SVALA Activities

Community Connection Event:  Mark Your Calendars!

Participating in the Community Connection Event (formerly known as the Community Challenge Weekend) has been a longstanding tradition for our chapter.

At the Ronald McDonald House

The ALA explains what the Community Connection Event is all about:  “The mission of Community Connection is to encourage ALA chapters, its members, firms, business partners, relatives and friends to come together to contribute time, energy and resources toward improving their own communities.”

The SVALA members have done that over the years in a big way!  Whether it was raising money for WEAVE, helping the Sacramento Children’s Home, revitalizing the landscaping at the Ronald McDonald House or fixing and building dog pens for a local shelter, the membership has come together to donate muscle, time and money to improve our community. Continue reading “Community Connection Event:  Mark Your Calendars!”

Business Partners, Luncheons, SVALA Activities

Law Firm Leadership Luncheon

Paula Lee and Cindy Cintas Pilon strike again!

We need to have these two on permanent party planning duty! (I wonder if they do birthday parties.)

We know they throw a spectacular Holiday Party and now we have seen them put together an informative and fun Law Firm Leadership Luncheon. Bonus: Our attorneys even got MCLE credit while enjoying good food and even better company!

Firehouse Restaurant, Golden Eagle Room

The event was held in the Golden Eagle Room of the Firehouse Restaurant and started with a warm (and very organized!) welcome from Paula Lee and Glenda Osborne (an assistant at Paula’s firm).

We could immediately visit with our fabulous Business Partners who were beyond generous with their raffle prizes! Once inside the dining area, the tables were immaculately set and topped off with a gorgeous centerpiece (which, as it turned out, doubled as a prize at the end of the event).

Jack Marshall, president and founder of ProEthics, Ltd. prepared the tables with not only literature but several signs with a number printed on them. Oh boy! This was going to be interactive. Yikes! A test? But I didn’t even study!

Brian and Russel, Gallaway Commercial getting the answers right!

Thankfully, Mr. Marshall made the event fun and quite lively. The stories and questions centered on bias which was interesting because bias, obviously, affects everyone. I sat near the back of the room so couldn’t tell if he ever gave us the correct answers but I will assume our table got 100%. Why not?!  A+ for everyone!

Once the presentation ended, it was time for the raffle prize drawings. Our Business Partners generously gave a variety of gift cards and baskets to members and even our guests! I even won one of the flower centerpieces which, a week later, still looks gorgeous. (You read that right: I actually won a prize!)

Many thanks to our Platinum, Gold and Silver Sponsors for their support of the SVALA and the Law Firm Leadership Luncheon. Please take a minute to click on the hyperlink to read their Business Partner Spotlights or check out their websites.

Cheri Blethen, SVALA President

Platinum Sponsors: EPIC, Gallaway Commercial, Pacific Records Management, Sacramento Placement Services, Sierra Office Supplies & Printing and Terrapin Technology Group.

Gold Sponsors: Caltronics Business Systems, CMA Insurance Services, Inc., First Legal Network and Fujitani Consulting.

Silver Sponsor: Flex Manage and Smile Business Products.

And, of course, a very heartfelt and sincere thank you to Paula and Cindy for another very successful event! You guys rock!

Be sure to check out the event pictures on the SVALA Facebook page!

Gorgeous centerpiece!

Oh, and Paula and Cindy: let me know your party planning rates!



Business Partners, SVALA Activities

Workplace Update Breakfast

Are you confused by the ever-changing labor laws? Finding it hard to keep up with overtime regulations? What do employers do to handle the now legal (in California anyway) recreational marijuana use?

The group enjoying breakfast
The group enjoying breakfast

One of the most anticipated events of the year for our members is the Annual Workplace Update Breakfast which answers these and many other questions!

If only there were mimosas to go along with the headache all these changes are causing!

There may not have been mimosas but we did have two knowledgeable attorneys from the Labor and Employment team of Wilke Fleury. Bianca Watts and Samson Elsbernd walked us through unisex restroom signage requirements, amendments to the Fair Pay Act, the status of the Federal Overtime Rule and even what Proposition 64 (Recreational Marijuana Use) means for employers.

Bianca Watts and Samson Elsbernd
Bianca Watts and Samson Elsbernd

Samson spoke to our group in August on the topic of “Simply Sex . . . Sex, Gender, Gender Identity.” He was dynamic and knowledgeable then so it was wonderful to see him back speaking at the breakfast. Bianca and Samson took turns with the various topics and walked us through the 2017 updates. There was also quite a bit of audience participation since these new laws and regulations always generate a lot of questions.

As we learned, the minimum wage is increasing over the next few years which will impact the California minimum wage for exempt employees.

Kellie Narayan and Samson Elsbernd
Kellie Narayan and Samson Elsbernd

They also spoke on a topic that is near and dear to my heart: all-gender restrooms! Yes, I realize that might seem like an odd thing to be passionate about but it is not only an important topic for transgender people but also for caregivers caring for a member of the opposite sex. (I will spare you my embarrassing stories of sneaking into the men’s restroom while caring for my disabled brother!)

Samson told us that by March 1, 2017 all single-user restrooms must be labeled for all-gender. Woohoo! No more red-faced moments for me or uncomfortable situations for transgender persons.

Bianca and Samson covered too many topics to recap here but know that the breakfast was worth the anticipation and is something you will not want to miss next year.

Julie Denker and Kevin Valine of EPIC
Member Julie Denker with Kevin Valine of EPIC

Aside from the excellent speakers, we were able to visit with our wonderful Business Partners. What I love about visiting with our sponsors is their ability to attend events such as this as our peers and not as sales people. While I am sure they would love our business (and many of us are customers of some, if not all, of the sponsors), they are fun to talk with and get to know.

They are not just our Business Partners but have become our friends as well. And I’m not just saying that because I won a prize. 🙂

Past President Penny Stauffer and Debbie Jordan of Sacramento Placement Services
Past President Penny Stauffer with Debbie Jordan of Sacramento Placement Services

Many thanks to our Platinum Sponsors: EPIC, Gallaway Commercial, Pacific Records Management, Sacramento Placement Services, Sierra Office Supplies & Printing and Terrapin Technology Group. (Click on the hyperlink to read the Business Partner Spotlights!)

Many thanks to our Gold Sponsors: CMA Insurance Services, Caltronics, First Legal Network and Fujitani Consulting.

Our Silver Sponsors, FlexManage and Smile Business Products weren’t able to attend but we appreciate them anyway!

Pacific Records Management, Richard Steed and Mike Young with  Nitza Medina-Garcia and Isabel Garcia
Pacific Records Management, Richard Steed and Mike Young with Nitza Medina-Garcia and Isabel Garcia

We also appreciate our Bronze sponsors: ABA Retirement Funds, Ahern Insurance Brokerage, HumanScale and DFS Green!

Finally, I have to say a HUGE thank you to Kellie Narayan, the SVALA Program and Education Chair, who has done a spectacular job this year of lining up interesting topics and speakers. She convinced Samson and Bianca of her firm, Wilke Fleury, to speak at our annual breakfast and I am pretty sure she didn’t even have to bribe them (except maybe with the promise of breakfast).  Kellie has one of the most time-consuming positions on the Board of Directors but has handled her Education duties beautifully!

If you missed the Workplace Update breakfast this year, be sure to look for it again next January. I can’t promise mimosas but I can promise a few hours of education, fun and fabulous prizes!

That’s (almost) better than mimosas any day, right?

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!

















Luncheons, SVALA Activities

Holiday Luncheon

The annual SVALA Holiday Party is always a fun and well attended event and the party this year is shaping up to be as fabulous as ever!

Holiday Party 2015

Paula Lee and Cindy Cintas Pilon have been working hard to create a terrific and festive experience for all of us.

However, we don’t just eat, drink and be merry! We also choose a charity each year to help and this year we will be helping the Sacramento Blue Star Moms. This organization creates care packages to send to our deployed men and women in the service. We are collecting items from the wish list and our donations will be assembled into useful (and very much appreciated) care packages.

The party this year will be held at the Empress Tavern (next to the Crest Theatre). Now if the food, drinks, socializing and charitable giving isn’t enough to get you to attend, there’s also this:


Sue, Maureen, Trish (l to r)

You don’t want to miss out on the creative raffle prizes the committee chairs always come up with (no pressure, Paula & Cindy!).

Please RVSP to Paula Lee at by November 15!

See you there!

Trish Hughes Kreis