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2018 AWI Annual Conference Speaker Bios
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2018 AWI Conference Banner San Francisco


2018 Annual Conference Speakers

Layma Ahmadzai

Layma Ahmadzai works as a Global Investigator at Google where she conducts data privacy and physical security investigations worldwide. Prior to Google, Layma conducted sexual violence, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation investigations at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz. Layma is a licensed attorney in the State of California, and prior to her work as an investigator, she practiced law at a small law firm and at the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco. Layma is committed to creating an open and honest work environment and currently sits on Google's Diversity and Inclusion Group within Google's Global Security and Resiliency Services organization.


Lee Jay Berman

Lee Jay Berman

Lee Jay Berman began as a full-time mediator over 24 years ago, and has successfully mediated over 2,300 matters. He is a "Master Mediator" and national panelist with the American Arbitration Association, a Distinguished Fellow with the International Academy of Mediators, a Charter Diplomat with the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (NADN), and is certified by the International Mediation Institute. He was recently awarded the inaugural NADN Distinguished Neutral of the Year award, California's Daily Journal twice named him "Top Neutral", he has been voted by his colleagues into the Who's Who of International Commercial Mediation for 2012-2018, Acquisition International Magazine awarded him "Mediator of the Year – California" in 2012-2018. Also a respected trainer, he founded the American Institute of Mediation, leaving his position as Director of Pepperdine Law School's Mediating the Litigated Case program after seven years. Lee Jay has trained judges, attorneys and business leaders in India, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the Middle East. As an author, he has published numerous articles on mediation, negotiation, and ADR, along with his blog Eye On Conflict, and the ABA will be publishing two of his books in 2018.


Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson

Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson

Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, a partner in Robinson+Cole's Labor and Employment Group, counsels boards of directors, senior management, and human resources professionals in all areas of employment law, with a focus on sensitive, high-risk personnel issues, investigations, compliance, training, and U.S. market entry initiatives for international organizations. She represents a wide array of employers, ranging from Global 500 Companies and publicly-traded companies to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to manufacturers and has been ranked in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the state of Connecticut in the area of Labor & Employment since 2014 and in Connecticut Super Lawyers® since 2013. Britt-Marie regularly advises clients regarding personnel policies, affirmative action compliance, pay equity, discipline and terminations, wage and hour issues, disability and reasonable accommodations, leaves of absence, employment contracts, severance and separation agreements, reductions in force, and workplace health and safety issues. She also represents employers across various industries in litigation involving discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, and other employment claims. Britt-Marie is a trained workplace investigator, and regularly serves as a speaker for the Association of Workplace Investigators.

Robinson+Cole is an Am Law 200 firm serving regional, national, and international clients from nine offices throughout the Northeast, Florida, and California.


Bobbi K. Dominick

Bobbi K. Dominick

In her youth, Bobbi Dominick was deathly afraid of public speaking. In her early 20’s, she finally found her voice. Bobbi is a native Boisean, home grown with that Idaho streak of independence. With degrees in history, law, and theology, Bobbi has worked in law, consulting, and for a church developing systems and training for protecting children, youth and adults from abusive behavior. She has taught at universities, in classrooms, conference rooms, boardrooms, training halls and ballrooms. She uses her voice by helping organizations improve their efforts to prevent and resolve workplace harassment and discrimination. Bobbi’s focus is on developing organizational culture, leadership, and human resource systems and processes that produce or reinforce a respectful workplace. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and SHRM Senior Certified Professional, has served as a Human Resources Director, has conducted many workplace investigations over 35 years of assessing complaints, conducts respectful workplace training, and serves as an expert witness testifying about the effectiveness of an employer’s response to workplace complaints. Bobbi is also author of nationally published books, Investigating Harassment and Discrimination Claims: A Practical Guide (Pfeiffer 2004)(co-author with Jan Salisbury) and Preventing Workplace Harassment in a #MeToo World (SHRM Publishing 2018).


Lynne Eisaguirre

Lynne Eisaguirre (pronounced eyes-a-gear) is the author of The Power of a Good Fight: How To Use Conflict to Drive Creativity, Productivity and Innovation; We Need to Talk Tough Conversations with Your Boss: From Performance Reviews to Terminations Tackle, Any Topic with Sensitivity and Smarts; and We Need to Talk Tough Conversations with Your Employee: From Performance Reviews to Terminations, Tackle Any Topic with Sensitivity and Smarts; Stop Pissing Me Off! What To Do When the People You Work With Drive You Crazy and two previous books on diversity and harassment. Lynne is a former practicing employment law attorney, has been a partner in a major Denver law firm, served as in-house counsel to a public company and as a law professor. She has presented to hundreds of organizations including Harley-Davidson, Southwest Airlines, Bristol Myers Squibb, CH2M Hill, Oracle, Playboy Entertainment, Coors and Johns Manville. She provides consulting, speaking and training in the areas of leadership, conflict management, diversity and harassment. Lynne has appeared regularly on CNN Headline News and is frequently quoted as an expert in media outlets including ABC News, Bloomberg TV, The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Denver Post.



Paul Grech Jr.

Paul Grech Jr.

Mr. Grech was a Deputy District Attorney from 1982 – 1988 and has practiced criminal defense since that time. He has attended the National Criminal Defense College and the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy. Mr. Grech is Certified by the State Bar of California as a Specialist in Criminal Law since 1995; AV Rated by Peers and the Judiciary; named a Southern California Superlawyer and frequently lectures at Bar Associations and Public Defender Offices. He has tried over 150 criminal jury trials and maintains an active trial practice involving white and blue collar criminal offenses.


Richard Hart

Richard D. Hart

Richard Hart is a lawyer, arbitrator, mediator, and founding director of ProActive ReSolutions, a boutique consultancy focusing on workplace conflict and conduct issues. ProActive has worked with organizations in over 32 countries, including Global 500 and Fortune 500 companies, as well as local, state and national government agencies; Richard has led some of ProActive's largest engagements, and has developed a particular expertise in dealing with high conflict dynamics involving harassment, bullying, threats and violence. He presents frequently on these topics. Mr. Hart can be reached at RHart@proactive-resolutions.com.


Linda Imonode-Skemer

Linda Imonode Skemer works as a contract workplace investigator and immigration attorney. Linda conducted sexual violence, discrimination, harassment and retaliation investigations as a Complaint Resolution Officer/Principal Investigator at UC Santa Cruz. Prior to that, Linda conducted workplace investigations as a Consulting Compliance and EEO Specialist at Raytheon Missile Systems where she conducted internal investigations relative to employee discrimination and harassment claims. Linda is a licensed attorney in California and has practiced immigration and Federal Indian law.


Nerissa Irizarry

Nerissa Irizarry

Nerissa Irizarry conducts harassment and discrimination investigations at Google. Before joining Google, Nerissa conducted sexual violence, discrimination, harassment and retaliation investigations at UC Berkeley. Prior to working as an investigator, Nerissa engaged in advocacy through direct service, primarily working to advance economic and reproductive justice in communities of color at various Bay Area organizations. Nerissa brings an intersectional analysis to all of her legal and investigative work.


Morin Jacob

Morin Jacob

 


Deborah Maddux

Deborah Maddux

Deborah is one of two founding partners of Van Dermyden Maddux Law Corporation, a Sacramento-based firm that specializes in workplace and campus investigations. Deborah has served as the firm's Managing Partner since the firm’s inception in 2011.

Deborah's practice focuses on workplace investigations into claims of workplace misconduct, including claims of harassment, discrimination, retaliation and claims of improper governmental activities. She is experienced in testifying regarding completed investigations, and also serves as an expert witness in state and federal court. Deborah provides hearing officer and mediation services, as well as advice and counseling regarding employment matters. She consults regarding optimal management practices, including one-on-one executive coaching.

Deborah is an experienced trainer, and provides training to all levels of management on a variety of legal issues, including sexual harassment prevention, discrimination prevention, and best management practices. She has also written online training courses in the areas of sexual harassment prevention and best employment practices. Deborah has provided in-house training to staff investigators regarding how to conduct effective investigations that focus on ensuring that internal reviews are fair and thorough, as required by law.

Deborah is a legal expert in the areas of employment law and human resource management. A graduate of University of California, Davis, School of Law, Deborah is also a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).


Julie Moore

Julie A. Moore

Julie A. Moore, Esquire, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is president and founder of Employment Practices Group in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Julie is a reformed litigator who is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She focuses her practice on conducting internal investigations, being an expert witness on investigations and other employment issues, training employers on harassment prevention and other workplace topics, drafting policies and handbooks, and providing advice and counsel. Julie is a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Attorneys, Vice Chair of the Town of Wellesley Human Resources Board, a former Board member of the Association of Workplace Investigators, past chair of the NH Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law Section, and board member and program chair for GMVHRA, a local SHRM chapter. She is extensively published and a frequent speaker on investigations and other workplace issues.


Oliver McKinstry 

Oliver McKinstry 

Oliver McKintry, Director of People Services Investigations, DaVita, has over a decade of experience conducting internal and external investigations ranging from discrimination and harassment to data breach and theft of trade secrets. He currently leads the HR investigation function at DaVita, a Fortune 200 healthcare company with over 60,000 employees. Previously, he was an investigator at a Fortune 100 aerospace and defense company. He is a graduate of Macalester College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was an Executive Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law. He conducted external workplace investigations as part of his employment law practice at Littler Mendelson in Denver, CO. He also conducted investigations as an associate at Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis, MN. Oliver is the former President of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association. He has presented and trained nationally and internationally on a variety of topics including Managing Performance, Dealing with the Employee from Hell, Ethical Implications in Employee Investigations, and Inclusion in the Workplace. He has a passion for the relationship between happiness and work performance. Oliver can be reached at oliver.mckinstry@davita.com


Shirley Nakata

Shirley Nakata

Shirley Nakata has worked as a litigator in private practice, as a Human Rights Officer conducting investigations with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and as the Director of Professional Conduct for the former BC College of Teachers, overseeing regulatory investigations and hearings. She is currently the Ombudsperson for Students at the University of British Columbia. Shirley is a Special Advisor with ProActive ReSolutions in relation to complex organizational issues involving procedural fairness, equity, diversity & inclusion, and sexual violence. She also advises ProActive on several of its services and programs such as Ombuds services, investigations and organizational/systemic audits and reviews. Shirley has a particular interest in bringing a critical race and gender lens to her work and building both individual and institutional competencies in effective conflict engagement through intercultural fluency and brain science. Shirley can be reached at SNakata@proactive-resolutions.com.


Liz Rita

Liz Rita

Liz Rita has been providing impartial investigations to clients in Colorado and around the country since 1994. She specializes in complex investigations in the workplace, and transformational workplace analysis. Her investigations focus is on high profile or high litigation risk situations. Liz’s practice has run the gamut from workplace culture evaluations, class-based discrimination investigations, hostile work environment, retaliation, whistle-blower, ethics violations, rape and sexual assault, executive misconduct and corruption investigations. She started her career at a global law firm in Boston doing commercial litigation, spent the next several years at a regional Denver firm heading up their employment law practice, and in 2007 ventured out to form her own investigations firm. She has never looked back.

Liz read every Nancy Drew book as a kid, as soon as it came out, which may have been a clue about where her professional life would take her. She wakes up every day happy to go to work, and from that perspective, considers herself a very lucky human being. Liz sits on the Board of Directors of the Association of Workplace Investigators, North America's premier workplace investigator association. Her firm, Investigations Law Group, was chosen to assist the Colorado General Assembly in a comprehensive review of its culture, policies and procedures around harassment. ILG is based in Denver Colorado, and the ILG team works regionally and nationally providing impartial investigations, workplace culture assessments and strategic consulting. www.ilgdenver.com


Michael Robbins

Michael Robbins

Michael Robbins is President of EXTTI Incorporated — a company he founded 20 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 close to 600 employment cases—primarily on workplace investigation issues. He has served as a Consent Decree Monitor in Federal District Court. Prior to forming EXTTI, he worked as a Labor & Employment Attorney for 20 years. He is a Past President of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) and a Past Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Labor & Employment Section.


Nora Rohman

Nora Rohman has been an investigator with Public Interest Investigations, Inc., (PII) in Los Angeles since 2013. She has investigated allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, as well as Title IX investigations of sexual assault complaints on college campuses. Nora has also conducted mitigation investigations on behalf of capital murder defendants who are filing appeals or facing trial. Nora has presented on LGBTQ issues in workplace investigations for a number of private and public organizations including: T9 Mastered: Training for Campus Investigators (2017 and 2018), Stanford University: Sexual Harassment Advisers and Liaisons 2017, Association of Chief Human Resource Officers/Equal Employment Opportunity Officers (ACHRO/EEO) 2017, California State University Title IX Coordinators/Investigators Annual Training 2017, Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) 2015 Annual Conference. Nora has extensive experience with education and activism in the LGBTQ community. Nora earned her bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies from Concordia University in Montreal. Following this, she pursued a master's degree in Gender Studies at New York University.


Alec Smidt

Alec M. Smidt

Alec M. Smidt is a PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology, Sociology, & Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, and his Master’s of Science in Clinical Psychology at the University of Oregon. Broadly, his research examines the psychological and physical health effects of interpersonal and institutional betrayal, particularly in marginalized populations. Mr. Smidt can be reached at asmidt@uoregon.edu.


Rebecca Speer

Rebecca Speer

Rebecca Speer, co-founder of Tribù Partners LLP, has closely collaborated with Dr. Stephen White for more than twenty years to address corporate threat management and workplace violence prevention. A pioneer in the fields of independent workplace investigations and workplace violence prevention, Rebecca has performed hundreds of investigations, with a focus on allegations affecting senior and executive management. In a joint effort by SHRM and ASIS, she chaired a national committee that published an American National Standard for Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention. Rebecca is a graduate of Stanford University and the Santa Clara University School of Law. She began her career as a litigator at Morrison & Foerster and Seyfarth Shaw.


Abby Warren

Abby Warren is a member of the firm's Labor + Employment Group, where she represents employers in labor and employment matters. She focuses her practice on counseling private sector employers, including multinational corporations, health care organizations, educational institutions, and manufacturers, in all areas of employment law. She also defends employers in federal and state court and before administrative agencies. In addition to counseling and litigation, Ms. Warren provides workplace training for clients and conducts workplace investigations.


Stephen G. White

Stephen G. White

Dr. Stephen White is a psychologist and the President of Work Trauma Services Inc., a consulting group he founded in 1982 to assist employers with serious workplace crises. His extensive work in organizational trauma reduction led to his specializing, since 1989, in the assessment and management of workplace and campus violence risk. Dr. White has consulted nationally and internationally on over 4,000 threat cases for numerous Fortune 500 companies, private and public organizations, law firms and their clientele, colleges and universities, and law enforcement and governmental agencies. He has testified before the California State Legislature on behalf of workplace violence prevention legislation. Dr. White has authored or co-authored peer-reviewed publications on stalking, workplace and campus mass murder, violence risk assessment, autism and violence, and workplace trauma management. Dr. White, in collaboration with Dr. Reid Meloy, developed and published in 2007 The WAVR-21. Now in its third edition, the WAVR-21 is an evidence-based structured professional judgment guide for assessing workplace and campus violence risk. Dr. White contributed a chapter on workplace violence in The International Handbook of Threat Assessment, published in 2014 by Oxford University Press, and is a Contributing Editor for the Journal of Threat Assessment and Management. He was among invited experts for both the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, and ASIS International, to develop their first online guidelines for the prevention of workplace violence. He served on the expert panel of the 2012 US Army-sponsored Workplace Violence in the Military Program, providing peer reviews of scientific proposals to study predictors of targeted violence across Department of Defense service areas. Dr. White is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, where he has co-facilitated professional development groups for medical students. He is a frequent guest lecturer at regional, national, and international forums for security, human resource, and mental health professionals, campus administrators, law enforcement agencies, and employment law attorneys.


Patricia Anne Wise

Patty Wise is a partner at Spengler Nathanson Ltd. and was among the first class certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in Labor and Employment Law. She provides practical, preventive advice to employers, and represents litigants in state and federal court and before administrative agencies. Former EEOC Chair Jenny Yang appointed Patty as one of 16 members of the EEOC Select Task Force on Workplace Harassment, and Patty is a mediator for the EEOC. She recently presented at the Indiana EEOC Technical Assistance Program seminar. Patty has trained, provided webinars, and spoken before thousands in all areas of employment law. She is on the faculty of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been an adjunct or visiting professor at the University of Toledo College of Law since 1999. She has written several books and numerous articles on employment law matters. She was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal and interviewed on NPR regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith Lanzinger appointed Patty to the Board of Professional Conduct, where Patty is serving her second term. Patty is president of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Legal Aid of Western Ohio, and Northwest Ohio Development Agency and a board member of the Toledo Fair Housing Center.


Sarah Worley

Sarah has served as a full-time mediator and arbitrator since 1997. She has mediated or arbitrated more than 9,000 cases over the last twenty-one years. She practiced previously as a trial attorney at the Boston law firms of Peabody & Arnold and Cetrulo & Capone where her trial practice concentrated in product liability, premises liability, professional liability, and complex personal injury. She represented plaintiffs, institutional defendants, and defendants referred by insurers, as well as a number of self-insured entities. Sarah mediates and arbitrates disputes throughout New England and the United States and works with counsel nationwide on complex matters. In 2005, she was appointed by Judge Judith Fitzgerald, Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania, to serve as the arbitrator in a dispute between 285 claimants and DII Industries, LLC as part of the Halliburton Asbestos Settlement. She has mediated and arbitrated personal injury cases, wrongful death cases, product liability and product failure cases, professional and medical malpractice actions, subrogation disputes, business disputes, insurance coverage disputes, construction cases, discrimination and harassment cases, and labor disputes, and has served as a case evaluator in complex multi-jurisdictional matters. She has also served as a mediator in cases involving religious orders and institutions throughout the United States. In addition to her work in the dispute resolution field, Sarah serves as an independent investigator in Title IX and workplace disputes. She is a certified civil rights investigator and has worked with educational institutions and corporations nationwide as an outside independent investigator. Sarah is a graduate of Phillips Academy, Dartmouth College, and the Georgetown University Law Center.


 

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