Updated: Oct 14, 2021
If you heard my speech at the CWBA’s Convention in May, you know that grit and perseverance are core qualities that I both admire and strive to display. Our personal reserves of these traits, though, have been greatly taxed over these past 18 months. Just when you think you’ve paced yourself to be able to cross the finish line, you’re being asked to run yet another race. Our membership definitely is feeling this extended and seemingly endless strain. It’s important to know you are not alone, and together, we have the ability to get through this -- and even thrive!
Now, more than ever, is the time to (re)connect with the CWBA and your fellow members. We have been helping each other manage the continuing stresses of life during a pandemic while also collectively exerting Our Bold Voices, continuing to drive positive change for women and other under-served groups in our community through programming and policy initiatives.
I’m proud to announce that 164 new members have joined our organization since June 1, making us nearly 1,500 strong. If you have not already renewed your membership, please do so! Whether you are a seasoned attorney or new to the practice, the CWBA remains a resource for each of us to find and exercise our voices while fostering community and connection as we continue to navigate today’s challenges.
The CWBA has been busy since the new Board of Directors was sworn in earlier this year, with over 18 programs and some new initiatives! Here is just some of what we’ve been up to:
We redesigned the CWBA’s website to significantly improve user experience (your feedback is always welcome!).
The CWBA’s 1891 Blog won the National Conference of Women’s Bar Association’s Outstanding Member Program Award! This incredible recognition is a well-deserved testament to the blog’s founders and the many volunteers who contribute to its success. Since May, the Publications Committee has published more than 30 blog posts, features, and articles in addition to hosting the CWBA’s Book Club.
The Judicial Committee and its volunteers have conducted multiple rounds of due diligence for the various state judicial vacancies that have occured since the spring. Vice President Hetal Doshi, in collaboration with Judicial Co-Chairs Laura Cramer Babycz and Amy Petri Beard, spearheaded the organization’s first-ever Federal Endorsement Policy as we recognized an opportunity for the CWBA to further advance women on the bench and in their careers.
The Public Policy Committee’s work extended well into June due to pandemic-related delays that impacted the 2020-21 legislative session. The committee prioritized 23 bills, took action to support 11, opposed two and monitored 10. (Check out the Legislative Wrap Up for full details on the session).
Thanks to the hard work of Legal Services Committee Co-Chair Deborah Yim, the CWBA joined a coalition of organizations to form the Small Businesses Legal Assistance Program. Volunteer lawyers from the CWBA can participate in the program and be matched with small businesses that need legal counsel on issues such as contracts, real estate, insurance, and bankruptcy.
The Membership Committee hosted “Cooking for Justice! A Virtual Chef Demo & Dinner Party Benefit” featuring James Beard Award-winning chef and author Adrian Miller. Moderated by Velveta Golightly-Howell, our very own 2020 Mary Lathrop Trailblazer Award honoree, we learned about the history of Soul Food while preparing a multi-course meal under Chef Miller’s tutelage. The event raised a total of $3,400 for the Colorado Freedom Fund, the NAACP, the Equal Justice Initiative, and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
The CWBA’s Larimer County Chapter co-hosted Part 2 of its Human Trafficking CLE Series: Identifying Survivors of Trafficking and Assessing Culpability.
And, the Mentorship Committee hosted its Rock Star LIFT! Mentoring event for the 2021 mentor/mentees cohorts. Colorado Supreme Court Justice Melissa Hart, Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Karen Ashby (retired), Michelle Lucero, General Counsel for Children's Hospital Colorado, and Sarah Parady, CWBA Past President and Partner at Lowrey Parady Lebsack, LLC, shared invaluable advice on mentoring, networking and navigating the legal profession.
Looking ahead, our fall lineup features a robust offering of programs and networking opportunities. Check out the full calendar of events, with some highlights below:
Storming the Bench, with keynote speaker and CWBA member Sumi Lee, Head of Judicial Diversity Outreach for the Colorado Judicial Branch, will take place at Polsinelli on October 13. The program will feature judges, members of judicial nominating commissions from around the state, and insight from the Governor’s Office.
On October 15, join us for the first Emerging Speaker Series and CLE with Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Sueanna Johnson. Thanks to the work of Member Ruth Moore, Judge Johnson will moderate a panel of three speakers for a discussion about the unique experiences of practicing attorneys and judges living with disabilities.
The CWBA’s Fall Social, where members can learn more about our Committee work, will be at the RiNo Beer Garden on October 26.
In early November, the Professional Advancement Committee will host a CLE featuring a panel of Successful Pivoters who have used their law degrees to transition and transform their careers.
The Public Policy Committee will host its Annual Legislator Appreciation Breakfast where we will hear from Colorado State Legislators about their individual 2022 agendas for the 73rd General Assembly.
On the first Friday of every month, Immediate Past President Miranda Hawkins hosts Season 2 of On What Grounds? The next virtual leadership cafe is October 1 at 8:30 am.
Part of exercising Our Bold Voices means embracing the power of “both/and” thinking by setting boundaries and taking time for self-care so that we can show up for ourselves and others. As we head into fall, make time for yourself so you can better juggle all the hats we wear as attorneys. Then, take your seat at the table, share your perspective, and flex your unique bold voice!
CWBA President, 2021-22