Senior Corporate Paralegal Brian Haberly Reflects on a Long and Rewarding Career

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Senior Corporate Paralegal Brian Haberly Reflects on a Long and Rewarding Career
Professional Overview

Brian Haberly, RP®, serves as a senior corporate paralegal for Infoblox Inc. in Santa Clara, CA. He is responsible for preparing Board and Committee minutes for the publicly traded parent company, maintains the various subsidiaries of the company, and prepares Section 16 filings (Forms 3, 4, & 5). Mr. Haberly also manages the Proxy Process and the Annual Shareholder Meeting, oversees certain Corporate Governance and equity related matters and works closely with Tax, Finance, HR and Investor Relations department personnel.

Over the years, Mr. Haberly has been awarded with several distinctions. In October 2010, he was selected as Paralegal Gateway's Paralegal Superstar of the Month. Mr. Haberly has been profiled in Vicki Voisin's "The Paralegal Mentor" Blog and he was profiled as a Corporate Paralegal in Delmar Publishing's "Law of Corporations and Other Business Organizations,"6th Edition, May 2011. He is a member of the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, and is a 20 year member of the Washington State Paralegal Association, where he served as president for three consecutive terms. Mr. Haberly also served as president of the Starbucks Toastmasters club and was the founder or co-founder of three separate Toastmasters International clubs.

He was born in Idaho Falls, ID, and he grew up in Southern California and the San Fernando Valley. Mr. Haberly earned his B.A. in Earth Science from California State University-Northridge and received his Paralegal Certificate with a Corporations Specialization from the University of West Los Angeles, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude from their ABA approved paralegal program. In 2009, he successfully passed the National Federation of Paralegal Association's (NFPA) Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam to become a PACE Registered Paralegal (an "RP").

After getting married, Mr. Haberly and his wife moved to Seattle where they lived for about twenty years before relocating to Northern California two and a half years ago. The couple has three children, two sons and a daughter. When asked about his children, Mr. Haberly said, "My sons are both manufacturing engineers and my daughter is studying Biology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and loves both the school and the community."

What are his hobbies and interests outside of work? "I enjoy local hiking and I volunteer on the boards of the local Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club and 350 Silicon Valley, the local affiliate of, the international organization fighting against climate change, fracking, and the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and promoting a clean, renewable energy future using wind, water, and solar energy."

Mr. Haberly recently picked up Elizabeth Warren's A Fighting Chance. "I agree with some other writers that have said Elizabeth Warren is the best thing to happen to American politics in decades. I love how she stands up for students, consumers, homeowners, and has taken on some of the most powerful people in Congress and on Wall Street."

Does he have a favorite restaurant? "I won't turn down good Thai or Mexican food any time you ask me!"

Mr. Haberly's Successful Career

How long has Mr. Haberly been a paralegal? "I've been a Corporate Paralegal for over 20 years, and have served in several leading public companies such as Starbucks Coffee Company,, Clearwire Corporation, Franklin Templeton Investments and prominent Seattle law firms such as Lane Powell and Williams Kastner ."

Why did he decide to become a paralegal? Mr. Haberly noted:
"I studied environmental science in college, but quickly found that I would need a Master's degree to do more than teach Middle School science classes. An initial office services role in a Century City, California law firm piqued my interest in the law, and after speaking with some paralegals in my office, I decided that an ABA approved two year paralegal certificate program made the most sense for me."
What advice would Mr. Haberly give to someone who's brand-new to his position? He stated:
"I would remind newer paralegals that their first, second, and maybe even their third position might not be their 'dream' paralegal position, but that you will acquire something of value from every new opportunity, and to be open to continually learning new things even if they aren't your first love. Some newer paralegals are disappointed that they don't get to perform a lot of legal research like they did while in school. But there are still ways to pick up skills in other than a primary practice area, and make yourself more employable with a wider range of experience."
What information did he wish he had when starting out? Mr. Haberly acknowledged:
"I haven't seen many paralegals really 'mentored' on the job. I wish I had understood the value of professional networking early on, so that I could have found someone in my practice area to bounce questions off of. There is an expression of 'Failing Forward' and learning from mistakes. Leadership expert Peter Drucker says, 'The better a man is, the more mistakes he will make, for the more new things he will try.' As a newer paralegal, you are bound to make your share of mistakes. When that happens (and it will), own up to them quickly, seek help to resolve them, and alert your manager what you will do differently next time to ensure the same mistake won't be repeated. 'Poor leaders fix blame. Good leaders fix problems.'"
What does Mr. Haberly think are the keys to becoming a successful paralegal?
"Flexibility, a sense of humor, strong oral and written communication skills, a sincere desire to provide good customer service to both your internal and external clients, and an inquisitive nature that enjoys running down the tiny details to make your supervising attorney and yourself both look great!"
What does he think makes the difference between a good paralegal and a great paralegal? Mr. Haberly asserted:
"They say it's your Attitude that determines your success, not your Altitude, and I believe that is very true. Practice servant leadership, and you'll be rewarded with increasing levels of leadership and compensation yourself. But if you are frustrated that you 'do a good job, are dependable at work, and always in your chair' but nobody knows what you are up to or if you care about them, then you'll likely be passed over at promotion time. A title doesn't make a leader, and you can be a leader even without a formal title."
What would Mr. Haberly say is the most important thing he learned as a paralegal? He said:
"Don't eat lunch alone. Seriously! Get out and talk with people in other practice areas and other departments. Know what is going on in the firm/company and in the community. Be ready to speak up and have something to contribute, but don't talk just to be heard. Try to listen twice as much as you speak. If you bury your head at lunch, you'll never make all the contacts and learn all the goings on that more social paralegals do."
What is the best part of his job? "Like many long-time paralegals, senior paralegals enjoy both a high degree of responsibility and a high degree of independence. Satisfaction comes from both!"

What is Mr. Haberly known for professionally? He shared:
"I've had the privilege and pleasure of serving as a local leader in the paralegal profession, as I was elected to three consecutive terms as President of the Washington State Paralegal Association, and I also served on the association Board for about 7 years. I've spoken before paralegal audiences in Atlanta, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Seattle, and served on the Paralegal Advisory Committees for paralegal programs at the University of Washington and Edmonds Community College. I was also honored to be profiled as a Corporate Paralegal in the 2011 (6th edition) of Delmar Cengage Learning's paralegal textbook: 'The Law of Corporations and Other Business Organizations.'"
What does he think about the paralegal field in California today? Mr. Haberly explained:
"California was the first (and it is still the only) State to define what a 'paralegal' is (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 6450).That code both prohibits paralegals from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law; establishes educational and professional requirements for paralegals; and mandates continuing legal education, but it lacks any real teeth or oversight body to enforce it, so it hasn't had quite the impact of uplifting the profession that many paralegals hoped it would have."
If Mr. Haberly were not in this profession, what would he most probably be doing?

"I enjoy public speaking, community activism, and volunteering in service to others. Perhaps running for office someday?"

Where does he see himself in five years' time? Mr. Haberly replied:
"I am currently working for a tech company in Silicon Valley that hired me right before they had their initial public offering. The tech industry changes quickly, and companies can be both very successful and then displaced by even newer technology before you know it, so five years is an eternity in this region. I hope to be with my present employer, Infoblox, for a long time to come though, as they understand both quality of life issues and offer interesting and challenging work to keep people like me motivated."
Being a "People Connector," Professional Organizations and Being Featured in Vicki Voisin's the Paralegal Mentor Blog

Does Mr. Haberly consider himself a mentor? "I pride myself in being a 'People Connector' and I've helped several paralegals improve their 'Personal Branding' so that they were more employable and more easily found. I've been contacted and assisted a handful of paralegals that found me on LinkedIn and sought my advice on resume organization, interview skills, and job researching, which is gratifying."

What professional organizations is he a part of? Mr. Haberly stated:
"I am a long time member of the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals, the Washington State Paralegal Association, and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. A personal point of pride is that I was the founder or co-founder of three separate Toastmasters International clubs, which help people improve their communication and leadership skills. I also served as President of the Starbucks Toastmasters club, which is still going on strong today at the company headquarters, and I would encourage anyone interested in self-improvement and career advancement to give Toastmasters a try!"
Mr. Haberly was featured on Vicki Voisin's The Paralegal Mentor blog. How does it feel to be recognized for his work? He said:
"It was both humbling and gratifying to be recognized by my peers. Paralegals need to support each other if we want the paralegal profession to grow, and we all need to have examples of someone who has achieved some great things to inspire each of us to try a little bit harder. Tony Robbins likes to point out that the biggest rewards don't go to those who exhibit outstanding work practices, but rather that top 5% of us who are truly excellent in what they do. (Think of a President's Club or a Quarterly Award winner if your company or firm recognizes top performers. What would it mean to your career and your salary if you were similarly recognized?)"
What to Expect When Working with Mr. Haberly

Doug Kaminski, who helps executives and legal professionals solve their compliance and governance challenges claimed:
"I can't say enough positive things about Brian. As I write this, I'm sitting in a Starbucks drinking a double shot latte in Cleveland, OH. Before I met Brian, I wasn't a coffee drinker. His passion and enthusiasm for his work and his company is I guess I caught the disease.

In both his leadership roles as President of the WSPA and on the legal team at Starbucks, Brian brings an incredible attention to detail and a high level of skill combined with a true caring and warmth that's hard to match. The end result is that people meet their goals and everyone's happier. That's a rare thing in business these days.

It's been my pleasure to have met Brian and worked with him. If you're interested in the same positive effects, I suggest you seek out Brian. You won't be sorry."
Terri Cloonan, a Global Collections Specialist at Play Network, noted:
"I had the good fortune to work with Brian on a long-term cross functional project. His dedication and passion are admirable. He is detail oriented, time sensitive and resourceful. Brian brings a wealth of knowledge on so many subjects to the table and is willing to share generously. Brian exhibits a great deal of leadership courage tempered with ample respect and dignity for all concerned. I look forward to future opportunities to work with Brian"
Maria Dellett, an Officer at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation stated:
"I have had the pleasure of working with Brian for the past year at Clearwire. Brian is not only a seasoned paralegal but is a mentor and friend. One of Brian's strongest assets is his leadership skills. It is no coincidence that he is one of the few paralegals I know that is member of several professional organizations.
Brian also possesses a dogged determination that is not only seen in his own work product, but is also reflected in his interaction with our business clients and those within the legal department. We all aspire to have the knowledge, experience and poise as Brian!

Finally, one of the strongest aspects of any seasoned paralegal is their ability to 'hit the ground running.' Brian's uncanny ability to basically come in on the first day and start providing 'value-add' was something to be admired.

Given the above, I highly recommend Brian and can say from the bottom that he would be an asset to any company!"
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Santa Clara      Infoblox Inc.      Brian Haberly      Paralegal      CA     

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