“Don’t leave here without learning how to treat people. If you treat people well, it will serve you well throughout your life, particularly as an attorney because you have to work with other people,” Teresa Mason, Chief of Staff for Delaware Attorney General Joseph R. Beau Biden, III, told students in response to question from Law Dean Linda Ammons
about what students should take away from their law school experience.
Ms. Mason spoke to students, faculty, and staff on Wednesday, September 16th at 4:30 p.m. as the first speaker in the Local Leaders series for the fall semester. The series, jointly sponsored by the Delaware Student Bar Association
and the faculty, brings prominent area leaders to the school to speak about their experiences and offer their wisdom to students. Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development Erin Daly
, who has been instrumental in getting the Local Leaders series off the ground, introduced Ms. Mason.
Appointed as Biden’s Chief of Staff in January of 2008, Ms. Mason is a graduate of St. John’s University and Howard University School of Law. She has served as an Executive Vice President at MBNA America Bank N.A., the Special Counsel for Adjudications in the New York City Department of Finance, as a Deputy Bureau Chief in the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, and as New York City’s 110th Sheriff. During her talk, Ms. Mason addressed her eclectic and exciting career, noting, “Life throws you curveballs and you are never going to change that, but it’s how you handle it that matters.” She told several entertaining stories including how she became New York City’s 110th Sheriff after her appointment by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Telling students that a legal education is incredibly valuable because of the way it teaches you to think, Ms. Mason discussed the importance of reputation, networking, and giving back through volunteering. She also discussed her leadership and management style, declaring, “I don’t ask people to do things that I won’t do,” before imploring the students in the audience to “Think outside the box,” and to “invest in people.”
Ms. Mason concluded her talk by taking a number of insightful questions from the audience. Career Development Dean LeaNora Ruffin asked about taking risks, to which Ms. Mason replied, “I believe that in order to be successful, you have to step outside your comfort zone.” She added that everyone should seek to learn news skills and keep trying new things because “complacency is devastating.”
The next Local Leaders event will take place on Wednesday, October 7th at 4:00 p.m. in the student lounge off Main Street in the Main Law Building when New Castle County Executive Chris Coons visits.