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Leadership Academy Alumni Speak

December 22, 2016

Leadership Academy session

The call for applications for the 2017 John Payton Leadership Academy is out, but why should you be a part it?

It’s simple, say many of the alumni. It’s a program where you can learn about who you are as a leader, what your strengths are, how you work in a team, and how can you grow.

“In a city full of lawyers, it’s important for each of us to stand out from the crowd and distinguish ourselves,” says Sadina Montani, an associate at Vedder Price and 2013 graduate of the Academy. “Putting forth the time and effort to participate in programs like the Leadership Academy was an important part of establishing my identity and independence as a lawyer within my firm.”

For three full days, Academy participants learn from expert facilitators in leadership development, engage in conversations about civility, figure out the most effective way to work together on interactive projects, and analyze their skill sets.

For Rebecca D. Weir of the Legal Services Corporation, the strength-based leadership assessment session stood out. Instead of the typical personality test, it evaluated a person’s professional talents. “It taught me to focus on my strengths instead of constantly fighting to ‘improve’ my weaknesses,” she says. “The idea that being ‘well-rounded’ is inefficient, and that teams are strongest when everyone plays to their strengths, was revolutionary and incredibly freeing for me—a self-admitted perfectionist.”

Annette Kwok, an associate at Venable LLP who also now serves on the Bar’s Board of Governors following her time at the Leadership Academy, agrees with Weir. The same session proved useful as she moved along in her career.

After graduating from the Leadership Academy in 2013, Kwok became president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area. Applying what she learned, she said she was able to “build a board with leaders whose strengths complemented mine. I also learned different approaches to work with different people to identify different ideas, build consensus, and reach the ultimate results.”

These are just a few great experiences with the John Payton Leadership Academy. Next week, we profile Moses Cook, the executive director of the D.C. Law Students in Court, who graduated from the Academy in 2014.

Be a part of the Leadership Academy. Apply today. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on January 6.