Certified Fiduciary Services, Inc.
CFS was founded in 1999 by Pamela Johnston who saw a need for competent management of both financial and personal services for elderly and incapacitated individuals.
CFS has developed a knowledgeable and experienced staff through comprehensive recruiting and continued training. With each new addition, CFS seeks to complement the extensive range of experience of its current staff to further promote the broad level of services provided to its clients. CFS extends the same level of service to the families and beneficiaries of clients who have passed away.
The administration of an estate can be difficult during a time of grief or when family and friends live far away. CFS staff will administer the estate competently and in a timely manner by combining their knowledge of the probate system and range of experience.
Tara Lara – Partner/Principal Fiduciary
Tara joined CFS in 2014 as an Account Administrator. She became a licensed fiduciary in 2018, transitioned to Principal Fiduciary in 2020, and Partner in 2022. Additionally, Tara became an Enrolled Agent in 2019, exemplifying her love of taxes. She studied Accounting at Arizona State University and Rio Salado College. Tara has 15 years of experience in the accounting and banking fields, and several years of experience in the fiduciary industry with a focus on trust administration, forensic accounting, financial management and taxes. She holds an active fiduciary license and is a member of the Arizona Fiduciaries Association.
Tara is an Arizona native, and lives in Phoenix with her husband, son, and daughter. In her free time, she enjoys playing the violin, BMX racing, spending time with her family and friends, and mentoring women in her church.
Susan Henley – Licensed Fiduciary
Sue is a licensed Fiduciary and a native of Arizona. She attended Alhambra High School, Phoenix College, and Arizona State University. Her experience includes more than 32 years as a Paralegal in the Probate, Guardianship and Conservatorship field. She has extensive background in Financial Exploitation and Elder Abuse, working with the court system, counseling with seniors, and speaking at various organizations on the topics of Caring for the Caregiver, Grieving, A Part of Life and Finding Your Purpose. Sue is a member of the Arizona Fiduciaries Association and Arizona Geriatric Society.
She enjoys working with animals, riding her horse, and tending to her many varieties of animals. She spends time with her husband and grandchildren, enjoys movies and gardening.
Kallie Knight – Licensed Fiduciary
Kallie has over 22 years of experience as an Elder Law Paralegal in Arizona, with a career focus in Probate Estate & Trust Administration & Litigation, Guardianships, Conservatorships, Estate Planning, Financial Exploitation and Elder Abuse. She previously worked with some of the most respected attorneys in the valley before making her transition to CFS in 2018. Kallie attained her fiduciary license in 2022 to further her deep-rooted commitment to the work we do and the people we serve. Kallie is a member of the Arizona Fiduciaries Association and Maricopa County Bar Association Paralegal Division, and its Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Section.
Although born in the Midwest, all of her schooling, K-12th Grade, was in the Scottsdale Unified School District. Away from the office she, loves spending time with her family, is involved within her church-community and enjoys traveling and experiencing new things.
Alexandra Greene – Senior Property Manager
Alex was born in Scottsdale, AZ and grew up splitting time between parents in Phoenix and San Francisco. She grew up in the Scottsdale School District, and later graduated from University of Phoenix with a degree in Business Marketing. Having spent 13 years in various areas of real estate and relocation services, and several years involved in non-profit leadership and event coordination, Alex was excited to get involved in fiduciary services in 2021 to make a deeper difference in the lives of others.
In her free time, Alex loves cruising around town in her Jeep with my music too loud, usually with at least 1 of her four dogs in tow, spending time with her family including a teenage son and daughter, and getting involved with local and global outreach work at her church. Alex and her husband Bob (a professor at GCU) love going to classic rock concerts, trying new restaurants, and weekend getaways to Vegas or the beach.
Gwen Kemnitz – Senior Paralegal
Gwen joined CFS in 2021 as a Paralegal. She has been a Paralegal for 25 years, working in various areas of the law, including Elder Law & Estate Planning, Family Law, and Real Estate. Before becoming a Paralegal, Gwen worked for a home health care agency, where she acquired in-depth knowledge of the legal and medical issues impacting seniors and their families. Gwen earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University and is a Certified Legal Document Preparer licensed with the Arizona Supreme Court. She is also a member of the Arizona Association of Independent Paralegals.
Gwen is an Arizona native, is married and has two sons. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with local non-profit organizations and her church, cooking, spending time outdoors, and traveling with her family.
Lara Childers – Office Manager
Lara joined the team in early 2022 as Fiduciary Assistant, and promoted to Office Manager in early 2023. New to Arizona after living most of her life in Colorado, Lara has substantial executive assistant experience in the legal, banking, and trust department fields as well as in the brokerage industry, which spans over 35 years. As a seasoned associate, Lara is eager to deepen her knowledge of the fiduciary industry and to use her vast knowledge to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
Away from the office, she loves being outdoors, riding bicycles, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her husband and family. Lara is interested in Arizona history and is looking forward to exploring the many, exciting things our beautiful state has to offer.
Angela Mosienko – Estate Administrator
Angela was recruited to CFS in 2022 as an Estate Administrator. She has a strong financial background, running a family business for over 20 years and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in 2017. Angela has eight years of premier banking experience and is excited to channel her passion for protecting the elderly and our vulnerable population here at CFS with an emphasis in Trust and Estate management, Conservatorship and Probate Administration as well as Power of Attorney relationships.
In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, spending time with family, and healthy living.
Kimberly Hesch – Care Advocate
Kimberly previously served the Phoenix area communities as a Fiduciary Field Assistant with the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary before joining CFS in 2022 as an Estate Administrator. She was then promoted to the role of Care Advocate in October 2023 where she will manage the personal care and needs for all of our clients. She has an extensive background in Massage Therapy and working in a Continuum of Care setting, specifically in the fields of memory care and skilled nursing. Like the rest of our CFS Team, she has a passion for people and a heart to serve those in need.
Kimberly has a traveling spirit and when she is not working, you can typically find her anywhere in nature, especially the beach.
Karen Negrete – Estate Administrator
Karen has 15 years of experience as a Paralegal in various areas of law, which include Estate Planning, Family Law, Civil Law and Criminal Law. She earned her Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies through Anthem College. Karen also has a strong financial background, working in the banking industry for over 26 years prior to joining CFS in December 2022 as an Estate Administrator.
Karen is a native of Arizona, born in Flagstaff, where she lived until 1982 when she moved to Phoenix. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, various crafts, sewing, spending time with her grandchildren and making a difference in other people’s lives.
Michelle Watson – Estate Administrator
Michelle graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Drake University in Iowa and a Juris Doctor from Florida Coastal School of Law, and she received her Arizona state bar license in 2012 (Inactive). She has worked in insurance benefit administration, the financial industry, and various legal fields, including Probate and Estate Planning. After her children were born, Michelle transitioned from law to accounting work. She joined CFS in 2023 as an Estate Administrator and is excited to be involved with fiduciary work because it combines so many of her skills and also gives her the opportunity to help others. Michelle spent time in France years ago and can bring out her rusty French skills for any clients who might need them.
Michelle lives in Surprise with her husband and two sons. She enjoys movies, traveling, spending time with her family and friends, and attending all the activities in which her children are involved.
Cindy Ross – Estate Administrator
Cindy has a strong financial, technological, and managerial background previously serving in the veterinary field where she held the position of Full-Charge Bookkeeper for 23 years and Hospital Manager for 11 years. Cindy earned her associate degree from Yavapai College in Management, has held the designation of Certified Veterinary Practice Manager for 8 years, and has been a Certified HR Professional with SHRM since 2020. Cindy’s business skills and compassionate side made her a prime candidate in October 2023 when she joined the Team at CFS.
Cindy has lived in Arizona since 1978, residing mostly in the Prescott area. Currently, she enjoys her quiet life in Surprise with her husband and two dogs. She enjoys cooking, canning, gardening, thrifting, and crocheting in her spare time. She stays in constant contact with her adult children and grandchildren and looks forward to their visits.
Kellie Blanford – Estate Administrator
Kellie joined the Team at CFS in October 2023, bringing with her more than 35 years of industry knowledge and experience in related fields. She has been a tax specialist at two of the top five accounting firms in the valley and enjoys working on tax matters. Kellie also has an extensive legal background in estate planning.
Kellie, like her colleagues, was led to CFS because she wants to make a difference in the lives of others and has a special interest in serving the elderly and incapacitated.
Kellie has three adult children, five grandchildren and is a cat mom to three beautiful kitties. She loves spending time with family and in her free time, enjoys baking, crafting, travelling, and spending time outdoors. Kellie is also a licensed Practical Technologist in Radiology.
Pamela Johnston – Founder
Vice-President and previous owner of CFS, Inc., Pam is a native of Arizona. She attended North Phoenix High school, Phoenix College, and is a graduate of Cannon Financial Institute. Pam has been a Licensed Fiduciary since 1999 and an NGA Registered Guardian since 2001. Her work experience includes more than 15 years as a probate paralegal and 10 years as a Vice President and Trust Officer of a local bank. In 1999, Pam founded Certified Fiduciary Services.
Her professional affiliations include the Arizona Fiduciaries Association; National Guardianship Association; Associate Member of the State Bar of Arizona-Mental Health and Elder Law and Probate Trust Sections. In 2007, Pam was honored by the Arizona Fiduciaries Association with a Leadership Award for her contributions to the fiduciary community. She was recognized for outstanding leadership in advancing the fiduciary industry with ongoing contributions in the areas of client advocacy, fiduciary education, standardization, and compliance. From 2007 – 2013, Pam served on the Fiduciary Board of the Arizona Supreme Court.