Inside NACDL: Staff Highlights

Staff Highlights

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NACDL’s ability to advance its core mission and provide outstanding membership service hinges on the dedication of its talented staff. As important as it is for the staff to know as many of our members as is humanly possible, it is also important for NACDL members to know the outstanding people who guide NACDL’s many activities. This month brings three key staff changes — a retirement and two promotions. The retirement of one of our most valuable directors, Cecelia Hannon, is a great loss, but I am confident that the promotion of two other dynamic young staffers, Tamara Kalacevic and Calli Schiller, will significantly enhance NACDL’s performance.

Cecelia Hannon Retires After 17 Years

Cecelia Hannon joined NACDL on October 30, 1989, as the executive assistant during Keith Stroup’s tenure as executive director. She is now the longest serving staff member. When Cecelia leaves in early June, it will be after a remarkable career in which she rose to meetings director, a position she assumed more than a decade ago. NACDL members who have attended our CLE programs or quarterly Board of Directors meetings undoubtedly know Cecelia as the maestro who orchestrates all of the details essential to a successful meeting. What they may not know is that Cecelia Hannon handles a wide array of office responsibilities and serves as a de facto office manager.

Cecelia has been involved in virtually every aspect of NACDL’s meetings, which have taken the Association to cities across the United States, and, on one occasion, to Mexico. She has learned to plan for almost every contingency, and she has also learned that no matter how extensive the planning has been, one must always be prepared for the unexpected. When asked to reflect on some memorable experiences, she recalled that at her first NACDL seminar after becoming meetings director, the 1996 Annual Meeting in Santa Monica, Calif., she had to deal with a power failure that affected the entire West Coast. She handled the problem with ingenuity, a lot of energy, and some good luck, and the meeting continued as planned. In acknowledging accolades at the Spring Meeting in Cincinnati, Cecelia said that what she has most enjoyed about her tenure at NACDL has been the opportunity to work with the members and staff, whom she noted, “are so very dedicated to important causes.”

While we are sad to see Cecelia leave, we wish her every success as she pursues an entirely new career. Always interested in new challenges, Cecelia successfully returned to college to pursue her dreams of a career in interior design. She will be working in partnership with her husband, Tracy Roach, in their company, “Kitchen Designer, Inc.” —

Tamara Kalacevic Promoted to Meetings Manager

Tamara Kalacevic, a supremely talented member of the NACDL team, joined the Association in March 2003 as education assistant. Those who regularly attend NACDL’s CLE meetings may have already had the pleasure of meeting Tamara as she has worked hard to insure that registration and membership support proceeds seamlessly. Tamara has worked closely with Gerald Lippert, attending to the myriad details of NACDL’s highly regarded Continuing Legal Education program. She has had principal responsibility for insuring compliance with CLE requirements across the nation.

Tamara, who is a native of Serbia, obtained a law degree with honors from the University of Novi Sad. She is fluent in three languages and has a deep interest in politics. As Tamara put it, “Coming from Serbia, one must always be involved in world developments.” She was originally drawn to NACDL because of the Association’s support for the International Criminal Court, its stand against the death penalty, and its support of indigent defense services. Tamara, who recently married Sasha Rakas, an operations specialist in the brokerage industry, will now have greatly enhanced duties as she assumes prime responsibility for meeting planning and execution. We wish Tamara well in her new position and are confident that she will be a great success.

Calli Schiller Appointed Manager for Grassroots Advocacy

NACDL’s ability to impact public policy, by opposing harmful legislative initiatives that conflict with the Association’s mission and supporting those that advance the mission, hinges on our ability to cultivate and coordinate field-level support from our members and broad coalitions. To do this effectively, it is essential to foment grassroots support. NACDL’s leaders have recognized the importance of adding a manager for grassroots advocacy, and at our Spring Meeting the Board of Directors approved the establishment of this position effective immediately. I am pleased to announce that the perfect candidate to launch this position was already a key member of NACDL’s staff: Calli Schiller.

Calli, an honors graduate from Indiana University with a double major in Journalism and Jewish Studies, has served as NACDL’s national affairs assistant since 2004. In that capacity, Calli has been an integral part of the Association’s public policy initiatives, providing important support in the areas of state and national legislative matters, and indigent and white collar defense. Additionally, Calli has provided important media assistance and Web site support, and is the principal author of NACDL’s e-news broadcasts. Most significantly, Calli has already begun to nurture NACDL’s grassroots capabilities through numerous projects, including NACDL’s Capwiz action alerts in support of the Association’s legislative program.

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Accordingly, Calli Schiller’s appointment to this new position is the ideal fit. Besides having the knowledge and skills to maximize this commitment of NACDL resources, Calli brings extraordinary exuberance to the task. She is unreservedly enthusiastic at the prospect of energizing others to support NACDL’s mission, and upon her appointment commented, “I love to get other people to care about the important issues of the day.” Without doubt, Calli’s enthusiasm will be infectious and will contribute to a new era of activism and advocacy at the grassroots level.

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