WBA 2018-2023 Strategic Plan


The WBA: Empowering and Advancing Women Lawyers in the Nation’s Capital and Beyond since 1917

Maintaining the honor and integrity of the profession; promoting the administration of justice; advancing and protecting the interests of women
lawyers; promoting their mutual improvement; and encouraging a spirit of friendship among our members.


Founded in 1917, the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (“WBA” or “the Association”) celebrated its Centennial anniversary in 2017, making it one of the oldest and largest voluntary bar associations in the Washington, DC region. This five-year strategic plan serves as a guide for the organization’s efforts to advance its mission by developing leaders, building a sustainable development strategy, and improving our membership experience.

Objective 1: Identify opportunities to partner with local institutions for greater efficacy of and visibility for the WBA mission and its advocacy issues agenda.

Objective 2: Serve as a more vocal advocate for women’s equality in the profession and society

Objective 2(a): Define our advocacy issues agenda so that we have defined parameters regarding when to take official WBA positions on issues and to make public statements.
Objective 2(b): Establish an advisory council to monitor for current affairs involving a strategic impact on the WBA’s mission and membership, and assisting with the promotion of a WBA advocacy agenda to ensure timely contributions (e.g. initiatives to support Equal Pay for women).

Objective 3: Continue to redefine success for women in the profession
Objective 3(a): Ensure the WBA’s educational programming reflects the spectrum of career paths women lawyers have taken.
Objective 3(b): Celebrate the diversity of accomplishments among our members, especially the successes of women lawyers who have made different, unique or challenging career choices that uniquely address the challenges facing women in the profession.
Objective 3(b)(i): Continue to identify and promote award opportunities in the profession and in the community and, where appropriate, to nominate WBA members or others for recognition. 

Objective 4: Engage in more outreach to men, particularly leaders and decision-makers in the profession to engage in developing dialogue and support for the challenges facing women lawyers and the role the WBA plays in addressing them.

Objective 1: Develop strategies to increase the number of women qualified for, pursuing and attaining positions of leadership in the Profession.
Objective 1(a): Assess, cultivate and develop WBA programs and events to help new lawyers obtain skills for success and to offer resources for mid-level and senior lawyers to advance in their careers and to achieve success (for example, expand the current job board program or develop a program to incubate woman-owned law firms).
Objective 1(b): Maintain a pipeline/tracking of potential leaders and take proactive steps to integrate them more formally into leadership.
Objective 1(c): Identify opportunities to collaborate with other organizations and other valuable resources for members.
Objective 1(d): Engage solo and small firm members.
Objective 1(e): Engage and reconnect with large law firm members by presenting messaging of how the WBA benefits them.
Objective 1(f): Create a WBA Speaker Bureau and consider whether it should be made available for the public or used only as an internal resource.

Objective 2: Create a WBA model for professional leadership development that will enhance women lawyers’ ability to achieve professional success through a designed series of programs and events.

Objective 2(a): Continue excellent programming on professional skills development including “soft skills” training.
Objective 2(b): Evaluate boot camp and other programs for ways to increase effectiveness in leadership development programming and to identify gaps in current programs and events
Objective 2(c): Identify niche topic opportunities
Objective 2(d): Evaluate what programmatic, operational and infrastructural needs are required to establish an effective strategic leadership development agenda
Objective 2(e): Evaluate the need for a more centralized leadership committee to develop a strategic program, and oversee or coordinate this effort

Objective 3: Continue to highlight potential leadership opportunities inside and outside the profession for WBA members and evaluate ways to provide greater outreach to members.
Objective 3(a): 
Obtain the identities of all new DC-area law students and introduce the WBA and its benefits to them.
Objective 3(b): Obtain the identities of all newly licensed attorneys and introduce the WBA and its benefits to them.

Objective 4: Institutionalize leadership development within the WBA to strengthen the WBA leadership pipeline
Objective 4(a): Evaluate existing leadership recruitment efforts and resources
Objective 4(b): Identify tools and programming needed to recruit individuals with leadership potential and ensure their success. (Examples of tools include the development of a leadership toolkit or micro-training modules for new and existing leaders.)
Objective 4(c): 
Maintain a central repository of individuals who have expressed an interest in volunteering for the WBA.

Objective 1: Create a communications plan that includes:
* Revamped website
* Social media strategy

Objective 2: Continue personal outreach by WBA leadership (e.g. Continue personal outreach to new members from the board, continue to target new and potential members at events to create a welcoming environment).

Objective 3: Continue the process to ensure the WBA is accessible to new members.  (An example as part of this process might be to assign one board or committee chair to each new member to call when they join to welcome them and offer the benefits of WBA, and give them tips on how to get the most of their membership)

Objective 4: Develop a program for greater membership retention to ensure we are meeting the needs of existing members.

Objective 4(a): Conduct and review stakeholder survey
Objective 4(b): Evaluate membership benefits including:
Objective 4(b)(1): Perks – discounts to local establishments
Objective 4(b)(2): Unique benefits and opportunities for Sustaining  Members – revisit benefits (WBA pin, recognition, sustaining-members only events, ensure that one membership committee co-chair is focused on  opportunities for Sustaining Members).

Objective 5: Engage in more outreach to men and encourage men to become members.  Some representative examples for outreach efforts to consider include:
Objective 5(a): Inviting Board members and committee and forum chairs to educate colleagues at their workplace about WBA, our mission and impact
Objective 5(b): Including a note at bottom of all invites that makes it clear that men are invited as well
Objective 5(c): Ensure that that there is at least one membership committee co-chair assigned to focusing on outreach to men.

Objective 6: Develop a WBA branding campaign to strengthen and reinforce the WBA as a prominent resource for women in the profession and for professional leadership development.

Objective 7: Develop a new member recruitment strategy based on collected data from a survey to identify and better understand non-member needs.

Objective 8: Highlight signature programs and initiatives and emphasize the unique quality of these programs to strengthen participation and visibility.

Objective 1:  Evaluate current non-dues revenue streams and identify ways to better monetize existing offerings and to diversify and expand revenue streams for the WBA. Possible examples include:
* Monetizing existing products
* Selling videos
* Selling podcasts
* Offering CLEs

Objective 2: Create incentives for new sponsors and implement the sponsorship package that has been developed.

Objective 3: Evaluate staffing needs and develop a staffing plan to modify or expand staffing resources as may be required.

Objective 4: Develop more sustainable financial support through  membership and sponsorships structures (Examples include increasing sustaining members and annual plans).

Objective 1: Evaluate and develop a system for greater consistency and continuity in program delivery.
Objective 1(a): Creation and implementation of a position a new Board position with programming oversight.

Objective 2: Review and make recommendations on the committee and forum structure both quantitatively and qualitatively to establish guidelines for effective committee operations, and to improve communications between the Board and Co-Chairs.

Objective 3: Improve governance of of the WBA by instituting periodic reviews and benchmarks.
Objective 3(a):  Conduct an annual review of the bylaws.
Objective 3(b): Ensure non-profit industry best practices are reflected in governance policies.
Objective 3(c): Establish a task force to strengthen the relationship between the WBA and the WBAF including the following issues
* The possibility of designating more common board members
* Facilitating a discussion with the WBAF Board on the WBA/WBAF relationship.
* Researching other association/foundation structures.

Objective 3(d): Establish an operations committee to review periodically the contract of the executive director  and staffing support.

Objective 4: Appoint a Development task force to review the need for a dedicated staff person or advisor to manage or conduct fundraising and development activities. 

Objective 1: Establish an Archiving and History Committee.