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!

















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. 🙂 


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





Business Partners

Business Partner Spotlight: Terrapin Technology Group

One of the benefits of being a member of the SVALA is getting to know our fabulous Business Partners.  Several have been supporters of our group for many years so the members get to see these companies on a regular basis and talk with them on a personal level without the pressure of a sales presentation.

labor bkfst - terrapin - 1-2015
Terrapin Technology at the 2015 Labor Law Breakfast

Business Partners are people too!

Terrapin Technology Group has been one of those long-time supporters and is one of our Platinum Sponsors. Nathan Johanson has created an IT firm that many of our members are familiar with and use in various capacities. My firm (Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP) has used Terrapin for some of our training needs and Boutin Jones uses them for tech support and training as well.

There are several other member firms that have used Terrapin which probably has helped propel them into the Sacramento Business Journal’s Top Ten Fastest Growing Companies in the Sacramento region! Wow!

Terrapin Technology is hosting a “Let’s Talk Tech” Administrator Roundtable at our July 27 luncheon at the Casa Garden Restaurant.

For now, let’s learn more about Terrapin Technology Group and Nathan Johanson!

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.

Terrapin is focused on meeting the IT needs of law firms. We work with legal administrators all the time and help them make effective IT strategy and purchasing decisions. We respect the work that SVALA does in serving these professionals, so it’s a natural fit for us.

Please tell us about Terrapin Technology Group and the services you provide.

Terrapin provides a full range of IT consulting services, from day-to-day user support to system maintenance, complete system engineering and training, with a focus on serving the needs of law firms. Terrapin also offers installation of network cabling, telephone, audio visual and security systems. Our dedicated team is available whenever issues arise – even during odd hours.

Give us a little background about yourself.   

I worked for The Computer People (now Terrapin) for six years prior to purchasing the company with my business partner Tim Raney in 2008. I was previously the west coast information systems manager for Pumatech in San Jose, where I managed IT for the San Jose, Los Gatos, Santa Cruz and Emeryville facilities.

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

Because of the nature of the business, law firms understand the importance of their IT infrastructure and can easily calculate the costs of downtime: they simply need to multiply the number of billable hours lost across all attorneys. They’re a highly educated client base and are quick to understand our recommendations for securing and improving their infrastructure and systems.

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

Terrapin is fortunate to have a tremendous team, with the right combination of technical and people skills. We have a real understanding of the legal community and many of our employees have previous experience as legal secretaries, administrators or law firm IT professionals. In fact, the two latest additions to our team each have more than 20 years of experience at law firms. We only hire people who have an attention to detail and a strong work ethic, including a personal sense of obligation to the client.

Tell us something fun you enjoy doing outside of work. 

When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family. We keep busy with our kids’ activities, including soccer, guitar lessons and swimming. I also love listening to music; I’m an audiophile and have been steadily building my record collection. Remember those old vinyl records? I also recently started cycling and will compete in my first Eppie’s Great Race this year.

What do you want the SVALA members to know about you and Terrapin Technology Group?

Since our formation, Terrapin has developed a strong reputation for providing excellent customer service and, as a result, virtually all of our new business is generated by referral. This is due to our strong team, who are not only tech-savvy but who have a real commitment to doing a great job for our clients. We pride ourselves on having employees who are professional, well-spoken and friendly. We get the legal business, so there is no learning curve when we start work with new law firms.

Many thanks to Nathan for his time! I am looking forward to the “Let’s Talk Tech” Administrators Roundtable and hope to see everyone there!