The position MSBA Membership Assistant Bernadette Simmons first accepted upon joining the Association’s staff no longer even exists.
“Twenty-five years is a long time, but it goes so fast!” muses Simmons, who joined MSBA in November 1988 as an Office Clerk before subsequently moving to the post of Entry Data Processor (EDP) Operations Assistant.
A quarter century later, in her current role, Simmons is responsible for maintaining member records; organizing and modifying Committee and Section rosters; processing and recording annual dues account information for monthly membership reports to the MSBA Board of Governors; and providing new and reinstated membership benefits packets. In fact, chances are that if you are reading this, Simmons has played some part in that. Indeed, she is well-suited to her occupation, given that the favorite part of her job is “providing member services…making sure members have what they need.”
Several reasons have driven Simmons (as with so many of her long-term colleagues) to devote the majority of her career to the MSBA. Chief among these, she notes, has been the support of MSBA Executive Director Paul V. Carlin.
“This is a great place to be,” says Simmons. “Paul has always been there for us, through and through. He is supportive of staff and the personal situations they might go through from time to time.”
Simmons also attributes her longevity to a collegial work environment. “As a whole, there’s a lot of unity,” she says. “If ever something is needed, the staff comes together as a team, even across departments, to get the work done.” The MSBA Annual Meeting, she notes, exemplifies this.
“[The Annual Meeting is] always a lot of work,” she says, “but it is always fun to be there with other staff.”
“It’s great to welcome another MSBA staff member into the ‘25-Year Club’,” says Carlin. During that time, he adds, Simmons has grown to be “a mainstay in our Membership Department.”
“When one considers that about one-third of our 24,000-plus members change some of their contact information each year, one appreciates how much effort is required to make all those changes in our database,” continues Carlin. “We greatly appreciate Bernadette’s long tenure with the MSBA and her consistent level of service to our members.”
For Simmons, working for the MSBA for two-and-a-half decades, in summary, comes down to “the atmosphere, the relationships.”
“We have very caring people here who support us in whatever it is that we’re doing,” she says.
On October 18, MSBA Director of Law Office Management Patricia Yevics achieved her own noteworthy anniversary, marking 20 years with MSBA. Carlin notes that, when the MSBA prioritized service to its Solo and Small Firm Practitioners in 1993, “MSBA was very fortunate to have Pat Yevics answer our call.”
Carlin emphasizes that, as a former teacher with office management experience, Yevics was the “perfect fit” for a position that initially focused on planning law office management courses for MSBA members statewide.
“Our Solo & Small Firm Section has prospered over the years with Pat’s assistance,” he says, adding that among the many aspects of MSBA in which Yevics has become involved, “perhaps most notable has been the arrangements for our website and our electronic communications via the Bar Brief, Tech Tips, and Events, which are all directed to each of our members by name.” He also praises her well-deserved reputation for being “a tireless worker.”
“Pat is so accessible to our members and has helped so many,” he says, “it is easy to see why so many members appreciate her services.”