Bar Leadership Institute Committee


Encourages lawyers in the development of their professional and leadership skills within the Bar, Foundation and legal profession.  A joint MCB and MBF Committee.




2021- 22 Chair 2021-22 Vice-Chair
Gabrielle G. Kelly
Mandana Vidwan



Class of 2022 Class of 2023 Class of 2024

Clay Campbell
Caroline Mitchell
Colleen Molner

Mandy Schuller
Jessica Battle
Tonja Brooks

Najla Long
Lawrence Wooden
Meredith Hamilton


Staff Liaison

Shannon R. Reid, Associate Executive Director -


Volunteer Need / Commitment

Members of the Bar Leadership Institute (BLI) Committee attend monthly committee meetings, select BLI participants from pool of applicants, monitor the annual BLI budget, plan the kickoff event and evening program sessions, recruit speakers and alumni for various roles and evaluate program effectiveness at year's end.  The BLI Committee currently meets on the first Wednesday each month at 8 a.m. 


2020-21 Bar Leadership Institute Committee Report
R. Lee Robertson, Jr., Chair & Gabrielle G. Kelly, Vice Chair

The Bar Leadership Institute (BLI) of the Mecklenburg County Bar and Mecklenburg Bar Foundation entered into its 19th year in 2020-21, though it was the first (and hopefully last) year that the BLI kicked off during a global pandemic.  The BLI Class of 2021 is comprised of 17 participants with diverse backgrounds personally and professionally. 

In May of 2021, Bar and Foundation leaders celebrated (via Zoom!) the Class at the Annual BLI Kickoff Event, featuring a keynote address by Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.  That weekend, the Class embarked on a weekend retreat at the U.S. National Whitewater Center to evaluate their personal leadership styles, strengths, and areas for development under the facilitation of Dave Newell, Evolve Leadership Consulting.

The Committee planned sessions for the participants, amounting to 15 hours of CLE total, with both in-person and virtual elements.  The Committee invited prominent legal and civic leaders from the community and beyond, including representatives from the bench, CMPD, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.  The BLI Committee would like to thank those speakers: David Erdman, Judge Richard Boner, Judge Shirley Fulton, Dr. Tom Hanchett, Dr. Shaun Ward, Karen Baynes-Dunning, and Bryan Fair.