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Remembering ALA Past President Steve Wingert, CLM

  • Mar 21
ALA lost one of its strongest supporters, Past President and friend, Steve Wingert, CLM. Steve lost his battle earlier this week to Stage IV pancreatic cancer. He and his husband, ALA member Mark Bridgeman, CLM, fought this difficult battle together. They exhibited strength and courage throughout and had many family members (including his and Mark's kids and grandkids), friends and ALA cohorts fighting alongside them.

Steve worked tirelessly on ALA initiatives and was a huge proponent of moving the Association forward. He also worked with staff and attorneys in regional and national law firms, with direct responsibility for human resources, finance, facilities, information technology and marketing. He was known for developing tactics that helped attorneys and firms perform at their absolute best. A speaker, writer, leader and ALA advocate, Steve had more than 22 years of legal industry experience.

Steve led the Association during a period of transition when ALA was without an Executive Director. As President, he wasn't afraid to challenge the status quo along the way. His critical thinking and analytical skills were tremendous assets as the Board worked through its 2013-2015 strategic planning initiative. His focus on leadership development — including his advocacy of servant leadership throughout the ranks of ALA — benefited the Association and impacted many on a professional and personal level. He even earned a doctorate from Creighton University in Interdisciplinary Leadership.

"Steve was President of ALA when I had the good fortune of being named its Executive Director," says Oliver Yandle, JD, CAE. "His mentorship was invaluable and his friendship a real treasure. He was a true role model and will be terribly missed."

The ALA Board of Directors created an award for individuals who demonstrate a special and unique achievement: the Spirit of ALA Award. The traits and qualities that this award recognizes are leadership, commitment, tenacity and dedication. The Board felt this award should be the Association's highest honor and given only to those whose leadership and contributions are extraordinary. In fact, the Spirit of ALA Award is not an annual award but rather an honor that is given on occasions as rare as the individuals who receive it. So it was very fitting that Steve was awarded the Spirit of ALA Award in 2015. He embodied all the exceptional traits that it represents.

As a tribute to Steve and his fight, ALA set up a fundraising page for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. As we all grieve the loss of this remarkable individual, consider donating to Pancan.org to keep pushing them forward to find a cure for this devastating disease.

We will keep Steve's family and friends in our hearts and minds.
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