This is my last President’s Message and I treasure the past two years of my presidency and the good work our organization has done. The theme for my presidency was “camaraderie.” I felt that the years of COVID had caused a distancing of us, and we needed to regroup and get to know each other better in person to form a more solid organization. We had many successful social events including, but not limited to the Tribute to our Founders at Fresh and Fancy Farms, the visit to Garretson Forge and Farm, the whale watching trips and the yearly Meet and Mingle with our Elected Women Officials. We went to see a Broadway show, a Motown performance at Bergen PAC, and we have had yearly holiday parties at my house. I feel I know so many more women now and they are smart, friendly, and willing to support their colleagues in our organization. I see our listserv becoming a tool used daily by not just me and my board, but by everybody who is a member.

I have many people I wish to thank for their support of our group. Tamra Katcher, the Vice President, has been innovative in getting our listserv and our website on track and has helped me with every event we have had. I am proud to know Tamra and I know when she takes over as President, the organization will be run smoothly and will be stronger than ever. Sheila O’Shea-Criscione has done the tough job of Treasurer and has been a huge supporter of our organization with a big sunny smile on her face and an optimistic word. She and Helene ran the Law Clerks Luncheon and did a fabulous job and have set a new old tradition of resuming the event in the Courthouse as opposed to an expensive restaurant. Helene Herbert has the difficult job of being a very busy family law attorney, a Municipal Court Judge in two towns and being Secretary of our organization. Thank you for the work you have done, and we look forward to you moving up the ladder.

Other people I would like to thank, include our Eileen Mulroy who has always given me ideas, advice, and support. Many times, we have been in my condo pool, at the beach, at a restaurant, or walking on a boardwalk and end up discussing WLIB and how to improve the organization. She has supported me, helped me, comes to almost all the meetings and almost all the events. I could not have gotten through this without your help Eileen, thank you. Thank you to Kohar Boyadjian who threw the fabulous Armenian night, a new tradition we want to continue. She opened her kitchen and her house to us and taught us all about Armenian foods. At some point we intend to have Curry night at Erica Fields’s home, and encourage other WLIB members to also share the cuisines of their families with us.

Our events this Spring included Networking with Law Schools at Elias restaurant and our upcoming Meet and Mingle will be my last event. The Meet and Mingle is one of my favorites as our local women officials are enthusiastic about getting together with us, meeting at a restaurant, talking about what they are doing and mingling with us. This year the Annual Dinner will be back to a June date, and I will be proud to attend and see Tamra Katcher installed as President, Sheila O’Shea- Criscione as Vice President, and Helene Herbert as Treasurer. The Board will be strong with that combination and our good work will continue. The nominating committee is working on nominating a Secretary. If you are interested in the position, please let the nominating committee know.

The one thing I regret not doing more of during my Presidency was outreach. I had hoped to do more with the local law schools as far as mentoring and with the Women’s Rights Information Center (WRIC). It is my understanding that the WRIC is very well supported by Helene Herbert and former president Helayne Weiss and in fact they are getting an award this year at the WRIC annual dinner for their service to the organization.

The Diversity Committee which consists of members of the Bergen County Bar Association as well as members of Women Lawyers in Bergen will be having their annual dinner on June 18th. I am a member of that committee, and I am proud to report that the Award for Diversity in the Profession will be going to a dynamic young woman I know, who is a member of our organization: Kelly Castor. Kelly has been a member of our organization for several years. She has participated in a CLE for us on Diversity and has done a SWAG seminar on artificial intelligence. She has a very interesting article on AI in this Newsletter. Kelly is a dynamic, smart, vibrant young woman who has the unenviable job of being a sole practitioner, who also happens to be a Black woman and single mother of a young child. Yet when I see her, she has a smile on her face and warm words. I know she is always competent and innovative. I am proud that she will be getting this award. Her achievements were mainly unknown to me until I read her CV which is very impressive and qualifies her for this honor. We hope many of you will come out for this event on June 18th at Seasons.

Our upcoming events are the Meet and Mingle on May 8th, WLIB Annual Dinner on June 4th at Seasons, and the Diversity Dinner on June 18th at Seasons. Another event we will be supporting, and we wish other members to support, is the WRIC’s Annual Dinner at which they will be honoring Helayne Weiss and Helene Herbert which I mentioned earlier. I will be posting the flyer for the WRIC dinner on the listserv.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the many people who have helped me through these two years. Linda Spiegel for her good ideas, common sense, and always impeccable Newsletter. Donna Dorgan for running the Garretson Forge and Farm event and Lija Znakina from Rhubarb Crew who has been so helpful on our website development and social media presence. Last but not least, I would like to thank an unsung hero for me, Patty Polanco who has done our flyers in a beautiful, imaginative way and who right now is working on a rough draft of a President’s Message and making it into final form for Linda for the Newsletter while I am on a river cruise in France. Thank you.