In the Spotlight: Kristen Senz

Kristen Senz

New Hampshire Bar Association

 

How long have you been a member of NABE Comm:
I’ve been a member since I started working at the NH Bar Association about four years ago.

When you were a kid, did you dream of being a Bar Association Executive?
Actually, no. When I was a kid, I was at the dance studio almost every day after school, training and rehearsing in ballet and other styles of dance for competitions that were held all over the Northeast. Back then, I hoped to one day own my own dance studio. 

If not, describe how you got to where you are today:
Unsure about how to run a dance studio (or much else for that matter), I enrolled in a business management degree program at Champlain College in Vermont after high school. An English teacher there suggested that my writing was not horrible and that I might want to focus my future goals in that direction. She informed me that, yes, people can make a living that way, so – having graduated from Champlain – I switched schools to major in journalism.

After J school, I worked at daily and weekly newspapers for 10 years in New Hampshire and Colorado, covering general assignment and cops/courts beats. While freelancing in New Hampshire, I got a call from NABE Comm all-star Dan Wise, who asked if I might like to write some articles for the New Hampshire Bar News. After a while, a good freelancer-editor relationship evolved into a job offer. (Thanks, Dan.)

I still take ballet classes, but professionally, I ended up trading the barre for the bar.

What is the most rewarding part of your job:
There are a lot of rewarding parts of this job, but the best is working with an attorney who has a terrific idea for an article, but who is new to writing for an audience of his or her peers. Offering guidance to authors during the editorial process – from the germination of an idea to the publication of the latest issue – and then learning that the author received praise (or business) as a result of an article is very rewarding.

What is the most challenging part of your job:
In addition to managing production of the monthly Bar News and the NHBA’s weekly e-newsletter, I work on marketing projects for the association, and these are often among the most challenging aspects of my job. Although the creative process is a lot of fun, making sure the marketing messages reflect programming that may still be evolving, while helping to balance expectations with available resources, is a professional challenge that has taught me a lot over the past few years.

If you weren’t a bar executive, what would you want to be?:

I’d like to be a locksmith one day. You learn how to pick locks and crack safes (legally!) and people are always happy to see you. I even have some tools and books so that I can learn more about it.

What is your greatest accomplishment:
I’ve accomplished a lot in life, but I like to think the best is yet to come.

What is the best piece of advice that you ever received through NABE?:
Always be on the lookout for inspiration. It may come from an unexpected source.

What would you tell someone new to the crazy world of Bar-Executive-dom?:
I would say welcome to a field that never gets boring. It’s a complex and nuanced environment, but our work helps inform and engage an influential audience. Bar association executives play an important role in the justice system, and, thankfully, we always find support from talented colleagues, both in the office and through NABE.

What makes you successful in your position?
I think my past experience covering courts and working with attorneys has helped me gain a broad perspective of the legal system. I also like to think my innate curiosity enables me to approach new subjects and tasks with an open mind, ready to learn and collaboratively develop creative solutions.

What does your bar do better than most?  Where do you shine?
Our bar staff goes above and beyond to make sure members can find the services and resources they need. I think our customer service focus and the wide variety of services we provide members are what set us apart. That, and our spectacular monthly newspaper, of course.

What’s your favorite website or app?:
For work: Ever since NABE Comm 2016, I’ve become slightly obsessed with Polarr.

Personally: I’ve been using Hopper a lot lately to find the best deals on airfare.

Favorite quote:
"Those were good mornings, when the sun was hot and the air was quick and promising, when the Real Business seemed right on the verge of happening and I felt that If I went just a little faster I might overtake that bright and fleeting thing that was always just ahead of me." –HST

Any interesting celebrity sightings or run ins:
Thurston Moore, guitarist for Sonic Youth, gave me a hug on two different occasions.

Favorite band/album/concert of all time:
Favorite band and album are constantly changing (Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats). As far as concerts, seeing Roger Waters perform The Wall live in 1999 was amazing.

Favorite movie:
Bullets Over Broadway

Person you would most like to have dinner with (alive or dead):
Stephen Fry (among other Brits. Tracey DeMeara is right up there).