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Santa Barbara 2019 Institute Faculty
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Nancy Bornn, AWI-CH is a workplace investigator, HR expert witness, and EEO trainer from the Los Angeles area. She has over 30 years of prior experience as an employment lawyer.  For the last decade, Ms. Bornn has been a neutral.  She is one of the founding directors of the Association of Workplace Investigators Inc. (AWI), is a sustaining member of AWI, and has been a full-time and part-time Faculty member of the AWI Institute since its inception in 2012.  She is a former member on the Board of Governors of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and served on its credentials committee.  She is a former chair of the Labor & Employment Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.  She is a former chair of the California Employment Lawyers Association, and also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Employment Lawyers Association.  Ms. Bornn is a frequent speaker on workplace issues, has published numerous articles in the area of employment law, and is the author of the legal treatise, “Representing California Sexual Harassment Plaintiffs” (James Publishing 2004), updated in part in 2007 (Nancy Bornn A Law Corporation 2007), and the co-author of Practice Pointers for Workplace Investigations (SHRM 2010).  She received her AWI-CH (AWI Certificate Holder) certification in 2017, the first year of its availability.

Kathy Eppright, AWI-CH is the Chairman of the firm’s Employment Law Practice Group and a member of the firm’s Civil Litigation, Hospitality and Wine & Agribusiness Practice Groups. Kathy has been practicing 25 years with a focus on employment litigation and counseling. Kathy has handled cases ranging from employment discrimination and sexual harassment to real property and business disputes. In addition to actions brought in state court, Kathy has successfully defended claims of discrimination, harassment, and wage and hour claims filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the EEOC, the California Labor Commissioner and the U. S. Department of Labor. Kathy also frequently serves as an outside workplace investigator and is a Certificate Holder from the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) and convener for the AWI Central Coast local circle.

Donna R. Evans, AWI-CH is a Director at EXTTI, Inc, where she conducts workplace investigations, training and expert witness review. Donna has  years of expertise in the following areas: (1) investigation of claims of harassment, discrimination, and employee misconduct, including complaints made under Title VII and Title IX, EEOC and FEHA; (2) executive and staff training on respectful workplace conduct, leadership, communication, ethics, performance management and bullying; and (3) expert witness testimony and consulting in sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination litigation — particularly on workplace investigation issues. Donna’s background includes civil litigation and trial experience in healthcare, insurance as well as labor and employment law.  She served as a Director with Aon Corporation where she managed a work group responsible for contract review and regulatory compliance. She is an adjunct instructor at California State University of Fullerton, where she has taught labor and employment law. Donna is a member of the State Bar of California (Labor and Employment Law Section). She is a Sustaining Member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) and a Certificate Holder (AWI-CH). She has been a faculty member for AWI Training Institutes in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Donna also holds Title IX certificates of training from ATIXA and T9 Mastered (basic and advanced). In addition, she also received special training from the National Center for Campus Public Safety for trauma-informed sexual assault investigation and adjudication.

Elizabeth Gramigna, AWI-CH is co-founder of Tribù Partners LLP, a law firm dedicated to workplace investigations. For clients with internal investigative teams, Tribù provides tools, templates, and ongoing individualized training and practical support to optimize their own investigative processes and workplace culture. Tribù also offers legal oversight dedicated to  internal investigative teams. Through these services, Tribù satisfies a growing need for ongoing educational and professional development for in-house investigative and compliance teams, empowering them to build and sustain a corporate culture of integrity and compliance. Ms. Gramigna also has her own legal practice, located in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, which provides independent workplace investigations for employers of all sizes.

Demetri Kachafanas, AWI-CH is a lawyer and has practised in the area of civil litigation, labour, employment and human resources law for over 20 years on beautiful Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.   He regularly advises clients regarding personnel policies, harassment investigations, discipline and terminations and accommodation.   Demetri holds a Master of Laws Degree with a specialization in Conflict Resolution and provides consulting in the areas of conflict resolution, policy development, respectful workplaces and workplace harassment.  He is appointed as a Nova Scotia Small Claims Court Adjudicator, as well as a member of the Nova Scotia Labour Board and acts as a labour arbitrator and mediator.  He is currently the Regional Solicitor for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.  In 2017 he was awarded the designation Local Government Fellow by the International Municipal Lawyers Association.  Demetri is a graduate of the AWI training institute and as part of his practice conducts both internal and external workplace investigations, primarily in the public sector.  

Lynn D. Lieber, AWI-CH has practiced employment law exclusively on the management side for 25 years. She began her legal career in San Francisco at Littler, the renowned leader in the field of employment law. She later moved to Fisher & Phillips LLP, where she became an equity partner in 1995. Ms. Lieber was the founder and CEO of Workplace Answers, a full-service employment law training company specializing in web-based training solutions. Under her decade-long direction, Workplace Answers trained millions of employees around the globe in preventive employment practices. Ms. Lieber sold Workplace Answers in 2010, and now engages in her true passion–workplace investigations, and in-person training of employees and supervisors. She regularly counsels employers on employment-law related matters and assists them in policy and procedure development, and review. Ms. Lieber has represented hundreds of private and public entities in harassment and discrimination charges, and litigation. She has testified as an expert witness in unlawful harassment matters, and frequently conducts “remedial/sensitivity” training for employees, supervisors and executives who have been accused of workplace wrongdoing. She graduated Cum Laude from the University of the Pacific in California. She earned a J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law, where she served as the technical editor of the Computer and High Technology Law Journal.

Eli Makus, AWI-CH is an employment attorney whose practice is focused on conducting impartial workplace investigations. He is a co-founder of the law firm Ellis Buehler Makus LLP, which specializes in workplace and Title IX investigations. The firm has several attorney investigators and conducts impartial investigations across California for public and private employers. Eli regularly trains on all areas of employment law, including conducting workplace investigations. Eli previously served as in-house counsel for a large healthcare provider where he conducted and supervised investigations and helped develop an internal investigations program. Before that, he worked for a large Northern California law firm representing employers in a variety of employment law matters. Eli is devoted to promoting and enhancing the quality of impartial workplace investigations. He is an AWI Board Member and is active on the Seminars and Webinars and Institute committees. Eli earned his law degree from King Hall at the University of California, Davis.

Oliver McKinstry, AWI-CH has over a decade of experience conducting internal and external investigations.  He currently leads the HR investigation function at DaVita, a Fortune 200 healthcare company.  He has also led HR operations at DaVita.  Previously, he was an investigator at a Fortune 100 aerospace and defense company.  He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  He conducted external workplace investigations as part of his employment law practice at two Am Law 100 law firms.  Before law school, Oliver spent two years teaching English in rural Japan.  He looks forward to helping others find and hone their authentic voice in conducting investigations.

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.

Alexander M. Sperry, AWI-CH has dedicated his career to providing labor and employment law counseling, training, and investigative and litigation services to public and private employers. Today, Mr. Sperry focuses primarily on conducting workplace investigations and training employers and employees on best practices. He is a frequent lecturer on workplace-related issues. In particular, he has studied and lectured on ethical issues in employment, including presenting “Workplace Ethics: Your Responsibilities” training to multiple groups. Mr. Sperry co-authored Applying the California Supreme Court "Mixed Motive" Analysis in Workplace Discrimination Investigations, published in the July, 2013 AWI Journal. He also presented the AWI Webinar The Attorney Investigator: Avoiding Ethical Missteps in January 2014, and the Electronic Data session at the AWI Institute in February 2014. Mr. Sperry is an active member of the Association of Workplace Investigators, Inc.

Alezah Trigueros, AWI-CH is an attorney who has been conducting impartial workplace investigations with the Law Offices of Amy Oppenheimer since 2014. She received her Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and her Bachelor's degree in history from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Alezah conducts impartial investigations of employment complaints ranging from discrimination and harassment to retaliation, whistleblowing, ethics, and wrongful discipline. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Alezah has investigated workplace complaints for a variety of public and private employers throughout Northern California and the Central Valley, including agency-wide investigations and environmental assessments, and also conducts Title IX investigations for educational institutions. Alezah is a sustaining member of AWI, completed AWI's Training Institute for Workplace Investigators in 2015, is an AWI Certificate Holder (AWI-CH), and is Convener of the San Francisco Bay Area AWI Local Circle. Alezah has also received certificates from the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) and T9 Mastered to conduct Title IX investigations.

Sue Ann Van Dermyden, AWI-CH 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).

Lori Wolner is the founder and principal of Renlow Associates, LLC, a licensed private investigation company dedicated to providing objective, balanced and thorough workplace investigations in a timely manner. She has conducted hundreds of workplace investigations over her 30-year career as an external and internal investigator in both the public and private sectors. She began her career as an EEO Investigator for the City of Indianapolis before advancing into the HR field as an employee and labor relations professional. Prior to starting Renlow, Ms. Wolner held multiple senior-level HR leadership positions with Sysco Corporation, a Fortune 100 company. Her responsibilities included managing the enterprise’s HR compliance work relating to EEO, AAP and Diversity as well as performing in the field as a Vice President of HR for two unionized distribution centers. Throughout her 23-year tenure with Sysco, Ms. Wolner's expertise and experience were utilized by the organization to conduct critical, complex investigations. She has provided extensive training on HR compliance issues and also on how to conduct defensible investigations. Her workshops have been presented to business leaders, managers, supervisors and HR professionals. Ms. Wolner received a BS degree with Honors in Criminal Justice from Indiana University and attended the Robert H. McKinney School of Law: Indiana University for 2 years. In 2016, she became a licensed private investigator. Ms. Wolner is an active member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) and is AWI’s Houston Local Circle Leader. She is a graduate of AWI’s Institute in Niagara Falls and has achieved the AWI-CH designation. Lori is a Senior Certified Professional of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), and a member of HR Houston Management Association and the Texas Association of Private Investigators (TALI).  She also provides consulting services on employee relations and workplace investigations for hrQ, a national executive recruiting and HR consulting firm. Ms. Wolner is a past board member of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), MFHA (Multicultural Foodservice Hospitality Alliance), and SER (SER -Jobs for Progress.) She is a past member and conference co-chair of the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF).

Susan Woolley, AWI-CH has practiced law for 25 years and has extensive experience with discrimination and workplace investigations. She served as the Director of Investigations for court-appointed Civil Rights Monitor in the landmark settlements in the Denny's race discrimination litigation, assembling and supervising a team of investigators which conducted workplace investigations in 49 states. She has since served as an expert and consultant in the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, and private corporations to design, implement, and monitor departments to investigate and remediate race discrimination. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed her to the County Equity Oversight Panel which reviews and evaluates workplace investigations conducted countywide by the County's staff of over 15 EEO investigators. Ms. Woolley conducts workplace investigations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation for government entities and private businesses. Prior to specializing in investigations, Ms. Woolley worked on complex business and civil rights litigation. Ms. Woolley is an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School, where she teaches Fact Investigation with Keith Rohman. She practices law and conducts investigations from her office in Pasadena. Ms. Woolley graduated from Stanford Law School and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. She was a Skadden Fellow. Ms. Woolley is a former member of the Board of Directors of AWI and currently serves as the Editor of the AWI Journal.