I have had the pleasure of serving on the SVALA Board of Directors with Penny Stauffer many times. We have been to a variety of SVALA events and luncheons together but the most memorable moments with Penny are when we find ourselves sitting next to each other at a SVALA dinner and can talk one-on-one about family. Of course we discuss work as well but when Penny talks about her daughter, Kourtney or the love of her life, Charlie, she lights up!
Penny is a smart, well-educated and busy legal administrator who successfully manages the four California offices of her firm. How do I know she is a successful legal administrator? Because, as you will see from the interview, when Penny puts her mind to do something she does it with gusto and tenacity!
If I had to guess, though, her heart is with her family (which also now includes a gorgeous yellow lab!) and that love shines through in this interview.
Join me in learning a little bit more about Penny.
Penny Stauffer, MBA
Stoel Rives LLP
SVALA Board Position: Past President
Tell us about your professional life. I am the Office Administrator for Stoel Rives LLP in Sacramento and manage all four California offices (Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego and a small office in Truckee). In order to tell you how I came to be at Stoel, allow me to take you on a quick ride through the past.
In early 1985, I became a medical assistant and began working in private practice for two doctors in Nevada City, CA. A year later, to supplement my income, I started working part-time in the evening with a disabled man, Charlie, who required 24 hour care. After a few months, I was asked by the family to come on full-time to care for Charlie. Since Charlie and I were quite smitten with each other, I said yes immediately and quit my other job. Charlie and I began a wonderful life together and I never looked back.
After several years I went back to school and earned my AA in early childhood education which set me up for my next adventure…Charlie and I having a baby and opening a preschool in our home! Oh boy, are we having fun yet?! The preschool was wonderful and served a good purpose for a while, but ultimately became very draining. Well, back to school for Penny.
In 2002, I earned an associate’s degree in paralegal studies and began working for The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Associate in Sacramento. That was a terrible commute from Nevada City, so we moved to Elk Grove. Once I began living in the Sacramento area, I went back to school at night and earned my BA in Business Management. In November of 2005, I was given the opportunity to bring my paralegal experience to Stoel Rives. Of course, once a paralegal lands at a great firm like Stoel, what could possible come next…yep, I went back to school again and earned my MBA.
In March of 2008 I was promoted to Administrator for Stoel California. I have enjoyed all of my jobs over the years, but the position I hold right now is so very rewarding. It is tough sometimes, but I have been provided so many enriching experiences that I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Why did you choose to serve on the SVALA Board? I will say it straight…I was strong-armed on to the board by Shauna Manner. 🙂 We attended a conference together when I was a baby administrator and she knew how to strike when the kettle was hot (when the newbie doesn’t really know what she is getting into). LOL! While I was a little intimidated by serving on the board at first, it has become a rewarding experience and I value the time that I work in this arena. I have served as membership chair, president, past president and will be the next community connection chair for 2017-18.
Tell us something about your personal life/passion. As for my passions in life I would have to say my daughter, Kourtney, is my biggest passion. She is a delightful and intelligent young lady that I truly enjoy being around. She is 19 going on 30, but that doesn’t even bother me because she just such a great person. Sadly, Charlie passed away in May 2009 leaving Kourtney and I to take care of each other. While Charlie is sorely missed, Kourtney carries so much of him in her (including the inherent Stauffer Sarcasm), that I often feel like he is still with us in a special way. We love the SF Giants; enjoy road trips to anywhere and of course thoroughly enjoy our beloved yellow lab Bailee Mae. I also enjoy hiking, scrapbooking and memorializing all of our memories for the next generation.
Kourtney is in college now and I can’t wait to see where her education takes her. Mine certainly took me down many avenues, but each one brought me to where I am today.
Many thanks to Penny for sharing her story and for choosing to serve on the SVALA Board of Directors. The Board has benefited from Penny’s involvement so we are happy she succumbed to the strong-arming by Shauna! 🙂
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