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Meet Our Staff
Mara T. Ballard, CMA, CFE
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Certified Fraud Examiner & Forensic Accountant
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To answer the question, yes I am related to Desa - through my daughter, her granddaughter.
  I was born (at Ballard Hospital no less) and raised in various parts of the Pacific Northwest.  I graduated from the University of Puget Sound in December, 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts Major in Business, emphasis in Accounting and a minor in Computer Science.  I subsequently sat for and passed the Certified Management Accounting (CMA) exam and am a current member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.  I have spent my entire career in private industry having worked primarily in Insurance until I assisted Desa with the opening of her firm in July 1997.  I worked nights and weekends for Desa until I began full time in March of 2000 as her Office Manager. 

During my tenure with Desa, I have expanded my field of knowledge to include
Forensic Accounting and have turned over my office management function to others.  I currently oversee all office accounting functions and work as a consultant with new firms looking to establish accounting/trust management systems, provide trust management services to small and solo practitioners, and untangle any trust account issues which come to Desa’s attention through her representation of attorneys before the Commission on Lawyer Conduct.

My greatest passions are my daughter Marcy, reading and learning.
Cindi Higgs
Office Manager
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I have worked in law firms for most of my career. I have had many wonderful job opportunities in my life, but I always seem to come back to the legal field. It is like home to me! My co-workers tease me and say is there any job you haven’t done? I just smile, knowing each experience has made me the person I am today. I am thankful I have had the opportunity to learn many different things in my life. I enjoy learning and experiencing new things.
I absolutely love working in a smaller law firm. We are truly one little happy family! We believe in working hard, but having fun in the process. Some of our outings include bowling, a painting class, a Christmas Craft Fair in Charlotte, a WII party, a cooking class and a Halloween Party.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my soul mate, Robbie. We enjoy listening to music, just hanging out together, watching movies, playing games on our airsoft course (Robbie designed it) and spending time with our family and friends at our home we call “Paradise”. 
Beth Cogan
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I came to work for Ballard Watson after 14 years in the insurance business and 1 year with a family law firm. I feel right at home with this determined, professional and down to earth bunch.
My husband Andy and I have 3 children Payton, Sydney and John Ross. We enjoy camping, golf and the rivalry of college football as a house divided. Go Tigers!
Krystyne Ammerman
Project Assistant
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Like Cindi, I have done a little bit of everything when it comes to work; and like Cindi, I seem to always come back to the legal field. It could be because she and I have a lot in common, or it could just be because she is my mom. This is my second time working at Ballard & Watson. That tells you how special the people are here. They are my family away from home.
My husband Matt and I have four children: Alec, David, Lily and Zach. We love to shoot pool, watch movies and just be together. We also love to go out to play airsoft and spend time with my mom and Robbie. When I am not spending time with my family, you will likely find me reading or singing along to my favorite songs.
Favorite movies: Shawshank Redemption, Deadpool
Favorite Books (fiction): Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings
Favorite Musicians: Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, Chicago
Favorite Quotes: “Karma is a gift that brings you lessons for your soul’s personal growth, and will continue to bring these lessons back around until you have learned them.” “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.”
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