While I will forever be grateful for and humbled by the opportunity to serve the Cook County Bar Association (CCBA) as president, what is certain is this: to lead does not require a title.

The CCBA comprises hundreds of “rank-and-file” leaders who roll up their sleeves, give of themselves, and just do the work.

These women and men stand in the gap supporting communities by extending health resources like free COVID testing and masks, free legal aid and holiday assistance to the public. But that is just a preview of the yeoman’s work done by the Bar Association I serve.

Every day, leaders mentor and then provide support for handsome scholarships extended to up-and-coming students soon to join the legal community. Further, our Bar Association, through stalwart members like Urie Clark, help our bar develop and share our highly respected judicial candidate ratings with the communities we assist.

On a daily basis, women like Monique Patton Woody, Mental Health Committee chair, Linda Sackey, responsible for our Rapid Response outreach, and LeDeidre Turner, co-chair of our Job Fair, rise to the challenge of the times.

Lawyers in the Community chair, Antonio Lee, along with Raymond Rushing, Chair of Committee on Committees, and Membership Chair, Amir Akbar, work tirelessly to ensure that the CCBA remains tethered to the community.

As president, I’ve found myself being the beneficiary of sage counsel from past presidents like the Hon. Sidney Jones, III, Ret., Judge Celestia Mays, Arlene Coleman, and Delores Robinson.

I am fortunate to work with and for those mentioned above and this Bar Association. I am compelled and duty bound to both recognize and acknowledge the same.

I was asked to offer a commentary on “Leadership in Challenging Times.” When you are surrounded by extraordinary people like the members of the CCBA and guided by leaders like executive director Cordelia Brown assisted by Lisa Hollyfield, assuming the role I currently occupy is easy.

The times we are in are, no doubt, challenging. But the CCBA has been nimble in how it has adapted. Our committees have been prolific in their programming, and our bar continues to offer a wide array of Continuing Legal Education courses. This pandemic has not stopped us, and it will not.

Leaders lead by example. The CCBA has done and will continue to do just that.