In May of 2019, I attended my first CWBA Convention and was sworn in that Saturday evening to serve as an at-large Board member under Sarah Parady’s Presidency. The 2019 Convention was the last in person Convention, and while it seems so long ago it is an experience that changed me. At the time I practiced in a small Breckenridge law firm and was fairly new to the real estate practice area. I was also attending virtual school part-time to obtain an LL.M in Real Property Development Law. To say I was feeling exhausted, discouraged and needing community would be an understatement. I remember feeling nervous as I walked into the beautiful Sebastian hotel in Vail. Although I had made the leap to apply to be on the Board of Directors that fall prior, I did not know one member at the time. Sitting down for the Board lunch, I quickly started to feel differently. Sarah and other Board members I had only met briefly for the Annual Board Retreat were welcoming and the energy was invigorating. Hearing the conversations and support being given to each other was truly refreshing.
After registration, I once again began to feel a bit anxious. Thoughts of rejection, or not being accepted rushed through my mind but my anxiety was quickly dissuaded. It’s hard to describe the energy of Convention. While the attendance is a majority of woman attorneys, you will also find male attorneys, paralegals, and other professionals such as professional coaches and other vendors of the legal profession. The Friday workshop focused on grit and perseverance. Members shared stories and I felt a little more connected. Women attorneys often face similar challenges in our live and in our careers. Convention is a great place to find community and connection. As an attorney that was then practicing in a rural community, isolated from the hustle and bustle of the Denver-Metro area and its thousands of legal professionals, I finally felt connected and encouraged. Encouraged to find my own path in my career and to take control and work for what I wanted my career to look like. Today, I am a staff attorney for a mission-based organization. I found my work community with the help and encouragement of the CWBA community I have built and grown over the last three years.
If you are feeling alone, discouraged, or simply needing connection, Convention is a great place to start. This year’s theme, Bold Voice – Bold Visions will help empower you to use your voice and to share your story. You will also get to hear from other powerful women that will show that success shows up differently for all of us. After two years of being virtual, this year’s in-person Convention will not disappoint. You will also have the opportunity to celebrate with us at our Annual Dinner and Passing of the Gavel. This year we have a lot to celebrate with the most diverse Board of Directors in CWBA history! For more information regarding the incoming Board slate and Board Members, check out the Special Slate Edition Issue of The Advocate. If you are feeling nervous like I did, consider joining the First-Time Attendees Lunch as a way to break the ice.
Carime Lee is a Staff Attorney with the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority and has served as a Publications Committee Co-Chair since 2020. She is honored to be a member of the inaugural Class of the Colorado Bar Diverse Attorney Community Circle as well as the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s Spring 2022 Impact Denver Class.