Annual Events

Leadership Academy's Arian June

Arian JuneWhen Arian June first interviewed with WilmerHale LLP, she e-mailed John Payton asking if she could meet him beforehand. When they met, June spent the first few minutes talking about  why she wanted to work at the firm, but Payton quickly changed that conversation to how she would spend the rest of her career. What she thought would be a quick hello ended up lasting two hours.

“That’s the quintessential example of John,” said June, now counsel at WilmerHale. “He was so incredibly devoted to mentoring young lawyers, to influencing their careers, and encouraging us to do more than just one thing.”

Over the years, Payton continued to serve as one of her mentors. Payton, who died in 2012, remained a pillar of the legal community, leading numerous organizations. Despite his busy schedule, he always had an open-door policy and made time for those who needed his advice or encouragement.

For June, Payton was one of the primary reasons she wanted to be active in the D.C. Bar and apply for what was initially known as the D.C. Bar Leadership Academy. She was accepted into the 2014 class. When the workshops began in March, the students were told that the Academy’s name would be changed to the John Payton Leadership Academy in recognition of Payton’s many contributions to the Bar and the greater legal community.

“I was in tears. The fact that they changed it to honor his legacy, and that I was part of the first class under that new name, it was incredibly emotional and just so profound for me. It’s a real honor,” June said. 

While that memory is distinct, June also said that she will never forget listening to Jim Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corporation and chair of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Committee, who spoke at the Academy about civility and professionalism in volunteer leadership.

“He was so fantastic because as you sat there and listened to him, you can’t help but to think about the so many wonderful things [you] can do with [your] talents,” she said. “He’s quite a  motivator.”

The Academy also helped June to develop a greater sense of how to build a team using people’s strengths not only to benefit you, as a leader, but to help your team members grow and meet their goals.

“One of the things they gave us—and this is such a little gem for me—was this list of 101 ways to praise your team, your staff,” said June, who often shares and uses that information.

June believes there is no better way for a Bar member who wants to do more and get more involved than to go through the Leadership Academy.

“You’re not only going to learn about how to become a better leader, how to be a better manager, but you’re going to learn about how you can serve,” she said. 

Want to be part of the next class of the Leadership Academy? Apply today!