How long have you been a member of NABE Comm: 6.5 years
When you were a kid, did you dream of being a Bar Association Executive? If I knew it was a thing, I may have! I started a newspaper in fifth grade and a few years later joined the debate team, so my job is awesome in that it combines my love of journalism with being a policy wonk.
If not, describe how you got to where you are today: I loved policy and politics, but wanted to study how it applied to today rather than just historically. That led me to internships with the media to pursuing my Masters in Journalism. After working in D.C. and then in local TV news, I was approached with the opportunity to work for the Missouri Senate, producing TV programming and serving as a public information officer. I later served for 8 years through three president pro tempores (PPTs as we called them) as the Senate’s Majority Caucus Communications Director. A mentor encouraged me to apply with the state bar when their long-time media relations director was retiring and after my first interview I knew it was an awesome fit.
What is the most rewarding part of your job: Helping people understand why the law matters and how it impacts their daily lives. That's because the more you know about the laws that affect you, the easier it is to make good decisions about your life, your family, and your finances, for example.
What is the most challenging part of your job: Adaptability. As most bar professionals, Missouri Bar staff wear many hats and sometimes that hat may be a style we’ve never tried on before. For example, our organization implemented a strategic plan and I was asked to be the staff liaison for this ongoing process. We’re now entering our third year of program reviews and our organization benefits from having clear direction and strategies. What’s best though it the most challenging part is also often the most rewarding, in that you’re pushing yourself to learn a new skillset enabling both you and your organization to continue to be even better.
If you weren’t a bar executive, what would you want to be?: A true crime documentarian.
What is your greatest accomplishment: I don’t know that it’s an accomplishment, but it is something I am proud of and reminds me of the positive power of communications. During a long cab ride in Chicago while there for BLI, I had a wonderful conversation with the driver Hamdi. I learned of his escape from the violence in Somalia which took his father followed by his seven years in a refugee camp before gaining asylum status in America. It was a presidential election year, so I also learned about his perceptions of the candidates. None held a light for him to Bush 41, the only leader who sent military aid and relief to help Somalians. Hamdi said he wished he could thank him in person, but also thought an opportunity like that would never happen for him. In small world fashion, a fellow bar staffer’s sister is chief of staff to President Bush. I shared Hamdi’s story with her along with his cell phone number and Hamdi got a call from the former president.
What is the best piece of advice that you ever received through NABE?:
Just ask. The NABE network, especially NABEComm, is the most generous and kind professional organization I have been fortunate enough to be a part of. Even before I met anyone in person, the welcome and help I received through the listserve while learning the ropes of being a bar communicator is unparalleled.
What would you tell someone new to the crazy world of Bar-Executive-dom?: Welcome! You’ll love it and just ask!
What makes you successful in your position? Long-term strategies. As I have ideas on how we can do an even better job, I write those down recognizing we can’t change everything overnight. By planning long-term and setting clear goals, we incorporate those new ideas into how we accomplish those goals. Also having the big picture keeps you and your leadership focused, so that your messaging and projects relate to your core goals despite any issues beyond your control that may crop up along the way.
What does your bar do better than most? Where do you shine? Message maps! If you don’t know what they are, ask me. This visual form of talking points help keep everyone from our president to our receptionist on the same page when it comes to communicating about all our major projects and issues.
What’s your favorite website or app?:
For work: Canva! I use it multiple times a day and its worth the small investment to create a team and establish your brand colors, fonts and templates so everyone who designs in your organization sticks to the brand guidelines.
Personally: Instagram. I love photography and this lets me be creative quickly. I also gain great inspiration from the visuals I see from others on this platform.
Favorite quote: “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” -Winston Churchill
Favorite Book: The Devil in the White City
Favorite movie: LA Confidential
Hidden talent: Photography
What do you do for fun? Eat, drink and be merry!