Experienced lawyer and award-winning leader. Passionate about criminal justice reform and access to justice. Noella Sudbury is the founder and CEO of Rasa and on a mission to make it simple and affordable for all eligible people to clear their criminal records and access new opportunities!
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Noella Sudbury: 70-100 million Americans have a criminal record, and even old and minor records hold people back years after they have left the justice system.
Rasa is passionate about increasing access to justice through technology. Through the use of a simple web application, individuals can find out whether their records are eligible for expungement now, or in the future. If the records are eligible, Rasa offers to represent clients for a flat rate of $500.
This technology makes second chances possible for those who can’t afford the lofty price tag of the traditional process other law firms use (typically around $2-3K).
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Noella Sudbury: Rasa Legal was selected as this year’s Access to Justice winner at this year’s annual American Legal Technology Awards. Rasa’s founder was honored for her years of work on criminal justice reform, as well as Rasa’s innovative approach to making criminal record expungement affordable, and therefore more accessible, to those who would not otherwise be able to clear their records.
Since opening in February 2022, Rasa has launched its new web application, which has had over 2,000 users and is actively representing clients in over 450 criminal record expungement cases.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?
Noella Sudbury: Culture and mission are critically important to retaining good talent. I recently asked my team what they think our culture is. The response across the board was similar—rewarding, challenging, supportive and collaborative. We believe in what we do and the impact that we have on people’s lives. Everyone adds value and is willing to assist other team members in accomplishing our important goals.
Culture and mission are front and center for me as a Founder and CEO. You have to be intentional about these things and show your employees that it is important. I believe that you have to invest in people. Learn about people’s lives outside of work, ask about the people they love, support their hobbies, and encourage them to have balance in their lives. Be flexible. Create schedules that work for people and take time to learn how people work best. Ask for feedback and be willing to implement it. Facilitate an environment where people can grow and you support their desire to develop new skills and achieve their own professional development goals.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Noella Sudbury: Before the pandemic, most lawyers met with people in person. This was hard for people in rural areas of the state where there are few lawyers. In-person meetings are also hard for lower income people who often work during the normal business hours of most lawyers.
So, for us, going virtual has resulted in greater access to legal services, and we are able to reach more people. Rasa offers virtual meetings, which can be conducted during both daytime and evening hours, from anywhere in the state (or even out of state). Our clients love the flexibility and ease of being able to meet with a lawyer over the phone or computer. Many of them also set up an appointment during a quick work break. We are excited about the rise in virtual services, because it will allow us to scale our mission across the country.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Noella Sudbury: Rasa has a solid business and steady flow of clients in Utah, but we want to expand our services to other states. We’re excited about the challenge, but still trying to figure out the best way to become known and accessible in new markets.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Noella Sudbury: It’s been surprising to me just how much work it is I’ve worked hard my whole career, but nothing compares to running a start-up. I love the challenge of it, and am learning so much, but I have no free time and it can feel like a lot of pressure to be responsible for so many things.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Noella Sudbury: Even old and minor criminal records create huge barriers to opportunity, and helping people move forward makes our communities safer, our families stronger, and our future better.
Success in the year to come looks like continuing to help our clients clear their criminal records and access new opportunities. Everyone makes mistakes, but when people turn their lives around, they deserve second chances. Legal systems are broken everywhere and there is huge need for the services we provide. In 2023, I’d like to see us expand to other states and bring second chances, better jobs, higher wages, and other opportunities to people in need.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Noella Sudbury for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Noella Sudbury or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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