Thirteen Attorneys Graduate From Bar Leadership Institute

By Alberto Rodriguez
June 7, 2011

Last Friday, the graduation of 13 distinguished attorneys marked the end of the State Bar's fourth Bar Leadership Institute.

The bittersweet graduation ceremony was the end of a rigorous one-year leadership program that lead the diverse group of attorneys through educational workshops, experiential trainings, and mentoring opportunities.

Joined by many of Arizona's leading legal professionals, the graduates were treated to remarks by John Phelps, Chief Executive Officer of the State Bar of Arizona as well as an inspiring keynote address by Hon. Herb Yazzie, Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation Supreme Court.

This year, the graduates included:

- Shawdy Banihashem
- Suzanne L. Diaz
- Tana Fitzpatrick
- Benjamin S. Gross
- Nicholle Harris
- Shana D. Higa
- Jose M. Leon
- Lori MacLeod
- Maricela Meza
- Kathleen O'Mear
- Kiyoko Patterson
- Anita Mercedes Ryden
- Gaetano Testini
- Monique D. Young
- German Yusufov
- Marian M. Zapata-Rossa

Jose Leon, 2010-11 graduate, represented his classmates and delivered heartfelt remarks that expressed the deep appreciation of his experience with the Bar Leadership Institute as well as the program's volunteers, guest speakers and facilitators. Both I. Godwin Otu, Diversity Director, and Rosie Figueroa, Diversity Coordinator, at the State Bar of Arizona were recognized for their inspiring leadership and dedication to the Bar Leadership Institute and were presented with gifts on behalf of the graduates.

Completion of the one-year program does not end thegraduates' participation in fostering their professional growth and leadership skills. They have committed to participate in one of many of the State Bar's volunteer opportunities that include committees, sections, or a special appointment. They can also participate in any other bar association or community organization.