President's Message

Posted by: Timika Shafeek-Horton on Feb 6, 2019

Believe it or not, at the MCB, we’re already starting to think about leadership for next year –July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. We know that Chris Lam of Bradley LLP will be our next president, but many other roles must be filled too. The Board consists of 26 positions. Each year, six positions in the new class must be filled, along with one Young Lawyers Division Chair, the President-Elect, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. An ABA Delegate is selected every other year. The hope is that candidates will have had experience with committees, sections or task forces as leaders or active members, but any member in good standing is encouraged to submit his or her name as an interested candidate.


Immediate Past President Heather Culp of Essex Richards P.A., is serving as chair of the Nominating Committee this year. I will be next year’s chair. The Nominating Committee began accepting nominations for the upcoming MCB Board’s Class of 2022 and for the open officer positions in January. The Nominating Committee’s slate of officers and new board members will be voted on at our annual meeting on May 23, 2019. I have had the pleasure and the honor of serving this Bar for several years and as MCB president for the last eight months. The MCB volunteer leaders are among the most thoughtful, hard-working, and committed group with whom I have served. If working with other dedicated lawyers to serve your Bar and the community is of interest to you, I encourage you to submit your name or the name of one of your colleagues who agrees to be considered. I believe you will find the role deeply rewarding.


 The Bar Leadership Institute (BLI) kicks-off this month too with a dinner on February 7, 2019. Judge Al Diaz of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will be the keynote speaker. Many thanks to Judge Diaz and to BLI Committee Chair Michael Martinez of Grier, Furr & Crisp P.A., Vice Chair David Murray of The Odom Firm, PLLC, and BLI Committee members Stephanie Jackson (PD’s Office), Gabrielle Kelly (DA’s Office), Aaron Lay (Hamilton Stephens Steele & Martin), Pender McElroy (James, McElroy & Diehl), Jennifer Moore (Marcellino & Tyson), Lee Robertson (Richard L. Robertson & Associates), Courtney Rogers (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools), Julie Spahn (Spahn Law Firm), Sarah Stone (Womble Bond Dickinson), Christopher Vann (Vann Law Firm) and Mandana Vidwan (Clerk of Superior Court Office), who have a year’s worth of activities planned to expose BLI participants to opportunities for personal and professional growth and development and to encourage them to serve in leadership positions within the MCB and MBF.


Congratulations to the 2018-19 Bar Leadership Institute participants:

Sara Ash, Troutman Sanders

Daniell Chunn, NC Administrative Office of the Courts

Brett M. Few, DA’s Office

Eric Altman Frick, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein

Kyle Andrew Frost, Horack, Talley, Pharr & Lowndes

Lambert Franklin Guinn, U.S. Attorney’s Office

Abbey M. Krysak, McGuireWoods

Rex Marvel, PD’s Office

Caroline Trapeni Mitchell, James, McElroy & Diehl

Satie R. Munn, Lindley Law

Tyler B. Peacock, Gardner Skelton

Liana K. Rebollo, Wells Fargo Legal Department

Mandy Schuller, Wells Fargo Legal Department

Jonathan E. Schulz, Bradley LLP

Jeremy Bryant Tomes, Troutman Sanders

Liz Vennum, Vennum PLLC

Lawrence Duane Wooden, Wooden Bowers

Amanda M. Wright, Tom Bush Law Group


The McMillan Fellowship Fund Dinner is February 28, where David Rudolf of Rudolf Widenhouse will present the keynote address and Superior Court Judge Carla Archie will receive the Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award. Our thanks go out to Sonya Pfeiffer of Rudolf Widenhouse, the McMillan Fellowship Committee chair, and McMillan Committee members Ozzie Ayscue, Natalia Botella (Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy), Marion Cowell, George Daly, Marc Gentile (Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services – Youth & Family), John Gresham (Tin Fulton Walker & Owen), Katie Holliday (James, McElroy & Diehl), Sarah Hutchins (Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein), Maria Long (DA’s Office), Spencer Merriweather (DA’s Office), Ray Owens (Higgins & Owens), Randy Phillips (Moore & Van Allen), Erin Taylor (Federal Public Defenders of the Western District of NC), and Mandana Vidwan (Clerk of Superior Court Office). The work they do helps us strengthen our public sector, bring potential future leaders to our community and recognize leaders in diversity.


I love our Bar in February, and all other months of the year. We have a meaningful calendar of events that encourages networking and learning, robust CLE offerings, a strong and dedicated staff, a commitment to diversity and to pro bono initiatives that others strive to emulate and a desire to ensure that our members have opportunities to learn from each other.