Hospitality & Leisure

Mayer Brown's Hospitality & Leisure Team offers a global platform of more than 100 lawyers from across our worldwide offices to deliver an integrated range of legal services on complex and cross-border Hospitality & Leisure transactions. We assemble and manage multi-jurisdiction teams for clients operating across borders with our on-the-ground presence and knowledge of culture, business and networks, both locally and internationally, and have accumulated an in-depth understanding of the complexities of our clients' business environment.

Representing owners, hotels, serviced apartment and gaming operators, developers, financiers and other prominent participants in the hotel and leisure industry, we boast an outstanding track record having worked on more than 2,000 hotel-related matters alone over the past decade, covering lodging chains to boutique hotels, from family resorts to six-star suite hotels and serviced apartments. We regularly advise on and negotiate hotel management agreements, covering most of the major hotel and lodging chains and have extensive experience having worked on projects involving around 50 brands. We also work with major gaming companies in deploying strategies to manage casinos (more recently of distressed gaming companies), including preparation of management agreements.

Experience

We have worked on a wide range of hospitality and leisure product types, including:

  • Branded residences
  • Casinos
  • Cinemas
  • Convention and exhibition facilities
  • Cruise lines
  • Extended stay facilities
  • Gaming and online gambling
  • Golf courses
  • Hotels and motels (full service and limited service (including budget hotels))
  • Luxury trains
  • Mixed-use projects
  • Online travel agents
  • Private islands
  • Resorts
  • Restaurants and nightclubs
  • Sports facilities
  • Stadiums and arenas
  • Theme parks
  • Time shares and other fractional ownership structures

Our representative experience throughout the world includes:

  • Hotel-related Agreements - representing hotel owners and managers in drafting and negotiating hotel management agreements (full service and limited service), franchise agreements, technical services agreements, residence agreements and the full range of other agreements relating to hotel management and ownership.
  • Acquisitions & Disposals - handling acquisitions and disposals of hospitality properties worldwide, including national and international portfolio transactions. Also, negotiation of assumption agreements, subordination agreements and other contracts on properties which are encumbered by management agreements.
  • Financing - representing major hotel lenders and hotel owners in connection with hospitality finance transactions. Transactions include lender-side and borrower-side mortgage debt, mezzanine financing, preferred equity and securitization of hotel revenue streams among other structures.
  • Fund Formation and Ownership Structuring - establishing and developing structures for equity capitalization of hospitality ownership, including REITs, private equity vehicles, joint ventures and co-mingled funds. We have established investment funds for all kinds of investors to suit their individual preferences and requirements. Structuring advice includes particular attention to international tax and regulatory concerns.
  • Restructuring , Bankruptcy & Insolvency - advising clients on issues associated with the restructuring or sale of non-performing loans, and with insolvency, foreclosure and bankruptcy in the hospitality arena.
  • Construction - advising on construction-related matters for developers, lenders, owners and/or contractors.
  • Dispute Resolution - handling a range of dispute resolution processes for construction related disputes and disputes arising out of the operation of hotels.
  • Regulatory Issues - in the industries we serve, the regulatory concerns are significant. Licensing, approval and compliance requirements can differ depending on the jurisdiction. In conjunction with lawyers from our Government and Regulatory practices, we also assist with approval and compliance methodologies and provide ongoing advice to respond to legislative, regulatory and business plan changes.
  • Hotel Life Cycle Matters - advising clients on the full range of issues associated with hospitality acquisition, ownership, disposal and financing; taking advantage of our unique position as one of the leading full-service providers of legal services internationally. Our advice also includes guidance on:
    • Intellectual property, information technology and licensing issues
    • Labour and employment issues, including staff manuals and employment contracts
    • International tax matters
    • Pension and retirement schemes
    • Environmental and planning issues
    • Regulatory considerations
    • Outsourcing

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Peer Reviews

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Diversity

Mayer Brown is committed to diversity because it is the right thing to do and because it makes sound business sense. Diversity broadens our knowledge and skills, heightens our awareness of and sensitivity to cultural issues and equips us to respond to the challenges of serving a clientele that spans the globe. Diversity is a hallmark of Mayer Brown heritage and will be a key driver of our future success.

Mission Statement
At Mayer Brown, we view the attainment of diversity at all levels of our organization as crucial to, and a natural result of, building a cohesive, successful law firm. We recruit, develop and promote the highest caliber lawyers and are committed to providing our lawyers with opportunities to realize their potential regardless of race, religious beliefs, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Inclusion begins with opportunity. We continue to seek innovative and effective ways to increase the number of diverse students interested in law school and to recruit diverse law students and lateral candidates. By engaging law schools and colleges directly, Mayer Brown builds programs for students at all levels of higher education to increase the pool of lawyers from diverse backgrounds. We also ensure that all our associates are provided challenging work experiences and the guidance necessary for success. We strive to keep all of our lawyers active, engaged and on the road to partnership in the firm and encourage them to make a meaningful contribution to the profession. By investing in the skills and abilities of all our lawyers, we create a wide variety of role models for the generations to follow.

Mayer Brown handles many of the most important cases and transactions for the largest companies in the world, and we consider our diversity efforts critical to the level of service we provide to our clients. Clients recognize diversity and inclusion as business imperatives critical for success in our multicultural world. To remain a world-class law practice, we must continue our push forward in these vital areas.

Initiatives

Our commitment to the professional development and advancement of our diverse attorneys is central to our diversity and inclusion programs. We strive to create a culture in which all our attorneys can thrive and advance.  The Firm sponsors attendance at numerous external networking and educational conferences, such as:

  • The Minority Corporate Counsel Association's Annual Pathways to Diversity Conference and CLE Expo.

     
  • The Texas Minority Counsel Program, "Diversity: A World of Opportunity."

     
  • The Minority Outside Counsel Networking Conference.

     
  • We are a national platinum sponsor of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, which offers regional networking and educational events nationwide.

     
  • In addition, all new entry-level lawyers participate in a workplace diversity training workshop as part of our New Associate Orientation program.

 Diversity Retreat

The retreats have provided our lawyers from all of our U.S. offices with the opportunity to interact over the course of a weekend. The retreats have been a great success. The lawyers networked with one another while gaining valuable career advice from minority partners and senior associates. The retreats also give our associates the opportunity to meet with the leaders of the Firm, as well as allowing each to give suggestions and guidance as to how the Firm's recruitment, retention and promotion of diverse lawyers could be improved. The Firm uses the wealth of knowledge and insight gathered and shared at the retreats to inform our diversity efforts.

Roundtables

Members of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion host, in each office, periodic sessions with lawyers to share information about our diversity efforts and solicit ideas and comments regarding ongoing events and future initiatives. In addition, minority lawyers meet informally to provide ongoing opportunities for building relationships within the firm.

 Women's Initiatives

Women's Symposiums are hosted every other year for all female lawyers. These include workshops, panel discussions, networking receptions and presentations led by our female partners and leaders from the legal and business community. We are actively focused on opportunities to raise the visibility of our female lawyers, supporting their development through leadership conference participation, skill development programs and mentoring. We provide business development programs focused on issues unique to women attorneys and have held numerous networking events for our female attorneys and clients. In the past year, for example, our women attorneys have hosted women clients at a luncheon and private museum tour, a chamber music concert performed by female musicians (who discussed the career challenges they faced as women in their field), wine tastings and theater performances. We have partnered with the women’s groups of several clients for networking events and educational workshops. These programs have facilitated building relationships between our women lawyers and our clients, providing focused opportunities for our women lawyers not only to learn about our clients’ needs, but also to showcase their own talents. Each office hosts programs focusing on women’s professional development issues and periodic informal lunches for female lawyers to cultivate and strengthen relationships.

Family-friendly programs offered to Mayer Brown’s US lawyers include: part-time work opportunities; back-up child care service; paid leave of absences for new and adoptive parents, including up to 18 weeks for new mothers, and a coaching program to provide support to new parents returning to work from leave. The firm also offers up to 6 weeks paid leave for lawyers who need time to serve as a primary caregiver for elderly family members. In addition, Mayer Brown is a founding member and sponsor of the Project for Attorney Retention, which works to stem lawyer attrition at large firms by promoting work/life balance and the advancement of women in the legal profession.

 LGBT Initiatives

Mayer Brown is committed to providing a thriving workplace for LGBT lawyers. We have provisions for same gender relationships in our domestic partner benefits program. We provide pro bono legal service for a number of LGBT-focused organizations as well as support for their organizational events. We participate annually in the Lavender Law Career Fair in order to increase the number of LGBT law student applicants to our summer associate program. The Committee on Diversity and Inclusion includes LGBT partners who monitor and push for progress in this important area.

Highlights and Achievements regarding LGBT rights issues at Mayer Brown include:
 

  • Mayer Brown earned a perfect 100 rating for the second consecutive year and was designated as a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality” in the 2011 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), sponsored by The Human Rights Campaign Foundation.  The CEI surveys major businesses to benchmark important employer benefits and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and their families.

     
  • We are a national sponsor of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a leading legal services organization seeking to establish and protect LGBT civil rights.

     
  • Each year we sponsor several LGBT community organizations.

 Non-Discrimination Statement

Mayer Brown is an equal opportunity employer and partnership. It is our policy to hire, train and promote lawyers without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, disability, national origin, or veteran's status. The Firm seeks to hire, develop and advance lawyers on the basis of their professional ability and strives to build a team of lawyers that reflects the diversity of our world.

Signatories

Mayer Brown is signatory to several statements of goals for increasing the recruitment and retention of minority lawyers and women, including The Association of the Bar of the City of New York's "Statement of Goals of New York Law Firms and Corporate Legal Departments for the Retention and Promotion of Women" and its "Statement of Diversity Principles," The Chicago Bar Association’s “Call to Action”, the Houston Bar Association's "Gender Initiative Commitment Statement" and the New York County Lawyers' Association "Statement In Support of Diversity In The Legal Profession.” By proudly signing these statements, Mayer Brown publicly affirms its commitment to a culture of inclusion.

Our London office is a signatory to the UK Law Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Charter and supports the legal sectors PRIME initiative which provides quality work experience to young people from socially deprived and under privileged backgrounds.

Building for the Future

Diversity and inclusion are important keys to securing the future success of the Firm. Legal cultures that welcome and accept differences are the most successful in creating an environment where diverse attorneys thrive. The Firm's inclusion initiatives not only appeal to partners and the clients they interact with, they also attract bright young associates and college and high school-level interns who are encouraged by the dynamic, welcoming environment we provide. Through our various workshops, panel discussions, conferences, and events, and partnership with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), as well as through our diversity-related sponsorships and giving, we are building a bridge to an exciting, diverse future.

 Law Schools, Colleges & High Schools

Through conferences, job fairs, panel discussions, and workshops, we make the legal profession less abstract and more familiar and accessible to students of all backgrounds. Providing the "nuts-and-bolts" of what lawyering is about helps students make informed career decisions and puts them on the path to professional success.

 

  • On Monday, Mayer Brown hosted 20 Higher Achievement middle school legal all-stars for a mock trial competition. To read the article, scroll to the 2nd story, Your Replacements.

     
  • Conducted "Why a Big Firm?," "A Day in the Life..." and "How to Succeed in 1st Year" panel discussions for minority students at Washington, DC and Chicago-area law schools.

     
  • Hosted "First Year Minority Law Student Workshop and Reception," during which New York area law school students were provided with advice on how to succeed in law school and with information on the benefits of working at a large law firm.

     
  • Hosted a panel discussion for members of BLSA, APALSA and LALSA at Houston Law Center.

     
  • Held panel discussions at the University of Chicago Law School, University of Houston Law School, Yale Law School and Georgetown Law School and other law schools for affinity groups such as BLSA, APALSA and LALSA on topics such as resume writing, judicial clerkships, succeeding in law school and as a summer associate.

     
  • Hosted Mayer Brown - Mock Interview Program for students from Fordham Law School, University of Chicago, Northwestern and University of Illinois.

     
  • Participated in Cook County Bar Association Minority Student Job Fair, MidAtlantic Black Law Student Association Job Fair, Northeast BLSA Job Fair, Southeastern BLSA Job Fair, Harvard BLSA Conference, IL Job Fair and Howard University Law School Job Fair.

     
  • Participated in diversity-related conferences, such as the ABA Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Profession Annual Conference for the Minority Lawyer, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association's (MCCA) Annual Pathways to Diversity Conference and the MCCA CLE Expo.

     
  • Supported the University of Chicago Asian Pacific Law Students Association's (APALSA) mentoring program.

     
  • Hosted visits to Chicago-area firms by University of Illinois Latin American Law Students' Association (LALSA), Northwestern LALSA and University of Illinois BLSA students.

     
  • Participated in Lavender Law Career and Job Fair.

     
  • Sponsored and organized Pre-Law Night for Hampton University undergraduates.

     
  • Participated in the Houston Bar Association's summer associate minority law clerk and mentoring program. 

     
  • Participated in and hosted Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms' forums and gatherings, including "Business Development," "What They Really Talk About When You Are Up for Partnership," "Rules of the Game," "The Senior Associate Rain Dance," "Tips for First & Second Year Associates," "Tips for Summer Associates from Minority Attorneys," "Welcome Reception for Minority First Year Associates" and "Welcome Reception for Minority Summer Associates." 

 Events

The scope and range of events that we are involved with demonstrate our desire to build diversity in as many ways as possible. Participating in special events that target specific groups is an effective way to build interest in our firm and to expand our culture of inclusion.

  • Roundtable Summit of New York City area Latin American Law School Student Association (LALSA) leaders in conjunction with the Puerto Rican Bar Association.

     
  • AALDEF Summer Associate Cocktail Party and the NY Women's Bar Association Panel on "What it's Really Like to Practice Law in NYC as a Woman?"

     
  • Sponsor of the BLSA Tenth Annual Banquet at the University of Houston.

     
  • Latin American Law School Student Association (LALSA) Dinner at Fordham Law School. 

     
  • Columbia University Law School Paul Robeson Conference (BLSA).

     
  • Northwestern University Law School Latino Heritage Week.

     
  • Platinum Sponsor of the National Association of South Asian Bar Associations Conference. 

     
  • University of Michigan BLSA Alden J. "Butch" Carpenter Memorial Scholarship Banquet.

     
  • Northwestern Law School's Dream Committee King Day Reception.

     
  • Harvard Law School's 8th Annual Latino Law and Public Policy Conference.

     
  • Mayer Brown is a national platinum sponsor of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) and gives support to the organization's diversity roundtables, Employers' Choice Award dinners and CLE Expo.

     
  • ABA Women in Law Leadership Academy, at which Managing Partner Debora de Hoyos delivered Keynote address.

     
  •  "Cultivate Your Career: A Symposium for Mayer Brown Women" for all NY, DC, Houston, Charlotte, Los Angeles and Chicago female lawyers.

     
  • Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) dinner in New York City. 

     
  • Coordinated and hosted the annual luncheon of the Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Lawyers of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

     
  • ABA Reception honoring Dennis W. Archer, President-Elect of the ABA.

     
  • Martindale-Hubbell event: "Recruiting & Retention Strategies that Effectively Promote Diversity."

     
  • Provided support for the Annual Women's Law Breakfast, which is hosted by the Puerto Rican Bar Association (PRBA). 

     
  • Hosted the Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Education Fund (PRLDEF) "Committee of 100" Kick-Off Reception and our New York lawyers served as founders of the Committee of 100.

     
  • New York Women's Agenda Star Breakfast. 

     
  • Lambda Liberty Awards Banquet, which gives recognition to significant gay and lesbian corporate initiatives.

     
  • Conference for the Texas Minority Counsel Program.

     
  • Sponsor of the A. Leon Higginbotham Corporate Leadership Awards dinner recognizing diversity initiatives hosted by the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

     
  • Sponsor of Catalyst Awards Dinner.

     
  • Hosted member meetings of the Dominican Bar Association and the Hispanic National Bar Association.

Sponsorships

Through the sponsorship of law-related groups and events, we provide vital support to those who have made diversifying the legal world their central goal. These partnerships enable us to build lasting relationships with minority and female students and student groups while also sharing our own expertise during sponsored events and discussions. 
 

  • National Sponsor of Lambda Legal Education and Defense Fund.

     
  • The official sponsor of the National Black Law Students' Frederick Douglass National Moot Court Competition to be held in Denver, CO, March 30 - April 2.

     
  • National sponsor of Minority Corporate Counsel Association and participated in their cross-gender and cross-mentoring study.

     
  • Mayer Brown's Chicago office is a member of Chicago United, a corporate member organization that brings together business leaders of various races and ethnicities to improve business race relations in the City of Chicago.

     
  • Financial sponsors of law school affinity groups at the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, Stanford University, Northwestern University, Columbia University, Fordham University, and Harvard University.

     
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY) Minority Fellowship Program, through which we hire a minority first-year law student from a New York City law school as part of our summer associate program.

     
  • The Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. This program is for women of diverse backgrounds throughout Asia, with a special emphasis on poor, rural and refugee women.

     
  • The "N.Y. Cares" Winter Benefit and Summer Program for underprivileged children.

     
  • Silver sponsor of the Texas Diversity Council

     

Some examples of the organizations and events to which the Firm has donated are as follows:

     

  • Ricky Byrdsong Foundation Annual Race Against Hate

     
  • Puerto Rican Bar Association 

     
  • Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund

     
  • Illinois Humanities Council - Programming of Brown v. Board of Education Series

     
  • Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

     
  • Women's Bar Foundation

     
  • Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois

     
  • Black Women Lawyers' Association of Greater Chicago

     
  • Asian American Legal Resource Center

     
  • Funded a Harvard Law School student's trip to Botswana as part of the Harvard Black Law Student Association (HBLSA) Africa Summit

     
  • Annually fund a fellowship for a public interest project through Legal Aid focused on addressing the legal issues of battered women and immigrant women

     
  • Leadership Circle Sponsor of Access Living Annual Gala, an organization which advocates for disability rights

     
  • Dominican Bar Association

     
  • Hispanic National Bar Association

     
  • Bronx Charter School for the Arts

 Community Outreach

Our outreach program is not restricted to young lawyers and students interested in the law. We are directly involved in the communities where our offices are located. We use our resources to strengthen educational and cultural institutions and to assist groups, associations and agencies that are already working for the good of our local communities.

 

     

  • Ricky Byrdsong Foundation Race Against Hate in Chicago. We have been a sponsor for four consecutive years and both lawyers and staff run in the Race.

     
  • Constitutional Law Program with Northside Preparatory in Chicago. Guided by Mayer Brown lawyers, the students research and write oral arguments and argue real cases before a panel of lawyers serving as justices.

     
  • Pro bono work for the NAACP, which includes representing it nationally in matters pertaining to employment, licensing, first amendment rights and intellectual property. 

     
  • Partnership of the Chicago office with the Stockton School in Chicago, an elementary school serving a population that is 90% minority and 93% low-income students. The Firm's lawyers and staff serve as mentors and tutors to the school children during visits throughout the school year. 

     
  • Secured federal trademark protection for the logos of the youth museum, radio station and gift shop of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in Chicago.

     
  • Financial and mentorship support provided to Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Providence-St. Mel High School and Farragut High School in Chicago.

     
  • Participation of New York associates and summer associates in a program through NY Cares that takes underprivileged children to the Bronx Zoo. 

     
  • Recipient of Giving Bowl Award in for service to Miriam's Kitchen, which provides meals to hundreds of Washington, D.C. homeless each day.

     
  • Hosted cultivation reception for the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families to introduce the non-profit to new potential corporate donors. 

     
  • Partnership of the Washington, D.C. office with the Gage-Eckington School in northeast D.C. The Firm's lawyers and staff serve as mentors and tutors to the students during the school year and raise money for the school's special needs.

     
  • Each office does significant volunteer work in their communities with city schools and community organizations serving disadvantaged individuals.

Leadership

Chicago Government & Global Trade partner Mary Richardson-Lowry has been named one of 50 “Women of Excellence” by the Chicago Defender, the leading daily newspaper serving Chicago’s African-American community. The award acknowledges and celebrates African-American women who personify the exemplary qualities of respect, responsibility, passion, sisterhood and leadership. Mary also was named president of the Chicago Board of Education earlier this year.

Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Mary Richardson-Lowry as a member of the Chicago Board of Education and recommended to the Board that she be named President, which she was. See http://www.cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/01_28_2010_PR1.aspx
LAW360 described Britt Miller as someone “With a reputation as a creative and thoughtful strategist” in designating her one of LAW360’s Ten Competition Lawyers under 40. See http://competition.law360.com/articles/157892

Steve Sanders, a Supreme Court & Appellate associate in the Chicago office, argued his first case before the Supreme Court this week. In Pottawattamie County v. McGhee, Sanders went up against former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who has argued in front of the Court 51 times. Sanders represented Pottawattamie County and two of its former prosecutors who were sued for falsifying evidence after two men were deemed wrongly convicted in the murder of a retired Iowa police officer. In his argument, Sanders claimed the Constitution only guarantees the plaintiffs the right to a fair trial, not a fair investigation, and that the prosecutors are immune from any suit claiming they knowingly introduced false testimony in trial. To read news coverage about the case and Sanders’ first argument, click here.

Donna Morgan was named to the Top 10 Women List of Leading Women Consumer Lawyers in Illinois by Leading Lawyers Network. Additional lawyers listed in either the Top 100 Women of Leading Lawyers and/or the Top 100 Business Lawyers in Illinois by the Leading Lawyers Network are Fern Bomchill, Debora de Hoyos, Rebecca Eisner, Sheila Finnegan, Michele Odorizzi and Mary Richardson-Lowry.

Mayer Brown LLP, a leading global law firm, announced today that 123 of its attorneys are ranked in the 2009 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, including 32 who achieved top-band ranking or higher in 26 national and/or state categories.

The 2009 edition of the Chamber USA ranks 14 women partners from Mayer Brown.  The partners, their areas and band ranking are:

  • Rebecca S. Eisner, National Outsourcing (Band 1) and Illinois Technology & IT Outsourcing  (Band 1)
  • Marcia E. Goodman, Illinois Labor & Employment (Band 3)
  • Carol A. Hitselberger, National Capital Markets: Securitization (Band 4)
  • Sharon Israel, Texas Intellectual Property (Band 2)
  • Erika Z. Jones, National Transportation: Road (Carriage/Commercial) (Band 1)
  • Jennifer L. Keating, Illinois Corporate/M&A (Band 4)
  • Marcia G. Madsen, National Government: Government Contracts and National Government: Government Contracts : Bid Protests (Band 1)
  • Stephanie Monaco, National Investment Funds: Registered Funds (Band 3)
  • Donna Morgan, National Wealth Management: Central Region (Band 3)
  • Michele L. Odorizzi, Illinois Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)

Washington, DC partner Marcia Madsen has been named one of the “Attorneys Who Matter” in the field of corporate compliance by The Ethisphere Institute, an international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability. Honorees were chosen for their work in advancing the cause of ethics and corporate compliance.

Chicago partner Mary Richardson-Lowry, chairman of Mayer Brown's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, will be a speaker on the opening panel at the 2009 conference for The Leadership Institute for Women of Color Attorneys in Law & Business on March 4th in Atlanta. The panel will discuss the value of understanding the intricacies and politics of a law office, navigating diversity issues, the power of networking and the importance of law firm economics. The two-day event helps women of color attorneys develop critical skills necessary to become leaders in their field and provides networking and mentoring opportunities with other successful professionals.