President’s Letter

Dear Past, Present, and Future Members of the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers:

Welcome to our exceptional organization’s 2017-2018 year! I wholeheartedly thank Caroline Johnson Levine for her tireless leadership throughout 2016-2017 which brought us programming and events focused on empowering us towards excellence as individuals and attorneys.

Caroline’s year caused me to reflect on what it means to be excellent. I could provide you with some famous person’s pithy saying that I found thanks to my amazing googling skills. Instead, I choose to speak to you as a colleague, peer, and “real person” with whom I hope you can relate.

When I was younger, I equated “excellent” with perfection. I received “excellent” stickers and exclamations on my worksheets and tests when I made few to no mistakes. I received a lot of those over the years and my pursuit of excellence throughout my youth was a pursuit of perfection.

And then… I had children. Not just any children – two brilliant, energetic, and spirited children wherein my preschool son hysterically cries over a cake box that is “too busy” for his tastes, my daughter colorfully expresses unbridled disappointment that she is not teaching her kindergarten class, and both my children require binding arbitration to determine what clothes they wear each morning. My husband and I have the joy, privilege, and responsibility of raising these unique tiny humans while simultaneously maintaining full-time careers. You may not have children, but I imagine you have or have had other people in your life who keep you on your toes while your toes ache from walking on them all day, so I hope you can relate.

So, thanks to my kids, I have outgrown my simplistic understanding of excellence. Let’s be honest, who is perfect? I now know I am not and likely never will be. Now, I have come to understand excellence to mean:

  • Believing that everything will work out in what may, at times, feel like a hopeless situation and acting on that belief;
  • Belonging to a community of people who inspire you to better yourself and those around you on a moment by moment basis and actively participating within that community; and
  • Becoming, continually and relentlessly, who you aspire to be and who you hope others will also be.

Excellence is not an unachievable end-goal. Instead, it is a minute by minute conscious decision that I make to believe, belong, and become.

HAWL’s goal in 2017-2018 is to offer its members ample and varied opportunities to believe that things will work out no matter how bleak the situation may be, belong to a community of professionals inspiring each other to better themselves and those around them, and become the attorneys that we hope we and all around us will be.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to achieve excellence. Join HAWL or renew your HAWL membership through the FAWL website ( today, contact a committee chair so you can actively participate (, and join us as we work together to encourage each other to believe, belong and become excellent.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. I look forward to seeing you at upcoming HAWL events (!

Warm Regards,

/s/Sarah E. Kay, Esq.

2017-2018 HAWL President