the Northern Virginia Chapter. They began this endeavor by preparing a well-crafted lineup of speakers for their educational luncheons. In July, the chapter created the Friday Fast Five newsletter, which is member-customized to help meet their educational needs. Members can submit topic ideas to the content committee, and each newsletter is produced to give them articles targeted to assisting them with their day-to-day firm challenges.
In the spring, the chapter created “Membership Ambassadors,” who not only welcome new members, but invite ALA independent members and non-ALA administrators to join them. Finally, business partners can submit articles to the Friday Fast Five, which provides their members with educational opportunities that may also spur business relationships.
Puget Sound Chapter
PSALA’s theme this year is about how to get — and keep — a seat at the table. They promoted three key values — leadership, education and connections — to help every member remain a key contributor at work, no matter the stage in their career. They have leveraged relationships with their amazing business partners to produce free educational opportunities, offering professional and financial value to their members.
The chapter has also participated in a revolutionary new program called Spark, which matches individual members each month for one-on-one meetings. All participants say it is incredibly rewarding to meet new friends and build a deeper relationship with old acquaintances. Spark has helped break down silos and been one of their most successful networking initiatives.
Greater Los Angeles Chapter
This chapter spans more than 150 miles, which can sometimes make attendance at popular meetings a challenge. Understanding the value and importance of face-to-face networking opportunities, the chapter’s leadership changed the meetings to occur in various regional “hubs” around the area. All hubs are connected by technology services such as WebEx, videoconferencing or conference calling. The chapter also recognized that they had members who wanted to take the Certified Legal Manager (CLM)® exam but couldn’t always attend ALA events to get the necessary credits. They have made a concerted effort to apply not only for recertification credits for chapter course offerings, but also application credits.
The chapter’s education committee is charged with ensuring all five education areas specified by ALA’s Knowledge, Skills and Abilities list are covered. Additionally, the committee recently developed a continuing legal education session as a means of raising the awareness of ALA in the legal community. Chapter members were encouraged to attend as well, to help bolster the chapter and its membership in the eyes of the attorneys and with smaller firms that may have potential new members. The chapter is committed to funding scholarships and encouraging members to take full advantage of the many opportunities offered by the chapter and the association.
The chapter’s leadership realized that they needed to elevate the level of education they offer. So, the Board responded by restructuring the educational program. Leadership also focused on increasing member and business partner engagement. Surveys showed that members value networking as much as they do education, so the chapter held several events focused solely on networking and relationship building. They added a “Game On” challenge to all members in March 2016. This web-based tool for member engagement awarded points to members for various activities, such as registering for and attending meetings, reading and commenting on articles, connecting with other members, and referring new members or business partners. Leaderboards were announced at each chapter meeting, and cash prizes were awarded at the holiday luncheon for the members with the most points.