In the Spotlight: Katherine Holub

Kathryn Holub

State Bar of Maine


How long have you been a member of NABE Comm: I have been a member of NABE Comm since I joined the Maine State Bar Association in 2011.

When you were a kid, did you dream of being a Bar Association Executive? Never! I wanted to be an airline pilot like my father, so I could travel the world. I later thought I might like to be a travel writer.

If not, describe how you got to where you are today: My next-door neighbor growing up was a communications executive at Union Carbide Corporation. He ended up connecting me to a colleague at Hill & Knowlton, which is a public relations firm he worked with. I ended up interning at their New York City office. The agency offered me a job upon my graduation from college and I began a career in public relations. After that, I worked in the publications department at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I later moved to Maine and took time off to have children. I found this job when it was time to return to the workforce, and I’ve been here ever since.

What is the most rewarding part of your job: There’s a lot of mundane day-to-day work at the bar association, so it’s really rewarding when I’m able to interact with members to improve their member experience—whether it’s meeting them at an awards event or our annual meeting, or working with an author to publish an article in the Maine Bar Journal, or explain our member benefits. (No matter how often we advertise it, we still have members who are surprised to learn we offer Casemaker!)

What is the most challenging part of your job: Managing expectations! The MSBA has a small staff and we all wear many hats. Like many bar associations, we work to juggle the expectations of our board with limited resources, all while working to maintain the status quo.

If you weren’t a bar executive, what would you want to be?:  I’d still love to be a travel writer, but I’d probably be working in corporate communications. One thing I miss about the corporate world is access to greater financial resources for communications and marketing. The non-profit world is quite a bit different than the corporate world.

What is your greatest accomplishment: When I first came to the MSBA, I was the communications department and my primary responsibility was the Maine Bar Journal. Over the past few years, we have grown the department to three people (which is a big deal for our office!), and we manage all of the MSBA’s marketing and communications, publications—including CLE and event brochures, and our website and database.

What is the best piece of advice that you ever received through NABE?: Ask your colleagues! The NABE Comm list serve is a terrific resource, and I always come away from the NABA Comm Workshop with fresh ideas.

What would you tell someone new to the crazy world of Bar-Executive-dom?: Join NABE Comm and don’t be afraid to reach out with questions. (And make sure you attend the NABE Comm Workshops.) You’ll come away with tips, tricks, or the inspiration you need to help your bar shine. It sounds hokey, but it’s true. Every time I’ve asked a question, I’ve received helpful responses.

What makes you successful in your position?: Being pragmatic and open-minded are two traits that have served me well in the bar world. It’s important to be able balance the expectations of bar leadership with the reality of available resources. We’ve had presidents with grand ideas that just weren’t attainable, but our staff worked together to find creative solutions so that everyone ended up feeling successful.

What does your bar do better than most?  Where do you shine?:

We have a terrific CLE department that really cranks out some great programs, but I’d have to say that I’m most proud of our publications. I do most of the work myself, so I dream of working at a bar association where I have access to the resources for an on-staff graphic designer and professional writers and proofreaders!  Our bar journal, in particular, is guided by a dedicated committee and we have some excellent columnists. When I hear from readers that they’ve enjoyed a column or an article, or an author lets me know she received positive feedback from readers about her article, I know we’re doing something right.

What’s your favorite website or app?:

For work: It’s not very exciting, but I’d have to say Dropbox. It makes sharing artwork, advertising, and content for our publications easy and it keeps everyone organized.

Personally: Twitter. I’ve spent more time on Twitter in the past year than ever before. Although it’s not, I tend to use it as news aggregator when I haven’t had time to read the papers online or catch up on the day’s news.

Favorite quote: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Favorite sports team: New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox (As a native of southern Connecticut, I was originally a Giants and Yankees fan, but I married into a family of New England fans.)

Any interesting celebrity sightings or run ins: Martha Stewart and Stephen King are two of Maine’s most famous residents, but I’ve never seen them. I have seen John Travolta, Don McLean and Richard Russo in Camden, and the musician Jon Fishman at the Lincolnville General Store.

Favorite band/album/concert of all time: That’s hard. Two of the most amazing concerts I’ve ever seen were Metallica and Fats Domino. They aren’t my favorite artists, but they put on incredible shows.

Favorite Book: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

Favorite movie: Favorites are tough. Goodfellas is an easy pick. But I also love anything with Daniel Day Lewis, a good heist movie like The Usual Suspects or The Italian Job, and French thrillers.

Hidden talent: I retain lots of random, useless facts, so I’m really good at Jeopardy!

What do you do for fun? I have a 10-year-old daughter and twin 8-year-old daughters who keep me very busy. Winters in Maine can be long—like this year’s—but summer and fall are absolutely beautiful. We are lucky to share a family cottage on the St. George River, about 35 minutes from my home in Camden, and we spend as much time there as we can on the beach or in the water. Everyone is counting down the days until we open the cottage next month!