Erika is Vice Preisdent and Associate General Counsel at Pernix Therapeutics. Pernix Therapeutics is a specialty pharmaceutical business with a focus on acquiring, developing and commercializing prescription drugs primarily for the U.S. market. Erika brings over a decade of legal experience and insights.
Janine Dascenzo is Senior Executive, General Counsel of Current by GE, with responsibility for legal affairs, compliance and government relations. Janine joined Current after serving as Senior Executive, General Counsel for GE Lighting from 2011-2016.
Prior to her most recent general counsel roles, Janine was GE’s Associate General Counsel, acting as senior strategic advisor to Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Brackett Denniston, from 2005 to 2011. Janine joined the corporate headquarters team after serving as General Counsel of GE Fanuc Automation, Inc. from 2003 – 2005, and as Litigation Counsel for GE Aviation from 1998-2003.
Janine joined GE from the Squire Sanders & Dempsey law firm in Columbus Ohio, where she practiced commercial litigation. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati and received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1993.
Janine served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI). She was also named to the American Bar Association President’s Council, a group of chief legal officers from large companies advising the ABA on policy and direction.
Evette Stair centers her practice on commercial transactions, technology transactions and intellectual property with a focus on licensing and complex technology distribution transactions.
Evette has extensive negotiation and drafting experience across a range of agreements including software agreements (SaaS included), IT outsourcing, technology development and professional services.
Currently Evette Stair is the Associate Counsel at Schrödinger, Inc. In this role, Evette advises domestic and international internal clients on balancing legal risk against business needs and goals. Evette represents Schrödinger in a vast range of corporate transactional and intellectual property matters related to Schrödinger’s software and professional services business. Prior to joining Schrödinger, Evette was an Associate at Venable LLP in the Technology Transactions and Outsourcing group focusing on the identification, protection, transfer and commercialization of intellectual property and technology assets. Evette was also previously an elementary school teacher in Newark, New Jersey as a Teach for America Corps Member.
Cathy has been responsible for legal issues with respect to Worldwide Marketing and ecommerce at MasterCard. Prior to working at MasterCard, Cathy was General Counsel for Agency.com, a digital marketing and technology company, (Agency.com was initially a start up when Cathy joined the company and then became part of the Omnicom Advertising Network). Prior to working for Agency.com, Cathy worked as Counsel for Computer Associates International, Inc., a software company where Cathy worked on a variety of issues including those related to marketing, public relations, development agreements and software licensing. Cathy started her career a deKeiffer, Dibble and Horgan, an international intellectual property law firm in the District of Columbia and held clerkship in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Cathy graduated with honors from Washington College of Law at American University and Smith College.
As Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs and Chief Legal Officer for Complex Networks, Rhonda Powell leads a team of professional and administrative staff that supports all areas of the company’s rapidly growing digital media business. In her role, Rhonda provides strategic and legal guidance to the organization on a range of topics, including content creation, intellectual property protection, content distribution, advertising and social media. She also oversees compliance and litigation matters for the company, including development of applicable internal policies and processes, and acts as the company’s Corporate Secretary. Ms. Powell joined Complex in January 2017 after twelve (12) years in various roles at Scripps Networks.
At Scripps Networks, Ms. Powell spent three years as Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, managing the team providing negotiation and documentation support to the Digital Content Creation and Digital Advertising Sales teams across all Scripps Networks’ digital properties, including network-branded websites and Ulive.com. Ms. Powell utilized her analytical skills and judgment to assist clients in the development and implementation of their strategic and tactical plans and to provide transactional support. Rhonda assumed this role after five years leading the Business Affairs team serving Food Network, one of Scripps most popular and widely-distributed programming networks as well as Scripps’ newest network, Cooking Channel.
Ms. Powell joined Scripps Networks in late 2004 as Director in the Legal Affairs department, where she was responsible for negotiating and drafting agreements on behalf of her clients in the New Media, Business Development and Information Technology units. Her skills and dedication were vital to Scripps Networks’ successful completion of groundbreaking deals in its Business Development unit, including the licensing agreement with Kohl’s Department Stores. In addition, Rhonda’s significant contributions of knowledge and support assisted the Information Technology unit in negotiating agreements and developing internal policies in connection with a myriad of initiatives designed to upgrade and expand the company’s capabilities for its online properties and internal operations.
Ms. Powell’s legal career began with law firm practice, including practice in the corporate departments of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae and Proskauer Rose LLP, where she gained significant experience working on transactions in the communications, media, biotechnology and e-commerce areas, many of which involved the transfer and valuation of significant intellectual property assets. It was at Proskauer Rose that Ms. Powell began to develop her expertise in counseling clients with regard to intellectual property issues in the corporate law context. Ms. Powell left Proskauer Rose in 2000 to join the legal department of Reuters America Inc. While at Reuters, Ms. Powell wasresponsible for managing the company's non-standard transactional agreements and commercial relationships relating to the licensing of content and news, strategic relationships, acquisitions, procurement and outsourcing, as well as for counseling various operational and client-facing groups on topics ranging from use of open source code to rights management.
Ms. Powell is graduate of Harvard University (magna cum laude w/ summa honors in major) and The University of Michigan School of Law, where she was named a Clarence Darrow Merit Scholar. A member of both WICT and NAMIC, Ms. Powell has taken an active role in efforts to celebrate and enhance diversity in the corporate workplace and workforce. Ms. Powell serves on the Boards of Directors of PowerMyLearning, which has as its core mission the use of technology and creation of partnerships among parents, teachers and children to enhance and enrich the learning experience and the Food Education Fund, which supports Food and Finance High School, the only New York City public school providing students with a comprehensive culinary education. She is a mentor to several young women and men throughout the New York metropolitan area, including high school, college and law school students, as well as junior lawyers.
Bonnie Chong is a seasoned, legal executive with over 15 years of experience handling commercial and litigation matters in private practice and within a corporate setting. She is currently Assistant General Counsel at Draeger, Inc., a global leader in the fields of medical devices and safety technology based in Luebeck, Germany.
At Draeger, she advises the company on a wide range of legal and compliance matters to achieve the highest business objectives while minimizing risks, manages outside counsel handling of products and commercial litigation, negotiates and prepares complex contracts for the purchase, sale, and distribution of goods and services, develops and manages a team of legal and compliance professionals to provide competent and effective support, and counsels the business on the design and implementation of enterprise strategies that promote cross-functional collaboration and organizational success.
Prior to joining Draeger, Bonnie was with Sunoco, Inc. (R&M) as a Senior Attorney for the marketing division and several Philadelphia-based law firms. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the George Washington University Law School.
Melissa Sullivan is Associate General Counsel at Ascensus, a technology-enabled solutions provider that helps more than 7 million Americans save for retirement, college, and healthcare. She is the lead counsel on legal matters for Ascensus’ retirement business, providing guidance on risk management, data privacy, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, employment, and compliance.
Prior to joining Ascensus, Melissa worked as an associate at Lowenstein Sandler, specializing in private M&A and technology start-ups. She received a degree in English from Rutgers University and her law degree from Boston University, where she served as an editor of the International Lew Review. Melissa is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.
Erin M. Dunston is the Biotechnology practice group leader of the firm's Intellectual Property section and a member of the firm's Associates Committee. She focuses on inter partes reviews, interferences, district court litigation, opinions, and prosecution — primarily in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. Her litigation practice includes classic infringement and declaratory judgment cases, as well as Paragraph IV cases.
In 2014, 2015, and 2016, Erin was recognized in IAM’s Patent 1000 list – the best-in-class listing of patent prosecution, licensing, and litigation practitioners and as an IP Star by Managing Intellectual Property. From 2014 to 2016, Erin has been named a Leading Intellectual Property Lawyer by Chambers USA. Erin also received Lawyer Monthly’s Women in Law 2016 Award for her contributions to the practice of biotechnology law.
Erin has assisted in more than 40 interferences before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. As a result, she is knowledgeable on all phases of interference work, ranging from pre-request analyses to preparation for and participation at final hearings and subsequent appeals to the Federal Circuit.
Erin’s significant interference experience before the PTAB serves as a useful backdrop to the America Invents Act post-grant proceedings, including inter partes reviews, post-grant reviews, covered business method patent reviews, and derivation matters. Erin has handled IPRs for both patent owners and petitioners.
In addition to the IPR matters that Erin is working on, she was also a panelist on the inaugural PTAB AIA Roundtable, held on April 15, 2014 at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The panel discussed AIA trial statistics, lessons learned and techniques for successful motions practice. The fact pattern used at that roundtable, and all subsequent PTAB roundtables throughout the country, was initially drafted by Erin for a Pauline Newman Inn of Court meeting titled “Concurrent Post-Grant Proceedings: Dos, Don’ts, and Tips for Creating a Strong Record for Appeal or Civil Action,” where Erin moderated a panel of judges and practitioners. Erin served as a panelist in April of 2016 for a PTO 'Boardside Chat' on the recent rule amendments.
To help to ensure familiarity with current patent practice and to complement her litigation, post-grant, and interference work, Erin maintains a significant patent prosecution docket. Erin has experience in all phases of patent prosecution, from pre-filing investigations and application drafting to appeals to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and Federal Circuit.
Sarah Galbraith currently serves as the Corporate Compliance Manager for Aramark, a publicly traded food, uniforms, and facility services company with nearly $15 billion in revenue. She works with stakeholders across the entire enterprise to establish and reinforce the global policies and procedures that support the company’s ethical culture. Prior to moving into the compliance function, she was Counsel for Aramark, supporting contracts and transactional legal work for multiple lines of business by interacting directly with the teams in the field and corporate leadership.
Prior to that, she was counsel for a group of pharmaceutical packaging manufacturing companies and in private practice with Volpe & Koenig, P.C., an Intellectual Property firm in Philadelphia. She is passionate about connecting her network with leadership and learning opportunities, focusing on cultivating mentorships, and supporting women in technology and law.
Jane Leopold-Leventhal, Esquire serves as general counsel for all Bohler Engineering locations. Bringing more than 27 years of legal experience, Jane began her career as a law clerk to the Honorable Phyllis Beck of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. After her Clerkship, she worked in the Litigation Department of Duane Morris’ Philadelphia office followed by her time as a Litigation Attorney at the law firm of Eastburn & Gray in Doylestown, PA where she became a Partner and served for several years on the firm’s Management Committee. During her tenure with Eastburn & Gray, Jane managed complex commercial transactions, construction litigation, real estate matters, commercial and residential construction litigation and business dealings, while also representing various suppliers in the construction trade and clients within the retail, architectural, and healthcare markets.
After several years as legal counsel to Bohler’s Pennsylvania offices, Jane accepted a position as Bohler’s General Counsel in 2012. Her responsibilities now include the oversight of commercial litigation, contract negotiations, lease negotiations, and employment issues. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania, and her Juris Doctorate from the Temple University School of Law, where she was a staff writer and then editor for The Law Review.
Lisa Detwiler is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of FS Investment Solutions, FS Investments’ wholly owned broker-dealer subsidiary, responsible for both legal and compliance functions.
Prior to joining FS Investment Solutions, Ms. Detwiler served as Senior Managing Counsel of BNY Mellon’s managed account business and General Counsel of Lockwood Advisors, a BNY Mellon subsidiary, and a member of its investment committee. Her prior experience includes serving as a partner at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, LLP, as Chief Counsel of the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and as an attorney at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. She has more than 25 years of experience representing a variety of financial institutions in regulatory, transactional and governance matters.
Ms. Detwiler received her JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she was an executive editor of the Law Review, and her BA cum laude from Mount Holyoke College.
Ms. Detwiler has been active in federal, state and local bar associations, including serving as Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Business Law section and Co-Chair of the Women in the Profession Committee. In 2016 she was recognized with the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Women of Distinction Award. She is also active in her community, serving on numerous civic and charitable boards, currently including the executive leadership team for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, the Board of Directors of The Forum of Executive Women, the Board of Directors of Philadelphia VIP, and as a Trustee of Westover School
Leigh-Ann Durant is a senior legal and business executive with over 20 years of experience in the global biopharmaceutical industry, 10 of those years were with a major Boston law firm (partner) and 11 years have been in-house at a fast paced, dynamic global biopharma company.
Leigh-Ann currently oversees the day-to-day legal affairs for all US research, development and medical activities for EMD Serono, Inc., the US division of world’s oldest chemical and pharmaceutical company, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. She has demonstrated expertise in oversight, provision and management of legal services to global clients, turning legal strategy into business action, analytical problem solving, strategic thinking, corporate governance, commercial and corporate transactions, legal and regulatory compliance, risk mitigation, business operations, and executive leadership and management skills.
Prior to going in-house, Leigh-Ann was a Partner at Nixon Peabody, LLP, where she was responsible for complex commercial litigation, healthcare litigation, medical privacy issues, FDA issues, HIPAA and regulatory compliance for companies in the health care, pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology sectors. She also successfully litigated various high profile cases, including the first medical privacy class action case in Massachusetts.
Leigh-Ann has a lengthy history of service to and leadership on women’s issues and civil rights. Leigh-Ann currently serves as the Massachusetts Delegate and Board Member to the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (“NCWBA”). She served as the Chair of the NCWBA’s 2014 National Gender Equity Summit, and has served as its Chair of Awards Committee for the past three years.
She also serves on the NCWBA’s Guys Overcoming Obstacles to Diversity (“GOOD”) Guys Committee which leads programs designed to break the impasse in women’s advancement by engaging people who have been missing from the conversation for too long – the GUYS! The GOOD Guys program presents the financial case for diversity and inclusion and provides up-to-date information about bias interrupters.
Leigh-Ann was the 2001-2002 President of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, one of the largest and most influential women's bars in the country. One of the signature initiatives of her Presidency was passage of the Massachusetts Contraceptive Coverage Bill. She served on the WBA’s Board of Directors for over 16 years. She also served on numerous WBA committees including as Chair of its In-House Counsel Committee, its Leadership Initiative Task Force, its Law Firm Advancement Committee, Pro Bono Committee, Publication Committee and Gala Chair, its Emeritus Board, and as a mentor on the WBA’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. For a number of years, Leigh-Ann served on the Board of the Woman’s Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the WBA.
While at Nixon Peabody, she founded, developed and implemented the Nixon Peabody’s Women’s Initiative, leading the program and developing curriculum to provide business development and advancement skills to women lawyers at the law firm.
Leigh-Ann also served on the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP) Steering Committee for Governor Mitt Romney, a group whose purpose was to increase the number of women appointed by the Governor to senior-level cabinet positions, agency heads and selected authorities and commissions in the Commonwealth. This Committee provided Governor Romney with the infamous “binders of women” for potential Gubernatorial appointments.
Leigh-Ann is a Charter Member of the National Women’s History Museum in Washington, D.C. The Museum researches, collects and exhibits the contributions of women to the social, cultural, economic and political life of our nation in a context of world history.
Leigh-Ann was a speaker at the 2008 Gender Equity Conference and has spoken numerous times at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference.
She served on the Executive Committee of the Boston Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights and on its Board of Directors for a number of years. In 2009, the Lawyer’s Committee awarded her its Outstanding Civil Rights Leadership Award. In 2007, the Supreme Judicial Court awarded her the Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards.
The Honorable Phyllis W. Beck has served as the Chair of the Independence Foundation, a philanthropic organization investing in people and programs that enrich the life experiences of the residents of the Philadelphia area, since 1993. It is one of the many roles in which Judge Beck has dedicated her life and career to serving the people of Philadelphia.
After graduating first in her class from Temple Law School, where she studied in the evening division, Judge Beck worked in the private sector for several years before returning to Temple as a member of the faculty. She later served as Vice Dean at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She left that post in 1981 to become the first woman to serve on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania since the court’s founding in 1896. After retiring from the Court in 2006, Judge Beck took on several public roles, including service as general counsel of the Barnes Foundation, chair of the advisory board of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, an Appellate Master for the Chester Housing Authority, and mediator for the Superior Court and in asbestos cases for the First Judicial District. She currently serves as the vice-chair of the Ethics Board of the City of Philadelphia.
Judge Beck is an active and generous member of the Temple Law community. In addition to establishing the Beck Chair in Law, Judge Beck is a member of the Temple Law School Board of Visitors and a 2003 recipient of the Temple Law Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Award.
She is the recipient of numerous other awards and honors as well, including a 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Legal Intelligencer, the 2005 Sandra Day O’Connor Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the 1997 Anne X. Alpern Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. In 2000, she was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania by then-Governor Tom Ridge.
Linda Shi is the General Counsel and head of compliance at Red Spark, LP, a diversified digital media and technology company based in Philadelphia, as well as its affiliated entities. In this role, she serves as chief legal counsel and an executive team member of the organization, with her practice focusing on technology, privacy, and intellectual property law issues. In addition to her legal function, she also holds significant operational and management responsibilities. She was recently recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal with its 2016 Women of Distinction Award, and its 2015 Top Corporate Counsel Award for her advisory work. She is also a recipient of the Penn Law Women's Summit Rising Star Award.
An engineering as well as a lawyer by training, Linda is the co-founder of Noria Technologies, a Philadelphia-based consumer product company in the process of bringing to market an innovative compact window AC. Prior to joining Red Spark, she served as the assistant general counsel of IP for an international business software and services company, and prior to that, as an intellectual property associate with a premier intellectual property boutique law firm.
Linda received dual degrees in Mechanical Engineering and English from Rutgers University, and her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as an editor of the Law Review. She is a registered patent attorney with the USPTO, and licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Linda takes an active part in the startup community and various bar associations, and is a frequent speaker on issues of diversity and inclusiveness.
Monique Ferraro provides legal and technical expertise in support of cyber efforts undertaken by Munich Re's U.S. Property & Casualty Operations. She is Counsel in the Cyber & Privacy Practice at Harford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. Ms. Ferraro's cybersecurity and privacy experience spans more than twenty-five years in digital forensics, ediscovery, information security and privacy. Ms. Ferraro holds a master’s degree, and a JD. She is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), a Fellow of Information Privacy, Certified Information Privacy Professional/US (CIPP/US) and Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM).
Alison Lazerwitz has over twenty five years’ experience with international legal issues, including leading compliance functions, and the development of international corporate integrity initiatives.
Alison began her career in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a litigator with the law firm, Duane Morris. She then worked in the in-house legal departments of ARAMARK and the Wood Company in the U.S., where she was the company’s General Counsel, reporting to the CEO and to the Board of Directors. In 2002 Alison left the US and spent nine years in Paris working for Sodexo, the international leader in outsourced services. Alison was first the Chief Legal Officer for Sodexo and then the Senior Vice President for International Development. In 2010, Alison joined Swarovski as Executive Vice President and General Counsel.
Alison is a member of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future. Alison’s hobbies include exploring the countryside, different cultures, art, ballet, opera and food.