President’s Message: Celebrating and connecting – creatively, constructively, inclusively

  • June 13, 2022
  • Karen Perron

photo of OBA President Karen PerronRecent weeks have been replete with recognition and celebration. We paid tribute to the remarkable career of Justice Rosalie Abella and celebrated Justice Mahmud Jamal’s appointment to the SCC at a Supreme Evening in May that, for many of us, was our first time ‘out-and-about’ at an in-person event of that scale – and what an event it was!

On June 9, we feted three years’ worth of outstanding members of our community at our super-sized Awards Gala, and I can tell you I was brimming with pride in our profession. The way OBA lawyers have stepped up efforts to help those most in need during the tumultuus period we’re – hopefully – seeing our way out of now, has been nothing short of inspiring.

Earlier this month, we kicked off our Pride celebrations in a hybrid event jointly hosted by the OBA and LSO, where Zoom and in-person participants engaged in important professional development and discussion while catching up with colleagues, before witnessing the inaugural presentation of SOGIC’s Master Robert Muir Award. If you haven’t checked out the full range of materials available to you to show your #OBAPride – including dazzling virtual backrounds, social cards and a veritable Pride party in a box – I encourage you to check them out.

We have come so far not only in our capacity to connect with others when circumstances combined to keep us apart, but in our willingness and ability to do so creatively, constructively and inclusively.

This enthusiasm and flexibility have been especially valuable as I continue to lead my OBA Link mandate to facilitate cross-provincial connections to practice tools and solutions, need-to-know news and updates, career- and network-building opportunities, and avenues for support, thought-exchange and community camaraderie – for lawyers at every point on their professional paths.

Last month, it felt like coming home in more ways than one when I attended the YLD Gala in the newly refurbished OBA Conference Centre. The YLD holds a special place in my heart – as serving on that executive is where I began my OBA leadership journey – and I was most gratified to see the tradition of lawyers supporting the career and leadership goals of other lawyers celebrated at the Gala. That night, we honoured three recipients of the Heather McArthur Award, rising stars of our profession who each counted mentoring others among their long list of contributions.

Through the series of awards and recognition events we have hosted recently – and in those on the horizon, like the Award of Excellence in Civil Litigation dinner to be held in Ottawa later this month – we see the tremendous, positive impact OBA members province-wide are making in their association, their profession and their communities – and in the advancement of justice for all Ontarians.

Which calls to mind another example of productive cross-province collaboration: Our August Institute will be a multi-day extravaganza – from August 18-19 – involving social events, idea-exchanges, A2J brainstorming, PD targeted to career-stage and interest, and a showcase of career opportunities in communities across Ontario. This will be a something-for-everyone event not-to-be-missed.

The innovative events and initiatives just keep coming, so keep an eye on our email updates and website to be the first to know what’s in the works. And if there is anything you can think of that the OBA could supply to make your day easier – from dusk to dawn, from desk to doorstop – please let us know. You might be surprised how we can help!