November 2019 President’s Page - The Unsung Heroes of the OCBA

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by Deirdre M. Kelly

This month I would like to thank the tremendous OCBA staff who work so hard behind the scenes every day. Without them, my efforts this year would not have been possible.


First: Trudy Levindofske. Trudy is the CEO/Executive Director of the OCBA. I am sure all of my predecessors will agree with me that the OCBA Presidents only rent the place for a year. Trudy and the staff really run it. Without her guidance, foresight, organization, follow up, direction, tips on how to navigate difficult situations and people, and deep and wide knowledge of OCBA and its history, I would have been lost this year. Trudy, who has served the OCBA for an incredible thirty years, is truly irreplaceable.


Dennis Slaughter, the OCBA’s Director of IT/Facilities, is the one who seems to fix everything from computer “stuff” (that’s why I am not an IT person!) to anything related to the OCBA headquarters facility. Dennis calmly and deftly resolves these issues and figures out a working solution to keep the OCBA, its membership database, website, and network up and running.


Carole Martinez, the Associate Executive Director, wears many hats (all at the same time!). Carole handles the OCBA Charitable Fund’s two fundraisers (the Golf Tournament and Raise Your Glass) as well as Judges’ Night and other major events. Her hard work and dedication are evident in everything she does.


Shannon Pearsall, the Controller, skillfully handles OCBA’s finances, budget, investments, checks, and all things money.


Teresa Vuki, the Public Services Manager, is in charge of our Mandatory Fee Arbitration program, ably manages the Lawyer Referral & Information Service, and serves as a liaison to the Pro Bono Committee.


Luz Hercules-Páez is OCBA’s Member Services Manager. On a daily basis, Luz handles the multitude of member needs, from keeping the database up-to-date to ensuring that members have a positive membership experience. She has been instrumental to me this year in enthusiastically putting on OCBA’s numerous law student and new attorney events. She also serves as a liaison to the OCBA affiliate bars.


Jane Tang, the Publications and Social Media Manager, helps get the word out regarding the good work the OCBA and its affiliates are doing and does an amazing job of managing the advertising sales for Orange County Lawyer.


Christina Pendón, the OCBA’s talented Graphic Designer, makes sure the magazine, event programs, flyers, and signage look professional and cutting-edge.


Kristan Ensminger, OCBAs’ Education Administrator, oversees the amazing MCLE meetings and seminars. She works tirelessly with the Education Committee, section chairs, venues, and the related budgets to produce a wide range of MCLE events.


Maggie Noriega, the Education Coordinator, uses her substantial organizational skills to keep our seminars on track. She handles things behind the scenes and then arrives onsite at the seminars to welcome guests for the latest CLE offerings.


Leanne Cazares, the Program Administrator, adroitly serves as a liaison to the Masters Division and Mentoring Committees, and was instrumental in launching the New Attorney Academy this year.


Sarah Ireland, Executive Assistant, keeps me on track with my crazy schedule this year and organizes and tracks many of the OCBA meetings. I would not have been where I needed to be this year without Sarah and her calendaring and “chasing me down because I have not responded to another calendar invitation” skills!

Kelly FitzGibbon, the OCBA’s Event Coordinator, helps handle the dizzyingly high number of events that the OCBA puts on every month.


Dana Mullin, the OCBA’s Public Services Coordinator, serves as a liaison to the Administration of Justice and Community Outreach Committees and supports the Mandatory Fee Arbitration Program.


Olivia Torres, the OCBA’s Member Services / LRIS Coordinator, handles inquiries on anything related to membership and OCBA’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service.


Erick Palacios, the OCBA’s Communications Coordinator, uses his significant organizational skills to keep twenty-seven sections’ meetings and member promotions on track.


Grace Epperson, the OCBA’s Section/Membership Coordinator, does the seemingly impossible task of helping to coordinate many of our section meetings, handouts, etc. Grace has become a familiar face of the bar at many OCBA section meetings.


Joseph Aguilar, the OCBA’s Operations Support Assistant, can be relied upon to keep the A/V and room set-ups handled to support the 400+ meetings and events taking place at the OCBA headquarters each year.


Kathy Dimeo, the OCBA Office Assistant, is a dedicated team player who is always willing to step up and share her skills where needed and helps to keep the copy and mail center running efficiently.


And Carol Cossaboom, OCBA Accounting Assistant and its newest team member. Carol is quickly beginning to master the OCBA database and accounting systems.


It is often easy to forget the people who work behind the scenes of an organization and the hard work they put in to make it a success. The attention is focused on people who are “above the title” and serving as the face of the organization. But, credit should be given where credit is truly due . . . and that is with the amazing, dedicated, talented, extremely hard-working staff. Many of them have been with OCBA for ten, twenty, or even thirty years. They are the ones who will be tirelessly working on behalf of the OCBA long after my term is up. I thought it was time for them to share the spotlight!

Deirdre Kelly is the 2019 OCBA President and the Assistant Dean of Career Development at Western State College of Law. She can be reached at DeirdreKelly@ocbar.org.