In a world where more than 50 women have lead countries around the world over the past century, the U.S. has yet to elect a woman president. But that’s not a problem at the Maricopa County Bar Association, especially in 2012. Current president of the MCBA – Jennifer Cranston of Gallagher & Kennedy – is the eighth woman to serve in that position. Hon. Rebecca Albrecht, now at Bowman and Brooke, was elected as the Association’s first female President in 1990. Since then, the following have joined ranks: Nancy Bodinet (1996); Leesa Berens Morrison (1998); Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier (1999); Yvonne Hunter (2003); Jo Ana Saint-George (2006); and Jennifer Green (2010). In addition to having a woman at the helm, 11 of the 19 voting members of the Association’s 2012 Board of Directors are women, which is believed to be the greatest female presence in the Board’s history. Female leadership also extends to the MCBA’s four divisions (Public Lawyers, Young Lawyers, Corporate Lawyers and Paralegals) as well as to several of its substantive law sections. The MCBA’s leadership diversity is not surprising or accidental. Consisting of 3,200 members – and growing – the Association provides opportunities and benefits to a diverse array of legal professionals and encourages all members to be actively involved. In addition to balancing gender, the current Board of Directors also includes representatives from small, medium and large firms as well as in-house counsel, government attorneys and the judiciary. Age and experience levels range from youth to seasoned and the variety of practice areas span 15 different substantive law areas. While President Cranston is pleased with the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, including the female perspective, she knows that there is room for future improvement. “I firmly believe that collaboration between a diverse group of individuals and representatives makes for better-reasoned decisions and a more successful organization as a whole.” For this reason, she invites and encourages all Maricopa County lawyers to join the MCBA and make their voices heard.
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