November 15, 2012

NCVLI Board Member Spotlight: Sean Beers

Board member  Sean Beers shares his thoughts on why others should get involved with NCVLI, and what he hopes to see accomplished in the future of victims’ rights.

The compassionate, devoted members of NCVLI’s Board of Directors come from all walks of life, and many bring the perspective of personal experience with victimization to their work for victims.  In this NCVLI Board Member Spotlight, we aim to share with the community a glimpse into the insights of the people working behind the scenes to help shape NCVLI’s work for victims.

Board member Sean Beers shares his thoughts on why others should get involved with NCVLI, and what he hopes to see accomplished in the future of victims’ rights.

Why did you first get interested in working with NCVLI and victims’ rights?
I first got involved with NCVLI when I was a law student and the Institute’s founder, Doug Beloof who also was a professor at the law school, urged me to take the Crime Victims’ class he was teaching. Of course I knew nothing of crime victim law, and frankly like many others hadn’t even given much thought to crime victims themselves at that time. Nonetheless, I respected Doug and appreciated the interest he had shown in me so I took the class and began to see that which I had little to no awareness of up to that point. Later, after graduation, Doug asked me to join the Institute’s board where my financial management and strategic planning background could be of aid  during what were then the formative years of the organization. Finally, through considerable hard work and collaboration to establish and position the Institute, the board asked me to become the NCVLI Chairman, which I took on with a passion. I served in that role for approximately 5 years and am proud of the work that was accomplished though humbled by the magnitude of that which is left undone.

As an organization what is NCVLI’s greatest strength?
Like many NFP’s, the Institute is driven by highly impassioned people who care deeply about the cause and the individual people for whom they fight. As importantly NCVLI is fortunate to have attracted some of the brightest minds I have ever worked with in any capacity. From our Executive Director, to the Board of Directors to the staff attorneys, past and present, this organization has been able to attract smart, caring, driven personalities, which are truly the lifeblood of the organization.

What would you most like NCVLI or the victims’ rights movement to accomplish in the next five years? Twenty years?
My vision is that NCVLI will be a self-sustaining organization in the next 10-15 years. Reliance on federal funding is what has largely gotten the Institute this far, but raising the awareness among private sector donors of the issues and work that needs to be done to ensure the goals of the Institute are met longer term is crucial to the well being of the crime victim movement. The reality is it does take money to ensure that the legislative and educational initiatives of NCVLI are executed at a high level and that we are building a foundation on which the future of the crime victim movement can properly be built. Relying on federal dollars, while important up to this point, has created the need for  strong leadership within the crime victim community and beyond to assist in the funding imperatives of the Institute for the benefit of crime victims generally.

Why should someone else get involved with NCVLI and victims’ rights?
This is a difficult topic. It’s difficult for victims for obvious reasons. It’s difficult for non victims who may lack empathy or are simply embroiled in their own life’s battles in a way that doesn’t allow them to reach out to others despite a deeper desire to do so. It’s difficult for donors because the topic is not well understood and the area of law is still emerging. Understanding these challenges from the Institute’s perspective reinforces my own commitment in that I recognize if we don’t participate to raise the awareness of, and develop solutions to victim centered issues and problems, both legal and emotional, then who will? I think that for anyone out there who themselves feels courageous enough to help others in true need, to really make a difference in this world, then time, energy and financial resources committed to NCVLI and the crime victim movement is a sure fire way to contribute in a way that will make the world a better place for victims of crime. It matters.