What better place to wrap up season 1 than at ALA's 2021 Annual Conference & Expo. From behind-the-scenes interviews with some of the series favorite guests to the announcement of a big donation to the Foundation of the ALA, co-hosts Rob Joyner and Amanda Koplos sure know how to make a splash!
If we asked you right now who your mentor is, would you be able to give us an answer? Would you without a shadow of a doubt be able to name a person who has not only inspired you but has personally had a hand in your professional success? Statistically, not many people claim to have a mentor, so if you don’t, that’s okay you’re not alone. But in this final episode of our inaugural season, we interview Amanda Koplos’s lifelong mentor, Winston Williams (Partner at CWP Entertainment Management), and discover why having a mentor is not only crucial but may also determine your success in life.
Partner, CWP Entertainment Management
Winston G. Williams is an entrepreneur. In 1997, he founded PS Focus, LLC, a management and consulting company, dedicated to providing Proactive Solutions which allow entrepreneurs to Focus on their core services. In 2005, he founded Silver Box Publishing (SBP), a publishing company dedicated to assisting individuals to tell their stories. SBP’s first project was Mr. Williams’ own memoir, Would You? In 2013, he founded the Capital City Black Film Festival (CCBFF) dedicated to providing emerging and established independent filmmakers from around the world an opportunity to showcase their work in Austin, Texas. In 2020, along with two business partners, Mr. Williams founded CWP Entertainment Management, LLC (CWP) dedicated to assisting filmmakers to advance their careers. Within six months of forming CWP, the team has signed worldwide distribution deals for feature films. With all four of his companies, Mr. Williams is well-positioned to impact the lives of individuals in their artistic endeavors and the audience they serve.
What’s the difference between passion and perseverance? Passion only takes you so far and perseverance takes you the rest of the way. Take Jenna Carter (Director of Administration for K&L Gates, LLP, Washington, D.C.) and Chassidy Deckard (Director of Administration for the Texas region of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP) for example. Their perseverance has gotten them to where they are today and through the adversity of a high-pressure job, to overcoming the obstacles and blazing their own trail, these two powerhouse women show us what it looks like when the rubber truly meets the road.
Director of Administration for K&L Gates, LLP, Washington, D.C.
Jenna Carter currently serves on the Association of Legal Administrator’s Board of Directors, where she has also assumed the role of Association Treasurer. She is also a Past President of the Association of Legal Administrator’s Capital Chapter. She works as the Director of Administration for K&L Gates' Washington, D.C., office. 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.
Director of Administration, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
Chassidy Deckard is the Director of Administration for the Texas region of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. She has built her career focusing on law firm management by being a trusted advisor and providing innovative strategies for the ongoing administration of law offices. She is passionate about creating talent pipelines for diverse individuals interested in the legal field.
Chassidy received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The University of Texas and her master’s degree in Occupational, Workforce, and Leadership Studies from Texas State University. She also received her SHRM-CP certification in 2018.
She currently serves as the 2021 President of the Houston Association of Legal Recruiting Administrator. She also is an active member and volunteer of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA). In ALA she currently is a member of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee and serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Houston chapter.
Chassidy enjoys traveling and being introduced to different food and cultures across the world.
Pitch Your Passion:
Which question would you rather have the answer to - where do you find the best firm administrators or how do you gain loyalty from a large group of people? Fortunately, you don’t actually have to choose because Katya Adams (Office Manager, The Watkins Firm, APC) and Gail Fredrickson (Firm Administrator, Rossway Swan) give us answers to both. Pull up a chair because we dive into a whole host of other questions too and you won’t want to miss what they have to say.
Office Manager, The Watkins Firm, APC
Katya Adams joined the firm in 2004 as a File Clerk, but her natural business and management sense found their application as she progressively took over the general management of the firm. Throughout her legal career, Ms. Adams’ ongoing interest in continuing her legal and management education has equipped her to oversee the firm’s technology, human resources, financial and facilities management.
Katya completed undergraduate studies at the University of California at San Diego. She is an avid participant in the San Diego legal community. Ms. Adams is an active member of the Association of Legal Administrators and recently completed her tenure as the San Diego Chapter’s president. Her volunteer efforts also include being a part of the committee for Couture for a Cause, an annual charity event that brings the legal community together to benefit children in need. Ms. Adams is fluent in Russian.
Away from work, Ms. Adams enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family and has a B.S. Psychology from the University of California San Diego (2005)
Firm Administrator, Rossway Swan Tierney Barry & Oliver, P.L.
Gail Fredrickson joined Rossway Swan in 2008 and has served as the Firm Administrator since 2011. Gail earned a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Organizational Management, and her experience in finance and management provides a strong basis for her current position.
Gail was born and raised in Vero Beach, Florida and she is deeply rooted in her community. She has two adult children, with whom she treasures time spent together on visits and family events. Gail is actively involved in community and charitable events and enjoys traveling and exploring new destinations.
Thanks for tuning in! Join us back here next week for episode 10 with Jenna Carter and Chassidy Deckard!
In this episode, we are taking a turn to explore the business of law from the legal technology side of things. Melissa Chambers (Vice President of Enterprise Solutions, LawPay/Affinipay) and Mike West (Vice President of SMB Sales, NetDocuments) unveil the real truth behind the uniqueness of law firms and the real pain points that they have. The legal industry is notorious for being slow adopters, but Mike and Melissa have found strategies to overcome the hesitation. And if that isn't enough to intrigue you, imagine yourself with only 2 minutes to make your pitch to a firm. What is the first thing you lead with? You’re going to have to listen to find out because Mike and Melissa said it best.
Vice President Enterprise Solution, LawPay
Melissa Chambers is Vice President of Enterprise Solutions at LawPay, an electronic payment platform developed specifically for the legal industry.
Melissa joined the LawPay team in 2009, bringing more than a decade of experience to the organization. After graduating from the University of Mississippi with a degree in Accounting, Melissa took a job in public accounting—an industry she worked in for a year before making a career change and moving into commercial real estate.
For the next eight years, Melissa worked at Equitable Real Estate, during which time she was promoted to Vice President. During her tenure at Equitable, she primarily managed large REITS and 501(c) (2) corporations.
After eight years, Melissa left Equitable Real Estate to focus on raising her three children. While doing so, she started her own financial consulting company for small businesses. She ran this business for three years before deciding to focus her time exclusively on her family. In 2009, Melissa joined the team at LawPay and, since then, has been helping clients and potential clients see how LawPay can help legal professionals manage payments and grow revenue in their firms. Additionally, in 2019, she was appointed as a member of the PDAC committee for the Association of Legal Administrators.
Vice President of Small, Medium Law, Sales, NetDocuments
Mike West is Vice President of SML (Small, Medium Law) Sales at NetDocuments, a cloud-based document management platform developed specifically for law firms. Mike joined NetDocuments in 2019 and brought over 20 years of sales and sales management experience to the organization. After graduating from Brigham Young University in 1997, he took a job in sales and never looked back. His primary focus has been providing technology solutions to companies within the IT, financial services, medical, and now legal markets. He has always prided himself on adding value to prospective clients, partners, coworkers, and organizations that he has worked for. Mike has loved his time at NetDocuments and is excited to be working in the legal industry. There is nothing better than helping a law firm adopt technology that helps them be more efficient, service their clients better and increase their bottom line!
Mike has been married for 5 years, has 6 kids (they are the Brady Bunch), and he's about to be a grandfather!!!!
His hobbies include fly fishing, skiing, mountain biking, traveling, and playing "really bad golf."
Pitch Your Passion:
Thanks for tuning in! Join us back here next week for episode 9 with Gail Fredrickson and Katya Adams!
What would you do if, 48 hours before the most important event of the year, someone asked you to fill in for the keynote speaker? Would you pass up the opportunity or would you make it to the stage and give the best speech of your life? What if, after 20 years at a small firm, you made a leap and moved to a large firm? Would you be ready for the challenges that came with that transition? What about getting buy-in from attorneys and partners? How do you sell yourself in a way that gets you what you need? Take it from us, we can’t answer those questions, but Judy Hissong (President, Nesso Strategies) and April Campbell (Executive Director, Association of Legal Administrators) can. They take on the mic and bring us the wisdom we never knew we needed.
President, Nesso Strategies
Judy Hissong is the President of Nesso Strategies. A former law firm Chief Operating Officer, she helps firms become more profitable by advising leaders in strategic and leadership development challenges. Her mission is “world domination for Good.” By creating actionable, lightbulb moments that leaders want to share and spread, she intends to improve the world one person at a time. When she’s not speaking, training, and consulting, Judy teaches quarterly online workshops and facilitates Leaders Lab, a free monthly video conference that enables small groups of leaders to brainstorm strategies and solutions to work through common issues that keep firms stuck.
Executive Director, Association of Legal Administrators (ALA)
April Campbell is a leader in professional service and not-for-profit organizations for more than two decades. She is passionate about developing leaders and productive teams. She focuses her energy on the philosophy of change experimentation, using innovative methods to foster new solutions and empower leaders to a deeper understanding of how change happens. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Association of Legal Administrators. She has held additional roles in both large and small law firms in the areas of HR, pro bono, and operations. Before her career in legal management, she practiced as an attorney. April holds a Bachelor of Science in Spanish with a business option from Penn State and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oregon School of Law.
Judy’s Pitch Your Passion:
Kiva - A worldwide lending organization
Thanks for tuning in! Join us back here next week for episode 8 with Melissa Chambers and Mike West!
Buckle your seatbelts, because there is a lot to unpack in this episode! Holly Pulido (Chief Operating Officer at Slack Davis Sanger LLP) and Eric Hightower, CLM SPHR (Director of Operations at Wright, Constable & Skeen, L.L.P.) take us through a jam-packed, 60-minutes’ worth of award-worthy entertainment. From uncovering the real myth behind the legal management profession and navigating mergers and acquisitions, to learning how to prioritize an onslaught of requests, this episode will remind you why you do what you do. And, as a bonus, you’ll also discover what really happens when the light bulb during a Kmart blue light special goes out... Take it from us, if the hosts of our show suddenly become Holly and Eric, you’ll know why!
Director of Operations, Wright, Constable & Skeen, LLP.
Eric L. Hightower is the Operations, Wright, Constable & Skeen, LLP. He is the principal administrator who manages the key areas of the firm's operations and shares the responsibility for the implementation of the strategic plan and practice management. He is an active member in various roles on both the local and national levels of the Association of Legal Administrators. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Legal Administrators and is a past president of the Maryland Chapter.
Eric has a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College and is currently pursuing his Master in Business Administration (MBA). He also holds certifications as a Certified Legal Manager (CLM) as well as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Eric was awarded the distinction of an “Unsung Legal Hero” by the Maryland Daily Record and is a frequent speaker on the topic of best practices in legal management. Eric was also recognized by the National Association of Legal Administrators with the Volunteer of the Year Award. In his spare time, Eric enjoys spending time with his two daughters and grandchild, as well as traveling, hiking, and biking throughout the world.
Chief Operating Officer, Slack Davis Sanger LLP
Holly Pulido is the Chief Operating Officer, Slack Davis Sanger, LLP. in Austin, Texas. She has over 20 years of experience in all areas of legal administration and finance. She currently serves on the International Board of Directors of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA).
In 2020, she served on ALA's Chapter Resource Team and was President of the Austin, Texas Chapter in 2018. She is also a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Thanks for tuning in! Join us back here next week for episode 7 with Judy Hissong and April Campbell
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)
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.
ALA fundraising page for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Mark Bridgeman's Firm- Shuffield, Lowman & Wilson, P.A.
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.
Michael Bumgarner (President, ALA) and Debra Elsbury (Immediate Past President, ALA) join the show to discuss everything from the hurdles that come with huge career transitions to the power of titles within a firm. They also discuss how one can progress into leadership within ALA.
In the legal community, it’s easy to feel like the dumbest person in the room because let’s face it, you’re surrounded by so many great minds and imposter syndrome is real. But both Debbie and Mike have some tips on how to overcome this. And if that wasn’t enough to pique your interest, they also have a haunted house story!
Firm Administrator for Threlkeld Stevenson
Debra attended Marian College and earned her Certified Legal Manager (CLM) in November 2009. Debbie is a very involved member of ALA and the Indiana Chapter since 2003, having served her chapter in various roles and now serving ALA as Immediate Past President. Debbie and her husband, Mark are the proud parents of 3 and grandparents of 8. They live on a grain and livestock farm, mainly raising corn, soybeans, and various livestock, along with random wildlife – some welcomed, some not so much.
Chief Executive Officer for Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso PLLC
Michael Bumgarner, CPA, CLM, CGMA is the Chief Executive Officer for Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso PLLC, a defense litigation practice in West Virginia. Mike earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at West Virginia University (WVU) and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is a member of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants where he also serves as a Director-At-Large. Mike became the first person in West Virginia to obtain the Certified Legal Manager certification and since then, he has been very involved with the ALA. Mike has held various leadership positions in ALA, including serving on the CLM Certification Committee, Regional Representative and was appointed to the ALA Board of Directors in 2017. Mike currently serves as the President of ALA.
Mike and his wife Jayme have 3 sons, all three are also WVU alumni. Mike spends most of his free time outdoors, whether it’s golfing, hunting, or fishing. He also never skips an opportunity to go watch professional sporting events and concerts whenever possible.
Debra Elsbury's Firm- Threlkeld Stevenson
Michael Bumgarner's Firm- Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso
Organizations and More:
Thanks for tuning in! Join us next week for a special episode with Mark Bridgeman.
Everyone knows you should always maintain a professional relationship with your coworkers, but what happens when your coworker also happens to be a great friend? From a floating Walmart to comfortable tensions, Rob and Amanda speak with long-time friends Tina Terrian (Executive Director at Pirkey Barber PLLC) and Chris Sims (Director of Finance at Pirkey Barber PLLC) to explore the dynamics of a friendship that defies the odds in an industry that can leave you feeling rather lonely – not to mention a discovery about the true difference between casinos in Vegas and the ones on cruises. And if we were betting folks, we’d bet that you didn’t know this either.
Executive Director, Pirkey Barber PLLC
Tina Terrian is the Executive Director for Pirkey Barber PLLC, one of the largest US firms practicing exclusively in trademark, copyright, and unfair competition law. Tina is SHRM-CP certified and a certified Professional in Human Resources with a BA in Psychology. She has over 25 years of experience in office management, business operations, consulting, and leadership.
Tina enjoys a peaceful life in the Texas hill country with her husband, son, and new puppy Oliver.
Director of Finance, Pirkey Barber PLLC
Chris Sims is the Director of Finance for Pirkey Barber PLLC. His primary focus is the strategic direction of the firm working closely with the Management and Finance Committees to further the business of law. In his toolbox: cash management; budgets and forecasts; compensation; trust accounting; technology integration; banking relationships; financing mechanisms; and risk management.
Chris earned a Bachelor of Business Administration – Finance from the University of North Texas in Denton and is a Texas Certified Public Accountant. He is a member in the Association of Legal Administrators where he served on the Board of Directors for the Austin Chapter most recently as President, President-Elect, and Treasurer.
Beyond the fascinating world of accounting and finance, Chris enjoys spending time with his better half of 21 years, traveling, and snow skiing.
Austin Chapter of ALA
Charities and Organizations:
Thanks for tuning in! Join us next week for Episode 4 with Debra Elsbury and Michael Bumgarner!