The Atlanta Lawyer February 2017 - Page 28

ACYL Presidency and Leadership
Matt J . Simmons Shepherd Law LLC msimmons @ shepherdlaw . net
When the Atlanta Bar asked me to reach out to past Presidents of the ACYL and ask them about what their time as President taught them about being a leader , it got me thinking . While my term as President is not yet over , I can say without hesitation that all the time , effort , and thought I have invested and continue to commit to my role was and is well worth it . As a direct result of my current position , I have learned so much about myself as well as the members of this great section . Further , I have been able to hone my leadership skills and my ability both to motivate and harness the skills of those around me .
I implore you to get involved and – when you feel ready – take on a leadership role in a section of the Atlanta Bar that most interests you . Trust me , you will not regret it !
Holly Hempel , Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
ACYL President 2008-09
As a past President of the ACYL , I credit the Atlanta Bar and the ACYL with the development of many skills that have positively impacted my career . Some of the most important of these are :
• How to run a board meeting – Be efficient and stay on a well-thought agenda .
• Have an elevator speech – Be able to explain , at an elementary level , what you do for your job so that any listener learns your value and how they and others may use your services .
• Personal branding – It is never too early as a young attorney to focus on your work identity and define who you are and who you want to be in your work environment and legal career .
• Being involved in the Atlanta Bar and the legal community is a great thing ! – I made contacts while involved in the ACYL that I would not have made without the ACYL . Some contacts have become wonderful friends and / colleagues , mentors , mentees , referral sources , and clients . I encourage participation in the ACYL and other Atlanta Bar committees and activity .
Steven Wagner , E . E . O . C .
ACYL President 2010-11
Being president of the ACYL taught me what works as a leader and what does not . It all starts with you . If you are not organized , if you do not have a clear direction or goal , you cannot be an effective leader . When I was president of the ACYL , we typically had one Board meeting a month , so most everything we did had to be done in that meeting . I had to be organized and ready to go so that those meetings were efficient and effective . What I learned was that if you are organized and do what you say you will do and people see that , people will respond positively to you and do what you ask them to do . If you give people clear directions and goals so they understand what they need to do and why , people will be responsive and accomplish their tasks . The more you set a good example yourself and the more clear your leadership is , the more likely that those you are leading will be successful . That is the mark of a good leader .
Kristin Zielmanski , Zielmanski Law LLC
ACYL President 2013-14
I did not go to law school in the Atlanta area , and the law firm where I worked only had a couple of associates . As a result , being a part of the ACYL gave me the opportunity to form strong connections with my peers and to feel like I was a part of the larger Atlanta legal community .
Friends I have made through being involved in the leadership of the ACYL have been invaluable to me in my legal career . Being able to serve as President of the ACYL was a great opportunity for me to develop leadership skills . I think lawyers tend to be people who want to do everything themselves , but as a leader , you learn that you must depend on others to help you .
During my term , our ACYL Board Members organized several successful social events , breakfasts , and CLEs , and accomplished significant fundraising as well . Serving as President of the ACYL has also led to my desire to stay connected and
28 February 2017