In the two decades since she joined the MSBA staff, Membership Assistant Bernadette Simmons has seen the technological landscape of Bar Headquarters morph considerably, what with upgraded telephone systems, the transition from typewriters to computers, and a wide array of fax machines, copiers, postage machines, printers and other office machinery. But while the tools might have changed, the job – helping to update, manage and maintain information for MSBA’s more than 23,000 members – remains constant.
No less steadfast is Simmons’ devotion to the job, says her supervisor, MSBA Director of Information Technology Lawrence Hicks, who calls Simmons his “right-hand person” in matters involving the Membership Department.
“Accuracy is always important,” notes Hicks, “and she’s done very well with that.”
Simmons joined the executive staff of the then 13,000-member Association on November 4, 1988, as Office Clerk, but soon after applied for and received the newly-created position of EDP (Electronic Data Processing) Operations Assistant.
“I was excited about the challenge of working with what I thought at the time was a large membership and the upkeep of member records, rosters, annual dues payments and answering membership calls and questions,” recalls Simmons, whose title was changed to Membership Assistant during the 1990s. “To date, membership has nearly doubled, and the enormous job responsibilities are now performed by three people.”
“Considering that one-third of our 23,500 members make some change in their contact data every year in our database, we are fortunate to have the benefit of Bernadette’s consistent performance in making sure that all our members’ data and Committee/Section rosters are up-to-date and accurate,” says MSBA Executive Director Paul V. Carlin. “I’m very grateful to Bernadette for her steady, reliable performance over these last 20 years.”
Simmons, in turn, credits Carlin for creating a positive atmosphere that fosters longevity of tenure among staff members.
“The best thing about working at MSBA is having an understanding boss, Paul Carlin, who has allowed the staff to put family first, and has been most flexible with our work schedules,” says Simmons. “I believe this has greatly contributed to the long-term employment and success here at MSBA.”