Leading a professional association over the past year has been tough. It’s like getting all of the work, and not getting any of the fun experiences of traveling to meet people around the world. For the American Association of Law Libraries’ President Emily Florio and President-Elect Diane Rodriguez, they’ve made the most of the situation they found themselves in. (Hat tip to the past-President Michelle Cosby, too!) As Florio and Rodriguez prepare for AALL’s second remote annual conference in a row, they are leveraging the experience from last year’s remote conference to make this year’s experience even better. A longer conference. More individual interactions. A virtual tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And, expanded vendor opportunities. In July, the favel will be passed to the new president, but Florio still looks forward to sticking around for another year as the association and the executive board begins the process of getting back to face-to-face interactions, and an in-person conference in Denver in July of 2022.

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Information inspirations
Reuters Legal News commentator, Jenna Greene, seems to have cracked the formula for AmLaw 100 firm’s slogans. It’s actually more of a haiku.
Remember those ads in the 1980s of “This is your brain on drugs”? Well, the 21st Century version could be “This is your brain on email.” The Innovation Hub podcast discusses Cal Newport’s study on how distracting the constant checking of email is to productivity.
Jon Greenblatt and Bryan Parker over at Legal Innovators put on a heck of a webinar last week featuring the deans from UConn Law School, William & Mary Law School, Howard University School of Law, and The George Washington School of law. Even these forward-thinking law school deans admitted that the students are ready for more “change” than they are providing. Just remember law firms… these students are coming your way.
Marlene shares her experience with Andrew Lawless’ Introduction to High-Performance Habits, and how it helped her focus on areas like influence, self-care and productivity, and expertise.
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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.

Marlene Gebauer  0:23

Welcome to The Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert  0:30

And I’m Greg Lambert. Well, the summer conference season is upon us once again. And Marlene, once again, most of the June and July conferences are going to be remote. So yeah,

Marlene Gebauer  0:42

and they’re all the same time. Yeah, of course, for whatever reason. I mean, like particularly now that we’re remote. It doesn’t have to be at the same time. Yeah,

Greg Lambert  0:50

well, you know, you would think so. Yeah. So, but you know, the situation is the same for the American Association of law libraries this year, where instead of heading to beautiful downtown Cleveland in July, we’ll be firing up the local computers to attend the conference virtually once again this year, but with one year under their belt of having the conference virtually, AALL promises to expand the number of days and the content and as well as the interaction with the attendees.

Marlene Gebauer  1:21

Well, that sounds like all good things. We got to talk to AALL president Emily Florio, as well as the vice president, president-elect Diane Rodriguez, about the upcoming conference and what they have worked on the past year preparing for a virtual Cleveland conference, and how AALL has adjusted during the pandemic to stay relevant with its members and find new ways to engage with the legal information vendors

Greg Lambert  1:45

will stick around for that conversation. But for now, let’s get to this week’s information inspirations. Marlene, I don’t know if you know this, but branding is hard. Is it?

Marlene Gebauer  2:00

It’s hard?

Greg Lambert  2:01

It is okay. It is. All right. I mean, think about it. How many other podcasts out there do you think have a slogan similar to “focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry”?

Marlene Gebauer  2:13

Well, hopefully, none.

Greg Lambert  2:15

Yeah. Hopefully, that’s just us. But you know, the chances are that there’s probably some of our peers out there with other legal podcasts that may have something very similar. That brings me around to this week’s one of my inspirations this week. And that’s Reuters, legal news commentator, Jenna green, shows exactly how hard slogans are to come up with for our large law firms. And she points out that there are some keywords like strategic, innovative, complex, global International.

Marlene Gebauer  2:48

Complex on complex. Yeah, it’s an interesting one.

Greg Lambert  2:52

Yeah, green says the global and international are extremely common amongst the AmLaw 100. firms. She refers to it as a legal market Haiku.

Marlene Gebauer  3:03

That’s a good description.

Greg Lambert  3:05

It is it was so in addition, law firms also seem to love statistics. And she says there’s actually a formula that one could pull from how am law 100 firms describe themselves. So her formula is (insert name of firm) has more than (insert number) of attorneys and (insert number) of offices.

Marlene Gebauer  3:32

I think we got the template.

Greg Lambert  3:35

So you know, while you and I think came up with our branding and a few minutes, and I can’t remember not whether that involved a couple of law firms spend months and months trying to figure out the right slogan to describe their firm in a way that differentiates them from the other 99 firms out there. But you know, at the end of the day, it all pretty much sounds like how they are, quote, focused on innovative and creative ways to represent the fight and fight for their client’s interest.

Marlene Gebauer  4:04

Yeah, you know, and I was joking before. I mean, you know, brand good branding is hard. It is hard, because and particularly for a large law firm, because, you know, you have a lot of cooks in the kitchen if you will. And again, how do you distinguish firms that, you know, you know, that really, in many respects are very similar, you know, in terms of what they do.

Greg Lambert  4:31

Good luck. That’s, that’s why the marketing people get paid what they do.

Marlene Gebauer  4:34

That’s right. That’s right. So Greg, you know, I listened to the Innovation Hub podcast. Yes. And they had a good one this week about the deadly grip of email. Doesn’t that sound like for buddy but the deadly grip of email? But, you know, it’s no shock to you or anybody else that that email has essentially taken over our lives.

Greg Lambert  4:57

Well, 40 years.

Marlene Gebauer  4:59

Yeah, right. Well, Cal Newport is the author of a world without email, novel concept, and a professor of computer science at Georgetown University. And he’s gained notoriety with his studies of how all things electronic actually hurt our productivity. So there’s a great example he gives in the Obama administration where there was a time where, you know, everyone on the staff, they couldn’t use email for some time due to some security concerns. And everybody, of course, is freaking out, like, how are we supposed to like, plan everything I was supposed to set anything up. And, you know, the head of innovation at that time said that you know, everyone thought this was going to be a disaster. But it actually turned out that having no email actually forced them to talk to one another. And to figure out solutions, you know, they actually went around to one another and sort of sat down and chatted and came up with good content. And Newport talks about contact shifting. This is the moving from real work to email and back over and over and over again, he claims that I mean, I don’t think this is a big stretch, that this makes us unhappy, distracted, and unproductive. Newport says forcing people to check inboxes every six minutes is really the worst way to do work with your brain. You know he highlights like, Look, no one writes 125 letters in a day, but easily. You do 125 emails in a day. And you know, I was listening to this in the car with my son. And he’s like, That’s ridiculous. And I said, Oh, no, it’s like, I easily do that. And he looked at me like I had three heads when I told him that. So Newport talks about how this context shifting hurts ingenuity because there’s really no time to think it lowers our cognitive capacity and really exhausts us. Context shifting is according to him, like poison to the brain. And we really underestimate how big an impact it has on us. I think we all to a certain extent, delude ourselves that you know, we’re good at this, you know, we’re just doing quick checks, you know, we’re not multitasking, you know, we got it under control. But the cost of even looking when you’re switching, you’ve reduced your ability to focus on your main task. So his hypothesis is that the shift to this hyperactive brain function has actually caused non-industrial productivity stagnation over the last decade. And if not, for the fact that we have this hidden second shift. So you know, we handle our emails during the day, and then we work all night on regular work. We would actually see the numbers falling.

Greg Lambert  7:40

Yeah. Yeah. While you were talking, I opened up my email. And currently, I have 254 unread emails. Yeah. And most of those are from today. And you’ll get through that today. I will Well, most, most of them just

Marlene Gebauer  7:58

for the memes and stuff.

Greg Lambert  8:00

For the memes, guys got to stop and read the memes. Yeah. Well, our friends Jon Greenblatt and Bryan Parker over at Legal Innovators put on one heck of a webinar last week featuring the deans from four law schools, there was UConn law school, William and Mary law school, Howard University School of Law in the George Washington School of Law this night. Yeah, this 90-minute webinar was much more of almost like a conversation amongst the colleagues, they’re talking through their process, challenges, and setting strategic goals for increasing diversity, equity inclusion in the schools. And it was really interesting to see what they were saying about what help they needed from the rest of the industry to help them drive that change. So one of my favorite parts of the whole conversation was when and I think it was may have been john that asked, ask the question, but he has Dean, a Benjamin Spencer, from William and Mary, if he had any pushback from the students, whenever he was beginning, these new, you know, very creative, very advanced initiatives with the AI and the dean kind of sat back in his chair and responded that, you know, the students are actually wanting him to do more than what he wanted to do, and that they want more change, not less change. And in a way, I think it kind of, I think that kind of encapsulates the environment that all of us are in, whether that’s, you know, incoming attorneys into the legal market, how leadership within firms, the schools, that government, how we’re just going to have to be prepared for these higher expectations, and results when it comes to in this case do going forward. But it really almost encapsulates all of what these new entrants into the industry are going To be demanding that we do that it’s no longer sit back. And we’re going to have, you know, an 18-month program, we’re going to do this, I think we’re going to get this pressure from the new entrants into the market into saying, We’re ready. Why aren’t you doing this? We want more from you. So it’s going to be a challenge for leadership. And I for 1am going to be kind of excited to see these new entrants come in and push us.

Marlene Gebauer  10:27

Yeah, me too. This is all good stuff. So that will be interesting to watch. I took a short seminar last week entitled introduction to high-performance habits. It’s run by Andrew lawless. And I mean, let’s face this guy has the perfect last name for us. You know, and I really enjoyed working with him, he is so lively and full of energy. And I really, really liked how he incorporates really helpful tech into his program. So after the seminar, I took a quiz, you know, which I reviewed with his assistant, then I took another short quiz. And I think the quizzes probably took like 15 minutes. And then I did a one-on-one hour-long follow-up where Andrew did an assessment. And the whole experience was not only about habits, you know, when I when I’m talking about habits, I don’t mean, you know, getting up early or reading the New York Times, but, you know, it really explored how you yourself can often get in your own way of getting what you want, and then how to address that. So focus was on areas like influence, self-care, productivity, and experience. I mean, it really felt like a really good therapy session for how to live your life. So I’ll share one exercise we did you know if you’re feeling you don’t have enough time in the day, and that things are bleeding from one thing to another. So, you know, work into family

Greg Lambert  11:50

every day, right?

Marlene Gebauer  11:52

I mean, this is common, I mean, this, I mean, I’m sure he was just a million times a day, but it’s like it’s very common. So you know, bleed, you know, work bleeds into the family, family bleeds into personal, when you move from transition point to transition point, you know, take a couple minutes to, you know, do a couple deep breaths, you acknowledge the transition. And then ask yourself, you know how you can be the best yourself, you can be moving into that transition. And that exercise forces you to know that you’re changing roles, and also be mindful about how you need to be in the new role. I really felt that the process was a good refocus for me. So if you find yourself in a rut, or you just want a small realignment, I encourage anyone to check Andrew out. He also offers free videos on his blog, as well as more extensive training sessions.

Greg Lambert  12:45

Well, we need to take 10 minutes in a couple of deep breaths before we transition into our reading our email, right?

Marlene Gebauer  12:54

Like, everybody breathe now because we’re getting out of this week’s information inspirations.

Greg Lambert  13:01

Alright, Marley Marlene, let’s face it, it was a tough year to do pretty much anything last year. But it was really tough for those who had to lead professional associations. It must have been like getting all of the work, but none of the benefits you know, like traveling around and meet people across the country across the globe. Our guest this week made the most of their situation, however, and we talked to them about how they dealt with leading an association remotely, and how they adapted to interacting with other members of the association, what it meant for their vendor relationships, and how they’re experienced from a prior virtual conference in the summer of 2020. Help them restructure and expand the virtual conference 2021. We’d like to welcome the current president of the American Association of law libraries and Senior Research Services Manager at Hogan Lovells Emily Florio along with Diane Rodriguez, who’s the assistant director at San Francisco Law Library, and is the vice president, president-elect of AALL. Emily and Diane, thanks for joining us on The Geek in Review podcast. So welcome. Thanks for having us.

Marlene Gebauer  14:11

So Emily, typically about this time you’d be packing your suitcases to travel to Cleveland to host the W wl annual conference. But with most things so far in 2021, that’s going to be virtual again this year. How have you handled being AALL president over the past year with dealing with the COVID crisis and having to do pretty much everything virtually?

Emily Florio  14:34

I will probably be the first to admit that it’s been a difficult and quite exhausting year at times, and I didn’t even have any travel. Personally, I’ve probably worked too much at times, though. On the positive side at some point. You know, I was able to take a break or make sure I took a break and walk the dog or go to a brewery or do something you know, fun as far as Fun was concerned during the pandemic, but it? It was a lot of a year. There’s no

Marlene Gebauer  15:04

there’s no way to get away from it. Yeah,

Emily Florio  15:08

yeah, no. And I live in a one-bedroom condo. So I walked every day from my bedroom to my dining room table. So not too far away, you know, something else is positive. You know, Diane is on the call with me today. And we had weekly calls with Bonnie our wwL, executive director. And we really had wonderful conversations, you know, not necessarily just about AALL just our lives and what we were doing and things we were going through. And always having that touchpoint was a real highlight to me.

Greg Lambert  15:37

Well, you did get to miss the travel to Chicago in February. So I guess there’s the plus side, but not much the plus side

Marlene Gebauer  15:46

silver lining. That is true. Yeah. Well, I

Greg Lambert  15:49

wanted to talk about the annual conference. And so you know, we’re obviously we’re not attending the in-person this year in Cleveland, which for me, would have been my actually my first trip to Cleveland. So I was kind of looking forward to it. I know Marlene, went to law school, and worked in Cleveland. So I think she has a different experience. But I’ll let I’ll let her talk about that.

Marlene Gebauer  16:11

Yeah, I have no, I have no.

Greg Lambert  16:15

So, uh, you know, what is it that we should expect from this year’s conference? Are there any specific things that you’re doing at this conference that members should be looking forward to seeing

Emily Florio  16:27

so many things going on? You know, we really took what we learned last year, and we’re able to implement some of those things for this year that I’m happy to share with you. So this year, the conference has over five full days instead of the three that we did last year. And I have to mention that it is a very low member rate of $99. And we do have other low or no costs for certain groups of people, whether you’re a non-member, unemployed student, etc. So it’s a really great time to check out the conference if you’re considering it. On the first day of the conference this year, which is sort of the exhibitor day, we have 10 different exhibitors showcases so be sure to check that out. We have some really fun events, too. We have a virtual tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Oh, good. A trivia night. Happy Hour, and a magic show which we got the idea from no cow where Diane is. And she said it’s going to be great. And I of course have to talk about our keynote, Tina Chen, who I’m really excited to have. For anyone that hasn’t heard of Tina, she’s the president and CEO of time’s up now and the time’s up Foundation, and she oversees their strategic plans about changing culture, companies, and laws in order to make work safer, fairer, and more dignified for women of all kinds. And her keynote specifically, will cover her thoughts and ideas, and insights on workplace culture, the importance and power of diverse teams, and keeping equality at the forefront of everything we do.

Greg Lambert  18:05

I’m excited to listen to Tina, me too.

Marlene Gebauer  18:08

And I’ll say it’s like you, you raise a really good point. You know, Greg, and I always talk up the conference every year. And you know, it’s gotten really good reviews by people like Bob Ambrogi. And really what you highlighted that look, if you’ve never gone to this before, the price point is such that, you know, most people can reach it. And for those who can’t, there are opportunities, there are other opportunities. So really, now’s the time to sort of test drive it and sort of understand what all the discussion is about. And I will say that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is really cool, particularly the top floor where everybody has their names, it’s really dark. And they just sort of have the names like up on the walls and it’s it’s really pretty nice. And and

Greg Lambert  18:53

I know that while this is not an official sanctioned event that karaoke with kin, I think the notice is when went out earlier this week. So you know what those vocal cords in, get ready for some singing over zoom.

Emily Florio  19:08

And I should probably definitely mention that our annual meeting program committee has chosen a really great slate of programs. We have over 45 live and pre-recorded sessions. Some of the topics that I thought might be of particular interest to your varied group of listeners, teaching legal tech, being a better leader and instructor in our sort of more virtual world. Improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and ci analytics. were some that stood out to me

Greg Lambert  19:42

and I think both Marlene and I have a session not together but separate sessions.

Emily Florio  19:47

Yeah. Yep. I look forward to having the ability to do that again.

Emily Florio  19:52

Just sit with other people, especially in person.

Greg Lambert  19:56

Again, one of the benefits of being president is pretty easy to turn down the invite to do a presentation as well.

Emily Florio  20:04

And I guess the last thing, or one of the last things I’ll say, are three things that came about after last year’s conference where we really listened to the feedback that we got, we’re using the same conference platform as last year. But they’ve really enhanced their technology and some of their offerings, which has been great. So you can do video chats between attendees right to try and mimic you know, the water cooler chat or the running into somebody in the hallway, type networking matchmaking between you and programs that you might be interested in. And then everyone will have my experience like a personalized dashboard. So I think I haven’t been able to kick the tires on that yet. But I think it’s coming to us on the board soon.

Greg Lambert  20:47

Yeah, this video meetup says that sounds fun.

Emily Florio  20:51

I know, we’re practically having our own meetup right now. Right.

Marlene Gebauer  20:56

That’s what kind of testing it out. Alright, so Diane, I’m gonna turn to you. How has your tenure as vice president gone so far? What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome over

Diane Rodriguez  21:06

the past year? Well, as Emily said, it’s been a real challenge to handle all of our business and educational programs virtually, but it’s also brought us together in ways that may have not happened otherwise, I really haven’t had the opportunity yet to meet any of the board or committees in person. And I’m a real social networker. So that’s kind of strange. However, Emily and Vani have done an amazing job of bringing the board together through our video calls, and including social events, so we can get to know each other better. Personally, I have to say Emily has been an awesome mentor this year. And now we’re good friends. And I appreciate that so much. But I do really miss the side conversations and the opportunity to get to know my colleagues at the water cooler. But hopefully, we’ll get to that in the fall. I also missed the opportunity to meet chapter si s and committee leaders in person. And the various opportunities to get to know people who are coming up in those groups. I mean, you usually get to see who’s you know, who’s coming up, who’s doing new things, and I haven’t really had that opportunity. But I have been able to participate in a lot of informal programming, through zoom calls with special interest sections and chapters that I also probably wouldn’t have been able to talk to otherwise. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people across the states as well as some of my colleagues in Canada. And everybody’s really working to inspire one another and help with these complicated issues we’ve been dealing with with the pandemic. also getting in touch with people that way, has enabled me to really find out what people need out there and help to have suggests ways that AALL can respond with coffee talks and educational programming on point.

Greg Lambert  22:52

Now, I know, Diane, that there will be a board meeting exact executive board meeting at the conference in July. There’s usually a fall board meeting is the plan now to meet in person in November.

Diane Rodriguez  23:09

Well, we’re taking the temperature on that. We’re going to do a survey of our board members and find out who is able to travel who’s comfortable to travel. We’re all coming from different places and every office in every region has different rules. So we’re hoping for the best I’d love to make that happen. But we’re really you know, most concerned with the safety of our members and the A Ll staff make sense.

Emily Florio  23:34

We’re really hopeful though, or at least I believe, personally very hopeful.

Greg Lambert  23:38

And the people can’t see this but Emily’s cat has joined us. So Emily, what’s what’s your cat’s name?

Emily Florio  23:45

Ah, her official name is Professor Minerva McGonigal. Ah, she came with that name. I cannot take credit for it. I call her Minerva and most mornings she spends laying on my keyboard. So is this is a normal day. But I am one of those people that adopted not one but two pandemic pets. She was the first Good for you.

Diane Rodriguez  24:09

I had never known her full name that’s so cute.

Emily Florio  24:13

It’s ridiculous. But she’s ridiculous. So yeah, Diane she often appears in our weekly calls.

Greg Lambert  24:22

Well, this one probably goes out to both of you. But Emily, I’ll let you start off. I know that AALL annual conferences is one of the biggest revenue sources for the association. So do you think that there’s going to be any type of long-term effect of having the last two conferences as virtual conferences?

Emily Florio  24:44

Obviously transitioning to virtual conferences will have short-term effects but definitely long-term we foresee AALL being really okay. Although you know, revenue was lower than expected are expensive. We’re also low for the virtual conference, or lower than a regular conference. And really other programs and board travel and other things. We’re just we just didn’t have it. So that’s why this year, we were able to keep the registration rate low. Again, like the same price it was last year, which we’re really happy to do. And, you know, you’re a former board member and President, you know, we’re really fortunate that our prior AALL leaders created very sound financial policies, including quite a strong reserve. And so we’re, we’re in good shape. And of course, we are very thankful and very appreciative for the support of our partners, sponsors and exhibitors for the second virtual conference. So thank them again, but we really, our future is bright, the future is strong, we’re in good shape.

Greg Lambert  25:52

Good to hear.

Marlene Gebauer  25:52

How has the vendor relationship been during this time? You know, has there been any adjustment on how vendors and AALL collaborate during the pandemic? You know, normally, you know, they’re, they’re reserving spots on the floor. And, you know, now it’s, it’s, you know, it’s more virtual. So that’s, that’s got to be a little different, particularly in reference to kind of the earlier question that Greg posed, do you think any of those changes are permanent, or just until we can get back to normal?

Emily Florio  26:22

You know, throughout all of this, our relationship with our partners and vendors has continued to stay great. Before the pandemic, the vendors often wanted to connect with members, you know, only during the virtual conference. But what we’ve seen as a change in the last year is that they’ve been more willing to partner with us on other programs, whether it’s the innovation boot camp Management Institute webinars, showcasing different ads and our publications. So we’ve actually seen a growth in what they’re willing to do outside of the annual conference, which has been really wonderful to see. And obviously, we’re hopeful that that’s what continues into the future, as everything continues to shift for everyone. And we figure out what the new normal is for us at AALL. Sounds good?

Greg Lambert  27:09

Well, that’s good. I think, you know, we say this, again, we say this a lot is that you know, when you have a crisis like this, you want to want to take the opportunity to, to learn from that. And it sounds like there was a learning process between last year’s virtual conference and this year’s conferences, not just AALL. But the vendors as well, what has the crisis enabled you in AALL to do that, you probably wouldn’t have even attempted, if it weren’t, you know, a necessity created by this pandemic.

Emily Florio  27:46

You know, I think we really see that with some of our programming outside of the annual meeting. That’s really what comes to mind that has been a real blessing in the last year. You know, all of our in-person programs like the Management Institute, innovation boot camp Leadership Academy, between last year and this year, everything that used to be in person became virtual. And I don’t think that that really ever come up before the pandemic, but it became essential that we still give everyone these wonderful opportunities to connect and grow and develop. And luckily, we saw an increase in participation across all of those offerings and allowed us to more than double the normal number of attendees for our Management Institute, with over 80 participants. And, frankly, not having travel, gave people the opportunity, whether it was not having to spend the same amount of money or not being away from the office or their families, just meant that we had some really great connections made over the last year that I don’t think we would have thought about beforehand. Since we were so reliant on everything being in person,

Greg Lambert  28:59

did it also enable you to attract different talent to present at these seminars?

Emily Florio  29:06

I would imagine so, you know because we weren’t limited by once again, travel and bringing people to one central place we could have people attending from all over the country, I think, actually, something I attended had folks from Canada as well. I know for me, you know, I was able to attend other conferences that I wouldn’t have been able to go to otherwise because it was all virtual. Right. I said in the President’s column at some point in the last year that I always tried to find silver linings throughout all of this sometimes I was better at it than others. But really, as an association, we truly had some silver linings that we wouldn’t have thought about or been able to even contemplate pre-pandemic so not sure what it’ll look like in the future but you know, I feel quite well how strong we did throughout everything. Yeah,

Marlene Gebauer  29:54

well, speaking of silver lining, sort of you know, here’s your here’s the question allows you to shine Emily, it’s like, what do you feel are some of your n AALL’s greatest accomplishments from last year?

Emily Florio  30:08

So one is, frankly that, you know, when it became clear, not too far into last year after our conference that it looked like we probably wouldn’t be having an in-person conference and in 2021, that the board voted early on to have a virtual conference, it was difficult to do so. And I think we were all very disappointed that we wouldn’t see each other. And all of you know that I wouldn’t see all of you, you know, this year. But it was important to us that we give our members time, and that we had put on an even better second virtual conference than we had last year. And in order to do that, we had to make the decision early on. And I, you know, I still feel strongly that we made the right decision, I still haven’t been on a plane, by the time our conference comes, I probably still won’t have been on a plane. And I’m really happy with what we’ve been working on and what we’ve accomplished. And I hope everyone sees that in the virtual conference. I am regularly, you know, every week, impressed by the vigor and passion coming out of our inclusion, diversity, and equity, awareness or idea, a special committee. So it was a committee special committee that I put together last year, after a lot of the unrest and events of last year. I’m eagerly awaiting their report and findings and ideas for how to move our association forward. So we can continue to work on DEI initiatives and how we can do more. So thank you to Ron Wheeler, former pest or former president of AALL, for agreeing to lead that really wonderful group of folks. And something you know, another one of those silver linings, I have been regularly pleased by how engaged our members have stayed across all our various platforms. You know, whether it’s continuing to suggest and participate in coffee chats, which have been a really wonderful addition to our programming, maybe the wrong word, but offerings, I guess, whether it’s presenting on webinars, proposing programs, volunteering, right, we’re still seeing everyone, you know, remain engaged, maybe it’s different than what they thought they’d be doing. But they’re still really active. And I’m always appreciative of that, because we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t be able to exist or do what we do without our members and volunteers. And it’s certainly not the presidential year I’d envisioned I had, you know, wonderful interactions with members. And I look forward to many more. For anybody that doesn’t know, you’re, once you’re president, you’re on the board for another year as past president. So there, there’s another year, but it’s been a great opportunity, even though it’s been different than what I thought would happen.

Greg Lambert  32:58

Yeah. Well, speaking of it being different, you have any parting thoughts on someone that may be considering running for a AALL or a chapter SIS or other Association Board becoming a candidate for one of those.

Emily Florio  33:17

And the fact that I can say this after the last year I think should bring some real validity to it. You know, I am forever thankful for the leadership opportunities I’ve had either at the chapter level or through AALL. I’ve met so many people that I just might not have met previously. And have a core group of colleagues and many friends that I refer to for feedback thoughts, quite regularly sanity checks that like I really couldn’t do my day job without Greg like, I feel like we bonded I changed your life with how to eat pizza. Pizza crust. When when you were president, Diane, like, I think we’ve had a good year and I can’t wait to hug you in person. I wouldn’t be who I am in my day job because I do have a day job. Without all these people. Especially being president. I’ve had a lot of invaluable public speaking and writing opportunities, just training for things that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, that I think helped me back in my day job. I’m on the board for one more year, and then I probably need a little break. But I’m, I look forward to finding other things to do. And I know exactly

Greg Lambert  34:34

how I feel. Yeah.

Emily Florio  34:37

final push. I’m in the like, final five weeks.

Marlene Gebauer  34:40

You can see the homestretch. Yeah, like Diane, what should members look forward to after the conference and Emily hands the gavel over to you? Well, I

Diane Rodriguez  34:51

feel we’ve really built a greater sense of togetherness by sharing all our experiences through this crazy time. And I feel we’ve really come together as a Communities support one another and sharing ideas to get through the pandemic. And I hope to continue to promote that closeness going forward. Because we’re so much better when we’re working together. We do have work to continue on our strategic plan for talent, engagement, and alliances such as creating a pipeline to our profession, incorporating the findings of the ideas special committee to promote equity, diversity, and opportunity into the profession. And also incorporating new innovations we’ve discovered during the pandemic into our educational offerings and literature, I don’t think anyone’s going back to the old way of doing things. And our members are really leading the way on all these new innovations. But I do hope to highlight access to justice and advocacy with our members and strategic partners, and even our patrons. Each of us plays such an important role in the access and preservation of authentic legal resources, regardless of our library type or our positions. The need for expertise has become even more obvious with all the societal changes that we’ve been facing. And we’re in a unique position to promote and share our knowledge with, with everyone make a big difference. And I also certainly hope that we can return to face to face meetings because I also want to hug you, Emily, I want to see all of our members, all of our leaders working so hard, it’s just there’s nothing like face to face networking and working together. So hopefully that will happen. I’m sure it will. But I also want to say that, you know, it takes a lot of people to get all of these things done. And we’re always looking for volunteers. So if anyone has an interest in getting involved with any of these goals, I’d really love to hear from you. Please reach out

Emily Florio  36:55

and hug first beer second beer first hugs are all around. I think I promised so many people like if you do this thing for me, I’ll buy you a beer and lunch. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that.

Greg Lambert  37:12

I know, I know I am owed and owe a number of beers to from too many people. Exactly. Well, Emily Florio and Diane Rodriguez, you know, I will see you both virtually in a few weeks for the online conference. And if not sooner, hopefully, we will see each other in person at next year’s conference in Denver. So thank you, both my friends for taking the time to talk with us. Yeah, thanks, Greg.

Marlene Gebauer  37:42

See you soon. Bye. See ya.

Greg Lambert  37:47

Well, I’d say that there, you know, if there is a silver lining in having to conduct a virtual conference two years in a row, Marlene, it’s that at least you have some experience from last year’s conference to help shape what you want to do with this year’s conference.

Marlene Gebauer  38:01

It’s true.

Greg Lambert  38:02

No. Well, you know, and I like the fact that they expanded the number of days, you know, and that’s actually been something that AALL members have discussed for a number of years. And unlike an in-person conference, expand can today’s really doesn’t mean having to expand the number of nights you have to spend on a hotel and the food and everything else that comes along with that.

Marlene Gebauer  38:24

That’s right. Yeah,

Greg Lambert  38:25

I’m also looking forward to the more social interactions that this platform is promising to do.

Marlene Gebauer  38:32

Yeah, that’s gonna be really interesting. And, you know, I hope that that, you know, since we are knowledge professionals, that that somehow they are capturing and memorializing this, this knowledge in terms of this sort of online experience so that they’re going to be able to take advantage of that in the future. You know, I for 1am very curious to see if we kind of offer blended types of programs, you know,

Greg Lambert  39:00

definitely now’s the time to take advantage of it. So, you know, on a personal note, as a former president of WWE myself, I really hope that both Emily Florio and the past president Michelle Cosby, that they get some chance over the next few years to you know, to do some additional in-person work for the association and make up a little for the remote work today for forced to do because of the pandemic because, you know, it was really one of the most joyful things about being president of an association is getting out and meeting other members, good traveling and meeting your peers across the nation across the world. So fingers crossed, that they have some opportunity to make up for that.

Marlene Gebauer  39:50

Yeah, agreed. So thanks again to Emily Florio and Diane Rodriguez, the President and President-elect of AALL for joining us on The Geek in Review. Before we go, we want to remind listeners to take the time to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts rate and review us as well. If you have comments about today’s show or suggestions for a future show, you can reach us on Twitter at @gebauerm. Or at @glambert. Or you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 or email us at  GeekinReview.podcast@gmail.com And as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thank you, Jerry.

Greg Lambert  40:32

Thanks, Jerry. Alright, Marlene, I will talk to you later.

Marlene Gebauer  40:36

All right. Bye.