When I took over as SABA President, I had one thing on my mind – engagement. My goal was to get SABA engaged with its members and its members engaged with each other. As my term as SABA President comes to a close, I’m happy to say that our engagement is stronger than ever. The road to any successful relationship flows two ways, and no road seems long when you have good company. Fortunately for me, I had some pretty amazing company!
First, I would like to thank the San Antonio Bar Association membership. Over the course of the last year, you have really shown your love for SABA by getting involved and turning out for all of our new programs and events. Without you, this past year would not have been such a resounding success!
UnWined– our new monthly membership mixer - has turned out to be one of our most successful new programs. UnWined is a monthly membership mixer hosted by SABA members for SABA members. SABA provides the marketing support and a budget for non-alcohol related expenses. The host gets the benefit of promoting their firm or practice. The members get the benefit of networking with colleagues, and often receive CLE credit. Over the course of the last year, SABA members have hosted nine UnWined mixers, all of which have been well-attended and provided an amazing opportunity for our members to connect and promote their practices.
SABA has also created and implemented a SABA Listserve exclusively for SABA sections and committees that includes some pretty amazing features, including email capability, an online platform, a document library, event RSVP and a mobile app. The SABA membership has embraced the Listserve and started using it to engage with each other by promoting bar events, asking questions, and sharing documents and information related to their practice areas.
SABA has also co-hosted three separate joint membership mixers with the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association, Bexar County Women’s Bar Association, and the Mexican-American Bar Association, respectively. Our members showed up in big numbers to show their support for SABA and to network with colleagues from other bar associations, helping to promote unity across the bar.
SABA’s member engagement efforts have clearly paid off, and are reflected in SABA’s membership numbers which include 138 new members over the course of the last year. I am confident that with the renewed focus on member engagement, SABA’s membership numbers will continue to grow in the years to come.
I would also like to thank our local judges and elected officials for their unwavering support. Our judges have given countless hours of their time, attending SABA events, presenting at CLE programs and interacting with our members. Our new annual Meet the Judges event was an incredible opportunity for our members to meet our local judges in a beautiful setting in the historic Double-Height Courtroom. Over thirty local judges and numerous attorneys showed up for this event, where our members were able to speak to and get to know our judges in an informal environment. Thank you to all of the judges who showed their support to SABA and its members by attending this wonderful event.
Judge Nelson W. Wolff and the Bexar County Commissioners also deserve a special thank you for their efforts in helping SABA secure a long-term office lease with Bexar County. SABA is excited to be moving into a beautiful new office space across the street from the Bexar County Courthouse, where SABA will be able to provide its members many new benefits including conveniently located lounge, meeting and education space; amenities including wi-fi, print/scanners and coffee bar; and community programs including a resource library and evening pro bono clinics.
Perhaps most importantly, I would like to thank the hard-working, caring, and dedicated staff at the San Antonio Bar Association, headed by Executive Director, June Moynihan. June Moynihan has assembled a true team of professionals that go above and beyond on a daily basis to ensure that our membership’s needs are met and that SABA’s operations flow seamlessly. June and her team have provided the support without which SABA’s member engagement efforts could never have gotten off the ground. For their hard-work, dedication, and support, I will always be thankful.
When I was first elected as a Director in 2012, I truly never expected that I would one day have the privilege of serving as President of the San Antonio Bar Association. Over the course of the last seven years, SABA has undergone transformational change, including new executive leadership, nearly an entirely new staff, revamped accounting practices, and new communication and transparency policies aimed at promoting and growing SABA’s numerous sections. These changes forced SABA to continually grow and improve, and allowed me the luxury to spend the last year focusing on SABA’s most important asset – its relationship with its members. SABA is sure to continue in the right direction under President-Elect, Tom Crosley.
None of this would have been possible without the leadership from former SABA Presidents, officers, and directors who have led us to the position of strength we are in today. I feel incredibly fortunate to have served with you and to be able to call you my friends.
To all of you … to everyone who joined me on this road over the last year, thanks for the company and thanks for the friendship.