Interim Executive Director's Perspective: Transition - By Melissa J. Schank

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionPDF versionPDF version
Friday, March 9th, 2018

The best part of your story is when it changes.
—Bella Bloom

As I reflect on the last 13 years, I want to thank Joseph Martinez for sharing his wealth of knowledge and allowing me to gain all the experience that has prepared me for this moment. I have some very large shoes to fill, but thanks to Joseph’s guidance—as well as our leadership, members, and staff—the transition will be smooth.

Under President Moore’s direction, the staff will work closely with the Executive Committee to ensure continued success. Your staff is here to serve our members, and they are ready and willing to interact and provide any support needed. I am proud to work alongside them; they are dedicated, hardworking, and loyal to TCDLA.

I encourage each of you to get to know the staff; we have several who have been with us more than a decade. Staff members are cross-trained and can assist you with most anything, and if they don’t know the answer they will find it!

Miriam Duarte (formerly Rendon), your Database Coordinator, has been with TCDLA for more than 11 years. She can run any reports and statistics involving membership, seminars, or publications. She is your go-to person for any questions regarding auto-draft (save $$$), membership, and listserves. Are you on the lawyer locator? Send her your specialty areas and start marketing yourself.

Craig Hattersley, your Communications Director, in his ten-plus years with TCDLA has an abundance of institutional knowledge. He is responsible for all the marketing brochures and communication pieces, the Voice, and final publication products. He creates every piece of art we use for the website or anything that comes out of our office. Craig is available to assist local affiliates with any marketing needs. We offer our members logos to place on their websites or for business card templates. Craig does so many more things, detailed weekly on our Board Loop reports. He is essential to our success. Send Craig articles to print in the Voice.

Cristina Abascal, your Accounts Payable Clerk, has also been with TCDLA for more than ten years. She is responsible for writing some 2,500-plus checks a year—and securing two signatures for every single one. She promptly deals with all reimbursements, bills, and payroll. If you have any questions about your reimbursements, she is always happy to help.

Mari Flores has served TCDLA as our Controller for more than six years, mastering the intricate aspects of TCDLA, CDLP, and TCDLEI finances. All our audits during her years have received clean audit reports with no negative findings. She is invaluable to all our organizations. Mari is available to answer any questions you may have regarding our budget, income, or expenses.

Rick Wardroup, a veteran of six years with TCDLA, continues to work endless hours as our Capital Assistance Attorney. He is passionate and dedicated to his work on Capital Defense and Mental Health. He updates and/or edits our publications, as well as putting together an overwhelming number of our course agen­das and materials. On the forefront of capital defense, he is always available to assist members with any legal questions.

Amanda Rivera (formerly Martinez), our Program Coordinator, has been with TCDLA five years total. Shreika Madison, our other Program Coordinator, has been with us more than a year. Amanda and Shreika are essential to our TCDLA and CDLP organizations, responsible for staging more than 48 unique live seminars a year. They work with over 470 speakers and 90 course directors each year to ensure agendas are up-to-date and papers turned in, sending out marketing ma­te­rials and doing the little things like making PowerPoints work. The efforts they put in make the seminars run seamlessly.

Keri Steen, your Seminar Clerk for two years, has mastered all aspects involving seminars and membership. Some of her key responsibilities include the Tim Evans Texas Criminal Trial College and Roundtop, besides applying for CLE and managing over 75 online CLE courses. She is one of the friendly voices that will greet you when you call for assistance.

Maxx Trejo, Seminar Clerk, processes all orders we receive, working quickly to make sure you have the latest publication in hand. Maxx markets all our events and merchandise on Facebook and Twitter. He also makes sure everything is processed correctly and helps pack the various bins we take to seminars.

We have three staff members who have joined us this year: Beth Richter, Elisa Jaramillo, and Talia Underwood. They are furiously working each day to take in and learn all the details the job entails while still answering phones with a smile. They have been working our seminars and getting to know our organization and members. All our staff members are essential to daily grind that makes TCDLA run efficiently. Please feel free to contact any of them. They are here to serve you.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the finest criminal defense lawyers and staff in Texas. I recognize the sacrifices and impact each of you makes daily. I am excited to continue this journey with all of you and be a part of the continued victories and achievements of TCDLA and TCDLEI. I anticipate a smooth transition because together we are one voice—and a mighty force to be reckoned with!