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2022 Annual California Bar Leaders Conference

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September 14, 2022 @ 1:00 pm 6:00 pm

Free hybrid event; No MCLE credit offered.

401 W. A Street, San Diego, CA 92101 & virtual attendance via zoom

This annual training for bar leaders brings nationally recognized speakers to our own backyard.  Past topics have included association best practices, volunteer management, member engagement, governance, communication, finance, diversity initiatives, strategic planning and trends in bars. 

Current Presidents/Chairs, Vice Presidents/Chairs, Presidents/Chairs-Elect, and bar association staff were encouraged to attend this free event. 

Program Details

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Keynote: Constructive Conflict: Bringing Civility Back to the Board

Pressures and demands are higher than ever in today’s world, and it shows up in how people are communicating with one another. Even the simplest of conversations now escalate to unnecessary levels. Professionals need skills and strategies to defuse intense interactions and reach effective conclusions. In this informative session participants will explore:

  • Understanding conflict within the context of the “Post-Pandemic Split”
  • Examine how an individual’s own responses to conflict impact the exchange and how to be more aware of reactions
  • What creates a psychologically safe space for individuals to move through conflict
  • How to reframe conflict as neither “good nor bad,” but rather a vehicle for growth

Speaker: Sue Hoffman, Ph.D.

2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Executive Lens: Discussion with Oyango Snell

Following the break, Oyango Snell will lead attendees in a guided discussion about some of the topics raised during the keynote session.  In these breakout discussions attendees will identify examples that apply specifically to their respective organizations and discuss possible solutions.

Speaker: Oyango Snell, Executive Director and CEO, California Lawyers Association

3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. | Nonprofit Management: Board Accountability + Measuring Progress

Board engagement and accountability for Bar Associations are challenging whether you have many or no staff, especially these past two years. Join us in a roundtable discussion where we share fundamentals in nonprofit board management and how to establish systems to measure progress toward your goals.  You’ll hear from experienced board leaders from a variety of association sizes on effective strategies, tips, and tools to make your association more effective.


  • Hellen Hong, Esq.  CEO, CalBar Affinity
  • Renee N.G. Stackhouse, San Diego County Bar Association Immediate Past President 
  • N. Fred Thiagarajah, Former Director, Orange County Asian American Bar Association; Former President, South Asian Bar Association


Sue Hoffman, Ph.D.
Suzanne Hoffman

Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist (PSY15000), organizational consultant and trainer who has worked extensively with a variety of private corporations and public entities, consulting in the areas of workplace violence prevention, management and organizational development, workplace sexual harassment, and critical incident debriefing.

Dr. Hoffman frequently conducts training seminars on workplace violence prevention and intervention across all levels of organizations, as well as provides training for management on communication skills and sexual harassment prevention. Recognized as a sensitive and effective speaker and consultant, Dr. Hoffman offers practical direction to Human Resource and Management professionals, and provides pragmatic suggestions for dealing with inappropriate, emotionally-enraged and potentially dangerous employees.

Dr. Hoffman is a member of the Association for Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP). She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from San Diego State University, and earned both a Master’s degree and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego. Dr. Hoffman served as a member of the faculty at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University from 2003-2007, teaching Law and Ethics courses and working as a professional training liaison. A member of both the American Psychological Association (APA) and the San Diego Psychological Association, (SDPA), Dr. Hoffman has served on the Board of Directors for SDPA, and previously served as the chairperson for both the Continuing Education and Women’s Issues Committee’s for SDPA. She has also served as a member of the Ethics and Standards Committee for SDPA.

Oyango Snell, Executive Director and CEO, California Lawyers Association
Oyango Snell

Oyango A. Snell is the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Director of the California Lawyers Association. Snell comes to CLA from the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) where he served as the organization’s first in-house general counsel in its 114-year history. Holding previous positions representing national, regional, and statewide associations, Snell brings significant association management and government relations experience to CLA at a time when the voluntary bar association is looking to grow its membership and increase engagement with the three branches of state government.

Snell, since March 2017, has served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary at WSPA, a nonprofit business association organized similarly to CLA and based in Sacramento. Among his many achievements, he created a first-in-class in-house legal advocacy and human resources program, provided legal advocacy for monumental climate policy initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and created a leadership initiative for women in the oil and natural gas industry.

Previously, Snell served as the chief legislative and regulatory counsel for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) in Washington, D.C., from January 2012 to March 2017. From August 2009 to December 2011, he was a solo practitioner in Columbus, Ohio, providing legal counsel and regulatory advocacy to various business groups.

Snell is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) credentialed by the American Society of Association Executives and he earned his Juris Doctor (JD) from The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.

Hellen Hong, Esq. CEO, CalBar Affinity
Hellen Hong

Hellen Hong is the CEO of CalBar Affinity, where she supports California attorneys run thriving practices while building a better justice system.  

She served as the first Director of the Office of Access & Inclusion at the State Bar of California where she led and implemented the State Bar’s initiatives on access to justice, diversity and inclusion, and support for legal services programs for Californians. She led the first California Justice Gap Study to better understand the civil legal needs of Californians. 

Ms. Hong served in multiple leadership roles, including Interim Executive Director, at First Place for Youth.  This national nonprofit with a $30M annual budget is committed to supporting young people transitioning out of foster care and into adulthood by providing education, employment, and housing resources.

Prior to that, Hellen served as the Executive Director at the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice for seven years. Through her strategic vision and leadership, the organization engaged in advocacy, doubled its budget to grow its impact, substantially increasing access to legal services for immigrants, domestic violence survivors, and teens parents.

Hellen was appointed by Governor Newsom to the Fair Employment and Housing Council in 2020.  Hellen is also an advisor for Mid-City Meals, a nonprofit building community through food.  She is a graduate of Loyola Law School and University of California, San Diego. 

Renee N.G. Stackhouse, San Diego County Bar Association Immediate Past President
Renee N.G. Stackhouse

Renee N.G. Stackhouse is a Trial Lawyer at Stackhouse, APC in San Diego, California. She is board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in Civil Trial Advocacy. Her practice is devoted to helping those who have been injured and supporting service members in navigating the military and civilian justice system. 

Stackhouse is a recognized leader in the legal community, actively serving and contributing to organizations including serving as Past President of California Women Lawyers, the CWL Foundation, San Diego County Bar Association, San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, and the Thomas Jefferson School of Law Alumni Association. She co-chairs the National Association of Women Judges Fairness and Access Committee. 

Stackhouse taught trial advocacy skills to lawyers across the country with the Trial Lawyers College and is an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she was recently elected to the Board of Trustees. 

N. Fred Thiagarajah, Former Director, Orange County Asian American Bar Association; Former President, South Asian Bar Association
N. Fred Thiagarajah

Fred Thiagarajah practices criminal defense exclusively.  After graduating from USC Law School in 1999, he served as a Deputy District Attorney for four years, before opening up his own criminal defense law firm in Newport Beach.  Mr. Thiagarajah has completed over 100 trials over the course of his career.  Super Lawyers of Southern California has selected him every year since 2016.  He’s also been recognized as one of the top trial lawyers in California by the National Trial Lawyers every year since 2015.  He is the past President of both the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) for Southern California and the SABA Public Interest Foundation; he currently sits on the SABA Steering Committee.  Fred also currently serves on the Board of the Orange County Asian American Bar Association, where he is involved in their Judicial Committee and their Solo-Small Firm Committee. 


The 2022 California Bar Leaders Conference is sponsored and supported by:

We are committed to accessibility! Virtual events are equipped with closed captioning. To request an in-person accommodation, send us a note at or contact us at 916-516-1760 for assistance.


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