President’s Message: A Roadmap to the Future

WDC Journal Edition: Spring 2020
By: Christine M. Rice, President, Wisconsin Defense Counsel

In 2016, the Wisconsin Defense Counsel Board of Directors participated in a strategic planning retreat that would provide the roadmap for a comprehensive set of goals, objectives and critical tasks to lead WDC into the future. The 2016 Strategic Plan was very focused on membership growth and revitalization. It led to development of committees including Employment Law, Insurance Law, Membership, and Women in the Law. These committees have been an incredible addition to the organization and continue to provide an additional sense of community that WDC may have been missing previously.

Non-profit organization best practices indicate that strategic planning should be conducted every three to five years to ensure that the organization’s mission and vision represent the current state of the organization - and to evaluate the organization’s culture, structure and procedures.[1] The WDC Board of Directors has determined that the next Strategic Planning Retreat will be held in April 2020 prior to the Spring Conference.

Attorney J. Michael Weston, a Past President of DRI, The Voice of the Defense Bar, has been selected to facilitate the Retreat. Attorney Weston will be meeting with some of the WDC Executive Committee members and staff in advance of the retreat to discuss the overall plan, which includes a survey of the Board of Directors, committee chairs and a sample of members. The WDC Lobbyist and Government Relations Firm, Hamilton Consulting Group, LLC, will also be providing input for the survey questions, as the Board would like to identify legislative goals and objectives to be included with their new strategic plan. The results from the survey will be useful to determine the direction of WDC going forward.

Attorney Weston’s facilitation includes presentations on service and commitment, along with group discussion concerning the organization mission, current structure, member services and survey results. From there, the Board of Directors will work diligently to determine the goals, objectives and critical tasks that shape WDC’s roadmap for the future. The Board of Directors will leave the Retreat with an implementation plan that will allow for a clear evaluation of achievements associated with the plan.

I believe that the Wisconsin Defense Counsel is on the path to greater success; however, this strategic roadmap is required to ensure that we are all on the same page – striving to promote, represent and demonstrate the mission of the organization. In order to continue moving WDC forward, we are going to need the passion, energy and dedication from each and every one of you. We are all in this together – dedicated to the defense of Wisconsin citizens and businesses and the maintenance of an equitable civil justice system.

Author Biography:

Attorney Christine Rice is a Shareholder and the President of Simpson & Deardorff, S.C. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Carroll College, and after practicing for several years as a registered nurse, she returned to law school and graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University. Ms. Rice practices in all areas of insurance defense, specializing in insurance coverage. Ms. Rice has been recognized by her peers as a Wisconsin “Super Lawyer,” and was one of Wisconsin Law Journal’s “Leaders in the Law” in 2019. Ms. Rice also serves on the Board of Directors at her alma mater, Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.

[1] See Michael Johnson, Realigning the Board for Successful Strategic Planning, (June 30, 2017); see also 5 Phases of Strategic Planning, (2016).