Vanessa Destime, KLN/CLA '12, is being recognized for her commitment to excellent leadership through the National Bar Association (NBA). The organization, the nation's oldest and largest network of predominantly Black attorneys and judges, awarded her the chairman's award for leadership excellence from its Young Lawyers Division (YLD).
Destime is an associate attorney in the commercial & business litigation practice group of Miles & Stockbridge P.C. She earned her juris doctor degree at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in 2017, where she received the second-highest national score as a part of the Mid-Atlantic Thurgood Marshall National Trial Team and was named Best Advocate of the Year in 2016. Before joining Miles & Stockbridge in 2018, Destime completed a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Michael W. Reed of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and an internship with the Honorable W. Michel Pierson of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.
Destime joined the NBA through a colleague who introduced her to Nicholas Austin, the immediate past chairman of the YLD and senior counsel and vice president in the corporate strategic transactions group at Wells Fargo. The two were instantly a team. Austin says that Destime immediately got to work as director of communications for the division from 2019-2020, calling her a "natural-born leader" who is more than deserving of the chairman's honor, which he awarded her when he held the chairman's position.
"She handled our communications, and so for all of our initiatives, all of the hard work that goes into it, planning, organizing,...none of it would've been possible without her communications work, letting the public know what we were doing," he says.
Destime double majored in communication at Klein College of Media and Communication and political science at the College of Liberal Arts. However, her interest in law was always present. During her time at Temple University, Destime took a pre-law class along with her required courses which assisted her with her communication skills. Through her coursework, she realized that communication and political science complement the study of law.
"To be an effective lawyer you need to be an effective communicator," she says. "You need to be able to tell a story and get that story across, you need to be able to write well, you need to be able to think, you need to be able to present well, have a cogent argument. And all of those things are skills that you actually learn in the major of communication."
Extracurricular activities also supplemented Destime's communication abilities. She was co-director of campus life and diversity for Temple Student Government (TSG). In that role, she brought together students of all backgrounds on campus and within the Temple community. Colin Saltry, FOX '12, who was student body president through TSG and is now an associate attorney at Console Mattiacci Law Offices, LLC, believes Destime was a perfect fit for the position.
"She's just someone who was confident in what she was doing and...she wasn't someone who talked about doing things: she just did them," he says. "If you look at the qualities of what makes a good leader I think that Vanessa would come to mind for sure."
Julian Hamer, KLN '17, is the senior producer for the Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris at Biden for President who served as vice president of student affairs for TSG, and has witnessed Destime's leadership and dedication in various roles. Not only were the two neighbors during their time at Temple, but they also competed in the Miss Black and Gold pageant hosted by the university's chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Their shared experiences made Hamer realize that Destime had a bright future as a lawyer.
"Vanessa just has a great heart and deep down at the root I think that's important in showing humanity. Especially in the justice system where, especially as Black people, we might not always see that justice," Hamer says.
Destime hopes to continue her leadership within the NBA YLD and beyond.
"I think you need to find things outside of actually working that bring you joy and give you a sense of community and a sense of accomplishment just knowing that, 'Yeah I might have a lot of things to do but look how I challenged myself to make time for something else that I knew would be a great — not just a professional benefit but a personal benefit too,'" she says. "You get some gain from it when you meet all of these different people who not only become a part of a great network but also friends to you."