Board Member Spotlight

Board Member Spotlight: Cindy Snook

I am delighted to spotlight another member of the 2016 – 2017 Board of Directors! (We’re almost done with the Board Member spotlights and will need to move on to general members – please let me know if you want to answer a few, painless questions).

Back to Cindy . . . I have long admired Cindy Snook for her professionalism, intelligence, willingness to give back to others as well as her ability to be tough when the situation calls for it. She has successfully managed several local law firms and has several stints of SVALA Board service under her belt. The board appreciates and relies on her leadership and experience.

Cindy and her mom
Cindy and her mom

She not only is a stand-out administrator but also a genuinely nice person who adores her family and is a kick to hang with at conferences or luncheons.

I loved learning about Cindy’s start in the legal community and hope you do too!

Cindy Snook, PHR
Director of Human Resources
Downey Brand
SVALA Board Position: Director at Large

Tell us about your professional life. After graduating from college I worked in a small law firm in my home town of Alturas, California as a legal secretary. That was my first exposure to the legal profession. I was offered a position with the County of Modoc as their Administrator for their Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug programs which I managed for five years before relocating to Sacramento in 1985.

The State Mental Health system had no openings at the time I moved to Sacramento so I applied for a legal secretary position at the largest law firm in Sacramento; Greve, Clifford, Diepenbrock & Paras and was hired on the spot. I quickly advanced up the ladder at that firm and became the assistant to the Administrator and managed their Records Department.  When George Paras decided to leave the firm and do private judging he asked me to go with him and become the Administrator for Grossfeld and Dougherty.

Cindy and her HR team
Cindy and her HR team

That is where my law firm management quest began. I managed several law firms in Sacramento before settling in at Downey Brand, LLP. I went back to school at UC Davis to study for the Professional in Human Resources exam (PHR) and became certified in 2007.  I have been a guest lecturer at American River College for the past seven years in their Paralegal studies program. One of my former partners at Kronick Moskovitz volunteered me to do this a long time ago and they keep asking me to come back and I really enjoy teaching students about the hiring process and how law firms really work!

At my current firm, I am the Director of Human Resources and I oversee the IT, Records, Office Services and staffing and I have been here for two years and this is where I plan to retire.

Cindy with her mom and daugher
Cindy with her mom and daughter

Why did you choose to serve on the SVALA Board? I was always fascinated with ALA as both of my former bosses at Greve Clifford were chapter presidents and I would help them prepare for their meetings, etc. I told myself that one day I would like to be the President! Boy, did I take that task to hand. I have served two terms as President, Past President, Director at Large and President-Elect.

I was appointed Regional Officer of ALA in 2012, where I served two terms. I love the people in our organization and every time I talk to one of my colleagues I always learn something fascinating about their firms and/or their leadership skills. We have such a talented group.

Tell us something about your personal life/passion. Well, let’s see….. I’m married to a local doctor who specializes in taking care of those patients who live in chronic pain and he was recently elected Speaker of the California Medical Association. Together we have a blended family of six (yes I said six) children. Around Mother’s Day we will be blessed with our first grandchild so I’m going to assume that will become my next passion in life. I can’t wait!

Cindy and her husband, Lee
Cindy and her husband, Lee

I also serve on another Board as Secretary to the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of health in our community through education, funding and volunteer support. I love spending time with my family and traveling with my husband when we get the opportunity to take a breather.

Many thanks to Cindy for taking the time to tell us about her career path and why she has chosen to serve on the SVALA Board of Directors. She told herself she would be the President of the SVALA and far surpassed that goal. She is clearly a force!

Also, in case you missed it, please check out the most recent Business Partner Spotlight of Sierra Office Supplies and Printing!


SVALA Activities

SVALA Holiday Party: Fun Times!

Boy, do Paula and Cindy throw a good party or what?

Paula, Loraine, Cindy


The 2016 SVALA party had it all: delicious appetizers (I practically had to arm wrestle Joelle for the salmon dip), an amazing menu that was sure to please everyone, never-ending cocktails and such great company!

Empress Tavern closed for the afternoon for our party which was perfect for us (not so perfect for the gentlemen who realized Empress was closed for lunch only after holding the door open for me, Joelle and Sarah. Sorry & thank you!). The venue was festive with an intimate seating area yet plenty of room to visit before lunch was served.

Geri, Kellie and Christopher glamming it up

The room was loud with laughter and conversation making it clear everyone enjoyed visiting with fellow members, Board Members and Business Partners.

The charity chosen this year was the Sacramento Blue Star Moms which were collecting items for care packages to be sent to our men and women in the service who have been deployed. Loraine Browning, a Board Member of the Blue Star Moms, was a delightful and reassuring (at least to this step-mom to a son about to be deployed) presence who explained the mission of the moms and how their organization came about. (Check out their website and “like” them on Facebook.)

The collection table for Blue Star Moms

Of course the prizes were over the top! Our generous Business Partners provided a variety of gifts and tickets and gift baskets which were greatly appreciated. (Even by those of us who walked away empty-handed. Just sayin’.)

The SVALA Chapter also provided plenty of raffle gifts which made several members very happy as well. There were winners at every table and almost everyone walked away with a gift.

Almost everyone . . .

Moving on –

The festive tables

Paula and Cindy really outdid themselves this year! They thought of everything down to the details on the table. There were photos from 2016 events set on each table (and these were real photographs!) and there was a clever party favor of a copper mug with a Moscow Mule recipe tucked inside. How fun! They also set up a festive photo booth area which everyone enjoyed.

There was not one thing I would have changed (well, except maybe that whole winning a prize thing). 🙂

Karen, Paula, Jessica, Cindy, Susan, Debbie (l to r)

All kidding aside, kudos and thank you to Paula and Cindy for a very successful event! Enjoy the pictures here but find more over the next few days on the SVALA Facebook page.

From the SVALA to you, wishing you all a wonderful and happy holiday season!

















Business Partners

Business Partner Spotlight: Sierra Office Supplies and Printing

Sierra Office Supplies and Printing has been an important business partner of the SVALA for many years and has personally helped me drastically reduce supply costs for my firm.

Kim Pablis and Suzie Schuenemann at the 2015 SVALA Law Firm Leadership Luncheon

Several years ago I was pulling my hair out when the supply vendor I had used for years repeatedly changed my rep and, after several tries, didn’t listen to my concerns about service and price.

It was difficult for me to switch supply vendors because loyalty is important to me and I wanted to stay loyal to the company I had worked with for several years. However, they were not helping their case!

I eventually interviewed competitors, one of which was Suzie Schuenemann of Sierra Office Supplies and Printing.

I was familiar with their business but only had worked with Bill Silvan on the furniture side of things. (Bill is now the Regional Sales Manager and Corporate Sales Coordinator for Sierra.)

I talked with Suzie about office supplies and my goal of working together to keep costs to a minimum without sacrificing quality or efficiency. I stressed the importance of communication so we could keep costs in check and supplies in stock (even on a rush basis). Suzie and Kim Pablis worked as a team at that time and they both assured me they would do everything possible to fulfill those goals.

And they have!

We have been loyal customers for over eight years and Suzie and Sierra Office Supplies and Printing have been loyal supporters of the SVALA for at least that long.

Sierra Office Supplies and Printing also sponsored the SVALA November luncheon and Bill talked about developing a comprehensive branding and identity management package for our firms. Bill focused on print collateral, advertising as well as informational materials and specialty items for a firm’s marketing team.

Suzie recently took time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions for the Business Partner Spotlight feature.

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.

A locally owned and operated business since 1981, Sierra values the importance of partnering with the local business community. Our expansive product lines and service capabilities fit well with the dynamic and deadline oriented needs of the law firm business environment. We believe it has been and will continue to be a valued partnership. Additionally, the SVALA members are a fantastic group!

Please tell us about Sierra Office Supplies and Printing and the services you provide.

With offices, printing facilities and distribution in Sacramento and the Bay Area, Sierra has become a leader in the office supply, printing, furniture, signage and promotional industries. Sierra is committed to create partnerships with clients and develop a “One Resource Solution” to the constantly evolving office environment.

Give us a little background about yourself. How long have you been in the business? How long have you been with Sierra Office Supplies and Printing?

I am a Sacramento native, born and raised in Fair Oaks. My son and his family live in Sacramento too. I started in sales in the late 1980’s as a facsimile salesperson. Remember those old thermal fax machines, the one with the roll of paper?! In the late 1980’s this was new technology to the marketplace; potential clients would say to me “great idea but who would I send a fax to?” It was a fun and rewarding entre into sales. Most of my clients were law firms at that time too. In 2000, I joined Sierra’s team and over the last 16 years I have been fortunate to forge many long term business relationships with so many of you. For that I am very grateful. My mantra in business is that “people buy from people they like and they trust” and I have always strived to meet that expectation.

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

I believe law firms are somewhat unique in that often times they are more deadline oriented, most likely due to case timelines. Law firms also have unique and specific office supply needs such as legal index tabs and specialty folders. To meet that need, we now stock in our Sacramento warehouse many items specifically for the law firm environment and for next day delivery.

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

I guess I am somewhat of a workaholic. Customer service has always been very important to me. With today’s technology it makes it easier to be quick and responsive to my customers needs. I remember years ago a conversation I had with the Telecommunications Manager for Cable Data, which was the billing arm for Comcast then, and he was lamenting about how customer service in this country was sorely lacking and that he appreciated my attention to timeliness and detail. That drives me, the opportunity to exceed my customer’s expectations whenever I can.

Tell us something fun you enjoy doing outside of work.

I have a darling 6 year old grandson, Ryder, who I enjoy spending time with every chance I can. Having him spend the night is one of my favorite things to do. We catch up on what he’s been doing, watch movies, play games and bake cookies. He has a little sister on the way early next year and I couldn’t be more excited. I am also an avid gardener. I bought a house 14 years ago that had an extensive perennial garden that I have enjoyed tending and watch mature. Some of my winter bulbs are just now starting to pop up! I also enjoy taking long walks, camping at the beach, and visiting with friends over a nice dinner and good bottle of wine.

What do you want the SVALA members to know about you and Sierra Office Supplies and Printing?

On behalf of all of us at Sierra, we would like to extend our gratitude for the opportunity to continue over many years as a Platinum Sponsor of the SVALA. We are committed to helping the law industry in all facets of business to include office supplies, printing, furniture, signage and promotional. I am particularly grateful to have made so many wonderful friends in the law firms that I support. My job wouldn’t be the same without you!

Many thanks to Suzie for her stellar work with many local law firms and for being an ardent supporter of the SVALA. Suzie is spot on with her philosophy of “people buy from people they like and they trust.” Having known Suzie for so many years now, I know she is a likeable person and certainly one I trust to give my firm wonderful service at an excellent price.

Looking forward to seeing Suzie and many SVALA members at the Holiday luncheon this week!