PRESIDENT’S PODIUM: Give Thanks a Chance

Just as John Lennon sang in 1969, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”  I say, how about we give “thanks” a chance.  Taking time to recognize the value of your clients and your co-workers is not only good manners but it is smart business.  

My grandfather was a carpenter.  From oak trees he could see beyond the bark and could envision a home.  He was a skilled craftsman with a unique perspective.  You see even the best carpenters will occasionally miss the nail and hit their thumb.  When my grandfather did this, his reaction was to shout “thank you.”

I know.  That is not my phrase of choice either.  But it was his.  My mother asked him why he always said “thank you” as he winced in pain.  His response was that he was thankful he had not hurt more than one finger at a time.  This story offers a lesson in perspective and gratitude that can help us succeed regardless of our circumstances.

Personally and professionally, we need not be fazed by setbacks regardless of how painful they might be. It is counter-intuitive to be happy about disappointment but the seeds of our success are planted in our failures.  That is the lesson for the individual on how to learn and grow from life’s challenges.  The other side of the coin is how we treat others and the environment we help to create for our co-workers, clients, and our possible future clients.  That positive environment starts with good manners.

Good manners have always been at the top of my list of things that matter most to me.  I must admit that “minding my manners” was a bit of a chore for me as a child, but as I aged, remembering to say “please” and “thank you” came more easily.

I recall my initial job interview with the partners at my firm.  I was sitting alone in a conference room waiting for the next attorney to enter.  All of a sudden, I heard a knock on the door.  It was the managing partner of the firm.  It was his conference room but he wouldn’t enter without first knocking and making sure it was “ok” to come into the room.  At that point, I knew this was the firm for me.

If you want to learn how to incorporate a few old school and cutting edge techniques to really convey good manners and being thankful, then this is the Capital Ideas Newsletter issue for you.  This issue has suggestions on how to send thank you notes, best practices on how to treat your clients and client service links.

We all understand the undeniable truth to the Darwinian line of logic that it is a dog eat dog world (or for vegetarians a soy eat soy world).  But what if we take a different approach and change the paradigm?  What if we make it personal by being more personable?

Let’s start with our own internal teams.  Think about all of the individuals who play a role in your day.  Make a list of who has participated in all of the various initiatives that you have implemented.  And remember, if something was worth doing, it is worth acknowledging that person’s efforts.  From the attorney who drafted a pitch, to the last minute fill-in support, remember to recognize your colleagues and their contributions.  A simple “thank you” can make a world of difference to the person receiving it.

As this is my last message as President, I want to give a warm thank you to the 2013 Capital Chapter Leadership and their committees who dedicated their time this year.  From the various committees to the Baltimore City Group, everyone helped to cultivate an inclusive, professional environment.  I recognize that the names listed below are just one part of the chapter’s incredible network of volunteers who dedicated their time to make LMA the legal marketing authority.  Thank you all so very much.

Thanks.  Toda.  Mahalo.  Danke.  Merci.  Gracias.  Arigato.  Ta.  Grazie.  Spasibo.  Shukran.  Thank you.  Efharisto.  Thx.  Esukria.  Xie Xie.  Asante.

  • Ezra Crawford, Director of Marketing, BuckleySandler LLP:  The Past-President who coordinated the nomination process and was always at the monthly programs to ask insightful questions of our speakers.  For the many years that Ezra has been on the board, he has served the chapter well.  While we will miss his fun stories at the monthly meetings, we look forward to hearing what questions Ezra will raise in 2014.
  • Corey Garver, Senior Business Development Manager, Morrison & Foerster LLP:  This year as President-Elect he not only prepared for his term next year but also worked on multiple committees to ensure first-class costumer service for our sponsors and Half-Day program.   I am thrilled that Corey will be leading the charge in 2014.
  • Amy Knapp, Director, Knapp Marketing:  As Program Chair, Amy and her committee helped develop first-rate education and create a Half-Day program that introduced the TED-Talk format to our chapter this year.  In addition to her creative thinking, Amy can always be counted on to ask the hard questions to ensure that every member’s voice is heard.  Sadly, 2013 marks Amy’s last year on the Board.  I know I am not alone in saying that she will be missed.
  • Laurie Paul, Senior Business Development Manager, Technology Department, Steptoe & Johnson LLP:  Overseeing the gatherings of the chapter is no easy feat.  For two years, Laurie has coordinated the logistics of all programming and social events as the Events Chair.  She has kept every event under budget without sacrificing the amenities that our members enjoy.  We look forward to Laurie remaining on the board in 2014.
  • Elaine Noble, Partner and Creative Director, Noble Pursuits LLC:  The chapter’s bi-monthly newsletter, Capital Ideas, delivers magazine quality articles written by members of the chapter.  The articles provide important information that can be immediately implemented at your firm.  As Communications Chair, Elaine has relied on her background to further help our future members.  We are pleased Elaine will continue to be the editor of Capital Ideas in 2014.
  • Jennifer Bonesteel, Business Development Manager, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP:  It takes a special kind of person to maintain the chapter's website, distribute the content, help negotiate technology service agreements and compile the survey data from each program.  As Technology Chair, Jennifer has assisted with the transition to the Socious platform with grace.  We are delighted that Jennifer will volunteer again in 2014.
  • Katie Munroe, Marketing Manager, Covington & Burling LLP:  As Treasurer, Katie served as the official custodian of the funds of the chapter.  She kept accurate books of accounts, submitted financial reports and helped prepare the budget.  We are excited that Katie will remain on the Board and take on a new role as Secretary next year.
  • Anne Core, Director of Marketing, Lerch Early & Brewer:  As Treasurer-Elect, Anne was instrumental in assisting the Treasurer fulfill her duties.  She was always the first smiling face you would see at the monthly programs and events. We are fortunate that Anne will be Treasurer next year.
  • Cassia Griffin, Business Development Manager, Arnold & Porter LLP:  Cassia served as the official custodian of all records for the chapter, including maintenance of the member database, maintaining all "action item lists" from the meetings, transmitting official communication to membership, and providing registration status.  The details of the events could not have been implemented without the work Cassia did as Secretary in 2013.  While we will miss her detailed monthly meeting minutes, we look forward to seeing Cassia at future events next year.
  • Faith Brinkley, Business Development Specialist for the IP Division for Venable:  Without our sponsors, we would not be able to offer the many networking events and programs to our members.  As Sponsorship Chair, Faith maintained good working relationships with the chapter’s sponsors and researched potential sponsors for future events.  It is nice to have Faith continue her role in 2014.
  • Samantha McKenna, Senior Sales Executive, ON24:  As Membership Chair, Sam instituted a new member coffee program in 2013 to encourage more one-on-one peer networking opportunities.  She also helped members determine what committee or program would best meet their needs.  Sam helped foster partnership, networking, and charitable outreach to our members.  I cannot think of a better ambassador to help new members feel welcomed.
  • Liz Gooch, Director of Business Development, Arent Fox LLP:  As Member-at-Large this year, Liz was always eager to step up to the plate to lend a hand whenever and wherever she was needed.  Whether it was serving on a committee, coordinating the Your Honor Awards or simply sharing a smile with a new member, Liz helped make 2013 a special year for the chapter.  We are lucky that Liz will be Program Chair next year to help create marketing education and professional development opportunities.
  • Our Baltimore City Group was organized this year by Jenna O'Connor, Director of Marketing, Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP.  Jenna grabbed the reins in Baltimore by offering engaging programs that were well attended.  It is great for the Baltimore City Group that Jenna will continue her role in 2014.
  • In 2013, our Future Leaders Shared Interest Group helped those with fewer than five years of legal marketing experience by conducting peer networking opportunities and relevant training.  The SIG included Sydni R. Williams, Marketing Manager at Bean, Kinney & Korman PC; Jennifer Brooks, Internal Communications Manager at Hogan Lovells; Andy Stief, Business Development Manager at Morrison Foerster LLP; and Inna Kolomiytsev, Director of Marketing at Niles, Barton & Wilmer LLP.  Their hard work allowed new members to learn just what LMA has to offer.
  • Martin Gold, Marketing Director at Blank Rome LLP and Jennifer Eileen Dolan, Director of Business Development at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, LLP both chaired the Law Firm Leaders Roundtable in 2013 to offer in-depth, small-group discussion among the more experienced in-house LMA members.  Their insight and effort has been invaluable to the chapter.

With January just around the corner, I wish to thank our 2014 leadership in advance for all of the good work I know that they will do working with Corey.  Please be sure to monitor the Calendar for the many exciting programs and events that you may wish to attend.

I look forward to talking at our events in 2014 and learning about how you decided to thank someone in your life.  In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @LMA_DC.

Marguerite G. Downey is the 2013 President of the Capital Chapter and may be reached at or 202.407.8664.  This article was written for the November/December 2013 Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.

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