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My First 10 Days . . . An Open Letter to the ACEDS Membership

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Dear ACEDS Community,

Ten days in and it has been a whirlwind of meetings and phone calls as I begin to immerse myself in this exciting new role.

I’m not sure everyone knows that the ACEDS community includes individuals from around the globe. Currently, we have 1360 CEDS certified members, nearly 2500 active members, and over 30 affiliate and affinity partners in 20 countries. We have local chapters in 17 major US cities, the UK, Ireland, Benelux and South Africa, with additional chapters coming online soon.

I’m also not entirely sure that many can appreciate the volume of energy, the enormity and breadth of the challenges, and the dedication one must commit to ACEDS in order for the association to function. It is appropriate, then, for me to first tip my hat to Mary Mack and her lieutenant, Kaylee Walstad, for guiding ACEDS through a period of growth and building an association that I am proud to be part of — even if I’m somewhat intimated by the sheer awesomeness with which they ran it. Mary has been a friend and mentor, and I have learned from her that you can approach new challenges from a position of fear and intimidation, or from a position of love. Her outlook, grace, the way she interacts with others, her regard for the common good, and her devotion to the collective enlightenment of others are encouraging and inspiring. So, thank you Mary and Kaylee. I wish you well and I am grateful for all you’ve done for me personally and for ACEDS. I look forward to working with you in the future.

Now, if you’ve ever taken on a new and complex challenge, you know that drinking from a fire hose is not easy. Fortunately, I am methodical and patient. In the past week, I have received hundreds if not a thousand messages, likes, posts, congratulatory calls and emails. I’m overwhelmed by the kindness from and engagement of all of you in our community, and wish I could respond to everyone in person. To all of you, please know how appreciative I am of your support and good wishes and how much it means to me. Your notes and communications just reinforce how special the e-discovery community really is.

Among those communications, I’ve also received some not-so-subtle suggestions on what ACEDS should (and should not) be doing; I’ve heard expectations from some and recommendations from others. The global passion for e-discovery and for ACEDS clearly runs deep and is meaningful.

And although it’s a busy time for me, I want to assure each and every member of the community that I am interested in hearing from you, and I am listening. It is only together, with a common mission, that we advance and mature the e-discovery community, and ACEDS exists to serve the community.

I am beginning to identify and more clearly see our priorities. My goal over the coming months is to listen carefully and execute precisely. My first priority is ensuring the strength and the support of the ACEDS management team. I’ve always felt that not enough credit is given or appreciation is felt for the people who toil daily behind the scenes to keep the lights on. Each of the individuals who work to execute on the ACEDS mission are here to serve the e-discovery community. Our number one goal is to continue delivering relevant, high-quality content and the best-in-class e-discovery training and certification credential across the industry.

I am also committed to diversity and inclusion across our global community. I personally believe that we are better and stronger as a community and professional association when more people from diverse and varied backgrounds, cultures, orientations—frankly, from every corner of the planet—have a voice and access to the resources they need to succeed in their careers.

In the coming weeks and months, I will try to meet with as many members as possible and talk with each chapter, partner and affiliate. This is as much your organization as mine, and as the leader I want to ensure your voices are heard. Some things will work; others may not. I believe that people, more often than not, simply want to know they are being heard. I hope to provide that opportunity.

I will endeavor to schedule meetings with each of the ACEDS Affiliate Partners who have supported the association over the years to thank them. These partners are leading the charge in innovation, and they help provide our members with the training and education they need to keep up with change. I want to learn more about what our Partners are doing, what changes they see as the industry continues to evolve, and how ACEDS can help.

In the meantime, I am overwhelmed by the warmth, enthusiasm and dedication of every single person I have had a chance to talk to, and this simply reinforces my interest in and desire to lead such an amazing and meaningful organization.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected].

And join us at Relativity Fest on Monday, October 21st for a cocktail hour to celebrate the past and the future of ACEDS.

Michael Quartararo, CEDS
President – ACEDS and Professional Development

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Mike Quartararo
Mike Quartararo is the President of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), the world’s leading organization providing training and certification in e-discovery to law firms, corporate legal departments and the broader the legal community. He is also the author of the 2016 book Project Management in Electronic Discovery and has been successfully consulting in information governance, e-discovery, project management and legal technology for two decades, including 10-year stints at both Skadden Arps and Stroock. A graduate of the State University of New York, he is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Certified E-Discovery Specialist (CEDS). He frequently writes and speaks on e-discovery, legal operations, project management and technology topics. Reach him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @mikequartararo.

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