Deep Thoughts by Kim Lowe – Hail and Farewell: Saying Goodbye to Two HCBA Staffers

Avisen Legal

While President of the Hennepin County Bar Association in 2015 and 2016, Kim blogged regularly with random thoughts about her random thoughts.  These blogs are being “republished” here in the order they appeared during Kim’s bar presidency.  Going forward more Deep (or Random Thoughts) by Kim Lowe may or may not be forthcoming.  It all depends on what thoughts pop into Kim’s head (or under her high school hair) during the course of the day.


Hail and Farewell: Saying Goodbye to Two HCBA Staffers

Posted By Kim Lowe, Wednesday, July 8, 2015


When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.
—Vietnamese Proverb

It is with both thankfulness and fear that I pen our message of thanks to Mary-Margaret Zindren,our intrepid executive director for the past 4 years who left us at the end of June to serve as the executive vice president of the American Institute of Architects Minnesota (AIA Minnesota).  While she leaves our association healthy, tightly focused on member value, and well positioned for the future, she is still gone and I will miss her as I take on the presidency of the Hennepin County Bar Association.

The past-president of the association, Eric Cooperstein, expressed high praise for Mary-Margaret and her work with us: “Mary-Margaret has had a transformative effect on our bar association. She met every challenge with energy, creativity, and insight. She personally modeled the connections and community that are vital to an association. Mary-Margaret has been the best executive director with whom I have had the privilege of working.”

When Mary-Margaret joined us as executive director she brought to our association a fresh perspective and an infectious spirit of innovation. Mary-Margaret came to us not as a lawyer but as a nonprofit management professional with deep and important association management knowledge and experience. Never daunted by the “specialness” of our profession and the lawyers who populate it, Mary-Margaret rolled up her sleeves and guided both our association and the volunteer leadership of the Hennepin County Bar Foundation’s (the executive director of the association is also the executive directors of the foundation) volunteer leadership through what Cooperstein aptly describes as a transformative process. And I speak for all of us when I say this metamorphosis, while necessary, was at times difficult as well as personally and professionally painful.

More than just being a force for change, however, Mary-Margaret led our association with a remarkable level of professionalism, kindness and grace.  She demonstrated for all us how to manage and lead an organization through changing times; she took on the tough tasks and carried them out masterfully.  Probably most importantly for our association and the foundation, Mary-Margaret served us ably as executive director while instituting in all volunteer leaders a renewed respect for nonprofit governance.  This level of governance excellence now permeates our organization.

Marcel Proust said: “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”  While Mary-Margaret leaves an important legacy at the HCBA, she also transitions to a new position with all us happier to have worked with her.  Mary-Margaret has planted and tended a pliant yet sturdy tree that will bear fruit for our members for many years to come. She leaves us better than she found us, and for that I am thankful.  On behalf of all of the members of the HCBA, I thank Mary-Margaret for her service to the HCBA and wish her well on her future endeavors.


I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks…
—William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act III, Scene 3

At the end of June, Joy Hamilton, long-time membership director of the Hennepin County Bar Association, retired.  On behalf of all of the HCBA members, I would like to express appreciation to Joy for over 20 years of service.

Joy served as more than just the association’s membership director.  Over the years she has raised over one  and a half million dollars for the Hennepin County Bar Foundation, the association’s charitable arm.  These contributions have allowed the foundation to fund at a substantial level the amazing work of the association’s pro bono arm, Volunteer Lawyers Network, as well as newer organizations like Call for Justice.

Joy’s contributions to our association have been both personal and professional. It goes without saying that Joy has given of her time and talent ably.  Much of what we do as an association reflects Joy’s gracious smile and exacting attention to detail.  But most importantly, throughout her years of service, Joy has engaged all of us with warmth and gentleness. While these attributes may sound “fuzzy,” for me and for many of us in the legal profession, Joy’s embodiment of civility and calm has served to temper the edges of an adversarial business.

The power and impact of Joy’s contributions to our association are best expressed in the words of others.

Vince Louwagie, newly elected treasurer of the board of directors of the foundation, commented that Joy “was always respectful of my time, but relentless about getting the job done. She seems to know almost every lawyer in town, and each of them gives her the time and attention she needs to convince them to make a contribution.”

Roshan Rajkumar, long time chair of the planning committee for the foundation’s Charity Golf Classic commented that “Joy always found ways to get members involved. When I mentioned to her that I loved golf, she recruited me to “help out” with the Charity Golf Classic, and before you know it—eight years and counting—I have been the committee chair. But really, behind the scenes, Joy made that event shine. She twisted arms to get sponsors, donors, and attendees, and in the end, every time, the Charity Golf Classic raises money for the HCBF, and helps build connections for all who attend.  I will miss Joy, as she has been my HCBA mother since I joined in 2001. She has always cared about the HCBA, its members, and me.  I think we are all better for having had Joy touch our lives.”

Thank you, Joy, for all that you have done to make our association a wonderful place to connect and engage all of our members.  You gifted us with your talent and dedication for 20+ years and we are better for that gift. Enjoy retirement and know that you have touched many of us personally and professionally.


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Kimberly Lowe

Kimberly Lowe

For over 20 years I have lawyered from the trenches with experience based on a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of how both for-profit and nonprofit enterprises operate. I guide entrepreneurs, executive management teams, boards of directors, multigenerational families, shareholders and investors through all aspects of the business life cycle from formation to operation to exit. Read Kim's Bio.

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