By the time you read this column, the storm will
have passed. Waters will have receded. The emergency will be over and we will be dealing with the
aftermath. Almost two months out from Hurricane
Harvey, people will be dealing with losses for which
they were unprepared, including myself. I lost a family member three days before Hurricane Harvey hit
Texas. Providentially, my husband and I were able to
fly out of Houston before flights were cancelled. We
arrived in time to pay tribute to a life well lived of a
beloved family member.
Reflecting on recent events, what has stayed with
me is the outpouring of support from friends, colleagues, and even members of ACC. In the midst
of loss, the expressions of concern and condolence
have meant so much to our family.
In the weeks leading up to the event, I had
solicited references and information from members
throughout the ACC network in anticipation of
some legal issues I expected to arise for our family.
I reached out not only through ACC eGroups for
help, but also to leadership of an ACC chapter in
the geographic location where we needed help. I received numerous responses from myriad members
I didn’t even know. Having those references made
all the difference in helping our family navigate an
incredibly difficult period of time. I continue to be
amazed at how our ACC members come together to
help each other.
Many of you may not realize the vast network of
experts you have at your fingertips in our association. Just in the last month, I have received help
and referrals from ACC member experts in areas
of wage and hour law, intellectual property, and
elder care. How did I manage to do that?
I posted my questions on eGroups. If you are not
familiar with eGroups, then you need to get familiar
with it — immediately. Located on the ACC website,
eGroups allows members to post questions and receive answers. ACC has 19 committees. Committees
are primarily based on subject matter (such as
Employment & Labor or Intellectual Property) with
three specialty committees based on specific experience or size (such as New to In-house, Small Law
Department, or Law Department Management).
Each committee has an eGroup. You can join as
many eGroups as you like — all included with your
current membership. You become a member of the
eGroup by becoming a member of the committee.
Rarely have I posted to eGroups without getting
multiple references or responses.
The next step I took was to reach out to the
region’s chapter leadership where my family member lived. Not only did the leadership
respond, but they reached out to other chapter
members on my behalf and I had more references
than I needed. I have contacted members all over
the world. Our chapter network is massive and
incredibly accessible. You would be surprised at
what a friendly group our worldwide ACC members can be.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I reached out to
individual members whom I have met at various
ACC events, including the ACC Annual Meeting.
When the 2014 Annual Meeting was held in New
Orleans, I coordinated with a member in the
Louisiana Chapter on an Annual Meeting event.
In looking for help recently, I saw that she was a
member of a specific committee and contacted her
for some advice in an unfamiliar area of law. She
received my call enthusiastically and even directed
me to another ACC member who could assist me.
These connections are invaluable and they are
readily available to you. You only need to submit
a post, write an email, or pick up the phone. As
another ACC colleague shared with me, he loves
to “pay it forward” 1 to other members because he
has learned so much from our network of in-house
counsel. I echo that sentiment.
I have observed time and time again that our
members are not only advocates and counselors
for their companies, but for each other. We step up,
step in, and step out to help those of us in need. We
are more than a professional organization. We are
a community. In fact, in the timeless words of the
Pointer Sisters: “WE ARE FAMILY.”
Hope to see you at the family reunion
Washington, DC this October. ACC
1 Pay it forward is an expression for describing
the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to
others instead of to the original benefactor.
We Are Family
20 ASSOCIATION OF CORPORATE COUNSEL
voices maryrose delahunty
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