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President’s Corner

In this issue: Focusing on friendships and professional connections and four key things NABL does well to make members better public finance professionals.

Greetings!  It has been a great privilege for me to serve as President of the National Association of Bond Lawyers this year, especially since NABL holds a vital position in the daily affairs of the United States. I can personally attest that my growth as a bond lawyer has been significantly enriched by my association with NABL. I believe that many of you, too, have experienced enhanced professional development as public finance experts through your NABL membership, our conferences, and advocacy.

As NABL President, I have focused on four (4) things NABL does well to make all of us better public finance professionals, namely:

(1) NABL educates and informs its members and other members of the public finance community

(2) NABL advocates for laws that make public finance better

(3) NABL builds tools that make public finance better; and

(4) NABL builds friendships and professional connections.

In this column, I want to focus on how NABL builds friendships and professional connections. 

Remarking on how NABL builds friendships and professional connections, NABL Communications Director Allegra Tasaki recently captured for me the spirit of community at NABL’s conferences with the following statement:  “It happens in the hallways.”  A highlight of NABL’s conferences for me personally are the conversations in the hallways and at receptions and dinners—and perhaps over late-night cocktails.  It’s how people stop to talk and share with one another.  

And, conferences are not the only forums that NABL provides for the exchange of ideas.  NABL committee projects and teleconferences also are avenues to build friendships and professional connections.  I’m particularly excited about some of the “open microphone” webinars that committees have hosted over the past year.  For example, through Tax-Law-Committee webinars involving topics like the qualified equity rules, through Securities-Law-and-Disclosure-Committee webinars involving topics like the Financial Data Transparency Act, and Diversity-Committee webinars involving topics like leadership skills, NABL members have had the opportunity not only to hear updates from legal experts but also to “take the mike” and engage those experts in Q&A. 

One question I often get is:  “How do I get involved with NABL?”  Let me offer a little “how to” here based on my own experience.  I was encouraged early in my public finance career to join NABL.  So I joined and got involved.  I joined the Securities Law and Disclosure Committee and looked for an opportunity to volunteer on a project.  Committee chair Bill Hirata gave me that opportunity when he let me take the lead on an SEC comment letter project.  I got to work on that project not only with Bill but also with NABL President John McNally.  I will always remember John taking the time to sit down with me at the NABL Institute in San Francisco to go through the draft comment letter to figure out how to improve it. 

I also remember volunteering to speak on panels at NABL conferences and getting encouraged and coached by NABL stalwarts like NABL President Rick Weber; Rick, in particular, was always such a good example of how to prepare thoroughly for conference panels.  You have to be on your game for these panels, as there are a lot of smart people in the audience. 

These personal stories illustrate two related points.  First, for those members who are not active in NABL, I encourage you to volunteer and do a good job because volunteering unlocks NABL’s value.  Second, for those members who are active in NABL, I encourage you to take interest in new volunteers because they are the future of our organization; coach them, mentor them, and take time to get to know them.

As I wind down my year as NABL President, I want to let all of you know how honored I am to have had the opportunity to serve this great organization that has meant so much to me.   I thank all of you for your confidence in me.  Thank you.