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The Why and What of CWBA Board Service

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

This is an exciting time to serve on CWBA’s board and to be part of its leadership. The CWBA wants YOUR skills and dedication to the CWBA’s mission on its Board!

The CWBA Board Service Application process opened on November 1, 2021, and closes on December 5, 2021. This is for Board service from May 2022 - May 2023. Board service begins at the CWBA’s Annual Convention May 20-22, 2021, at the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

“Why should I apply,” you ask?

This is an exciting time to join the CWBA Board. Board service provides opportunities to develop leadership and strategic skills in ways that may be unavailable in your current job and in ways that will foster your professional advancement.

But there’s more!

As a 43-year-old organization, the CWBA is at a pivotal moment. Since 2014, CWBA’s membership has rapidly grown from 849 to 1,571. Our membership continued to increase through the turmoil and uncertainties of 2020—even as other bar associations’ membership numbers declined. This growth presents both a challenge and an opportunity for CWBA to examine how it serves its members and to identify ways that it can operate more efficiently and effectively to reach mature sustainability. Additionally, just as the pandemic has forced or inspired all of us to revisit and reconsider how we navigate our professional and personal lives, it has motivated the CWBA to re-examine how it serves its members and how its members’ needs have changed—both since the pandemic’s onset and over time.

To begin the re-examination process, the CWBA’s Executive Committee recently worked with an organizational consultant to examine CWBA’s structure and operations from an organizational life cycle lens. Organizations have seven distinct phases: grassroots/idea; start-up/incubation; adolescent/growth; mature/sustainability; decline/stagnation; turnaround/renewal; and terminal/shut-down. See “Nonprofit Lifecycles: Stage-Based Wisdom for Nonprofit Capacity” by Susan Kenny Stevens, Ph.D. In several categories, the CWBA is between the adolescent/growth and mature/sustainability phases. In other categories, the CWBA is firmly in the growth phase.

Creative and analytical thought will help the CWBA firmly move into the mature/sustainability phase. To accomplish that, we will engage in a multi-year effort to evaluate and formalize organizational and operational structures; sharpen our strategic focus; develop systems and processes to enhance focus on our members’ needs and values; increase our reputation as thought-leaders in innovative programming; and increase the Board’s focus on big picture governance.

Board service provides numerous opportunities to develop leadership skills, influence the strategic direction of the CWBA, and enhance personal and professional networks. Board members have seen their networks of friends, colleagues, mentors, and business-referral sources expand because of their board service.

If you’re unsure whether board service is right for you, here are some questions to consider:
  • Are you looking to enhance your involvement with the CWBA?

  • Are you energized by organizational change and restructuring?

  • Are you a creative problem-solver?

  • Do you want to lead the development of programming and events for members?

  • Are you interested in overseeing CWBA’s legislative advocacy?

  • Are you eager to shape CWBA’s strategic direction?

  • Do you want to increase the diversity of our membership and enhance membership outreach efforts?

  • Do you want to create opportunities for CWBA members to perform public service and pro bono work and to increase access to justice within our community?

  • Do you want to lead CWBA’s policy-development efforts to root out implicit biases?

  • Do you seek to lead CWBA’s efforts to increase gender diversity on the bench?

  • Are you a fan of CWBA’s award-winning The 1891 blog and have ideas for its continued success?

  • Do you love history and want to lead efforts to preserve CWBA’s history?

  • Are you passionate about mentorship?

  • Do you wish to influence how CWBA fulfills its mission to promote women in the legal profession and the interests of women generally?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then please apply. Additional information about the Board application process and access to the application form is available here.

If you’re sufficiently intrigued but still not sure, you may learn more about Board service and CWBA Board members’ experiences by attending our Pathways to CWBA Leadership webinar on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, from 12-1 p.m. Click here to register. You will learn more from Gina L. Glockner (President); Kathryn Starnella (President-Elect); Alison Connaughty (Public Policy Committee Co-Chair); Courtney Holm (History Committee Co-Chair); Beth Robinson (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair); and Deborah Yim (Legal Services Committee Co-Chair).

If you’re unable to attend the webinar, a recording will be available for post-event viewing on our website.

We hope you will say “yes” to this opportunity!

Kathryn Starnella is the CWBA's President-Elect. She is a Member at Wells, Anderson & Race LLC, where she handles trial-level defense litigation and civil appeals in federal and state court in the areas of civil rights, employment law, products liability, election law, and other commercial litigation. Previously, Kathryn served as an assistant attorney general for the State of Colorado where she represented the Colorado Department of Corrections in state and federal court and the state’s top elected officials in constitutional challenges to state laws and election-related issues. Kathryn chairs the CWBA’s Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Sex Discrimination in the Judicial System. She previously co-chaired the Professional Advancement Committee and served as CWBA’s Secretary. In 2018, while president of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA), she served as the CHBA’s representative on the CWBA board. Kathryn attended Northwestern University for undergrad and law school. She is a 2017 graduate of the Colorado Bar Association’s Leadership Training (COBALT) Program.

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