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Note from the editor: Cindy Cintas Pilon recently attended the 2016 ALA Chapter Leadership Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.  This is one of those conferences that gets high praise year after year! Cindy shares her enthusiasm and much of what she learned below. Thank you for sharing, Cindy!  

2016 - CLI - Julie and Cindy

Cindy Cintas Pilon and Julie Denker

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the recent CLI conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Our President-Elect Julie Denker and I traveled together to represent SVALA. A noisy hotel construction project, hot humid weather, and a Southwest Airlines network outage could not dampen our spirits or enthusiasm!

Our first official act was to join a contingent of Calgary, Canada, members for a Texas BBQ dinner. They were the first of many warm and welcoming folks we met on our trip. For me, the best part of CLI is interacting with other members (from the U.S. and other countries) and to listen and learn from their experiences. There was an instant bond and camaraderie formed with many that we met. I was energized by the tips and strategies they shared that can be applied to our board, my firm, and in my personal life. Here are a few things that inspired me, made an impact on me, and new ideas that I can implement.

I heard from other chapt2016 - CLI clockers how they built successful alliances with other legal organizations to collaborate in the sharing of knowledge and resources and to promote visibility. The other legal organizations include ILTA, ARMA, LMA, SHRM, and bar associations. Other chapters also shared ideas for membership outreach and succession planning. I learned that ALA has a volunteer handbook at their website, which I will definitely check out. Also, I learned that each chapter, including SVALA, has its own online community (chapter discussions) that we can utilize.

I heard that ALA is working on CLM study materials, a subject near and dear to my heart. I also learned that ALA is looking at possibly combining regions 5 & 6. I learned about what other chapters are doing for business partner events. Progressive lunches (like speed dating!) and funky bowling (with fun and challenging bowling moves) are my favorite. Did you know that the Cyber Chapter offers free webinars for all ALA members? And that the UPBMS program (Uniform Process Based Management System) is getting ready for rollout. The UPBMS is a common language used to describe legal support activities and processes, which can be for job descriptions and many other management and HR activities. The session that was the most fun for me was Express Yourself: Communication and Public Speaking. Region 5 leaders put together a creative, entertaining, and informative presentation.

2016 - CLI water fountainSome of my favorite inspirational quotes from the conference were “There are no bosses in ALA – we are all members.” “Help people feel good. Help people. Feel good.” “ALA is a safe place to try new things.”

I left the conference inspired by regional and chapter leaders who led sessions and shared their experiences, which renewed my commitment to my volunteer role. I am thankful for the Board’s support, fantastic Texas BBQ, and for Southwest getting Julie and I home without cancellations or delays!

Please let me know if you are passionate about any of these topics and would like to know more. I am happy to share the details with y’all!

Cindy Cintas Pilon