Happy New Year!!!
One of my favorite quotes is by the 80’s philosopher Ferris Bueller. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” 2020 provided us with a lot of things – COVID, work from home, remote learning, isolation, masks, zoom meetings, virtual happy hours and more. (More of Nightmare on Elm Street than Ferris Bueller.) However, it also provided an opportunity to stop and look around – to hit the Ferris Bueller pause button. This “opportunity” required that we embrace the changes that the year demanded, and learn extreme resiliency in all facets of our work and personal lives.
While 2020 was quite a year for all, it was also a unique year for the ACIC (understatement). The Board of Trustees successfully navigated a cancelled Spring Forum and adjusted to the change required of a virtual environment, while also adhering to the mission of the College. The mission of the College is TO BRING TOGETHER LAWYERS who devote a substantial amount of their time representing institutional investors in connection with their investment operations, TO PROVIDE EDUCATION with respect to legal issues and market practices affecting institutional investments and investors, to develop, where appropriate, guidelines and uniform documentation for transactions involving institutional investments and TO BUILD COLLEGIAL RELATIONSHIPS to allow for more efficient transactions and communications among its Fellows.
With the help of our fearless crew at Madeleine Crouch, we successfully launched our first ever virtual Annual Meeting, BRINGING TOGETHER 169 LAWYERS from across the country and even a few from across the pond. This was an amazing feat. Patti Boss and Mike Robson finally got their chance to co-chair after the Spring Forum was COVID cancelled. Patti and Mike quickly adapted to the realities of our new virtual world and put together an awesome conference. We provided EDUCATION to our members on the partnership between public and privates, the state of the market, the new normal of working from home (of course), impact of COVID-19 (yes, it impacts our markets too), third party asset management and diversity, equity and inclusion. TO BUILD COLLEGIAL RELATIONSHIPS, conference participants were given the opportunity to participate in a zoom wine tasting. Renée Dailey and CJ Marchain held the zoom controls and shuttled participants from one zoom room to another, insuring the maximum level of connection (without major incident).
The Annual Meeting didn’t just satisfy the College’s Mission, it also provided us with an opportunity to express gratitude to those who have served the College. In times of uncertainty and stress, expressions of appreciation are more than just welcome – they are necessary. Necessary to acknowledge those who have stepped up and devoted significant energy to ensuring the success of our College. First, and foremost, we thanked our fearless leader, Tony Yager, for his calm and steady approach to the uncertainties of COVID. We also thanked Kirk Orr (AIG) and Lisa Conmy (Foley & Lardner) for their dedication and service on the Board of Trustees. We then welcomed Keith Atkinson (Nuveen), David Lawton (Morgan Lewis & Bockius) and Patti Boss (Voya) to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees bid farewell to Mary Jo Quinn in December as she retired from Allstate Investments, and intends to retire to Florida. The Board elected Josephine Vashi of AIG Investments to fill the remainder of Mary Jo’s term. Enjoy the beach and sun, MJ! You’ve earned it.
Our Spring Forum will be co-chaired by Robin Lenarz (Securian) and Heather Wenzel (Morgan Lewis & Bockius). Like the Fall Meeting, the Spring Forum will be virtual. We intend to take our learnings from the Fall Meeting to make the Spring Forum an event that you will not want to miss!!! You should have received an electronic Save the Date. The theme is “ACIC Book Club; Carpe Librum – Seize the Book.” We will meet virtually on Wednesday, April 14 and Thursday, April 15. Looking forward to seeing each of your smiling faces soon!!!
This is an exciting time to be a member of the ACIC. We have a very engaged Board – and we are invested in ensuring the growth and future sustainability of the College. This will be accomplished by continuing to engage our existing members and by attracting and recruiting members from diverse institutions and backgrounds. The Board will meet virtually in February for its annual strategic planning session. (Zoom, Zoom – again.) We will focus on ways in which we can continue to provide a welcoming environment to new members, one in which they will want to return time after time. We also want to provide development and educational opportunities that enrich our members as well as our membership at large. In addition to development and education, we also want to make sure that our members feel supported during COVID and continued WFH. BRINGING TOGETHER LAWYERS, PROVIDING EDUCATION AND BUILDING COLLEGIAL RELATIONSHIPS.
If you have any suggestions for ways in which we can improve the College experience or if you would like to become more involved in the College, please let me or one of the Trustees know.
Wishing you a peaceful New Year.
With much gratitude for your membership,