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CWBA Board Training: The Power of Inspiration

Updated: Jan 8, 2021

“Lead Beyond” is this year’s CWBA theme established by newly elected President Miranda Hawkins. But what makes a good leader?

Patty Jarzobski (virtually) joined the board at its first meeting of the 2020-21 term to share her experiences and wisdom around leading bar organizations and committees. Patty, who served as the president of the CWBA from 2012-2013 and was the fifth woman in 120 years to serve as CBA president, provided the board with “Patty’s Playbook,” her David Letterman-inspired top ten tips that make a good leader:

10. Help others succeed

9. Be creative in how you inform, connect, and engage with your committees

8. It’s time to stretch; lead beyond just meeting your fiduciary duties

7. Explain the “why” and build buy-in

6. Create meaningful meetings

5. Be nice to people

4. Tell people “thank you” -- it’s meaningful and powerful

3. Be courageous, especially through conflict

2. Inspiration requires strategy

1. Be an inspirational leader!

While each of these steps is important, Patty explained that inspirational leadership is key. “If you can inspire, you can transform each other, our profession, the communities we serve, and yourself.” So, how does one inspire others? Patty faced this very question when she became the CWBA’s 35th president. At that time, committee engagement was at an all-time low and membership had declined to under 600 members (for comparison, we are now over 1,500). She found a way to usher in transformation and revitalize the organization while also working through her fear of public speaking. She did the same when she was selected to lead the CBA.

Patty’s advice centers around authenticity, courage and resilience:

  • Be brave enough to find your own “flair” and allow your leadership style to shine. The CWBA provides a safe place to cultivate your personal leadership skills through serving on a committee or the board.

  • Be prepared to support others by giving them the tools they need to succeed. Unleashing talent should be the heart of all we do.

  • Be willing to take strategic risks and let people express their ideas.

  • Being an inspirational leader requires planning and is not just a heartfelt, moving message at the podium or a spontaneous emotional appeal. It’s more than showing up at meetings with a positive attitude and lots of energy. It takes an intentional strategic plan that must be designed, planned, and mapped out as best as you can while remaining flexible enough to pivot as needed.

  • Be open and willing to let others make your ideas better. Build self-awareness to help remove the barriers (conscious and unconscious) that may cause resistance to others’ ideas.

  • Be creative and unafraid to try new things. Show up, do the work, and collaborate. The power of community and the shared sense of purpose that have shaped CWBA’s magic from generation to generation must be nurtured and cultivated.

On a whiteboard in Patty’s office is a quote from Dolly Parton that reads: “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” This is exactly what we at the CWBA want to do this year. The 2020-21 board looks forward to sharing this leadership journey with you -- listening, learning, and discovering new ways for our membership to thrive, especially in these unexpected, disconnected times. Let us inspire each other and collaborate together on this journey to be better and become more.


Gina L. Glockner is an attorney with 15 years of experience in complex civil litigation where she has represented individuals, businesses and large corporate entities in professional liability and business matters, as well as health law, regulatory, compliance and licensing issues. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School and her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French from Dickinson College. She is licensed in Colorado, New York and Connecticut. As a local and national leader, Gina currently serves as President Elect of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association and as a director on the board of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations, where she represents the CWBA nationally. The CWBA advocates for equality of women in the legal profession and in society by mobilizing and uniting women’s bar associations to effect change in gender-based processes and laws. Gina is a past co-chair of both the CWBA’s Legal Services and Public Policy committees. She is also a member of the Colorado Bar Association’s 2020 COBALT class.

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