Professional Contributors

Laura Steinbeck, CFP®, ChFC®, CDFA®

Laura provides insight and solutions that help her clients understand the impact of their financial decisions and assists them in achieving their financial dreams. 

Her goal is to create a clear financial picture for her clients and to educate them on how to best implement solutions that match their priorities and resources.

With a focus on comprehensive financial planning, divorce planning, tax strategies, and investment management services, Laura serves as the trusted resource for all aspects of her clients’ financial lives, and treasures the lasting relationships that are built through that trust.

Through her volunteer work with Divorce Angel, Laura hopes to educate members of the community on divorce financial topics, arming them with the information they need to thrive.  Laura works with her clients and their attorneys throughout the divorce process. She analyzes settlement options to help ensure an equitable financial settlement, and educates her clients on how that settlement will impact them financially now and in the future.

Laura has also been teaching retirement and divorce education seminars for more than 12 years, as well as Junior Achievement Financial Programs at the high school level for the past 5 years.

Laura has served on the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Committee for the past 14 years and has held positions on the Board of Directors.  She is a member of the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts, and the Contra Costa County Bar Association. 

A Midwest transplant, Laura holds a B.A. degree from the University of Iowa.  She completed the Graduate Certificate program in Financial Planning in 2003 from DePaul University and earned the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) professional designation in 2004.  She also earned the Chartered Financial Consultant™ (ChFC®) and the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA™) designations in 2014.

Pacific Wealth Planning, Inc.

Phone: 925-660-6044

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC, (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC.  Investment Advisory Services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC, (Kestra AS) an affiliate of Kestra IS. Pacific Wealth Planning, Inc. is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS.

Mary WhippleFamily Law Attorney  

Before merging her law office with Tammy J. Mercado’s, Mary Whipple opened her own law practice in the summer of 2008. Prior to that Mary was an associate attorney at the Law Office of Cummins & Holmes, a full-service civil litigation law firm in San Ramon.

The majority of her experience is in family law, which includes divorce, custody, support, prenuptial agreements, and domestic-violence restraining orders, to name a few.

In 2018 Mary earned the designation of Certified Specialist in Family Law from the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Previously, Mary worked as a contract attorney for O’Melveny & Meyers in San Francisco while simultaneously volunteering at the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Volunteer Legal Services Program (VSLP), representing defendants in unlawful detainer actions. VLSP awarded Mary with an Outstanding Volunteer in Public Service Award in 2006 for her efforts in providing access to justice.

A seventh-generation Californian, Mary is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in criminology at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. She is a member of the State Bar of California, the Alameda County Bar Association, the Contra Costa County Bar Association, and the Bar Association of San Francisco.

In addition, Mary is active in her community as a member of the Ambassador’s Committee for the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce; a volunteer at the Contra Costa County Superior Court, where she assists self-represented litigants in completing their divorces; and a member of Divorce Angel, where she provides information regarding family law matters to members of the community. Since 2007 she has been a volunteer judge for Alameda and Contra Costa County’s Annual High School Moot Court Competition. She is a member of the Danville/Sycamore Valley Rotary Club and California Women Lead.  She was awarded the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce 2012 Business Person of the Year; and a graduate of the 2012 class of Leadership San Ramon Valley.

Whipple, Mercado & Associates, LLP

Phone: 925-344-5050

Tammy MercadoFamily Law Attorney  

Tammy J. Mercado has a passion for helping her clients achieve their desired result. She listens and she personally responds to your text, email, or phone call promptly. She offers real solutions to your legal matters. Tammy will carefully evaluate the legal issues in your case, provide you sound advice, and offer you the pros and cons of each possible scenario so you can meet your legal objectives.

She encourages clients to participate in their own matters. Tammy believes that client participation is key to a positive result and to keep attorney fees as low as possible. You can be sure that she will offer you straightforward, sound, honest advice in a professional manner, with integrity and excellence.

Before opening her own law practice, Tammy worked for many high-volume law firms. This gave her extensive, diversified experience on hundreds of complex family law cases as well as civil matters. She is admitted to practice law before all courts in California and the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. She is also a member of the American Bar Association, the Contra Costa Bar Association, the Alameda County Bar Association, and the Bar Association of San Francisco.

Tammy is a graduate of John F. Kennedy School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from University of Phoenix. Tammy is also a licensed real estate broker, which comes in handy for valuing property in family law cases as well as real estate matters in the civil arena.

During her off time, Tammy is an avid sailor who crews and races on various boats in the San Francisco Bay. Tammy approaches each case as she would any yacht race by assessing the other’s strengths, weaknesses, experience, equipment, history, and reputation. She is a member of the American Sailing Association and a certified Coast Guard Auxiliary Member.

Whipple, Mercado & Associates, LLP

Phone: 925-344-5050

Robert DownumEA, MST  

Robert Downum is an enrolled agent (EA), licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service.  He earned his enrolled agent’s license in 1994 and holds a Masters in Taxation earned in 1992 from Golden Gate University. 

Robert started his own practice of income tax preparation, advice and income tax audit representation for individuals and businesses in 2007. 

Robert’s client base includes a variety of businesses and individuals covering a variety of tax payer situations and income levels.

Prior to opening his office at Liberty Tax Service in San Ramon, California, Robert worked for the Clorox Company, where he was Manager of income tax compliance and was responsible for leading the preparation and review of the Company’s US consolidated and multi-state income tax returns for six years.  At Clorox, Robert also addressed tax issues on three company due diligence teams to evaluate business acquisitions and dispositions, and assisted the tax audit team to resolve issues posed by the IRS and state tax auditors.  Prior to Clorox, Robert was a supervising senior tax specialist at KPMG, LLP in San Francisco, where he reviewed corporation income tax returns and assisted the audit section with the financial reporting of accounting for income taxes for non-public companies.

In November 2014, Robert became qualified to present expert witness testimony in Alameda County, where he provided paid expert tax witness testimony regarding a property settlement pursuant to divorce.  In January 2015, Robert became qualified as a tax expert witness in San Francisco Superior Court, where he provided expert witness testimony in a like-kind tax-free exchange of business real estate.

Robert is a member of the Dougherty Valley San Ramon Rotary Club, the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce and serves on the board of the San Ramon Historic Foundation.  Robert continues to serve as an advisor to candidates toward the rank of Eagle Scout (his son earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2011).

Phone:  925-275-1040

2440 Camino Ramon, Suite 275

San Ramon, CA  94583

Kim FalahatiFamily Facilitator

Family is number one.  Yet with our busy schedules, we don’t always have the time to make our family as much of a priority as we would like.  When we go through a life altering transition, our priorities change, and unfortunately, time for our family is often compromised.

As your Family Facilitator, I’m here to assist so you have more time for yourself and have more time to spend with your loved ones. Think of me as an extension of your family, someone you can lean on to help with your day-to-day responsibilities and personal challenges.

Whether you need help with meals, household needs, moving/organizing or nanny placement, I am your resource for all your needs.

For more than 15 years, I have worked with families as a teacher, nanny, and house manager. In that time, I noticed one consistent request from the families:  We wish we had more time to devote to our families and ourselves.

My desire to help others and help families spend more time together, along with my background in Psychology and Early Child Development, led me to develop the four pillars around my business:  Meal Preparation and Delivery; Time Saver; Nanny Placement; Family Transition. Whether you take advantage of just one of these services or all of them, you will feel an incredible relief from not having to deal with the stress, hassles, and obligations that come with life.

Family Matters believes in offering affordable services that rejuvenate you so that you can become your best self and redirect your energy to what matters most-yourself and your family. My goal is to recreate a loving home so you feel less stressed and can enjoy quality time with your family.

Family Matters

Phone: 925-398-3182

Kathy KaneLicensed Clinical Social Worker (LCS13083)   

As a licensed psychotherapist, I have worked for more than
27 years with families in transition (divorce and remarriage).

Divorce is a life event that impacts the entire family socially and emotionally, as well as legally and financially. My interest is in supporting children and adults in coping and prospering through these very challenging times.

As a woman who has been on all sides of this (stepparent, divorcee/single parent, remarried), I have a personal interest in helping people navigate the process in ways that will promote long-term healing and keep Hope and Happiness alive.

In addition to my role as a psychotherapist, I am the Director of Clinical Services at the Discovery Counseling Center (DCC), a community based counseling center dedicated to serving the residents of the San Ramon Valley regardless of their financial status.

As the Clinical Director I oversee the counseling services and the many programs offered to this community.  Among those services, DCC offers programs for Families in Transition, providing support for parents and children in the midst of these trying times.  The Discovery Counseling Center is also a highly sought-after training institution for future mental health therapists who provide onsite counseling at every school in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, as well as individual, family, couples, and group counseling at the DCC clinic.  A high percentage of our clients young and old are in families going through divorce.

For information regarding the many affordable services for children, adults and families, contact the Discovery Counseling Center

(925) 837-0505

115A Town and Country Dr., Danville, CA

I also have a private practice in Walnut Creek:

1844 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 311

(925) 974-7994

David Mladinich – Home Mortgage Consultant (NMLS# 254102)

David has been a loan officer for 20+ years and during that time he has worked for the “big banks,” and for a small, family-owned mortgage brokerage. But David calls Mason-McDuffie Mortgage his home because it’s the best culture that he’s been a part of. 

A truly “great” mortgage company means that operations, underwriting, and sales are all aligned and working together towards a common goal. Mason-McDuffie is the only company that David has ever worked with [in his entire career] where all three departments are world-class and all three are truly working together.

The team mentality at Mason-McDuffie where everyone is accountable, and everyone has a voice, is what sets this company apart. If you see a change that needs to be implemented to improve a system or a process – then speak up, and you will be heard. Mason-McDuffie is large enough to compete with those aforementioned “big banks,” but we’re small enough to make changes when necessary.

Everyone’s input matters and working at Mason-McDuffie means that you’re a part of something. Together, we’re improving the financial lives of our employees, our clients, and our business partners.

Thinking of refinancing or purchasing a home? I’ll help you understand your financing options so you can make informed decisions. And if you’re a builder or real estate agent, let’s connect and work together to help your clients secure financing to build or buy a home.

Contact me to get started today.


Phone: (925) 997-5230

Robert Combs – Realtor

In representing his clients with a level of personalized service, Robert Combs conducts himself with the utmost professionalism to deliver impressive results. Diligently helping clients in the San Francisco East Bay real estate market to find their dream home or sell their special residence, Robert takes every measure to assure that all his client’s goals are achieved. He is very astute and through his clear understanding of the current regional trends, Robert can consistently identify key opportunities for his clients. His attention to detail, consistent follow through and determination to indulge his clients with first class service sets him apart.

Through his skillfulness and expertise, Robert delivers impressive results. He is very thorough in providing constant communication about each important detail of the transaction. He is always extremely attentive, accessible and responds promptly to his clients by means of a phone call or a timely text or email. He always strives to negotiate the best terms for his clients and when met with a tough challenge, Robert is very creative, strategic and skillful in working through the issues. His clients are truly appreciative of how responsive Robert is to their needs and recognize him as a true advocate who provides exceptional expertise and professional representation.

Robert believes in giving back to the community here are some of his volunteer activities.

  • Town of Danville – Planning Commissioner Member
  • Town of Danville – Design Review Board Member
  • Town of Danville – Historic Design Review Member
  • Leadership San Ramon Valley, Board of Directors
  • Discovery Counseling Center, Board of Directors, Chair Elect
  • Contra Costa County Crisis Center – Volunteer 211 Call Center
  • Board of Directors, League of California Cities
  • League of California Cites Planning Department, Past President
  • Alumni Board of Directors CSU, Chico 
  • Parent Advisory Council, CSU, Chico Past President
  • Danville Rotary Foundation, Past President
  • Danville Rotary, Past President


Phone: 925-736-3736

 The information and materials contained on this website have been prepared for general information purposes only.  The information and materials on this website is not legal advice and may not reflect the most current legal developments.