February 2015 Bar Bulletin
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February 2015 Bar Bulletin

MAMAS Honors Gregoire with Leadership Award

By Andrea Scheele

 

The Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle (MAMA Seattle) celebrated its Eighth Annual Luncheon on November 7 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle, where it presented its Betty B. Fletcher Leadership and Justice Award to former Washington Governor Christine Gregoire.

The award is given to an accomplished individual who has inspired other women attorneys striving to excel in their legal careers while balancing family demands. Gregoire is a perfect example of a lawyer who knocked down social and professional barriers while raising a growing family.

"Governor Gregoire's accomplishments improved Washingtonians' quality of life, and we were so proud to have her as our honoree this year," said MAMA Seattle President Robin Schachter.

Gregoire was introduced by her daughters, Courtney Gregoire and Michelle Gregoire, who are both accomplished attorneys and involved in public service. Gregoire's 2-year-old granddaughter Audrey was also in attendance.

Gregoire told the group about raising her family and balancing a successful career in public service, and the influence her daughters had on her decision to run for attorney general. She shared an anecdote from her years as attorney general, describing the difficulty of traveling home for 49 weekends while working with other states' attorneys general in bringing claims against tobacco companies for misleading advertising. On one weekend home, Michelle burst into tears while complaining to her mom that her father continued to wash her lights and darks together.

Gregoire understood this outburst as "code" that her teenager missed her mother and needed her home. That conversation pushed Gregoire to set an end date for her involvement with settlement negotiations, and ultimately lead Washington and other states to a groundbreaking $206-billion settlement with Big Tobacco.

She credited her mother's advice for giving her the foundation for her remarkable success: "Education, education, and education." She emphasized her belief that mothers should "stay in the room," and not hide their parental status at work. Gregoire also encouraged mothers experiencing the struggles and joys of parenting and balancing a law career to accept opportunities and "just go for it." She shares the conviction of MAMA Seattle that mother attorneys, our workplaces, our justice system and our community will be better for the airing of diverse voices.


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