|Gary Zhao | Candidate for Treasurer|
Candidate for Treasurer
I am very excited to announce my candidacy for Treasurer of NAPABA. I stand by NAPABA’s mission of fostering professional development, advocacy and community involvement and will work hard to support its Strategic Plan so as to best serve its members.
If elected, as your Treasurer, I will have the privilege of managing the organization’s finances and continue to strengthen NAPABA’s fiscal position. I will continue the great work of my predecessor Eugene Kim by ensuring accurate and sound financial oversight and reporting; oversee the monthly receipt and disbursement of funds; develop a feasible budget to maintain the services NAPABA provides, improve its programs by using NAPABA’s resources efficiently and effectively; and examine non-traditional revenue sources and sponsorship and partnership opportunities to help NAPABA achieve a balanced budget.
Serving for the past two years as an At-Large Board member since 2016, I have gained insights into NAPABA’s programming and financial affairs and as a former affiliate President and former co-chair of NAPABA’s litigation committee. I have served on NAPABA’s Programs Task Force for the past two years examining feasibility of various existing and potential NAPABA programs and their impact on NAPABA’s finances. I am currently working with the Programs Task Force to revamp the community service project held in conjunction with the annual convention by exploring ways to partner with interested social services organizations so the community service project can be improved while cutting significant costs for NAPABA. If elected, I will work with the VP of Programs and Operations to explore more ideas like this to help NAPABA avoid using its precious financial resources to provide services and achieve its goals.
I currently co-chair NAPABA’s steering committee of the Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy. This leadership training program allows NAPABA to partner with several established national diverse bar organizations to provide leadership training with minimal financial impact on NAPABA. The number of first time NAPABA attendees increased by over 60% from 2017 to 2018. I worked with the steering committee to develop programs specifically geared for alumni and also explored non-traditional sponsors for CBLA.
I also co-chaired SmithAmundsen’s firm-wide Diversity Committee from 2013 to 2015. In this position I led the firm’s diversity initiatives, oversaw the use of firm-wide diversity budget. All of the above experiences will help me accomplish my duties as your Treasurer.
Leaders and members I have worked with know that I work cooperatively with diverse stakeholders to find creative solutions that work. I have energy and passion to bring to the Treasurer position so that NAPABA will stay a financially strong, unified, and cohesive organization.
Gary represents clients in high-stake and complex business litigation matters nationwide. A partner in SmithAmundsen LLC’s commercial litigation group, Gary has secured victories through both trial and arbitration for his client in cases involving breach of contract, intellectual property, false advertising, unfair competition, business fraud and other disputes. He has been atlarge member of the board of governors of NAPABA since 2016. He currently co-chairs NAPABA’s steering committee of the Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy, a substantive program resulting from a collaboration of the six sponsoring bar associations and lays the foundation for further collaborative efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. From 2011 to 2016, Gary served as the co-chair of NAPABA national litigation committee, an active committee with over 200 members. Gary was recognized by NAPABA as one of Best Lawyers Under 40 in 2015. He is a past President of the Chinese American Bar Association, a NAPABA affiliate, and is a recipient of the Presidential Leadership Award from the organization. Gary is the current President-elect of AABA Chicago and received its Member of the Year Award in 2010. Gary also proudly serves on the honorary board of the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago (FALA). He was recognized as one of 40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch by Chicago Daily Law Bulletin in 2011. In 2018, Gary received Chicago Bar Association’s Vanguard Award, which honors lawyers that have made the law and the legal professional more accessible to and reflective of the community we serve. Gary is also fully engaged in his law firm’s diversity activities. He co-chaired SmithAmundsen’s firm-wide Diversity Committee from 2013 to 2015. In this position he led the firm’s diversity initiatives, oversee the use of firm diversity budget and ensure that all members of the firm feel appreciated for their unique perspectives and backgrounds.
NAPABA Affiliate Endorsements
*All work or organizational affiliations disclosed are for identification and disclosures purposes only, and do not constitute endorsements by those institutions.