Columbus Bar Association President’s Report | April



Rob Erney: Today it is my special pleasure to introduce to the membership our new Membership Director, Donna Sweet. Donna, congratulations on being named our new Membership Director.

Donna Sweet: Thanks, Rob. I am so excited to assume this role for our CBA members.

Rob Erney: How are you feeling about your new position? 

Donna Sweet: I am so excited. I’m looking forward to working with our members even more than I already do.

Rob Erney: What will be your duties as the new Membership Director for the CBA? 

Donna Sweet: So really, my primary focus will be member retention and new member recruitment.

Rob Erney: How many members does the CBA currently have? 

Donna Sweet: We are just shy of 5,000 members right now.

Rob Erney: Okay. And what are your goals for increasing our membership? 

Donna Sweet: Well, Rob, I don’t wanna sound too lofty, but my goal is to have every single attorney and paralegal in Columbus a member of our organization.

Rob Erney: What ideas do you have for increasing our membership? 

Donna Sweet: Well, Rob, there are gonna be a lot of things coming down the pike, so I would tell everybody to stay tuned. But we’re gonna do some fun new things like create an Ambassador Club where we’re gonna involve some of our past presidents and some of our great members, get them out there talking to people. We’re gonna do a lot of fun events. We’ve missed that all during COVID, so we’re gonna do a drive-in movie night, and then we’re gonna have some things… Some of our old stand-buys back like committees and cocktails. So it’s really gonna be all about getting out there, talking to people, telling them about our benefits, and getting them involved.

Rob Erney: We are coming up on our renewal season. Why should current members renew their membership in the CBA? 

Donna Sweet: Well, Rob, I think current members need to renew and stay involved because we have so many programs and services that benefit their career, as well as their personal development. So whether you’re a really young lawyer and you’re starting out and you need to get some of those practical personal development things and relationships going, or whether you’re seasoned and you’ve been out there practicing for 20, 30, 40 years, we’ve got something for you and we’ve got things live here at the office as well as online: Our Practice Management Center, our Form Center, our Learning Library, as well as all of our social events and great activities. So there’s really so much that we offer that will help folks as they move through their legal career.

Rob Erney: What message do you have for non-members? 

Donna Sweet: Well, one of the things I would say is, you need to come over and check us out and join the CBA. Kinda echoes what I said before about the number of offerings we have and the number of programs we have available, but there’s really something for everyone over here. And the other thing I would say to non-members is, “Call me, come over and see me as soon as the pandemic lifts a little bit. Email me, I wanna talk to you. I wanna talk through what we can offer you and how we can help you be a better lawyer.”

Rob Erney: What positions have you held at the CBA? 

Donna Sweet: So Rob, I spent a little bit of time as our CLE Director, a few years doing that, and then moved into the Director of Committees and Special Events, and I’ve been in that position for a really long time and that’s been just fantastic. It lets me spend so much time with our members.

Rob Erney: Tell us about your experiences working with all of our committees.

Donna Sweet: Rob, I loved being the Director of Committees and Special Events, and really because it gave me the opportunity to spend so much time with our members. We have an amazing membership base. I know that you know that, but being able to participate in committees, get to know people, spend time with them doing fun things like curling and different things that we’ve done with our special events, it was just a great time.

Rob Erney: What has the CBA done to remain relevant during the pandemic? 

Donna Sweet: I think one of the biggest things that we’ve done to remain relevant is we really converted a lot of our programs and services to an online platform. So I know a lot of folks feel zoomed out, but we have offered CLE and committee meetings and special events all via Zoom. We’ve also continued to enhance our website so people can go out there and get practical practice-related information and the things they need to keep moving forward.

Rob Erney: What will the CBA look like after the COVID restrictions are lifted? 

Donna Sweet: Well, one thing is, right away, we’re going to get back to having a lot of members over here and this place will be busy again. So we are gonna have activities, and meetings, and events, and CLEs, and we’re gonna have our halls full of members. So we’re gonna get back to doing our live programming and having just that great feeling of energy when you come over here for a noon meeting or for something. But we’re also gonna continue to offer things hybrid. We do realize that there’s a convenience to being able to pop into Zoom and attend a meeting. So I’m just anxious to see everybody back here and we’re gonna have a great time.

Rob Erney: Thank you, Donna, for spending some time with me today. We are so fortunate and blessed to have Donna Sweet as our new Membership Director. Many of you already know her and she knows many of our members. She will continue to make our membership strong into the future. Thank you for joining me today. I’ll see you next month. I’m Rob Erney, number 130. Have a great day.

Consider watching the video podcast for this President’s Report on The Columbus Bar Associations Website.