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Hotel Information

The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort ranks in the top tier of conference venues year after year! Book your room now for two action-packed days at this beautiful historic hotel in the heart of downtown St. Pete.

A first-rate conference venue at a special discounted rate — single/double occupancy — $229! The rate applies three days before and three days after based on availability for those who want to extend their stay. A daily resort amenity package fee of $20 (normally $30) plus tax, per night, will be added to each individual room. For more information call 727-894-1000.

Watercolor painting of The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort
Register before the June 15 deadline.

Daily Schedule

This conference has been approved for the following CLE credit: 9.5 General, 0.5 Bias Elimination, and 0.5 Professionalism. Certificates will be emailed to conference participants after the event.

  “Special Forces” General Sessions will be held in the Vinoy Grand Ballroom.
  Basic Training breakout sessions are geared toward new voluntary bar leaders and will be held in the Grand Ballroom.
  Advanced Skills breakout sessions are designed for seasoned voluntary bar leaders and will be held in Plaza AB.
Front Line breakout sessions are geared toward voluntary bar staff and will be held in Plaza CD.

Friday, July 8

8:00 – 5:00 p.m. Registration & Exhibits
9:00 – 9:25 a.m.

Opening General Session

with Amelia Beard, Beth Feder, Gary Lesser and Braulio Rosa

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

General Session I – Keynote Speaker Dr. Damon Friedman

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. Break
10:45 – 11:45 a.m.

General Session II – Conversation with Gary Lesser

Noon – 1:00 p.m. Lunch. A great opportunity to network with bar leaders and hear brief intros from Florida Bar President-elect candidates.
1:10 – 2:00 p.m.

General Session III – Rapid Fire Ideas for Sponsorships

with Lauren Baugh, Teresa Conte and Aaron McCurdy

Learn results-oriented strategies and techniques for recruiting and retaining sponsors. Become equipped to deploy the Nine “R” Strategies to hit and exceed your target goals. Strengthen your bootcamp basics – the importance of networking, the effectiveness of community boards, maximizing leadership, creating exciting events with high return on investment, and other tactics. Know the fundamentals before squeezing the trigger.

2:00 – 2:10 p.m. Break
2:10 – 3:00 p.m.

Recruiting, Shaping & Sustaining Board Members (Basic)

with Valeria Obi, Ani Rodriguez-Newbern and Christine Senne

Recruiting and keeping strong board talent takes practice. This session is for the new recruits (and those looking to train up their new recruits)! Three seasoned veterans of voluntary bar leadership will discuss the expectations that board leaders have for new members, tools for training new members for success in your organization, and advice on how to be a better board member based on years in the trenches.

2:10 – 3:00 p.m.

Change of Command: Successful Leadership Transitions (Advanced)

with Paige Greenlee, Lori Ellen Ward and Grace Yang

Leadership transitions happen in every bar association. Careful planning, cooperation, and communication can help transitions go more smoothly when there is a change in command. Attend this session to hear from bar leaders who have been through transitions and share ideas to optimize your next change in command.

2:10 – 3:00 p.m.

The Lone Soldier (Front Line)

with Melissa Byers and Jeff Nall

Do you often feel like you’re standing alone in the front lines? Although board support is available, executive directors are the “boots on the ground” navigating the daily operational challenges. This session will address the challenges faced specifically by executive directors of bar associations. The open forum discussion will encourage participants to share tips and strategies utilized to navigate the battlefield of running a local bar association.

3:00 – 3:20 p.m. Break
3:30 – 4:20 p.m.

Budgets and Financial Readiness (Basic)

with Brendalyn Edwards and Jane Muir

Budgets and finances are critical to the overall success of any organization. Every association is unique, but regardless of the size, most depend on member dues, meetings, sponsorships and education for income. Become better equipped to tackle this not-so-fun, but necessary task. Participants will receive a detailed explanation of current accounting, tax rules and requirements for nonprofit organizations. Presenters will cover financial statements, audits, IRS form 990, internal controls, and dashboard reporting.

3:30 – 4:20 p.m.

Wiping Out the Traditional Membership Model (Advanced)

with Jenny Brown, Kyleen Hinkle and Craig Shoup

For decades, bar associations have maintained a traditional approach to membership. However, changing consumer habits and external factors have led some associations to re-think traditional membership models to stay relevant and to improve member engagement, recruitment, and retention. This session will discuss the results of innovative membership models being deployed in both the general association and bar association landscape.

3:30 – 4:20 p.m.

Ally Advice 1 – Emerging Issues (Front Line)

with Carla Brown and Braulio Rosa

This session designed for executive directors/staff will focus on the best ways to address shared emerging challenges and threats, and will cover topics such as increasing expenses, member disengagement, the war for talent and other staffing issues, the impact of COVID-19 on contracts and future events, and changes in the legal landscape.

4:20 – 4:30 p.m. Break
4:30 – 5:20 p.m.

Enlisting & Retaining New Recruits (Basic)

with Iris ElijahAlisha Patel and Rebekah Taylor

Learn strategies for recruiting and retaining young lawyers in your organization through programming, incentives, and paths to leadership. Learn more about what the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division is doing to help you enlist the new generation of leaders.

4:30 – 5:20 p.m.

Putting Diversity on the Front Lines in CLE Programming (Advanced)

with Kimberly Lopez, Nikki Lewis Simon and Kenway Wong

If your CLE programming is not incorporating diversity and inclusion efforts, then your bar association may be in no man’s land. Voluntary bars are boots on the ground for the Florida Bar’s diversity and inclusion efforts, and CLE programming is a large part of the commitment. Join as we discuss the business and moral case for striving for diversity in CLE programming. The panel will review the different ways CLEs can aim to be diverse in speakers, content, and geographical reach. We will show how your organization can bite the bullet and make diversity a part of its CLE programming.

4:30 – 5:20 p.m.

Ally Advice 2 – In the Trenches (Front Line)

with Carla Brown, Jenny Brown, John Kynes and Craig Shoup

This small group discussion forum is designed for executive directors / staff to engage in guided roundtable conversations about their current challenges and successes.

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. All Troops Reception, Mezzanine & Terrace

Saturday, July 9

7:45 – 8:50 a.m. Breakfast, Mezzanine
9:10 – 10:00 a.m.

General Session IV – In the Trenches: Battling Burnout

with Melissa Byers

Technology, adrenaline addiction, and the badge of honor culture pervasive in law firms and today’s society are leading to increased rates of burnout and unhealthy coping skills. What is true wellness? What are the weapons needed in your arsenal to combat burnout? Don’t miss this seminar focused on real world guidance to achieve wellness while facing daily professional challenges!

10:00 – 10:10 a.m. Break
10:10 – 11:00 a.m.

Innovative Tech Solutions to Advance Your Bar (Basic)

with Adriana Linares and Liz McCausland

This session will cover common and affordable technology solutions, programs, and services that can help your bar association efficiently manage bar business, communicate with members, and keep internal records, information, and data secure and centralized.

10:10 – 11:00 a.m.

Planning, Strategy, Tactics, Targets (Advanced)

with Jared Krukar, Lauren Millcarek and Zack Zuroweste

10:10 – 11:00 a.m.

Overcoming Sticky Situations – Navigating Bar Politics (Front Line)

with Braulio Rosa and Lauren Rubenstein

The heavily armed and superbly equipped army is most frequently undone by the unexpected. Such is true for associations. A divisive board member or external crisis can shake up an organization. Learn first-hand from a past president and current chief staff officer how they have handled board members who frustrate the effective governance of the organization and how they have addressed other unplanned challenges in a way that benefits both the organization and those it serves.

11:00 – 11:10 a.m. Break
11:10 a.m. – Noon

General Session V – War Stories from Veteran Bar Generals

with Sia Baker-BarnesJosh Chilson, John Schifino and Robert Vaughan

This esteemed panel of active leaders all started their service commitment to voluntary bars as new recruits. Listen in on this informal conversation as they recall voluntary bar leadership experiences in a collection of stories that are heartwarming, heroic, harrowing and even at times, hilarious. It’s a steady drumbeat of real war stories told by those who lived them.

Noon Adjourn

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Damon Friedman

Dr. Damon Friedman

Dr. Damon Friedman

An electrifying and sought-after speaker, Dr. Damon Friedman will headline this year’s Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference coined “Boot Camp for Bar Leaders.”  Dr. Friedman is a nationally recognized speaker inspiring audiences, executives, and public leaders across the country. Through his personal story and extensive experience, he challenges everyone to take action and become a world changer.

Voluntary Bar Leaders will learn valuable skills from his lessons learned leading elite military operators and over a decade of experience in the nonprofit realm. His tenacity, authenticity and high-energy inspires people to work together to make this world a better place. His new book, Igniting Movements, provides a model for building effective organizations.

A highly decorated special operations leader, Friedman served multiple combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan where he received three Bronze Stars (one with Valor) and the Air Force Combat Action Medal.

In addition, he also was honored with the Spirit of Hope Award by the Secretary of Defense which recognized his leadership and national efforts to help the veteran community.

Dr. Friedman will share his expertise in motivation, leadership, and team building during the Opening Session on Friday, July 8, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Featured Speaker

Gary Lesser

Gary Lesser

Gary Lesser

Gary S. Lesser is the president-elect of the Florida Bar, after ten years of service on the Florida Bar Board of Governors. He will be sworn in as President of The Florida Bar at the Annual Convention on June 24 in Orlando.

Lesser is the managing partner at Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC and is one of Florida’s leading personal injury attorneys. He has handled numerous high-profile personal injury cases over the years, including automobile injury, wrongful/accidental death, premises liability, gun liability, negligent security, product injury, and other related injury cases.

Lesser continues his firm’s tradition of community involvement, taking active leadership positions with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, Jewish Federation, and the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County. Gary also served as chair of the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee and chair of the Medical Legal Committee for many years.

Lesser attended George Washington University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs, was named to the Dean’s List, and served as president pro tempore of the Student Senate. He earned his juris doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law.

Lesser will speak Friday, July 8, from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m.

A Big Thank You to our Sponsors!

Click on the sponsor logos to see more information.

Five-Star General

The Colonel

MileMark Media Sponsor Card
Searcy sponsor card

The Captain

The Sergeant

Florida Defense Lawyers Association

Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Co.

YLD Logo

Young Lawyers Division Scholarship Recipients

Thank you to The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division for its generous contribution of registration scholarships to deserving voluntary bar leaders.

Stephanie Alcade Orange County Bar Association YLS
Breeze Benda Florida Trial Court Staff Attorneys Association
Roselin Figueroa Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida
Tiffany Hilton George Edgecomb Bar Association
Veronique Malebranche Haitian Lawyers Association
April Martindale Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association
Aaron McCurdy Escambia-Santa Rosa County Bar Association
Freddelle Menard F. Malcolm Cunningham Sr. Bar Association
Ashley Miller West Pasco Bar Association
Michelle Moretz-Smith Tampa Bay Chapter of Federal Bar Association
Valeria Obi Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association
Jakela Rivers D. W. Perkins Bar Association
Jessica Saiontz Miami-Dade FAWL
Megan Silver Florida Government Bar Association
Taylor Tremel Lake County Bar Association: Young Lawyers Division