Lessons learned in my year as president.

Author:Downs, Mayanne
Position::President's Page

It's hard to believe that this is my last president's message. Of all the words of wisdom I received from past presidents, the truest were the frequent references to how quickly the year goes by.

As I write this, the culmination of a great deal of hard work on unprecedented legislative issues is at hand, but printing deadlines won't allow me to hold up this column for the final result. So, I'll leave those comments for another forum. The truth is that I'm so tired and stressed from worrying about the outcome, I probably shouldn't write something permanent now anyway.

Instead, I'll tell you about some of the highlights of this year. First, it was a joy and honor to represent The Florida Bar around the state, from Miami to Pensacola, Tallahassee to Key West, Palm Beach to Sarasota, Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Myers and Naples, Clearwater to Orlando, and many other areas around Florida.

I've spoken over 25 times, and traveled over 10,000 miles. I've been to Tallahassee so much recently that now when I get in my car, particularly very early, it asks, "Are we going to Tallahassee?"

I've spoken to about 15 newspaper editorial boards, with many follow-up calls. I had the marvelous opportunity to spend a day at my alma mater, the University of Florida, which I'll remember all my life.

I've had the chance to renew old friendships, and to meet people I knew of, but didn't really know. I've bonded with some groups who rewarded me with standing ovations, and I felt such a burst of good will, going both ways, that I wanted to invite them all home with me. I've had a few events where I felt I never clicked, and didn't perform well, and left regretting my failure to engage with my audience. Each and every group is different, and I've learned that you can sense the personality of that group from the moment you walk into the door.

I've deepened my understanding of human nature, and the natures of lawyers. I've learned how to run a large meeting in a formal fashion, and to digest materials quickly and efficiently. I've learned the beauty and discipline...

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