President's Message: Family and Friends - By Kerri Anderson Donica

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Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

And so, it begins! Here I sit behind this desk in my office realizing what an awesome, overwhelming year looms ahead of me. I guess it is sort of how I felt in the weeks before my older son was born—knowing I was prepared, but also aware that the job ahead of me was going to be both thrilling and terrifying. I never imagined I’d have the privilege of claiming “I am the President of Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association!” Nor did I imagine five years ago—when I was fortunate enough to be selected for the “officer chain”—what a tremendous responsibility it was going to be. I want to use this first President’s Message to tell you about me, about my hopes for this coming year, and what TCDLA is all about.

Of course, before I begin talking about me, I want to talk about outgoing President Mark Snodgrass. I want to thank him for his unselfish service to TCDLA. I know his family also had to sacrifice to enable him to serve all of us so generously. He likely had a few grumbling clients when he was again off to the races to take care of TCDLA, but he did it and I’m thankful that he did. I know he will continue to be there to take my calls and talk me down off the ledge when it all seems like too much. Thank you, Mark, and I love you with all my heart.

Now on to this year—a little about me! With close to 3,500 members, I know there may be a few of you whom I haven’t had the privilege of meeting, so let me share: I’m a Baylor girl—undergraduate and law school. I ended up in the District Attorney’s office initially, and I fell in love with criminal law. It wasn’t long before I was ready to shift to the side of saviors and represent the citizen accused. And that’s what I’ve done now for over 30 years—and all that time I’ve been a proud, card-carrying member of TCDLA.

Of what am I proud? Of the sisters and brothers who stand beside me every single time I walk into a courtroom; whether they are available in person, on the phone, or via email and the listserve, they are there with me. I’m proud of our members’ commitment to our organization, committees, Strike Force, and to each other. I have developed friendships through TCDLA that can never be replaced. TCDLA is my family.

This year, I have three primary goals. First, I hope to continue the amazing work of our membership committee as we continue to grow this group. I also hope to have a strategic plan for TCDLA—an annual plan as well as a long-term strategic plan—in place by the end of the year. And thirdly, I have already begun the process of enabling us to better market TCDLA and increase our visibility and, therefore, viability. We are utilizing a marketing person who is currently doing a marketing “audit” for TCDLA to begin this objective. I’m really excited about our future with all three of these targets.

So please join me this year—get involved! Ask to participate in a committee, become a mentor or a mentee, ask where you can step in today! I’m always just an email or a phone call away, and I want YOU to be in this with me.

There is nothing we cannot do for our clients with all of us in this together. In the words of one of my favorite coaches in the universe, Matt Deggs, “It’s only impossible until somebody does it.” That somebody is us! I’m thankful for every one of you and for EACH one of you. My prayer is that you will love TCDLA as much as I do.