Oklahoma Bar Journal

Leadership Academy: Shaping the Next Generation of Bar Leaders

By Lori Rasmussen

The eighth class of the OBA Leadership Academy meets for the first time on Jan. 18. Participants are (front row from left) Rachel Hartman, Norman; Melissa Martin, Yukon; Courtney Driskell, Tulsa; Elissa Stiles, Tulsa; Alyssa Amundsen, Norman; (back row from left) Thomas Grossnicklaus, Oklahoma City; Sherry Erb, Muskogee; Tracy Smith, Tulsa; Kinder Shamhart, Bartlesville; Tim Beets, Oklahoma City; Melissa Brooks, Oklahoma City; Brett Stavin, Edmond; Shannon Taylor, Oklahoma City; Brian Candelaria, Norman; and Calandra McCool, Norman. Not pictured is Taylor Wallner, Oklahoma City.

OBA President Miles Pringle discusses the association’s leadership structure during the Thursday morning welcome session.

Members of the Leadership Academy meet with the Oklahoma Bar Foundation during their tour of the Oklahoma Bar Center.

The eighth class of the OBA Leadership Academy is officially underway after its members met for the first time in January. Over the course of this year, these program participants will become equipped with the skills and connections to become leaders within the bar as well as their local communities.

The 16 members of the class were selected for their demonstrated commitment to the profession and community impact. Through this program, which originated from the OBA’s Leadership Conference in 2007, participants will learn about OBA governance, special considerations for attorneys in public service, networking skills and effective communication.

“Leadership is a talent that needs to be honed and developed,” said Gigi McCormick, director of OBA Educational Programs. “As attorneys, we often find ourselves in leadership positions, either because of our own goals and ambitions or because of the public’s perception that attorneys inherently make good leaders. The future of our association and our state depends on the intentional development of these talents.”

LHL Committee Chair Scott Goode presents on mental health and substance abuse challenges within the bar during the afternoon session

During the first meeting, participants were welcomed by OBA President Miles Pringle. They also took a tour of the Oklahoma Bar Center and met with staff to learn more about the association and how its various departments function. Later, they heard from Lawyers Helping Lawyers Assistance Program Committee Chair Scott Goode, who spoke about LHL programs aimed at addressing the mental health and substance abuse challenges those in the legal profession may encounter. The following day, the group attended the swearing-in ceremony for OBA officers and new members of the Board of Governors.

The class will meet bimonthly in 2024 and conclude with a graduation celebration in November.

Lori Rasmussen is the OBA Director of Communications.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar JournalOBJ 95 No. 2 (February 2024)

Statements or opinions expressed in the Oklahoma Bar Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Oklahoma Bar Association, its officers, Board of Governors, Board of Editors or staff.