The ArbitralWomen Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place on 17 January 2020. Members participated telephonically from around the world, and, in some cities gathered in person. ArbitralWomen is grateful to our Members at several firms who graciously offered to host the in-person gathering of local members in Geneva at King & Spalding, in London at NERA Economic Consulting, in New York at Chaffetz Lindsey and in Paris at Freshfields.
The meeting lasted approximately one hour. Dana MacGrath as President delivered welcome remarks and Louise Woods as Secretary conducted the AGM.
Several members of the Board delivered committee reports on ArbitralWomen’s activities in 2019. Juliette Fortin delivered the Treasury report. Mirèze Philippe delivered the Membership Committee report, noting an increase of more than 200 members since last year and that more than 50 firms are corporate members. Dana MacGrath delivered the report on ArbitralWomen News activities (our periodic News Alerts, news webpage and Members’ News) noting that ArbitralWomen published more than 80 news items on our Members’ professional achievements and more than 25 articles on developments in dispute resolution on our ArbitralWomen News webpage.
Maria Beatriz Burghetto, who has joined Erika Williams as co-Director of the Newsletter Committee, delivered the report on the committee’s work, noting that six Newsletters were published in 2019, with two special edition Newsletters – one on the 2018 Jubilee Celebrations and the other on the 2019 Vienna AGM and Vis Moot. She explained that the other Newsletters typically included an interview with a leading female practitioner or arbitrator, reports on events submitted by Members, and a section on “diversity initiatives in the workplace.”
Marily Paralika delivered the Events Committee report, noting that Vanina Sucharitkul has joined her in coordinating the events work. She noted that in 2019 there were 71 events, of which 28 were in Europe, 6 in South/Central America, 20 in North America, 1 in Africa and 16 in Asia/Oceania. She also reported that in 2019 ArbitralWomen held events for the first time in Istanbul, Kiev, Kuala Lumpur and Guanxi, China. This was a record number of events.
Amanda Lee delivered the Mentorship Committee report. She noted that there has been an increase in participation in the mentorship programme and that at least 6 new ArbitralWomen members joined this year specifically to participate in the AW mentorship programme. She noted that in 2020 we will try to increase the visibility of the mentorship programme so that more Members can learn of it and benefit from participating.
Mirèze Philippe delivered the report on behalf of the ArbitralWomen Diversity ToolkitTM Taskforce, noting that a number of trainings had been delivered in 2019 in the US and Canada. In 2020, we seek to deliver the ArbitralWomen Diversity ToolkitTM training sessions to additional countries. Rekha Rangachari, a member of the ArbitralWomen Diversity ToolkitTM Task Force, provided some insights into the trainings that had been delivered in New York (for which she was one of the trainers) and in Miami.
Members were assured that all the committee reports, including reports from committees that did not present during the AGM, will be circulated to the Members together with the minutes of the AGM.
Following the committee reports, Dana MacGrath provided a high-level overview of the ArbitralWomen Board election process that will take place in May and June 2020. Members are eligible to run for the Board if they have been an ArbitralWomen Member for at least one year before the Call for Nominations. In the first week of May 2020, the Secretary shall issue a Call for Nominations for Election to the Board. Nominations shall be submitted within 15 days. Nominees shall submit an acceptance in writing with supporting materials within 7 days of nomination. Thereafter, the Secretary shall issue a Call for Votes that includes the list of eligible candidates. The election shall take place by secret ballot over a period of not more than 7 days. The Secretary shall announce to Members who has been elected to the Board at the earliest opportunity following the election, ideally in mid or late June 2020. It was assured that all these details and more would be set out in formal notices about the election closer to the date.
During the Q&A / Discussion period, several Members offered suggestions on how to reach out to in-house counsel to include them in ArbitralWomen membership. Further brain-storming continued after the official close of the meeting at in-person venues. As a result, we have several potential new initiatives in the pipeline for 2020!
Submitted by Dana MacGrath, ArbitralWomen President and Bentham IMF Investment Manager