March 12, 2021

Happy Friday!

The days are literally getting brighter with more vaccines on the way and daylight savings time beginning this weekend.

As it is Women’s History Month, today I’d like to take a few moments to celebrate the accomplishments of our women members and leaders at DRI. I am so humbled to follow in the footsteps of three women Presidents of DRI who came before me. Nearly two decades ago, DRI elected as its President its first woman and woman of color, Sheryl J. Willert. Sheryl practices at Williams Kastner in Seattle, Washington, and has been recognized time and time again not only for her accomplishments as a lawyer and as a President of DRI, but also as a pioneer in the legal profession. In 2009, DRI renamed its diversity award the Sheryl J. Willert Pioneer Diversity Award, which recognizes an individual attorney for his or her demonstrated commitment to diversity in the legal profession. Mary Massaron, of Plunkett and Cooney in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, was DRI’s President from 2012-2013, and President of Lawyers for Civil Justice 2016-2017. She is also recognized as one of the nation’s most accomplished appellate lawyers. Laura E. Proctor served as DRI’s President in 2015-2016, and is currently leading the National Foundation for Judicial Excellence as its President. Laura, who is the Associate General Counsel for Litigation and Employment for Numotion in Nashville, TN, was DRI’s first corporate counsel President.

Moreover, for the first time in its 60-year history, 50% of DRI’s Executive Committee, 40% of our Board of Directors, and more than half of our Committee Chairs are women. I cannot include all their names here, but I want to give a big shout out to all the women who are chairs of the following committees: Corporate Counsel, Cyber Security, Commercial, Drug & Medical Device, Employment, Fidelity & Surety, Governmental Liability, Insurance Law, Intellectual Property Law, Law Practice Management, Professional Liability, Appellate Advocacy, Women in the Law, Workers Compensation, and Young Lawyers committees. And that’s not all! The Center for Law & Public Policy is chaired by Kathy Guilfoyle of Campbell, Conroy & O’Neill in Boston, DRI for Life is chaired by Sara Turner at Baker Donelson in Birmingham, AL, and DRI Cares is chaired by Rebecca Nicholson at Sinars, Slowikowski Tomaska in St. Louis, Missouri.

By recognizing each of these accomplished women, we are also celebrating DRI and the amazing community that brings us together as One DRI. Cheers to all the formidable leaders of the Civil Defense Bar!

All of us from DRI look forward to seeing all of you very soon again in person!



Emily CoughlinEmily Coughlin