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CEO Speaks Transcript, March 5, 2022

CEO Speaks, Saturday, March 5, 2022 
Scott Stuart 

Happy Saturday and welcome to CEO Speaks for Saturday, March 5, 2022.

One of my mentors, the Honorable Dorothy Eisenberg, a retired Eastern District of New York bankruptcy judge, passed away this week. It got me thinking about the women who have so profoundly affected my life. And in this Women's History Month, the women of our organization who empower, motivate, mentor, and inspire.

Judge Eisenberg, a 1950 Graduate of my alma mater Brooklyn Law School, was a trailblazer in her day, setting the example of what women can and should be recognized for long before they were a mother of four who had lost her husband when her children were school age, she rose to become a named partner of a major Long Island New York law firm. She later ascended to the bench, where she served for 25 years. Paving the way is what women like judge Eisenberg did and inspired the women of today for what she did in an era where the struggles were great. This is fortitude, resilience, and unabashed fearlessness, which will be born out of necessity, inspired me to be a better person and likewise inspired a generation of women grappling with changes that were yet to come today in TMA nation, we celebrate the women who continue to inspire mentor and effectuate positive change. And I am proud to say there are many, for, without these women, we would be a lesser organization and profession, but with them, we continue to close the gap on gender inequality and understand the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion because of how they stand with each other, for all of us, and the generation of women yet to come. 

At TMA, we are fortunate to have women who exemplify and embrace positive change, and it starts at the top with TMA Global President Jane Mitnick, whose own story is one of inspirational leadership and the will to succeed. Having been a stay-at-home mom raising two daughters, it was not until they were off to college that she decided to reenter the workforce and with and with the full support and in partnership with her husband, Steve, embraced the opportunity and seized on a vision of the possible. Some call her journey an unlikely story, but with blinders on, Janie entered our profession using TMA as her vehicle to build relationships, build her brand, form trusted relationships, and ultimately, rise to leadership as a chapter president, global executive board member, and the fifth woman president of TMA Global. The women who preceded Janie in this coveted role were no less accomplished and, like her, trailblazers in their own right like Melanie Cohen, who in 2001 broke the glass ceiling and became TMA’s first woman president. In 2006, TMA luminary and Hall of Fame recipient Holly Etlin, CTP, a defining force in the restructuring world, became TMA president, and thereafter In 2011, Lisa Poulin, CTP Emeritus, ascended to that role, and shortly after that, it was awarded to Milly Chow. Today's TMA membership is comprised of nearly 20% women with chapters like Chicago/Midwest leading the national average, a third of our TMA Global Executive Board is comprised of women, many who served in senior roles and their firms like Janine Figueiredo a partner at the law firm of Thompson Coburn, Sally Barton, a Senior Vice President at KeyBank, Rachael Smiley, a partner at Ferguson Braswell Fraser Kubasta PC,  Jennifer Meyerowitz, Chief Growth Officer & General Counsel at women-owned SAK Management Services and D.J. Miller, a partner at Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP in Toronto. 

Likewise, our Board of Trustees has a pipeline of accomplished women creating their TMA story and the future of what the women of our organization and profession are building as our future grows even brighter. Of our 55 worldwide chapters, 26% of our presidents are women. From New York to Atlanta from Australia to TMA Europe, the women of our organization define and thrive. 

The story of TMA Tomorrow is attributable in no small part to the women of yesterday who inspire the women of today who are creating a pathway to a better tomorrow. We celebrate them, salute them, and each and every one of them makes us better together and TMA proud. The women of TMA will come together at our annual National Organization of Women Conference, which will take place on May 10 in Austin, Texas, it will be a celebration as much as it will be a time to explore opportunities, assess challenges and build a pathway forward, for all of our members of TMA. Registration opens on March 10, and I urge the women of TMA and their allies to consider being part of what will no doubt be a defining and emboldened experience for all. Through all of March, we will continue to celebrate the accomplishments of the women of TMA, keep an eye out for the TMA Global Weekly Report, and on social media, as we highlight the women of our profession who make a profound difference every day. Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously said, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception.” 

While struggles still exist, we have come a long way. And in TMA nation, women are a pervasive and predominant influence in every aspect of our organization and profession. In this Women's History Month, we salute these women stand with them, and bask in the glow of the defining empowerment that will create an equal tomorrow for us all. As always, thanks for taking the time to listen today. In this year of innovation through disruption, your input is critical, your contributions paramount, and your engagement is the foundation that will create a better TMA for all our members. Until next time, I'm Scott Stuart. Be safe, resilient, and TMA proud.