Brooklyn Boro

Women’s Bar Association to foster mentorship with first meeting of McGhie’s term

June 26, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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Natoya McGhie is one of the young stars of the Brooklyn legal community and she credits much of her success to mentorships, which is why, she explained, it was important for her to make the theme of her year as president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association “Paving the Way for Mentorship.”

It’s also no coincidence that the first meeting the BWBA is hosting after McGhie was installed earlier this month is the annual BWBA Mentorship Interest Meeting, which is being held via Zoom on Tuesday, June 30th at 6 p.m.

McGhie started the committee in 2018 with the help of then-president Carrie Anne Cavallo and Madeline Kirton, her original co-chair in the committee. This year the committee is joined by Judge Heela Capell as its newest co-chair.

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Brooklyn judges Hon. Cladia Daniels DePeyster, from left, Hon. Joanne Quinones and Hon. Jane Tully all took part in the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association mentorship program. Here they are pictured at the roller-skating rink in Brooklyn Bridge Park last year.

Heading into its third year, the committee looks to match young and more inexperienced attorneys with more established lawyers and judges for mentorship. Each year the number of pairs has increased, and there were 12 mentor-mentee relationships created last year.

Hon. Heela Capell joins the BWBA Mentorship Committee this year as a co-chair.

While the program is formal, the relationships are meant to be organic. Prospective mentees are invited to meetings and events where they can meet potential mentors. From there, the relationship is what the participants make of it, though it is encouraged throughout the year with regular meetings.

Last year’s events included cocktail hours at local restaurants and even a roller-skating trip in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

“I really value the program,” Danielle Ciraola, an attorney who participated, told the Brooklyn Eagle last year. “[My mentor] was really there for me, and I think we’ll always have a relationship.

“There were some points in the beginning where I was unsure how to approach her because she was a judge,” Ciraola said of her mentor. “But she really took the time to be involved with me.”

McGhie admitted during her installation ceremony that she had second thoughts about her theme for the year due to social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic, plus ongoing protests against police violence. However, after consulting with her mentors, she decided that now was more important than ever to have mentors in the legal community.

“We have a responsibility to cultivate knowledge,” McGhie said. “There is no room for racism, bias and discrimination of any kind in our society. Now more than ever it is our duty to support each other, to guide each other, to work with each other to bring about much needed changes and I think that we can accomplish that through mentorship.”

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