Executive Director’s Perspective: Summertime Accomplishments - By Melissa J. Schank

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionPDF versionPDF version
Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail!

—Eleanor Roosevelt

Summer is here, and with that comes the changing of the guard. It was a pleasure working with Mark Snodgrass and being able to spend more time with his family. As we begin the year under the reign of Kerri Anderson Donica, I look forward to working under her leadership and helping her accomplish her goals as president.

Looking forward, mark your calendars for these upcoming seminars: Legislative Update, Innocence, Top Gun DWI, and a new Voir Dire seminar. This new format will include interactive small-group breakouts along with lectures and demos, scheduled for Sept 12–13, and followed by the TCDLA Board meeting on Saturday.

A highlight of the TCDLA Annual Members Meeting in June was a bylaw change eliminating associate director positions and replacing them with directors, which allows all positions to serve 3-year terms. Hats off to Tip Hargrove for his persistence in seeing this through. This will create a rotation of 9 vacancies each year. You can find the board application online; get involved and apply today. This year we swore in 26 new and renewing directors.

Rusty Duncan was very successful thanks to our course directors—Jani Maselli Wood, Doug Murphy, and Bobby Mims—as well as a stellar lineup of speakers donating their time, preparing materials, and presenting. Sister Helen Prejean, in particular, gave an amazing and uplifting presentation, and we will be sharing it with our members. She gets it. In addition, in conjunction with TIDC and HCPDO we had our mentee/mentor kickoff, involving more than 50 participants.

A busy Rusty this year included committee meetings, the awards banquet, yoga, bike ride, golf, round tables, board specialization study, a past-president photo session, 15 interviews, the Pachanga, the membership party, and a silent auction. Thank you to those who generously sponsored our membership party—with special recognition to Justin and Yanina Kiechler and Mark and Taly Thiessen. Everyone had a great time. Our silent auction and LEI booth raised more than $20,000, which is available for scholarships for our members. We could not have done it without our members’ generous contributions. A list of our donors is included on the facing page.

On a personal note, I recently accomplished my goal of becoming a certified association executive (CAE). The certification is issued by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). I started studying for the course in 2012 and finally built up the courage to take the exam this year. It took many months of dedication, commitment, and support from my family to take the time to study for the exam, attend classes and study groups, and take a million practice exams. I have a deeper appreciation and respect for anyone who receives a certification of any type. With that being said, if you decide to pursue board certification, TCDLA offers the board specialization study guide.

I always look forward to the July 4th readings of the Declaration of Independence organized by Robb Fickman and Chuck Lanehart. The TCDLA staff joined in with the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (ACDLA), organized by Betty Blackwell, Bradley Hargis, and Rick Flores. We had a great turnout, and it was a very patriotic way to start my Fourth of July camping trip. I hope everyone takes a break and enjoys the rest of the summer.