College Columns December 2021 - Page 21

From the Chair continued from page 2
session with Ms . Wilkerson marked a giant step forward in the key Commission goal to create mindfulness on issues of diversity , equity and inclusion in the College , our profession , and the country as a whole .
Getting the chance to greet and spend time with so many of our Fellows and their family members , live and in person -- after two full years and three abbreviated virtual meetings -- was among the most gratifying experiences of my 23 years in the College . So as I write my 16th -- and final -- Column as a member of College senior leadership , and look both back and ahead at where the College has been and is headed , I enter this holiday season with a feeling of profound GRATITUDE for the opportunity I ’ ve had to be a part of this special organization . Indulge me just a bit if you will , as I reminisce about my time in College leadership by offering special thanks to several people who educated me , inspired me , and offered me the chance to advance through the ranks over the last 15 years or more :
• To Michael Cook , who taught me how the College worked and how we could make it work better , took me in as his collaborator to create more -- and more meaningful -- “ touch points ” with our Fellows as we tinkered with the format of our meetings and programs , and then stunned me with the offer of a chance to serve as Chair of the Foundation .
• To Judge Laurel Isicoff , who gave me the confidence to take on that role for the Foundation , walked me through its programs and potential as we served together on its Board , and now continues her inspired service to the College as Co-Chair with Judge Jeffery Hopkins of our Commission on Diversity , Equity and Inclusion .
• To Marc Levinson and Chris Meyer , my two immediate predecessors as President
and Chair of the College , who not only put up with me and promoted me to succeed them but gave me the important opportunity to highlight the good work of the Foundation at our College meetings and programs to drive the Foundation Campaign into high gear .
• To Pat Vance , who made my service to the College so much easier with his wise guidance as my predecessor Foundation Chair , and especially over the past four years as College Counsel .
• To Bill Perlstein , Pat ’ s long-time predecessor as College Counsel , who embodies everything that a lawyer , mentor and friend should be , and whose good humor is surpassed only by his flawless judgment and guidance .
• To Jan Baker , whose wisdom , class and gentility make all of us aspire to be the lawyer , leader and person that he is , for always stepping forward to serve , promote and reaffirm the best interests of the College and its Fellows .
• To David Heiman and Paul Singer , who gave me my first opportunities in College leadership , instilled in me their own visions of the College as a dynamic organization of industry and community leaders , and taught me the value of opening up leadership opportunities to younger Fellows .
• To Paul Harner , my successor as Foundation Chair , who so tirelessly and even cheerfully took the Foundation to new and greater heights as the largest source of funding for pro bono consumer bankruptcy legal services anywhere .
• To Larry Coppel , Jim Baillie and Judge Janet Bostwick , and to all of the Fellows who served on the Pro Bono Committee that those three leaders so ably chaired over the past 12 years , for their unceasing dedication to identifying and rewarding scores of pro continued on page 22