2018-2019 Board of Directors
+ President: Katherine (Katie) Courtney
KATHERINE COURTNEY, President, is Of Counsel in the Rochester office of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP. She concentrates her practice in the area of civil and commercial litigation with an emphasis on personal injury, products liability, asbestos disease litigation, chemical exposure/toxic torts and commercial collections matters. Jodie received her Bachelor’s Degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo cum laude, and her J.D. from Albany Law School. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Fairport Baptist Homes Caring Ministries Foundation from 2009-2015 and also served on the GRAWA Board from 2013-2014, during which time she also served a two-year term as co-chair of the Judicial Evaluation Committee. Currently, she is a member of the Rochester Women’s Network, the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the Defense Research Institute (DRI). She is also a member of the American Bar Association, Monroe County Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA). In addition, Jodie is an active member of GRAWA and has served on its Judicial Evaluation Committee for several years. In 2007, she received the NYSBA’s President’s Award for Pro Bono service and in 2009 she was recognized by the Daily Record as an Up and Coming Attorney.
+ President-Elect: Carey Ann Denefrio
CAREY ANN DENEFRIO, President-Elect, is a graduate of Niagara University and the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School (JD/MSW), and has been employed with the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) since 2011 as an attorney advisor. She has also served the Agency as a national trainer for new decision writers. Prior to coming to ODAR, Katie was a staff attorney with the Disability Advocacy Program Unit in Empire Justice Center. Katie is active in the Monroe County Bar Association, Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys, and the Women’s Bar Association of New York. She is past chair of MCBA’s Disability, Labor and Employment Committee and currently is on their Board of Trustees. She has served on the GRAWA Board in various positions, including Secretary, Delegate and Legislative Committee Chair. At the statewide level, Katie served as a co-chair for WBASNY’s Legislative committee. She has been honored to receive the Daily Record’s Excellence in Law: Up and Coming Attorney Award, WBASNY’s Doris S. Hoffman Outstanding New Lawyer Award, and GRAWA’s President Award on two occasions. Katie is an avid runner and resides in Spencerport with her husband and four children (Sean, Bridget, Mary, & Claire).
+ Immediate Past-President: Jodie Ryan
JODIE RYAN, Immediate Past President, is an associate attorney in the Rochester office of Littler Mendelson, P.C., a U.S.-based international law firm exclusively devoted to representing management in every aspect of labor and employment law. There, she counsels clients in a broad range of labor and employment matters from discrimination claims to wage and hour obligations to ERISA matters. Pamela received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history, with a minor in mathematics, from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and her J.D. from the University of Richmond School of Law, cum laude. Pamela previously served as Treasurer of GRAWA. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Monroe County Bar Association. Pamela also is Chair of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee at Asbury First United Methodist Church.
+ Secretary: Alissa M. Fortuna Brennan
ALISSA M. FORTUNA BRENNAN, Secretary, is an associate with Phillips Lytle LLP and concentrates her practice in the area of business litigation, with particular emphasis on labor and employment law. Prior to joining Phillips Lytle, Alissa worked for Leclair Korona Vahey Cole as a litigation associate. Alissa is a proud graduate of the University of Rochester and SUNY Buffalo Law School. She received her J.D. cum laude in 2013 and began practicing in January 2014. Alissa is very active in the local and legal community, serving on the Board for the Worker Justice Center of New York and serving as a Co-Chair of the CLE Committee for the MCBA’s Young Lawyers Section. Alissa also currently sits on the VLSP “Art of Lawyering” fundraising committee. Alissa received The Daily Record’s “Up and Coming Attorney” award and the NYSBA’s Honorable Judith S. Kaye Commercial and Federal Litigation Scholarship in 2016. Alissa grew up in East Irondequoit. She presently lives in the City of Rochester with her fiancé Dan (the love of her life) and loves it. She enjoys taking her “fur baby,” Maddie, a chocolate lab, on walks around the City. Fun Fact: Alissa received a black belt in Kung Fu when she was 19 years old.
+ Treasurer: Hinna Upal
HINNA UPAL, Treasurer, is an Associate at Nixon Peabody LLP in its Commercial Litigation group. Her practice focuses on civil litigation generally and bankruptcy and trusts and estates litigation specifically. Meghan received her bachelor's degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and her J.D. from Columbia University. She is a past Co-Chair of GRAWA's Newly Admitted Women Attorneys Committee, past WBASNY Delegate, and current member of GRAWA’s Nominations Committee. Meghan also served as GRAWA’s delegate to the Campaign for Justice Cabinet and is a member of the Rochester Rotary.
program Committee Co-Chairs
+ Destini K. Bowman
DESTINI K. BOWMAN, Program Committee Co-Chair, is a native of Rochester, NY and proud graduate of East High School. Destini received her B.Sc. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 2005. After graduation, Destini served as an Americorps*VISTA at the Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC) in Baltimore, MD and then as a Community Organizer for Maryland's Collaborative Supervision and Focused Enforcement (CSAFE) in Northeast Baltimore. She successfully initiated a Youth Public Safety Conference and also a customary community Parade for National Night Out. While at Albany Law School, Destini was an active member of the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), and in 2010, led the Northeast team to “Region of the Year.” After receiving her J.D., Destini was selected to serve as a Legislative Fellow with the New York State Senate, where she was assigned to work with the Hon. Ruth Hassell-Thompson. Desiring to work in the court room, Destini joined the Monroe County District Attorney's Office, as an Assistant District Attorney under the leadership of the Hon. Sandra Doorley in 2012. While in Rochester, Destini was an executive board member of the Rochester Black Bar Association (RBBA) and National Bar Associations’ Young Lawyer’s Division (NBA YLD). She is a current member of the National Black Prosecutor’s Association (NBPA) and the Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys (GRAWA). You will regularly catch Destini at community service events. She is a 2014 recipient of the Daily Record’s Excellence in Law: Up and Coming Attorneys. Destini takes pride as a Girl Scout troop leader for high school girls and serves as the Williams Park’s Service Unit Manager.
+ Sarah Lobe
SARAH LOBE, Program Committee Co-Chair, is a native of Rochester, NY and proud graduate of East High School. Destini received her B.Sc. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 2005. After graduation, Destini served as an Americorps*VISTA at the Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC) in Baltimore, MD and then as a Community Organizer for Maryland's Collaborative Supervision and Focused Enforcement (CSAFE) in Northeast Baltimore. She successfully initiated a Youth Public Safety Conference and also a customary community Parade for National Night Out. While at Albany Law School, Destini was an active member of the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), and in 2010, led the Northeast team to “Region of the Year.” After receiving her J.D., Destini was selected to serve as a Legislative Fellow with the New York State Senate, where she was assigned to work with the Hon. Ruth Hassell-Thompson. Desiring to work in the court room, Destini joined the Monroe County District Attorney's Office, as an Assistant District Attorney under the leadership of the Hon. Sandra Doorley in 2012. While in Rochester, Destini was an executive board member of the Rochester Black Bar Association (RBBA) and National Bar Associations’ Young Lawyer’s Division (NBA YLD). She is a current member of the National Black Prosecutor’s Association (NBPA) and the Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys (GRAWA). You will regularly catch Destini at community service events. She is a 2014 recipient of the Daily Record’s Excellence in Law: Up and Coming Attorneys. Destini takes pride as a Girl Scout troop leader for high school girls and serves as the Williams Park’s Service Unit Manager.
+ Nominating Committee Chair: Heidi Schult Gregory
HEIDI SCHULT GREGORY, Nominating Committee Chair, is a member of Harris Beach PLLC, leader of the firm’s Health Care Industry Team, and practices in the Business and Commercial Litigation Practice Group. She is listed in New York Super Lawyers in the areas of health care and business litigation and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in medical malpractice law. She has extensive experience representing hospitals, health care providers and long term care facilities, as well as OMH, OASAS and OPWDD licensed entities. Heidi has successfully litigated a variety of medical malpractice and negligence cases and has handled hundreds of guardianship and civil commitment proceedings. Heidi regularly counsels health care clients in areas of risk management, medical ethics, clinical operations, clinical trial work, statutory and regulatory compliance, telemedicine, professional discipline, credentialing, peer review and health information management. Heidi also provides statutory and regulatory compliance training seminars on a number of subjects, including HIPAA, guardianships, Mental Hygiene Law, end of life care and the Family Health Care Decisions Act. In addition to the practice of law, Heidi is a member, by judicial appointment, of the Fourth Department Appellate Division’s Attorney Grievance Committee and the Judicial Hearing Officer Screening Committee. Heidi is on the Board of Advisors for Siena College in Loudonville, New York. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Coordinated Care Services, Inc. and on the Board of Directors for Faith Child Care and Nursery School in Penfield (the daycare center her children once attended). Heidi has been a long-standing member of the New York State Bar Association Health Law Section, the Monroe County Bar Association and, last but certainly not least, the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys. She has served in various leadership positions within those associations. Heidi is a past president of GRAWA, and has served in other roles throughout the years both on the Board and within the organization, including secretary and chair of the Family and Careers Committee.
Heidi is a graduate of Siena College and Albany Law School, and is the proud recipient of the 2016 Albany Law School Kate Stoneman Award, an award given to those who actively seek change and expand opportunities for women within the legal profession. Heidi is married to her law school sweetheart, Doug, and together they have three teenagers. She spends her “free time” chauffeuring her children to and from sporting events.
JEC Committee Co-Chairs
+ Erin Heintz
ERIN HEINTZ, Judicial Evaluation Committee Co-Chair, is an Assistant General Counsel at Rochester Regional Health. She supports all labor and employment law matters for the health system. Prior to joining Rochester Regional Health, Erin was an associate with Littler Mendelson, P.C., where she counseled and defended employers in employment litigation matters. Erin received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Virginia Tech, and received her Juris Doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law. Erin also serves on the Advisory Board for The Salvation Army. Erin, her husband Jeff and her son Liam reside in the City of Rochester.
+ Alison Moyer
ALISON MOYER, Judicial Evaluation Committee Co-Chair, is a partner at Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham LLC. Alison is a trial attorney focusing on business litigation, insurance coverage claims, products liability, premises liability, labor and construction litigation, and environmental litigation at the state and federal levels. She has argued cases before the First, Second, and Fourth Appellate Divisions and the New York Court of Appeals. Alison provides counsel and representation to insurance clients for their coverage needs, and frequently lectures on insurance coverage issues. She received her B.A. from the University of Rochester, and her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law. She is also a member of the Monroe. County Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association. Alison lives in Fairport with her husband Erik and two-year-old son Samuel. When not at work or chasing a toddler, Alison can be found jogging along the streets and trails of Fairport, and enjoying the many beautiful local waterways in her kayak.
+ Media Committee Chair: Victoria E. Munian
VICTORIA E. MUNIAN, Media Committee Chair, is currently an Associate in the Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP Default Servicing Group. She represents creditors and servicers throughout New York State in foreclosures including loss mitigation and all litigated matters. Ms. Munian received her Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law in 2011 where she was an Executive Editor of the Syracuse Science and Technology Reporter and Associate Editor of the National Italian American Digest. Ms. Munian received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Minor in Philosophy from the University of Georgia in 2008 where she was an active member of the Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity. In her free time Victoria enjoys cooking, going to the gym, and working with her health and wellness business, It Works!. Her newest goal is to learn calligraphy before the end of the year.
+ Legislative Committee Chair: Adele Fine
ADELE FINE, Legislative Committee Chair, received her J.D. from the University of Montana in 1987. That same year she became the managing attorney of Montana Legal Services’ office in Havre, Montana, where she practiced poverty and Indian law and managed no one but herself. In 1990 Ms. Fine joined the law firm of A. Vincent Buzard, Esq. in Rochester, where she really learned how to practice civil law. Drawn back to public interest law in 1995, she was first the executive director of a not-for-profit firm providing family law legal services to “working poor” people, and then the attorney in charge of the Legal Aid Society’s Limited Means program. She joined the Family Court bureau of the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office in 2000 and now serves as the bureau’s chief. Ms. Fine is a 2015 recipient of the Daily Record’s Unsung Legal Heroes award, and the 2014 recipient of the award for Excellence in Indigent Parent Representation in Family Court. She has two beautiful grown daughters, Olivia and Kaye, neither of whom has any interest in becoming a lawyer. She lives at home with her husband, Dennis and dog, Pepper, both of whom wonder whether living with an aging public interest lawyer is really such a good idea.
+ Membership Committee Chair: Diane M. Cecero
DIANE M. CECERO, Membership Committee Chair, is excited to return to the GRAWA board. She considers herself a GRAWA founding mother. She is in career transition after serving as general counsel for Monroe Community College for nearly 20 years and 39 years of practice.
CLE Committee Co-Chairs
+ Marlene A. Attardo
MARLENE A. ATTARDO, CLE Committee Co-Chair, is a staff attorney at Legal Assistance of Western New York (LawNY) since 2015. She has represented indigent clients before state courts and administrative agencies on issues involving public benefits, emergency assistance, SSI, SSDI, and medical coverage. She recently started practicing in LawNY’s Fair Housing Enforcement Project where she investigates and litigates housing discrimination claims. Prior to working at LawNY, Marlene had her own law office for almost ten years, where she practiced predominantly as an attorney for children in family court on issues involving custody, visitation, abuse and neglect. Marlene was also a staff attorney at Volunteer Legal Services Project from 2008-2014 where she advised and placed nonparent litigants with pro bono family law attorneys. Marlene was honored in June 2012 by receiving the Honorable Michael F. Dillon Attorney for Children Award, and in 2013 by receiving the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York’s Stephanie E. Kupferman Juvenile Justice Award. Marlene graduated from Duquesne University School of Law and completed the Nonprofit Management Certificate Program at St. John Fisher College. Marlene and her husband Bob live in Fairport and have 2 sons, ages 19 and 17.
+ Josie Sheppard
JOSIE SHEPPARD, CLE Committee Co-Chair, is an Associate in the Rochester office of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP. She practices in the area of commercial litigation with a particular practice focus in construction and surety, toxic tort, products liability, premises liability, and personal injury. Josie is originally from Nebraska, which is where she attended the University of Nebraska and earned her Bachelor of Science in Real Estate and Land Use Economics. Thereafter, she headed further East to Michigan, where she earned her Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Josie serves as a Board Member for Volunteer Legal Services Project, is completing her role as a Trustee Board Member for the Monroe County Bar Association, and is a member of the Rochester Black Bar Association. In 2015, Josie received the Daily Record's Up & Coming Attorney Award. As a result of her dedication to pro bono work, she was the sole recipient in New York State for the 2015 New York State Bar Association President's Young Lawyer Award, as well as a recipient of VLSP's William E. McKnight Award. Josie has been consistently named a New York State Bar Association Empire State Counsel Honoree every year since 2013.
+ Diversity Committee Chair: Robin Marable
ROBIN MARABLE, Diversity Committee Chair, is a Supervising Attorney with Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc.® where she has extensive litigation experience. Robin assists indigent clients in the areas of Reentry, Public Benefits, Fair Housing and Employment law. Robin represents clients with discrimination claims before the Division of Human Rights, assists individuals who have been denied licenses before state agencies, represents ex-offender non-custodial parents with child support issues, and brings cases before federal court on Fair Credit Reporting Act violations and violations of the Fair Housing Act.
Robin is a 2002 graduate of Pennsylvania State University-Dickinson School of Law and a 1999 graduate of the University of Virginia. In 2013, Robin was the recipient of the Daily Record’s Unsung Hero Award. She is proud to have recently adopted two stray dogs who reside with her in Irondequoit.
+ Carey Ann Denefrio
CAREY ANN DENEFRIO, WBASNY Delegate, is an Associate at Littler Mendelson, P.C., a U.S. based international law firm exclusively devoted to representing management in every aspect of labor and employment law. At Littler, Carey Ann represents clients in a broad range of labor and employment matters arising under federal and state law. Before joining Littler in July 2015, Carey Ann served as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Honorable Jonathan W. Feldman from December 2007 – July 2015, and was an Associate at Ward Norris Heller & Reidy LLP from September 2005 – December 2007. Carey Ann received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Boston College, and received her Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School, cum laude, where she served as Executive Editor for Lead Articles on the Albany Law Review. Carey Ann is currently a member of GRAWA’s Legislative Committee, and served as Chairperson of the Legislative Committee from 2014-2017. Carey Ann is an active member of the Monroe County Bar Association. She has been on the Board of Directors for the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar since 2011, where she currently serves as Chairperson of the Grants Committee, and is also a member of the Nominating Committee. For several years Carey Ann served as Chairperson of the MCBA Young Lawyers’ Section Community Outreach and Social & Networking Committees. Since 2008, Carey Ann has served on the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities Community Services, and currently serves on its Nominating Committee. Carey Ann also currently serves as a Nominating Committee member for the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education, where she previously served on the Board of Directors from 2009-2011. In 2013, Carey Ann was the recipient of the MCBA’s Emerging Bar Leader award, as well as the Rochester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award. In 2011, she was recognized by The Daily Record as an “Up and Coming Attorney.” Carey Ann, her husband Tim, her son Tate, and her newborn twins (born January 2017) Finn and Piper, reside in the City of Rochester.
+ Laura Myers
LAURA MYERS, WBASNY Delegate, is an Attorney at the Wolford Law Firm, LLP. She currently focuses her practice on commercial, business and employment litigation in state and federal courts. Laura received her Juris Doctorate and Masters in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in New York and Ohio, and is a registered patent attorney. Laura is Development co-chair of the MCBA’s Foundation Board and is past chair of the MCBA Young Lawyer’s section. Laura is a Board Member of Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys (GRAWA) and is a member of the Rochester Coalition on Pay Equity. Laura received the Rochester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award in 2015, the MCBA’s Emerging Bar Leader Award in 2011 and the Daily Record’s Up & Coming Attorneys’ Award in 2010.
+ Hinna Upal
HINNA UPAL, WBASNY Delegate, is an attorney at Littler Mendelson, P.C., a U.S. based international law firm exclusively devoted to representing management in every aspect of labor and employment law. There, she represents employers in a broad range of labor and employment matters including complex business litigation, class action and regulatory issues. She has worked extensively in federal and state court, both at the trial and appellate level. Previously to joining Littler, Hinna was the deputy general counsel at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and an attorney in another New England law firm. Hinna received her bachelor’s degree (Honors) in Sociology from Queens University and her J.D. (magna cum laude) from Roger Williams University School of Law. She served as Executive Notes and Comments Editor on the Law Review and after law school, Hinna clerked for William Smith, chief judge at the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island and Hon. Francis Flaherty at the Rhode Island Supreme Court. She is past President of the South Asian Bar Association for Greater Boston.