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|AWI Board of Directors|
Keith Rohman, President
Keith Rohman has been an investigator in the public and private sectors for more than 30 years. As president and founder of Public Interest Investigations, Inc. (PII), a Los Angeles-based investigations firm, Rohman investigated many high-profile cases, including litigation related to the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib; allegations of shootings of Iraqis by Blackwater, Inc.; the enslavement of dozens of Thai workers in an El Monte, California, sweatshop; and the trial against Los Angeles police officers accused of beating Rodney King. Rohman has conducted defense investigations in death penalty cases in California, Utah, Alaska, Arizona, and Washington. His work has taken him throughout the United States, as well as to Mexico, Germany, Jordan, South Africa, and Turkey.
Rohman is the president of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI), an international professional association of more than 850 attorneys, human resource professionals, and private investigators who conduct or manage workplace investigations. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, where he teaches fact investigation. He is a Senior Faculty member at AWI’s accredited Training Institute for Workplace Investigators, and has conducted trainings throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Under Title IX, Rohman has conducted and overseen investigations of sexual assault complaints at numerous Southern California colleges and universities. He was the principal investigator for attorneys in landmark litigation filed on behalf of service women and men sexually assaulted in the U.S. military. He is a senior trainer with T9 Mastered Training for Campus Investigators. In the workplace, Rohman has conducted third-party investigations into allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, discrimination, and retaliation for private- and public-sector employers, including school districts and universities.
Previously, he was appointed by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to the Equity Oversight Panel (EOP) of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, a civilian oversight board that oversees Internal Affairs investigations at the Sheriff’s Department. Rohman also served as a court-appointed monitor in a federal lawsuit addressing the treatment of disabled inmates in the Orange County jails.
The City of Los Angeles retained Rohman to serve as the executive director of its Office of Discrimination Investigation, which conducted more than 300 employment discrimination investigations, and provided recommendations to the City Council on restructuring how the City handled these matters. These recommendations led to the establishment of a new City agency to oversee this work.
In addition, Rohman has served as an expert witness and testified in court proceedings on investigative issues, both in civil and criminal cases.
Sue Ann Van Dermyden, Immediate Past President
Ms. Van Dermyden is a founding partner of Van Dermyden Maddux Law Corporation (VMLC). Since 1993, she has focused on employment law. After years of litigating employment cases in state and federal courts, her practice primarily focuses on conducting workplace and Title IX campus investigations. Ms. Van Dermyden also serves as an expert witness in employment matters, regularly conducts training seminars on employment matters and Title IX workplace investigations, and provides employment-related advice and counsel. She has handled hundreds of workplace investigations on all types of employment matters. Ms. Van Dermyden is experienced in testifying during administrative and judicial proceedings relating to her own investigations and as an expert witness on the adequacy of the investigation. She is also an experienced investigator in Title IX sexual assault claims, and a founding member of T9 Mastered, a training firm for Title IX investigations. Her commitment to and passion for improving the quality of investigations extends beyond her team of ten attorneys at VMLC. Ms. Van Dermyden was listed in Northern California Super Lawyers in consecutive years from 2010 to 2015. In 2015, she was elected as a Fellow to the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Election as a Fellow is the highest recognition by one’s colleagues of sustained outstanding performance in the profession, exemplifying integrity, dedication and excellence. Ms. Van Dermyden is a graduate of CSU Chico (1990) and the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (1993).
Karen Kramer, Vice President
Karen Kramer is an employment law attorney specializing in workplace investigations. Since forming Kramer-Wiese in 2000, Ms. Kramer’s practice has focused primarily on conducting personnel investigations involving allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, as well as misconduct and disciplinary matters. She previously litigated employment law matters with Porter Scott and worked as an employment law attorney with LexisNexis. Ms. Kramer’s experience includes testifying during administrative and judicial proceedings regarding completed investigations. Ms. Kramer has conducted hundreds of workplace investigations for public agencies, and is well versed in the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights. She has also conducted many complex and high profile investigations involving high level public employees and elected officials. Ms. Kramer is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine (1989) and University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (1992).
Eli Makus, Treasurer
As an employment attorney, Mr. Makus has conducted, managed, and litigated workplace investigations. He started his practice as a management-side employment law litigator for Hanson Bridgett, a San Francisco law firm. There, he litigated cases where the underlying workplace investigation was a key factor and also conducted workplace investigations as outside counsel. He then moved in-house to a large, northern California health system where he conducted workplace investigations and supervised internal HR investigations and outside investigations. Mr. Makus also advised and trained the company on developing an internal investigations program. Mr. Makus started a firm with two excellent partners which specializes in workplace investigations and employment law compliance. He is passionate about the industry, about law practice management, and about the many opportunities to leverage technology to conduct more thorough and efficient investigations and to better serve clients.
Elizabeth Rita, Secretary
Ms. Rita is a licensed Colorado attorney who has been conducting workplace investigations since 1994. An employment lawyer with more than 20 years of experience, Ms. Rita has conducted hundreds of investigations for clients. She has investigated complaints involving company-wide race discrimination, sexual harassment, rape, assault, ethics violations, ethnic origin discrimination, hostile work environment, age discrimination, retaliation, gender bias, SOX retaliation, public corruption and employee misconduct. Ms. Rita has trained HR professionals and lawyers in conducting investigations, and has spoken and written on this subject for a variety of audiences. She serves on the Workplace Investigations Subcommittee of the American Bar Association and is involved in the national Association of Workplace Investigators, where she serves as the Denver metropolitan area local circle contact. Her firm, WorkPlace Intelligence, LLC, is a Denver based business providing investigations and training to businesses, municipalities and government agencies around the country and in Canada.
Terri Abad Levenfeld, Director
Terri Abad Levenfeld is a bilingual attorney who conducts impartial workplace, education and Title IX investigations in both English and Spanish. Ms. Abad Levenfeld's clients include public entities, private employers and educational institutions. Her workplace investigations involve all employee positions and elected officials, from entry-level laborers to leaders of large organizations. In her Title IX and education investigations, Ms. Abad Levenfeld works with elementary schools through post-graduate programs. She is experienced and adept at navigating the diverse and often complex issues that arise in the workplace, school and campus environments. Prior to dedicating her practice to investigations, Ms. Abad Levenfeld spent over 15 years representing both plaintiffs and defendants in employment, civil rights and personal injury cases. This multi-faceted background provides her with a distinct degree of impartiality when conducting investigations.
Elizabeth Watson Gramigna, Director
Ms. Gramigna is an employment lawyer with a practice located in Short Hills, New Jersey. Her firm’s approach is client-centered, providing professional services that support a respectful, productive, and practical manner of eradicating harassment and discrimination in the workplace through impartial investigations, mediations, and education. In addition to her legal training, Ms. Gramigna is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and has a Bachelor in Science degree in Management and Industrial Relations. She is a frequent lecturer, having lectured in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia about workplace investigations, including ethical issues presented in investigations, and has authored several publications relating to investigations. Ms. Gramigna is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Section on Labor & Employment Law as well as the American Bar Association, Section on Employee Rights and Responsibilities, where she serves on the Workplace Investigations and Employee Privacy Sub-Committees. Ms. Gramigna is a graduate of the 2013 AWI Institute. An active member of AWI, she is the local convener of the Greater New York Local Circle, she spoke at the 2013 Annual Conference, served on the Faculty at the 2015 Institute in Mystic, CT, and has been selected to present at AWI’s 2015 Annual Conference. Ms. Gramigna authored "Recent Employment Law Decisions Impacting Workplace Investigations," which was in the April/July 2014 AWI Quarterly. She has also been selected as faculty for the 2016 Institute. Ms. Gramigna is also an active member of the Society of Independent Workplace Investigators (SIWI), which recently published a Code of Ethics for Workplace Investigators, and she serves as a co-chair of the Grants Committee for the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association.
Cara Panebianco, Director
Cara Panebianco is the Senior Corporate Counsel for Business Conduct and Ethics at TriNet. Cara manages a team providing internal investigations for TriNet's employees throughout the United States. Cara also leads communications and education related to the TriNet code of ethics. Cara previously worked at the Law Offices of Amy Oppenheimer providing workplace and Title IX investigations and trainings for private and public entities throughout California. From 2012-2016, Cara worked at TriNet, where she conducted investigations for TriNet clients and developed and delivered trainings for TriNet employees on compliance topics such as the disability accommodation interactive process and paid sick leave compliance. Cara received her Juris Doctor from Golden Gate University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Texas A&M University. She began her legal career in employment law, representing plaintiffs in litigation and administrative proceedings, and later transitioned to advise employers on compliance. She serves as faculty at the AWI Training Institutes, is a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) Board of Directors, and is co-chair of the AWI Annual Conference.
Monica Jeffrey, Director
Monica Jeffrey is a founding partner at JMJ Workplace Investigation Law LLP one of the first law firms in Canada to devote its practice exclusively to conducting third party impartial workplace investigations. Prior to specializing in workplace investigations, Monica practiced in employment and labour law for 10 years, working with public and private organizations across multiple industries and sectors, including unionized and non-unionized workplaces. She represented both employees and employers in the past. Since launching the firm in early 2013, Monica has gained vast experience in workplace investigations involving grievances and complaints of human rights discrimination and (sexual) harassment, bullying, retaliation and employee misconduct. She has also been retained in matters involving multiple and anonymous complainants, multiple respondents, reciprocal complaints, senior executives and Boards of Directors, highly politicized and sensitive matters. Monica is a sustaining member of AWI, previously co-convened the Toronto local circle and has been a faculty member at the 2015 and 2016 Institutes.
Emily Kaufer, Director
Emily Kaufer is a graduate of McGill University, Faculty of Law, in Montreal, Quebec. She currently works at Air Canada, in the Human Resources department, as the Manager of Human Rights, Harassment and Privacy Compliance. Ms. Kaufer heads the Harassment Office at Air Canada, and conducts formal workplace investigations involving allegations of harassment, workplace misconduct and violations of policy. Ms. Kaufer delivers training to employees and managers on human rights, harassment and respect in the workplace. Ms. Kaufer also supports Management in dealing with workplace conflict. Prior to her employment as a workplace investigator, Ms. Kaufer was an attorney at a multimedia company, where she practiced entertainment and labour law. Ms. Kaufer is an active member of AWI, including in her role as a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the newly established Canadian Committee. Ms. Kaufer received her Certificate of Completion from the 2015 Training Institute in Mystic, Connecticut, and participated as faculty member in 2016 at the first Canadian Institute in Niagara on the Lake, in Ontario, Canada.
Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, Director
Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson is a member of Robinson+Cole's Labor and Employment group and represents employers in claims of discrimination, wrongful termination, workers' compensation retaliation, and other employment disputes and litigation, including affirmative action compliance evaluations involving the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Ms. Cole-Johnson counsels companies and human resource professionals in all areas of employment law, including discharge and discrimination issues, workplace investigations, personnel policies and handbooks, affirmative action compliance, employee discipline, wage and hour issues, disability and reasonable accommodation, family and medical leave, unemployment, employment and independent contractor agreements, severance and separation agreements, individual terminations and reductions in force, and workplace health and safety issues. She also represents employers in related federal and state administrative proceedings, including discrimination claims before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, workers' compensation retaliation claims before the State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, and retaliation claims before the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
Judy L. Mims, Director
Ms. Mim has been active in AWI since she joined in 2012 and attended the 2013 AWI Training Institute in Santa Barbara. Since then, she has been a speaker about internal investigations at an annual AWI conference, and co-presented an annual AWI Investigations Basics day long training in Seattle, WA. In 2014, she was selected to be a full-time faculty member for the AWI Training Institute and taught at the east coast institute in Mystic, CT. Ms. Mimis values her involvement with AWI as she appreciates conducting workplace investigations as a profession and wants to contribute to AWI’s efforts to continue setting the standard for this body of work. She brings her experience as an EEO internal investigator at the Microsoft Corporation and 20+ years in labor and employment law as in-house counsel and HR for the University of Washington and the State of Washington. In the past, Ms. Mims has served as the chair of the Executive Committee for the Labor & Employment Section of the Washington State Bar Association as well as chair for the Young Lawyers Division Board of Directors for King County in Seattle, WA. Presently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the charity WestSide Baby which provides nearly half a million diapers and essential supplies annually to underserved populations in Western Washington.
Jeremy Eaves, Director
Jeremy Eaves is the head of employee relations and workplace investigations at DaVita Inc. headquartered in Denver, CO. Mr. Eaves joined DaVita in 2010, and currently leads a team of 30 employee relations advisors and managers responsible for advising on and investigating all domestic employee relations issues for a population of over 45,000 employees. Mr. Eaves’ tenure in human resources spans over 15 years in both the financial services and health care industries. Prior to joining DaVita, he held a variety of human resources positions at ING, Oppenheimer Funds, and KeyBank. In addition to being faculty of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI), Mr. Eavesis co-founder of the Colorado New Talent Management Network (CoNTMN). He previously held board positions with Colorado Human Resource Association (CHRA) and Rocky Mountain Human Resource People and Strategy (RMHRPS). A native of Colorado, Mr. Eaves holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations, and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration, both from Colorado State University. He resides in Broomfield, CO where he has trained for multiple marathons, century cycling events and CrossFit.
Sarah Rey, Director
Sarah Rey is based in Melbourne, Australia. With barrister Karen Streckfuss and an active advisory board, she has worked tirelessly to establish the Australasian Association of Workplace Investigators (which also encompasses New Zealand). Since its establishment in 2016, the membership of this AWI Chapter has steadily grown. Whilst the jurisdictions within and between countries have their differences, there is much to be learnt from fellow workplace investigators around the world. Sarah’s passion is to see AAWI continue to grow through local circles, hosting interesting webinars, an annual conference and generally facilitating events and activities that will assist members to learn and network in a collegial environment. Sarah is also the managing partner of employment law firm Justitia. She has been conducting investigations in the private and public sector for 20 years. She was recently appointed a Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne lecturing in the law of workplace investigations. Sarah has been involved in the governance structures of educational boards for the past 17 years. As an employment lawyer, workplace investigator and accredited mediator, she has a strong interest in exploring innovative early intervention techniques for resolving workplace conflict.
Debra Schroeder, Director
Debra Schroeder is vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary, and ethics and compliance officer at the RAND Corporation. As general counsel, she serves as the legal adviser to the Office of the President, providing internal legal advice and counseling for both research and support functions, including but not limited to contracts and leases, human resources, intellectual property and licenses, export controls, human subject protection, memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and of agreement (MOAs), and adherence to regulatory requirements. She also serves as RAND's corporate ethics officer, overseeing our conflict-of-interest avoidance and adjudication process and the overall corporate integrity program. Ms. Schroeder has broad experience as corporate counsel, with special expertise in the areas of labor and employment, intellectual property, health care, risk management, and compliance and training. She was senior counsel at the Aerospace Corporation from 2006 to 2010, where she gained firsthand insights about federally funded research and development centers and government contracting. Her other experience includes time in private law firms and as deputy general counsel of a medical and dental financial services and consulting firm; as corporate counsel and director of risk management at Parkview Health, the largest health care delivery system in northeastern Indiana; and as manager of industrial relations with the Essex Group of manufacturing concerns. Ms. Schroeder is a member of the California and Indiana state bars and a registered patent attorney. She earned her B.A. in chemistry and French and her J.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington.