Susan McCourt Baltz
Executive Director, The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
Originally published in the May 2021 issue of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine. Download PDF.
I was recently told in a meeting, "When you a make a decision for BAMSL, you'll be making it on behalf of 6,600 members." It was said with a chuckle but it was a statement that made a big impact. I do not take that responsibility lightly and I suspect, our membership will not let me.
"How's it going?"
That is the top question asked of me in my first 90 days. And the truth is that it is going great. It has not been easy, but it has been humbling, rewarding and challenging. I would not have it any other way. Every day I look around and feel lucky that I was selected for this position in this particular organization.
There were two nice surprises for me right off the bat. First, the commitment to BAMSL by so many in the legal community. So many people support BAMSL, believe in our mission and want BAMSL to succeed. Therefore, they want me to succeed. I have felt that support and have appreciated it more than anyone knows.
The second surprise is just how much goes on behind the scenes. Having been affiliated with BAMSL in one way or another over the last 25 years, I feel like I should have been more knowledgeable about the inner workings. I was not. The number of committees, sections, volunteers and staff working behind the scenes to make sure the events, CLE, conferences go off without a hitch, and the magazines are published on time, is simply amazing. I am honored to join the ranks.
"What are your goals?"
Right after I am asked how I am doing, the next question is goals. First and foremost, my goal is to take care of the members. As I am having lunches, going to meetings, and getting to know people, I am also listening. What more can we do for the members? How do we keep them engaged? How do we offer more value-added services to our benefit package? These are all questions I am continually searching for answers.
I also intend to "take care of members" through excellent and expanded CLE options. We already have a head start on this, having hired a CLE Manager, Sebrina Colvin. Colvin comes to us with many years of experience in higher education learning and career development. It is my mission to continue to provide excellent CLE programming with both virtual and in-person options.
I am focused on expanding our digital footprint to allow for those who have become accustomed to networking digitally to still have that option. I intend to expand our social media reach and engagement with not only members, but Sustaining Partners, Affinity Partners, the media and others in the legal community.
BAMSL needs to be a leading voice in the issues within law firms and our community at large with regard to diversity, equity and inclusion as well as well-being programming. I am committed to learning, remaining open to perspectives and taking action where it is appropriate for me to do so.
There is a lot of opportunity for growth within the Sustaining Partner program. Having been a Sustaining Partner at my former place of employment, I have a unique understanding of the wants and needs of the organizations with whom we partner. I not only want to look at the benefits of these packages but continue to evolve the benefits to our partners and to help not only further their reach with potential clients but have further digital reach using BAMSL's outlets.
"You have big shoes to fill."
I probably should have started with that quote because I hear it often, and it is true. I do have very big shoes to fill. Zoe Linza did an amazing job of leading BAMSL for many years and under her guidance, it is one of the premier metropolitan bars in the country. I do not take that responsibility lightly and I intend to continue to make our members, our board and our partners proud to be a part of BAMSL.