Durham Lawyer to Focus 18-Month Mandate on Support Networks for Lawyers
As she takes the reins on March 1st, new OBA President Kelly McDermott is determined to ensure all Ontario lawyers come to know what she herself knows firsthand – the OBA is a supportive community that makes careers more satisfying and steps up when life and work collide. McDermott will focus her presidency on creating and formalizing reliable and accessible support networks to assist lawyers facing challenges in their careers and lives.
As senior in-house counsel who leads labour negotiations and litigation at the Regional Municipality of Durham, McDermott navigates a challenging career and busy life as a mom, while managing her own unpredictable underlying health condition and providing care to someone with special needs. McDermott says, “When this delicate balance tips into crisis, I have turned to my OBA community. There I have found fellow professionals who understand the challenges of a busy career and friends ready to help with resources, advice or just an ear. I want lawyers to know that the OBA is their place to turn, not just for their career as a lawyer but for their life as a lawyer.”
“The magic of the OBA is that it threads the needle between the personal and professional,” says McDermott. “I have both given and gotten career opportunities through the OBA network and we will continue to build our wide range of career-focused products and services.” McDermott also plans to focus on serving the whole lawyer with initiatives like peer support. “My hope is that by August 2024, every member who needs support when life shows up will turn to the OBA and find exactly what they need to endure, adapt and thrive.”
McDermott leads an all-female team of officers. She will serve alongside 1st Vice-President Kathryn Manning; Signa Daum Shanks as secretary; Treasurer Mariam Moktar; and Karen Perron who becomes immediate past-president, taking over from Charlene Theodore who completes her 18 months of service in that role.
“I am excited to serve a profession I love alongside these amazing women officers and a terrific board. I want to thank Karen and Charlene for taking on their roles for an extra six months. They have supported me and provided examples of leadership I will be proud to follow. I also want to thank my wonderful colleagues at the Regional Municipality of Durham for agreeing to support me in my extended role.”
McDermott’s presidency is beginning six months earlier due to the appointment of Justice Ranjan Agarwal to the Superior Court of Justice last year. He was set to become OBA president this past September, but his appointment led to the decision to have Karen Perron continue to lead for another six months and for McDermott to start her presidency in March.
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