Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
by Hon. Carla N. Archie
People say my sister and I look like twins, but we are very different. She is a thinker - smart, detail oriented, always planning ahead and thinking of various contingencies. I kid her about her propensity to reduce life’s major events to a spreadsheet, but I also admire her ability to manage several projects simultaneously. It makes her extraordinarily effective as a change manager for a large corporation, and she is quick to emphasize the key to her success - plan your work and work your plan.
Even her 10-year-old son is adopting her attention to detail. He insists on knowing the specifics of even a simple trip to the grocery store - what time are we going, to which store, who else is going, what are we buying, how long will it take, and of course, where will we go next. As they recently planned for a three-day school trip to Washington, DC, I was amused (more so than usual) to hear him ask his mother who would pick up the mail while they were away!
Some of my sister’s tendencies have rubbed off on me over the years. So when I embarked upon my journey as MCB president, I developed a vision (although not a spreadsheet) of what I wanted to accomplish during the year. Several former MCB presidents told me that the year would pass quickly; so it was even more important to have a road map in order to accomplish all the things I had planned. Indeed, someone smart, like my sister, once said, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”
As I started my term, I launched the theme “MCB Cares” and my specific goals were to 1) offer programs and events that support personal and professional development of Bar members; 2) tailor programs and services to the diverse make-up of MCB’s 5,000 members; 3) continue to improve the delivery of legal services to disadvantaged residents of Mecklenburg County; 4) ensure consistency and uniformity among MCB policies and governing documents by reviewing the bylaws, policies and operating structure of committees, sections and division(s); and 5) move into the new Bar & Foundation Center.
Of course we continue to offer robust programming and events to support our growing and diverse membership. Now that we are capturing demographic data about our members, we plan to be even more strategic in developing programs that that fit the needs of our members. A revised strategic plan will be developed and, as part of that process, we plan to invite input from our members through focus groups and/or surveys. I hope you will take full advantage of these opportunities to tell us who you are and what you need!
We look forward to continuing the trend we started this year of holding joint meetings among our section leaders and among the various affinity bar associations in our community to leverage our joint wisdom, creativity, and resources and support the personal and professional development of our collective membership. I am especially looking forward to our first MCB Cares 5K this month, which is designed to bring our membership together for something fun and healthy and that engages the broader community.
I am also delighted to report that we have moved into our new Bar & Foundation Center on Zebulon Avenue. Our new location is spacious, fully equipped, and teeming with activity. As soon as we resolve a few final construction items, we look forward to finalizing the Bar’s lease payment to the Bar Foundation (the owner of record), and solidifying the Bar’s future operating budget. We have tightened up many of the Bar’s internal operating policies and established a new Facility Use & Maintenance Committee that is beginning to draft procedures for members to reserve and utilize the new facility, so stay tuned for more details about that in the fall of 2015.
I will be the first to admit that I have not done as well as I had hoped in advancing MCB’s delivery of pro legal services. Luckily, I will be followed by President-Elect Cory Hohnbaum (King & Spaulding) who I know is passionate and committed to this work; and although I am concluding my term, I will remain engaged in Cory’s administration and the plans he has to follow through on our professional obligation to serve disadvantaged residents in our community.
As former MCB presidents warned, this year did, indeed, pass quickly. But it has been a marvelous chance to see and meet so many of you. Thank you for the work you do each day to serve clients and colleagues and to enhance the reputation of this noble profession, and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you!
I look forward to seeing you at a future Bar event!