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Interview of the Month

An Interview with Lisa M. Denig

Susan L. Pollet
Chair of the Archive and Historian Committee

Q: You just finished your year as WWBA President.  Please tell us the accomplishments of which you are most proud?

A: Before my presidency began, my Executive Officers and I met and highlighted three things that we wanted to focus on during the year:  social media, more “social” or fun events, and reaching out to younger lawyers.  I am proud to say that we made headway in all three areas.  As to social media, we started a WWBA Instagram account and have actively posted to it and our other social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter all year.  This has increased our social media presence and helped us get information regarding events and programs to new audiences.  In regards to planning more social events, we successfully added many programs and outings this year including a trip to see a Broadway show, a wine tasting, paint night, a Learn to Spin class, and our popular Book Club.  These events have given members the opportunity to network and socialize in a less formal environment and are often named by members as some of their favorite get-togethers of the past year.  Finally, we reached out to Pace Law School and signed up over 50 law students, many of whom have become very active in our group.  This is important as these younger students are the future of our organization.  

Q: Are there any projects which began or were continued during your Presidency which you would like to see further developed in the future?

A: We were able to volunteer with the Hillside Food Outreach, helping to stock shelves and organize their inventory.  Hillside is a very special food pantry that caters to the homebound, utilizing volunteers to deliver food and specializing in gluten-free foods and other healthy choices.  I would love to see our connection with this group - and other non-profits in the area - grow and thrive as our members have reported that they would like to see the WWBA offer more volunteer opportunities. 

Q:  Which direction would you like to see the WWBA move in during the coming years?

A:  I am so proud to be a member of this organization and to see it grow and change with the ever evolving needs of women in the legal community.  I would like to see the Westchester Women’s Bar Association remain the standard-bearer for equality in the law and society and to continue to push for measures that will accomplish that.  I would also like to see the WWBA continue to meet the needs of our local legal community in this new age by providing our CLEs online or streaming.  This is the not the wave of the future, it is the first choice of younger attorneys right now and the WWBA has to adapt to provide these opportunities to its members. 

Q: How did the #MeToo Movement impact upon your Presidency if at all?

A: The #MeToo Movement was at the forefront of women’s issues this past year and the WWBA responded, as it always does, with a thoughtful and highly educational program that delved into the law surrounding sexual harassment lawsuits.  This panel discussion included two judges who deal with sexual harassment cases as well as two accomplished attorneys who presented both sides of the issue - plaintiff and defendant.  The best part about this program was that the audience was thoroughly engaged, asking questions, offering insight and rounding out the discussion in a way I have not seen at a program in a long time.  This illustrates the timeliness and sensitivity of the issue and, as always, the Westchester Women’s Bar Association committees were right there to provide a comfortable and honest forum for such a discussion.  

Q:  You are such a productive person.  What advice do you have for our membership about how to best multi-task?

A: Like most women, I have a rather full plate. I am the Bureau Chief of Special Litigation at the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office; I teach seven spin classes a week at New York Sports Club; I am the immediate past president of the Westchester Women’s Bar Association as well as Co-Chair of the Criminal Law, Appellate and Annual Dinner Committees; I coordinate the children’s programs and teach Sunday School at my church; I volunteer with numerous organizations; and I am currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas.  Sometimes, even I am not sure how I get it all done in one day!  But I will say this:  use every minute in your day to achieve something.  I get up very early (4:45am) and go to bed relatively early (between 9:30 and 10pm).  Keeping these hours is conducive to greater efficiency than plopping down on the couch to watch television all evening long.  I have never binge-watched anything in my life!  I don’t even think that term should be in our lexicon!  And I’ve never had a Facebook account - if I want to “connect” with people, I go to a Westchester Women’s Bar Association event or volunteer on a Habitat for Humanity build site.  God only gives us so many hours on this earth-I want to use every one of mine to accomplish something that makes a difference in this world. 

Q:  Which community activities will you continue to be involved with other than the Westchester Women’s Bar Association?

A: Leaving the presidency of the Westchester Women’s Bar Association behind has freed up some of those precious hours and there is so much I want to do!  As most people know, I have four rescue dogs who are the loves of my life so I would like to become more involved in a local pet rescue organization.  I will continue to volunteer with Hillside Food Outreach and Habitat for Humanity.  Additionally, I have become more active in my local political organization.  And then there is that secret wish that I just have not gotten around to yet….I want to learn to play piano. 

Q:  What do you want to accomplish personally going forward?

A:  Simple:  I want to create positive social change in this world.  In whatever situation I am in – whether it is at work, in an organization like the WWBA, or even just in a relationship with someone – I always ask myself, “How can I make this even better?  What can I do to help?”  There are so many opportunities to touch people’s lives and create new and better paths and I want to be the person to do that.  I definitely have the resources and the energy to do this; it seems the only thing holding me back is this measly 24 hour day…

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