|This May at the ABA|
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ABA Staff News Update is produced by the Division for Media Relations and Communication Services. It is issued monthly to all staff members of the American Bar Association. Questions and suggestions are welcome and should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
“Everyone has praised our excellent and dedicated staff, and I look forward to learning from you and working together on the important issues we face,” said Rives in an e-mail to the association staff. “Together, we will fulfill the ABA’s mission and goals and further the core values of the legal profession.”
With budget and membership challenges to tackle, ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm shared her confidence in Rives’ leadership. In making the announcement of Rives’ new post, Lamm said, “We determined that Jack Rives’ exemplary service as the judge advocate general of the Air Force—including his experience leading a global organization of legal professionals and advocating for effective, ethical solutions to issues of national and international importance—made him the perfect individual to lead the ABA to increase membership, improve member service and address the global focus of delivery of legal services.”
Rives served as senior U.S. Air Force (three star rank) attorney and was responsible for managing some 2,600 active duty, reserve and civilian lawyers. He led a reorganization of the delivery of legal services at Pentagon Headquarters.
As a voting member of corporate-level U.S. Air Force Council, which is responsible for 670,000 employees and an annual budget of $120 billion, Rives steered resolution of critical issues to carefully balance priorities and ensure funding for those most significant.
“Jack seems to have an exceptional talent in bringing people together; advocating for changes when necessary, and standing up for core fundamentals on which this nation was formed,” continued Lamm.
As the judge advocate general, Rives served as legal adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and all officers and agencies of the Department of the U.S. Air Force, and oversaw an annual budget of $47 million. Rives previously served as chief counsel, Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va. During this time, Rives assured the full range of legal support within the United States and overseas following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Rives earlier served as the first chief of the Air Force Executive Issues Team, working directly for the secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff, on critical communications issues.
Rives has his Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. and Bachelor of Arts in political science, also from the University of Georgia, Athens. He is a member of the Georgia Bar Association and served on Board of Trustees of the Air Force Aid Society. Among his many awards and decorations are the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Defense Superior Service Medal.
Rives has scheduled a series of meetings this week to give staff the opportunity to meet him. The schedule for those meetings is as follows:
MoVE is an umbrella term for three simultaneous initiatives: Membership Growth, Website Redesign and Publishing Growth. “These three projects are so naturally linked, it makes sense to have collective oversight,” says Peebles, since “all of the pieces tie back to each other.” In her estimation, MoVE involves a “fundamental transformation of the organization” and by linking these three projects together, the ABA will experience a “much better outcome than if the projects were managed separately.”
Peebles’ responsibility throughout the MoVE implementation process is to look at risks, keep the timeline on track, and make certain that communication occurs among project leaders as well as to the rest of the organization in a clear and consistent manner.
In addition to her role with MoVE, Peebles works with the Financial Services Division, where her responsibilities include working on special projects within this newly reorganized and revitalized department. Specifically she works closely with new Chief Financial Officer Kathryn Shaw to provide her with context and background on the ABA.
A generalist with an in-depth background
“I became a generalist very quickly,” she notes of her various experiences at ABA. Each job gave her “enough understanding of how it all worked” that she could then take a broad, association-wide view of projects affecting all or most of the organization, such as technology or business process innovation.
With an Master of Business Administration from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Peebles is grounded in finance and organizational behavior and also has expertise in project management—a definite asset as she oversees the three growth initiatives.
Her passion and energy for project management carries over to her personal life. The mom of two elementary school children, she has been knee-deep in the development of their school’s new website, formation of a parent group and organization of a spring auction fundraiser. Her “it-was-a-lot-of-work-but-it-was-a-lot-of-fun” reaction to the school activities could be applied to her passion for her ABA responsibilities, as well. “ABA is at an interesting point,” she observes from her unique perspective overseeing one of the most ambitious projects to come along in years. “The momentum and positive energy are very motivating.”
Staff News Update recently met with Strandlie to learn more about ABA Day and her role in organizing it.
How did you come to work on the planning committee for the big day?
ABA Day has grown since then, in size and importance to the ABA and the organized bar. Our entire office works extremely hard on this event. We don’t mind because we know that we’ve made a real difference in the administration of justice.
How long of a process is it to plan ABA Day?
What are some of the major changes you have made from last year’s ABA Day?
Two years ago, I started organizing pre-ABA Day training webinars. This year we held five of these webinars—one for our state captains who organize Hill visits, and three for all the participants, covering “how to lobby” and the substantive ABA Day issues.
We have received compliments from several outside experts on the quality of the materials and training opportunities we provide to our participants. This year, we also taped our webinars and will tape the opening session so we can continue to share these training materials with ABA entities and bars who were not able to attend in person—the lobbying doesn’t stop on the Thursday of ABA Day week. It’s just the beginning.
Tell us about the main objectives and legislative focuses of ABA Day?
What do you want attendees to take away from the experience?
We regularly hear that the activity they enjoy most about the ABA is ABA Day in Washington. Many ABA members have attended every year since the inaugural ABA Day in 1997.
Besides your work on ABA Day, tell us about your other responsibilities.
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