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  • Rosalie A. Borgardts
  • Lynnette N. Crady
  • Kathy M. Herr
  • Mary E. Hoffman
  • Mary L. Jennings

borgardts-rosalieFirm Administrator/ Senior Paralegal

Wendt Law Firm

After earning a degree in political science from Seattle University in 1988, Rosalie Borgardts thought she would enjoy working for the government or a law firm. “Working in a law firm seemed like it would be more interesting. It has been,” she said. She received her paralegal certificate in 1995 and worked for a series of law firms before joining the Wendt Law Firm in 2011. She has extensive involvement in the Kansas City Paralegal Association, and one of her nominators said she is known throughout the Kansas City legal community as one of the best firm administrators and paralegals in the region. “Rosalie is second to none,” her nominator wrote.

What is the best part of your job?

It is never boring, and I get to work with great people. I have been fortunate to work with some amazing attorneys, paralegals and judges over the past 20-plus years. When you work with people you enjoy, it makes work fun.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Find a work-life balance. If you find the right balance, you will be happy in your career and your home life. My husband and I have a family motto, “Work to recreate.”

What is your favorite thing to do away from work?

I am not sure I have one favorite thing. I love to play tennis and pickleball. I enjoy traveling and boating with my family and friends at Bull Shoals Lake.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

When I was a teenager, I competed in a number of rodeos. Many, many years ago.

Anything else you want people to know?

I am blessed to have been married to my best friend for 30 years and have three fabulous adult children. We have moved all over the United States courtesy of the U.S. Army and returned to Missouri because it is a great place to live, work and raise a family.

– Scott Lauck

crady-lynetteAdministrative Assistant

Missouri State Public Defender System, Springfield

The Missouri State Public Defender System handles thousands of cases each year in southwestern Missouri. For 27 years, Lynnette Crady has been the rock of that system. In 1990, she was a receptionist at Southwest Missouri State University when the opportunity came up to work for a local attorney. That led her to work for the public defender office, helping indigent clients in Greene, Taney and Christian counties and handling everything from opening cases to overseeing clerks. As one nominator wrote, “The work Lynnette does can at times be taken for granted, but it is no exaggeration to say that without her, our office would not be able to function.”

What is the best part of your job?

Working with the public for 35-plus years, it’s a compilation of things. Some days, it’s the people that I work with. Other days, it’s just the work itself. But when you have that one client [who] was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and we were able to really get them help — that’s what keeps me here.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Find something that you like and stick with it.

What is your favorite thing to do away from work?

To be with my family and friends. Throw in camping by any body of water with a good book, even better.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

That I am really a behind-the-scenes-type person. I don’t like to be in the spotlight.

Anything else you want people to know?

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” — Mother Teresa

– Scott Lauck

kathy-herrOffice Manager

Ketchmark & McCreight

Kathy Herr found her entrance into the legal world as a secretary. When she joined Shughart Thomson & Kilrory in 1976, she found the skills she had gleaned from business classes, such as shorthand, to be especially useful. In 1995 she joined associate Michael Ketchmark in forming a new firm, Ketchmark & McCreight, where she now is office manager. “Every trial I have won, she was the workhorse behind the scene,” said Ketchmark, who nominated Herr as an Unsung Hero. “Billions of dollars of verdicts and settlements later, she is the same grounding force in my firm’s success. She made our firm a family . . . I can’t imagine practicing law without her in my camp.”

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

If you are passionate about what you are doing, you will always be successful at it. But I think that is true of most anything we do in life. If we put heart into everything we do, it comes easier, and we will be successful.

What’s the best part of your job?

The rewarding feeling I get from doing my best to assist my attorneys and co-workers to make their jobs easier. Also, a great part of my job is working on a case from the beginning to see how all the work put into the case comes together and progresses through trial.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I have a weird ability to memorize numbers after seeing them one time; such as case file numbers, phone numbers, birth dates, logins and passwords.

What is your favorite thing to do away from work?

Outside of work my heart belongs to my family. I enjoy spending time with my husband of 41 years, our four children and their spouses, and the eight beautiful grandchildren they have given us.

Anything else you want people to know?

A personality trait of mine is being bossy. It just comes naturally. A co-worker gave me a coffee mug that states “I am not bossy, I just know what you should be doing.” For those who know me, that quote provides a good laugh.

– Jessica Shumaker

hoffman-maryDirector of Administration

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice

Unhappiness with her first job after college eventually led Mary Hoffman to the legal field. After working in accounting, she collaborated with a headhunter to secure a job with a large St. Louis firm as an accounting manager. “It provided me with a great view of the legal field,” she said. “Two years after that, I became the administrator of a firm in Clayton, and as they say, the rest is history.” From May 2001 to June 30, Hoffman was the executive director for St. Louis firm Williams Venker & Sanders, where colleagues described her as a pillar of the firm and key to its successes. On July 1, her title changed to director of administration as the firm merged with Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

The best career advice I ever received came from the example set by my parents — that if you work hard, you will be rewarded. They both had an incredible work ethic. While neither of them went to college, they instilled in their children the value of an education and hard work. I am always thankful for the sacrifices they made to send me to good schools.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I think people are surprised at how much I like baseball, especially the Cardinals, and how much I know about the game overall. Some of my family’s history is intertwined with Cardinal history. For me, baseball is the only sport that matters. Other sports are just background noise until spring training begins.

What is your favorite thing to do away from work?

I have a large extended family that is very close and a great joy to me, so outside of work, I love being with them. I volunteer at the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Children’s Hospital, a place of support for families of sick children. And, of course, I love the Cardinals.

Anything else you want people to know?

It has been my honor to work with the people at Williams Venker & Sanders. Law-firm management wasn’t on my radar when I finished school, but I am thankful I found my way into the field and to this firm.

– Jessica Shumaker

jennings-maryChief Human Resources & Operations Specialist

Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard

Mary Jennings first got a taste of the legal field as a senior in high school, participating in a moot court-type exercise and securing both a defense verdict and perspective on what it takes to be a lawyer. Jennings has been a part of her firm since it formed in August 1979. She previously worked for founding shareholder John Sandberg at his former firm, Coburn & Croft, starting as his secretary and rising through the ranks as legal administrative assistant, personnel manager and human resources manager. She eventually became director of human resources, and, upon earning her bachelor’s degree and HR certifications, she was promoted to her current role at the St. Louis firm. “There’s no question, this firm would not be what it is today without Mary,” Sandberg said in his nomination. “She comes in every day, puts everything she’s got into her work, has learned the legal industry inside and out, and has made thousands of decisions that have made us who we are today.”

What is the best part of your job?

Sandberg Phoenix provides me the opportunity to challenge myself to always be innovative while working closely with talented attorneys, paralegals and administrative staff to achieve success for our firm and the clients we serve.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Work hard, work smart and learn each day.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I spent 10 years [studying] tap dancing and ballet.

What is your favorite thing to do away from work?

Spending time with my husband, Joe, and Macy the Bichon in between shopping and reading.

– Jessica Shumaker

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