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Vail 2019 Institute Faculty
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Carl Botterud is a lawyer, mediator and workplace investigator. In his role as counsel, Mr. Botterud represents institutional, business and individual clients, both plaintiffs and defendants in the area of civil, business, civil rights and employment litigation. He has more than twenty years experience as a litigator in the areas of employment, discrimination, disability, wage-hour, wrongful termination, trade secrets, contract disputes, higher education and professional negligence. As a mediator, Mr. Botterud serves as a neutral helping parties find resolution in a broad gamut of civil litigation and workplace disputes. As a workplace investigator, Mr. Botterud provides employers and their regular counsel with services to assist them in meeting their obligation to provide prompt, thorough and impartial investigations in response to employee concerns. This helps employers manage risk by providing a safe and responsive workplace in compliance with applicable law. In the fall of 2013, Mr. Botterud returned to Ritt, Tai, Thvedt & Hodges, the firm he helped steward as a partner from 2000 to 2005, where he is serving his clients and colleagues as an advocate, counselor, mediator and independent investigator.

Scott Bowman, AWI-CH has specialized in high-stakes litigation and complex legal analysis throughout his career. He launched his legal career as a federal judicial law clerk at the district court and appellate levels. Scott then worked as a litigation associate in a New York law firm, where his practice focused on complex commercial litigation. From New York, Scott moved to Colorado where, after completing another federal clerkship, he began work representing government agencies, first as defense counsel for the City and County of Denver and then in a prosecutorial capacity for the City and then the state Attorney General’s Office. Scott has also worked as an adjunct associate professor of law and a university faculty member teaching legal writing, negotiation and oral advocacy to undergraduates and law students. Throughout his career, Scott has gained extensive experience in both civil and criminal matters and has often been engaged in the work of an investigator, developing facts, questioning witnesses, tracking down evidence, and objectively analyzing (and clearly writing about) complex facts. As a Senior Investigator at ILG, Scott leads complex investigations and uses his superior analytical and writing skills to deliver sophisticated assessments of the facts and world-class reports to our clients. Scott’s practice areas include harassment, discrimination, retaliation and other misconduct in the workplace. Scott also heads up the Firm’s Title IX Practice area, which focuses on providing impartial investigations to colleges and universities facing student and faculty misconduct issues.

Jeremy Eaves, AWI-CH is the head of employee relations and workplace investigations at DaVita Inc., headquartered in Denver, CO.  Eaves joined DaVita in 2010, and currently leads a team of 35 employee 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 health care 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.

Monica Jeffrey, AWI-CH is a founding partner at JMJ Workplace Investigation Law LLP, the first law firm in Canada to devote its practice exclusively to conducting impartial workplace investigations.  Prior to becoming a workplace investigator, Monica specialized in “workplace law” – representing and advising employees and employers in public and private organizations across multiple industries and sectors.  She has experience in a diverse number of workplace matters including:  sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, human resources policies and training. In early 2013, Monica became passionate about improving the quality of impartial workplace investigations after receiving a Certificate of Completion from the 2013 AWI Training Institute.  Monica is a Board Director and Sustaining Member of AWI.  She was integrally involved in the development of AWI’s Canadian Chapter – CAWI – and has served as faculty and Chair at the Institutes for several years. 

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.

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.

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.

Amy Oppenheimer, AWI-CH has over 30 years of experience in employment law as an attorney, investigator, arbitrator, mediator, trainer, and administrative law judge. She has trained employees and employers throughout the US in how to prevent harassment, investigate workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, in diversity in the workplace. She has performed impartial investigations for a large range of employers, public and private, large and small. A trial qualified expert in State and Federal court, Ms. Oppenheimer has testified for plaintiffs and the defense about employment practices in preventing, responding to and investigating workplace harassment. She has testified at deposition, arbitration or trial more than 60 times. Ms. Oppenheimer is the author of numerous articles about harassment and discrimination, and is co-author of one of the few books about the practice of investigations, Investigating Workplace Harassment: How to be Fair, Thorough and Legal, (Society of Human Resource Management, 2003). She speaks frequently on these issues. Ms. Oppenheimer is the founder and past president of the Association of Workplace Investigators, Inc. (AWI), past president of Berkeley Dispute Resolution Services, and an advisor to the executive committee of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California.

Cara Panebianco, AWI-CH 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. 

Michael A. Robbins, AWI-CH 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 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.

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).

Julie Yanow, CLE, MCLE is a workplace investigator and trainer, and expert witness. Ms. Yanow has conducted many hundreds of workplace investigations and trained thousands of employees and executives at all levels. Before launching EquiLaw in 2003, Ms. Yanow was employed by Warner Bros., where she was chosen to co-found the company's Employment Law Department and served as Vice President and Senior Employment Counsel. Before joining Warner Bros., Ms. Yanow served as in-house counsel at NBC and in private practice at the law firm of Pepper, Hamilton and Scheetz. Ms. Yanow is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Yanow received her JD from the University of California, Los Angeles. Ms. Yanow serves on the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She is a past President of the Society of Independent Workplace Investigators (SIWI) and is a Sustaining Member and former Director of AWI.