In the Spotlight: Evann Kleinschmidt

Evann Kleinschmidt

State Bar of New Mexico

How long have you been a member of NABE Comm:

Two Years

When you were a kid, did you dream of being a Bar Association Executive?

Of course, doesn’t everyone? Just kidding – I didn’t even know bar associations existed until I interviewed with the State Bar.

If not, describe how you got to where you are today:

When someone I knew mentioned the State Bar was hiring, I immediately thought it sounded right up my alley. At the time I was considering law school and thought the job would help me decide. Five years later, I’m still here and loving it, and pursuing and MBA instead of a JD. I started as a communications assistant and worked with our sections, committees and divisions as well as email marketing and media relations. Today, I oversee our communications department and digital print center and I serve as the editor for our publications.

What is the most rewarding part of your job:

When I attend legal community events I usually take photos and jot down notes for a
write-up in our publications. When I send the photos or copies of the publications to those involved in the events, the response is amazing. Many times, I cover award receptions and investiture ceremonies. Our members are like everyone else – they are usually thrilled and humbled to be honored and having something to look back on makes all the difference. Not only are these stories easy and enjoyable to write, but they reinforce what an honorable group of people I work for.

What is the most challenging part of your job:

Like other bar association executives, I wear many hats. I think that’s the main challenge I face. There are so many things I want to do try and do well (many that are inspired by other NABE Comm-ers). I just try to balance that with keeping the gears moving every day.

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

I would be working in internal communications in another organization. I think communicating with and marketing to your own internal groups is so important. It’s a unique challenge but something that is so important.

What is your greatest accomplishment:

In 2016, I took home a Luminary Award for excellent in electronic media. That will always be a highlight for me. The challenges that we  face as bar executives are often hard to describe to those outside the industry. To be recognized by my peers was very special.

What is the best piece of advice that you ever received through NABE?:

I think the best piece of advice I’ve heard recently is not to be afraid to try new things. With the vast amount of responsibility we all hold, it is natural (at least for me) to keep on keepin’ on. But I have found that the things I’m really proud of are often the things I took a chance on—even if they didn’t pan out how I wanted.

What would you tell someone new to the crazy world of Bar-Executive-dom?:

I would tell someone to reach out and ask questions. Every time I think I’m taking on something that is original, I search through my cache of NABE Comm listserve emails and I find at least one person who has considered (or even successfully tackled) it. It’s wonderful to know you’re not alone.

What makes you successful in your position? 

It’s so boring, but I’m incredibly organized! I don’t know how I would survive if I didn’t have my organizational systems. When I know my deadlines and day-to-day tasks are under control I can really dive into projects and take on new things. Of course, I also enjoy my position and the work I do. I enjoy the challenge and find it rewarding. That, of course, is probably the main part of my success. 

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

I am really proud of our publications. We do an incredible amount with the resources and limitations we have. We still print a weekly newsletter type of publication that includes court opinions and rule making. Since we print that, we don’t have a glossy magazine type publication. But staff work very hard to make the editorial aspects we do have interesting, relevant, and eye catching. I always think it looks nice and I always feel proud when a member compliments it or mentions an article we published. I am certain that whatever we take on in the future will be tackled with the same level of quality and enthusiasm.

What’s your favorite website or app?:

For work: I’m not sure if this counts, but the Outlook “Tasks” feature is my absolute favorite. I use it as my to do list and it saves me every time. As a to do list junkie, it is everything I want and need to keep track of projects large and small. I seriously don’t know what I would do without it.

Personally: I am a big fan of personal budgeting and I use “You Need a Budget,” or “YNAB.” It’s a really different way of budgeting that is actually very intuitive if it speaks to you. I found it in college when I failed at budgeting so many times. I still use it to this day. I always recommend it other people.

Do you have a motto?

Comparison is the thief of joy. I think it’s actually a quote by Teddy Roosevelt. It’s great to remember and it keeps me from getting caught up wondering  how what I’m doing stacks up compared to others. The truth is, it probably doesn’t matter.

Favorite quote:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Any interesting celebrity sightings or run ins:

We live in the town of Breaking Bad (and Better Call Saul). The often film right down the street from our offices and the famous pizza-roof house is nearby my childhood home. The two franchises are sticklers for detail and some of the State Bar’s old publications have actually been lent to the props department for filming.

Favorite movie:

Legally Blonde. I watch it when I have a bad day or when I just need something happy and empowering in the background.

Hidden talent:

I’m a great public speaker thanks to my high school days of Speech and Debate.