With the conclusion of last night’s Baking with the Court Remote Rendezvous, my duties and obligations as CFAWL’s President came to an end. With equal parts sadness and glee, I hand this wonderful organization over to Mary Walter. I have said it before and I will say it again, Mary Walter is who I want to be when I grow up. She will be a fabulous President and I look forward to her year with as much excitement as I did mine – maybe even more!
This year has been amazing! With exciting programming, a skating party with Seminole County Florida Association for Women Lawyers, “sold out” Tables for Eight, a wait list worthy Judicial Reception, inspiring luncheon speakers, and a beautiful holiday luncheon, we were heading into 2020 with tremendous momentum.
We started off the year with Wicked! with JWLA and St. John’s FAWL, winning “Crowd Favorite” at the OCBA’s Got Talent, winning “Most Spirited Team” at the Law Day 5k, hosting a beautiful Grande Dame Tea, and having a fun and educational networking luncheon. We were just about to throw CFAWL’s first ever Women of Distinction Awards Reception when COVID-19 hit. Luckily, we were able to celebrate our Women of Distinction honorees and our Bar Study Scholarship Recipient through social media, but they really deserved an evening in their honor.
The pandemic could have brought CFAWL to a grinding halt, but it did not. We pivoted and provided virtual programming for our members starting with the first ever Remote Rendezvous on March 24, 2020. Since that time, we have offered two events a week. There were cooking and baking lessons, cookie decorating, crafts, political discussions, games and trivia, wine and chocolate, book club, working from home brainstorming, and many others. Some had as few as five participants, others had well over 20. There was something for everyone and that might be why CFAWL actually gained 20 new members during the pandemic. Some of our beloved former members who have moved out of state had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends given our virtual events. How wonderful is that?
None of this could have happened without the tremendous 2019-2020 Board of Directors and Leadership Team. These women are some of the hardest working women in Central Florida and should be celebrated for their service. Without any staff to carry the load, nothing gets done in CFAWL unless its leadership makes it happen.
We also did a lot of good! We raised funds and donated items for the Backpack Project, supported the Breakfast of Champions and the OCBA Law Day 5K were “angels” for 100(!) Rock Lake Elementary School students, donated dog houses and pet supplies to the Harbor House, and contributed our excess funds (due to cancelled programming) to the Equal Justice Initiative to address social inequality and the Legal Aid Society to continue its work during the pandemic.