MBA President Grace V.B. Garcia
As I recently shared at my President’s Reception, at my local gym I see posted one of my favorite sayings: “Do something today, that your future self will thank you for.” Although meant to remind one why they are working out, it also inspires me to do something in my day that I will later find rewarding, such as completing a task or project, taking a moment to reconnect with a friend, lending a helping hand, giving my children an extra hug or spending a few minutes to mentor someone. It is the last item, mentoring, that I want to focus on.
Mentoring is generally accepted to mean “to advise or train someone.” Many believe it is a long-term commitment. Yet, as I’ve found from experience, even mentoring in a small way can help someone immensely. Mentoring, in the broadest sense, is simply giving one piece of advice or a few words of encouragement, which we are all capable of doing.
Last week, as I presided over this year’s first House of Delegates meeting and then later celebrated at a reception with friends, family and colleagues, I realized how fortunate I am that so many people have helped me along the way. I am sure many of them do not even realize the little things they have said or done to support me or help me in my career.
My own experience at the MBA is a direct result of this. I was drawn to the MBA early on after several people told me I should get involved. But I clearly recall the first person who invited me to an event more than 20 years ago, MBA Past President Chris Kenney. Not only did he literally invite me to the table, but he truly showed me that I belonged here.
Throughout the pandemic, there have been too many who have felt isolated and alone. It has been hard on everyone — new lawyers, young lawyers and those who are experienced. We know from multiple studies that have been done over the years that being part of a bar association makes one’s practice of law more fulfilling. I can tell you from my own experience, being part of the MBA has certainly made my career more enjoyable.
When we look at our own experiences, we know that when someone reaches out to us personally, we are more receptive. In that spirit, I ask something of all of you — one small thing that can make a big difference to someone else. I ask that each of you reach out and ask someone to join you for an MBA event or program. Invite them to the “table,” even if it is a virtual table, and then encourage them not to just attend, but to participate and become engaged.
The MBA Friends & Family Day at Shelburne Farm on Oct. 10 would be a perfect introduction to the MBA’s welcoming community. And the National Civil Rights Museum Virtual Tour & Discussion that the MBA is hosting on Oct. 13 promises to be an important, compelling and educational experience, and it is open to all. We also have several conferences coming up over the next few months, in addition to a full slate of CLEs and networking opportunities.
Inviting friends and colleagues to join you at one of these MBA events fits right in with my emphasis this year on the three Cs of “communication, collaboration and community” as we build upon the MBA’s ongoing efforts to support the rule of law and improve diversity, equity and inclusion and well-being in the legal profession. My goal is to strengthen not only the MBA, but the legal community and our broader Massachusetts community as a whole.
Reaching out to make others feel welcome at the MBA is a small but important step toward achieving that goal, so I encourage you to make “the ask.” “Do something today, that your future self will thank you for” and that a future MBA member will thank you for.