Board Member Spotlight

Board Member Spotlight: DeeAnn MacLaughlin

When we first added the blog feature to our SVALA website I thought it would be fun to learn a little bit about the board members so presented the Board Member Spotlight idea to the board. The overwhelming response was positive but everyone assured me they were very, very boring.

Ha! We haven’t seen one boring spotlight yet! (If you need to catch up on the spotlight interviews, click on the “Meet the Board: 2016-2017” tab at the top of the page and then click on a board member’s name. You will be directed to that person’s spotlight feature.)

Adventures in the air

Speaking of not boring! I am happy DeeAnn sent pictures along with her interview or I would not have believed she had such an adventurous spirit!

While serving on the Board of Directors with DeeAnn I knew she was friendly, diligent and hard-working with a delightful laugh but I had no idea how much her heart was truly an outdoorsman. The only time she sits must be when she is taking the minutes at a board meeting. Just reading about everything she finds time to do makes me want to get outside and go hiking (hey, it could happen).

Tell me you don’t feel the same once you read about DeeAnn!

DeeAnn MacLaughlin
Accounting Manager
Boutin Jones Inc.
SVALA Board Position: Secretary

Adventures with family

Tell us about your professional life. I am the accounting manager at Boutin Jones Inc. and have happily worked here for 15 years. When I first started at Boutin, back in 2002, we were a third of the size we are today.

Prior to that, I worked for two CPA firms. My first professional job was for a CPA that did tax returns for NFL football players. It was so exciting to receive those size 14 shoe boxes full of bizarre receipts; it was like an accountant’s Christmas! I was undecided if I wanted to become a CPA which lead me to give the private industry a try. Working on one set of books vs. thirty was very appealing.

I love my job and the people I work with so, unless I strike it rich, I can see myself working here for many years to come.

Adventures in the snow

Why did you choose to serve on the SVALA Board? Truth be told, I was a victim of peer pressure. I was initially asked to be a part of the “nominating committee” for the upcoming board for 2015/16. I was a little confused by the invitation but flattered to be asked (really, all I remember hearing was there will be wine … I was like, OK!).

Joelle Stone and Jessica Miller eventually confessed (strategically after my second glass of wine) that they had an opening on the board for the Law Firm Leadership Luncheon and Holiday Event Chair.  I was thinking….you want me to do WHAT!? ME!? The extent of my event planning experience was limited to my kids’ birthday parties.  I hesitantly decided to step out of my comfort zone and agreed to take on the challenge.  I am now serving my second term as secretary.

Adventures on the water

Tell us something about your personal life/passion. I am married and have two children; my daughter is 20 and my son is 13.

Outside of work, I lead a pretty active and adventurous lifestyle. Depending on the season I do a little of this and a lot of that.

Right now I’m totally enjoying the epic snow and getting my money’s worth from my season pass and snowboarding every week (except for Super Bowl weekend when my Patriot’s won an unbelievable comeback…and no I’m not a bandwagon fan). Fun fact: I was actually at Tom Brady’s very first game against Peyton Manning and the Colts back in 2001 (when I was visiting my husband’s family in Boston).

Adventures on land

Besides snowboarding, I enjoy riding motorcycles. Nowadays, we do more dirt bike riding than street riding and I’ve had my motorcycle license for about 17 years. We do a lot of boating – we have a fishing boat, sail boat and a smaller aluminum boat plus four kayaks. We enjoy camping which we’ve graduated from a tent to a trailer. We camp in the Sierras and go forest dirt bike riding, or camp on the coast and go ocean fishing on kayaks.

Our newest love is our cabin that we just bought right outside of Tahoe. It’s a two story, 4 bed, 2 bath on a half-acre with the American River flowing behind us and the Pacific Crest trail along the side of us…overlooking our ski resort (no, I’m not bragging…these are just the facts people.)!!

Adventures in the new cabin

The history of the property and family that owned it is quite interesting. It was a fifth- generation owned home with the family going back to the early 1800’s. The town we live in is named after the family (which is pretty cool). Every year the annual snow pack is measured in my backyard.

I also love to travel. My most recent big trip was three weeks in Spain to visit one of my oldest childhood friends. No kids, no husbands…this was a well-deserved girls-only trip. Me and two other childhood friends traveled together and, boy, was it a trip of a lifetime! Included here are some pictures of my last few vacations to Spain, Maui, Kauai and Cabo.

Adventures around the world

All in all, finding the balance between work, play and happiness has been quite the journey. I’ve been blessed in so many ways and even through my struggles I’ve found contentment in learning valuable lessons. My struggles are my testimony!

I don’t know about you but I am exhausted just reading about all that activity! From the photos, it sure looks like DeeAnn has found the key to her happiness which makes her a delight to be around.

DeeAnn won’t be on the 2017 – 2018 Board of Directors (I mean, how would she even have time?!) but I am hoping she will consider serving again in the future (there will be wine!). Our chapter has definitely benefited from this energetic woman.

Thanks to DeeAnn for sharing her photos and her story with us. It was about as far from boring as you can get!


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!