This week, you are in for a real treat. We hosted Sarah Evenson, ALA President. Sarah is no stranger to the legal industry. As a previous law school student by day and MBA student by night, Sarah fills us in our her exciting career path and what led her to become the current ALA President. Have you heard of the pre-law scholar’s program that Sarah is highly involved in? Learn how she helps the next generation of upcoming law school students. Rob and Amanda dive into superpowers, diversity, and talent pipeline with Sarah. And have you heard of lawyer pearls? You do not want to miss this!

About the Guest

Sarah Evenson

As director of law school programs for Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, Sarah leads the overall coordination and day-to-day management of the firm’s summer associate and law clerk programs. Most critically, she works at a strategic and operational level with each office’s hiring partner and the Firm Diversity Partner to determine hiring needs and ensure a strong diverse pipeline of future talent to the firm. As the Minneapolis office administrator, Sarah provides daily administration for the office including, human resource functions, facilities, financial management, and marketing functions.
Sarah has been in law firm administration since 2009 and worked solely in small boutique firms before joining Barnes & Thornburg, LLP. Prior to becoming a firm administrator Sarah practiced law for 8+ years. Sarah received her JD from Hamline University School of Law and her MBA from the University of St. Thomas. Her undergraduate degrees are in accounting and business finance from the University of WI – River Falls. Sarah describes herself as a creative problem solver and builder of strong teams and positive working environments.

As proof of that, her firm was selected by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal as a 2018 Best Places to Work in the Twin Cities (the only law firm on the list). Sarah herself was one of four people selected as a Best Places to Work MVP for going above and beyond in creating an engaging work environment. The Minneapolis office has also been listed for the last four years by the Star Tribune as a National Standard Top Workplace in Minnesota. Sarah was also recently recognized as an Unsung Legal Hero by Minnesota Lawyer for her work at Barnes & Thornburg, LLP.

Sarah is the current President of the Association of Legal Administrators and has served on its board since 2019. She has also served on a number of local, state and national boards throughout her career, including the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, Wright-Hennepin Electric Cooperative, & the Association of Legal Administrators Minnesota (ALAMN). In her free time Sarah likes to golf with her husband Tom and drink Mai Tai’s on the beach in Maui.

Episode Resources

Barnes & Thornburg

Unsung Legal Heroes

Star Tribune Top Workplaces

MSPBJ Best Places to Work 

Phenomenal Maria

Professional people wonder where Maria’s secrets lie

She’s not the president of the United States or have a TikTok or Instagram following of a huge size

But when she starts to tell them their potential, they think she’s telling lies

She says it’s in the reach of her message, the span of her experience, the impact of her work

She’s a professional woman phenomenally, a phenomenal professional woman, that’s she.

It’s not often a podcast guest is introduced via poetry, but this week, you’re going to hear exactly that. Take a trip down memory lane with us as one of our Season 1 guests, Jenna Carter (Director of Administration, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP) introduces us to Maria Stanfield (Founder, My Sister CEO) to the tune of Maya Angelou. A speaker, executive career coach, and bestselling author with a heart for service, Maria’s message is simple: it’s never too late to realize your full potential.

Maria started her career as a receptionist at a Washington, D.C. law firm, met some “girl boss” mentors in a male-dominated industry, and the rest is history. Okay, her career progression is a little more in-depth than that and you won’t want to miss a second of this episode where she tells us all about it.

About the Guests

Maria Stanfield

Founder, My Sister CEO

Author, Speaker, Executive Coach, and Career Consultant

Maria Stanfield is a speaker, executive career coach, and bestselling author with a heart for service. In 2015, Maria founded My Sister's Closet, a nonprofit organization that supports disadvantaged women in their quest to achieve a strong financial, professional, and spiritual foundation. She works to support women by providing professional attire, career development training, and spiritual guidance that fosters long-term personal prosperity and career success. Additionally, in 2018 Ms. Stanfield launched her dynamic professional development and career coaching practice, My Sister CEO. The organization's mission is to connect women in business, entrepreneurs, and brand builders to fuel a cycle of collaboration and growth. My Sister CEO hosts monthly events and workshops that provide resources, social networking, and strategic planning sessions to drive this mission home.

Maria has been a featured panelist, breakout speaker, and featured Career Coach for the Steve Harvey "Act Like a Success" Conference, Keynote Speaker of the Daughters of Legacy Conference, career advisor, and breakout speaker for the Washington DC Next Gen Summit, breakout speaker for the Association of Legal Administrators, and a host of other Human Resources conferences and radio shows too numerous to name. Ms. Stanfield was profiled in the Washington Lawyer DC Bar Magazine's "Changing Dress Codes for Law Firms" and the Washington Journal's "Change at the Top: A Two-Part Series About Making the Most of Management Changes" discussing her successful integration and communication tactics. Ms. Stanfield has also been featured in Working Mother magazine as Working Mother of the Year's "Best Companies for Working Mothers" edition.

Ms. Stanfield achieved this and more while holding an executive-level leadership position as Director of Administration for an international law firm. Recently, Maria parted with the firm to launch The Future Face of Law, an organization built to bridge the diversity gap in the legal industry by providing law students of color with strategic programming rich in networking and mentorship opportunities, targeted roundtable discussions, and robust professional development resources.

You can read more about Maria's incredible story of determination, tenacity, and how she worked her way to the top, which she highlights in her new book, "From the Front to Desk to the Corner Office."

Jenna Carter

Director of Administration, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Jenna Carter currently serves on the Association of Legal Administrators’ Board of Directors, where she has also assumed the role of Association Treasurer. She is also a Past President of the Association of Legal Administrators’ Capital Chapter. She works as the Director of Administration at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. Carter earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and her master's degree in accounting from Strayer University in Washington, D.C.

Episode Resources

Pitch Your Passion:

Thanks for tuning in! Join us back here next week for episode 6.

Finding the love of your life is rare. It isn’t something you can search for or pull out of thin air, and sometimes, people go through their entire lives without it. But that wasn’t the case for Mark Bridgeman (HR Manager, Shuffield, Lowman & Wilson, P.A.). From the Navy to Chief Legal Records Manager to three ALA chapter leadership positions, Mark has seen it all. But what he didn’t see coming was Steven Wingert.

From a love born out of a Starbucks line to defying the odds, and navigating pancreatic cancer, Mark takes us through a love story that continues to live on through their children, grandchildren, and Steven’s leadership legacy. It will be remembered as the deepest and purest form of love, partnership, and hope.

This episode is dedicated to and in loving memory of Steven Wingert, CLM, PhD. (FEBRUARY 7, 1960 – MARCH 18, 2019)

About the Guests

Mark Bridgeman, CLM

Human Resources Manager for Shuffield, Lowman & Wilson, P.A.

Mark is the Human Resources Manager for Shuffield Lowman & Wilson in Orlando, Florida. He is retired from the U.S. Navy and the federal government after serving a total combined 30-years of service. Mark has a bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies and a master’s degree in Child & Adolescent Psychology. He has been in legal administration for over 20 years. He has served in all levels of chapter leadership in four different chapters (Orange County, CA, Wisconsin, Greater Chicago, and Central Florida ALA). He served at the ALA national level, as a member of the Diversity Task Force and Committee, three different conference committees, including Chair of the 2014 Toronto Annual Conference. He has served as a Region 3 Representative and was an At-Large Director on the ALA Board of Directors from 2014 -2017. Mark is the recipient of many local chapter awards, including being selected for ALA’s 2011 Outstanding Volunteer Award. Mark has three grown kids, Chenin, Meghan, and Brian, and four amazing grandchildren, Braden, Jayce, Hannah, and Harper.

Episode Resources

Tribute to Steven D. Wingert, CLM, PhD.

Remembering ALA Past President Steve Wingert, CLM

Steven Wingert's Obituary

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

ALA fundraising page for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Mark Bridgeman's Firm- Shuffield, Lowman & Wilson, P.A.

ALA Organizations:

Mark's Pitch Your Passion and More:

Thanks for tuning in! Join us back here next week for episode 6 with Holly Pulido and Eric Hightower.