For 28 years, lawyer
Q. How did you first get involved with what was then the
A. It was serendipity. Back in 1985, I was a new litigation partner at
Q. Describe what you do as a PAMM volunteer. Do you work with the museum's general counsel?
A. The museum has never had an attorney on staff because of the expense. In effect, I am its general counsel -- but all my work is pro bono because of a strong conflict-of-interest policy in place at the museum. There are some situations where legal work is paid for, but that work is done almost exclusively by independent law firms. The matters that the museum brings to me for advice are a combination of traditional business-running issues, loss prevention, governance, contracts and art-related concerns. Because of my longevity on the board, I have the benefit of institutional knowledge combined with longtime relationships with the trustees and staff. I also have a wonderful network of public service-oriented lawyer friends in several major firms who don't run away when they see me coming to ask for their help, pro bono, in areas outside of my expertise. I affectionately call them "my pro bono law firm."
Q. What are some of the questions and matters that get fielded to you on a weekly basis?
A. Among other things, the museum sends me contracts to review regarding every aspect of its business and seeks assistance on human resources issues; evaluation of whether the museum's intellectual property rights are being infringed; bylaws and governance matters; preparation of deeds of gift of artwork, and capital campaign pledge agreements. I provide guidance during board meetings, prepare corporate resolutions, and interface with the museum's pro bono and paid counsel on specialized projects.
Q. What are some of the strangest or least expected matters that have come up over time?
A. When MAM was promoting one of its exhibitions, The Art of Vinyl, the marketing staff arranged to borrow a highly decorated 1960s VW van to drive around town blasting music. The challenge was to put into place safeguards to protect the museum while still allowing the creative essence of the promotion to proceed. Another exhibit called for creation of an avant-garde newspaper as a component, so there were potential free speech and defamation issues. Never a dull moment!
Q. How does the museum handle contributions to be sure that they are genuine?
A. Naming opportunities in exchange for payments that are spread over time require a down payment and regular payments in keeping with a written agreement. If payments are not made, the museum can remove the dedication.
Q. What exhibitions at the museum have been most memorable for you?
A. Of course, Picasso In Miami will always have a special place in my memory, as well as the Rodin sculpture exhibit in 1990, which
Q. Do you collect art now yourself as a result of your long involvement?
A. No, but I very much enjoy seeing the art that others collect, and I regularly attend local Art Treks sponsored by PAMM that provide behind-the-scenes looks at artists' studios and local collections in homes, with personal insights provided by the collectors.
Q. How many hours a week do you donate to this museum at this point, and how does that square with your "day"' job?
A. The issues I tackle often come in waves, so there is no typical week. Last year I donated about 300 hours of legal advice, and about another 100 hours of civic time. I often work at night to juggle everything.
Q. Because of the time you give to the museum, both your firm and you personally make less money. Can you guesstimate your contribution in terms of unbilled hours to your firm and in terms of lessened compensation to you over the years? How many hours have you put in to get the new museum open?
A. I would, indeed, have much more money in the bank. How much is impossible to quantify because compensation is a factor of many things. I have tracked my pro bono legal work for the museum over the past seven years to date, which is about 1700 hours, the value of which is in excess of
Q. You've been on the board now for almost 26 years. Why have you stayed so long?
A. When I started this journey, I had no idea that it would take me on this path. As the
Things have come full circle. It began with civic involvement 104 years ago when Col.
Q. You have two children and a full-time job as a law firm partner. How do you juggle those responsibilities with volunteering?
A. All of the aspects of my life dovetail with each other, and bring me joy in different ways, so the complexity of it all can be taken in stride. My husband is very supportive, which is critical. I now have the benefit of 20-20 hindsight to see that my children did not suffer from the busy life I live -- they came along with me to the office on the weekends, or to the museum, when they were not busy with school, sports, and debate team, and I was emotionally there for them at all times. They saw the long hours at work but still decided to become attorneys. They are now smart, caring and well-adjusted young adults. Ironically, I attended my first CFA board of trustees meeting a week after giving birth to my daughter in 1988, and now, fittingly, she is hoping to someday have her wedding reception at PAMM.
Q. What advice would you give young lawyers -- or anyone starting out in a career -- regarding volunteerism? What are the pros and cons? Should they stick with the same organization or try out different ones?
A. The old adage is true: "Find your passion." There are a lot of nonprofits that need your talents, and when you find the one that speaks to you, truly make a difference there. You will develop skills, network with like-minded people, and find fulfillment and gratitude. I find that dabbling on the surface in a number of organizations is not the answer.
Q. What have you learned from being on the board?
A. I have learned by watching and working with some of the great leaders in our community who have headed the museum's board over the years (including but certainly not limited to
Q. Tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise your fellow board members and coworkers.
A. I originally thought I was destined to be a news reporter. I was a journalism major at the
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