Candidate for 2022-2024 Director: Eugene Giudice

I am currently employed as the senior research services training specialist with the Dentons law firm in their Chicago office. I have been a member of SLA since 2001 and have held various committee and leadership roles in the association.

I have served as an officer in the Illinois Community and am currently the external relations chair for the community. I am the vice president/president-elect for the Legal Community and have been actively involved in programming and conference planning for the community. I have also been involved in a number of SLA committees, including PREP (past chair), the New Initatives Review Advisory Council, and the Content Advisory Council, and have been named to the Governance & Strategy Subcommittee.

My awards include the 2001 SLA Illinois Chapter Up and Comer Award and the 2021 Librarian Advocate Award from the Private Law and Information Professionals SIG of the American Association of Law Libraries. In addition to my SLA membership, I have held leadership roles in the American Association of Law Libraries and the Chicago Association of Law Libraries. I have published numerous articles and recently published my first book, Reflection During a Pandemic: Thoughts While Sheltering in Place.

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Question #1: Why are you a member of SLA? What has kept you a member throughout the years?
I am an SLA member because I know that SLA is the premier professional organization for specialized librarians and information professionals who work in environments other than public libraries, such as law firms, government or corporate environments. What has kept me as a member is that SLA gives me the best opportunities to interact with a broad spectrum of professionals. I can meet and learn from professionals from every type of environment and from around the globe.

In addition, every individual I have met through SLA has shown me a commitment to our profession and the drive and willingness, by sharing their talents and experience, to make our profession stronger for the next generation of professionals. Finally, in SLA, I have found an openness among members and leadership. I know that I can reach out to any SLA leadership with any question and receive wise and reasoned counsel. I value the fact that anyone who exhibits skill and a willingness to work hard can find opportunities in SLA. I am fortunate in that I have found a professional home in SLA.

Question #2: Why are you running for the SLA Board of Directors? What do you bring to the table? How do you plan to help support other SLA members, if elected?
This is a crucial time in the life of SLA, and I want to be part of the team that will help guide SLA into a bright future. I have extensive experience with executive leadership in an organization. I have been responsible for things like member retention and growth, budgeting and training. I have served in both local and higher-level offices in the Knights of Columbus.

The key to effective leadership is listening to others, encouraging those who might have good ideas but need some coaxing to offer them up, collaborating with them to synthesize the best solution, and then working cooperatively to execute those solutions. Concerning listening to others, it is essential to understand that if a decision does not go entirely in one’s way, it does not mean that one has not been heard. I have also held numerous committee appointments and chairmanships in the SLA Illinois and Legal communities, the Chicago Association of Law Libraries, and the American Association of Law Libraries. If I am fortunate enough to be elected to the SLA Board of Directors, I intend to offer my gifts and skills in an ongoing and collaborative fashion to help move SLA forward.

Question #3: SLA is a leader in its commitment to diversity and inclusion and the importance of civil discourse. Share how you have demonstrated leadership or action in these areas, and how your own experiences will inform your contribution as an SLA board member.
In 2010, when I was working at my first law firm (Baker McKenzie), we had an African American woman come to the office and speak on diversity. She made the following two statements: straight people have a right to talk about sexuality, and white people have a right to talk about race. At that very moment, I found that I had a seat at the table to talk about these issues.

Because of that, I became an official member of Baker McKenzie’s LGBT affinity group. I was able to learn the problems faced by the LGBT members of my firm. In addition, I realized that diversity was not simply a numbers game. If we are to have any hope of making our profession and SLA more diverse and inclusive, we must fundamentally change from within. Each of us will have to emulate the behaviors and attitudes of compassion, justice, and inclusion.

Because of my experience and beliefs, I have the tools by which I can assist the board to help make SLA and our profession more diverse. I have been encouraged and sustained in using my research skills to support my current employer’s (Dentons U.S. LLP) firm-wide diversity and inclusion committee.

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