The Cactus Quarterly Newsletter - 3Q 2019 Print

President's Report

It seems hard to believe but the 4th quarter of 2019 is right around the corner.  The 4th quarter is always a busy and exciting time of year.  Not only do we get to usher in our beautiful Arizona fall weather, but we also have so many wonderful fall events professionally and personally to help get us to that end of year finish line.  The chapter has some exciting things on the horizon.   First up, we are changing our September monthly meeting up and having an education and happy hour event at Goodman’s Interiors from 5:00 – 7:00 pm on Tuesday, September 24th.  Be sure to come and learn about the latest trends in office interiors as well as spending time networking with your fellow ALA colleagues and guests.  Next up is the Business Partner appreciation event Thursday, October 3rd at TopGolf Scottsdale (  This is sure to be an evening of laughter and a little friendly competition to see who really can “grip it and rip it”.  Please find some time to attend this event and show your appreciation to our wonderful business partners without whom we would not be able to provide the many events and resources that our members are afforded at no additional cost.  Our October luncheon, Tax Update & Tax Planning will also have a venue change to 2 North Renaissance Square.  Be sure to read your October Chapter Happenings for additional details on the venue.  In November we will have our annual Managing Partner/Leadership lunch at the Phoenix Country Club.  We are excited to have Dean Douglas Sylvester of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU as our 2019 Keynote Speaker.  He will be presenting “The Future of Legal Education – The JD and Beyond”.  Please invite your Managing Partners and other leaders within your organizations as this event is an excellent opportunity to highlight the exceptional value received by not only the members but also their organizations.  Finally on the slate for 2019, will be the Chapter’s Annual Holiday Party Thursday December 5th 5:30p to 8:30p at Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar ( located in Kierland Commons, Scottsdale.  So as you can see there are still many great opportunities left in 2019 to increase your membership value and go out strong for 2019!!

Warmest regards,

Katie Bryant, CLM
President, ALA Arizona Chapter

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I don’t know about everyone else, but I feel like performing effectively is no longer good enough to excel at my career or even life for that matter.  As leaders of our organizations, we must beware of complacency not only amongst those we manage and supervise but also within ourselves.  We must challenge ourselves because if we don’t, complacency sets in and before we know it, we are left behind and struggling to catch up if that’s even possible.  So how do we fight complacency?  Here are some great tips I found.  I hope you find them useful.

  • Don’t let your guard down. Give yourself a kick in the butt.  If you’re not up to the job, find someone who is.

  • Stay grounded. Remember what made you successful and what you’ve learned along the way.

  • Create goals. Push your limits.  Set ambitious but realistic goals.  Challenge those around you to do better and to be better.  The fact is, if you spend your time coasting, it’ll all be downhill.

  • Don’t be a know-it-all. Look in the mirror and admit you know what you know and what you don’t know.  It’s a strength, not a weakness, to see the advice of others.

  • Welcome fresh ideas. Invite fresh new thinking that challenges your perspective.  Surrounding yourself with yes people is like talking to yourself and limits growth.

  • Learn from the best. Identify best practices and make sure to implement them.

  • Compete with yourself. View your success as a journey not a destination.  Focus on beating your best rather than your competition.

  • Fight against routine. Embrace change and if it ain’t broke…break it!!

  • Uncover your blind spots by asking “what-if” questions. Be your clients and find the cracks in your system.

  • Maintain momentum and don’t let up. As soon as you achieve a goal, set another.  It’s easier to maintain momentum than to rebuild it once it’s lost.

  • Finally, look to the future and not the past. Take time to smell the roses but don’t spend too much time basking in the glory of success.  A downside of success is that it can breed complacency.  Complacency breeds failure.

By: Katie Bryant, CLM

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2019 Business of Law Conference & Expo – My Thoughts

There is one event I do my best to attend each year, and in my 10 years as an ALA member, have only missed one.  It’s an event put on by our local chapter into which much time and energy is volunteered and spent throughout the year to create a meaningful experience for you (and me) the members, and our Business Partners.  That event is the Chapter Business of Law Conference & Expo.  At least, that’s what it was called this year, as it has had other labels in the past.  If you didn’t make it this year – you missed a great event (and I really missed not seeing you)!

Housed at the first-time venue of Warehouse 215 @ Bentley Projects, it provided the perfect space where registration, buffet line, education tables and business partner area were all separate, yet easily accessible. The bright, cheery space created an atmosphere of focused concentration and relaxed sociability.

TLC – Take it, leave it or change it was a bullet point of Marsha Petrie Sue’s Clear Focus: 13 Lucky Steps to Take presentation.  TLC is the outcome to any choice you make in life, but is also a line for those who drive you nuts with complaints.  Just keep throwing back at them – so what are you going to do about that, (insert name here)?  Take it – leave it – or change it?  I found that funny at first, but then realized it’s a darn good come back to make others come to you with suggestions, not complaints.

And how about the self-reflection of “Is this currently the most productive use of my time?”  Wow – that one stopped me in my tracks!  In my personal life, that would be a “no” far too often.  And no one is saying personal time and downtime aren’t good uses of your time.  They definitely can be, yet asking the question is a good barometer.

Debbie Foster of Affinity Consulting Group gave other great insights in her presentation of Identifying and Sharing your Strategic Vision, one of them being “done is better than perfect.”  Something has to be “done,” to be able to make it better.  Simple – but true.

And ALA’s own April Campbell presented on Creating Progression Through Design Thinking Methods – Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test and Implement – the steps for design thinking.  I love April – it’s always great to see her and how awesome that she takes the time from her own busy office schedule to travel to Phoenix.  I feel that way about all of you, too, as the conference and expo provide the opportunity to catch up with folks not seen for a while.

And lastly – because they deserve special attention - our fabulous business partners.  The expo was reminiscent of those past, as the business partners each had their own table in a large, open room off the education room.  There were a couple breaks over which we had visiting time with as many as we could get to.  I’d personally love even more time to spend with them, as I probably only made it to half.  However, having them join us during the education sessions was awesome, as it allowed for more personal interaction.  They are such a crucial part of what we as administrators do – could we ever thank them enough?  It is they that afford us, as chapter members, free access to this wonderful event each year.  A day to learn, connect with the Business Partners, and each other.  I hope to see you next year!

- Sue Bailey, Milligan Lawless, P.C.

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Total Networks


My eighteen-year-old daughter, Sarah, recently shared an interesting complaint. She rarely checks her email and missed an important message. “Why can’t everybody just text?” she lamented. Sarah is not alone in her disdain for email. Microsoft Teams makes much more sense than Outlook to millennials or post-millennials.

Many older folks, like me, love Teams, too. Total Networks, my IT consulting business, switched from Slack to Teams internally a year ago. I was honestly a little hesitant initially. Teams was fairly new at the time and Slack was working well for the business, but Teams proved to be rock-solid immediately and kept getting better. We have since implemented Teams at a number of our clients and it is proving to be popular with them as well.

Microsoft wants Teams to become a platform for a new way of doing business. Tremendous development efforts are underway not only by Microsoft, but also with third-parties that are developing applications that integrate with and extend the functionality of Microsoft Teams. This includes applications such as LawToolbox’s Deadlines which integrates with the product.

Microsoft Teams runs on your PC and phone providing convenient access everywhere. A web browser client is available as well. The application supports both one-on-one as well as group conversations that are prominently displayed. Meetings may be scheduled directly from within Teams and may be held as online video or audio meetings through the application.

Various tabs located at the top of each Team page provide access various functions including files associated with the team. This provides a convenient way to coordinate co-authoring of files, allowing multiple people to edit the same document simultaneously.

If you are interested in using Teams at your firm, designate one person to champion the project. This person does not need to be technically inclined, but they must understand how your firm operates. Pick someone with the strongest ability to optimize your business workflow. Have them install the application and get familiar with it. Training is recommended and a knowledgeable consultant can be very helpful.

The basic structure of Teams is comprised of:

  1. Teams of people that work together and
  2. Channels within each team that establish separate discussion threads, groups of files, etc.

The simplest approach is to look at your organization and determine groups of people that work together and create teams that mirror that. It is common for individuals to be members of multiple teams. It is all about who should be communicating and collaborating with each other.

There are many ways to organize teams. Some firms might create a team for each client with a channel in the team for various matters. Or a separate team for each matter may be more appropriate. Think through the various possibilities and plan it out, including who will be the “owner” of teams and who will be “members” of the team. Discussing this with a knowledgeable consultant can be helpful.

Pay close attention to allowing Guest access. If you choose to enable this feature, establish clear policies and procedures to avoid oversharing. Document under which circumstances Guest access may be allowed as well as an approval process for inviting guests. I also recommend clearly labelling any teams with guests, perhaps as “-EXTERNAL” or “-INCLUDING CO-COUNSEL.” While Microsoft Teams already provides a warning for any team that includes guests, it may easily get missed if you aren’t looking for it.

My firm has found that migrating files from a local file server or other online file storage into SharePoint Online is an excellent first step. Then, when teams are created, they may be linked to files that exist in SharePoint Online. If you have a Document Management System (DMS), you’ll need a plan to manage what kind of files, if any, belong in a particular team. Some limited linking functionality may also be established from your teams to your DMS. If you don’t have a DMS, Teams and SharePoint Online offer some DMS features. Properly implemented, Teams and SharePoint may significantly improve your firm’s document management.

Last, but certainly not least, a solid training plan to educate employees on how the firm intends to use Microsoft Teams is essential. If you have any questions or concerns about Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online, or Office 365 in general, feel free to contact me at [email protected]

By: Dave Kinsey
Total Networks
4201 N. 24th Street, Suite 230
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(2nd Floor of the State Bar of Arizona Building)
[email protected]

Dave is the co-owner and President of Total Networks. The Total Networks team provides outsourced IT and strategic technology consulting to professional businesses. Their team is the first and only Arizona IT company to earn the CompTIA Security Trustmark, certifying that Total Networks meets or exceeds security best practices. For more information, email Dave at [email protected].

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Community Service

I had the great pleasure of announcing that our chapter’s 2019 community connection event at last month’s BUSINESS OF LAW CONFERENCE AND EXPO.

The beneficiary of this year’s community connection event is the 

On December 13, 2017 my son Jackson (just shy of his 3rd birthday) was diagnosed with Pitt Hopkins Syndrome.  He was the 5th person in the state, about 700th in the world, to have this syndrome.  From the Pitt Hopkins website:  Pitt Hopkins Syndrome (PTHS) is a rare genetic disorder affecting a specific gene in chromosome 18, called TCF4. PTHS is characterized by developmental delay, possible breathing problems of episodic hyperventilation and/or breath-holding while awake, recurrent seizures/epilepsy, gastrointestinal issues, lack of speech, etc.

I could go on and on about all of the day-to-day issues not covered above, about how he doesn’t yet walk, will likely never talk and all of the challenges that he will face throughout his life, but I’ll focus on the fact that Jackson is a happy 4 1/2 year-old and we celebrate every “inch”stone that he accomplishes.

So, back to the Expo.  We kicked off the campaign with a 50/50 raffle that raised $460.  The winning ticket was drawn by our esteemed president Katie Bryant, who in turn immediately donated her $460 to the PTHS research foundation.

There will be an online raffle that will be formally introduced in September, with the winning tickets being drawn in December.  We have several incredible items (all donated) in this raffle which will be finalized shortly, so stay tuned...

David Hansen
Director At Large

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ALA 2019 Conference Recap

The 2019 ALA Arizona annual Business Law Conference has come and gone.  The constant effort and focus to improve and make each year better than the last was a success and definitely set the bar high for next year!  With everyone’s busy schedules, it’s always nice to see ALA members and reconnect with other business partners. This years conference was held in a centrally located warehouse building near downtown Phoenix called Warehouse 215 @ Bentley Projects.  This really set the tone for a laid back and trendy conference.  The scaled back and low-key partner booths definitely takes the stress out of hauling in supplies and setting up extensive displays.  It allows the business partners more time for having meaningful conversations with the members, which was one of the new additions for this year’s conference.  The “meaningful conversation” ticket was handed out by business partners to any member in which they felt they engaged in a meaningful conversation.  This ticket was then entered into a raffle prize drawing where the members could win door prizes.

Something new to this year’s conference was allowing the business partners to take part in the entire conference, more specifically the educational breakouts and guest speakers.  What a dynamic, incredible guest speaker line-up it was! The first speaker was Martha Petrie Sue, a very accomplished best-selling author, former corporate executive, and dynamic motivational public speaker.  Marsha’s delivery style was energetic, capitative, humorous, down to earth, and very relatable.  She certainly provided a different perspective and approach to handling change and toxic people in the workplace.

The next speaker was Debbie Foster with Affinity Consulting Group.  Debbie is a very accomplished business leader, business owner, and an expert on efficiency and innovation in professional and legal organizations.  Debbie’s presentation was also very engaging and kept your attention the entire time.  She provided great insight and ideas for workplace collaboration, creating a positive work environment, and how to build a strong workplace culture that could apply in any industry or organization.  Knowing and sharing your company’s mission, vison, and core values, were key points in her presentation.

Last, but not least, it was a pleasure and honor to have the former President of the National ALA, April Campbell, speak at the conference.  April is a very accomplished professional, having success in many different roles in the legal industry including as a practicing attorney.  April’s presentation was very interactive by having everyone involved with group exercises.  This was a fun way to engage with many different people at the tables and come up with creative solutions to certain workplace problems.  She really challenged us to think deeper to understand how change happens. 

Finally, to cap it off in traditional fashion, was the networking/business partner reception where everyone can mingle and discuss the days events and activities. 

In closing, this year’s 2019 Arizona Business Law Conference was a huge success and enjoyed by all.  I want to thank all the ALA members for their hard work, time, and continued effort that goes into making the Arizona annual conference the best in the country! The feedback from previous conferences and the willingness to make each year better has definitely made a difference.  The challenge for next year is, how are we going to top this year? The bar has been set!

By Jason Kohl
Regional Account Executive
Royal Cup

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Calendar of Events



TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 - 5:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.
(5:30 P.M. Presentation and Tour) followed by a social hour at
Topic: Latest Trends in Office Interiors

Presented by: Steve Ferrandino, Jr. and Adam Goodman, Goodmans Interior Structures

Location: Goodmans Interiors | 1400 E. Indian School Rd. | Phoenix, AZ 85014

Please register here by September 20th.



October 3, 2019  |  5:30 PM - 8:30 PM


You MUST register at by SEPTEMBER 23, 2019 to attend the event.
Please contact Teresie with any questions.

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ALA Resources and Useful Links


The ALA Arizona Chapter website has a new tool call the “Forum.” The forum is a way to engage between members with discussion threads on the ALA Arizona Chapter StarChapter website. 

The “forum” is a drop down under the “Member Area” on the main website page, which is restricted to members only.

To post a thread, any member can go to “Member Area”, then “Forum”, then “Start A Thread”. A small pop-up box will ask for the member to provide a “Thread Title” and enter the “New Thread Content”. 

The person can then decide if they want to receive emails whenever a new post to the thread has been completed by checking the “Email me updates on this thread”.

To post a replay choose “Leave a Reply”
Please contact Teresie Zmyslinski, if you need assistance.

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