- About AWI
- Programs & Events
- Member Resources
- Join and Renew
|AWI Board of Directors|
Karen Kramer, 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).
Keith Rohman, Immediate Past 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.
Eli Makus, Vice President
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.
Monica Jeffrey, Treasurer
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.
Terri Abad Levenfeld, Secretary
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.
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.
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.
Dinamary Horvath, Director
Attorney Dinamary Horvath’s employment solutions practice specializes in training, workplace investigations, consulting and mediation.
She conducts impartial investigations of employment complaints into allegations of workplace misconduct including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, violence, bullying, dishonesty, ethical and policy violations and whistleblowing. Dina provides training and conducts impartial workplace investigations in both English and Spanish.
Her clients include public entities, private employers, and educational institutions. Prior to establishing her practice, Dina litigated employment law matters with Jackson Lewis LLP, where she advised and counseled employers on a wide variety of employment law issues. Dina also served as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Hartford in Connecticut and was responsible for employment matters, policy development, and litigation management.
Dina obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2008 and a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Long Island University in 2002.
Dina is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and Connecticut. She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association, a member of Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI), as well as a certificate holder of the AWI's Training Institute for Workplace Investigators, and a Convener for the AWI New England Local Circle.
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.
Reuben Mjaanes, Director
Reuben Mjaanes, AWI-CH is a Senior Legal Director at Medtronic, Inc., where he has served as in-house counsel in Medtronic's Employment Law Group since 2006. In his role at Medtronic, Reuben provides advice and counsel to Human Resources (HR), Employee Relations (ER) and Managers on a wide range of employment related issues. He also conducts training for HR, ER and Medtronic managers and employees on employment related topics, respect in the workplace, performance management and investigations. Reuben coordinates Medtronic's Employment Law Group's investigation process and team. Prior to joining Medtronic, Reuben was a partner at the Minneapolis, MN law firm of Lindquist & Vennum where he worked in the Employment Law area (handling litigation and advice and counseling). While at Lindquist & Vennum, Reuben was named a Minnesota Lawyer Rising Star. Reuben is a Madison, WI native and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Reuben taught for three years before attending law school.
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.
Sarah Rey, Director
Sarah Rey is based in Melbourne, Australia. In conjunction with her co-convenor Elizabeth Devine (Sydney) and an active advisory committee, 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 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 active local circles, host interesting webinars, facilitating more targeted communities of practice amongst government and in-house investigators, and the production of an unmissable annual conference. There is no organisation that assists workplace investigators to learn and network in a collegial environment like AAWI does. Sarah is also the managing partner of employment law firm Justitia. She has been conducting investigations in the private and public sector for 25 years. She has lectured at the University of Melbourne in the law of workplace investigations and been involved in the governance structures of educational boards for the past 18 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.
Elizabeth Rita, Director
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.
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.
John Torres, Director
Mr. Torres is currently the Systemwide Director of Investigations at the University of California Office of the President in Oakland, Ca. He earned his AWI-CH in 2018 at the AWI Institute in Whistler.
Mr. Torres enjoyed a highly reputable and distinguished career at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In his last role as Deputy Assistant Director Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information, Mr. Torres was a skilled, respected and knowledgeable investigations expert whose affiliations with community and law enforcement leaders in both the public and private sectors underscored his many talents and dedication to investigations and homeland security. Mr. Torres was with the Los Angeles County Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for three years after leaving his federal service. During his tenure with the OIG, John earned his oversight practitioner certification (CPO) through the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement.
John is a native of Stockton, California and obtained his Bachelors and Masters Degrees, both in Criminal Justice, at California State University, Sacramento. Mr. Torres is a long time member of the Civil Rights Committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and is currently on two working groups for the IACP, the Sexual Harassment/Discrimination and Implicit Bias sub-committees.
Mr. Torres attained Senior Executive Service (SES) status during his career in the federal government. He attended leadership courses at the University of Virginia, the Center for Creative Leadership and the University of Michigan during his SES tenure. He is the former Chairperson of the Federal Executive Board of Los Angeles and past-president of the Hispanic American Command Officers Association. He has been an active board member of several non-profits groups such as the Catholic Youth Organization, Aviance’ Charter School in East Los Angeles and the Anti-Defamation League’s Sherwood Committee.
Mr. Torres is a founding member of the Santa Clarita Youth Football, Lacrosse and Cheer Organization in Southern California, which has a current membership of several hundred young boys and girls. He also initiated a non-profit organization to support lacrosse at West Ranch High School in Valencia, CA. John has several passions in life and those are spending time with his significant other, Jill, and his sons, Zackary and John “JK” Torres. He continues to volunteer with various causes such as helping the homeless and promoting youth sports. Mr. Torres is an avid CrossFit athlete; he participated in the 2017 World Police and Fire Games in Los Angeles, and won the gold medal for CrossFit in the Masters Class. Mr. Torres currently resides in Oakland, CA.