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The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

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Eckhardt_Michael-December 2019-CROPPED
Michael J. Eckhardt
SVP, Chief Risk Officer,
General Counsel & Secretary
Wawa, Inc.

Dear ACC Greater Philadelphia Members and Friends:

Happy New Year!  As we start the new year and turn the page on the challenges and uncertainties of 2020, I would first like to thank you all for your support of our Chapter as we navigated through the last nine months.  Our Immediate Past President, Jackie Meredith-Batchelor, led our Chapter with a calm and steady resolve, with a focus on providing you, our members, with best-in-class substantive programming while maintaining many of our social events in the “new” (and temporary) normal of virtual gatherings.  This year will begin much the way last year ended in terms of our programming and social events—we will spend time engaging and learning via Zoom with an optimism that we will be able to host in-person events as early as the end of the second quarter.  

Despite all of last year’s challenges, your Chapter remains in a healthy place.  Our membership has grown to a new high of over 1,700 members.  We continue to enjoy overwhelming support from our Sponsors.  Cozen O’Connor is our top Diamond Sponsor while Faegre Drinker and Dechert take up the Emerald sponsorships.  Armstrong Teasdale and Morgan Lewis are the Chapter’s new Platinum sponsors.  In total, we have 26 sustaining sponsors who will provide over 60 CLE credits this year, at 14 Institutes (with at least one Institute every month except for April) and our 13th annual In-House Counsel Conference over two days in April.  In addition to the IHCC and our CLE Institutes, we are excited to launch our first ever Women Lawyers Summit.  The Women Lawyers Summit will be a full-day program, consisting of substantive programming, and career and development workshops with a focus on issues unique to women in-house counsel.  We were disappointed to postpone this Summit last year but we remain committed to providing cutting-edge, relevant programming to our members.  Our 2021 programming calendar can be found HERE and is frequently updated.  

As our profession and our companies reflect on the racial injustice in our country, the Chapter’s vision for 2021 is to utilize the programming, events and thought leadership of our Chapter’s members to continue a dialogue on how we can move forward to create a more inclusive, equal and diverse profession.  Our Chapter will work with our members and Sponsors to establish opportunities for the in-house community to discuss and develop best practices and resources to promote racial understanding and diversity.  

In early January, our Chapter’s Board will start this journey with a conversation on unconscious bias and a working session to develop the Chapter’s mission, vision and aspirational goals for this journey over the next three to five years.  We will share the results of this important work with you later in the first quarter.  In December, the Chapter will host is first ever Diversity Summit providing substantive and thought-provoking programming for our members and our Chapter companies’ Chief Human Resource Officers and Diversity and Inclusion professionals.  We will continue with our flagship Diversity Summer Internship Program now in its 13th year.  For the past thirteen years, this program has provided summer employment to law students who have overcome substantial obstacles in the pursuit of a legal career or who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession.  

On the strategic planning front, the Chapter’s Board has created a roadmap for 2021.  Our areas of focus for 2021 include:  (1) creating and launching a new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee; (2) developing and cultivating a pipeline of talent for our Committees and for our Board; (3) engaging with and developing deeper relationships with our Sponsors; and (4) improving upon our virtual event platforms for both substantive programming and social events.

Our officer leadership team is humbled to help lead ACC Greater Philadelphia.  The passion, dedication and professionalism of all those who volunteer to this Chapter are truly unrivaled.  We are a volunteer organization and we deeply admire and thank all those who give so much of their time to make our Chapter one of the premier chapters in all of ACC.  Our Board of Directors and Officers are here to serve you—we welcome your feedback, your ideas, your input, and most of all your involvement.  You can reach me directly at michael.eckhardt@wawa.com or 610.358.8044.  We look forward to seeing you (virtually and in-person) in the coming year, and we sincerely hope you will take full advantage of the many benefits and become actively engaged in the wonderful opportunities that our Chapter has planned in 2021!

Warmest regards,

Michael Eckhardt
President
ACC Greater Philadelphia

ACC

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