President’s Message: Getting Past the Roadblock

WDC Journal Edition: Summer 2020
By: Christine M. Rice, President, Wisconsin Defense Counsel

This was certainly not the “Presidential Year” I had anticipated. This was to be the year of strategic planning – setting the stage for a stronger, more vibrant organization. It was to be the year to bring us together with discussion of goals, plans, and future visions. Little did we know that this would be the year that kept us socially distanced, and that changed and challenged us personally, professionally, and as an organization.

Despite the setbacks, your executive committee and board members have kept working. Just before the pandemic hit, three of your leaders and our executive director attended DRI national and state and local defense organizational leadership conferences to gain fresh perspectives and ideas for strategic planning sessions. We have had phone and videoconferences aimed at bringing you virtual CLE, at member retention and recruitment efforts with benefits that matter, at much-needed diversity and inclusion initiatives, and at ways we can encourage our newer professionals to become engaged. All of these discussions are crucial for the long-term stability, growth, and depth of our organization. The excitement of the upcoming leadership and board is contagious. I am really looking forward to seeing WDC flourish and renew for years to come.

I want to thank Jenni Kilpatrick, our executive director and WDC’s true treasure. She has been instrumental in minimizing impact to the organization and in keeping us moving forward during these difficult times. I want to thank my fellow board members. I have been honored to lead with you, and I truly appreciate your support and commitment to the organization and our profession. Finally, I want to thank all of you. When we gather for conferences and I look around the room, I see genuinely good people that I respect, admire, and am proud to call colleagues and friends. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to be at your service in the leadership of this organization.

I want to leave you with the reassurance that strategic planning will happen as soon as we are able to safely get together. I do see us getting past the roadblock stronger and with a more defined purpose. I hope that you will be with me in embracing with excitement and support the efforts to rejuvenate our group toward our mission. We are all in this together, WDC!

Author Biography:

Attorney Christine Rice is a Shareholder and the President of Simpson & Deardorff, S.C. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Carroll College, and after practicing for several years as a registered nurse, she returned to law school and graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University. Ms. Rice practices in all areas of insurance defense, specializing in insurance coverage. Ms. Rice has been recognized by her peers as a Wisconsin “Super Lawyer,” and was one of Wisconsin Law Journal’s “Leaders in the Law” in 2019. Ms. Rice also serves on the Board of Directors at her alma mater, Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.