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Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy



Celebrating 10 years of CBLA!
In-Person Conference  2023 - June 25 - 27th

Target Plaza North
1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403


SAVE THE DATE - Location, Times and Dates Provided 

The Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy (CBLA) is a joint initiative of the American Bar Association, its Commissions on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and Disability Rights, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the National LGBT Bar Association, the National Native American Bar Association, and the South Asian Bar Association of North America. 

The CBLA is a coordinated effort to strengthen the pipeline of diverse bar association leaders by providing leadership training and professional development programs which will benefit current and future leaders of bar associations, and the legal profession overall.  

We look forward to seeing you at our conference! 

Deadline to apply for the 2023 CBLA has closed. Please reach out to [email protected] for information on how to apply after the deadline  

 Why should you attend the 2023 CBLA? You should attend to:

  1. Network with leaders from your organization and multiple national bar associations;
  2. Learn, discuss, and develop leadership skills important to your future as a lawyer and as a future bar leader;
  3. Have the opportunity to absorb a wide range of leadership advice from leading experts in the field in a collegial and close knit setting; and
  4. Develop the skills necessary to successfully organize, operate, and lead local and national bar associations.

June 25th 2023 - EVENTS 

CBLA Social  Event on River Cruise- 4:30 p.m. -  6:30 p.m.
Optional event to all attendees at NO COST.
Attendees must RSVP through ABA Staff to attend. Please email with a copy to [email protected] by June 9th 2023

June 25th 2023 7:00 p.m. -  9:00 p.m.
CBLA Dine Arounds - Optional event to all attendees.  Attendees are responsible for their expenses


June 26th 2023 - Programming Schedule 

8:00 a.m - 8:45 a.m
Breakfast and Welcome by CBLA Chair Bryan Browning 

8:45 a.m - 9:30 a.m 
Celebrating 10 years of CBLA 

Sometimes, the actions of a few can impact many.  That’s true of the visionary founders of CBLA.  In 2013, CBLA was born when a handful of lawyers from the affinity bars dreamed of a training program to diversify the leadership of bar associations.  Be inspired by the history of CBLA, the leaders its developed, and the work ahead.  And, discover how you can contribute to its continued success!

9:30 a.m - 10:00 a.m
Welcome by Don Liu, Executive VP and Chief Legal and Risk Officer, Target

10:00 a.m - 11:15 a.m
Preparing for Leadership:  The Nuts & Bolts of Leading a Bar Association
Servant leadership can be challenging.  How do you inspire and guide a volunteer board?  How do you exercise influence beyond your title?  How do you set long-term strategy and ensure adequate financial resources?  Experienced board leaders share what worked—and what didn’t—in moving their bar associations forward and dealing with unexpected events that threatened to upend well-developed plans.

10:15 a.m 11:30 a.m -BREAK 

11:30 a.m - 12:15 p.m
The Keys to Good Governance: What You Should Know About Fiduciary Duties
High functioning boards don’t just happen.  They are built upon effective stewardship and good governance.  An expert in board governance explores how you can ensure your board meets its fiduciary responsibilities and stays out of harm’s way.

12:15 p.m - 1:00 p.m LUNCH

1:00 p.m - 2:00 p.m
Making Your Bar Welcoming for People with Disabilities
We all recognize that bar associations must accessible and truly inclusive for people with disabilities.  What challenges currently exist to such inclusion and how can bar associations overcome them?   This panel shares best practices that will help ensure your bar association is meeting the needs of all its members.

2:00 p.m - 3:00 p.m 
Taking a Stand:  How to Effectively Advocate & Communicate
Many of us joined an affinity bar association to tackle social and political issues and address the concerns of our members.  Using ripped-from-the-headlines case studies, this interactive panel will share how bar associations advocate on the issues facing our communities, including how to decide which issues to address, navigate political differences on the board, and determine the most effective use of the organization's voice.  

3:00 p.m - 3:15 p.m - BREAK 

3:15 p.m - 4:15 p.m 
Intersectionality & Your Bar
Each bar association includes individuals who have intersectional identities, such as those based on race, disability status, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status.  Our panelists share programming and engagement strategies they have used to ensure their association meets the needs of members with intersectional identities.

4:15 p.m - 5:15 p.m 
Inspiring A Vision and Moving It Forward
Being an impactful leader requires having a clear vision for the organization that you lead.  How do you develop a vision and then move it forward to inspire others?  This panel features bar leaders who have made their vision a reality and the steps they took to achieve it.  

5:15 p.m 
Your CBLA:  Get Your Questions Answered!

Have a burning question about leadership or bar associations?  Pose it to our knowledgeable CBLA faculty members and learn from their experiences!

5:45 p.m DAY ONE WRAP UP 

JUNE 27TH 2023 - Programming Schedule

8:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
Breakfast and Networking 

8:30 a.m.
Welcomed by, Matt Zabel, EVP & GC, Target 

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 
Being a Great Ally: Enhancing Our Work with Other Affinity Bars & the ABA
Allyship requires action.  To be an effective ally, your bar association must partner with other affinity bar associations.  Learn the steps these panelists have taken to collaborate with other affinity bars, to the benefit of both organizations. 

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Board Burnout:  How to Spot it and How to Avoid it.
Professional burn-out is real, especially since your board members wear many hats, between their day-jobs, volunteer board service, and involvement with other organizations and causes.  How can you identify board burnout?  What are leadership styles, tools, and resources can prevent it?  And what can you do when it inevitably occurs? 

11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - BREAK 

11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Moving Forward After CBLA:  A Workshop
Take your CBLA learnings and put them into action!  This interactive workshop will help you plan for your leadership journey and allow you to network with other bar leaders.

12:30 p.m. - Grab n Go Lunch 


June 26th 2023 - Alumni Only  

10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. 
After Your Term Ends: How To Stay Involved Without Overstaying Your Welcome 
After your term ends in an organization, there may be a brief period where you want to do nothing.  But what happens when the dust settles and the burnout fades? How do you ensure that your institutional knowledge is not lost? How do you stay involved with the organization without stepping on the toes of current leadership? We will learn from past leaders of bar associations on how to ensure that an end of a term is not the end of the line.

11:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - BREAK 

11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. 
Driving Change Within the Workplace: The Case for Building Consensus
Often times, driving change or making a difference within your workplace requires significant effort (particularly when you have to go outside your immediate coworkers to gain consensus).  Our panelists will discuss what it takes to build consensus within the workplace in order to implement change.  A case study on implementing DEI strategies will be discussed.  

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. 
Balancing Being A Diversity Champion and Ensuring Professional Development

How do you balance being a diversity champion with ensuring your own professional success?  Our panelists will discuss the tug and war between diversity and professional development and will provide tips on effectively advocating both. 

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Planning for Success: Your Personal and Professional Vision and  Making it a Reality

Where do you see yourself in one year?  Three years? Five years? What are your personal and professional goals? How does your personal brand coincide with your goals? What are the steps you need to take to achieve this vision? Who is on your personal board of directors?  How are you relying on those individuals to achieve your vision? Put pencil to paper and chart your own future in this facilitated workshop.

3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m - BREAK 


9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m 
How to Juggle Professional, Personal, and Every Other Obligation
There is no question that we each wear many hats (e.g. parent, grandparent, sister, brother, bar association member, firm/organization member).  With these many hats comes many commitments.  This panel will discuss how to effectively juggle these commitments.  Learn the art of choosing wisely and say no when necessary.

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 
How to Make An Impact: Within Corporate and Philanthropic Boards
Non-profit and for-profit boards offer important mechanisms to make an impact. The panelists will provide insight on how to make yourself ready for such board positions and how to make an impact.

"Taste of 2020 CBLA" 

CBLA Webinar Bar Leadership in a Time of Crisis

Transitioning Bar Leadership to the
Local, Regional, and National Levels

2019 CBLA Resources

2019 CBLA Program Book  

For More Information Contact 

Keevin Woods,Director of Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession Email: [email protected]