Letter from the President – February 2024

by Collette Leland, Winston & Cashatt, Lawyers
EWI of Spokane Chapter President

Happy Love and Leadership Month! Sure, Valentine’s Day gets the headlines with its flowers, candy, and cards, but we are also celebrating President’s Day, Black History Month, and National Leadership Day. Bet you didn’t know about that last one. This year, National Leadership Day happens to fall on the day of our monthly Chapter meeting. Coincidence ? Of course. But nonetheless, let’s take a minute to reflect on the leaders in our lives, as well as the people we love—the people who who have made us who we are.

The first leaders in our lives for nearly all of us are our parents. Last month, I received in the mail a birthday card from my parents. As was the case throughout my childhood, it was my mom who penned the note inside the card. My mom is not very old, considering she was celebrating my 61st birthday, but she has had a tremor for some time, making writing a chore. Yet, here was a card with one side covered with her quivering handwriting in very straight lines, telling me how my arrival had changed my young parents’ lives in an instant and made them want to be more than they were were. The emotional impact of reading my parents’ love note to me was all the greater knowing what care and effort it required for my mom to write it.

The deck was stacked against my parents when I was born. Neither of them had finished high school when they married, although in my dad’s case, it was more a matter of his reluctance to show up for class than his age. But, they had mentors—parents and brothers and sisters and friends—who walked beside them and helped them become the leaders they are today in their family and community. Although I am an imperfect follower, my parents led us in the ways of unconditional love, community, and selflessness.

Who are the leaders in your life? How have they helped make you a better you? Have you told them what you have learned from them? This month of love and leadership is an excellent time to do it.

Last month, we honored two of our leaders, Jene Ray and Lisa Peters, who were awarded Representative of the Year and New Player of the Year, respectively. Both of these women have changed our Chapter for the better. Both appear fearless in their willingness to jump into the fray and do what is needed. I say “appear” because I’m betting that like the rest of us, Jene and Lisa feel the fear we all do when asked to step forward. They just do it anyway.

In the coming months, we will be honoring the EWI leaders who have helped make our Chapter thrive. Look for pieces in The Connect and on social media featuring our veteran EWI of Spokane representatives. The Board is also working on changes to our standing rules that would provide a mechanism for recognizing our longstanding members, much like we do our Rep of the Year and New Player of the Year. We anticipate presenting these proposed changes to the Chapter in March for your consideration and vote.

Lastly, I want to make another plug for our upcoming anniversary celebration on April 16, 2024. We have been blessed (and continue to be blessed) with outstanding leaders over our 45 years as a Chapter. It is not easy to find extra time and energy each week to devote to something outside one’s little circle. Yet, many men and women over the years have stepped forward to contribute to EWI’s mission of promoting member firms, enhancing professional development, and encouraging community involvement.  Let’s show these folks some love.