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|Santa Barbara 2020 Institute Faculty|
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.
Brittny Bottorff, AWI-CH is an attorney workplace investigator. Brittny founded her own workplace investigations practice in 2019. Prior to that, Brittny was a partner with Maier Law Group and practiced employment law, advising employers on legal matters relating to the workplace. Brittny also supervised the Maier Law Group investigations team, and in this role, Brittny oversaw numerous workplace investigations in addition to conducting her own investigations for the firm. Before moving to California, Brittny worked as in-house counsel with a non-profit children’s hospital in Texas, and in this role, she oversaw all legal employment-related matters for the hospital. Before that, Brittny worked as a litigator for a Houston law firm. Brittny serves as a co-convener for the downtown San Francisco meeting of the AWI SF Bay Area Local Circle. Brittny earned her law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
Linda G. Burwell, AWI-CH investigation counsel and president of National Investigation Counsel, PLLC, serves law firms, in-house counsel, and insurers primarily in workplace investigations, focusing her investigations on C-Suite and other high-level executives. She is often retained/referred by national employment law firms representing a wide variety of entities ranging from small non-profits to Fortune 100 Companies. Her investigations have spanned international borders, extending from the United States into Africa, Canada, England, Germany, Mexico, India and Thailand. She is a nationally recognized employment law expert with over 30 years' experience, is a frequent speaker/ author on investigation issues, and was invited by the EEOC to testify (as a defense attorney) before the Commission in Washington DC regarding investigations and conciliations. She is active in AWI, presenting at both an Annual Conference and webinar. She is involved in its webinar and seminar committee, helping provide the webinar content for 2019. She has attended AWI Training Institutes, is a Certificate Holder and has been both part-time and full-time faculty at the Institute. She has received numerous awards and honors including being recognized in the Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, one of Michigan’s Super Lawyers, Leaders in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Top 50 Female Lawyers in Michigan, Top Lawyers by DBusiness Magazine, and she received a lifetime achievement award for Women in Leadership, from the Michigan Business & Professional Association. Prior to forming National Investigation Counsel, PLLC, Ms. Burwell co-founded and grew an employment defense firm into the largest women-owned defense firm in the state of Michigan. Today, as the leader of National Investigation Counsel, PLLC, she no longer litigates, has no ties to any single law firm, and has become a valuable resource to her clients, many of whom are former competitors or courtroom adversaries.
Jeremy Eaves, AWI-CH is the head of employee relations and workplace investigations at DaVita Kidney Care headquartered in Denver, CO. Eaves joined DaVita in 2010, and currently leads a team of 25 teammates responsible for policy development and implementation, disciplinary consultation and internal investigations support to a domestic population of over 55,000 employees. Eaves’ tenure in human resources spans over 20 years in both the financial services and healthcare industries. Prior to joining DaVita, he held a variety of human resources positions at ING, OppenheimerFunds, and KeyBank, all leaders in the financial services industry. In addition to being a board member and faculty for the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI), Eaves was 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 and Strategy (RMHRPS). A native of Colorado, 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 with his wife and two sons where he has trained for multiple marathons, century cycling events and the CrossFit Open.
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.
Victoria Friedman, AWI-CH is a seasoned investigator, attorney, and trained mediator with a strong background in conflict resolution. As a team member of the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Los Angeles Community College District, Victoria investigates allegations of Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct. In addition, her position includes being Educational Services Center Title IX Coordinator and performing work related to Equal Employment Opportunity. She specializes in training District constituents about matters related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including Title IX and implicit bias. Victoria was founder of the Office of the Ombudsperson at the Riverside Unified School District, where she served as District Ombudsperson, an independent, neutral, confidential, and informal conflict management resource. Her background includes mediating court and community cases and working in Restorative Justice mediating Victim-Offender Restitution cases. Victoria earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a double major in Communication Arts and Journalism/Mass Communications and her J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. She is an active member of the California State Bar and an Association of Workplace Investigators Certificate Holder. She has presented on topics including Title IX, Communication Strategies, Conflict Management, Team-building, Diversity, Equity, and Bias in several settings, including local organizations and international conferences.
Dawn L. Henson-Smith, AWI-CH is a career EEO professional and has 15+ years of diverse experience in Title VII and Title IX investigations and compliance, human resources, diversity management and training. She currently works as a Corporate EEO Investigator with Lockheed Martin Corporation – an American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company. There she is responsible for conducting thorough, timely and objective workplace investigations into allegations of discrimination, harassment and unfair treatment based upon a person’s protected characteristics and determine if the conduct violated corporate policies. Previously, she worked as a Deputy Title IX Coordinator/Investigator at the Art Institute of Chicago where she served as the lead investigator in matters including sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and dating violence involving students, faculty and staff. Dawn is a graduate of Howard University, Washington, D.C. (2001) and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (2004).
Katie Kusske, AWI-CH is a Principal Employee Relations Partner at Medtronic. Katie has 19 years of experience dealing with complex internal investigations. She has handled hundreds of workplace investigations on all types of employment matters. Prior to joining Medtronic, she held a variety of human resources positions at Cedars-Sinai, Cal-Tech, and Loyola Marymount University. While at Loyola Marymount University Katie obtained her Dispute Resolution Program Act (DRPA) Certificate. Katie is dedicated to improving the quality of impartial workplace investigations after receiving her AWI certification. Currently living in California, Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She finds her Psychology degree very helpful in dealing with the complex dynamics of investigations. Katie enjoys traveling and has been to places in Amsterdam, Germany, Budapest, Greece, Montenegro, Italy and the United States. One of her favorite activities is hiking and enjoying time with her ten-pound fur baby, Barley.
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 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 Institute committee. Eli earned his law degree from King Hall at the University of California, Davis.
Steve Papineau, AWI-CH holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Translation and a Bachelor of Law (LL. B.) from Université de Montréal in Montreal, Quebec. He is an active member of the Barreau du Québec and has been a member of AWI since 2017. Prior to becoming a workplace investigator, Steve practiced Family Law in a small law firm that focused on mediation to resolve matters related to separation, divorce, child custody and childcare. He is currently Manager, Human Rights, Harassment and Privacy Compliance at Air Canada. In his role, Steve oversees the work of three full-time internal investigators; conducts formal workplace investigations involving allegations of harassment, workplace misconduct and violations of policy; delivers training to employees and managers on human rights, harassment and respect in the workplace; and supports management in dealing with workplace conflict.
Christina J. Ro-Connolly, AWI-CH is a senior associate attorney with over a decade of labor and employment law experience. Tina joins the Law Offices of Amy Oppenheimer after serving for 11 years at the Contra Costa County Counsel’s Office, advising departments on legal matters for a workforce of approximately 9,000 employees. Such legal matters included employee discipline, employee complaints, discrimination complaints, wage and hour complaints, alleged labor violations, and labor negotiations. During her tenure, Tina handled numerous mediations and administrative hearings, the latter of which included contractual arbitrations, civil service appeals, and hearings before the Public Employment Relations Board. Tina also has extensive experience advising public safety departments, such as the Office of the Sheriff and the Probation Department. In addition, Tina conducted sexual harassment prevention trainings and workplace investigation trainings. Tina received her Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School, where she served on the Entertainment Law Review and was on the Dean’s List, and received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.
Michael A. Robbins, AWI-CH is President of EXTTI Incorporated—a company he founded 21 years ago. EXTTI provides Expert Testimony, Training and Investigation services in employment matters. Michael has conducted and/or supervised well over 500 workplace investigations. He has served as an expert witness in over 600 employment cases—primarily on workplace investigation issues. Also, he has served as a Consent Decree Monitor in Federal District Court. Prior to forming EXTTI, he was a labor & employment attorney for 20 years, including four years as in-house counsel and 16 years in two nationally recognized law firms. Mr. Robbins graduated Phi Beta Kappa from San Diego State University and received his JD degree from UCLA School of Law. He is a Past President of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI), a Past Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Section and a member of the California Lawyers Association Labor & Employment Executive Committee. In 2013, he was elected as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.
Aisha Shelton Adam, AWI-CH Aisha Shelton Adam is the managing partner of Adam Law. Aisha has over 15 years of experience in the areas of business litigation and labor and employment law. Aisha’s practice focuses exclusively on workplace investigations on behalf of public and private sector employers. Aisha has investigated complex claims involving multiple complainants, anonymous complainants, multiple respondents, and high-level executives in a range of issues from discrimination (race, gender, gender identity, and political viewpoint), whistleblower retaliation, harassment, and abusive conduct to implicit/subtle bias. Aisha is also an experienced investigator in Title IX sexual misconduct claims. She has investigated cases involving student-on-student misconduct, teacher-on-student misconduct, and issues of consent when a subject was intoxicated. Aisha is also trained and experienced in using trauma-informed techniques to question witnesses. As a former litigator, Aisha has litigated claims for wrongful termination, misappropriation of trade secrets, discrimination, sexual harassment, embezzlement, wage theft, and gender violence. In 2016, Aisha second-chaired the defense of the famed creator of hot yoga against claims of sexual harassment during a four-week jury trial. During the case, she navigated intense media coverage, including a nationally televised three-part CNN feature. Aisha is a 2002 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law. She holds Certificates from the Association of Workplace Investigators ("AWI-CH") and T9 Mastered for Title IX investigations involving sexual harassment and sexual assault on college campuses. Aisha is a member of the California Minority Counsel Program, the National Employment Law Council, and the Association of Workplace Investigators. Aisha also serves on Cedars-Sinai’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (“NICU”) Family Council in memory of her daughter Brooklyn.
Susan Woolley, AWI-CH has practiced law for over 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 discrimination and harassment. 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 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 was a member of the Board of Directors of AWI and currently serves as the Editor of the AWI Journal.