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Tara Mahoney, '05 

MLaw Alumna Named President of the Neutral Zone

By Lori Atherton
Aug. 27, 2012

Michigan Law graduates are known for serving the community, and Tara Mahoney, '05, is no exception. Mahoney recently was named president of the board of directors at the Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor, where she has been volunteering since 2008.

"It's been a fun avenue for me," said Mahoney of the Neutral Zone, a teen center focused on leadership, community service, education, and music and the arts.

Mahoney grew up in Saline, outside of Ann Arbor, but didn't learn of the Neutral Zone until after she graduated from law school. She met Executive Director John Weiss at a community event and, after expressing interest in becoming involved with the organization, was invited to join the Human Resources Committee, which she chaired from 2008 until her election as president. She later joined the board when an opening became available.

"Tara is an extremely engaged, thoughtful, and supportive board member," said Weiss, of Mahoney's appointment. "For several months before her term as president began, she met with me and the executive staff to institute new practices that would support our board and make them as effective as possible in supporting Neutral Zone's work. That gusto has helped inject new enthusiasm and energy to the board and is appreciated by everyone."

Mahoney said she was drawn to the Neutral Zone because of its emphasis on developing teen leadership. Teens serve on the board of directors alongside their adult counterparts and have an equal voice in the decision-making process. They also serve on the Teen Advisory Council and in other leadership programs.

"The teens are integral to the board," Mahoney said. "The Neutral Zone empowers teens to make decisions, which is really special and how I would have liked it to be had I been involved as a teen. I'm continually impressed by the teens' poise and confidence. They don't hold back at board meetings; they ask great questions and share their perspectives."

Mahoney—a partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP in Detroit who specializes in labor and employment law and who was recognized as a Rising Star by Michigan Super Lawyers for 2009–2012—said she's also impressed with the breadth of artistic programs the teens produce.

"The teens thrive on being involved and engaged," Mahoney said. "It's encouraging for me."

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