Serving Our Community
By Elsa Manzanares
It has been an honor serving as the 2022 President of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (DHBA). We are a volunteer organization supporting Hispanic attorneys and the greater Hispanic community in Dallas for more than 50 years. As we emerged from almost two years of lockdowns at the beginning of 2022, our Board of Directors sought to ensure that this year’s initiatives and programming would be relevant and responsive to the needs of our most important constituents – our members. We agreed that our affection for DHBA was a primary factor behind our decision to take on a leadership role within the organization and that one of our goals would include fostering that same enthusiasm in all of our members.
We began the year by surveying our members on activities and programming they enjoyed most in the past year as well as how our organization can provide more value to members. In February, we invited Liz Cedillo, Assistant City Manager for the City of Dallas, to provide inspiring words to our members on the importance of volunteerism.
Recognizing the potential to expand our reach to members and the community through social media, we appointed a professional marketing consultant to serve as chair of our communications committee. It made sense that a former corporate relations manager for LATINA Style, Diana Maltez, would answer the call to serve our organization and do so in a transformational way. With her support, we have also taken our non-profit to a new level by optimizing our member experience, and, according to our members, our communications have never looked better.
As a leading Hispanic bar association in the country, we continued fostering ties with the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) in 2022 for the benefit of our members and to ensure that our work on the ground in Dallas is visible to other HNBA affiliates in Texas and nationwide.
Every year, the DHBA in coordination with our affiliate, the Dallas Hispanic Bar Foundation, welcomes our members and the greater Dallas community to support the worthy causes our work makes possible through our annual fundraising gala, Noche de Luz. This event benefits various DHBA pipeline initiatives, including law student scholarships at the three Dallas-area law schools: SMU Dedman School of Law, University of North Texas Dallas College of Law, and Texas A&M University School of Law. This event also supports our annual Dallas Latina Leadership Program, which focuses on the professional development needs of our Latina attorneys and law students. Finally, our Judicial Externship Program seeks to increase access by Hispanic law students to judicial externships in the federal district courts and state appellate courts of Dallas.
We are grateful to the numerous law firms, companies, and individuals who supported Noche de Luz this year. The community’s response to our call for support was unprecedented and heartwarming. We raised more funds for Noche de Luz this year than ever before.
Noche de Luz was also noteworthy this year because of our special partnership with LATINA Style to recognize additional outstanding member-leaders of our DHBA familia. This year’s special recognition “DHBA Women of Distinction” spotlighted 10 members who selflessly give to our bar association and community, paving the way for others to succeed. Robert Bard, CEO of LATINA Style, joined us in Dallas to present this recognition to our honorees. It was an unforgettable evening and DHBA looks forward to our continued partnership with LATINA Style!