Leading the Way

This year has thrown up new leadership challenges for every kind of organization. Peter Scott looks at how the Leadership Meeting portion of the 2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting has adapted.

In a year like no other, 2020’s INTA Leadership Meeting has changed too. Combining with the Annual Meeting for the first time, the Leadership Meeting—with a full day of programming taking place on Friday, November 13—draws on some of the year’s challenges, reflecting on how companies and law firms have dealt with the trials of the COVID-19 pandemic and social turmoil. Just as importantly, it also looks forward to how to shepherd the next generation of leaders through these uncertain times with an eye on emerging on strong footing in the future.

The day’s dynamic programming is largely an outgrowth of feedback from past Leadership Labs, a staple at INTA’s Leadership Meeting that helps groom future leaders. Project teams have developed relevant leadership training and presentations, and have identified leadership consultants and other speakers outside the trademark community who will offer unique insights. The presentations will appeal to a range of registrants—from newcomers to experienced leaders.

It’s a must-attend for INTA committee members, who can expect to learn skills that will help them not only in their roles at the Association but in their day-to-day work as well. Past registrants have garnered perspectives and tips that have allowed them to engage more in their committee work and climb the ranks to committee leadership and Board roles, as well as advance at their organizations or in their careers.

“I have acquired so many different and diverse skills from attending the Leadership Meetings over the years, from how to successfully network to important best practices for leading my team at my law firm,” said Karina Dimidjian-Lecomte, Partner at Casalonga (France).

A Good Format for the Times Leadership Meeting Co-Chair Lisa Ritchie, Senior Counsel (Trademarks, Copyright and Designs) at Philip Morris Products SA (Switzerland), highlights that the programming is “very pertinent to this time of the pandemic.”

Leadership Meeting Co-Chair Laura Ganoza, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP (US), has been “very impressed” with the way the Meeting has transitioned from the physical to the virtual. The Leadership Meeting was initially slated to be held in Miami, Florida (US), and as a local, Ms. Ganoza had been “excited to show off my city.”

After the initial disappointment of losing that opportunity, when INTA changed course due to the pandemic, she has been energized by the way that the Association has adapted and is looking forward to the different opportunities a virtual meeting provides.

“The agenda is exciting, progressive, and has great content,” Ms. Ritchie added, and with that in mind, her company has registered four people for the event. “We think it’s a very important forum to connect with colleagues and outside counsel,” she said. “I’d wholeheartedly recommend attendance.”

“I have acquired so many different and diverse skills from attending the Leadership Meetings over the years, from how to successfully network to important best practices for leading my team at my law firm.”
Karina Dimidjian-Lecomte, Partner at Casalonga (France)

Agenda Highlights

Much of the work behind the scenes of the Leadership Meeting has been led by INTA’s Leadership Development Committee (LDC) in combination with INTA staff. Under the stewardship of LDC Chair David M. Perry, Partner, Blank Rome LLP (US), and Vice Chair Christy Susman, Counsel, Winterfield IP Group (US), the Committee’s project teams have been instrumental in driving programming for the day, including looking outside the trademark arena to find the most insightful speakers in the leadership space.

The opening keynote panel, LEAD: Leadership Through Crisis (Friday, November 13, 9:30 am–11:00 am (EST)), promises to provide extraordinary insight from businesses that have faced particular challenges during the pandemic.

One of the hardest-hit industries has been travel and tourism, with flight volumes a fraction of what they were before the pandemic and many locations around the world effectively closed to tourists.

Fritz Joussen, Executive Chairman of TUI Group (Germany), will reflect on how he has managed the largest leisure, tourism, and travel business in the world through the COVID-19 crisis, including with parts of his workforce suddenly unable to do their jobs, and provide guidance on strategies for crisis management.

Speaking from a different industry sector will be Melissa Brotz, Vice President, Global Marketing & External Affairs and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Abbott (US). Ms. Brotz will draw on her professional experiences during the health crisis to provide takeaways that can apply to any business sector.

“I’ve learned so many lessons this year,” she said. “Two that stand out are the importance of being adaptable and really knowing your team. We’ve had to quickly adjust to new situations and rapidly respond to unexpected events. It has reinforced just how important it is to anticipate, ensuring you have the right people, skills, and processes in place.”

But it’s not just about having the right skills in your team. “This year has also been incredibly difficult for people – the pandemic has created so many unique, personal challenges,” Ms. Brotz said. “It’s essential that we really know our people, understanding what they’re going through and capable of, always keeping their well-being at the center.”

During the rest of the day, this year’s program has something for everyone. Leadership at Your Level (Friday, November 13, 12:30 pm–1:30 pm (EST)) was developed by the LDC’s Trademark Administrators and Practitioners Project Team. The moderator is Amanda Bell, Consultant, Vantage Leadership Consulting (US), an expert in executive coaching for emerging or transitioning leaders, and in training teams to be more effective amid disruption or change.

According to Mr. Perry, “The session is designed to address and elaborate on how you can be a leader without having the title,” and that’s part of a theme of how leadership can reach out to those who might not see themselves, or be seen, as leaders.

On an equally important theme is Leadership Boot Camp: Diversity and Inclusion, an interactive workshop, taking place twice on Friday, November 13 (8:00 am–9:30 am and 2:00 pm–3:30 pm (EST)). Each Boot Camp session is designed for future leaders or committee members with leadership potential; attendance is by invitation only.

Featuring speakers representing the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community (BIPOC), this year's Boot Camp session is about championing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and “letting that be a core leadership concept and skill,” Mr. Perry said.

The workshop aligns with INTA’s current initiatives on diversity and inclusion, and sets the tone for multiple sessions on this relevant topic during the Annual Meeting program the following week. For more on diversity and inclusion at the Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting, check out the article on page 3.

In addition, Ms. Susman highlighted the Leadership Labs as a must-attend, giving “leaders from committees and subcommittees a chance to discuss ideas, and talk about ways they’ve handled problems and challenges.” With three separate discussions taking place on Friday, November 13 (preregistration required), this provides a great opportunity to benchmark, network, and identify future leaders within INTA, she said.

Indeed, much of this year’s programming was developed based on feedback from past Leadership Labs, so attendance gives you the opportunity to influence the future direction of the Association and the Meeting itself.

“We think it’s a very important forum to connect with colleagues and outside counsel.”
Lisa Ritchie, Senior Counsel (Trademarks, Copyright and Designs) at Philip Morris Products SA (Switzerland)

Another session picks up on one of the most popular sessions at the 2019 Leadership Meeting: Assembling the Super Team: Leveraging Your Group’s Strengths to Maximize Performance (commonly referred to as Building the Band), which gave insight into how to recruit top talent into your organization. This year, the series continues with the next steps: what to do when you’ve recruited that talent if you want to keep it!

Moderated by Liad Whatstein, Founder, Liad Whatstein & Co. (Israel), Keeping the Band Together—Best Tips to Retain Top Talent in a Competitive Marketplace (Friday, November 13, 11:15 am–12:15 pm (EST)), this panel will discuss best practices within corporations and law firms to motivate and satisfy key team members in order to retain them.

Bookending the Leadership Meeting

In addition to this programming, there are plenty of activities for several days beforehand, beginning Monday, November 9, and the whole week afterward, from November 16 to 20. Very significantly from scheduling and networking perspectives, INTAconnect—the event’s registrant directory, appointment system, and matchmaking tool powered by artificial intelligence—launches on November 9 for all registrants. Get a head start on your meetings!

During the lead-up to the Leadership Meeting programming, on Tuesday, November 10 to Thursday, November 12, committee meetings will take place. These meetings provide a significant checkpoint in the committee term, including the opportunity to review the status of objectives and potential shifts to align with Association priorities or recent events.

It’s important to attend these committee meetings, not least because participation in committees “provides a great platform for practicing leadership skills,” said Ms. Dimidjian-Lecomte , who chairs the Leadership Programming Subcommittee, Leadership Development Committee.

“As you move up the leadership hierarchy, from committee member to project team leader to vice committee chair to committee chair, you learn to take on new and expanded responsibilities and grow your leadership experience and skills,” she added.

In addition, registrants can enjoy social networking opportunities, which run the gamut from coffee and sake tastings to yoga and golf skills, on Wednesday, November 12 through Friday, November 20. Hospitality will be open. And Table Topics—moderated small group discussions—are scheduled each week day from the beginning to the end of the Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting.

Note: Leadership Meeting sessions are exclusive to current committee members, chairs and vice chairs, Board of Directors and Counsel, Past Presidents and Counsel, current project teams, and staff from government intellectual property offices.

Footage used under license from Envato Elements / german-skydiver


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

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