Claiborne Marks 20 Years with MSBA
Wanda A. Claiborne's work as MSBA Director of Meetings & Bar Liaison
is always visible, even when Claiborne herself isn't. The chief architect and
engineer behind the scenes of such staple MSBA events as the Annual and Mid-Year
Meetings, Professionalism Course and the Bar Presidents Conference, Claiborne
marked her twentieth anniversary with MSBA on April 3, 2006.
"Wanda demonstrates a strong drive to make sure every detail is accomplished
for her responsibilities with the MSBA's major meetings and the professionalism
courses," says MSBA Executive Director Paul V. Carlin. "Our mantra
has always been to serve our members, and Wanda has certainly personified that
goal on a daily basis for 20 years. I am so proud of how Wanda has developed
into a seasoned professional since she began in 1986."
Claiborne first joined the MSBA staff that year as Office Clerk following
her graduation from Morgan State University, where she earned a degree in communications.
She soon put her educational background to work by filling the post of Communications
Assistant. But when she changed tack by becoming Meetings Manager when the
position opened up, Claiborne's future course with MSBA was set.
"She applied herself so conscientiously and performed her job so well
that I was able to elevate her to a Director position in 1993," notes
Carlin, whose efforts Claiborne herself lauds as being fundamental to her progress.
"Paul has been very supportive and encouraging when it comes to my professional
growth," explains Claiborne. "[He] has nominated me for things like
the Diversity Program, sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives,
and the Board of Directors for the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE)."
To be sure, NABE has honored Claiborne with various certificates and awards,
including its Outstanding Service Award, Partners in Success Award, and Dedicated
Service as Chair of the Meetings, Seminars & Events Forum. More recently,
Claiborne was elected President of the Chesapeake Chapter of the Professional
Convention Management Association, an international non-profit association
of meetings industry professionals.
Claiborne, however, finds her greatest personal rewards much closer to home. "The
most rewarding things have been the countless members that I now call friends," she
explains. "[Also], the [MSBA] staff is second to none. We are more like
family here than co-workers; that's why so many have been here so long."
Whether implementing new technologies or tweaking program details, Claiborne
has made numerous changes and improvements to MSBA's meetings and programs
schedule. "For every upcoming meeting, Wanda continually seeks to improve
on the procedures and processes; that allows every successive meeting to be
better than the last," notes Carlin.
Claiborne's own assessment, however, is tempered with a pragmatism two-decades
in the making. "Twenty years has taught me that perfection really does
not exist, and not to sweat the small stuff," she explains. "I genuinely
care about the success of every meeting, as well as the members that it caters
to, but at the end of the day, knowing I have given it my best had to outweigh
thinking that perfection exists."
"But," she acknowledges, "it's still nice to reach for it!"
"Her life and giving outside the office equal her efforts for the MSBA," adds
Carlin. To be sure, at the end of the day, Claiborne is an active and devoted
mother to her two sons, Alonzo and London.
"My children's lives and schedules are extremely important to me, and
there is a delicate balance between them and work. It took a while to get there,
but I finally think I have it all down pat."