Welcome to our new Director of Product Management, Lona Dallessandro!

Lona, we’re thrilled to have you on board! Tell us about your background.

I was born in Virginia, and grew up in places along the East Coast. My love for science and nature was cultivated by the Atlantic Ocean, where you’d often find me playing in the sand with dinosaur toys and reading everything I could get my hands on about sharks and other creatures of the deep. I continue that passion now as a SCUBA diver, whale watcher, photographer, and long-time supporter of a variety of environmental groups at the local, regional and national level.

I spent middle and high school in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Penn State University in 1991. Then I moved directly to Washington DC with the idea that I’d get a job at an environmental non-profit. Instead, I found myself at the right place and right time to learn about a brand new technology — “the Internet”. As a result, I have been fortunate to lead the introduction of some amazing new products and services for Fortune 100 companies like AT&T and Best Buy, as well as launch new companies making all kinds of cloud-based software. My career has taken me all over the world, and I have lived in some of the best cities in the country — like San Francisco, CA, Austin, TX, and since 2008, here in the Twin Cities. I love discovering new ways to solve problems with technology, and am excited to bring that passion and experience to Paladin.

What drew you to Paladin?

I was drawn to the mission of the company and to the opportunity to bring my talents to a team that works together to bring that mission to life. Not many people get the chance to have a job that they love, that they are really good at, and that the company sees as important. I am so lucky to have found that with Paladin!

Why is access to justice important to you?

Inequality is often expressed in society through what one can access — access to transportation, housing, education, even to broadband. It is a means of keeping people who have access moving forward, while leaving those without behind. Access to justice is no different, and, at least in the US anyway, we see it play out daily — in our bail system, in our immigration processes, in our family courts — those with access achieve better outcomes for themselves and their families. I am so grateful to Kristen and the team at Paladin for seeing an opportunity to expand access to this support through technology so that more people around the world can be helped.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for Paladin’s products and technology?

I am humbled by this question, because I have so much to learn and discover about the world of pro bono legal services. However, when I think of the displacement of so many people due to the effects of climate change for example, I can easily see how the expansion of our capabilities and availability worldwide would be immensely valuable, and how we can contribute to the industry’s ability to affect positive change for those impacted.

Desert island: one album, one book, one movie.
Album: So many to choose from! “Raising Sand” by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant is one of them for sure!

Book: Does the full Lord of the Rings Trilogy count as one?

Movie: For laughing, The Heat; For crying, Shawshank Redemption

What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
There are so many opportunities to learn — from our clients, from each other — in this role. I am excited to work with my teammates to uncover and address the myriad of challenges facing customers so that they can work more efficiently and effectively in service to those in need.

Which GIF best represents how you feel about building justice tech?

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Founder, COO @JoinPaladin. Founding four @Grouper. World traveller. Wine and chocolate lover.

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Kristen Sonday

Kristen Sonday

Founder, COO @JoinPaladin. Founding four @Grouper. World traveller. Wine and chocolate lover.

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