Home / Expert Opinion / MCBA President’s Message: Re-introducing you to our management team

MCBA President’s Message: Re-introducing you to our management team

Neil J. Rowe

Neil J. Rowe

I’d like to re-introduce you to our Bar Association Managers: Kathy Fico, Liz Novak Henderson and Louise Spinelli.

Kathy Fico has been appointed by the board as Interim Executive Manager, and will serve as the point person for the MCBA staff during the next several months, as we search for a new executive director.  Kathy is the MCBA’s longest tenured employee, having started with the association in 1994. Prior to joining the MCBA, Kathy served as business manager for the American Lung Association of Broward County.

Kathy most recently served as our finance and operations manager, a role she will continue along with her new duties as interim executive manager. Kathy directs all accounting and financial related activities, manages accounts payable and receivable, prepares and maintains payroll, prepare sales tax returns for the MCBA, Center for Education and Foundation, supervises our Lawyer Referral Service, manages the DEAFund and Lawyer Succession Registry Programs, as well as managing our stationery, supplies and office equipment purchases.

As interim executive manager, Kathy will be taking on additional responsibilities as to organizing, and coordinating the staff, programs and activities of the association to assure that member needs are met.

Liz Novak Henderson has been with the MCBA since 2007, and serves a treble role as Membership, Communications & Foundation manager. Liz is a graduate of Hamilton College, and was at Roberts Communications before joining the association. As membership manager, Liz coordinates our membership benefit offerings, coordinates our annual renewal process, and helps develops strategies and tactics to meet budget goals. Liz also plans and implement MCBA special events, including Law Day, our Installation Dinner, the Lawyers for Learning golf tournament, our Bench & Bar Holiday Party and our annual Memorial Service.

As the association’s communications manager, Liz is responsible for the organization’s external communications and public relations through electronic newsletters, social media, website content, e-communications, press releases and direct media outreach, oversees the website and its regular updates, and maintains contact with print and electronic media representatives.

As manager of the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar, Liz acts as primary liaison, coordinates and schedules board, executive, and officer meetings, and assists the foundation president on the overall management of Foundation. Liz coordinates our annual Raise the Bar appeal to more than 2,000 attorneys and firms, and provides administrative support for the Legacy Society of the Telesca Center for Justice.

Louise Spinelli came to the MCBA in 2003 from Harris Beach with experience in both marketing and legal recruiting. Louise is a graduate of the University of Buffalo, and has additional certifications in not for profit leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College.

As program manager, Louise oversees our Continuing Legal Education program, which includes 65 to 75 offerings each year, and accounts for 25 percent of our annual operating budget. Louise develops and implements relevant educational programs with committees, attorneys, and other organizations, coordinates co-sponsored with another organizations, and manages our relationship with online programming vendors.

In addition to her work with and special event planning for several of our committees and sections, Louise is responsible for the recruiting, application, and summer planning process for our award-winning Diversity Clerkship program. This program is operated jointly with the Rochester Black Bar Association and the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys, and its success relies on Louise’s skill in coordinating the many and varied needs of students, schools and law firms.

Although the MCBA will miss our outgoing executive director, Mary Loewenguth, with her guidance we have become a well-focused, financially sound, and nationally recognized organization. Our managers will be faced with additional burdens over the next few months, but they will have the assistance of our dedicated staff: Robin DePoint, Ben Freeland, Diane Hill, Dianne Nash, Merritt Smith, Mark Swail and Suzanne Ventress. All are very experienced and are ready to provide the same level of support to which the members of the MCBA have become accustomed.

On Tuesday, the trustees approved an Executive Director Search Committee. Past President Connie Walker agreed to chair the search committee, and she will be joined by President-Elect Mark Moretti, Foundation President-Elect Elaine Cole, Immediate Past President Steve Modica, Past President Bryan Hetherington, Young Lawyers Section Chair Curt Johnson, Foundation Board Member and former Trustee Carolyn Nussbaum, the individual presented by the Nominating Committee as Incoming President Elect, and, ex officio, MCBA President Neil Rowe, and Foundation President Bruce Lawrence.

The trustees have asked the Search Committee to immediately begin the recruitment of a new executive director. The Search Committee will begin by refining the job qualifications and canvassing for applications. The Search Committee will be responsible for reviewing applications, interviewing candidates, and presenting a slate of finalists to the Board for the Trustees’ consideration.

We expect that our search for a new executive director will attract many well qualified candidates, each eager for an opportunity to join our management team and to be part of the MCBA. In the interim, I encourage all to look to Kathy, Liz, Louise or the rest of our staff to address your questions and concerns.

Neil J. Rowe is president of the Monroe County Bar Association, adjunct instructor of management at Keuka College, and principal of NJ Rowe Consulting Services. He can be reached at njr@rochester.rr.com.