Gratitude: Chair Reflects On Her Year

By Leslie Pegram

Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. As my time as Paralegal Division Chair comes to an end, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the success of the North Carolina Bar Association Paralegal Division.

I’m grateful to have been surrounded by so many amazing volunteers, leaders, mentors and friends. I am simply in awe of how our members share their time, talents and passions to the betterment of the community, profession, Division and Association. Our members are volunteers serving in various capacities including (but not limited to) Council Members, Committee Chairs, Section Liaisons, CPE planners, notaries/witnesses for Wills for Heroes, mentors, listserv participants and more. For each person who takes time to serve, thank you.

I’m grateful to have had a great group of Council Members and Committee Chairs to work with this year. Thank you for believing in me and joining me in serving the community and representing our fellow Division members. All of you are amazing in your own right and made my job easier this year.

As a whole, the Division has been more active and involved in helping our local communities across North Carolina. The growth of our pro bono program is admirable and the work of our chairs, Annette Phelps, Rachel Royal and Kernodle-Hodges over the last few years is commendable. This year, volunteers assisted Disaster Legal Services and FEMA with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence, served as notaries and witnesses for first responders at several Wills for Heroes clinics, helped with mock trials across the state and more. Our blog has provided members with great content thanks to the hard work of Alicia Mitchell-Mercer and Mollie Schwam. Thank you to Jennifer Smith-Sutphin, Tina Thacker and Mollie Schman for their hard work on the Survey Committee. 291 members responded to the Survey. We look forward to sharing some of those results in a future blog and all the responses will be made available as a member benefit. Members also took full advantage of our CLE Premier Pass Giveaways. Thank you to Scholarship Chair, Debbie Harris, for her work revising and implementing the program.

We ended an active bar year with our Annual Meeting in Winston-Salem featuring a great group of speakers. I thank our great group of planners Stephanie Crosby, Ann Cantrel, Katelyn Morton, Allison Yezek and CPE Chairs Stephanie Elliott and Melissa Stockley Jones.  During our Annual Meeting, Lakisha Chichester was awarded the 2019 Distinguished Paralegal Award. Thank you to Carolyn Timmons for serving as Awards Committee Chair. The Awards Committee volunteers are thoughtful and deliberate with their task of reviewing submissions and selecting a deserving winner!

If you signed up to volunteer on a specific committee, but a volunteer  opportunity didn’t materialize this year, please don’t be discouraged. We have committees that are either not as active or need active volunteers to work on an initiative. If you want to engage with the community or profession in new ways and have an idea, reach out to us. If you want to be more involved, let’s work together on a way to make that happen.

The future of the Paralegal Division and our profession is a bright one. I hope you will take advantage of the many enhancements to membership starting July 1 ($90 for Paralegal Division Membership, one Section membership of your choice and up to 12 hours On Demand Expert Series CLE). If you have been away from the Division for a few years or ready to join, I encourage you to take the leap and (re)introduce yourself to what it means to be a part of the Association, the Paralegal Division and experience the Power of Association. The Division owes its gratitude to Stephanie Crosby for her service on the Membership Value Task Force. She represented the Division well. I am excited to renew my membership and experience our new benefits firsthand!

As we move forward, I am confident that the Division is poised to continue to grow and evolve with the needs of our profession. I hope more paralegals volunteer and continue to represent the Division well throughout the NCBA and North Carolina. Please welcome and support our next Chair, Tina Dadio, as she continues to build on the great work of our past Chairs.

I’m beyond grateful to my family, friends, mentors and past Chairs who supported me since I started down this path in 2012. Thank you to the staff at the NCBA for your support, help and encouragement. For all the positives, I also reflect on the struggles and challenges (personally and professionally) I have faced and am now grateful for those times as they also shaped me into the type of leader I knew I could be. I have grown so much over the last year – I’m more confident, more thoughtful and more decisive. With all of the above and more, it has been an incredible honor to serve as Chair of the Paralegal Division. Thank you!