Federal Workplace Training & Expo April 8 - 10, 2015 REGISTER AGENDA
2017 Speakers
Oliver Allen Oliver Allen
Founder, CEO, Training and Development Strategies LLC

Oliver, a retired Army veteran, is a renowned and dynamic national speaker with over 28 years of leadership and training experience.  He has served in numerous senior leadership positions with the Federal government and in the military and currently is the CEO for Training and Development Strategies, LLC.  He is also an adjunct faculty member with the University of Phoenix with a focus on advanced career development and organizational management.  He is the recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Equal Employment Opportunity and the Justice Management Division’s Leadership Collaboration Award.  Oliver received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Strayer College and a Master of Science in Administration in Human Resources from Central Michigan University.  He holds memberships with of the Association for Talent Development, the NAACP, the Federal EEO and Civil Rights Council and serves on the advisory board for the Talent Management Alliance Inclusion Summit.

Scot Beckenbaugh Scot Beckenbaugh
Deputy Director, Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service

Samantha Black Samantha Black
Administrative Judge, Western Region, Merit Systems Protection Board

Samantha Black currently serves as an administrative judge in the Merit Systems Protection Board’s Western Regional Office.  Before joining the Board, she worked for the Department of the Army in the Office of The Judge Advocate General in Washington, D.C., providing advice and counsel on labor and employment law matters.  Before beginning public service, Administrative Judge Black was an associate with the law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP in Los Angeles and Chicago, where she specialized in employment counseling and litigation.  Administrative Judge Black received her J.D. from UCLA School of Law. She also has a Master in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor degree in Social Policy and Political Science from Northwestern University.

Michael Bogdanow Michael Bogdanow
Legal Liaison, Office of Regional Operations,
Merit Systems Protection Board

Michael Bogdanow currently serves in the Merit Systems Protection Board’s Office of Regional Operations as the Senior Legal Liaison between headquarters and the MSPB’s eight regional and field offices, and is a certified Mediator in the MSPB’s Mediation Appeals Program.  He previously served in several positions at the MSPB and its predecessor agency, the U.S. Civil Service Commission, and was detailed as an Attorney, U.S. Claims Court (now the U. S. Court of Federal Claims).  A graduate of the George Washington University, Phi Beta Kappa, and its National Law Center, he is a member of the Bars of the District of Columbia and New Jersey, and is a Member of the Board of the Federal Circuit Bar Association.  Co-author with Thomas Lanphear of History of the Merit Systems Protection Board, published in the Journal of the Federal Circuit Historical Society, Volume 4, 2010, as well as author of earlier law journal articles.

Joe Bontke Joe Bontke
Outreach & Education Manager, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Joe Bontke is the education and outreach coordinator for the Houston District office of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Joe has been in the field of Human Resources & Civil Rights for the past 28 years & has experience in employment law and adult education. With a Bachelor's in Philosophy and a Masters in Education, he has been a Human Resources Director, a Training Coordinator for the American Disabilities Act (ADA) Technical Assistance Center for Federal Region VI, was appointed as Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine.  Using his entertaining style, Joe has educated groups throughout the country and his work at the EEOC has enabled him to empower employers and employees with the understanding they need to work effectively at their jobs.  Joe's philosophy of education is - that 90% is knowing where to find the information ... when you need Spending the majority of the year dealing with discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace can take its toll. As the training officer for his agency the wellbeing of his staff is an added concern of management and led to Bontke’s second career as a real bearded Santa Claus for over 100 events each December Joe learned many years ago his red suit made life better.  His 90 second video on youtube inspires others to find theirs “Red Suit” and tell others what works for them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-VHkHw2ZWs  It might also keep you on the Nice List.

Allison Beck Peter Broida

Mr. Broida is a federal civil service lawyer. He graduated NYU Law School in 1973. He's been practicing employment law ever since. Following work with AFGE's General Counsel's Office starting in 1978, and private practice since 1980, Mr. Broida's concentration is on MSPB, EEO, FLRA, arbitration, Federal Circuit, and VA Disciplinary Appeals Board cases. He represents employees throughout the country, unions, and federal agencies requiring specialized counsel.

Roslyn Brown Roslyn Brown
Strategic Human Capital and Public Policy Consultant
Before retiring from the government in 2009, Roslyn Brown was the director, Intelligence Community EEO and Diversity Outreach, for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Currently, she is an independent contractor for her enterprise — EEO Workplace Solutions — and for Delany, Siegel, Zorn & Associates. Her federal civil rights career spans over 30 years, starting at the EEOC in 1974, as an investigator of complaints. She has a master’s degree in Public Administration from George Washington University and has been a certified mediator for the District of Columbia since 1992. She is the author of Executing Enforceable Settlement Agreements: Guidance for Federal Agencies (LRP Publications, 2010).

Joe Bontke Zach Byers
Attorney Advisory, Office of Acting Chairman
Federal Labor Relations Authority

Zachary Byers is an attorney advisor at the Federal Labor Relations Authority in Washington, D.C., where he advises one of the members of the Authority.  Prior to joining the FLRA, Mr. Byers clerked for Justice Elizabeth McClahanan of the Supreme Court of Virginia.  He earned his law degree at the University of Virginia School of Law and his undergraduate degree at the College of William & Mary.

Madeline Caliendo Tracey Cairnie
Owner, CoreVision, LLC

Tracey Pilkerton Cairnie received her Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.  She is a court-certified mediator and mentor for the Commonwealth of Virginia for general, circuit, and juvenile and domestic matters.  She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration, and certificates in Facilitation, Restorative Justice, and Public Participation.  She   holds a certificate in Executive Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University. Tracey is an adjunct-professor at George Mason University teaching mediation and communication processes.  In addition, she provides specialized training in the areas of dispute resolution, conflict management, coaching, team-building, communication, and relationship awareness. She brings over twenty years of experience working with local, state, and federal agencies, profit and non-profit organizations.  She works closely with families, communities, large and small businesses, educational institutes, individuals, and the general public.  She is proficient in conducting needs assessments, issues analyses, and designing effective processes for reaching mutually agreeable solutions to difficult situations. Tracey has an extensive background in facilitating dialogues, focus groups, and public hearings.  One of her most rewarding experiences was as a member of the team who facilitated the dialogues for the Listening to the City—The Redevelopment of Lower Manhattan after 9/11 led by AmericaSpeaks. 

Madeline Caliendo Madeline Caliendo
Associate Administrator, Office of Civil Rights,
General Services Administration

Madeline Caliendo, Esq. is the Associate Administrator for Civil Rights at GSA and has served in this position since 2000.  Prior to that, Madeline served as an attorney at the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in both the Office of Legal Counsel and the Office of Federal Operations. At GSA, Madeline administers five programs: The Equal Employment Opportunity Program, The Affirmative Employment Program, The Nondiscrimination in Federal Financial Assistance Program, The Nondiscrimination in Federally Conducted Programs and Activities Program, The Environmental Justice Program.

Madeline is from Brooklyn, New York.  She graduated from Abraham Lincoln HS in 1981, the State University of New York at Albany in 1985 and the American University Washington College of Law in 1988.  Madeline is a member of the New York and District of Columbia Bars. She lives in Washington, DC. 

Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch
U.S. Army Retired Lieutenant Colonel
Founder/Educational Achievement Services

Born and raised along the border in a small barrio in Laredo, Texas, Consuelo Kickbusch overcame poverty, discrimination, and illiteracy to become the successful community leader she is today. Although she grew up without material wealth, Kickbusch was taught by her immigrant parents that she was rich in culture, tradition, values, and faith. The values Kickbusch learned during childhood were reinforced throughout her career in the United States military. After graduating from Hardin Simmons University, she entered the US Army as an officer and served for two decades. While in the military, she broke barriers and set records to become the highest ranking Hispanic woman in the Combat Support Field of the US Army. In 1996, she was selected out of 26,000 candidates to assume a command post, which would put her on track for the rank of general officer. She respectfully declined the honor and retired as a 22-year veteran of the US Army to fulfill her mother's dying wish – for her to return to her roots and become a community leader. In realizing her dream, she founded Educational Achievement Services, Inc. with a mission to prepare tomorrow's leaders. Kickbusch currently shares her story with people of all ages and creeds. She is doing exactly what she preaches – living a legacy. She maintains a strong dedication to saving the youth of America by mentoring students and parents across the United States. In addition to her work with American youth, Kickbusch reaches audiences in the corporate, professional, nonprofit, and multi-cultural markets, speaking on such topics as workforce issues like diversity, leadership, and team building, as well as women's issues.

Jeffrey Curtis Jeffrey Curtis
Director, Portfolio Analysis Division, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer
Department of Defense
Jeffrey R. Curtis joined the Senior Executive Service in May 2014. As the Director, Portfolio Analysis Division, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Mr. Curtis is responsible for the execution and DCMO support to the DoD Principal Staff Assistants for Business Process and Systems Reviews to improve DoD's effectiveness and agility, and deliver efficient business operations that support and enable the warfighter. He is also responsible for managing and tracking the follow-on actions that support continuous business process improvement for the Department. Mr Curtis has responsibility for the effective portfolio management of Defense Business Systems to ensure alignment to strategy, reuse, cross-functional equities and elimination of duplication and redundancies. His division works directly with the offices of the PSAs and the Military Departments to capture, identify, integrate and optimize their unique requirements with the over-arching goals of the DoD enterprise. Mr. Curtis is a native of Mansfield, Ohio, and graduated from THE Ohio State University in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration and a double major in logistics and marketing. He graduated from the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership for a Democratic Society program and is an honor graduate of the Army’s Operations Research and Systems Analysis Military Applications Course. Mr. Curtis is a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps and has a Level III certification in the contracting field under the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act.

Julie Davidson Julie Davidson
cyberFEDS®, Editorial Director, LRP Publications

Julie is an Editorial Director in LRP Publication’s Federal group, where she oversees the Washington, D.C.-based coverage for cyberFEDS, and other publications and products for federal human resources, EEO and labor relations professionals. She covers legislative and news developments on Capitol Hill and in key federal agencies such as the Office of Personnel Management, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Merit Systems Protection Board and Federal Labor Relations Authority. She received her BA in journalism and political science from the University of Connecticut.

Danny Dickerson Danny Dickerson
Director, Diversity and Inclusion, National Institute of Health

Mr. Danny Dickerson serves as the Director, Diversity and Inclusion Division, for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. He is primarily responsible for overseeing the development of the Reasonable Accommodation Program, and the timely processing of Reasonable Accommodation Requests at NIH. In addition, he conducts training in the areas of Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance and Anti-Bullying. Previously, Mr. Dickerson was a Senior Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist (EEO) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this role, he acted as an advisor to EEO specialists and senior managers throughout HHS’ eleven Operating Divisions where he monitored and promoted the HHS Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program. His primary responsibility was the rendering of Final Agency Decisions (FADs) based on the merits of individual complaints on behalf of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He also worked as a case manager for high-level Conflict of Interest EEO complaints to include: assignment of EEO Counselors and investigators and issuance of acceptance/dismissal decisions for formal EEO complaints. Mr. Dickerson also developed, conducted, and monitored conflict resolution training programs. Mr. Dickerson became involved in ADR in the mid-1990s while stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. He was assigned the task of developing and implementing a landlord-tenant program which would serve to resolve the unique issues military members face when dealing with civilian landlords. While serving as the Senior Paralegal at the National Guard Bureau (NGB) Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, he orchestrated the NGB’s first ever Mediation Certification Workshop, resulting in Certified Mediator certifications for forty-two National Guard civilian and military members. He was one of only two certified mediators assigned to the Office of the Chief Counsel. In addition to his work with the NGB, Mr. Dickerson also mediated Fairfax, Virginia Court System civilian cases. Mr. Dickerson retired with twenty years of experience from the United States Air Force. He is married to his high school sweetheart and is the father of two wonderful children.

Scot Beckenbaugh Robbie Dix
Associate Director, Appellate Review Program, Office of Federal Operations, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Robbie Dix, III is the Associate Director of the Office of Federal Operations, Appellate Review Programs of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He is responsible for the final administrative adjudication of federal employees’ complaints of employment discrimination. Mr. Dix began his employment at the Commission in 1972 as a Trial Attorney in the Office of General Counsel. During his tenure at the EEOC, he has served in a wide array of leadership positions, including Acting Director of the Appellate Review Programs, Director of the Review Division, Acting Director, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity; Acting Director, Office of Review and Appeals and Senior Trial Attorney, Systemic Programs, Office of General Counsel. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2015. Prior to joining the Commission Mr. Dix worked as an attorney in the New York City Legal Services program, where he represented low-income residents of Harlem in a variety of general legal matters. Mr. Dix received his Bachelor of Arts from Morehouse College and his Juris Doctorate from the New York University School of Law. He is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, Southern District of New York, and the courts of New York.

Willisa Donald Willisa Donald
Director, Office of Equal Rights, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Ms. Willisa Donald is the Director of Office of Equal Rights for the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). She began her Federal career in1991 at the Department of Transportation as a GS-2, EEO trainee. She was nominated in 1998 by the Secretary of the Department of Transportation for her efforts in the Adarand vs. Pena Supreme Court case.  Ms. Donald has administered the Disability Program at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). While at the IRS she was also the Acting Director of the EEO Office. In 2009 Ms. Donald joined the Department of Defense as the Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Programs Office for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. In 2015 she was presented with the National Association for the Advancement of Color People (NAACP) honorary Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award for her outstanding contributions in EEO. She has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma.

Ernest DuBester Ernest DuBester
Member, Federal Labor Relations Authority

Ernest DuBester began his second term as a Member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) on November 12, 2013.  Appointed by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to both of his terms, Member DuBester has served as an FLRA Member since August 2009, and he also served as FLRA Chairman from January to November of 2013 and for a second time in January of 2017.  Member DuBester was previously nominated by President Clinton and served as Chairman and Member of the National Mediation Board from 1993 to 2001. Member DuBester has over 40 years of experience in labor-management relations.  He began his career at the National Labor Relations Board, serving as counsel to former Chairman and Member John Fanning.  He also served as a Union attorney with the firm of Highsaw & Mahoney, and as legislative counsel to the AFL-CIO.  He previously taught collective bargaining and arbitration at the Catholic University of America School of Law. In addition, Member DuBester served as Professor and Director of the Dispute Resolution Program at George Mason University School of Law.  During his time at George Mason, he also worked as an arbitrator and mediator of labor and employment matters, including many federal-sector cases. Member DuBester received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, his law degree from the Catholic University of America School of Law, where he was Recent Developments Editor of the Law Review, and his Masters of Law in Labor Law from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Robert Erbe Robert Erbe
Attorney, Law Office of Robert P. Erbe, PLLC
cyberFEDS Users Group Presenter

Robert P. Erbe, of the Law Office of Robert P. Erbe, PLLC, has been practicing federal sector labor and employment law for more than 20 years. Currently, he is in private practice primarily representing the National Border Patrol Council which is the exclusive representative of approximately 18,000 Border Patrol Agents and support personnel.  During his 20 years of federal service, Mr. Erbe handled more 100 MSPB appeals for the Department of the Air Force, Bureau of Engraving & Printing, Immigration & Naturalization Service, Customs & Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Mr. Erbe is a frequent presenter at national labor and employment law conferences, including Federal Dispute Resolution Training. He is considered an expert on the Douglas Factors and MSPB Practice & Procedure. In addition, Mr. Erbe writes the Penalty Advisor column for cyberFEDS®.  In 2014, Mr. Erbe’s outstanding training presentations were recognized by the Department of Homeland Security as he was awarded the DHS General Counsel’s Excellence in Training Award.

Ventris C. Gibson Ventris C. Gibson
Director of Human Resources, District of Columbia

On August 3, 2015, the Honorable Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed Ventris C. Gibson, as the Director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Human Resources. Prior to her service with the District of Columbia Government, Ms. Gibson, a United States Navy veteran, served as the Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this capacity, she was responsible for the development, articulation, and delivery of Department-wide human resources policies, plans, and programs. Ms. Gibson also served in the Federal Aviation Administration as the Assistant Administrator for Human Resources and in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resource Management and its first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Resolution Management. She was VA's highest-ranking woman veteran and directed human resources management and civil rights programs affecting 230,000 employees. With a career that spans more than 37 years in both human resources executive and professional positions, Ms. Gibson is the recipient of numerous awards and commendations. She has received the Exceptional and Meritorious Service Awards, FAA Manager Association’s Leadership Award, National Hispanic Coalition’s President’s Award, and the Northern New Jersey Metropolitan Area's prestigious "Woman of the Year" award. A graduate of the Federal Executive Institute, Executive Technique, and Aspen Institute, Ms. Gibson attended the University of Maryland, University College.  

Ventris C. Gibson Gary Gilbert
President and Principal, Gary M. Gilbert & Associates, P.C

Gary M. Gilbert is the principal and also works as a senior attorney of The Law Offices of Gary M. Gilbert & Associates, P.C., which he established in May 2005. Mr. Gilbert is a member of the Bars of the States of Maryland and Florida. He is admitted to several courts and is an active member in a number of employment sections of state and local bars and other professional associations. Mr. Gilbert has extensive legal experience in the area of civil rights law. Prior to the opening of his own practice, Mr. Gilbert was “Of Counsel” to the Washington, D.C. employment law firm, Passman & Kaplan, P.C. Immediately prior to this position, Mr. Gilbert served as an Administrative Judge, then Chief Administrative Judge in the Baltimore District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for a total of 16 years. During his tenure with the EEOC, he supervised administrative judges and conducted administrative hearings on allegations of unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation. During his tenure at the EEOC, Mr. Gilbert served on various committees and workgroups, including those that reformed EEOC regulations and another, in which the workgroup drafted the EEOC’s Handbook for Administrative Judges. Prior to his tenure with the EEOC, Mr. Gilbert served as the Acting Chief, Docketing Branch at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Mr. Gilbert worked as the Program Director and Acting Executive Director for Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc. Mr. Gilbert received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1975. He received his J.D. degree from the University of Maryland, School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Gilbert was on the founding board of the Federal Employment Law Training Group (FELTG) and continues to deliver training on new developments in equal opportunity laws. His audiences are varied, but generally include: investigators, attorneys, union officials, or human resources, labor relations and employee relations personnel. He has also spoken at conferences of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Administrative Judges and Merit Systems Protection Board Administrative Judges. Mr. Gilbert has authored many publications in the area of federal sector employment law. He has authored and updated Compensatory Damages and Other Remedies in Federal Sector Employment Discrimination Cases, an exhaustive review of the damages available to victims of employment discrimination. He also wrote and updated the Deskbook for Disability Discrimination in the Federal Sector. He has co-authored the EEO Update, which summarizes recently published decisions of the EEOC. Mr. Gilbert has also authored a variety of other publications that have appeared in various bar association and trade journals.

Kelly Goode Kelly Goode
EEO Officer, Drug Enforcement Administration
Kelly Goode is the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Officer at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In this position, Kelly oversees DEA’s efforts to maintain a discrimination free work environment, to treat all employees with respect and dignity, and to allow employees the maximum opportunity to reach their full potential. Kelly offers consultation and training on discrimination, disability issues, diversity, communication skills, and conflict resolution to DEA staff and to other Federal agencies. Prior to joining DEA, Kelly served as the EEO Officer for the National Gallery of Art. Kelly also worked as an Attorney Advisor in the EEO office at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She began her legal career at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) where she held numerous positions, including Administrative Judge, Hearings Coordinator, Deputy Director of the EEOC’s EEO office, and Attorney Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel. At the EEOC, Kelly worked on private sector and federal sector policies and programs and helped develop and deliver national training programs for EEO investigators, EEO counselors, and the public. Kelly received her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School and her B.A. with highest honors from the University of Montana. She is a member of the Virginia bar.

John Grobe John Grobe
President, Federal Career Experts

John Grobe, is an expert in the area of federal employee retirement and benefits.  This experience comes from his 26 year federal career in which he managed the retirement program in a 3,500-employee office of a large federal agency.  After retiring in 1997 and establishing his own company, he has provided assistance in retirement and other areas to federal agencies, individuals and private sector clients.  John’s firm, Federal Career Experts, specializes in retirement education for federal law enforcement officers. John writes periodic articles on the subject of retirement and career planning for the Fedsmith electronic newsletter, and has written four books on retirement and career planning.  His most recent book, published by LRP is The Answer Book on Your Federal Employee Benefits. John has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Illinois (Chicago) and a Masters Degree in Industrial Relations from Loyola University of Chicago. 

Barbara Haga Barbara Haga
ER/LR Consultant; President, Federal HR Services Inc.
cyberFEDS Users Group Presenter

Barbara Haga is President of Federal HR Services, Inc. and also serves as an instructor with the Federal Employment Law Training Group (FELTG). Ms. Haga retired in 2005 as Head of Organizational Development and Workforce Relations with the NASA Langley Research Center.  Prior to moving to NASA in 2000 she was employed by the Navy in a variety of HR positions.  From 1989 through 1997 she provided guidance and assistance to Navy activities located in the southeastern quarter of the United States on employee and labor relations matters.  She was the primary contact for performance management and workers' compensation, and in addition, also advised activities regarding discipline and representation before the MSPB.  A well-known speaker and trainer, Ms. Haga has made a variety of presentations at professional conferences on topics including leave, FMLA, performance management, and discipline.  She is the author of Federal Sector FMLA: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions and The Federal Manager's Everyday Guide to FMLA.  She writes the monthly “Leave Advisor” column for Cyberfeds and also writes for the FELTG monthly newsletter. Ms. Haga is a graduate of the University of Virginia.  She received her Master of Public Administration degree from Old Dominion University in May 2006. 

Merri Hanson Merri Hanson
Director, Peninsula Mediation & ADR

Merri L. Hanson is the Director of Peninsula Mediation & ADR in Williamsburg, Virginia and provides conflict resolution services for employment, workplace, EEO, ADA, whistleblower, business, and commercial disputes for governmental and private sector organizations. Peninsula Mediation & ADR manages ADR contracts and service delivery for the Department of Navy, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National Gallery of Art.  Merri serves on the mediation and ADR training roster the U. S. Air Force, the Department of Justice ADA Mediation Program, and el Centro Interdisciplinario para el Manejo de Conflictos, A.C. in Mexico City.  Merri provides a variety of conflict resolution webinar series for Department of Defense Education Activity leaders worldwide.  Finally, Merri conducts organizational conflict and communication assessments such as conflict audits, communication audits, focus groups, dialog processes, group facilitation, team building, communication skills training, and conflict coaching for senior leaders, managers, and key personnel.

Valerie Harrington Valerie Harragin
Commissioner, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service

Valerie Harragin is a Commissioner in the Glendale, CA office of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Ms. Harragin has worked with the FMCS for more than 10 years, developing conflict resolution approaches and processes, and handling workplace conflict across a wide variety of sectors and industries. Recently, Ms. Harragin’s work at the FMCS has included developing and conducting an intervention at a USDA research laboratory, which was successful in transforming a high conflict, extremely dysfunctional workplace into one where the parties were able to work together successfully and produce results that previously could not be achieved. Ms. Harragin has also produced a neuroscience based training module on diffusing anger, which has been requested and presented multiple times both in person and in the form of a webinar. She is an active and enthusiastic member of a group of FMCS mediators working to incorporate neuroscience into our understanding of communication and conflict resolution. Ms. Harragin began her professional career as a clinical social worker. She has a B.A. in psychology, and a master’s degree in social work and urban planning. After several years with the Los Angeles County Department of Children’s Services, Ms. Harragin went to work with Service Employees’ International Union, where she represented workers and negotiated contracts in social services and health care. Prior to her work in the labor arena, she worked for a battered women’s shelter, an HIV/AIDS clinic, and as a child abuse investigator. Ms. Harragin spent many years living in Mexico, and is fully bilingual.

Kelly Humphrey Kelly Humphrey
Administrative Judge, Merit Systems Protection Board, Western Region

Kelly M. Humphrey is an Administrative Judge with the Merit Systems Protection Board’s Western Regional Office in San Francisco, California. Prior to joining the MSPB’s Denver Field Office in 2006, she was with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as an Administrative Judge in Denver, Colorado since May 1999, and as a Trial Attorney in Phoenix, Arizona, from 1994 to 1999. Before her federal service, she worked for the law firm of Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, Arizona, where she represented corporate clients in employment and labor law matters. Ms. Humphrey attended the University of Nebraska College of Law, where she was a member of the Nebraska Law Review and a Regents Scholar. She obtained her J.D. in 1991. Currently, she is licensed to practice law in Colorado.

Sean Hurley Sean Hurley
cyberFEDS®, Legal Editor, LRP Publications

Sean Hurley is a Legal Editor for cyberFEDS.com, specializing in the field of labor relations. He writes legal features, summaries, and the LR Observer column. He has also edited several ancillary products, created an e-learning course on the federal arbitration process, and has presented webinars on several LR topics. He is undefeated in competition chess, and is currently writing a book on the often-overlooked Battle of the Kokoda Trail.

Jo Linda Johnson Jo Linda Johnson
Director of Civil Rights, Transportation Security Administration

Ms. Johnson joined TSA in November of 2013, after almost 13 years with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She is considered an expert on civil rights laws, the federal sector EEO process, issues of affirmative employment and affirmative action, and diversity. During her tenure with the Commission, Ms. Johnson served in several roles, including that of appellate attorney with the Office of Federal Operations (OFO), attorney advisor and then Branch Chief for the Affirmative Employment Division, Special Assistant to the Acting Vice Chair of the Commission, and Director of Training and Outreach. Ms. Johnson is pleased to now serve as the Director of the Civil Rights, Diversity and Inclusion office of TSA. Ms. Johnson is actively involved in various community activities. She is a member of the board of directors for the Bar Association of the District of Columbia (BADC). She is also involved with the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law (LEL) Section, having been selected as a LEL Section Fellow in 2011. Prior to her federal service, Ms. Johnson served as a judicial clerk for the Superior Court of the State of Connecticut. Ms. Johnson received her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University School of Law in Washington, DC, and her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Megan Johnston Megan Johnston
Executive Director, Northern Virginia Mediation Service

Megan Johnston is Executive Director of NVMS, a 501(c)3, nonprofit dispute resolution and training center. She is a certified mediator, knowledgeable ADR program manager and experienced process consultant responsible for organizational leadership, partnership development and dispute resolution process consultation among other roles. Megan is experienced in team development, performance management and problem solving across a variety of audiences and programs. She is Vice President of the Virginia Association for Community Conflict Resolution and member of the Association for Conflict Resolution and the Virginia Mediation Network. Megan earned her Master of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, and her BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University.

Tricia Jones Tricia Jones
Director, Conflict Coaching Matters
Dr. Tricia S. Jones is the CEO and Owner of Conflict Coaching Matters, LLC. She is a leader in the field of dispute resolution and is acknowledged as a leading conflict scholar and conflict practitioner. Dr. Jones is a Full Professor at Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) teaching and researching in conflict processes, conflict resolution education, negotiation and mediation, interpersonal communication, and organizational communication (with emphasis on organizational dispute system design). An esteemed member of the Temple University faculty since 1990, she currently serves as elected President of the Faculty Senate, representing the 2,500 full-time faculty members of this Research I University. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Conflict Resolution, and is a member of the Peace Education Reference Group for the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). Dr. Jones is past-president of the International Association for Conflict Management (IACM) and a member of the IACM Advisory Board. Her conflict coaching and conflict consulting work has focused on training programs for government agencies, higher education, health care and state offices of dispute resolution. In 2009-2011, she designed and implemented the Department of Veterans Affairs' conflict coaching program as a component of the VA ADR systems nationwide under the auspices of the Office of Resolution Management. She is currently working on development of educational webinars for Department of Defense Educational Administration's Conflict Education and Dispute Resolution program, and is partnering on the delivery of ADR training through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Jones has consulted with government, corporate and non-profit organizations such as the Organization of American States, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Georgia State University system, the American Occupational Therapy Association, American Baptist Churches – USA, Merrill-Lynch, AT&T, and General Electric.

Joseph Kaplan Joseph Kaplan
Managing Partner, Founding Principal, Attorney, Passman & Kaplan

JOSEPH V. KAPLAN, a founding principal of the law firm of Passman & Kaplan, P.C., concentrates his practice in the areas of employment, labor, and discrimination law, primarily representing Federal employees.  Twice elected as the National President of the Society of Federal Labor and Employee Relations Professionals (SFLERP), Mr. Kaplan is the lead editor and co-author of The Federal Employees Legal Survival Guide, now in its third edition.  Mr. currently serves on the adjunct faculty of American University’s Washington College of Law, where he teaches Lawyer Bargaining, and of AU’s School of Public Affairs, teaching graduate courses in legal issues in public administration and in the Key Executive Leadership Development Program teaching Leading in the Context of Constitutional Government.

Catherine Kessmeier Catherine Kessmeier
Assistant General Counsel, Acquisition Integrity Office, Department of the Navy

Ms. Catherine L. Kessmeier is the Assistant General Counsel (AGC) (Acquisition Integrity) for the Department of the Navy (DON).  In this role, she serves as the DON’s Suspending and Debarring Official (SDO) and oversees the Department’s efforts to pursue criminal, civil, contractual, and administrative remedies in all significant investigations of acquisition fraud or corruption.  Ms. Kessmeier was appointed to the Senior Executive Service (SES) in January 2013.  Ms. Kessmeier completed the Interdepartmental Honors Program at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia PA and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science.  She earned her J.D. from the Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, DE, where she was the Associate Articles Editor for the Widener Law Symposium Journal and an Executive Board Member of the Moot Court Honor Society.  She is the recipient of a DON Superior Civilian Service Award, two DON Meritorious Civilian Service Awards, and a Superior Accomplishment Award from the FLRA. 

Donald King Donald King
Co-Chair, Federal EEO and Civil Rights Council; Complaints Manager, NASA

Donald King is Co-chair of the Federal EEO and Civil Rights Council, a national organization committed to serving the needs of EEO, Civil Rights and Diversity practitioners at all professional levels.  In addition, Mr. King works as NASA’s EEO Complaints Manager, where he is responsible for processing formal EEO complaints Agency-wide.  He also provides training, and processing guidance to the NASA EEO community.   Prior to NASA, Mr. King was an Attorney Advisor at the Smithsonian Institution Office of Equal Employment and Minority Affairs.  In addition, Mr. King worked as a Special Assistant to the EEOC’s Federal Hispanic Work Group, committed to enhancing employment and retention opportunities for Hispanic Americans in the Federal workforce.  A trained mediator, Mr. King was selected as a Higginbotham Fellow by the American Arbitration Association.  He is a proud father of five and grandfather of six with one on the way.  

Jessica Klement Jessica Klement
Legislative Director, National Active and Retired, Federal Employees Association

Jessica Klement is the legislative director of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) and is responsible for carrying out the legislative and political strategies of one of the nation’s largest federal employee and retiree organizations, with 225,000 members. As the association’s chief lobbyist, she is responsible for taking NARFE members’ concerns to Congress. Prior to joining NARFE, Klement served as the Government and Public Affairs Director at the Federal Managers Association, a membership organization representing the 200,000 managers in the federal government. In this role, she worked closely with members of Congress and their staffs to draft legislation to strengthen federal employee and retiree benefits. She previously worked on Capitol Hill.  Klement’s policy analysis on federal employee issues has been featured in The Washington Post, NPR, USA Today and the Associated Press. She is a regular guest on Federal News Radio and frequently contributes insight on breaking federal employee news to the Federal Times and Government Executive.

Leslie W. Lake Leslie W. Lake
Editorial Director, cyberFEDS®, LRP Publications
cyberFEDS Users Group Presenter

Leslie is an Editorial Director in LRP Publication’s Federal group, where she oversees cyberFEDS, Manager Advantage by cyberFEDS, Federal HR Week, and many other publications and products for federal human resources, EEO and labor relations professionals. She has also authored and edited numerous articles, pamphlets and books analyzing legal issues in federal-sector employment cases.
Leslie has been with LRP Publications for 12 years. She received her JD from Northeastern University School of Law, and previously worked as a staff attorney for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She received her BA from Mount Holyoke College.

Dwight Lewis Dwight Lewis
Supervisor Administrative Judge, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Dallas Office

Tina Marie Littleton Tina Marie Littleton
Commissioner, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service

Tina Marie Littleton is a Commissioner in the Glendale, CA office of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).  Ms. Littleton services all areas of Los Angeles and the surrounding counties. 
As Commissioner with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Ms. Littleton has mediated cases in the private and Federal sectors.  She has worked on cases in construction, food service, health care, hotel, industrial, oil and chemical, manufacturing, and transportation industry. Prior to joining the FMCS, Ms. Littleton served as Business Representative and Vice President for Office Professional Employees International Union, Local 537.  Ms. Littleton also served as trustee on the Office Professional Employees Health and Welfare and Pension Trust Fund for both health and welfare and pension funds and is a member of the Los Angeles Labor and Employment Relations Association.

Louis Lopez Louis Lopez
Associate Special Counsel, Investigation and Prosecution – Headquarters
Office of Special Counsel

Louis Lopez is the Associate Special Counsel at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, where he manages the investigation and prosecution of cases under the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and USERRA.  Prior to joining OSC, he served as the Deputy Chief in the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he supervised the investigations and litigation of employment discrimination and retaliation cases.  Prior to his service at the Justice Department, Mr. Lopez was Counsel to the Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Counsel to the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and served as an Appellate Litigation Attorney in the EEOC’s Office of General Counsel.  Mr. Lopez also has worked in private practice at law firms in both Washington, DC, and Chicago; and he served as the Director of Human Resources for Washington Post Digital.  Since 2005, Mr. Lopez has been an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches advanced courses on labor and employment law.  He received a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an LL.M. in Labor and Employment Law from Georgetown University Law Center.  

William Macauley William Macauley
National Hearings Program Manager,
Office of Field Programs, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
William Macauley is the EEOC National Hearings Program Manager, and formerly the EEOC NYDO Supervisory Administrative Judge (AJ) from 2009 to 2015. He came to the EEOC as a Trial Attorney in the Philadelphia DO in 1990 after spending four years in OPM’s General Counsel’s Office in Washington DC. In 1994, he moved to Manhattan where he continued to work for the EEOC in its NYDO as an AJ before assuming the supervisory AJ position there. Mr. Macauley began his government service as an Attorney-Advisor to the Associate Chief Administrative Law Judge at the US DOL in Washington, D.C. Aside from his Federal service employment he worked in private practice in Los Angeles and Washington DC, litigating cases in Federal court on a variety of municipal issues on behalf of city governments. He is certified in mediation from the National Judicial College and the New York City Bar Association. He received his J.D. from St. Louis University, an M.A. from University College Dublin and a B.A. from Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. The Wine and Spirits Education Trust of Great Britain awarded him an industry Diploma in Wine and Spirits (DWS) in 2007, and he also is certified as a Bordeaux wine instructor from the Society of Wine Educators. He is an avid ocean kayaker. He was born and raised in Southern California.

Ana Marrone Ana Marrone
Chief, Hatch Act Unit, Office of Special Counsel

Denise Patterson McKenney Denise Patterson McKenney
EEO Director, Federal Mediation &
Conciliation Service

Denise Patterson McKenney serves as a Commissioner with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in the division of ADR and International Dispute Resolution. As a collateral duty, she also serves as the agency’s Director of Equal Employment Opportunity. Her areas of expertise include mediation of collective bargaining agreements between unions/management, workplace employment disputes; training design/delivery, conflict coaching and systems design. Commissioner McKenney has also served as an experienced facilitator for area labor management committees. Her international experience includes travelling to Germany and Japan training chaplains of the United States Air force and has trained labor attaches’ in Panama and Hungary. Denise has also served as an instructor in Thailand for the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University. Her publications include “Labor-Management Partnership: A 12 Step Program for Change” published in the American Bar Association’s Deskbook for ADR Practitioners. Denise is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Speech Communication. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Instructional Systems Technology and is a graduate of the Training and Development Program at Georgetown University. She also serves as a mediator for the D. C. Superior Court's Multi-Door Mediation Program. A former college instructor, Denise brings an interactive approach to training and believes that learning can be fun, and that learning is a life-long activity.

Deb McKinnon Deb McKinnon
cyberFEDS®, Director, LRP Publications
cyberFEDS Users Group Presenter

Deb McKinnon, a Director with LRP Publications, has been working with LRP’s federal employment law publications for 20 years. Deb oversees a team of 25+ LRP employees – including product representatives; product trainers; subscription coordinators and contract specialists. Deb oversees training, implementation, help desk support, licensing and contract fulfillment for LRP’s federal product group and is actively involved in federal HR product development, product launches within federal agencies, user research assistance, phone and on-site product training and contract negotiations.

Deborah Miron Deborah Miron
Director of Regional Operations, Chief Administrative Judge, Merit Systems Protection Board

Deborah M. Miron was appointed in June 2002 as Director, Regional Operations and Chief Administrative Judge of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB or Board).  In that capacity, she has responsibility for both legal and administrative oversight of the six regional offices and two field offices, and supervises all of the Board’s Regional Directors, Chief Administrative Judges, Administrative Judges, and Paralegal staff in the regional and field offices who handle Federal employee appeals.  She is also Coordinator of the Board’s Mediation Appeals Program.  Ms. Miron is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and its law school. She was a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  Currently, she is Treasurer of the Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA), and on the Advisory Board of the Federal Dispute Resolution Conference. Her awards have included the MSPB Chairman’s Awards for Excellence, the FCBA Leadership Awards, the Navy’s Superior and Meritorious Civilian Service Awards, and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia’s Justice Award.

Steve Muir Steve Muir
Former Director, Labor and Employee Relations, Office of Comptroller of the Currency
Steve Muir has held several senior level positions in labor and employee relations in the federal government. He previously served as deputy executive director for the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals; senior labor relations advisor for the Department of Health & Human Services; director, Division of Legal and Technical Services at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and labor and employee relations officer for the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review. He is a frequent presenter at FDR and other national conferences. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from St. Anselm College, Manchester, N.H., and performed graduate work in public administration at St. Michael’s College, Winooski, Vt.

Dominic Murgo Dominic Murgo
Deputy Chief Negotiator, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Mr. Murgo received his Master’s Degree in Labor Relations and Human Resources from the University of Rhode Island in 2007.  Mr. Murgo currently serves on the SFLERP Board of Directors; and previously served as the SFLERP Washington DC Chapter President. Mr. Murgo is currently employed as a Labor Relations Specialist at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where he serves as the Bureau’s Deputy Chief Negotiator for collective bargaining.  Mr. Murgo has 9 years Federal experience dealing with federal labor relations having previously worked for the EPA and IRS.  Mr. Murgo enjoys sailing, cooking and playing Monopoly in his spare time.

Don Names Don Names
Counsel, Office of the General Counsel,
Department of the Navy

Mr. Names is the Deputy Assistant General Counsel (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) (M&RA), in the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), Department of the Navy.  He assumed the responsibilities of this position in May 2014.  The Assistant General Counsel (AGC) (M&RA) is the chief legal adviser for the Department of the Navy in civilian personnel law matters, and provides guidance, oversight direction and coordination to OGC, the Judge Advocate General Central Office, Command and field attorneys with respect to substantive legal matters in all areas of civilian personnel law.  As the Deputy AGC (M&RA), Mr. Names supervises a staff of attorneys in various locations in all aspects of military and civilian personnel law, to include EEO, labor law, and the many ancillary laws governing compensation, conditions and benefits of appropriated and non-appropriated fund employment.  Mr. Names previously served as Counsel for the Office of Civilian Human Resources from September 2007 to April 2014.  As OCHR Counsel he served as the principal legal adviser to the staff of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Civilian Human Resources), and the Director, OCHR.  Prior to joining the Office of the General Counsel at the Department of the Navy, Mr. Names held numerous positions over the course of twenty years in the Office of Federal Operations of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), including the Director of the Special Services Staff, Chief of the Technical and Legal Support Branch and Chief of the Intake and Compliance Branch.  He has published a number of articles on federal sector equal employment opportunity (EEO) law, including “The Year in Review” for LRP Publication’s Annual Federal Sector EEO Yearbook from 1996 to 2006.  He also served for many years as an editor of the Digest of EEO Law, an EEOC publication on federal sector EEO law.  Mr. Names received his undergraduate degree in Linguistics in 1982 from the University of California, San Diego, and his J.D. in 1986 from American University, Washington, D.C.  He is a member of the Bar Associations of both Virginia and the District of Columbia.  The views expressed by Mr. Names do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of the Navy or Department of Defense.

Jeffrey Neal Jeffrey Neal
Senior Vice President, ICF International; Publisher, ChiefHRO.com

Jeffrey Neal is Senior Vice President for ICF International.  Prior to ICF, Jeff was the Department of Homeland Security Chief Human Capital Officer, where he was responsible for human capital programs for 190,000 employees. He established Department-wide programs for Leader Development and making workforce sourcing decisions, and led the implementation of collective bargaining at TSA. Jeff served as Director of Human Resources for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) from 2000 - 2009. At DLA, he dramatically improved HR services and strategy while reducing costs by more than $50 million. That and DLA’s enterprise leader development program were cited by the Partnership as models for other federal agencies. DLA HR’s Agency-wide culture assessment and change program significantly improved employee engagement. Jeff is a Fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration, a Partnership for Public Service Strategic Advisor to Government Executives (SAGE), and blogs at ChiefHRO.com, where he writes about federal management and human capital issues.

Holly Parks Holly Parks
Administrative Judge, Merit Systems Protection Board, Western Region

Holly Parks became an administrative judge in the Western Regional Office in June 2014. Judge Parks’ federal career began in July 2006 as a regional attorney with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While with HHS she provided legal advice in myriad areas of law to several client agencies, including the Indian Health Service, FDA, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Administration for Children and Families. Immediately following law school graduation, Ms. Parks was selected as a Fellow Assistant Attorney General with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office after which she clerked for Justice Elspeth Cypher at the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Immediately prior to beginning federal service, she worked at a small boutique law firm focusing on medical malpractice defense. Judge Parks received her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. She also has a Master of Social Work from Tulane University and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Outside of work, Judge Parks enjoys gardening, outdoor activities and travel. Recent travels have included a trip to Russia to see Moscow and the Sochi Winter Olympics, northern India, the London Summer Olympics, and Ecuador, including the Galapagos Islands.

Stephen Paskoff Stephen Paskoff
President & CEO, ELI, Inc.

The founder of ELI® and the company’s hallmark Civil Treatment® learning solutions, Stephen Paskoff is a former trial attorney for the EEOC and partner in a nationally-known labor and employment law firm. He left private practice to help organizations increase workplace trust, address uncivil behaviors, and help clients comply with workplace requirements. He is now a nationally recognized authority on workplace legal issues and has appeared on or been interviewed by ABC’s 20/20, CNBC, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Fox News, HR Executive Magazine, Inc. Magazine, and many other print and broadcast outlets. He has written extensively on workplace compliance and legal issues and how to nurture work environments that align with organizations’ missions and values, including Teaching Big Shots to Behave and Other Human Resource Challenges. Paskoff serves on the Editorial Board of Workforce Management magazine and is a regular contributor to The Conference Board’s Human Capital Exchange. A member of the Pennsylvania and Georgia bars, he is a founder and former Co‐Chair of the ABA’s Compliance Training and Communication Subcommittee, which explores training and strategic best practices for maintaining corporate compliance. Paskoff has an AB degree in Government from Hamilton College and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Andy Pizzi Andy Pizzi
Conflict Resolution Practitioner

Andy Pizzi is currently an independent consultant in the areas of conflict resolution and labor-management relations.  Prior to his retirement in 2011, Andy was a federal employee for over 32 years.   As a conflict resolution practitioner, he has mediated over 400 workplace disputes, facilitated several hundred meetings and provided conflict resolution training. Andy has also developed and managed several alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs, and assisted agencies in designing & developing ADR programs & collaboration initiatives. In the area of labor-management relations Andy represented several agencies providing guidance & advice on labor negotiations & contract administration. Andy was also a union representative for the National Association of Government Employees.  Andy has a B.A from the University of Massachusetts at Boston in Political Science, a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Norwich University and a Graduate Certificate in Teaching & Learning from Norwich University. He also is certified as a Mediator by the Supreme Court of Virginia since 2000.

Francis Polito Francis Polito
Chief Administrative Judge, Philadelphia Regional Office, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Fran Polito has been an Administrative Judge in the Commission’s Philadelphia District Office since January of 1999. Since July of 2009, he has served as the Chief Administrative Judge for the Philadelphia District and supervises eleven administrative judges. Judge Polito is also the former president of the EEOC Administrative Judges Association. Prior to joining the Philadelphia office, Judge Polito spent six years as an attorney in the Commission’s Legal Services Division of the Office of Legal Counsel. Before joining the EEOC in 1992, he practiced law in New Jersey, handling primarily employment discrimination claims in the private sector. Judge Polito received his J.D. Degree from the Howard University School of Law in 1986, where he was a member of the Howard Law Journal staff and he received a B.A. from Moravian College in 1980.

Jayne Ricco Jayne Ricco
Senior Dispute Resolution Specialists, Federal Labor Relations Authority

Jayne Ricco is a Senior Dispute Resolution Specialist with the Federal Labor Relations Authority’s Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (CADRO). The CADRO team uses mediation and other ADR techniques to help federal agencies and labor unions resolve complex workplace disputes, and delivers facilitation and training services to help parties grow healthy workplace relationships. Before joining the CADRO team, Jayne worked in the FLRA’s Office of the General Counsel, where she investigated and litigated unfair labor practice charges, and provided comprehensive training on the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute to assist parties in their understanding of the law. Jayne also has experience in employment law as a former associate in Jackson Lewis P.C.’s New York office, where she worked in the firm’s Affirmative Action and Diversity Planning practice group.

Don Rider Don Rider
Professor, Human Resources Management, University of Maryland University College
cyberFEDS Users Group Presenter

For the past ten years Don Rider, J.D has held the position of Collegiate Professor of Human Resources Management and Labor Relations at The University of Maryland University College. In that role he designs and delivers both classroom and on line instruction in a variety of human resources areas.  Don is also an active consultant and trainer, and author. Prior to joining the full-time faculty at UMUC, he served as Counsel, Labor and Employment Law at the FDIC. In that capacity he represented the agency in arbitration and unfair labor practice cases and before the Federal Service Impasses Panel. He served as legal advisor to agency bargaining teams, and as an advocate in mediation, fact - finding and interest arbitration.  His Federal career also included stints with both the NLRB and the FLRA. Mr. Rider received his undergraduate degree from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and his law degree from the American University, Washington, D.C.  He is a member of the Maryland bar.

Mark A. Robbins Mark A. Robbins
Vice Chairman, Merit Systems Protection Board
Mark A. Robbins was nominated by President Obama as Member of the Merit Systems Protection Board and confirmed for a term ending March 2018. On January 23, 2017, President Trump designated him Vice Chairman. Pending re-establishment of a Board quorum, Mr. Robbins performs the functions vested in the Office of Chairman.

When nominated, Mr. Robbins was General Counsel of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. He previously served as Senior Rule of Law Advisor for the State Department in Iraq; as Executive Director of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board; as General Counsel of the Office of Personnel Management; in private practice; in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel; and as Assistant to two Members of Congress.

Mr. Robbins was awarded the U.S. Army’s Commander’s Award for Civilian Service; is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration; and is a member of the California and District of Columbia bars.

Jeffrey Rosenblum Jeffrey Rosenblum
Deputy General Counsel, Securities and Exchange Commission

Jeff Rosenblum is the Deputy General Counsel for General Law and Management at the Securities and Exchange Commission. He previously worked for the Department of Justice for nine years, most recently as the General Counsel of the Executive Office for Immigration Review. He also worked in the General Counsel’s Office for the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. Prior to the Department of Justice Jeff worked at the Department of Labor and in private practice. Jeff also teaches legal ethics and employment classes at George Mason law school, where he has been an Adjunct Professor since 2005. Jeff graduated cum laude from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1999, where he was an editor for Loyola’s law review, and he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland in 1994.  

Debra Roth Debra Roth
Partner, Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C.

Debra L. Roth is a partner at Shaw Bransford & Roth, where she has practiced since 1989. Ms. Roth’s law practice concentrates on representing federal officials and employees in all aspects of federal personnel employment law, with a focus on federal executives and managers and on representation of federal employees and law enforcement officers in IG, Internal and Congressional investigations. She has a Top Secret security clearance and represents federal employees, applicants and contractors in security clearance and suitability proceedings. Ms. Roth currently serves as General Counsel to the Senior Executives Association. She also provides legal advice and representation to several small agencies on a multitude of federal personnel law and employment discrimination matters. Ms. Roth is also a frequent lecturer, sharing her specialized knowledge and experience on federal employment law at conferences and seminars designed for federal supervisors, executives, and employee relations professionals. Ms. Roth has been retained at the expense of the U.S. Department of Justice to act as private defense counsel to federal officials sued individually in Bivens and common law tort lawsuits in cases where the Justice Department has determined a conflict exists with direct DOJ representation. Ms. Roth also appears on a variety of radio shows and regularly hosts FEDtalk on Federal News Radio. Prior to joining Shaw Bransford & Roth, Ms. Roth was a judicial clerk for the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court.

Ryan Sallans Ryan Sallans
Speaker, Diversity Trainer, Author

Aaron Scurlock Aaron Scurlock
Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Civil Rights, General Services Administration

Aaron Scurlock serves as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Civil Rights at the U.S. General Services Administration. Since joining the Office of Civil Rights in 2014, Aaron has been very interested in the role of unconscious bias in employment decisions and ways to mitigate its adverse impacts.  With the movement of the Affirmative Employment Program to the Office of Civil Rights in 2015, he has been exploring ways to use the vast amount of data available to identify and address patterns of potential bias in the workplace. Aaron is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Stanford University.

John Settle John Settle
President, Settlement Associates LLC

John Settle is a mediator, group facilitator, coach/mentor, trainer and consultant on conflict and communication.  He is certified as a mediator and Mentor Mediator by the Supreme Court of Virginia, and he holds Advanced Workplace Mediator status from the Association for Conflict Resolution.  He is a retired member of the Virginia Bar, and currently active in the bar’s ADR activities.  He is on the faculty of George Washington University’s Center for Excellence in Public Leadership, where he teaches on negotiation skills, conflict management, ADR and mentoring, and has served as adjunct faculty at GWU’s Law School, teaching on negotiation. He is currently or has served as a member of cadres of mediators for many federal agencies and mediation contractors, and he has performed as Ombuds for the U.S. Architect of the Capitol and as a “Long-Term Care” Ombuds in Virginia.  John is experienced in providing system-wide conflict management assessments, group facilitations, and group labor-management facilitation.  He speaks and trains widely on ADR and conflict management. John is a past President of the Virginia Mediation Network and a past Co-Chair of the Workplace Section of the Association for Conflict Resolution. John’s background includes federal legal, management and executive positions, and he was active in the Federal ADR Network and a leader in developing the federal “Shared Neutrals” program.  He holds the Presidential award of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service. 

Derek Shields Derek Shields
Program Manager, Department of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP)

Derek Shields is a Program Manager with the Department of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP).  With 23 years of experience in disability, accessibility, employment and quality of life programs, Derek has worked in support of global accommodations programs, wounded warrior transition services, domestic violence programs, vocational and rehabilitation research projects for Social Security beneficiaries and veterans, employer technical assistance and training and other quality of life initiatives for youth and adults with disabilities in the workplace and community. Since 2014, Derek has Co-Chaired the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, an organization committed to increasing the awareness, quality and impact of mentoring for youth and adults with disabilities. He is also a mentor and enjoys helping young adults network from job search to career satisfaction. Derek has a BA from Bucknell University, a Master’s in Management and Disability Services from the University of San Francisco and is a certified Project Management Professional. 

John Sim John Sim
Assistant Director, EEO Complaints Management
Department of Justice
John Sim is the Assistant Director for Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Complaints Management at the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Justice Management Division. Mr. Sim’s responsibilities include administration of the EEO complaints process from intake through investigation; provision of authoritative technical advice and training to management officials and employees on all matters related to the EEO process; development of departmental EEO policies; and advancement of new and strategic EEO programs and initiatives. Prior to joining DOJ, Mr. Sim worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), and prior to joining the federal sector, he worked in private practice. Mr. Sim earned his law degree from the American University’s Washington College of Law and his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sara Snyder Sara Snyder
Regional Director and Chief Administrative Judge
Merit Systems Protection Board, Western Region

Sara Snyder is the Regional Director and Chief Administrative Judge of the Merit Systems Protection Board’s Western Regional Office in San Francisco, California. Before her appointment to this position, she was the Deputy Managing Counsel for the U.S. Postal Service’s Pacific Area Law Office in San Francisco. Earlier in her career, she served as agency counsel to the Postal Service in Philadelphia, PA and Washington, D.C., where she litigated employment law matters before the Board, the EEOC, and Federal District Court, and provided legal advice to management clients on issues ranging from Federal employment law to Federal contracting to torts and records management. Judge Snyder is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

Patricia St. Clair Patricia St. Clair
Assistant Director, Federal Sector Programs, Training and Outreach Division, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Patricia L. St. Clair is the Assistant Director of Federal Sector Programs, Training and Outreach Division, at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Office of Federal Operations.  Ms. St. Clair oversees the development, implementation and delivery of anti-discrimination and diversity training and outreach initiatives for the federal government and stakeholders.  Prior to serving as Assistant Director, Ms. St. Clair served as Senior Attorney Advisor in the Agency Oversight Division of Federal Sector Programs which oversees federal agencies EEO and affirmative employment programs.  As a legal advisor to federal agencies, Ms. St. Clair provided regulatory guidance on anti-discrimination laws and evaluated federal agencies’ performance to ensure effective and efficient implementation of EEO and Diversity programs. Possessing over twenty years legal experience specializing in equal employment opportunity, affirmative employment, labor and diversity in both the private and government sector, Ms. St. Clair is a seasoned professional in the area of employment and labor law, with specific expertise in employment discrimination, labor management relations and diversity and inclusion management.  Ms. St. Clair presents on behalf of the Commission at EEO and Diversity conferences, symposiums and trainings in the federal, state and local governments as well as private sector. Ms. St. Clair is a graduate of Tulane University School of Law and State University of New York College at Oswego.  She is an active member of the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association. 

Deryn Sumner Deryn Sumner
Partner, Gary M. Gilbert & Associates, P.C.

Ms. Sumner is a Partner at The Law Offices of Gary M. Gilbert & Associates, P.C., as well as Co-Chair of the Firm’s Federal Sector EEOC Practice Group. She focuses her practice on representing employees and agencies before the EEOC and MSPB.  She graduated from American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. Ms. Sumner is the co-author of several books on federal sector employment law including Representing Agencies and Complainants Before the EEOC; Federal Sector Disability Discrimination Law Deskbook; EEO Counselors’ and Investigators’ Manual; and an annual Consolidated Federal Sector EEO Update.  Ms. Sumner is an instructor with the Federal Employment Law Training Group (FELTG) and has provided training during the EEOC Law Week and Workplace Investigations Week seminars as well as onsite and webinar training sessions.

Zina Sutch Zina Sutch
Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion Office of Personnel Management

Sharon Terrell-Lindsay Sharon Terrell-Lindsay
Acting Director, Department of Defense, Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP)

Cathryn Thornton Cathryn Thornton
Senior Workforce Reshaping Advisor/Hiring Policy, Office of Personnel Management

Allison Uehling Allison Uehling
cyberFEDS® EEO Special Projects Editor,
LRP Publications
cyberFEDS Users Group Presenter

Allison B. Uehling, Esq., received her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. She writes and edits federal EEO-related articles, Quick Start Guides, and eLearning modules for cyberFEDS®, LRP Publication's on-line service. She presents webinars for cyberFEDS®, LRP Publication's on-line service, and Manager Advantage®, in addition to presenting at training conferences, including the Federal Dispute Resolution Training. She has written a number of books and pamphlets; including What Do I Do When ... A Federal Manager's Guide to the EEO Process and Complaints, What Do I Do When … Addressing and Processing Federal EEO Complaints, and Addressing Hostile Work Environment Claims: Your Agency’s Q&A Guide. Ms. Uehling is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar.

Jeffrey Vargas Jeffrey Vargas
Chief Learning Officer, Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Jeffrey Vargas is the Chief Learning Officer (CLO) for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). He joined the CFTC shortly after the passage of the 2010 Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act. Under his leadership the Commission has embraced a strategic approach to learning which now focuses on building the technical, managerial and leadership skills of a dynamic workforce. Jeff is a learning visionary – within his first year on the job he created the Commission’s first Strategic Learning Plan. He helped the Commission develop and deploy an online training needs assessment tool, he partnered with divisions in the creation of their own technical training curriculum; he launched an executive learning series of courses, and he deployed an online/ondemand learning program that includes more than 350 courses that cover the financial marketplace. Today he is focused on establishing an in-house school of swaps certification program and building a comprehensive technical and administrative orientation and onboarding curriculum for new employees. While with the Department of Energy he served as the Chief Learning Officer for the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and he was the Co-Chair of the DOE’s Learning Board. As the NNSA CLO he provided oversight of the technical qualification program and was the chief architect of NNSA Executive Summit and the NNSA’s competitive leadership development program. While with the Department of Energy (DOE), he served as a senior recruiter, senior advisor, and project manager. Jeffrey is an author and sought after speaker who is a national leader in learning innovation. He is ranked as one of the nation’s top experts on understanding generational differences with an emphasis on building generational synergy in the federal workplace. He is a consultant and workshop facilitator that helps agencies improve their generational competency. Over the last eight years he has spoken to thousands of federal employees at more than 30 agencies helping them identify ways to improve their communication and cross-generational engagements. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Maryland, and later went on to complete the Georgetown University Training Specialist Certificate Program.

Veronica Venture Veronica Venture
Director, EEO and Diversity, Department of Homeland Security

Veronica Venture is the Acting Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.  The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) supports the Department as it secures the Nation while preserving individual liberty, fairness, and equality under the law. Ms. Venture joined the Department in 2011, serving as the Deputy Officer for CRCL and as Director of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity. Ms. Venture has brought significant expertise and experience with the federal EEO process and diversity management to DHS—particularly as it relates to law enforcement, having served at the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nine years. Prior to that, she began her career as a law clerk with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and subsequently held positions as a Trial Attorney, Administrative Judge, Acting Area Director of the San Diego Field Office, Special Assistant to the Chair, and finally, as EEO Director. Ms. Venture received her BA from Connecticut College, and her JD from the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, DC.

Sam Vitaro Sam Vitaro
Labor Arbitrator; Mediator; Fact-Finder; Consultant
Mr. Vitaro is a principal with the firm Vitaro & Goodfriend and a labor arbitrator, mediator and fact-finder in private practice. Between 1982 and 1988, he served as an Administrative Judge with the Merit Systems Protection Board.  There he decided disputes involving disciplinary matters (e.g., discipline taken for sexual harassment, insubordination, theft, etc.) and EEO claims (e.g., disability, race, sex, religion, and reprisal.)  He practiced law privately in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (between 1971 and 1979), was employed as a supervisory trial attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (between 1979 and 1982). He has a B.S. from Pennsylvania State University and a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He has numerous publications and articles, to include, MSPB Charges and Penalties (6th ed, Dewey Publications 2015), co-authored with Renn C. Fowler; and, A Guide to the Whistleblower Protection Act & Whistleblower Enhancement Act of 2012 (Dewey publications 2013), co-authored with Renn C. Fowler.

Merritt Weinstein Merritt Weinstein
Senior Dispute Resolution Specialist, Federal Labor Relations Authority

Merritt Weinstein is a Senior Dispute Resolution Specialist for the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). He works in the Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Office where he assists federal agencies and labor unions resolve complex workplace disputes. He also provides collaboration and interest-based training, facilitation services and guidance to help labor and management representatives grow healthy workplace relationships.  Previously, Merritt worked in the FLRA’s Office of the General Counsel Washington Regional Office where he investigated unfair labor practice charges, representational issues, including holding elections and hearings and litigated complaints before Administrative Law Judges.  Merritt earned his B.A. from the University of Florida and attended Nova Southeastern University Law School and The George Washington University Law School where he focused his legal studies on labor and employment law.

J. Douglas Whitaker J. Douglas Whitaker
Senior Attorney, Office of Chief Counsel, Immigration and Customs Enforcement

J. Douglas Whitaker – Doug is a Senior Attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel, Office of Principal Legal Advisor, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In that position, Doug is responsible for providing labor and employment law advice to managers who oversee more than 20,000 employees in more than 400 offices as part of the Department Homeland Security’s largest investigative agency. Doug regularly represents ICE before the MSPB, EEOC and in arbitration hearings, and serves as Agency counsel in Title VII actions filed in various U.S. District Courts. Furthermore, Doug frequently provides assistance to the Department of Justice in appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  In addition to the above activities, Doug is currently Regional Trial Defense Counsel in the Texas Army National Guard.  As a JAG officer, Doug served two tours in Iraq where he advised military commanders on the law of armed conflict and worked closely with the Iraqi government to coordinate the transfer of real property during the drawdown of forces.  Doug is a graduate of University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law where he was a member of the law review, and he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northwest Missouri State University.

Robin Wink Robin Wink
Owner/Instructor, Rudman Wink Associates LLC

Robin S. Wink is a practicing attorney from the Washington DC area.  She has over 20 years’ experience in management and legal representation, and brings expertise in both areas to her public speaking and executive education programs which focus on the legal obligations of Federal Government managers and supervisors.  She is a frequent lecturer at the Brookings Institution and has taught seminars at various federal agencies throughout the country.  Ms. Wink is also a “Strengths Coach,” certified by Gallup to provide Strengths-based team and leadership training as well as individual Strengths Coaching. Ms. Wink graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, with military distinction, and she received a Juris Doctor, with academic distinction, from the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America.  Ms. Wink is admitted to practice in Virginia and the District of Columbia as well as the United States Supreme Court.  She is “Of Counsel” with the law firm Avery Dooley & Noone.

Maxanne Witkin Maxanne Witkin
Director, Office of Employment Discrimination and Complaint Adjudication, Department of Veterans Affairs

Maxanne Witkin is the Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Employment Discrimination Complaint Adjudication (OEDCA). OEDCA is an independent office that reports directly to the Department’s Secretary and is responsible for issuing impartial final agency decisions and orders on the merits. OEDCA also issues compensatory damages and attorney fee decisions. Maxie was the Chief Administrative Judge in the Merit Systems Protection Board’s Denver Field Office from 2005 – 2009. She was the first General Counsel, Department of Defense Education Activity, serving from 1999 – 2005. Maxie oversaw the Department of Navy’s EEO complaints processing program from 1997 – 1999. From 1988 – 1997, she was a staff attorney and litigator in the Department of the Navy’s Office of General Counsel. Maxie is a recognized authority on Federal personnel law and frequently lectures and writes about emerging trends in Federal sector EEO law. Her articles have appeared in Federal Times. Maxie is a graduate of Syracuse University and holds graduate degrees in public administration and law from George Washington University. She is an active member of the Virginia State Bar. Maxie is the recipient of the Department of Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award and the Department of Defense’s Exceptional and Meritorious Civilian Service Awards. She was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2009.

Michael Wolf Michael Wolf
Director/Collaboration and ADR Office
Federal Labor Relations Authority

 MICHAEL WOLF has spent 35 years as a neutral, educator and advocate concerning workplace matters. Presently, he is Director of the Collaboration & ADR Office at the Federal Labor Relations Authority, as well as the FLRA’s ULP Settlement Official. Michael leads a team that helps federal agencies and labor unions resolve complex workplace disputes. He also provides facilitation, training and guidance to help parties grow healthy workplace relationships. Previously, Michael was Counsel to the National Mediation Board and Associate Director of former Secretary of Labor W.J. Usery's Center for the Workplace. At the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Michael was a Commissioner, Federal Mediator, Director of Mediation Technology Services and Special Assistant to the Director. He practiced labor & employment law, was a Congressional staffer, and has been adjunct faculty and a guest instructor at several universities. Michael graduated from the University of Wisconsin and earned a J.D. from Washington University.

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