Letter From The President Of The Houston Chapter Of The Association Of Corporate Counsel

2007-12-01 00:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :

This year, the Houston Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Chapter was awarded the Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award in the medium chapter category (251 to 750 members). To win this award, the Chapter had to be adjudged by ACC National Service Board as being "outstanding" in three areas over other medium-size chapters: (1) actively promoting member involvement; (2) exhibiting overall excellence in meeting its members' needs; and (3) demonstrating leadership.

The Houston Chapter submitted an application showing evidence of the Chapter board's accomplishments during the period of time of March 31, 2006 to April 1, 2007. With the Chapter's board year starting October 1, the relevant period of time for the application spanned parts of two board years and highlighted the accomplishments of two boards, one led by Don Butler of Seneca Resources, and the other led by me.

The winning application had to have a strong theme; one that could be carried throughout the application. After considering the evidence that was going to be put forth, the theme selected was "Strength in Numbers!." This theme was appropriate because it allowed the Chapter to feature the fact that during the relevant period of time, its membership increased 19.8 percent, by 124 members. It also gave the Chapter the opportunity to discuss how it was able to achieve an 80.6 percent member retention rate. The Chapter was able to achieve the outstanding membership increase because of the potential member data-mining of President Don Butler. Working with hundreds of names on lists from the Texas State Bar and the Martindale-Hubbell database, Don culled non-member in-house counsels, who were then invited to attend a lunch Chapter meeting at no expense. The 80.6 percent retention rate was achieved due to the Chapter's membership benefits, which were able to be sustained at an excellent level due to the increase in the size of the Chapter's Board from 12 to 21, starting October 2006. These efforts resulted in the active promotion of member involvement, adjudged by ACC National as being outstanding.

Also supporting the Houston Chapter's Chapter of the Year Award was the success of the Chapter's major fund-raising event, the 8th Annual Golf/Spa Event. The event held in early March 2007 yielded a greater amount than ever for diversity minority scholarships: $60,000. As a result, each of 15 Houston-area law school minority legal scholars received $4,000 for the fall 2007 semester. The Chapter was able to accomplish this thanks to the number of Golf/Spa Event sponsors, who made the 2007 event a resounding success. In planning and hosting this event, the Houston Chapter demonstrated outstanding leadership.

The Chapter was also recognized for its overall excellence in meeting its members' needs. Membership benefits provided to Houston Chapter members during the relevant period included 11 chapter meetings, three four-hour seminars, two General Counsel Panel presentations, one two-hour seminar, and five networking events, including the all-day Golf/Spa Event. Additionally, the Chapter held a Diversity Reception to recognize the diversity scholarship winners and to thank its Golf/Spa Event sponsors, which was hosted by General Counsels, Charlene Ripley of Linn Energy and Stephen Gates, of ConocoPhillips.

During the relevant period, the Board was able to finalize its creation of a not-for-profit foundation to attract funds from corporations that desire to further the goal of diversity in the law. Immediately after its formation, the Houston ACC Diversity Foundation raised $15,000.

The winning Chapter of the Year application was drafted by board member Eileen Groves of United Space Alliance, LLCPresident-Elect, John Allen of Paradigm Software, and me. Eileen, who was also the 2006-07 Chair of the ACC National Employment & Labor Committee, was particularly instrumental in drafting the Houston Chapter's winning application, especially because she was the author of the E&L Committee's winning 2007 Committee of the Year application and winning 2007 Committee Sponsor of the Year application.

Thanks to the hard work of the entire Houston Chapter Boards, 2006 and 2007, ACC National confirmed that the Houston Chapter had done the things needed to be deserving of the title of 2007 Chapter of the Year in its category. For its accomplishments, the Chapter received a beautiful crystal memento inscribed with details of the Award.


Irene Kosturakis