President’s Message, Spring 2023
As I am concluding my first year of presidency of WLIB I feel a sense of accomplishment of one of my goals – camaraderie among members. Since COVID forced us into a virtual world, WLIB had become distant and fragmented because of the need to basically resort to virtual events instead of in-person events. Since I have taken office we’ve gone back to in person events and I feel WLIB has increased its camaraderie among our members. The new year started with the Annual Holiday Party, which became a New Years Party because I had COVID in December. The cosmos were flowing, the dinner was my usual short ribs and pumpkin ravioli, and there were lots of friendly women happily socializing.
Tamra Katcher has started a new Health and Wellness Series which began January 25th with a virtual speaker on food and mood. She is a food coach and among other things challenged herself to go a full year without eating sugar. She succeeded and I failed after 5 days. Since then we have had an in-person cooking demonstration by TV Chef Cara de Falco at Sheila O’Shea’s house. She demonstrated pasta-making and we had charcuterie boards, dinner, wine and a surprising Armenian dish compliments of Kohar Boyadjian. Another fun night of laughing and socializing.
The “Pathway to the Bench” seminar was on February 28, 2023 and I moderated it with a panel consisting of Senator Loretta Weinberg, Judge Koblitz, Judge Siegal, Judge Robinson, and Judge Herbert. We met at the plush offices of Pashman Stein and the panel discussed with us strategies to be considered for a judgeship. Over 35 women attended and the panel spoke for 1 1/2 hours on becoming a judge and their paths and experiences.
This brings us to my next idea to promote camaraderie – having a member demonstrate their
ethnic cooking skills in their home with wine and dinner. The recent cooking demonstration event was fun and well-attended. In the summer Kohar Boyadijian is going to show us how to make Armenian food in her home and then maybe we will get other members to show us how to make Greek food, Jewish food, Irish food, etc.
We are planning a Diversity CLE for the two required credits and Sheila O’Shea is moderating that event. We will be having it at our favorite venue, Fresh and Fancy Farms, probably in April. Also in April Tamra is arranging a Broadway bus trip. It will leave from Hackensack, bring us to the theater district for dinner and then a Broadway show. Flyers will go out soon.
That brings us to the Meet and Mingle which is tentatively set for May 10th at the Tavern 61 in Hackensack. For those new members, that event involves cocktails and dinner with Bergen County’s female elected female elected officials. They each give us a summary of what they are working on. Flyers will go out for all these events soon.
We have many new members, many active members and many young members and I credit our attempts at fun and engaging events as the draw. Laura Van Tassel has run the indoor golf programs at the Players Club in Paramus from November through March and will be getting us ready for outdoor golf beginning April or May. Debbie O’Connor, the pro, is a pleasure to learn from. Golf is hard and we need help. The Bergen County Bar Association is looking for women to join their golf outing in the spring and if a miracle occurs and I can get my skills up to par I’m doing it. I hope some of you will join also.
Because Judge Mizdol is retiring in May and having her retirement dinner in June and because of the Diversity Dinner in June we’re moving our annual dinner to September at Seasons. Then we’ll be able to honor retiring Judge Mizdol and incoming Assignment Judge Carol Catuogno as well as any other new female judges appointed.
We have been very busy trying to make this organization not just the female equivalent of the Bergen County Bar Association but more of a friendly, networking group of women supporting each other.
On May 8th, 2023, it will be 20 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I am beyond
grateful that I have gotten to see my children grow up and remain healthy. I am grateful I have been able to keep my law career going. I credit my personal and legal relationships as helping me through it all. I am proud to be a president of this organization and cherish the support of the women in our group. Female friendships and work colleague friendships can get you through rough patches in life. They certainly have for me. Let’s continue our support of other members our new and old WLIB friendships.
Sometimes the answer to “How are you?” is not what you expect. Let’s continue the camaraderie and support each other.
Diane M. Lucianna