Ken Masters reflects on his term of service on the WSBA Board of Governors
NWSidebar: What is your proudest accomplishment while serving on the BOG?
KM: It was a great honor that my fellow Governors unanimously elected me to serve as Treasurer this year. I am proud of the work we have done on the Budget & Audit Committee over the last three years. The budgeting process is always challenging, but our leadership has been successful in allocating our resources responsibly and in positioning the WSBA for long-term stability. Again this year we received a clean audit from our outside auditors, thanks in large measure to the great work of our staff. Finally, we have worked hard to secure a long-term lease on the current WSBA facilities, reducing the square footage, enabling long-range planning and stability for the organization for the next decade and beyond, while saving our membership millions of dollars in potential moving and other costs – I’ll discuss all this in my next NWLawyer Treasurer’s column.
NWSidebar: How has serving on the BOG enhanced your practice?
KM: During my time on the BOG, I have been given a 30,000-foot view of our profession, seeing the forces that are shaping our profession now, and the monumental changes coming in the next 20 years. This long view has been invaluable to my legal work, allowing me to meet these challenges head-on and (I hope) to get out in front of them in my own practice.
In addition, the opportunity to work closely with the outstanding lawyers serving on the BOG, and to increase my professional network state-wide, has had a direct and positive impact on my reputation, and hence on my practice, and so ultimately on my clients.
NWSidebar: Why should WSBA members run for a seat on the BOG?
KM: This service undoubtedly has been among the greatest highlights of my career. Serving our membership by connecting them to the resources they need to protect and serve their clients has been tremendously rewarding. This is what we do: serving the legal profession to help our membership serve and protect our courts and our citizens. You should be a part of this!
NWSidebar: What advice would you provide to a potential BOG candidate?
KM: Consider your prior experience, be realistic regarding your time, and take advantage of the training opportunities available to you.
Serving on the BOG is a big responsibility, and I think prospective BOG members need to carefully consider their skills. It would be very helpful to have familiarity with the WSBA gained from prior service on a WSBA board, committee, or task force. If you don’t have experience with the WSBA, is there other experience you can draw upon, such as service on one or more other boards, board training, or other valuable experience? I am in my 15th year of volunteering at the WSBA, and about my 20th year volunteering for other professional organizations – all experience that I greatly cherish and that made me ready to serve on the BOG. You don’t have to have that kind of background, but you must be ready to hit the ground running!
Second, be realistic about the time commitment and responsibilities required of a BOG member. In addition to seven meetings a year, governors serve as liaisons to sections, minority bar associations, and WSBA committees and boards. Meetings may be conducted via conference calls, but it is often better to attend in-person. BOG members frequently attend and speak to county bar associations in their districts. State-wide travel is required, and there are evening and weekend events to attend. All of this important work is great fun – really – but it is time intensive.
Finally, the WSBA staff and BOG are constantly working to improve the training for new governors. Take advantage of all the training and learning opportunities presented to you. This advanced training has improved every year during my term on the BOG, and I and my fellow governors have greatly benefited from it.
NWSidebar: Wow. That sounds like a lot of work. What has been the biggest surprise for you about the BOG?
KM: Well, given the daunting issues the BOG was facing as I took my seat in 2012 (budget, personnel, facilities, and so on) I didn’t think that serving on the BOG would be so much fun! This has been a real pleasure. I have made life-long friends among the governors and the WSBA staff, and it has been wonderful to serve in a way that advances my chosen profession. I often say that you could knock me over with a feather that I’ve found so much enjoyment and just plain fun in serving these last three years.
NWSidebar: Please describe your BOG experience in three words.
KM: Exciting; Challenging; Fun
NWSidebar: Thank you Governor Ken Masters. It has been a pleasure speaking with you today.
Are you interested in serving on the WSBA Board of Governors? Nominations are being accepted now through Feb. 17. There are seats open in districts 1, 4, 5, and 7-South – see www.wsba.org/elections for additional information, or contact Sue Strachan at 206-733-5903 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.