Award Remarks

Post Date: June 26th, 2013



JEAN A. DiMOTTO, June 25, 2013

This award is deeply meaningful to me. I thank the Wisconsin Law Journal for conferring this honor on me and acknowledge its publisher, Ann Richmond.

 When I reflect on my career, I see that I was often pushing the envelope, to use a somewhat tired cliché. For example:

°          My judicial practices in Domestic Violence court

°          The administrative changes I spearheaded in Small Claims Court practices

°          Something as simple as my verdict form in criminal cases

°          My practice of giving out a children’s alphabet book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, to young fathers in criminal court who had so little wherewithal. I did this to encourage the fathers to read a book to their child that the child was guaranteed to like and learn from. It was a way to help two generations.

These were all acts of creativity and of leadership. I have reason to believe that all of tonight’s honorees have demonstrated creativity, determination and leadership.

And so I want to close first by acknowledging my husband, John; my daughter, Anne; and my son-in-law, Thomas. They have enriched my life immeasurably.

And second with these wishes for leaders.

May you have the grace and wisdom to act kindly, learning to distinguish between what is personal and what is not.

May you be hospitable to criticism.

May you never put yourself at the center of things.

May you act not from arrogance but out of service.

May you work on yourself, building up and refining the ways of your mind.

May those who work for you know you see and respect them.

May you learn to cultivate the art of presence in order to engage with those who meet you.

When someone fails or disappoints you, may the graciousness with which you engage be their stairway to renewal and refinement.

May you treasure the gifts of the mind through reading and creative thinking so that you continue as a servant of the frontier….

May you know the wisdom of deep listening, the healing of wholesome words, the encouragement of the appreciative gaze, the decorum of held dignity, the springtime edge of the bleak question.

May you have a mind that loves frontiers so that you can evoke the bright fields that lie beyond the view of the regular eye.

May you have good friends to mirror your blind spots. 

May leadership be for you a true adventure of growth.

From: “For a Leader” in To Bless the Space Between Us, by John O’Donohue, 2008, pages 151-52.