2018 Board Candidate Elections

2018 Board Candidate Elections

The following infomation lists each of the candidates for the NALA Board of Directors, along with their responses to the candidates' question for 2018. 

The question posed to all candidates is: What motivates you as a leader and why is NALA's mission meaningful to you?"

OFFICE: Vice President
Melissa J. Hamilton, ACP

Melissa Hamilton resized.jpg Qualifications

I am motivated as a leader to help others succeed.  I love talking with paralegals and asking what they are looking for in an association.  I enjoy sharing knowledge and information about NALA, what we are and do and how NALA membership will help them grow.

When I first joined NALA I had just started my first “official” paralegal position.  I had a Bachelor of Science in paralegal studies and almost 10 years of “non-law office” work experience.  My employer at the time encouraged all employees to become certified in their profession.  I thought about becoming certified when I finished college, but never did.  I researched certification options and NALA was the organization that best met my needs.  What stood out to me was that NALA provides benefits “for all paralegals.”  NALA has helped obtain my Certified Paralegal designation and two Advanced Certified Paralegal designations.  NALA provides top notch CLE to maintain these credentials and offers numerous programs that have helped me grow into the paralegal I am today.  NALA’s mission is meaningful to me because it has given me the tools to grow and excel as a paralegal and made me the paralegal and leader I am today. 

OFFICE: Secretary
Debra L. Overstreet, ACP

Debbie Overstreet resized.jpg Qualifications

A servant-leader is defined as one that shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. My motivation as a leader is having the opportunity to serve others. It is an honor and privilege to serve members of the paralegal profession, including NALA’s members and affiliates. It is truly a joy to motivate others to strive for excellence. NALA’s mission to provide a voluntary certification program, continuing legal education, and professional development programs for all paralegals has played an important role in the success of my career. The outstanding programs offered by NALA along with mentorship received from many NALA members has inspired me to volunteer to educate and mentor others. By working as a team, NALA’s Board of Directors, staff and many volunteer committee members can be a positive force in assuring NALA continues to offer relevant, relative programs to all paralegals.

OFFICE: Treasurer
Jennifer Cordova-Barrera, CP
JCordovaBarrera2018 Photo.JPG Qualifications

I truly enjoy helping other people and seeing them succeed. I love making people happy and being a positive influence in their lives. When it comes to my job, I enjoy learning all aspects of our company and the position, not only for myself, but so I can teach others in the legal department. I enjoy a challenge, whether it is in work or my personal life. I am constantly thinking of new ideas to get positive results in anything I am involved in. At the end of the day, if I made a difference in someone’s life, I will feel accomplished.

I became a Certified Paralegal eight years ago through NALA. I learned valuable information while studying and taking the CP exam. I am grateful for the opportunity and hope to spread the wealth of knowledge to other paralegals coming into the profession or wanting to learn more. My goal is to be successful in my career and I feel that NALA has paved a way for me and others to reach our professional goals. NALA is a great way to meet and socialize with other paralegal/legal assistants in the legal field.

OFFICE: Treasurer
Terry Hale, ACP

Terry Hale photo.jpg Qualifications

NALA’s Mission for me stands for integrity. Without integrity, nothing else matters. NALA has always stood up for what they believed was in the best interest of paralegals, and I too have always been one to stand up for what I believe is right. I am a person to step up and take on responsibility without wanting anything in return and will work tirelessly to make things happen. When something needs done, I’m there to see it through to the end. I am one who won’t give up, or at least, I don’t give up without a fight. Promoting the paralegal profession whenever or wherever I can, by being a speaker at our annual CP Review Course, by being a speaker at other legal educational seminars, mentoring paralegal students, all the while having the ability to listen and learn from others, it is these things that motivate me to be the best leader I can be to others.

OFFICE: Treasurer
Cheryl J. Nodarse, ACP
Cheryl Nodarse resized.jpg Qualifications

Over the years, I’ve participated with NALA’s leaders and learned that NALA’s work is never done. With its mission of “providing a voluntary certification program, continuing legal education, and professional development programs for all paralegals,” this organization’s work is no small undertaking, nor can it ever truly be complete. I am always excited to be part of NALA’s evolution as it addresses challenges faced by all paralegals. My goal as a NALA leader is to pay back those leaders and mentors who have meant so much to my career by “paying it forward” to be the same positive, guiding influence to paralegals whose time in leadership is yet to come.Throughout my 30 years as a paralegal, I have been directly and positively impacted by paralegal leaders and mentors. At the beginning of my career, a paralegal mentor encouraged me to volunteer with the local affiliated association and take NALA’s certification exam. When I moved to a different state, another NALA affiliated association was there to provide the continuing education required to maintain certification. Since that time, I’ve served with statewide paralegal associations and the NALA Board of Directors, and I currently serve on NALA’s Continuing Education Council.

OFFICE: Treasurer
Cindy E. Schmit, ACP

Schmit_C_16.jpg Qualifications

NALA’s Mission is especially meaningful to me as I graduated from college 36 years ago and started working as a legal secretary.  Having the desire to keep learning and advance my career, I formed a study group with several other members of the South Dakota Paralegal Association and sat for the CP exam 20 years after having attended college.  Since obtaining the CP credential I have taken three APC courses and am registered for my fourth.  I was also fortunate to be a participant in the second LEAP program offered by NALA and have attended several NALA Conferences.  My passion for the paralegal profession motivates me to be a leader and continue my education.  It also inspires me to mentor other paralegals and help them attain the CP credential by leading study groups and facilitating a leadership academy.  I motivate other paralegals by sharing my education/certification story and encourage them to sit for the CP exam.  In addition to serving on SDPA’s Education and Professional Development Committees, I have held the offices of NALA Liaison, Treasurer (4 years), 1st and 2nd Vice President and President.  I would welcome the opportunity to serve on NALA’s Board of Directors.

OFFICE: Area 1 Director
Nancy L. Jordahl, ACP, FRP, FCP

I am motivated as a leader by collaborating with a diverse team of people who are all striving for excellence.  I derive a great deal of satisfaction from my career as a paralegal and I want to give back by being an effective and engaged leader.  I enjoy matching my team’s unique talents and special abilities with the needs of the organization.  I further believe that some wonderful “side effects” of leadership are strong friendships and opportunities to be a mentor and/or mentee.  I treasure the relationships I have made through leadership roles.  NALA’s mission statement is meaningful to me because I truly believe that NALA leads every aspect of the paralegal profession. Voluntary certification, continuing legal education and professional development for all paralegals perfectly aligns with my own paralegal priorities and career goals.  Focusing on these particular areas increases the respect paralegals feel for themselves and the respect other legal professionals show us.  I want to be associated with quality and NALA is a top notch organization.  NALA needs to continue its great tradition forward into the future and I am prepared to assist NALA to reach these ideals.   

OFFICE: Area 1 Director
Airolyn T. Loggins, ACP

Debby Saywer resized.jpg Qualifications

My motivation as a leader is knowing that my passion and drive can in turn inspire and motivate others. Personal buy-in is essential when recruiting others to help bring fruition to the mission and the vision of any organization.

In my opinion, motivation leadership begins with motivating yourself- if you do not believe in what you are selling, no one else will either.  A personal tenant of mine is that in order to motivate others, one must first believe in the vision. Leaders should possess the ability to motivate and instill confidence in the group in which they are leading.  The approach should encompass professionalism, tact and diplomacy when dealing with any group of individuals. I believe that if you give others the resources needed and trust them to complete the task, it is a win –win situation. 

NALA’s mission is meaningful to me, as the organization actually lives and breathes its mission. Voluntary certification and continuing legal education are some of the factors that have allowed me to continue to define, enrich and enhance my career.

OFFICE: Area 2 Director
Christine L. Lillo, ACP


What inspires me as a leader is the ability to mentor and inspire others to be the very best version of themselves they can be. In this regard, NALA’s mission aligns with my personal views of leadership. As a member of the NALA Certifying Board, I have noted how NALA has the highest regard for teamwork and respect for individual member voices and opinions. Teamwork through good communication, exemplary listening skills, and integrity are qualities that I respect and admire and strive to emulate. NALA helps members put their best foot forward by providing first-class continuing education, leadership training, and certification programs. Each of these programs has been an integral part of my professional career, and I wholeheartedly support the benefits these programs provide. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve NALA. As a leader, I will strive to maintain good communication, promote the benefits of NALA membership and its programs, and represent you to the best of my ability. Success of the individual members of NALA is what inspires me most as a leader.

OFFICE: Area 3 Director
Michele Pfeiffer, ACP

MPfeiffer.png Qualifications

I’m often asked ‘how I have so much energy to do so much for our profession?  Simple ‘passion’ and I’ve been blessed with a career that has benefited me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.  

Legal professionals throughout my career were patient yet, driven mentors who saw the best in me, critiqued my work, pushed me to do more, and encouraged me to try new assignments.  Initially, I was the sponge and now it’s my turn to give back.

I’ve always believed in higher education and encourage new paralegals/students to seek every opportunity to improve their skills to add to their experience. I set an example by attending generally six hours of MCLE each month through local, state or national conferences/seminars.  

In ‘96, I became a CLE then an ACP which has helped me obtain freelance work in Southern California. What drives me further was finding that niche in the legal arena.  Once I did, I’ve done pro bono work over the years, worked with vendors who help us work smarter, and provide resources to those in need. NALA’s mission statement is what I believe in and continues to drive my passion for my profession! 

OFFICE: Area 3 Director
Shannon C. Rezanina, ACP

Debby Saywer resized.jpg Qualifications

What motivates me as a leader is I want everyone to feel like they are an important part of their organization and their ideas and opinions matter.  Whether they are members of NALA or members of Legal Assistants of Wyoming.

I have been a member of Legal Assistants of Wyoming for over 13 years.  During this time, I have served in several different areas on the board.  From President to NALA Liaison. I encourage members of Legal Assistants of Wyoming to be more than just members. I encourage them to run for positions on the board or be on committees, so they can play a more active role in their continuing education.

NALA’s mission is meaningful to me because all of the things in the mission statement have helped me excel in my career and be a better paralegal.  I achieved my CP from NALA, I attend the NALA conferences and online webinars to obtain my CLE and I also have taken several ACP courses to add to my education.  I want others to be a part of this awesome organization just like I am, and to utilize its resources and benefits.