Oklahoma Bar Journal

Nominate Someone Who Deserves to Be Honored

By Jennifer Castillo

To some of you, spring may bring to mind images of shamrocks, leprechauns, pastel colored eggs and chocolate bunnies. For others, spring may mean breaks from school and family vacations. In my mind, spring represents the beginning of the OBA Awards Committee’s work for the year. It is the time when we plan our year as a committee and begin to publicize the nominations process. As a working mom of two, I understand how difficult it can be to find a few extra minutes in which to write and submit an OBA award nomination. But consider how a few minutes of your time now can encourage and inspire others to continue serving our community through leadership, public service and service to the profession far into the future.

For example, Carolyn S. Thompson received the Alma Wilson Award in 2017 for her work at Douglass High School in Oklahoma City as chair of the Law and Public Safety Career Academy. In this role, Ms. Thompson spends 20 to 25 hours a week coordinating speakers, arranging field trips and summer internships as well as writing grants for all the academy’s funding. She believes the work she does makes a difference in the lives of Oklahoma students, but the work also comes with many obstacles and frustrations. When asked about how receiving the award impacted her, Ms. Thompson told me that on the days when she feels like beating her head against a wall to get some small task accomplished, having been recognized by the OBA motivates her to keep going.

Judge Jill Weedon, who received the Judicial Excellence Award in 2017, similarly told me how meaningful it is to her and her family that someone noticed her efforts. She said, “Writing a nomination letter is an act of kindness that will only cost you a little time. You may surprise someone with the gift of having their achievement publicly acknowledged.” Ms. Thompson added, “I am sure there are many Oklahoma lawyers who do pro bono work who deserve to be recognized but who receive little recognition. It takes time and effort to prepare and submit an award nomination, but to those being nominated that time and effort will mean a lot and might make a real difference in the nominee’s life. I encourage OBA members to take the time to seek out and nominate our members for the great work they are doing.”

To encourage nominations, the Awards Committee has made the nomination process as streamlined as possible. Anyone can submit an award nomination, and anyone nominated can win.1

No specific form is required. Nominations can be as short as a one-page letter (however, the entire nomination cannot exceed five singled-sided 8 ½ x 11 pages including exhibits and support letters). No specific method of delivery is required. Nominations may be mailed, emailed or faxed (but please pick just one).

I encourage you to take a look at the award categories and nominate at least one deserving colleague or professional organization for an award. You never know what great acts of service and kindness you may inspire.

1. Please note that in election years, the OBA Awards Committee does not recommend awards for judges in contested elections.

Jennifer Castillo is an attorney with OG&E in Oklahoma City. She serves as Awards Committee chairperson.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- OBJ 89 pg. 38 (May 2018)