Board Co-Chair 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. She then spent 14 years as in-house Counsel for IBM. She is currently Commercial Counsel for Google. She served 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 chaired and served on several committees at the Jewish Community Center if Manhattan. Her pro bono work has included participation in the immigration clinics of the Legal Services of New York City. 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 late mother, Deborah Devine, 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 appeared in a newspaper photo the day before Ariel was born.
Elizabeth S. Saylor
Board Co-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 Treasurer Eric Berger is Managing Director of Leadership and Executive Development at Citi. He leads a team that designs and delivers learning programs for Citi leaders around the world. 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 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).
Dina Bakst is Co-Founder and Co-President of A Better Balance (ABB), a leading national legal advocacy organization, headquartered in New York City, dedicated to advancing the rights of working families, promoting fairness in the workplace, and helping workers across the economic spectrum care for themselves and their families without risking their economic security.
Bakst has ushered A Better Balance through to several accomplishments, including the New York State Women’s Equality Agenda and recent passage of the New York State Paid Family Leave Act, landmark legislation which guarantees 12 weeks of paid leave when caring for an infant or family member. In 2012, Bakst’s op-ed in The New York Times – “Pregnant and Pushed Out of Job” – inspired the introduction of the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Dina also helped draft and contributed to passage of similar laws in over 20 states and localities. Her work successfully enforcing pregnancy discrimination laws through representation of several low-wage pregnant workers has been featured multiple times in The New York Times, including two front page stories. In 2015, Dina was awarded the Edith I. Spivack Award, named for the woman who was a pioneering lawyer and role model for generations of women, for her work championing women’s rights. Dina is also co-author of Babygate: How to Survive Pregnancy and Parenting in the American Workplace, a groundbreaking national know your rights guide for expecting and new parents covering everything from pregnancy discrimination, leave and breastfeeding rights, and workplace flexibility.
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 labor/employment associate with Kaye, Scholer LLP. In addition to leading A Better Balance, Dina is a National Commissioner of the Anti-Defamation League and Board Member of Congregation Rodeph Sholom. Dina also serves on the Steering Committee of Governor Cuomo’s New York State Council on Women and Girls.
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.
Risa E. Kaufman
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.
Kalpana Kotagal is a Partner at Cohen Milstein, a member of the firm’s Civil Rights & Employment practice group, and Chair of the firm’s Hiring and Diversity Committee. Ms. Kotagal plays an active role in the investigation and development of new matters for the Civil Rights & Employment practice group. Ms. Kotagal is co-author of the “Inclusion Rider,” referenced by Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand in her 2018 Best Actress acceptance speech. Ms. Kotagal is working on this project in collaboration with Dr. Stacy Smith of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni of Pearl Street Films. Together they are working to help transform the hiring practices in the film and television industry. Ms. Kotagal is also currently serving as an advisor to noted filmmakers on a film addressing issues of gender pay disparities.
A noted public speaker, Ms. Kotagal is often called on to address issues of employment and civil rights law, class actions, mandatory arbitration, diversity in the workplace. She also speaks regularly to law students and new lawyers. Currently, Ms. Kotagal represents female sales employees in a Title VII and Equal Pay Act case against one of the nation’s largest jewelry chains in Jock, et al. v Sterling Jewelers Inc. Her clients have alleged a pattern of sex discrimination in compensation and promotions. Ms. Kotagal also represents former female sales employees in a putative class action against AT&T, alleging violations of the Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act in Hills, et al. v. AT&T Mobility Services LLC, as well as transgender beneficiaries of federal health insurance who have challenged the denial of transition-related care as discriminatory.
For her work on the Inclusion Rider and her other efforts in championing equity, diversity, and inclusion through her practice of law, Ms. Kotagal was selected as a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School (2018-2019), won the prestigious Chambers Women in Law: USA 2018, “Outstanding Contribution to the Community in Advancing Diversity” Award, and was selected by The National Law Journal as a finalist in its “Elite Women of the Plaintiffs Bar” competition in 2018. In 2017, Ms. Kotagal was also recognized by Law360 as a “Rising Star,” an annual list recognizing lawyers under the age of 40 whose professional accomplishments transcend their age.
Ms. Kotagal is a member of the Advisory Board of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. She has also served as a member of the Center for Worklife Law’s Working Group on Pregnancy Accommodation and the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). Ms. Kotagal brings to her litigation practice her experience as an organizer, having previously served as field organizer with Green Corps, a field director with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and as an advisor to a Congressional candidate in 2006. Ms. Kotagal also served as an honorary chair of the National Finance Committee of Young Lawyers for Obama in 2008. She currently chairs the governance committee of the Board of Directors of CISV USA, an international youth-empowerment and peace education organization with more than 20 chapters in the United States.
Prior to joining Cohen Milstein, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Betty Binns Fletcher of United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Ms. Kotagal attended Stanford University, where she was a Morris K. Udall Scholar and graduated with honors. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a James Wilson Fellow. Ms. Kotagal was Articles Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
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.
Beth Nash promotes equality and social transformation through research-driven, targeted efforts, focusing extensively on pregnancy. She recently completed a thesis in law, neuroscience and social theory about blind spots related to pregnancy, that she is adapting for publication. Prior to pursuing legal interests, Beth worked in finance at Goldman Sachs, TIAA-CREF, and eventually co-founding and serving as Principal of her own investment firm. Beth initiated the Reproductive Justice Fellowships, and founded the Reproductive Justice Clinic, at NYU Law School, along with the former Carr Center for Reproductive Justice at NYU School of Law. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Advantage Testing Foundation, and has served on non-profit boards and investment committees for several community organizations. Beth holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and graduate degrees from Columbia Business School and NYU.
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. 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 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.
Anne Weisberg is Director of the Women’s Initiative at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP, where she is responsible for designing and implementing a gender strategy that fosters a high performing, inclusive work environment for all. She is also an adjunct professor of management at the NYU-Stern School of Business, where she teaches a course on inclusive leadership. Anne joined Paul Weiss from the Families and Work Institute, where she conceived and directed three reports: Family Matters: The Business Case for Investing in the Transition to Parenthood; Modern Families: Same-sex and Opposite-sex Couples Negotiating at Home; and Leadership in Today’s Economy: The View of Pipeline Leaders. She was one of five leaders invited to dine at the Pentagon with the Secretary of Defense to advise him on the Force of the Future Initiative. Anne has also worked at BlackRock on an award-winning women’s leadership program that is the subject of a Harvard Business School case study. She joined BlackRock from Deloitte, where she co-authored Mass Career Customization: Aligning the Workplace to Today’s Nontraditional Workforce (Harvard Business Press, 2007) that coined the phrase “corporate lattice.” Anne also managed the Deloitte Women’s Initiative, helping to close the gender gap in turnover and advance women into leadership. Anne joined Deloitte from Catalyst, the preeminent non-profit working to advance women in business, where she directed Women in Law: Making the Case, and advised law firms and other clients on gender strategies. Anne, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, has practiced law and written extensively on the topic of women and the workforce, including a New York Times op-ed titled “What Flying Nannies Won’t Fix” about workplace culture and co-authoring What Every Working Mother Needs to Know (Doubleday, 1994). She and her husband reside in New York and have five children between them.
Board Member 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.