Alumni Symposium Vice Chair Lisa Collins (left) leads a discussion with Dr. Bernice King during the 11th Annual LCLD Alumni Leadership Symposium in Chicago. (Photo by Joe Mahoney)


CHICAGO — Last month, nearly 400 LCLD Alumni gathered at the Hyatt Regency for their first in-person annual Leadership Symposium since 2019. Fellows and Pathfinder Alumni of all class years traveled from across the U.S. to network and reconnect, as well as learn from a range of speakers, experts, and leaders in the legal profession and beyond. 

In the two days leading up to the Symposium, 2020 and 2021 Fellows and Pathfinders were invited to attend special pre-Symposium events to connect with their cohorts face to face. Mary E. Abbajay, president and co-founder of Careerstone Group, LLC; Tasneem Khokha, managing director of GrowthPlay; and Chris De Santis, specialist in management and organization development, engaged these classes on topics like generational friction, communication styles, and personal branding. 

Dr. Bernice A. King—global thought leader, orator, peace advocate, CEO of The King Center, and daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—opened the main event on the morning of Thursday, June 23, with a fireside chat on transformative leadership and a book signing. On Friday, June 24, John Amaechi—organizational psychologist, New York Times bestselling author, and former NBA athlete—joined the Alumni community from the U.K. for a virtual fireside chat about global leadership and what it means to be a “Giant.” Alumni spent Friday afternoon in breakout sessions, one led by Ann marie Houghtailing, co-founder of Story Imprinting, on executive presence and one led by Lori Lorenzo and Erin Hess of Deloitte on managing wellbeing through disruptions and change. 

LCLD Board Chair Ellen Dwyer, Chair of the Executive Committee at Crowell & Moring LLP, assembled a panel of LCLD Members to share their stories on leading in a hybrid environment, their Leaders at the Front Pledge, and how LCLD Alumni can assist in their DEI goals. In addition to Ellen, the panel included Board Member Joel Unruch, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Accenture; Tonit Calaway, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel, and Secretary of BorgWarner; and Thomas Fitzgerald, Chairman of Winston & Strawn LLP. 

Following the panel, Alumni attended a reception at Morgan Manufacturing to celebrate the 8th Annual Rick Palmore LCLD Alumni Award winners—2021 Fellow and 2016 Pathfinder Fawaz Bham of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, and 2020 Pathfinder Patrick Fang of Accenture—as well as the 2020 and 2021 Participation Is Key Award winners (2020 winner: 2018 Fellows; 2021 winners: 2018 Fellows, 2016 Pathfinders). 

After breakfast and breakout discussions on the Symposium’s final morning, Alumni headed to the Greater Chicago Food Depository for a community service event. About two dozen Alumni helped repackage 140 boxes of oranges—5,800 pounds—into bags for consumers, helping to create 185 meals per volunteer. Dine-Arounds and Happy Hours at local restaurants allowed Alumni to grow existing relationships and create new ones after the conclusion of each day’s programming.