If you’ve never served on a nonprofit board of directors, then you may not realize the countless benefits that board service has for you as an individual and beyond. As I begin to think of the year ahead I am proud of my years of service with the CWBA. I joined the CWBA Board in 2019. When I joined the Board I was looking for a way to connect to like-minded women attorneys. At the time I lived in Silverthorne and was feeling isolated and alone. The law firm I had recently joined encouraged (borderline mandated) me to give back to the community through board service. While perhaps their idea was more local and business oriented, I chose the CWBA as my community. I started as an at-large member, before COVID made board service more accessible to members outside of the metro area. Since then, I have had the opportunity to impact our members and legal community in so many ways, from managing this award-winning blog to being able to draft the diversity bars’ joint statement on affirmative action following the Students for Fair Admissions SCOTUS decision. I’m excited to know that my impact is just getting started.
As President-Elect of the CWBA, I am excitedly anticipating a year filled with hard work, and I want you to lead with me. If you are reading this blog and wondering whether board service with the CWBA is for you, I am writing this specifically to convince you why it is. Whether you are an excited, long-standing, and active member, a new member from out of state, or a jaded member wondering why continue with the CWBA, CWBA leadership is for you!
Here are my top 5 reasons for applying to lead with me:
1. Relationships: The CWBA was incorporated on June 1, 1979, and today it remains the largest diversity bar association in Colorado. This is more than 40 years of impact that has allowed the CWBA to have a network of nearly 1,300 active members and more than 2,500 total members. So whether you are looking to grow your practice or your friendship circle, the CWBA is a great place to start. During our November Board meeting, members of the Board were asked why they joined the CWBA and why they chose board service. Resoundingly, our Board sought to build connection and relationship in a male-dominated world.
2. Skills: Some are born leaders; others grow to lead. Whether you are comfortable leading a large organization or you are new to leadership positions, the CWBA can be a lower stakes opportunity to lead as you grow. Through board service, members have an opportunity to learn from other leaders, take part in trainings, and have a real-life and hands-on opportunity to put your leadership skills to work. Board service can help increase empathy, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills as leaders face obstacles and learn to navigate pitfalls.
3. Increase your confidence: My leadership journey with the CWBA has granted me the opportunity to use my voice, albeit shaky at times, to empower others. It has given me the courage to continue to use my voice as a beacon of hope to others who may never see themselves in my shoes. Sometimes imposter syndrome kicks in to stop us from taking that leap to leadership, but I promise: if you don’t listen to that voice and do take the leap, you’ll come out stronger, more confident, and feeling more capable of accomplishing any goal you set.
4. Feel Good: The CWBA works hard at advancing women under the law and in the law. Our programs and public policy work have a direct impact on Coloradans and beyond. Being a part of something bigger than yourself is incredibly rewarding. CWBA leadership offers you the opportunity to be part of the fight to advance women’s rights and to support DEI initiatives to improve the profession for everyone.
5. Reshape the CWBA: In the last year, the CWBA has revamped its Judicial Endorsement process, began plans to restructure the Board, changed lobbyists for the first time, and even hired our first Deputy Executive Director. Whew! The next couple of years will be instrumental to the success and future of the CWBA. We need fresh and energized leaders to launch the CWBA to the next level. The CWBA is the only bar association in Colorado whose sole mission is to advance women as leaders in the law. Join us in reshaping how we ensure that mission for all women.
So, if you’re on the fence, get off that fence. Stop reading and apply today! If you have any questions regarding Board service, please feel free to reach out to me directly at CarimeCWBA@gmail.com. I look forward to leading the CWBA next year, and I hope you’ll join me.
Carime Lee is the President-Elect of the CWBA. She works as a Senior Attorney at the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) where she advises the home finance business unit in helping make homeownership possible for Coloradans. Prior to joining CHFA, Carime practiced real estate and business law in Summit County. Carime is originally from Colombia and has a B.A. in International Affairs from Florida State University. She obtain her J.D. from Ave Maria School of Law and has an LL.M. in Real Property Development Law from the University of Miami School of Law. Carime has served on the CWBA Board as Inclusion Officer, Publications Committee Co-Chair and At Large.