ALM Properties, Inc.
Page printed from: Daily Report
Select 'Print' in your browser menu to print this document.
Atlanta Bar hires new executive director
The Atlanta Bar Association has found a new executive director at last.
Terri Beck, the executive director of Everybody Wins! Atlanta, a nonprofit promoting child literacy, will succeed Diane O'Steen, who is retiring after 26 years as the bar's executive director and 47 years with the organization.
Lynn Roberson, the Atlanta Bar's president, said Beck's experience running a nonprofit with close ties to the legal community, plus her interpersonal skills, will allow her to make a smooth transition.
"We were looking for someone who was going to be able to manage a large staffsomeone who could deal with the various personalities among the membership and on the board comfortablyand whom we were going to be comfortable with," Roberson said.
At the Atlanta Bar, Beck will oversee a staff of 14 and work with 18 board members.
Beck has strong relationships with the local legal community because it is one of the primary supporters of her literacy nonprofit, said Rita Sheffey, the bar's immediate past president, who led the search for O'Steen's replacement.
"She is a good fit in dealing with our constituencies," Sheffey said.
Beck will start her new job on Jan. 14. O'Steen will stay on until the end of January to help with the transition, Roberson said. "Terri has had a lot of interactions with us over the years and knows what she's getting into. I think the transition will be pretty easy for her and for us."
Mary Lynne McInnis, the Atlanta Bar's director of continuing legal education for 26 years, is also retiring at the end of January, Roberson said, so Beck will join the organization during a time of leadership change.
O'Steen had originally planned to retire in June, but the first search for her replacement did not pan out.
Sheffey, who headed the search committee, said they did not find the right person for the jobso O'Steen agreed to postpone her retirement while they undertook a new search.
The bar advertised the position nationally and received about 100 applications, Sheffey said. "We reached out far and wideand ended up with someone in our own backyard."
Sheffey said Beck's collaborative approach to leadership was one reason the Atlanta Bar chose her as O'Steen's successor.
"She is focused on the team, the culture and collegiality. That is an incredibly strong quality that Terri brings to the bar to work with the staff, the board and our members," Sheffey said. "I think she is going to be a wonderful ambassador for the bar."
Beck has been the executive director of the Atlanta chapter of Everybody Wins! for 13 years, joining only two years after its launch.
The Atlanta Bar Association became a partner to the nonprofit a year later.
"Over the course of my tenure as executive director here, I have been working with the legal community. It has been a mainstay of the funding and volunteer support of this organization," Beck said.
One of the nonprofit's biggest programs, Power Lunch, pairs students reading below grade level with volunteer mentors who read to them. Beck said lawyers make up a large percentage of the local group's 1,000 volunteer reading mentors.
'Living lawyers for a long time'
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton houses the nonprofit's office, she added. "I've been living lawyers for a long time."
Everybody Wins! started in 1991 in New York and has affiliates in 14 cities. Beck said the Atlanta chapter is the third-largest, after New York and Washington.
She has expanded the group's work over her tenure. Everybody Wins! Atlanta served 75 children in 1999. Last year it served 2,600 children from 13 schools. "It would take something special to have me leave this position," Beck said. "Diane O'Steen's departure will be the first transition for the bar in almost three decades, so having the position come open was a really unique situation."
Beck said she was attracted by the opportunity to run a larger organization with more diverse activities, including membership services, continuing legal education and outreach work in the community.
"It is a robust, thriving organization," Beck said of the Atlanta Bar Association, which has about 6,300 members. "The staff is very tenured and accomplished in their work and to be able to build on that is quite exciting for me."
"There is the added bonus of being able to work in a community where I have so many personal and professional relationships," Beck said. "That doesn't always happen when making a career shift."
Roberson said the bar is planning a send-off celebration for O'Steen and McInnis at the end of January, when they both retire.
Sheffey is heading the search committee to find McInnis' successor.