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SPEAKERS FOR 2020 SYMPOSIUM

 
Valarie J. Allen

Partner
Ballard Spahr LLP

Valarie J. Allen advises issuers, underwriters, and borrowers in the structuring, issuance, offering, placement, remarketing, and restructuring of tax-exempt and taxable municipal securities and other debt instruments and derivatives.

Valarie serves as bond, borrower's, underwriter's, and disclosure counsel to clients across the United States. She represents investment banking firms, state housing agencies, electric-energy generation companies, educational and health care institutions, private and municipal utilities, school districts, and municipalities in virtually all areas of public finance.

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Anne Ciesla Bancroft
Associate General Counsel Exelon Business Services Company, LLC


Anne leads labor and employment support for Exelon, a Fortune 100 company with over 34,000 employees across the country, including EEO litigation, arbitrations, agency charges, representation campaigns, investigations, training, immigration, and counseling. Prior to joining Exelon, Anne was a partner in the Labor & Employment Law department at Fox Rothschild.

Anne was previously 2018 president of the Association of Corporate Counsel Greater Philadelphia and chair of its diversity summer corporate internship program, which was recognized as the ACC Global Diversity Initiative of the Year in 2018. Anne was also pro bono labor counsel for Opera Philadelphia and Editor-in-Chief of the NJSBA Labor & Employment Law Quarterly. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the Washington College of Law at American University.

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Kimberly Berger
President & COO
Her Corner


Kimberly is the President and COO of Her Corner. She is an active angel investor with a passion for women-owned companies. She has worked with venture-backed companies and large publicly traded companies specifically in the areas of digital marketing and strategy consulting. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School with a focus in Marketing and Finance and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Carolyn Elefant
Founder and Owner
Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant PLLC & MyShingle.com


Carolyn owns the Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant in Washington D.C., a boutique national law firm that focuses on power, pipelines and property and one of the few small, women-owned law firms in the energy space.  A long-time advocate of entrepreneurship in the law, Carolyn launched the blog,MyShingle.com in 2002 which celebrates and empowers lawyers to start and build their own law practices and was included in the first round of the ABA Blawg 100 Hall of Fame.  

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Kelly Rittenberry Culhane
Founder & Managing Partner
Culhane Meadows, PLLC

Kelly Rittenberry Culhane is a founding partner of Culhane Meadows, the largest woman-owned, general practice law firm in the US. Drawing on her former and current experience as General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of two national law firms (and outside General Counsel to a Tokio Marine insurance company). In addition to serving as Chief Operating Officer and Co-General Counsel, she is a nationally recognized expert in Insurance Law and the outsourcing of human resources and professional services. She counsels domestic and global/multinational corporate clients on reducing legal and financial exposure in connection with strategic partnerships. Kelly’s passion for children led her to serve on the Executive Committee for the Board of Directors for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Texas Regional Office, and she spends most weekends keeping up with her busy teenagers, traveling to their various club sporting events.

 Kelly and her partners created a cloud-based, partner-only law firm that combines the best traits of BigLaw with a business model that fosters inclusion, diversity, and a deep collaboration among partners representing sophisticate clients, including many Fortune 500 companies. The firm’s compensation structure means work/life balance isn’t just a soundbite, but a reality at Culhane Meadows. A proud member of NAMWOLF, Culhane Meadows frequently features on 'Best of’ lists from Working Mother, Law360 and U.S. News and World Report.

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Debbie Epstein Henry
Founder, DEH Consulting, Speaking, Writing
Executive Consultant, Axiom


Debbie is an expert, consultant, best-selling author and public speaker on careers, workplaces, women and law.  She is the founder of DEH Consulting, Speaking, Writing and the co-founder of Bliss Lawyers, a company that employed high caliber attorneys to work on temporary engagements for in-house legal department and law firm clients.  In 2020, Bliss Lawyers was acquired by Axiom, the global leader in high-caliber, on demand legal talent, and Debbie now serves as their executive consultant.

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Alaina Fotiu-Wojtowicz
Founding Shareholder
Brodsky Fotiu-Wojtowicz


Alaina is a founding shareholder of BFW.  Ms. Fotiu-Wojtowicz is an experienced trial lawyer and has tried cases in federal and state court. She has won numerous multi-million dollar jury verdicts for her clients in both commercial and personal injury cases. She represents corporations, business entities, and individuals in a variety of complex commercial business disputes, and routinely represents individuals who have suffered life altering personal injuries.

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 Beth L. Kaufman
Partner
Shoeman Updike Kaufman & Gerber LLP


Beth is the managing partner of Schoeman Updike Kaufman & Gerber LLP, a WBENC-certified women-owned law firm, where she handles complex litigation involving business and commercial matters, employment, product liability and toxic tort, real estate and family law matters. She is active in the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation, where she holds three leadership positions for the 2020 bar year, including vice-chair of the Section.  She is a champion for diversity and women in the workplace, having served as a past president of The National Association of Women Lawyers.

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 Lisa D. Love
Co-Managing Partner
Love and Long, LLP


Lisa is the Co-Managing Partner of Love and Long, L.L.P., a boutique law firm with offices located in New York City, Philadelphia and Newark, New Jersey that she established in 1998. In her practice, Lisa concentrates in dispute resolution, municipal and corporate finance, government contracts, real estate development, project finance, corporate governance, commercial lending, equity investments, licensing, public finance, public private partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, maritime, antitrust, and securities.  

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Jonathan D. Lovitz
Senior Vice President
National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (nglcc)


Jonathan D. Lovitz is a national recognized LGBT business and public policy advocate, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). At the NGLCC he serves as both national spokesperson and political lobbyist; and he is responsible for establishing the more than a dozen county, city, and state laws passed over the last four years opening up contracting and economic opportunity to the LGBT Business community.  Lovitz is a regular commentator on MSNBC, CNBC, NPR, The Advocate, and Bloomberg, among others, and has often spoken/fundraised for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, The Trevor Project, GLSEN, the Democratic Party and more. Jonathan graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Florida— where he was named the Outstanding Young Alumni in 2018.  The Advocate Magazine honored Jonathan as a “2019 Queer Icon” in August 2019.    

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 Jessica L. Mazzeo
Co-Founder and COO
Griesing Law, LLC


Jessica is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Griesing Law, LLC, a full service business law firm headquartered in Philadelphia, PA.  Jessica focuses on overseeing and implementing all of the Firm’s business operations while establishing policies that promote and retain the Firm’s culture and strategic vision.  In addition to her role at the Firm, Jessica is co-founder of Bossible, a company that focuses on business and professional development for individuals and small businesses as well as GriesingMazzeo Leadership which conducts diversity, inclusion, elimination of bias and sexual harassment education and training for businesses.  Jessica writes a quarterly column for The Legal Intelligencer on issues surrounding law firm management.  She is Vice Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Association of Legal Administrators, a staff volunteer for the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms and a volunteer for the Women's Business Enterprise Council East.  Jessica is also currently pursuing her law degree at Widener University Delaware School of Law.  

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Nancy Mertzel
Founder
Mertzel Law PLLC


Nancy is the founder of Mertzel Law PLLC, a woman-owned, LGBT certified intellectual property boutique based in New York City. Nancy has more than 25 years' experience handling technology, copyright, trademark and related intellectual property counseling and litigation matters for clients across a wide variety of industries, from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies.

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N. Damali Peterman
CEO
BreakthroughADR


Damali is the Founder and CEO of Breakthrough ADR LLC and Damali Law LLC, respectively. Damali has extensive experience in corporate law, mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution.

Damali represents and advises businesses (large and small) and individuals in corporate and commercial matters. She has represented and advised some of the world’s largest companies in high profile corporate matters. She routinely negotiates with General Counsel and other senior executives on behalf of her clients, and delivers effective and innovative solutions. Damali approaches her clients’ issues from a holistic viewpoint and endeavors to both understand and solve the specific matter at hand, as well as advance the overall business goals of her clients.

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Rebecca L. Rakoski
Managing Partner
Xpan Law Group


Rebecca L. Rakoski the co-founder and managing partner at XPAN Law Group, a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (“WBE”) and Women Owned Small Business (“WOSB”). XPAN is a boutique law firm focusing exclusively on international and domestic data privacy and cybersecurity. Rebecca L. Rakoski uniquely understands how technology intersects with the legal requirements, obligations and liabilities related to data transfer. In addition, Rebecca understands cross border data transfer issues related to international data privacy regulations in the European Union, Asia, South America and Australia. Rebecca is able to navigate the complexities of different state and federal regulations that affect the transfer, storage and collection of data.

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Wendy B. Samuelson
Partner
Samuelson Hause & Samuelson, LLP


Wendy is the managing partner of the boutique Matrimonial and Family Law firm, Samuelson Hause & Samuelson, LLP, based in Garden City, New York. Since graduating from Cornell Law School in 1993, Ms. Samuelson has confined her practice to counseling high net worth clients to make exceptional business decisions--and not emotional ones-- on how best to resolve their divorce or child custody matter in the most strategic manner possible. Wendy is the Associate Editor for the New York Bar Association's prestigious quarterly publication, The Family Law Review, and is the author of the column "Recent Legislation, Decisions and Trends" for this publication. She has authored several articles for various Continuing Legal Education programs and is a frequent lecturer at various law and accounting firms, and organizations.

 

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  Shira Katz Scanlon
Member
Martine, Katz, Scanlon & Schimmel, P.A

 

Shira has been exclusively practicing all areas of Matrimonial Law since 2010; she founded Martine, Katz Scanlon & Schimmel, P.A. in December, 2012, serving South Jersey and the Greater Philadelphia area. Shira earned her Juris Doctor from the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University in May, 2009, where she graduated magna cum laude as a member of the inaugural class.

 

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Ivy Slater
CEO
Slater Success


Ivy Slater is a professionally certified business coach, speaker, best selling author and podcast host. After owning and operating a 7-figure printing business, having been in the industry for 20 years, she started Slater Success, which focuses on developing great leaders and facilitating business growth and expansion. Ivy holds masterminds, retreats and round tables with her private client base and corporate training on communication and strategic planning. She speaks nationwide on the topics of leadership, sustainable growth, relationships and sales.

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Barbara A. Stevens Vice President & Corporate Counsel – Operations & Systems Law Prudential

Barbara Stevens is Vice President and Corporate Counsel at Prudential Financial and manages the Technology and Enterprise Contracts Law Group. Ms. Stevens leads a team of lawyers who negotiate strategic enterprise-wide technology, outsourcing, and M&A agreements. Her team also guides Prudential’s global affiliates through the implementation of emerging technologies. Barbara is a frequent speaker on technology law issues and teaches business law sessions at several local colleges. 

Barbara is passionate about her commitment to diversity and inclusion. She is an active supporter and former board member of The National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) and is a leader in the Inclusion Initiative, a group of 30+ corporations committed to increasing legal spend with minority and women owned law firms. Barbara also mentors diverse high school students and law students through her participation in NAMWOLF, NJ LEEP, and Rotary International.

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Ariana J. Tadler
Founder & Managing Partner
Tadler Law LLP
and
Founding Principal and Business Development
Meta-e Discovery LLC

 


Ariana J. Tadler, founding partner of Tadler Law LLP, one of only a handful of women-owned and -led plaintiffs’ law firms in the country, has more than 26 years experience litigating and managing securities, consumer and data breach class actions and complex litigation. She is considered one of the leading women litigators in the country and is also nationally recognized as a leading authority in the e-Discovery field.

 

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Cynthia Towers
Co-Founder/President & CEO
JURISolutions


Cindy Towers is Co-Founder and CEO of JURISolutions, Inc., a company dedicated to making a difference in the way corporations, law firms and government agencies find and utilize top legal talent to drive innovative and value-driven legal solutions. Cindy is a huge supporter of women in business and JURISolutions has become a true catalyst in bridging the gap between diversity and the law.

 

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Aviva Will
Co-Chief Operating Officer
Burford Capital

 
Aviva Will is Co-Chief Operating Officer with overall responsibility for Burford’s global marketing, origination and underwriting activities. She has over a decade of experience investing in and managing the world’s largest portfolio of commercial litigation and arbitration risk. In her role at Burford, Aviva has overseen the continuing innovation of its offerings to law firms and companies and has been instrumental in building the industry’s most respected legal finance team and process.

At Burford, Aviva developed and launched The Equity Project, a groundbreaking initiative designed to help close the gender gap in law by providing an economic incentive for change through a $50 million pool of capital earmarked for financing commercial litigation matters led by women. As part of The Equity Project, Aviva recruited over 20 lawyers from the world’s leading law firms and corporations to be Champions in promoting the availability of this capital to incentivize change.

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Désirée Younge
CEO, Strategic Business Advisor and Coach
E2 Entrepreneurs Inc.

 
Désirée Younge is a senior philanthropy executive and has over 20 years of experience in philanthropy, for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Désirée’s professional experience encompasses entrepreneurship and leadership development, poverty alleviation and economic development, practiced through venture philanthropy and impact investing models in senior positions from the Tory Burch Foundation (USA), The Tony Elumelu Foundation (Africa), Robin Hood Foundation (USA), and Synergos Institute’s Global Philanthropy Network (Global).

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