Board Member Spotlight

SVALA Board Member Spotlight – Joelle Stone  

I hope you are having as much fun reading these Board Member Spotlights as I am!

(You can easily access the other Board Member Spotlights by going to the “Meet the Board” page and clicking on a member’s name.)

This Spotlight is especially near and dear to my heart not only because I have known Joelle the longest of any of the board members but she also happens to be my best friend. (Of course, I adore all the board members!)

Joelle's babies: (top to bottom) Dolly, Bellah, Woody
Joelle’s babies: (top to bottom) Dolly, Bellah, Woody

Joelle and I first met when I joined Diepenbrock, Wulff, Plant and Hannegan. I had just come from a small firm as a fairly new administrator and became the administrator at a firm of 200+ people. It was a culture shock for me but Joelle, as the HR Director, stood by me and gave me sound advice and helped me navigate “big firm” life. With any newcomer, I think the staff eyed me a little warily but they all respected Joelle and her opinion and I suspect she put in a good word for me to help make it a smooth transition.

I knew from the beginning Joelle was fearless! During one of my first few weeks at the new job, Joelle came to the office with a horrendous road rash all down her leg and arms from some sort of exercising accident (I think it involved rollerblading). She continued to rock her stylish business suit (and, no doubt, high heels) and didn’t miss a day of work because of it.

She’s tough and fearless and what I have learned over and over through the years is she has a spectacular heart of gold and extraordinary generous spirit which she opens to friends, family, her fiancé, her step-daughter and lots and lots of dogs.

Don’t take it just from me! Let’s learn a bit more about Joelle.

Joelle Stone, HR Director
Business Partner Relations Chair

Joelle with fiance, Bryan, step-daughter, Amanda and Daisy
Joelle with fiance, Bryan, step-daughter, Amanda and Daisy

Tell us about your professional life. Like most of us, I didn’t really choose this position, it kind of chose me. I started my legal career as the assistant to the office manager in a boutique family law firm in Tampa, Florida while attending college. I recall the office manager was on the board of the Suncoast Chapter of ALA and assisting her with projects before board meetings. I had no intention of following this line of work, but here I am, having worked in several different positions in law firms. Many years ago, when I was still hanging on to the vestiges of my 20s, I decided to move from Tampa to the west coast to be closer to family in Oregon and Arizona. I picked Sacramento out of the Atlas, having never been here before, and flew out with a couple suitcases and had my furniture and car delivered. I then started with Diepenbrock, Wulff, Plant and Hannegan and moved with Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP when DWPH dissolved.

Why did you choose to serve on the board? A long, long time ago, Trish was asked to be on the nominating committee…. and there you have it. I love being on the board and being involved with SVALA. I’ve met so many great friends through ALA. I absolutely love the opportunity to attend Regional and National conferences and keeping my knowledge about our profession fresh. And the parties don’t hurt either.

A few of Joelle's foster dogs
A few of Joelle’s foster dogs

Tell us a little bit about your personal life/passion. I am a part of the Sacramento Shelter Networkers, a group of four volunteers who network the Sacramento County Animal Care rescue-only listed animals to rescue. This is a daily list of dogs that for whatever (sometimes specious) reason cannot be placed for adoption and are rescue only. We obtain better photos of the dogs as the shelter intake photos are generally not great, and write up an honest, yet positive, description of the dogs’ personality and temperament. We then market them to various rescues across the state, and sometimes as far as Canada (our friends up north rescue a lot of California Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls). We also arrange to have the dogs vetted (spay/neuter/vaccinated) and then organize transportation if needed. In 2012, our group won the Sacramento County Volunteer of the Year award. I have fostered many dogs from mamas and their newborn babies, to senior citizens dumped at the shelter, and pure bred Labradors that were neglected (all of which are now in loving homes). I also acquired a couple “foster fails” along the way, meaning they joined my home with my first love, Bellah, a yellow Lab/Weimaraner mix.

Joelle and her sister, Jan, enjoying mimosas
Joelle and her sister, Jana, enjoying mimosas

Anything else you’d like to share? My favorite meal of the day is brunch and mimosas of any kind! I make up for that indulgence by regularly working out – I enjoy boot-camp workouts, Body Pump and weight lifting. And, of course, walking the dogs. I love the beach – Ft. Bragg and Bandon, Oregon being a couple favorites. My fiancé (no, we have not set a date) and I enjoy going to Sharks’ games and concerts and see several shows a year. My favorite holiday is Daylight Savings! If you ever need to know how many days are left until Daylight Savings, just ask me as I’ll have a running countdown starting November 6th.

Many thanks to Joelle for her service on the SVALA Board of Directors in various capacities (including President) over the last several years. Her passion for helping (and saving) hundreds of rescue animals as well her commitment to the SVALA is commendable. Her devotion to mimosas isn’t too shabby either. 🙂 



Regional Conference Recap: Laugh to the Top

The ALA Regional Conferences are so good they deserve more than one recap! (If you missed the Rockin’ and Winning recap by Paula Lee you can read it here.)

SVALA members enjoying some networking time
SVALA members enjoying some networking time

Susan Nielsen, the SVALA Salary Survey Chair, attended the Region 5 & 6 Legal Management Conference in Phoenix and, from the looks of it, went to some terrific classes.

Sue shares her experience about one stand-out speaker and his inspirational session:

My favorite speaker was Mack Dryden and his class was “Laugh to the Top: A Hilarious Guide to Achieving Your Goals.”

Mack teaches through his own very interesting experiences in life, his ability to laugh in the face of adversity and keep moving forward. Like Mack said, “Falling on your face is still moving.”

SVALA member lunch at Region 6 Conference 2016
SVALA member lunch at Region 6 Conference 2016

Once you decide to “get moving,” the first step is to put your life in a couple of simple categories. Things you can do something about and things you can do nothing about. Now you’ll know what to start working on and what to let go. Don’t waste your time and energy on the things you cannot control.

Mack explained the seven steps to achieving your goal:

  • Control your fears and stresses;
  • Maintain a positive mental attitude;
  • Identify a specific target;
  • Write a plan;
  • Take action;
  • Observe the outcome objectively;
  • When needed, adjust your approach (learn from it and adjust);

Not every plan will work. Make adjustments and stick to it . . . chunk away at it each day . . .  it will happen!

Overall, this class allowed us to gain a little perspective in our personal and business lives, learn to laugh at ourselves during adversity, rise above it and reach for our goals.

For more on Mack Dryden search for him on YouTube. You won’t be disappointed. The video he played during his presentation was hilarious (“Ode to Forgetfulness” – I can relate!)

SVALA members at Region 6 Conference
SVALA members at Region 6 Conference

Many thanks to Sue for introducing the rest of us to Mack! Everyone can use a good laugh and if it works to get us to our goals then all the better.

Wishing everyone a good laugh today! And, remember: “Falling on your face is still moving.”



Regional Conference Recap: Rockin’ and Winning!

There is something special about ALA Regional Conferences. They are more intimate, they are held in fun locations and you can always count on a good time at the First Legal party.

I wasn’t able to attend this year but several SVALA members went and came back raving about the event. Paula Lee is one who not only had a fantastic time but also came back with some great takeaways.

Let’s hear it from Paula directly:

Let's Dance!
Let’s Dance!

ALA Regional Conferences rock! This was my second time attending a regional conference. The first was the regional conference SVALA hosted in Reno. In my humble opinion, regional conferences provide the best opportunity for networking.

I loved that Arizona had the same time zone which allowed for a more restful experience. Four session choices for each session block allowed for a variety of educational learning. Some sessions were more crowded than others but I always felt the sessions were small enough to gain more insight and allow for more audience participation.

We go to share and learn about new ideas. I heard that one of our chapter members and current Past-President, Penny Stauffer, was the star of a session as she explained how her firm creates a DAR (Departing Attorney Report) which is a report that helps identify important data to management to transition attorneys that are retiring. It struck me how Penny stated that she thought it was something that every firm did and she learned that she was actually on the cutting edge.

You share you learn.

A quote that I heard at least three times was “Sitting is the new smoking.” Just a reminder for us to get up from our desks, take breaks and keep moving! And two quotes that I thought were insightful in regards to productivity is “Good is the enemy of great” and “Done is better than perfect.”

Joelle Stone and Jessica Miller networking, learning and having some fun
Joelle Stone and Jessica Miller networking, learning and having some fun

Our Sacramento chapter always seems to draw others into our group whether it’s someone from another chapter walking with us to a vendor event or sharing our spot near the band or pulling in civilians to get the party started. We are lucky to have such a fun and social chapter. As someone that needs to be pulled out of her shell, the conferences are the perfect opportunities to connect.

Thanks SVALA for providing opportunities like this one. I was one of those blessed individuals that won the SVALA scholarship to attend. So grateful! And my lucky streak continued as I entered the raffle where you get 15 vendor signatures when visiting the vendor booths and I won registration fees for the ALA Annual Conference & Expo in Denver next April 2-5. Woohoo!!

Congratulations, Paula! Having served on the Board of Directors with Paula and spent time with her at various events, I am thrilled she won the scholarship and the registration fees prize. Sounds like someone needs a quick trip to Vegas to see if the lucky streak continues! 


Board Member Spotlight

Board Member Spotlight – Cindy Cintas Pilon, CLM

I am pleased to introduce you to Cindy Cintas Pilon, CLM who is on her second stint of being a SVALA Board Member. Cindy served as Treasurer a few years ago and, yes, we talked her into serving again! She is currently serving as the Law Firm Leadership and Holiday Luncheon Chair.

It is wonderful to have Cindy back on the Board and even more wonderful learning a bit more about her. I think you will enjoy “meeting” Cindy too!

Cindy Cintas Pilon, CLM
Law Firm Leadership and Holiday Event Chair


Cindy Pilon (left) with Julie Denker (right) at the 2016 CLI Conference
Cindy Cintas Pilon (left) with Julie Denker (right) at the 2016 CLI Conference

Tell us about your professional life. I have been working as the Office Manager for Johnson, Greene & Roberts LLP for close to five years. This spring we moved our offices to Capitol Mall and I love being downtown again. During my career, I have worked for two other law firms and in between had the opportunity to work as a manager for an administrative unit at UC Davis with architects and engineers. I ended up coming back to the legal field after encouraging others to follow their heart in their career (and wanting to keep mine intact with my long, scary commute over the Yolo Causeway!). I am drawn to the legal profession’s interesting work, talented professionals, challenging situations, and the sense of accomplishment when overcoming those challenges.

Last fall I earned the designation as a Certified Legal Manager. The entire experience of studying and sitting for the exam was demanding yet extremely rewarding. Pass or fail, I knew the journey was going to be very worthwhile. I enjoyed every moment and have created life-lasting bonds with those who participated in our study group (you know who you are!). Navigating the hurdles that I encountered made the outcome even more gratifying. And the achievement feels absolutely wonderful!

Cindy's container garden
Cindy’s container garden

Why did you choose to serve on the SVALA Board? This is my second time to serve on the SVALA Board. The first time I distinctly remember Ken Sockolov and Craig Price convincing me at a holiday luncheon (no doubt after a glass or two of wine!) that the time commitment for the Board position of Treasurer would consist of just writing a couple of checks a month. Ha! Not even close! They got me hook, line, and sinker, but I am so glad they did. I soon came to realize that I received a great deal more from my volunteer role than I could ever give back. I am pleased to be serving again this year as the Law Firm Leadership and Holiday Event Chair. Paula Lee is our co-chair and you will not want to miss the holiday luncheon she organized for December 7th at the Empress Tavern.

Cindy and her granddaughter, Makeena
Cindy and her granddaughter, Makenna

Tell us a little about your personal life/passion. On the personal side, one thing that most people do not know about me is that I grew up on a ranch in Santa Clara when the valley still had orchards, well before it became known as the Silicon Valley. All four of my grandparents came from Spain and they farmed the valley like they did in the Mediterranean. I have fond memories of climbing cherry trees, cutting apricots, defending myself from walnuts used as weapons by my older cousins, and checking on the rabbits, goats, and chickens. My grandfather would give us a tour of his large garden and always shared his bounty of delightful fruits and vegetables and my grandmother her flowers. I think this is why I love being outdoors and truly appreciate lush green spaces. I think too this is where I learned my strong work ethic and my strong sense of family.

This summer I planted a raised container garden for the first time and made plum jam from the tree in our backyard. I hope to expand my garden this coming year with the help of my teenage granddaughter, who came to live with us over the summer. A delightful challenge…it is funny how things work out!

Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself, Cindy! Earning the CLM is quite an accomplishment and I am sure those hard-working grandparents would be proud!





Business Partners, Luncheons

Business Partner Spotlight: Pacific Records Management

Richard Steed, Vice-President of Pacific Records Management, took a few minutes out of his busy day to answer a few questions about why Pacific Records Management supports the SVALA as well as to tell us a little bit about what they do.

We are pacific-storage-logopleased to have them as one of our original Platinum Business Partners and are looking forward to partnering with them at the October SVALA luncheon. The luncheon will be held on Wednesday, October 26 at Casa Garden Restaurant (which has ample parking!). Our speaker, Nitza Medina-Garcia, CRM is a Certified Records Manager and will talk about “Managing Law Firm Records,” even giving us tips on designing and implementing records retention schedules.

The program starts promptly at 12:45 but feel free to arrive a few minutes early to visit with fellow administrators and our Platinum Business Partners. Please RSVP to our Programs and Education Chair, Kellie B. Narayan.

Let’s get back to Richard and Pacific Records Management! After all, they are in the SPOTLIGHT this week!

Thank you for being a Platinum Business Partner of the Sacramento Valley Legal Administrators Association. Please tell us why you chose to support our organization.

We are fortunate to work with many in the legal community. We work with more legal firms in the SVALA than any other competitor. We value our association with the SVALA and feel it is an important partnership. The SVALA is a wonderful opportunity for us to visit with our current customers and meet with new ones. The relationships we have made over years are invaluable.

Please tell us about Pacific Records Management and the services you provide.

Pacific Records Management is a complete provider of records management services including storage, retrieval, and web based inventory management.

Cheri Blethen and Richard Steed at the 2015 Labor Update Breakfast

Alternately, we can scan files and electronically return them; or host them in a secure web environment.

Our shredding division offers the peace of mind knowing your documents will be properly shredded ensuring compliance and security. We have recently added hard drive and media shredding as a service.

Our four hour fire rated vault designed to offer you the latest in protection for your back up media and vital records. Our vault is equipped with the latest in security protection, climate and temperature controls, and 24/7 access availability to assist with any potential disaster recovery needs.

Give us a little background about yourself. How long have you been in the business? How long have you been with Pacific Records Management?

I was born in Salt Lake City, but have lived most of my life in Northern California including Fremont, Rohnert Park and the Sacramento region.

I started with Pacific in 1985, first in sales. My initial thought was a four year venture while I completed graduate school. After finishing graduate school, and enjoying what I was doing, I decided to stay and have been with Pacific ever since! My first area of focus was records management. Several years later, I was asked to be Sacramento Branch Manager. About 17 years ago, we had a change in our company leadership, and we separated our company along product lines. I was asked to lead the records management team and have been focused on this ever since.

How is it different working with law firms than other non-legal businesses?

I find that law firms are well managed and organized. Usually, there is a documented records retention policy in place and procedures are followed. We also tend to see a lot more paper in law firms!  Also, more law firms are managing their electronic media with clear procedures in place vs. non-legal business.

We find that the legal community understands the importance of document security.

Tell us how you would describe your working style. What makes you successful at what you do?

Richard and his wife, Lora, volunteering at the 2015 Community Connection Event

I truly value and appreciate our customers and the trust we are given to protect their documents. We strive very day to not take this for granted. Our goal is to be exact in everything we do and ensure security and professionalism. We invest in technology, staffing, facilities and equipment that helps us accomplish this.

We are fortunate to have a wonderful team of employees who work together with this common goal. Many of our employees have been with us a long time. We strive to foster camaraderie among our employees and a place they want to work.

Tell us something fun you enjoy doing outside of work.

My wife and I are blessed with eight grandchildren and a fairly new addition to the family, a black Cocker Spaniel! We enjoy spending time with them including camping, family dinners and T-ball games!

We also enjoy traveling, spending time at the beach, baseball games and the outdoors. Recently we purchased a couple of hammocks and enjoying hanging around!!

What do you want the SVALA members to know about you and Pacific Records Management?

Richard and Lora enjoying Paris
Richard and Lora enjoying Paris

I hope that the members of the SVALA will think of Pacific Records Management as a quality, safe and secure provider of records management services. To those who we currently work with; we are grateful and never want to take for granted the trust and confidence placed with us. We are always striving to provide this service in a more effective manner.

Many thanks to Richard for not only answering our questions but for his involvement in the SVALA. Richard can always be found at luncheons, at our special events (such as the Law Firm Leadership lunch) as well as our Community Connection Event. One of the few times Richard missed a luncheon was because he and his wife traveled to Paris! I guess we will let that slide . . .

Hope to see you all at the luncheon later this month!

Trish Hughes Kreis