Checkered Career Path Brings Rhial Patel to Head Legal Services
From graphic designer to attorney, a somewhat checkered path gratefully brought Rhial Patel to Christian Church Homes (CCH) and gave her the opportunity to serve others as part of her bigger life passion to make a difference in people’s lives.
In college at Chico State, Rhial was a communications major with an emphasis in graphic design. After graduating, she worked eight years as a graphic designer before using her graphic arts skills to put herself through Golden Gate University of Law. Upon graduating, she practiced for several years at a Nevada law firm when for family reasons she returned to California. This time, she again looked to make a career change.
“I wanted to give back to the community and to apply my legal background in employment, real estate and contract law in a non-profit capacity,” Rhial shares. She received her brokerage license in real estate to further validate her new chosen career path.
Starting over is not always easy and Rhial knocked on many doors to convince employers to use her legal expertise in a non-profit setting. CCH agreed to give her a chance as a receptionist. A fast learner who is quick to acquire new skills, within three months Rhial was promoted to the position of Portfolio Manager overseeing nine properties and 25 staff. “It was amazing and a challenge to be thrown into the water and have to learn how to swim quickly,” Rhial shares.
In her current position as Director of Legal Services and Employee Relations, Rhial heads up the Human Resources and Compliance Departments and provides legal counsel to CCH employees at all levels, from site staff to the executive team. She is focused on preparing CCH for future growth and success in the next decade and beyond. ”I especially want to support our talented employees and to provide them the necessary resources, tools and processes to make their jobs easier,” Rhial says.
In her legal capacity, Rhial works to assist management in minimizing legal risks and ensuring vendor and consultants give CCH the best services to support its mission of providing quality, affordable housing for low-income seniors.
“I am thrilled to be at CCH, which is still small enough for us to take the time to work closely with our seniors and to make an impact on their lives for the better,” Rhial says. “There is a tremendous need for affordable housing and we are in a position to make a difference.”
In her free time, Rhial teaches yoga, has a black belt in taekwondo, loves international travel and enjoys spending time with her college-age children. “It’s so rewarding to see them developing their passion for what they want to do in life and to help shape their futures,” Rhial, the proud mother, shares.