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|2019 AWI Annual Conference Speaker Bios|
Bernard Alexander prosecutes demanding private and public sector employment cases. He has tried over sixty cases to verdict with seven- and eight figure judgments for claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on gender, race, age, sex, sexual orientation and disability, among other things. Over the last 9 months his verdicts include (1) $3 million for a security guard terminated for “job abandonment” after he took emergency leave from work to care for his school age daughter (February 2018); (2) $5.3 million for a 25 year FedEx employee fired after not having his disability accommodated; and (3) $1.3 million for CFRA retaliation, for 29 year employee terminated before his return from leave.
Lauren Becker is an Associate Attorney with Van Dermyden Maddux Law Corporation's Sacramento office. She conducts workplace investigations, including matters involving sexual harassment. Lauren regularly conducts Title IX investigations on both college and high school campuses, reaching determinations on cases involving domestic violence and sexual assault. Lauren also reviews investigative reports in her role as a Hearing Officer for Title IX campus sexual violence matters.
Nancy Bornn is an AWI-CH workplace investigator/attorney, a Founding Director of AWI, and a member of the AWI faculty since 2012. She serves on the AWI Institute Committee and the Testing and Certification Subcommittee. She served on the boards of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, the LACBA L&E Section, CELA, and NELA. She conducts workplace investigations and testifies as an expert witness on employment matters, including workplace investigations. Website: www.NancyBornnLaw.com
Jennifer Brown Shaw is the founder of Shaw Law Group. A well-respected expert in employment law for more than 20 years, employers rely on Jennifer to counsel them on a broad range of employment law issues. Jennifer's practical advice covers a wide array of employment law subjects including wage-hour compliance, anti-discrimination and harassment policies and procedures, reasonable accommodation/leave of absence issues, and hiring/separation processes. Jennifer also offers considerable expertise in conducting impartial investigations for employers. She frequently is engaged to assist with challenging and high-profile matters. Jennifer has developed a national reputation for developing and conducting innovative, effective training for executives, management and non-supervisory employees. She uses case studies, audience participation, and storytelling to bring employment law to life. Through private, on-site sessions, open public sessions, and webinars, she trains over 10,000 people each year. Jennifer also trains and coaches senior executives on an individual basis. Jennifer is one of the highest-rated speakers at annual SHRM Conferences since 2009.
As one of California's most experienced workplace investigators, Lisa has conducted investigations for hundreds of California employers for nearly 20 years. She investigates complaints of misconduct at all levels in the public and private sector. Clients appreciate Lisa's ability to complete investigations quickly and efficiently without compromising the integrity of the process. She also prepares concise investigation reports that include credibility assessments and factual findings to prepare employers for their next steps.
Lisa is a frequent speaker, trainer, and author on investigation issues, and presents at the Association of Workplace Investigations Annual Conference and at CALPELRA's annual education program.
Zaneta Butscher Seidel is a senior associate attorney with the Law Offices of Amy Oppenheimer. She conducts impartial investigations of employment complaints of alleged harassment, discrimination, retaliation, bullying and other workplace misconduct. Zaneta began her legal career as a litigation associate in the New York office of Baker & McKenzie LLP, where she handled complex commercial litigation and international arbitration matters. After relocating home to the San Francisco Bay Area, Zaneta associated with a boutique litigation law firm in San Francisco, where for five years she advised and represented clients in complex civil litigation matters involving corporate disputes, data breach, franchise law, unfair competition, personal injury claims, environmental claims and Proposition 65 claims. Zaneta earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003 and her JD from Columbia University School of Law in 2008. While at Columbia Law School, Zaneta served as staff editor for the Columbia Human Rights Law Review and interned with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland. Zaneta is a member of the California and New York state bars, a sustaining member of AWI, a graduate of the AWI's Training Institute for Workplace Investigators, and an AWI Certificate Holder (AWI-CH).
Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, AWI-CH, a partner in Robinson+Cole's Labor and Employment Group and a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI), has been retained to conduct and supervise complex and highly sensitive workplace investigations involving senior executives and Boards of Directors, anonymous complaints, discrimination, retaliation, bullying, misappropriation, violations of ethics and conflicts of interest policies, sexual misconduct, whistleblowers, and substance abuse. 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 is a trained workplace investigator (AWI Certificate Holder), serves as a faculty member for AWI's accredited Training Institute for Workplace Investigators, and has conducted trainings throughout the U.S. Britt-Marie 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. Robinson+Cole is an Am Law 200 firm serving regional, national, and international clients from nine offices throughout the Northeast, Florida, and California.
Laura Crawshaw, Ph.D., BCC specializes in researching and coaching abrasive leaders, serving an international clientele of organizations over the past forty years, including over 40 Fortune 500 companies and the United Nations. Dr. Crawshaw founded the Executive Insight Development Group, Inc. in 1994, the Boss Whispering Institute (dedicated to research and training in the specialty practice of coaching abrasive leaders) in 2009, and co-founded the Consortium on Abrasive Conduct in Higher Education (CACHE) in 2013. Dr. Crawshaw's book, Taming the Abrasive Manager: How to End Unnecessary Roughness in the Workplace (Jossey-Bass Management Series), was released in 2007. She has published in the Consulting Psychology Journal on workplace bullying, and her article entitled Coaching Abrasive Leaders: Using Action Research to Reduce Suffering And Increase Productivity In Organizations appeared in the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations. Dr. Crawshaw speaks internationally, holding degrees in clinical social work and organizational behavior. She is a member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations, the American Psychological Association, the British Psychological Society, the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, the International Association on Bullying and Harassment at Work, and the International Coach Federation. She is also a Founding Fellow of Harvard's Institute of Coaching.
Ms. Duggan graduated in 1992 with a B.A. from the University of California at Davis. While at the University of Oregon School of Law, Jennifer served as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation and was awarded the Oregon State Bar Securities Regulation Scholarship. She graduated with an emphasis in Business Law In 1996. Jennifer's legal practice focuses on business and employment litigation an general preventative advice to assist clients in avoiding litigation. Throughout her career Jennifer has represented a variety of private and public entity clients in a broad range of litigation matters in both state and federal courts; particularly in the areas of employment discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights and governmental tort Iiability. In recent years, Jennifer has worked on a number of cases representing investigators in responding to subpoenas and defending depositions on behalf of the investigator as a third party witness. She has successfully argued before both the Third District Court of Appeal and the Ninth Circuit. From 2004 to 2013, Jennifer served as an adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law where she taught Civil Pretrial Litigation. In Fall 2015, Jennifer taught The Business of Lawyering at UC Davis School of Law. Jennifer has participated extensively as a moderator and panelist in a number of MCLE presentations, including CEB seminars. Since 2001, Jennifer has also served as an arbitrator and private mediator.
Pamela (Pam) George is an energetic business professional with extensive EEO regulatory and compliance experience. She has extensive experience in fact-finding investigations, case development, as well as experience in monitoring and applying federal regulations. She currently serves as a Diversity and Compliance Officer with Fulton County Government in Atlanta, Ga. where she conducts, manages, and resolves internal employment discrimination investigations, and drafts strategic plans on complex employment issues to ensure policy compliance. She interfaces, engages, and advises all levels of management on current EEO best practices, final investigation reports, and recommendations. She also conducts internal investigations of EEOC charges. Pamela experiences includes conducting Federal Sector EEO investigations and Final Agency Decisions as a subcontractor for other federal investigative services. Pam is passionate about doing her part to address and remove barriers toward ensuring workplaces are fair in operation as they relate to the most important aspect of any organization, its people. Pamela (Pam) has a Bachelor of Arts Degree, University of New Orleans, Juris Doctorate, Loyola University, New Orleans, LLM Employment Law, Atlanta's John Marshall Law School. She has a Mediation Certification,-Justice Center of Atlanta, as well as certifications as a Final Agency Decision Writer Certification, and EEO Investigator Training and Certification.. She is an Admitted Attorney with the Louisiana State Bar Association. Pam trains any number of employees of Fulton County Government's 5,000 employee entity on Sexual Harassment Prevention. She has conducted CLE seminars recognized by the Louisiana State Bar Association. She is committed to doing her part and applauds the efforts of investigative services and organizations like AWI that are dedicated to ensuring.
Randi B. May represents employers and executives in all aspects of the employment relationship. She focuses on counseling, advice, and litigation avoidance, but will to litigate when appropriate and desired. Randi’s counseling experience on behalf of a broad range of employers includes advice concerning sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation, policies, practices and trainings, workplace investigations, hiring and separation, employee discipline, employee misconduct, restrictive covenants, compensation, wage and hour issues, leaves of absence, and all other federal and New York state laws governing employment. She regularly drafts, updates, and negotiates agreements and policies. Her counseling experience on behalf of executives includes drafting, negotiating, and advising clients concerning executive employment agreements, deferred compensation and equity grants, separation agreements, shareholder agreements and other basic business arrangements, and all forms of restrictive covenants, including forming a competitive business or leaving to join a competitor. Randi has litigated before federal and state courts, administrative agencies, and arbitration panels, including conducting trials and hearings. Her experience includes the defense and prosecution of discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, overtime and wage-and-hour claims, breach of contract, compensation disputes, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, restrictive covenant disputes, and other claims relating to the termination of employment. Randi has also published articles on New York’s recent sexual harassment law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the use of BlackBerry mobile devices in the workplace, and has been quoted in the New York Law Journal and Portfolio Media. She recently presented a CLE on the FLSA and on New York’s sexual harassment laws.
Named an Employment Law Trailblazer by the National Law Journal, 2019
Christina Hynes Mesco is of counsel at The Prinz Law Firm. She is an experienced business and employment law attorney who offers expert guidance to clients with employment and business-related needs. She frequently negotiates, drafts, and reviews employment, retention, non-compete, non-solicitation, equity, change-in-control, consulting, and other employment agreements and documents. Whether starting new employment, creating a business, entering a partnership, or separating from an employer, Ms. Hynes Mesco has aided numerous entrepreneurs and executives in improving their employment status by increasing benefits and obtaining valuable language amendments that protect their right. Ms. Hynes Mesco often assists clients in obtaining or disputing employment-related benefits, such as unemployment, COBRA, and disability. She has represented clients from such companies as Walgreens, PepsiCo, McDonalds, and Harris Bank. Ms. Hynes Mesco plays a leading role in The Prinz Law Firm's workplace training offerings. She has provided custom-tailored trainings to numerous employers, helping them update their policies, develop best practices, and create positive workplace cultures that allow businesses to thrive and employees to feel appreciated. Ms. Hynes Mesco attended Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where she was the editor of the Public Interest Law Reporter, a Regional Finalist in the ABA Client Counseling Competition, and a winner of the Leadership and Service Award.
Laura Drottz Kalty is a Partner in Liebert Cassidy Whitmore's Los Angeles Office. Kalty, a prolific investigator and litigator, is a public safety expert who regularly conducts and oversees public safety investigations and routinely advises police and fire agencies on an array of public safety personnel issues.
Mile Komlen is a human rights lawyer, conflict management practitioner, and labour and employment specialist with over 25 years of human rights and complaint resolution experience within corporate, community and institutional settings. He is a Dedicated Neutral with a practice as an independent mediator, investigator and adjudicator. Mile is currently the Managing Director of Ethical Associates Inc., where he advises institutional clients on conflict resolution strategies and maintains a roster of skilled mediators, adjudicators, and investigators to facilitate resolution services. He provides expertise on the resolution of deep conflict in academic settings through his mediation and investigation practice, and regularly advises colleges and universities on their human rights policy frameworks. Using a variety of dispute resolution techniques, such as individual coaching, mediation, facilitation, intergroup dialogue, and restorative justice methods, he has cultivated resolutions on numerous disputes involving faculty, students and staff. In his other public roles, Mile is currently the President of the Canadian Association for the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment in Higher Education (CAPDHHE). He has previously served as the Chair of the Equity Advisory Group for the Law Society of Upper Canada and as the Chair of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Caucus (SOGIC), a practice section of the Ontario Bar Association. Mile was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2000 and is licensed to practice law by the Law Society of Upper Canada. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Ottawa Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Women's Studies from Carleton University (becoming the first man in Canada to graduate with a degree in Women's Studies). He holds a Certificate in Workplace Investigations from the Association of Workplace Investigators and has obtained Certificates in Adjudication for Administrative Agencies, Boards and Tribunals from Osgoode Hall Professional Development.
Ashley Lattal is a lawyer, workplace investigator, and mediator at Lattal Law. She takes a balanced and sensible approach to resolving conflict.
Experienced as a lawyer in both the United States and Canada, Ms. Lattal has extensive experience in managing workplace investigations and litigation involving multiple parties and witnesses and significant legal and evidentiary issues.
She has conducted investigations into complaints of sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, workplace violence, conflicts of interest, hostile work environments, and other policy breaches in a wide variety of industries in unionized and non-unionized settings. Ashley produces clear, fair investigation reports based on sound evidence that are useful in the event of litigation or arbitration and in addressing workplace conflict.
She has been selected for a number of investigation and mediation rosters, including for several Ontario universities, the Ontario Public Service, the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Ontario, and the Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program. Ashley also regularly provides workplace mediation and restoration services, as well as workplace culture assessments.
Ashley began her career as a commercial litigator and has significant experience litigating and mediating a wide variety of disputes, including employment, human rights, insurance, shareholder, environmental, and contractual matters.
After graduating from Cornell Law School in 2000, Ashley worked at national law firms in Washington, D.C. and Toronto, and subsequently at a prominent litigation boutique in Toronto before establishing her own firm.
Adam Levin is a Partner in Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp’s Labor and Employment practice. Levin has two decades of experience representing major entertainment industry defendants in all areas of labor and employment law, including serving as lead counsel in numerous employment discrimination, wrongful termination and trade secret/unfair competition cases.
Catherine is the founder and CEO of Civility Partners, where she conducts workplace assessments, provides coaching for abrasive/bullying behaviors, and delivers training programs to build a positive workplace. Before starting Civility Partners, Catherine worked as a Director of Human Resources and earned her SPHR. She studied toxic work environments in graduate school, while earning her MA in Organizational Communications. Catherine has written three books, one of which Ken Blanchard called the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic of workplace bullying, and has been cited in such media outlets as Forbes.com, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, and USA Today. She's also appeared as a guest on such venues as NPR and CNN.
Liz Paris is a Senior Associate Attorney with Van Dermyden Maddux Law Corporation's Sacramento office. She regularly conducts workplace and Title IX campus investigations. Liz also reviews investigative reports in her role as a Hearing Officer for Title IX campus sexual violence matters. She serves on the faculty of T9 Mastered, a training program for campus investigators, in which she regularly teaches report writing for investigators of all experience levels.
Don has been an employment law attorney since 1983. He litigated sexual harassment, glass ceiling, discrimination, wrongful termination and whistleblower claims before quitting litigation at 41,. once he realized nobody wins a lawsuit. After litigation Don built and HR company used by more than 3,000 companies he sold to ThinkHR in 2014. He has also done more than 600 presentations. When not presenting he does audits, investigations, compliance training and executive coaching. Don remains curious about emerging technologies and how they will impact the workplace.
Kristen Prinz is an employment lawyer, business counselor, and founder of The Prinz Law Firm. Ms. Prinz represents employees, physicians, lawyers, senior executives, and small business owners in matters ranging from employment agreements and non-competes to complex employment disputes. She has litigated employment disputes before state and federal courts at the trial and appellate level, and before administrative agencies, including the EEOC, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, and the Cook County Human Rights Commission. She also has experience representing clients in arbitration proceedings. As a business counselor, Ms. Prinz provides business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals with innovative and cost-effective solutions to their legal and operational problems, enabling them to fully realize their potential. She has leveraged her litigation and culture management experience to guide clients in implementing employment best practices, effectively training staff, and creating a productive workplace culture. Ms. Prinz is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Employment Lawyers Association, and is Chair of the Nominating Committee for The International Women's Forum. Ms. Prinz was selected for inclusion in Crain's Chicago Business List of 50 Most Influential Female Attorneys, and has been named an Emerging Lawyer by Leading Lawyers, as well as a Super Lawyer for 2019. Kristen received her J.D. with honors from IIT Chicago Kent College of Law and a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa.
Christina (Tina) Ro-Connolly is senior counsel 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. Tina is a member of the California State Bar and Contra Costa County Bar Association, a sustaining member of AWI, a graduate of the AWI's Training Institute for Workplace Investigators, and an AWI Certificate Holder (AWI-CH).
Carole Ross graduated from UCLA School of Law in 1992 and has been practicing law since that time. Carole began practicing employment law since 1993. For approximately 20 years, Carole litigated employment cases, advised employers, and conducted seminars on employment law issues. In 2013, formed Ross Employment Law where her focus is conducting workplace investigations and offering training on the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Carole also serves as a monitor for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, ensuring an employer who settled a case is complying with the terms of a consent decree in terms of training and equal pay practices. Carole's workplace investigation practice includes claims of all types but, in the past couple of years, the firm has seen an increase in the number of claims involving allegations of bullying or abusive conduct.
Lisa Southern, LLb is the Founder of Southern & Associates, a legal firm located in North Vancouver that specializes in employment and labour law, especially in the area of workplace investigations. She and her Associates guide organizations across British Columbia (and beyond) to find workplace solutions that enhance their organizations' commitment to building a positive workplace environment. Lisa strongly believes that engaging a reliable and fair Investigator results in a sustainable and acceptable outcome, demonstrates the necessary due diligence, and results in less litigation post-investigation. Lisa's specialization in workplace investigations is built on her transition through key legal roles that continue to provide her with a unique background and perspective. She received her Law degree from the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in 1996. She was called to the Bar in 1997 after articling at Russell and DuMoulin. In 2003, Lisa was appointed to the BC Labour Relations Board, first as Vice Chair, and then as Registrar and Vice Chair until 2009 when she returned to private practice and started to home in on the important work of investigations and supporting exceptional workplace culture. She has focused her practice on being a neutral third party for both public and private sector organizations and she has conducted a large number of investigations into complaints involving privacy issues, human rights, harassment, and workplace health and safety. In addition to her investigation work, Lisa is frequently appointed as a mediator and also arbitrates labour disputes. In 2017, Lisa was appointed as the Registrar for the BC Nurses' Union and the Health Employers Association of BC, assisting them to resolve grievances efficiently and fairly.
Alezah Trigueros 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. Her prior legal work includes working as a Law Clerk and Decision Writer for the Social Security Administration Office of Disability Adjudication and Review where she made preliminary disability determinations for applicants appealing their benefit denials by conducting investigations. Alezah also served as an editor for the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, and worked at the U.S. Department of Energy Office for Labor and Pension Law where she put in place a system that enabled the attorneys in her office to provide quick, consistent responses to employment law inquiries. Alezah is a sustaining member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (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.