The Florida Bar will train 31 "fellows" for future leadership roles within the legal profession as part of the latest class of the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy.
The goal of the academy is to reach out to lawyers from across the diverse state of Florida and help give them the skills and resources to become leaders not only in the legal profession but in their communities.
The year-long program includes one-day meetings at locations throughout the state, beginning at the Bar's Annual Convention. The curriculum focuses on developing skills and networking opportunities within the legal profession and having the fellows create projects to put their new skills to use.
The meetings feature various speakers and topics, such as learning to work with different workplace personalities; balancing personal, volunteer, and work life; motivating others and delegating; conducting effective meetings; effective leadership styles; and public speaking.
Through the academy, fellows have an opportunity to network with both past and present Bar leaders, including presidents and Board of Governors members. Midway through the program, fellows indicate two preferences for Bar sections, divisions, or committees in which they would like to become involved following graduation.
Diversity is also an important component of the program, and fellows are chosen with the goal of creating a leadership academy class that reflects the different regions and populations of the state.
Camara A. Williams of Orlando, a member of last year's Leadership Academy class, penned an open letter to the incoming class, to give them a taste of what to expect and how to maximize their experience. Dear Future Leader,
First, congratulations on being accepted into this wonderful program. The fact that you made it into this prestigious program means that you are already an incredible, impactful member within your community, organization, profession, and within The Florida Bar. Personally, I have always believed leaders are born, not manufactured, and so this program is designed to enhance what you already have within you. With that being said, I wanted to take the time to offer you some insight and possibly guidance on how to maximize this wonderful opportunity placed in front of you. So here are a few lessons that my class has learned and hopes to pay forward.
BE OPEN: As I mentioned earlier, everything you need to become a great leader is already inside of you. However, this program...