May 2014 Dicta
by Meyling Ly, DAYL President and DAYL Leadership Class of 2006

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. – Warren Bennis

Leadership is a word that is thrown around a lot. There are literally hundreds of quotes on the internet (Forbes has a great list!), and it is the subject of hundreds of books, seminars and trainings. In our society, leadership skills are coveted, and corporations spend thousands of dollars sending their people to leadership training. Well, I’ve got a deal for you – we have a program at a fraction of the cost, and we have payment plans! In all seriousness, I actually don’t have to hard sell the DAYL Leadership Class program. Its legacy speaks for itself.

Just last month, one of my presidential projects came to fruition – a DAYL Leadership Class reunion. With the help of our amazing committee and with the generosity of our sponsor, Charles River Associates, we were able to host a reception where graduates of the DAYL Leadership program could reconnect. I was so thrilled by the turnout and humbled by the company.

The highlight of the evening for me was when I got the opportunity to meet the past president of DAYL who created the leadership class as one of her presidential projects, modeling it after Leadership Dallas. Joyce-Marie Garay started the class in 1997 with 29 participants. Now, we cap our classes at 40 young lawyers. Over the 17 years that DAYL Leadership Class has been in existence, we have over 600 hundred graduates. This was a highlight for me because I was able to witness firsthand the legacy that Joyce-Marie left– and it all started with a simple idea – and her ability to translate her vision into reality.

The impact of Leadership Class is not based on quantity of participants alone. Through the leadership class, we have raised thousands of dollars and donated thousands of hours of service to our community. Our alumni consist of elected officials, in-house counsel, law firm partners, board members of various non-profits and bar association presidents. Our alumni consist of D Magazine’s Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers and Texas Rising Stars. Networking aside, some lifelong friendships start here. Our leadership program is also award-winning. It has been recognized by the American Bar Association and Texas Young Lawyers Association. In fact, TYLA modeled its state program after ours.

In candor, I can’t promise that our leadership class will teach you everything you need to know about how to be a good leader, but I can promise you that it can give you a great jumpstart.