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October 2017 - President's Message
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President's Message - OCTOBER

Amy T. Brantly
WLALA President 2017-2018

For those of you that were able to attend our 98th Installation & Awards Dinner on September 28th, I hope that you had a great time, were inspired by our evening’s awardees, and are fired-up for our year ahead.      

For those of you that were unable to attend, we honored Anne Tremblay with the Distinguished Service Award, Patagonia with the Myra Bradwell Award and Dean Susan Westerberg Prager with the Ernestine Stahlhut Award.  Anne Tremblay spoke about her family and shared heartfelt stories about her work as a neighborhood prosecutor and in the Mayor’s Office of Youth Development and Gang Reduction.  Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke to the 450 attendees via video praising Anne’s work and calling her “an angel in the City of Angels.”  I couldn’t agree more and was so thrilled to honor such an incredible woman and friend.

Hilary Dessouky, the General Counsel of Patagonia, accepted the award for Patagonia and spoke to the audience about Yvon Chouinard, his vision, and the family-friendly atmosphere he has created at Patagonia that has resulted in a 99% retention rate of female employees after they give birth and take maternity leave.  The attendees were able to see via video the amazing child care center that is on the Patagonia campus and learned how Patagonia’s family and medical leave policies have assisted so many of their employees during times of joy and crisis.  Patagonia’s policies have not only resulted in greater retention of female employees, they have also resulted in more women in high paying jobs.  Patagonia has become one of my favorite companies (and their fight to protect the environment is so important too!).

Dean Susan Westerberg Prager regaled the crowd with stories about how she became the first female dean in the University of California system at UCLA, the first female director on the Board at Pacific Life and discussed other glass ceilings that she shattered.  She commented on her firm belief in the value of diversity and the challenges of being a working mother.  I especially loved how she said that she gets a “perverse pleasure” from proving people wrong when they tell her she can’t do something.  She is truly a trailblazer to celebrate.  You can access pictures from the Installation & Awards Dinner here.

It’s hard to believe it is October.  October is National Work and Family Month.  I hope that all of you get some time this month to spend with your parents, siblings and children.

In honor of National Work and Family Month, WLALA is continuing its tradition of hosting Pumpkins in the Park on October 29th where you can both network and enjoy family time watching your child, niece, nephew or grandchild decorate pumpkins and play in the park.  This will be a fun event that you don’t want to miss.  I hope to see you there (and bonus points for costumes).

WLALA will also offer its first substantive program of the new Board year and it is both timely and important.  On October 19th, please join us at Loyola Law School for a Program on Title IX that will explore the implication of sexual assault allegations by one college student on another from both the accused and accuser’s positions. 

And, if you are looking for volunteer opportunities, you can join us on October 17th at the Inglewood Courthouse for our Power Lunch which introduces high school kids to our judicial system and ends with a “Legal Jeopardy” game.   We are also offering a training on October 11th at Crowell & Moring for attorneys interested in assisting with the Inner City Law Center’s homeless women veterans program which allows WLALA members to take on ICLC’s clients and represent them in their VA benefits cases.

WLALA volunteers impact lives in a positive way and pave the way for a better future.  With all of the horrible events of the last several weeks, it always makes me smile to think of all the good things going on and all of the people who are working to make this world a better place.

I wish you all a safe, productive, fun and family-centered October!