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A Study in GRIT and Resilience:

Paulette Brown, Esquire, President-Elect ABA

Today, I had the good fortune of bearing witness to a question-and-answer session with Paulette Brown speaking up close and personal about her journey in becoming the first woman of color to be elected to the presidency of the American Bar Association. When asked how it feels to be in her position, she answered “It feels a bit surreal.” Not surprising from a woman who said she never even imagined having the opportunity to head up the nation’s bar association.

What was also not surprising were the secrets to Ms. Brown’s success:

  • tremendous support from family and friends;
  • wisdom and role modeling from mentors who didn’t even know they had been chosen as such;
  • healthy habits to manage stress, including daily walking (no matter the weather), and stress-releasing hobbies, including cooking and reading;
  • over-preparing and considering both sides of the case;
  • understanding the low expectations everyone set for her, and using that attitude to her advantage by doing well and “hammering” the other side;
  • courage to ask for what she wanted;
  • courage to not care what others were thinking;
  • excellent performance in whatever she was doing because you never know who was watching; and
  • sacrifice of short-term needs for long-term career growth.

Yes, indeed, a model of GRIT and resilience. Congratulations to Paulette Brown on her amazing career journey. We wish you well and are excited to have you as our leader and role model.

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