Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Dear CWBA Members,
As you know, the CWBA’s battle cry this year is “Lead Beyond!” This means to Lead Beyond the challenges of today with a vision that ensures that the CWBA remains strong, and that our members stay informed, inspired, connected, and engaged. I am proud to share with you some of the exciting ways the CWBA is already Leading Beyond in 2020. As of the end of fiscal year 2019-2020 on July 31, 2020, the CWBA counted 1,571 active members, which is the highest in our 42-year history! Our membership continued to grow this summer, and we have welcomed 83 new members since June 1st. If you have not renewed your membership, we hope you do so and welcome you back! Now, more than ever, is the time to stay connected with the CWBA and your fellow members. The CWBA is a place you can come back to when you need to reconnect, regroup, and re-energize. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our Board of Directors and Committees worked very hard this summer to bring us innovative programs and forums for the exchange of ideas. I personally thank these incredible leaders for their contributions. The CWBA has held (or presented in partnership) 16 programs since the new Board was sworn in on May 16th! Here are a few examples: - In June, we, along with other diversity bars, partnered with the Center for Legal Inclusiveness to plan the Virtual Town Hall Meeting: A Dialogue about Allyship and Tough Conversations. - In July, the CWBA played a key role in planning the Interrupting Implicit Bias by Design program, featuring Kathleen Nalty, which attracted over 900 registrants! - One of our Convention programs held in May, Why We Should Still Be Talking about Gender Equality, was so popular the Programs Committee continued the discussion in August with Justice Monica Márquez, Magistrate Judge Kristen Mix, and Judge Mariana Vielma. - This summer, the Membership Committee planned virtual yoga sessions; coordinated a virtual wine tasting event; and hosted a trivia night, which was dominated by Justice Melissa Hart and her team of CU Law students! - In August, the Professional Advancement Committee presented a Credentialing How-To Webinar, which attracted nearly 100 registrants. Our Publications Committee has published a remarkable 37 posts since May 1st on The 1891 blog, including a thought-provoking four-part series on Anti-Hate/Anti-Racism Parenting. This innovative Committee also launched the first CWBA Book Club, beginning with a discussion of the book White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. Find details on the next Book Club discussion about Dare to Lead by Brené Brown on October 8 here. Through the work of our Public Policy Committee this summer, we supported the Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity Act; opposed an anti-choice ballot initiative, and supported a paid medical and family leave ballot initiative. This Committee partnered with The Women’s Foundation of Colorado to present a free webinar to help educate employers about compliance with the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which becomes effective January 1, 2021. I’m looking forward to the Public Policy Fundraiser on September 24th, which is a program titled Race, Justice, and Mass Incarceration: A Powerful Panel Discussion and Virtual Documentary Screening of 13th (register here), and the ballot initiative training on October 13. Our Judicial Committee has already conducted several rounds of due diligence for judicial vacancies. In response to a recent Denver Post article about the lack of diversity on the bench, the Judicial Committee Co-Chairs wrote a blog post highlighting all of the ways the CWBA is already tackling this issue and identifying concrete ways others can get involved.
Despite the uncertainty of the times, your CWBA Board of Directors has remained forward thinking and voted to adopt a three-year strategic plan and annual budget. Although significant cuts were necessary this year, the Board continued to think strategically and voted to spend money on items specifically designed to advance our mission, support our members, and implement the strategic plan we just adopted. Those items include an update of the CWBA website and a charitable matching donation program coordinated by the Legal Services Committee, which you may access here.
As part of my ongoing commitment to develop the leadership within the CWBA, we provided training for CWBA Board and Committee Members with a June program titled, How Lawyers Can be More Social on Social Media, led by CWBA member Meranda Vieyra.
I am excited to continue to provide leadership training at each monthly Board meeting on topics such as How to be an Inspirational Leader, How to Give Feedback, How to Build and Maintain a Committee, and Five Tactics to Think Strategically in a Crisis. Board members have graciously volunteered to write blog posts on each leadership topic, so the entire membership may benefit from this training. Thank you!
In an effort to stay connected and get to know more CWBA members, I have held monthly leadership coffee chats called On What Grounds? a live, virtual leadership café. Attendance continues to climb and the conversations are real and powerful! For example, the most recent café featured an honest discussion, with multiple members sharing their experiences with—and tips and tricks to combat—imposter syndrome. The next café is on October 2nd at 8:30 a.m. I hope you will join us!
Part of Leading Beyond is the willingness to navigate challenges with your head, heart, and gut, while adjusting past practices as needed. Not only are we adjusting, we are finding the opportunities hidden among the challenges. While our on-site gatherings are currently on hiatus, our virtual events continue to attract more and more members. Virtual events, while certainly not the same as being together in-person, have had the surprising result of being more accessible to all of us with busy schedules. Not to mention how much we’re saving on gas and parking!
As we move into the fall, we will continue to meet the challenges ahead, while always looking for the hidden opportunities. I am proud to be a part of the CWBA this year, and I continue to be amazed, touched, and honored by the commitment of our members as we continue to Lead Beyond.
CWBA President 2020-2021
p.s. When you have a little time, check out a podcast I recently recorded with CWBA member Krystyn Hartman, founder of Law Talk Colorado!