Board Member Deirdre Aaron is an associate at Outten & Golden LLP, and a member of the firm’s Class Action Practice Group and the Family Responsibilities & Disability Discrimination Practice Group. Prior to joining the firm in 2012, Ms. Aaron worked as a Staff Attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Ms. Aaron received her B.A. from Northwestern University in 2004, and herJ.D., magna cum laude and Order of the Coif, from Washington University in St. Louis in 2010. During law school, Ms. Aaron worked on employment discrimination matters as a clerk to an administrative judge at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and on class action litigation, including employment matters, at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC. Before law school, Ms. Aaron worked as a legal assistant at an employment and human rights law firm.
Ms. Aaron is admitted to practice in New York, the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the U.S Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), NELA’s New York affiliate (NELA/NY), and the New York State Bar Association.
Board Member and Co-Founder Dina Bakst is also Co-President of A Better Balance. Dina features regularly in local and national news coverage of work-family issues. Her 2012 New York Times op-ed, Pregnant & Pushed Out of A Job, inspired the introduction of the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which she helped draft, and contributed to passage of the New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2013. Dina is a co-author of the recently published Babygate: What You Really Need to Know About A Pregnancy & Parenting In The American Workplace, a national know-your-rights book covering pregnancy discrimination, family leave, caregiver discrimination, breastfeeding rights, workplace flexibility and more. Dina has written numerous articles and reports on workplace fairness including, most recently, “It Shouldn’t Be a Heavy Lift: Fair Treatment for Pregnant Workers.”
Prior to co-founding A Better Balance, Dina was an attorney with the NOW Legal Defense & Education fund (now Legal Momentum) where she pursued litigation and public policy advocacy on a wide range of women's issues including economic justice, child care and reproductive rights. Dina is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan. She also served as a litigation associate with Kaye, Scholer LLP.
Board Treasurer Eric Berger is a Sr. Vice President in Executive Development at Citigroup. In that capacity, he designs and implements leadership development programs and initiatives for Citi’s senior leaders globally. Prior to joining Citi, Eric was a Human Capital management consultant at Deloitte, where he focused on leadership development, talent management, and strategic change. Prior to that, Eric was Manager of the Kennedy School Negotiation Project at Harvard University, where he led training programs on negotiation, leadership, and conflict management for senior executives and public leaders in Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America and the Middle East. In addition to his role at Citi, Eric is Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University, where he teaches a course on negotiation and dispute resolution. Eric holds Master degrees in Public Administration and Theological Studies from Harvard, and a Bachelor of Arts from Queen’s University in Canada.
Board Member Ariel Devine earned her BA from the University of Maryland, her 2nd Degree Diploma from the University of Nice, France and her JD, cum laude, from the George Washington University Law School. She practiced corporate and intellectual property law in private practice for 9 years at the firms of Pavia and Harcourt LLC and Philips Nizer LLP. For the past five years, she has worked as in-house Counsel for IBM. She serves on the NY Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League and served for three years as the Deputy Chair of the ADL's International Affairs Committee. She is also a member of the Young Families Committee of the Jewish Community Center. She also served as a Big Sister, mentor and volunteer with the Grand Street Settlement organizing programs for underprivileged children and as an Executive Committee member of Dress for Success, Young Executives for Success Division, a philanthropic organization helping women in need re-enter the work force. Ariel has also volunteered work for PS 75 Early Morning Reading Program, Dorot and the Downtown Boathouse. Ariel has a long-standing interest in women's issues which actually began in utero - her mother was one of the earliest members and organizers of the National Organization for Women and participated in countless NOW rallies while pregnant with Ariel, including one rally in which she was photographed the day before Ariel was born.
Board Member Mike Gaebler is an independent technology consultant and founder of Gaebler Technologies, Inc., which provides technology consulting and program management services to large organizations, with a goal of increasing efficient use and implementation of technology. Over twenty years, he has worked with major consulting firms such as Accenture and Fortune 100 companies such as Yahoo!, Starbucks, AT&T Wireless and Intuit. He was a member of a Seattle-based non-profit, The Foundry, focusing on the bridging the digital divide, and he was also involved in the early days of VolunteerMatch, connecting volunteer members with volunteer opportunities. He has a particular interest in the effective use of technology for non-profits and non-profit fundraising. Mike is a graduate of Yale University.
Board Member Dave Garrison focuses his practice on complex civil litigation, including class and collective action litigation, in federal and state courts throughout the country. A significant part of Mr. Garrison’s practices is representing employees, including whistleblowers who have uncovered fraud, workers involved in pay disputes, executives in severance negotiations, and employees who have suffered discrimination. Mr. Garrison is also engaged in the firm’s securities, healthcare, and consumer class action practice, representing pension funds, health and welfare funds, and consumers in litigation throughout the country.
Mr. Garrison has extensive experience in representing employees whose fundamental rights have been violated by their employer. He has served as lead counsel in collective actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that have resulted in settlements requiring the payment of millions of dollars to workers who were underpaid by their employer. Those cases involve claims by employees who have been improperly denied overtime, forced to work off-the-clock, or have been improperly designated as "exempt" from overtime laws by their employer.
Additionally, Mr. Garrison represents whistleblowers in qui tam litigation brought under the federal False Claims Act and similar state statutes. Mr. Garrison is especially focused on representing whistleblowers in the healthcare industry who have uncovered fraud against Medicare or Medicaid (TennCare), including whistleblowers in the hospital, pharmaceutical, and hospice care industries. In addition to healthcare fraud, Mr. Garrison represents whistleblowers who have uncovered fraud against for-profit education institutions and the defense industry.
Mr. Garrison also maintains an active labor law practice. He serves as counsel to labor unions in arbitration, before the National Labor Relations Board, and in state and federal court. Mr. Garrison has litigated dozens of successful arbitrations on behalf of the firm’s union clients, involving wrongful discharge, health and welfare contribution disputes, and promotion and demotion issues.
In addition to his law practice, Mr. Garrison is also active in Democratic politics. He has served as Treasurer of the Tennessee Democratic Party and served as a member of President Obama’s 2012 National Finance Committee. Prior to practicing law, Mr. Garrison served as Project Coordinator at The Brookings Institution for President Bill Clinton's National Economic Advisor, Gene Sperling. In 2000, he served as Assistant Policy Coordinator for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign, where he worked with Vice President Gore's senior policy advisors in the development and communication of the campaign's policy agenda.
Mr. Garrison received his Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University, and received his Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University School of Law, where he served in the Moot Court Honor Society. During his third year of law school, he attended Vanderbilt Law School. Mr. Garrison is a member of the American, Tennessee, and Nashville Bar Associations, and the National Employment Lawyers Association. Mr. Garrison is also a member of Taxpayers Against Fraud (TAF). He served as an associate member of the Harry Phillips Chapter of the American Inn of Court and is currently a member of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee. From 2001 – 2004, Dave served on the DePauw University Board of Trustees.
Board Member Alison Hirsh is the Political Director of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, which represents 145,000 property service workers in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Florida and the District of Columbia. 32BJ is the largest private-sector union in the country. She has been working for 32BJ SEIU since 2007 and became Political Director in late 2010. In 2008, she served as Ohio State Director for the Change to Win/SEIU campaign to elect President Barack Obama. Prior to joining the union, Alison served as Chief of Staff to New York State Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez and as the Policy & Legislative Director for the New York League of Conservation Voters. Alison also serves on the board of Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps. She was raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and has a degree in Religion from Columbia University.
Board Member and Co-Founder Risa E. Kaufman is Executive Director of the Human Rights Institute (HRI) at Columbia Law School, where she is also a Lecturer-in-Law. At HRI, Risa works to develop and advance international human rights norms and strategies in the United States through research, advocacy, network building, and training. She also teaches a seminar on economic justice and human rights in the United States. Risa has extensive experience in public interest litigation, advocacy and legal education with a special focus on women’s rights, poverty law, and access to justice. She previously worked as Associate Counsel at the Community Service Society of New York, as a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at the law firm of Gibbons, P.C., and as a Skadden Fellow at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (now Legal Momentum). Prior to joining Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute, Risa was an Acting Assistant Professor of Lawyering at NYU School of Law and an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School and Seton Hall Law School. She has published several articles on the issue of access to justice and poverty. Risa holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Snow Scholar, and clerked for Judge Ira DeMent of the U.S. District Court in Montgomery, Alabama. She holds a B.A. from Tulane University.
Board Member and Co-Founder Sherry Leiwant is also Co-President of A Better Balance. From 2005 to 2006, Sherry was an Adjunct Professor of Law at CUNY School of Law teaching an upper level class on civil rights. From 1996 until 2005, Sherry was a senior staff attorney at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund running the State Advocacy Project, working on issues intersecting women’s rights and poverty, including reproductive health, violence and child care. Prior to joining NOW Legal Defense Fund, she spent 12 years as a senior staff attorney at the Welfare Law Center, a national legal organization doing litigation and public advocacy on a variety of income support issues around the country. Prior to that, she was a staff attorney at the Department of Health Education and Welfare and an Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of New York. Sherry graduated from Princeton University and from Columbia University School of Law School. She has three children and has served on the Boards of Bank Street College of Education and Basic Trust Infant and Toddler Center.
Board Member Rhonda Nelson serves as a Trustee on the Local 1500 Pension and Welfare Funds. As the third officer of Local 1500, Rhonda Nelson is responsible for recording and reporting of each Local Union membership and Executive Board meetings, keeping an accurate and permanently bound or unalterable electronically stored record of all proceedings.
In addition to these duties, Mrs. Nelson also serves as chairwoman of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Women's Network. She has previously served as Field Director, Organizer & Representative for Local 1500. An activist at heart, Rhonda Nelson has never missed the opportunity to fight for the working class.
Board Secretary and Co-Founder Roslyn Powell is a teacher and program manager at the Academies @ Englewood, a public high school created in 2002. Roslyn's most recent legal position was with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she served as an associate counsel with the Center's Poverty Program. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Roslyn worked as a staff attorney at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, where she focused on litigation and policy initiatives on child care and reproductive rights issues. Roslyn also worked as a litigation associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Robert L. Carter of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Roslyn is a graduate of Stanford Law School (1993), Columbia University (M.P.A. 1986), and Brown University (B.A. 1983).
Board Vice Chair Elizabeth S. Saylor is a partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP. Elizabeth represents clients in commercial and civil rights matters. Her civil rights practice has included constitutional litigation, class actions, police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, election law, wage and hour, and employment and housing cases alleging discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, familial status, pregnancy, disability, and source of income. Prior to joining the firm, Elizabeth worked at The Legal Aid Society, where she began as a Skadden fellow and represented victims of domestic violence in a variety of cases, including a class action that successfully challenged the systematic denial of public benefits to immigrants. Elizabeth clerked for the Hon. Robert D. Sack on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Elizabeth received her B.A., summa cum laude, from Amherst College and her J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.
Board Member Jenna Segal heads Segal NYC Productions which develops and produces theater on Broadway and Off Broadway, as well as film, television, and Internet content with a focus on women. Upcoming productions include the Broadway-bound musical Gigi, based on the Colette novella and 1958 Academy Award-winning film, which has been adapted by “Call the Midwife’s” Heidi Thomas and on which Jenna Segal is the Lead Producer. Before forming Segal NYC, Jenna Segal co-produced the film Black Dynamite that has now graduated into an animated series on Adult Swim. Segal began her career in political talk shows in Washington, DC including “Equal Time,” later moving to the VIACOM networks serving in development positions of Production Manager, Line Producer and later Director of Production Management Development. Jenna serves on the Board of Directors for the Birthright Israel foundation where she is Marketing Chair and also the Board of Directors of NEXT. In the development spirit she created the successful Passport Program currently being implemented at the JCC Manhattan. Jenna serves also as a member of Women’s Project Theater’s Board of Directors. She is also part of the Central Park Conservancy Women’s Committee and Emily’s List Majority Council. Jenna Segal has three children and lives with her husband in New York City.
Board Chair Yolanda Wu was a Co-Founder and Co-President of A Better Balance from 2006 to 2011. Yolanda has served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, where she taught an upper level seminar on sex discrimination law from 2003 to 2012. From 1994 to 2003, Yolanda was an attorney at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (now Legal Momentum), where she litigated impact cases in the areas of employment discrimination, educational equity, access to reproductive health care and equal protection, and conducted legislative and public policy advocacy on a wide range of women's rights issues. Yolanda is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law and Princeton University.