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 Strategic Planning Report and Recommendation
Home   Strategic Planning Report and Recommendation





The Genesee County Bar Association embarked upon a strategic planning process beginning in June of 2011, working with State Bar Director of Research and Development, Anne Vrooman. Ms. Vrooman, through a series of discussions, assisted in identifying the various methods by which the GCBA could obtain valuable input from its membership, as well as non-members and objective data that would inform and develop the strategic focus areas in which the GCBA would like to prioritize its energy and resources over the coming three or more years.


The strategic planning process used the following methods by which to collect the information used by the Strategic Planning Committee to develop the strategic focus areas:

  • Genesee County Legal Community Survey Results
  • Key results of 4 focus groups
  • Share Your Quick Two Cents
  • Genesee County Attorney Demographics
  • 2006 Strategic Plan and Status Report
  • GCBA Bylaws and sample Affiliate Membership provisions



The Strategic Planning Committee convened at 8:30am on February 17, 2012 and, with the assistance of Facilitator, Anne Vrooman, reviewed and discussed the various documents of information reflecting the comprehensive input that had resulted from our planning process. Among the topics, factors, issues and concerns the Committee discussed were:


  • The demographics of the GCBA reflect an aging membership, numerous solo practitioners, few small firms and attorneys working in educational, accounting and non-profit services environments.
  • Income varies but the economic downturn since 2008 has negatively impacted most of our membership
  • Association dues obligations compete with other membership organizations that require dues. However, a courthouse presence for Association membership/dues drive is successful. More access points to connect with the GCBA could prove to be beneficial.
  • New members & even long-time members are uncomfortable at GCBA monthly luncheons. A one on one "ask" to the luncheon together with different seating to encourage conversation could be successful
  • Members are asking for more social and networking opportunities. Round tables to encourage conversation, expansion of networking contacts, and mentoring opportunities for Attorneys of all age and experience levels would be helpful.
  • Lots of feedback concerning the monthly luncheon; membership desires to make luncheon more fun, with useful practice tips; use round tables to encourage interaction, make less intimidating, have Board members "host" a table, topics at the table for discussion; snappy bullet-type presentations; assigned seating which changes every month to ensure networking opportunities; use of a suggestion box for topics; need more "meat/meet" in the meeting; make it easy for people to attend.
  • Increase effective communications with local list-serv, website blog, person to person communications, News & Notes, other social media, smart phone apps, billboard opportunities on our website
  • Increase awareness of GCBA services; spotlight on a benefit
  • Strategies to increase visibility of Association & members and public perception of who we are and what we have to offer.

After discussing the information gleaned from the strategic planning process the Committee began crystallizing the specific STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS it felt the membership's input had identified as priorities for the Association to pursue over the next three plus years. The Facilitator had the Committee review the GCBA's 2006 Strategic Plan and reminded the group that new focus areas do not replace a prior strategic plan but serve as an overlay to an existing strategic plan. New strategic focus areas provide the organization with a fresh and renewed perspective on pre-existing goals while establishing a new vision with newly articulated priorities.


The following page captures the 2012 Strategic Focus Areas for the GCBA as developed by the Strategic Planning Committee.




The Strategic Planning Committee determined that in order for the GCBA to remain relevant to its membership and this Greater Flint Community it must periodically examine its goals and redefine its priorities. Having done so, the Committee recommended to the GCBA Board of Directors the following Strategic Focus Areas as priorities for the GCBA over the next three years. At a regularly scheduled meeting on March 15, 2012 the Board of Directors approved the 2012 - 2015 Strategic Focus Areas.


VALUE ADDED DRIVERS: Additionally, the Committee identified the following two value added dynamics that serve to enhance, drive and deliver outcomes on every Strategic Focus Area initiative and should, therefore, be identified, developed and included as part of every successful project:


  1. Use of a wide variety of communication methodologies; and
  2. Use of a wide variety of social opportunities.

The Committee underscored the necessity of intentionally creating greater opportunities for socializing among the membership, working to make participation easy, comfortable, accessible, and inclusive, whether it is at our monthly membership meetings or evening events.





1. Attracting and Retaining Membership

Identify and implement strategies to promote the benefits of belonging to and actively participating in the GCBA, including social, educational, leadership, and networking opportunities that will attract, assist in recruiting and retaining Members.

  • Increase diversity
  • Change the bylaws to allow for affiliate membership category
  • Use Courthouse, if possible, to create a GCBA presence
  • Intentionally create interesting, fun and easily accessible social opportunities for all Members

2. Affiliate Membership

Actively seek an all inclusive membership that reflects the comprehensive community of legal professionals in Genesee County by creating an Affiliate Membership opportunity to paralegals, legal secretaries, judicial secretaries, court clerks, court administrators, court reporters, legal support staff and persons retired from such positions through a change in our bylaws. Provide opportunities for Affiliate Members to work with Attorney Members on issues, initiatives, seminars, social events, as well as professional development educational opportunities specifically designed for Affiliate Members. This is an initiative that is already being done in a number of bar associations, including the SBM.

  • Develop a Working Group to begin identifying and actively marketing opportunities for Affiliate Members within the GCBA

3. Networking
Networking is a valuable tool to all Members. Providing a variety of networking opportunities to Attorney Members of all experience levels increases access to a greater breadth and depth of knowledge areas and population groups, both within the Association and the greater Genesee County region.


  • Monthly, provide informal mentoring opportunities for younger and older Attorney Members
  • Develop creative, easily accessible Mentoring Initiatives for younger and older Attorney Members
  • Speed Mentoring is a new idea that has been successful in other communities
  • Involve Judges (and other key Courthouse personnel)

4. Increase Visibility of GCBA, thereby Increasing the Value the Public places on Local Attorneys which results in Increased Use of Local Attorneys

Use a variety of methods and proactively identify and implement opportunities to increase positive GCBA brand recognition that will serve to educate the public about the broad expertise and experience they will obtain by using local Attorney Members.

  • Use of GCBA website
  • Relevant to Members and provides Member value
  • Need comprehensive plan that includes marketing emphases
  • Difficult but important
  • Connect Legal Services
  • Connect with other groups in the community
  • Visibility with Local community groups: Rotary, Nursing Homes
  • Courthouse connections
  • Speakers Bureau - With concise, focused topics, i.e., foreclosure

5. Education

Continue to create and provide quality educational opportunities of all kinds for our Members and the public that is consistent with a GCBA reputation and brand as the 'go-to' Association for high quality legal expertise.

  • Maintaining/ Increasing educational opportunities
  • Committees and chairs
  • Narrow focus
  • Bar Foundation
  • Technology with focus on older attorneys