Letter from the President – November 2023

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

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. No gift buying to stress about. Decorating is optional. I can obsess over food to my heart’s content without fear of judgment. Plus, it’s a holiday built on gratitude.

We preserve what we are grateful for. That was the closing message of one of the podcasts I listen to. The host and his guest were discussing the erosion in trust in our public institutions. The host opined on a number of factors at work, but what stuck with me was the host’s closing comments about the importance of institutions in civil society, and the general lack of gratitude for them as one possible reason for their disjunction. His closing line, “We preserve what we are grateful for,” has stuck with me, because I see it in the many institutions I am a part of.

I come from one of those corny families that has a yearly tradition of going around the table to report what each of us is thankful for. And, every year my dad tears up voicing his gratitude for our mom, without whom none of the good thing in his life would be possible. After a direction from my mother one year to come up with something new, Dad has gotten a little more creative. He has not strayed from his thankfulness for family and all the good things it brings—even if he is no longer allowed to give my mom all the credit.

My parents have certainly worked to preserve our family—the key institution in the life of their four children and sixteen grandchildren and step-grandchildren. My law partners show their gratitude for the unique culture of our firm by working to maintain friendships and collaboration within the firm. My mother-in-law works constantly to preserve and prosper her relationships with her grandchildren and children—daily sending out multiple text messages full of encouragement and love.

Within EWI, I have watched board members and committees work tirelessly to preserve EWI as a valued institution in our own lives and in the life of our community. Our R&R committee has won corporate recruiting awards, while many other chapters were losing members. Our Programs committee has organized the monthly programming that brings us all together as a group each month, including last month’s terrific talk by Matt Santangelo, who related his gratitude for the Spokane community and what he is doing to give back.

Grateful for the role of education in our community, our Scholarship and Fundraising committees have succeeded in raising enough money to full vest our ASIST scholarship fund. Our Philanthropy Committee has committed to adding a second Reading Rally each school year, recently working with the students of Lidgerwood Elementary and bringing in local author Tayla Tollefson to read to them. And, let’s not forget our award-winning Marketing & Communication committee who has put in long hours spreading the word about EWI through social media, the Connect, and our annual Journal of Business insert.

Even when we are not working within our committees, each of us is expressing our gratitude for EWI when we take time at a Chapter meeting to welcome a new member or visitor, when we mentor a new representative, when we check in with members we may not have seen in a while, when we promote and patronize member firms, and when we intentionally share a table with folks we may not yet know.

As we approach this month of Thanksgiving, I am grateful to each of you and the work you do to make EWI a thriving organization. Your sacrifices of time, kind words to each other, and contributions of your talent make our Chapter and our community stronger.