ACBA CEO Announces Retirement



Ann Wassam Announces Her Retirement in Early 2014


Oakland, CA—September 4, 2013—Veteran bar executive Ann Wassam announced her resignation as Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Alameda County Bar Association yesterday in a formal letter to ACBA President Rowena Gargalicana. For more than twelve years Ann has served as the head of the ACBA, managing numerous programs and services including a court appointed attorney program, a lawyer referral service and a separately incorporated pro bono program—in addition to countless educational programs and social events for East Bay lawyers and judges.

President Rowena Gargalicana notes that “we will miss Ann’s energy, enthusiasm and the wealth of experience she has brought to the ACBA. Throughout her time leading the ACBA, she has done an excellent job of managing the organization through various changes in our legal community, the non-profit world and the changing economy. Ann has consistently worked towards strengthening the ACBA’s leadership, finances, programs and relationships with members, bench officers and community-based organizations. The ACBA has greatly benefitted from Ann’s years of dedication. The Board is thankful for her years of commitment to the ACBA and wishes her well as she embarks on her well-deserved retirement.”

Reflecting on Ann’s tenure at the ACBA, VLSC President and former ACBA President Greg Brown commented on Ann’s knowledge and experience. “I recall attending a statewide bar leaders conference where an organizational expert was listing the various steps a well-managed bar should take to ensure good governance. It was gratifying that nearly everything the expert mentioned was in place thanks to Ann’s leadership.”

Former ACBA President and former State Bar of California Board of Governors Vice President Cheryl Hicks notes that in addition to managing the bar association, Ann became known for taking care of her officers and directors. “Ann provided incredible support to me while I served on the Board—whether it was drafting talking points and agenda items, introducing me to key stakeholders, or strategizing with me about committee appointments to help ensure diverse and dynamic leadership at the bar, Ann was always ready to help ensure my success.”

Ann’s last day on the job will be January 3, 2014. During her remaining four months, Ann will oversee the ACBA’s move to new and more efficient office space in downtown Oakland, the completion of long range strategic planning recommendations, and the annual changeover in bar leadership. “I’m confident that this is the perfect time to make this transition, in large part because of the Board of Directors and the talented staff currently in place,” Ann stated. “After more than 32 years of bar association work, I am looking forward to retirement and whatever adventures come my way.”

Prior to joining the ACBA, Ann worked for nearly twenty years at the State Bar of California in various capacities. During her tenure at the State Bar, she directed a state wide pro bono support program, regulated lawyer referral services and oversaw the Office of Bar Relations. She also helped develop LAW-HELP-CALIFORNIA, an award winning legal services program that provides assistance to victims of federally declared disasters.