Ida O. Abbott
Ida Abbott Consulting LLC
Ida Abbott focuses on the power of mentoring relationships to guide, support and transform professional careers from the beginning of practice through retirement. She has long been a leader in the field of talent management, particularly mentoring, sponsorship and the advancement of women into leadership. Her current work focuses on preparing professionals and their firms for retirement. She is author of Retirement by Design, named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the six best retirement books of 2020.
Ida’s experience covers more than four decades as a lawyer, consultant, author and speaker, both nationally and internationally. She co‐founded the Hastings Leadership Academy for Women and the Professional Development Consortium, and is currently Vice Chair of the National Legal Mentoring Consortium, Board Member of the Institute of Legal Talent and Leadership, on the Editorial Board of Modern Legal Practice and an advisor to Diversity Lab. In recognition of her lifetime contributions to the legal profession, she has been elected a Fellow of both the American Bar Foundation and the College of Law Practice Management.
For more information, see www.IdaAbbott.com.
Greg Allen, PhD
CEO & Founder
Step Up Consultants
Dr. Allen is a highly accomplished operations management consultant with a track record of leading projects that are focused on business process improvement, people and achieving measurable success. He is a natural leader, advisor and teacher who is committed to improving organizational performance.
Greg has coached and advised countless of leaders in the legal, healthcare and communications fields in his 25 plus years as a consultant and professor. His publications focused on process improvement, shifting organizational culture and developing people were published in The Journal of Management Science and Operations Management Journal. He was the recipient of the 2018 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching at George Fox University. His main services include:
Michael S. Cohen
Duane Morris LLP
Michael S. Cohen is a partner in the Philadelphia office of Duane Morris’ Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group. Michael concentrates his practice in the areas of employment law training and counseling. He has trained and counseled employers throughout the country on subjects including harassment prevention; workplace diversity; discipline and discharge; hiring and recruiting practices; performance evaluations; FMLA, ADA and FLSA compliance; leave of absence policies; performance management; workplace privacy; sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace; substance abuse testing; workplace violence; records retention; conducting background checks; teens in the workplace and managing attendance problems. Michael also has conducted investigations into claims of harassment and discrimination and has drafted employee handbooks, employment agreements, non-compete agreements and post-termination agreements. Michael has conducted nearly 300 trainings in each of the past two years. He has represented clients throughout the country in EEO and other administrative proceedings.
Michael has been cited as a national authority on employment issues by The New York Times, The Associated Press, USA Today, MSNBC.com, HR Magazine, SHRM On-Line, Employment Law 360, Inside Counsel Magazine, as well as many other publications. Michael serves as a Board Member of The Independence Business Alliance and Serve, Inc. Michael is a 1997 magna cum laude graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law and a cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
Anne E. Collier, MPP, J.D., PCC
Anne Collier is driven to help others create fulfilling professional and personal lives both at the individual and organization level. An expert leadership coach, she gives clients a competitive edge by helping them discover their strengths and teaching them how to use those strengths to their greatest advantage.
Anne has over a decade of experience with Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and is an MBTI® Master Practitioner. Anne tailors coaching and training sessions to meet the needs of her clients, utilizing 360-Degree and other assessments. She custom-designs her workshops to target the unique and specific needs of every client. For the best results, her clients learn to coach their colleagues and transform conflict into collaboration by distinguishing strategy from goals, being curious yet not judgmental, and collaborating to maximize results.
Clients walk away from Anne’s coaching, workshops, and speaking engagements inspired. They gain a powerful set of tools that helps them identify and achieve critical goals, including enhancing communication skills, developing leadership and management skills, and boosting team performance with an enduring sense of purpose. Anne practiced law in Washington, D.C. with Miller & Chevalier, Chtd and King & Spalding, where she represented and advised Fortune 100 corporations on various tax and business matters. Prior to private practice, Anne was an attorney with the Treasury Department.
Matthew K. Corbin
Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Commercial Risk Solutions, Professional Services
Aon Risk Services Central, Inc.
Matthew K. Corbin is a Senior Vice President with Aon’s Professional Services Group. As a member of Aon’s loss prevention team, Matt consults with Aon’s 275+ law firm clients on a wide range of professional responsibility and liability issues.
Before joining Aon in 2013, Matt was a partner with Lathrop Gage LLP in Kansas City, Missouri, and Overland Park, Kansas. He was a business trial and appellate lawyer handling commercial, business tort, employment, construction, insurance, professional liability, and regulatory matters. Before joining the firm, he clerked for the Hon. Mary Beck Briscoe of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Matt began his career as a law clerk to the late Hon. G. Thomas Van Bebber in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.
Matt earned his J.D. from the University of Kansas, where he was Note and Comment Editor of the Kansas Law Review, was a member of the Order of the Coif, and won the C.C. Stewart Award in Law. Matt also earned his B.A. from the University of Kansas.
Timothy B. Corcoran
Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC
Timothy B. Corcoran is a legal management consultant with offices in New York, Charlottesville, and Sydney and a global client base. He’s a keynote speaker, author, and legal commentator. Tim brings his deep experience from over two decades as a senior corporate executive to guide law firm and law department leaders through the profitable disruption of outdated business models. His disruptive, confident, and sometimes irreverent stage presence enables him to bring levity to topics of particular gravitas, while masterfully navigating tough discussions from a refreshing perspective. Audiences embrace Tim’s simplification of complex concepts, his practical and actionable advice, and his deep understanding of both the psychology and economics of change.
As a change agent, Tim’s focus is on helping law firms operationalize their strategy, improve profits with project management and process improvement, embrace profitable alternative fee arrangements, assess and improve partner compensation plans, design new financial metrics and dashboards, build effective operations, train current and future leaders, refine business development skills, and embrace technology. Tim helps law departments embrace performance analytics, better manage outside counsel, and improve business velocity. Tim also advises legal service providers on sales effectiveness and go-to-market strategy.
Tim served as President of the 4,000+ member Legal Marketing Association and is a member of its Hall of Fame, he’s a Trustee and Fellow of the the College of Law Practice Management, an American Lawyer Research Fellow, a Teaching Fellow in the Master in Legal Business program at the Australia College of Law, and a sought-after speaker and writer on topics related to the changing business of law. He also authors the widely-read Corcoran’s Business of Law blog.
Sherry A. Cushman
Vice Chairman, Tenant Advisory Services, Founder, Legal Sector Advisory Group
Legal Sector Expertise
As a Vice Chair with Cushman & Wakefield, Sherry Cushman has been a leader in the commercial real estate industry for 35 years, exclusively representing legal sector tenants. She travels the country and globe working with law firms to develop long-term business and real estate strategies that support and fulfil their business, financial and operational goals, with a focus on improved operations and workplace, reduced occupancy costs and increased profits for single, multi- office and large portfolio users.
As leader of Cushman & Wakefield’s Legal Sector Advisory Group, Sherry coordinates the group’s initiatives, national benchmarking, as well as serves as a Thought Leader and Chief Strategist to Cushman & Wakefield law firm clients. The Legal Sector Advisory Group consists of over 350+ highly sophisticated law firm real estate advisors, who draw on multi-disciplinary teams of C&W professionals, to deliver strategic solutions specifically tailored for the legal industry.
A demonstrated leader in the industry and throughout the company, Sherry also serves as a Member of Cushman & Wakefield’s Global Advisory Board (GAB), Tenant Advisory Group (TAG) Executive Committee and Specialty Practice Group Advisory Teams. Sherry also serves as an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of Cushman & Wakefield’s Women’s Integrated Network (WIN) Recruitment Initiative which is empowered to drive the firm’s goal of increasing diversity and women opportunities in the commercial real estate industry.
Throughout Ms. Cushman’s career she has consistently been ranked as one of the Top 100 producing brokers worldwide and has won several philanthropic & achievement awards. In 2015, Ms. Cushman was honored with the CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Lifetime Achievement Impact Award, as well as being recognized as a Heroine of Real Estate by the March of Dimes. Most recently, she was named to Real Estate Forum’s Women of Influence Hall of Fame and recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of their Women Who Mean Business in 2017.
Lisa R. Dasher
Chief Financial Officer
Wicker Smith O’Hara McCoy & Ford P.A.
Lisa R. Dasher, CPA, CGMA, CLM serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Wicker Smith O’Hara McCoy & Ford P.A., a reputable litigation defense firm with over 250 attorneys and fourteen offices throughout Florida, Arizona, Georgia and Tennessee. A 40-year veteran of the firm, Ms. Dasher was named CFO in 1997, and is responsible for the overall financial management of the firm and execution of firm policies, as well the management of multiple firm functions including human resources, technology, vendor relations, marketing, facilities management, client satisfaction and strategic development.
During her career, Ms. Dasher has gained extensive experience overseeing business performance and strategic growth initiatives for the firm including acquisition of new office space. With a focus on strategic solutions to further the firm’s business objectives, she has also spearheaded the implementation of a fully integrated IP phone system, converging voice and data networks to streamline communication throughout the firm.
Ms. Dasher is currently serving as the Chair of the Standards Review Committee at the International Level and Chair of the CLM Committee of the South Florida Chapter Association of Legal Administrators. Ms. Dasher was the Chair of the 2012 Association of Legal Administrators Annual Conference Committee and the Chair of the 2019 Professional Development Advisory Committee. Since becoming a member of the South Florida and Cyber Chapters of ALA, she has served in various capacities on the Board of Directors from 2003-2020.
Ms. Dasher is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Legal Manager and Chartered Global Management Accountant. She received her Masters of Accounting from Florida International University, where she also obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting.
Chassidy C. Deckard
Administrative Manager and Talent Acquisition and Development Administrator
Paul Hastings LLP
Chassidy is the Administrative Manager and Talent Acquisition and Development Administrator for Paul Hastings LLP. She has built her career focusing on law firm management by being a trusted advisor and providing innovative strategy for the ongoing administration of law offices. She is also responsible for recruiting and developing new attorneys. She currently serves as the 2021 President of the Houston Association of Legal Recruiting Administrators.
Chassidy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The University of Texas and her Master’s Degree in Occupational, Workforce, and Leadership Studies from Texas State University. She also received her SHRM-CP certification in 2018.
Chassidy has been an active member in the Association of Legal Administrators since January 2014. During her time in ALA she has served as Membership Chair for both the Austin and Houston chapter of the Association. She has also served as a volunteer on the international level by joining the inaugural Membership Development Committee and she is currently a member of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee and serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Houston chapter.
Claude E. Ducloux, J.D.
Director of Ethics, Education and State Compliance
Affinity Consulting Group
Debbie Foster is a nationally recognized thought leader on efficiency and innovation in professional legal organizations. Her 20+ years of experience, combined with a mix of strategic management and strong leadership skills, has enabled Debbie to develop a unique ability to work with law firms and legal departments to help them navigate the ever-changing legal services delivery landscape.
Debbie has been working with law firms and legal departments since 1995, originally implementing software solutions ranging from practice management and time/billing/accounting to document management. This quickly led to her helping solve general law office management issues. It became abundantly clear that in addition to helping clients with their software and technology, what was really needed was help thinking about one’s firms and departments like a business, and running them accordingly.
Debbie earned her Lean Six Sigma Certification and is relied on by firms all over the country as a management consultant. She has been working with legal professionals to understand the importance of accuracy and efficiency in their processes, along with inspiring them to focus on innovation – or simply put, finding the better way. If a bigger picture focus in needed, Debbie is also a trusted advisor for many when it comes to assisting law firms with strategic management problems and their resolutions.
Debbie is very active in the Law Practice Division of the American Bar Association and is currently serving on the Executive Committee as the Budget Officer. She was the Chair of ABA TECHSHOW 2010 the Co-Chair of ABA TECHSHOW 2018. Debbie is also very active in Local and State Bar Associations as well as the Association of Legal Administrators, serves as the Chair of the Business Partner Relations Project Team for the ALA, the Co-Chair of the Business Partner Task Force for ILTA, and she regularly speaks on topics relating to people, process and technology in a law firm.
Debbie lives in Seminole, FL with her husband Dan, her two dogs Chole & Izzy, and has 2 grown children.
David H. Freeman
Founder and CEO
David Freeman Consulting Group
David H. Freeman, J.D., is a world-renowned authority on helping law firms create cultures that grow new revenue.
He was inducted into the National Law Journal Hall of Fame for being voted the #1 business development consultant and coach in the U.S. for three consecutive years, and he has authored and co-authored 13 books on law firm business development and leadership (two of his solo books are all-time best-sellers).
David has trained and coached thousands of lawyers and leaders in over 200 law firms world-wide, including nearly half of the Am Law 200. His main services include:
Lynn S. Garson, J.D.
Baker & Hostetler LLP
Founder and Chairman
James is the founder and CEO of the cybersecurity company INVISUS. As chief strategist and product visionary, he led the development of the company’s cybersecurity, identity theft, and InfoSafe® data breach compliance and breach response lineup that protects businesses including many ALA member law firms throughout the U.S. and internationally. James frequently writes for, speaks and trains in a wide variety of industry and trade groups including financial services, insurance, IT services, and legal, including several recent ALA conferences.
Jeffrey A. Healy
TRGP Investment Partners, LP
Jeff Healy is a Managing Director of TRGP Investment Partners LP, responsible for deal sourcing, investment selection, due diligence, portfolio construction, and negotiation of funding agreements.
For more than 20 years, Jeff represented Fortune 50 companies in mass tort and product liability litigation as national and trial counsel and has tried cases throughout the U.S. Jeff was one of the founding partners of Tucker Ellis LLP, and served as the firm’s mass tort and product liability practice leader as well as chair of the firm’s trial department.
He holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.
Director of Operations
Rogoway Law Group
Tiffany Ho joined the legal industry in 2012 at a multinational law firm with offices in the US and Asia. Since joining Rogoway Law Group’s San Francisco office in 2017, Tiffany oversees the firm’s human resources, finance, administrative operations, and marketing functionality as the Director of Operations. She works closely with the Managing Partner as a strategic partner on business planning and practice management. Tiffany is the Vice Chair of ALA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee (2021-2022).
Prior to working in the legal industry, Tiffany spent over six years working with children and families with special needs. She remains a strong advocate to amplify voices that have been silenced and to empower those without power. Tiffany can be spotted volunteering at events throughout her local community. In her leisure time, Tiffany enjoys traveling, upcycling furniture, and outdoor time with her fiancé and 12-year-old dog.
Brandi M. Hobbs, MPS, ALP
Chief Strategy Officer
Bell David & Pitt, P.A.
Amy A. Hunter
Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Amy A. Hunter is currently the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the publically traded Caleres. She recently joined the Caleres team after serving as the Senior Global Equity Diversity and Inclusion leader at Boeing . At Boeing led strategies for Boeing Corporate and Defense. Prior to joining Boeing, Amy was the senior manager of Diversity and Inclusion for St. Louis Children’s Hospital. In this role, she led their diversity and inclusion strategies, implementation and measurement while developing educational trainings that impacted retention as well as equitable patient care.
Hunter is also the Principle of Lotus Roots Consulting LLC. She has spoken and presented diversity training, keynotes, seminars and strategy sessions around the world. She is well respected globally and has received numerous awards for her achievements as a diversity resource.
Terry M. Isner
A marketing philosopher, brand consultant and dynamic speaker for the professional services industry, Terry M. Isner is known as “the empathy man” because of his humanistic approach to business strategy. Whereas many business professionals overlook compassion as part of the branding equation, Terry believes humanism is essential to a business’ success in today’s socially conscious environment. As Terry says, “If humanity gets left out of the board room, nobody wins.”
In the world of professional services marketing, Terry fulfills a niche as a business strategist with an extensive background as an award-winning creative director and artist. This unique mix of creative and analytical thinking makes him more likely to set trends than follow them. Terry often draws inspiration from other industries to formulate new approaches to professional services marketing, PR and branding. He also stays current on the latest trends in technology to devise ways to leverage innovation to advance brands.
Terry’s philosophical approach to business is just that – a philosophy. Bringing concepts such as creativity, inclusion and compassion into corporate culture is a reflection of the world we live in. Firms that fail to be cognizant of such issues risk damage to their reputations and devaluation of their brands.
Jean Jewell, CLM
Gretchen L. Luessenheide
Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.
Baker & Hostetler LLP
Monique Mahler, CLM, SHRM-CP has 11 years of experience in legal management and is currently the HR Manager of Baker Hostetler LLP’s Houston office. She received her M.S. in Law Firm Administration from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in May of 2021 and her B.S. in Sociology from the University of Houston – Downtown.
Monique’s passion is leading through change and inspiring people to take their careers – and themselves – to the next level.
Monique’s honors include being the first Foundation of ALA Scholarship Award recipient in 2020, a 2014 ALA Quest Award Nominee, a 2013 Houston Chapter Member of the Year recipient and winning her fifth-grade spelling bee with the word cornucopia.
Monique has been a member of ALA since 2012 and is currently serving as the Houston Chapter President Elect.
Northern California Consultant
The Other Bar
Alex Martinez began his career in the litigation support industry in 1991. In 2003, his company Sherman, Alexander & Associates was acquired by First Legal, and he was appointed CEO in 2005. Under Alex’s leadership, First Legal has grown from a small, local attorney service company, to what it is today – the nation’s largest Litigation Support Service provider, File Thru Trial™. His focus on treating employees and clients as family has led not only to a unique, positive corporate culture but also to a company with strong customer service and industry relationships. He holds a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and currently lives in Corona with his six kids and their dog Abby. He is a board member of the St. James Inn and enjoys golf and traveling.
Oluwafunmibi Matthew, ODCP, SPHRi, ACIPM
Practice Development Manager
Business Strategist, Human Capital Evangelist, Organization Development Leader and Board Effectiveness Professional with over a decade progressive experience in Legal, Property Management and Consulting Industry with globally recognized certifications and memberships.
Board Chair, Center for Leadership and Organization Development, a consultancy and training and development company with membership across Asia, Africa, and USA.
The Practice Development Manager, Bloomfield Law Practice, Nigeria.
A Certified Project Management Professional (CPMP); Organization Development Certified Professional (ODCP, USA), Senior Professional Human Resources International (SPHRI), Member- Organization Leadership & Development Network (MOLDN), Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria ACIPM, amongst others.
A participating member in various renowned platforms such as – Global Institute of Organization Development Network, Leadership and Organization Development Network, Learning and Development Committee Chair – Association of Law Firm Administrators Nigeria.
She is passionate about knowledge transfer and currently run a leadership and organization development podcast targeted at educating executives on the importance of Leadership Development as well as the alignment of organization practices to strategy.
Jessica L. Mazzeo
Chief Operating Officer
Griesing Law, LLC
Jessica Mazzeo is a serial entrepreneur who runs three women owned businesses that she co-founded. GriesingMazzeo Leadership conducts diversity, inclusion, elimination of bullying, bias and sexual harassment education and training for businesses; Bossible focuses on business and professional development for individuals and small businesses. As Chief Operating Officer of Griesing Law, 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. A thought leader on diversity and inclusion, employee issues, business generation and overall business management, Jessica writes a quarterly column for The Legal Intelligencer and speaks around the country. She was the 2020-2021 Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Association of Legal Administrators, and is a volunteer for the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms and for the Women's Business Enterprise Council East. Jessica is also currently pursuing her law degree at Widener University Delaware School of Law which she expects to receive in December 2021.
You can reach Jessica at [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].
Christina McEnroe, NCIDQ, LEED AP
Senior Project Designer
Manar S. Morales
President and Chief Executive Officer
Diversity & Flexibility Alliance
Marie Moutsos, NCIDQ
Marie brings more than 20 years of award-winning design experience. As FOX Architects’ Interiors Principal, she is responsible for setting and implementing the firm’s interior design standards. She guides and advises design teams on projects, providing overall design direction to ensure consistency throughout each project. She brings an understanding of the smart execution of design while being mindful of her clients’ vision and requirements.
Marie is recognized for her success in leading some of the firm’s most notable interior design projects, including: Nuclear Energy Institute, American Beverage Association, American Forest & Paper Association, ASHP, Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz, among many others.
EDUCATION, CERTIFICATIONS & AFFILIATIONS
Blane R. Prescott
Blane Prescott is a consultant with MesaFive, LLC, a strategy and management consulting firm based in San Francisco and Tokyo. Blane works with clients on a variety of management and strategy issues, including governance, planning, merger negotiations and assessments, partner compensation, economics, growth, and restructuring. He has worked with over 1,000 law firms, in-house legal departments and private equity firms throughout North America, Asia, and Europe.
Blane was a co-founder of the Hildebrandt Institute, one of the premier programs designed to teach law firm leaders how to lead and develop lawyers. He is the author of more than 60 articles on law firm issues, and his work has appeared in The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, The ABA Journal, The New York Law Journal, California Lawyer, and California Law Business. You can read his recent articles at https://www.mesafive.com/insights.
Blane was a Partner and Consultant with Hildebrandt International for more than 20 years and has served as the CEO/COO of large law firms based in the United States.
Bill T. Ramsey, J.D.
Neal & Harwell, PLC
Douglas R. Richmond
Managing Director, Commercial Risk Solutions, Professional Services
Doug Richmond is Managing Director of Aon’s Professional Services Group. Aon’s Professional Services Group is the world’s leading broker of insurance for law firms. Doug consults with Aon’s 275 law firm clients on professional responsibility and liability issues, and additionally leads Aon’s loss prevention efforts for all professions.
Before joining Aon, Doug was a partner with Armstrong Teasdale LLP in Kansas City, Missouri (1989–2004), where he had a national trial and appellate practice. In his time at Armstrong Teasdale, he tried over 40 major jury cases as “first chair” and was often engaged to handle appeals of cases tried by other lawyers. In 1998, he was named the nation’s top defense lawyer in an insurance industry poll as reported in the publications Inside Litigation and Of Counsel. He was a member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics & Professional Responsibility (2016–19). He is also a member of the American Bar Foundation, American Law Institute (ALI), American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), and Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC). In the ALI, he served as an Adviser for the Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance and is currently an Adviser for the Principles of the Law, Compliance, Enforcement, and Risk Management for Corporations, Nonprofits, and Other Organizations. Doug has also been selected to The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of legal malpractice, personal injury litigation, and railroad law. In 2003, the Euromoney Legal Media Group named him as one of the nation’s top insurance and reinsurance lawyers.
Doug is the lead author of the book Professional Responsibility in Litigation (2d ed. 2016), and the co-author of an insurance law treatise, Understanding Insurance Law (6th ed. 2018) and an insurance law casebook, Cases and Materials on Insurance Law (8th ed. 2018). He is also a named editor of the New Appleman Insurance Law Practice Guide. He has published more than 60 articles in university law reviews, and many more articles in other scholarly and professional journals. Doug teaches Legal Ethics at the Northwestern University School of Law, and Insurance Law and a seminar on Liability Insurance Law at the University of Florida College of Law. He previously taught Trial Advocacy and Insurance Law at the University of Kansas School of Law, and Insurance Law and a seminar on Damages at the University of Missouri School of Law. Doug is also a regular NITA faculty member, teaching both deposition and trial skills.
Doug earned his J.D. at the University of Kansas, an M. Ed. from the University of Nebraska, and his B.S. from Fort Hays State University.
Rick Rigsby, PhD.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Rick Rigsby Communications
Lynda C. Shely, J.D.
The Shely Firm, P.C.
Cornell Smith Mierl Brutocao Burton, LLP
Ted Smith is one of the founding partners of the law firm of Cornell Smith Mierl Brutocao Burton, LLP, in Austin, Texas. Ted is a Board-Certified Labor and Employment attorney who specializes in representing employers in all aspects of the employer-employee relationship, from training and advice to litigation and appeal. In particular, Mr. Smith has significant experience in litigating and counseling clients regarding federal and state employment discrimination statutes, as well as non-competition and trade secret matters, wrongful discharge matters, individual employee rights issues, retaliation under workers’ compensation laws, and matters related to unions and individual employee arbitrations.
J.D., University of Texas School of Law, 1994
BBA, University of Notre Dame, cum laude, 1991
Honors & Awards
Ted Smith has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2010 in the areas of Employment Law – Management, as well as Labor Law – Management. In 2021, The Best Lawyers in America named him Austin’s “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Labor Law – Management. Since 2003, Mr. Smith has also been named in the “Texas Super Lawyers” list under Labor and Employment Law, as published in Super Lawyers Magazine and Texas Monthly.
Michael G. Stephens
Director of Human Resources & Diversity
Alston & Bird LLP
Michael Stephens is the Director of Human Resources & Diversity at Alston & Bird, an international law firm with more than 1700 lawyers and employees in thirteen offices. Alston & Bird has been recognized by Fortune Magazine on their annual list of "100 Best Companies to Work For©" for the past 22 consecutive years. In his role, Michael manages all human resources operations, including supporting the firm’s award-winning culture that prioritizes trust, service, and inclusion. He also serves on the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion and Data Privacy & Security Committees.
Michael is a former President of the Atlanta Chapter and in 2020, Michael completed his term as Chair for the ALA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Science from Florida State University. Where he also serves on the Florida State University National Alumni Board and their D&I Committee.
He is dedicated to community involvement and public service. Michael has served as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, Year Up Greater Atlanta, and POSSE. Currently, Michael serves on the Board of Trustees for the Historic Oakland Cemetery Foundation.
Chandra Storrusten, MBA
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Value Creation Officer
Chandra co-founded Visible Value in 2003 and serves as CEO & Chief Value Creation Officer. She fosters sustainable value creation strategies that allow organizations around the globe to capitalize on pivotal opportunities during growth, transitions, and transformations. Chandra inspires her clients to be mission, values, and purpose-driven organizations that deliver superior client and employee experiences and develop sustainable competitive advantages. Her clients become innovative leaders in their industry, achieve their vision, and consistently out-perform their competition.
Chandra advises clients on the evolving opportunities and challenges they face in the areas of strategy, M&A, organizational development, client and employee experience, and innovation and disruption. In addition, she delivers strategic keynotes for clients and regularly presents at national and regional conferences. Chandra obtained an Executive MBA from Duke University – Fuqua School of Business.
Sarah M. Tetlow
CEO and Founder
Firm Focus, LLC
Sarah is the CEO and founder of Firm Focus, LLC which focuses on productivity consulting for attorneys and busy professionals. She uses her past experiences, organizational and strategic thought process, education, and training to help professionals, law firms, and businesses improve their bottom line and operate more efficiently. More importantly, Sarah’s clients see a reduction in stress and anxiety and an increase in focus and new business.
Sarah began her career in law in the early 2000’s after graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Law & Society. Sarah has experienced first-hand the stresses that attorneys and legal professionals endure in trying to manage multiple projects. They also have the daily necessity to react to more pressing needs in a matter of minutes, causing frequent mind-shifting and multi-tasking. Sarah’s mission, and the reason for starting Firm Focus, is the desire to see a change in the legal industry. Ultimately, through Firm Focus, Sarah wants to help attorneys boost productivity and reduce stress at work.
The NFL’s First Full-Time Female Official
Nia C. Troup
Executive Vice President of Strategy and Organizational Development
Attorney and Legal Content & Compliance Manager
Joni Watke has been an attorney in private practice and a professional speaker since 1996. She co-founded Academy LGBTQ whose mission is to educate organizations and families to elevate themselves so they can celebrate LGBTQ individuals. Joni educates at all levels of an organization, consults on corporate policy and helping organizations through the process of transitioning employees. Joni is also a former PFLAG National Board Member. PFLAG is the country’s oldest and largest organization of allies and LGBTQ individuals working together to move equality forward.
Joni uses humor to help educate and raise awareness of LGBTQ issues for thousands across the country each year. Her approach is to focus on meeting people where they are, so that real change and growth becomes possible. She’s worked with companies like Comcast, ConAgra, Union Pacific, Mutual of Omaha, Bank of the West, the American Bar Association and the US Army Corps of Engineers.