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How-To: Preparing Leaders for the Future

Posted By Barry Pickreign, B.S., ALP, Monday, April 24, 2017

Leadership development is crucial to the future of our association. It inspires new members, new and potential leaders, and provides current leaders with the tools they need to succeed. When I took office as the 2016-2017 President-elect of the Mississippi Legal Professionals Association, I wanted to do what I could to equip our members with the tools to help us grow. I was able to do that with the help of the NALS Foundation. I hosted an all-day FREE Leadership Retreat for the Mississippi Legal Professionals Association, which could not have been possible without the NALS Foundation Grant we received. I am going to tell you what I did so maybe you can do the same.


1. Find a good location that is cost effective. Fortunately, we found a college that offered nonprofit rates which allowed us to use a room and equipment at minimal cost. I requested a quote prior to presenting the idea to the members.


2. Decide how your schedule will look. Will meals be included? I scheduled each office one hour (i.e., an hour each for the duties of the President, President-elect, etc.). I even included committee chairs.


3. If you are going to have meals, you need to sort out the logistics. Some places require you to go through their in-house food service, but some allow you to bring food in, which you can do through a caterer or by having a member potluck.


4. Now that you have a proposed location, schedule, and meal plan, organize your thoughts so you can present this to your members. Consider how costs will be covered. Will you charge a registration fee to cover costs? Will the association pay for the costs? Will you get sponsors or will you apply for a NALS Foundation Grant? These are questions to consider. Having your ducks in a row will help the members easily understand your goal.


5. If all goes well with the membership and the retreat is approved, you may begin finalizing everything. Visit the venue and arrange to reserve the space. Finalize your schedule, line up your speakers, prepare a registration form, and arrange your meals.


6. When lining up your speakers, it is important to have people who are knowledgeable in the subject matter. I used the Past Presidents of our association to share their wisdom with everyone. Also, since there are multiple ways of doing things, I arranged each presentation as a panel discussion with three Past Presidents participating in each session. I felt that was vital to the success so members could see the different ways things could be done.


7. Once you distribute your registration forms and begin to finalize everything, you will need to plan the format. Will you have questions throughout or at the end? We decided to have questions throughout. Leadership is an active conversation, so we helped facilitate this by allowing members to ask questions or include additional information. Another thing to think about is if you will record the event. We recorded ours, placed it on our website, and included the handouts. This is a great way to reach more people, especially those who could not attend.


8. Now you are on the big day. Although you are the host, be sure to breathe and enjoy it. All your hard work has paid off.


Providing training to our future leaders is vital to the success of our association. We were fortunate enough to have great attendance. Find ways to keep the conversation of leadership active within your chapters. This will help inspire potential leaders to come forward and find ways they can help. Always remember that the NALS Foundation is here to help you succeed. You can obtain grants for a variety of chapter activities. I wish you all luck in doing this. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at barry.pickreign@gmail.com. I am available any time to help any member.


In closing, I would like to remind everyone that your success is determined by you. You have the ability to change the direction of your life and the events in it. 


Barry has over nine years’ experience in the legal field. During that time he has worked in various positions such as a file clerk, legal assistant, paralegal, and his current job as a Deputy Clerk. He is the Appeals Clerk for his office and processes the appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court. He has served in almost every office of his local chapter, the Gulf Coast Association of Legal Support Professionals, and served on various committees. In May he will be installed as the President of his state chapter, the Mississippi Legal Professionals Association. He has also served in every office and chaired various committees. Barry is the chair of the NALS Ed on Demand Task Force. He has an associate of arts degree in paralegal studies, a bachelor of science degree in justice studies with a concentration in law and legal process with a minor in psychology, and is currently working on a master of science degree in clinical and mental health counseling with a focus on forensic counseling. Barry is also a certified ALP and is working on his PLS/CLP certification. Click here to add Barry on SocialLink.


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