Well, my friends, it is with mixed sadness, pleasure, and gratitude that I am now writing my last President’s Letter. My two-year term as President of FACP will end on July 11th when we have our next Board meeting. This has been an amazing journey for me and I am grateful for the experience.
I had the honor and privilege to help create our organization in November 2010, which was originally known as the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. We changed the name to the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals in September 2015, and we have not looked back since. I have watched our organization grow and spread the word about the Collaborative Process throughout Florida, and even to other states and countries. Florida is now known as one of the main centers of the Collaborative Process in the world. FACP and our members are leaders and innovators in helping families resolve their disputes in a respectful, private and creative manner.
I have been very fortunate to meet wonderful people from around Florida, who I now call my friends. We have shared moments of laughter, disappointment, frustration and joy. I will never forget the absolute exhilaration I felt when the Florida House of Representatives finally approved the Florida Collaborative Law Process Act in March 2016. Florida’s version of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act and Rules went into effect on July 1, 2017. I am so proud of what we did to accomplish that goal, and I especially thank my partner and brother, Cole Jeffries, for all of his hard work in convincing the Florida Legislature to adopt the UCLA.
We now have members of FACP from the panhandle to South and Southwest Florida. We have more than 600 members and we are continuing to grow. Everyone is welcome to join a practice group and thereby become a member of FACP. One of my primary goals has been to expand the Collaborative Process to new communities and people. We are an inclusive organization, striving to make Collaborative Practice the preferred method of dispute resolution for families from all walks of life. We welcome family professionals within those communities to partake in our endeavor. One of my visions is for the Collaborative Process to be the first process choice for everyone in Florida, regardless of their color, religion, ethnic background, sexual identity or financial condition.
I am very proud that FACP is a leader in inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility, and want to particularly thank all of our members who have made that happen. I truly believe that what we do not only benefits our clients, but our communities as a whole. We bring peace to our clients, our office staff, our own families and the entire family law system. We should all be proud of what we do and how we live our lives.
It was invigorating seeing 140 of you in Orlando last week for our eleventh annual FACP Conference. We learned together, laughed together, and we had a great time. I am sorry that more of you could not join us. Hopefully, you will be able to attend our next conference. For those of you who have never attended our conference, you do not know what you have been missing!
Thank you to my friend, colleague and mentor, Woody Mosten, who was our keynote speaker. Also, a special thank you to my good friend, Brian Galbraith, who not only attended the conference in his role as the President of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, but he also graciously presented to the 2023-2024 FACP Leadership Institute class and he presented twice during the conference. As always, we all benefitted from having Woody and Brian share their knowledge and experiences with us.
I further want to thank the 25 members of our Board and I especially want to thank our Executive Committee: Marta Alfonso (President-Elect), Elaine Silver (Immediate Past President), Joryn Jenkins (Vice-President), Rebecca Fischer (Vice-President), Sonya Johnson (Treasurer) and Christen Ritchey (Secretary). FACP would not be where it is today without the skills, huge hearts and devotion that our Executive Committee and Board members shared with us. Please be sure to thank them the next time you see them.
Although I will no longer be serving as your President, I am not going away. FACP and the Collaborative Process will still have my heart and devotion, and I will continue to be on the FACP Board for two more years. At that time, even though my involvement on the FACP Board will end, I will still be around to support what FACP and all of you are doing and cheer you on as you continue your efforts to enhance and further expand the Collaborative Process and FACP.
Have a wonderful summer and see you soon.