Executive Officer’s Perspective: Connecting

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“As the world becomes a more digital place, we cannot forget about the human connection.”

-Adam Neumann

It has been more than a year that we have been separated. The staff has worked remotely in shifts, venturing into the office as needed. But now we are all back in the office, working hard to ensure we have everything in place for our upcoming seminars, as well as providing the best possible service for our members and support for our legislative team.

Work at the legislature started slowly, as lobbyists didn’t even know if they would be able to meet in person with representatives. The legislative team, under the leadership of Bill Harris, has nevertheless visited the Capitol repeatedly, with many of our members testifying into the early hours of the morning.

Otherwise, life begins to return to normal. We recently held our first in-person program of 2021 in McKinney, and we will travel to Galveston next week for the Resistance theme seminar. On May 7 in Dallas, things really begin to pick up with the popular 14th-annual DWI Defense. And you know we’re busy gearing up for Rusty Duncan. Please note that we’re providing virtual options for both the DWI Defense and Rusty Duncan.

In-person Rusty will reflect the times we live in now. We will be following current CDC guidelines (though they may change at any time). We will require attendees to wear a mask, seated one person per six-foot table. Several additional rooms will allow you to view the event remotely, separated from the main ballroom.

We have also limited social and other events typically held at Rusty due to existing health concerns. But we will host an Awards Banquet Dinner to honor all our 2020 and 2021 award recipients. Congratulations to these honorees:

TCDLA Hall of Fame

Bill Wischkaemper (2020)
Jim Darnell (2020)
Mark Stevens (2021)
Mark G. Daniel (2021)

TCDLA Percy Foreman Lawyers of the Year

Michael Ware (2020)
Robert Callahan (2020)
Clay Steadman (2021)
Allen D. Place Jr. (2021)

TCDLA Charlie Butts Pro Bono Award

Allison Clayton (2021)

TCDLA Rodney Ellis Award

Jay Freeman (2020)
Jessica Priest (2021)

Friday evening, the Annual Membership Party sports a TCDLA 5-0 theme: Wear your fanciest beach duds. Be advised that a party precludes maintaining six feet of separation or any basic monitoring of CDC protocol that evening. That said, only about half our regular number can be accommodated under those guidelines. If you can’t attend in person, choose the virtual option. Either way, you will have the opportunity to go back and view a recording of the entire seminar.

You won’t want to miss the speakers scheduled for Saturday. And after the last presentation, of course, TCDLA will hold our annual members meeting, which you can attend in person or watch live on Facebook. There we’ll swear in our new president, Michael Gross, officers, and new and renewing board members. We hope you will stay connected, one way or another, with TCDLA and all our members!

TCDLA
TCDLA
Melissa J. Schank
Melissa J. Schank
Melissa J. Schank, Chief Executive Officer, has worked with nonprofit associations for over 20 years, and has been with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association more than 15 years. She earned her master’s of human resources, business administration, bachelor’s of communication and mediation certificate from Saint Edwards University in Austin, Texas, and is a certified association executive. Her greatest strengths are overseeing the long-term planning, financial management, and strategy for legal educational programs, in addition to managing the organization’s seminars, membership, publication, and communication departments.

Melissa J. Schank, Chief Executive Officer, has worked with nonprofit associations for over 20 years, and has been with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association more than 15 years. She earned her master’s of human resources, business administration, bachelor’s of communication and mediation certificate from Saint Edwards University in Austin, Texas, and is a certified association executive. Her greatest strengths are overseeing the long-term planning, financial management, and strategy for legal educational programs, in addition to managing the organization’s seminars, membership, publication, and communication departments.

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