Kavita Bhalla is Counsel for Allstate Insurance Company, where she works on the Insurance Operations Team. She supports the enterprise on legal matters pertaining to Independent Agents, the Call Centers and the Southwest states. Prior to working in-house, Kavita litigated for a private firm, and then for Allstate. Kavita obtained her bachelor’s at St. Mary’s University, where she went on to complete her JD and MPA degrees.
Mehgan Wichuk has steadily amassed legal skills and an in-depth understanding of the oil industry while working her way up the ranks as in-house counsel for some the largest and most well-known companies in the field.
Utilizing the in-the-trenches legal experience she gained during her early years in private practice, Wichuk went on to serve as GeoMarket Attorney for Schlumberger Technology Corporation. As one of only two attorneys responsible for the United States, Wichuk played a critical role in shaping the policies and procedures in the GeoMarket.
Following this experience, Wichuk went on to serve as Corporate Counsel for Global Geophysical Services, Inc., where she was the senior attorney responsible for worldwide seismic acquisition and processing operations totaling over $350 million in annual revenue.
Wichuk then served as Senior Division Counsel for Trican Well Service where she managed legal risk for the U.S. division of Trican. In addition to negotiating critical agreements and managing domestic litigation, she also oversaw and coordinated Trican’s $200 million sale of its U.S. assets in 2016.
Following the sale, Wichuk served as General Counsel for Seadrill Americas, a world leader in offshore drilling. Wichuk was then recruited as the General Counsel and CCO for Gyrodata Incorporated, an industry-leader in wellbore placement technology. It was in this role Wichuk expanded her skill set by managing all legal and compliance matters globally for Gyrodata, a company with operations in nearly 40 countries.
Wichuk can draw upon her significant experience in litigation, contracts, employment law, compliance matters and corporate governance – all of which she will use in her current, and most impressive, role as SVP, General Counsel and CCO for Trillium Flow Technologies, a designer and manufacture of valves and pumps for power, oil & gas and industrial sectors.
Lucy Gustavus is Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Mortgage Operations at PennyMac Financial Services, Inc. and has over 23 years of experience in the mortgage industry. At PennyMac, Lucy provides legal support to the Servicing Division and is a member of the company’s wEMRG women’s mentoring and leadership program.
Prior to joining PennyMac in 2018, Lucy worked at Mr. Cooper as Vice President and Associate General Counsel, where she supported mortgage servicing and fair lending and actively participated on its Diversity and Inclusion’s Committee. Prior to that, Lucy was Senior Compliance Officer of Fair Lending and Privacy at Citi, where she also assisted with winding down the US operations of Mexican affiliate Banamex. She joined Citi from Bank of America, where Lucy was Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel and provided default servicing support for over six years during the height of the financial crisis, having joined the Bank through its merger with Countrywide Financial where she also supported default servicing.
Lucy began her career in the industry as a law clerk and associate attorney at Wilson and Associates, PLLC in Little Rock, Arkansas representing a multitude of mortgage servicing shops in contested foreclosures, evictions and bankruptcies. Lucy received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is licensed to practice law in Texas and Arkansas. Having attended and graduated from the first desegregated school in the south - Little Rock Central High School - Lucy has always known and directly understood importance of inclusion and belonging.
Greta Ravitsky is a Partner in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the Houston office of Epstein Becker Green.
Greta has significant experience representing and counseling employers in a variety of labor and employment matters arising under federal and state laws, including Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and Section 1981. With a strong focus on human capital development, retention and legal risk exposure management, Greta provides well-tailored advice on all facets of the employment relationship, from pre-employment considerations and hiring to terminations and post-employment restrictions, including background checks and drug testing, restrictive covenants, leaves of absences, religious and disability accommodations, wage and hour compliance, and workplace investigations. Her broad industry experience includes financial services and private equity, food and beverage, oil and gas, healthcare, and retail, among others.
Greta earned her B.A. in Political Sciences from Columbia University, and J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City. She is admitted to practice law in Texas and New York.
Since moving to Houston in 2006, Greta has been actively engaged in a number of professional and community organizations, including the Houston Bar Association, Association of Attorney-Mediators, and the Anti-Defamation League. Greta is an active member of the Columbia Alumni Association, and has served on the Board of Trustees of Congregation Emanu El in Houston since 2014.
Greta balances her legal practice and professional and community involvement, with raising her two wonderful (and strong-willed) daughters, who are 9 and 11.
Melodie Craft is a VP of Legal Affairs & Risk Management and Corporate Secretary at for a publicly traded national portfolio company. In addition to her J.D. she has a Masters in Human Resources, Certificate in Strategic Decision Making and Risk Management from Stanford and a Certificate in Global Business through Yale. Prior to moving in-house, Melodie worked for large national law firms for 20+ years and was last an equity partner at a large national firm out of its Dallas, TX office. Diversity is a long-time area that Melodie has enjoyed working in—she has previously spoken at national diversity conferences, conducted extensive diversity trainings and advises companies on their diversity programs, served on diversity committees for local civic organizations, and is currently on the Diversity Committee for the National Association of Women Lawyers as well as the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Committee for the Corporate Counsel Section of the State Bar of Texas.
Courteney Harris is the Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development for the UNT Dallas College of Law. She is a second career attorney. Immediately following her undergraduate education, she worked as a Legislative Assistant in the Texas House of Representatives. Courteney practiced law for 10 years. As an Assistant Attorney General, she worked in the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Subsequent to that experience, she worked as a Tax Attorney for a Texas school district. Courteney recognizes the value of leadership development and building relationships. Since relocating from Houston to Dallas to open UNT Dallas College of Law, she has been a member of the Dallas Bar Association, completed the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Leadership Dallas program and participated in other leadership and relationship development programs and committees.
In her work as both a committee member and current co-chair of the State Bar of Texas – Texas Minority Council Program (“TMCP”), she has developed professional relationships with attorneys throughout Texas. Her multifaceted pre- and post- attorney professional experiences allowed Courteney to develop summer legal experiences for law students and post graduate employment opportunities for alumni.
Courteney graduated from Xavier University of New Orleans with a B.A. in English. She earned her M.P.A. and J.D. from Texas Southern University.
Allyson N. Ho is a partner in the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and co-chair of the Firm’s nationwide Appellate and Constitutional Law practice group.
Mrs. Ho is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most accomplished appellate litigators. She has presented over 60 oral arguments in federal and state courts nationwide, including multiple high-stakes cases on behalf of business before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Her most significant winning arguments include a U.S. Supreme Court reversal worth billions of dollars for unionized employers in the Sixth Circuit; a U.S. Supreme Court reversal limiting the power of federal regulators; a multi-billion dollar environmental win in the Fifth Circuit; a multi-billion dollar commercial victory for the founder of a technology company in the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court; a billion dollar environmental win in the Houston Court of Appeals; a nine-figure commercial victory in the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals; and a nine-figure arbitration win in the Fifth Circuit.
Among her numerous accolades, Chambers has named her one of the nation’s top appellate lawyers every year for the past nine consecutive years (2012-20)—a record unmatched by (and far exceeding) any other appellate litigator in Texas. She is also routinely named as a leading appellate lawyer by Benchmark, The Best Lawyers in America®, The Legal 500, Texas Super Lawyers, and D Magazine.
Mrs. Ho has also received the Gregory S. Coleman Outstanding Appellate Lawyer Award (Texas Bar Foundation, June 22, 2018), been named a “Distinguished Leader” (Texas Lawyer, Sep. 1, 2017) and “Appellate MVP” (Law360, Nov. 23, 2015), and been recognized on the “Appellate Hot List” (National Law Journal, Nov. 16, 2015). In addition, she has been profiled in “Litigators of the Week” (The American Lawyer, May 8, 2020), “Litigation Powerhouse” (Law360, Aug. 10, 2016), “Supreme Court Insider” (National Law Journal, July 21, 2016), “Supreme Court Specialists, Mostly Male, Dominated Arguments This Term” (National Law Journal, May 11, 2016), “Attorney of the Year Finalist” (Texas Lawyer, Nov. 2, 2015), “Litigation Department of the Year” (Texas Lawyer, June 1, 2015), “Employment Group of the Year” (Law360, Jan. 13, 2015), “A Supreme Month: Lawyer Credits Preparedness in Ability to Argue Two U.S. High Court Cases in Three Weeks” (Texas Lawyer, Dec. 8, 2014), “High Court Debuts for Two Lawyers” (National Law Journal, Nov. 3, 2014), “Women in Business Awards” (Dallas Business Journal, Aug 29, 2014), “Litigation Departments of the Year” (Texas Lawyer, June 2, 2014), “Winning Women” (Texas Lawyer, Aug. 22, 2011), and “High court practitioners: increasingly diverse” (National Law Journal, June 6, 2011).
Ashley is Assistant Vice President & Associate In-House Counsel at Methodist Health System. She earned her undergraduate degree from Rice University and her law degree from SMU Dedman School of Law. Having a strong desire to go in-house right out of law school, during law school, Ashley interned with 7 different in-house departments before going in-house. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys committing her time to mentoring law school students and promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives through various organizations like the Diversity Attorney Pipeline Program and the Dallas Asian American Bar Association, where she currently serves as Secretary and has previously served as various Committee chairs. Outside of DAABA, Ashley enjoys snowboarding, wedding coordinating, and traveling (which because of the pandemic has been replaced with lots of baking of random desserts and gaining quarantine-15).
Kara Altenbaumer-Price is a securities litigator turned executive risk insurance broker. After seven years practicing law at Hughes & Luce and Andrews Kurth in Dallas, Kara decided to take a short detour to the world of executive risk consulting and insurance while she expanded her family. That detour has now lasted more than a decade and become a new career. After leaving law practice, she spent almost ten years at USI Southwest where she led the Executive & Professional Services practice. As team lead, she personally handled many of the group’s more-challenging clients, such as those with tough balance sheets, claims history, new IPOs, and hard-to-place industry classes. In late 2019, on the eve of a worldwide pandemic that forced everyone to resort to videoconferencing, she decided to enter into sales, joining insurance broker McGriff as a producer. Between her insurance brokerage career and prior legal practice, she has developed a unique expertise in management liability insurance with a keen understanding of how to marry coverage terms with how management liability insurance ultimately gets utilized by companies. She is cum laude graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and a summa cum laude graduate of Texas Tech School of Law. Kara offices in Dallas.
Andrea M. Palmer is the Director of Coverage & Litigation at Higginbotham in Fort Worth, Texas. Andrea graduated with a B.A. in history from the University of Texas and cum laude from Baylor School of Law, which she attended on a full academic scholarship.
After law school, Andrea spent five years litigating with the law firm of Anderson & Riddle, LLP, in Fort Worth, Texas. Andrea represented pilots, manufacturers, MROs/FBOs, and common carriers in state and federal court throughout the United States. In 2018, Andrea joined Higginbotham, where she serves a dual role. Andrea provides in-house legal services to Higginbotham, as well as contract review, coverage analysis, and escalated claims handling to the firm’s clients, in addition to overseeing all aviation matters.
Kim brings more than 13 years of competition and anti-corruption compliance expertise in global businesses across industries, including several years of international operations experience in Asia and Europe. She has a proven track record of managing and defending complex legal and compliance matters spanning several geographies, advocating in front of regulators around the globe, implementing risk mitigation strategies throughout functions and businesses, leading and building legal and compliance teams, and driving solutions in partnership with the business.
Kim currently leads the Kimberly-Clark Global Competition and Anti-Corruption Compliance programs and partners with leaders at all levels of the organization to ensure compliance with global laws and regulations. Prior to her role at Kimberly-Clark, Kim was the Assistant General Counsel – Compliance at A. O. Smith Corporation, a Fortune 500 water heater manufacturing leader, where she built and lead the global ethics and compliance program. Prior to A. O. Smith Corporation, Kim was an established competition lawyer at Howrey, LLP, and later on Baker Botts, LLP, in Washington, D.C.
Kim holds a Masters in Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate from West Virginia University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan.
Skyla Banks is commercial counsel in the Plano office of Amdocs, Inc., which specializes in software and services for communications, media and financial services providers and digital enterprises. She enjoys a diverse practice of technology, data privacy and security, intellectual property, and commercial negotiations.
Before practicing law, she earned her B.A. in Economics from Howard University and a J.D. from Southern University Law Center, where she served as Executive Editor of the Journal of Race, Gender and Poverty. Following law school, Skyla began practicing in the cyber security industry where was in-house counsel for various technology companies.
Skyla contributes a substantial amount of time advising business clients on the risks associated with technology and ever-changing data privacy laws. She has written multiple articles on data privacy concerns, specifically the impact of cross border data transfers on businesses, and the impact of the GDPR on day-to-day business operations. Skyla serves as a board member to Barristers Who Brunch, a legal organization committed to the development of Black women attorneys throughout the state of Texas and the United States. She also advises non-profit organizations in Dallas focused on educating and developing girls within the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis. Skyla is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and enjoys serving as a change agent to change the narrative of Black women in technology.
Jennifer DeBoy is a native Texan. She graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Dallas and went on to study law at Southern Methodist University. She focused her studies on international tax, consumer, and intellectual property law. She also clerked at a mid-size international tax firm, a boutique estate planning firm, and the Federal Trade Commission while in law school. She went straight in-house at Copart, Inc., the top performer on Deloitte’s Exceptional 100 Companies list. She then worked at EZCORP, Inc. as Associate General Counsel. She gained omni-channel experience at KidKraft, Inc. and is now at T-Mobile USA, Inc. She has two young children who make her laugh (or sometimes cry) and when time permits, she travels with her husband or sneaks in an early morning run.
Noah F. Webster has served as Chief Legal & Compliance Officer for Zix Corp. since June 2018. He has been advised and supported throughout his career by a diverse network of colleagues and is eager to share his experiences.
Prior to Zix, Mr. Webster worked for eight years at BlackBerry, where he covered various legal areas including privacy, anticorruption legal compliance, M&A, and patent litigation. Mr. Webster worked for Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, where he represented and advised clients in patent litigations, trademark infringement and general intellectual property matters. Mr. Webster earned his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and clerked with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and the High Court of American Samoa. He began his career serving as a U.S. Army Engineer Officer. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, where he earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. He also holds certification as a Leading Professional in Ethics & Compliance.
John Henrich has been General Counsel and Secretary of Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc. since June 2019. Mr. Henrich has held various senior level positions with the Sally since January 2012. Prior to joining the Sally, Mr. Henrich was Senior Counsel at Accor Hospitality. Mr. Henrich received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and his B.A. from Columbia University in the City of New York.
Percy Freeman Jr. joined SRS Distribution as the Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager in 2021. At SRS, Percy is driving change with allies across a rapidly growing company focused on being better today than they were yesterday.
Prior to SRS, Percy worked in the financial services industry for 15 years. For the majority of those years, he worked as a licensed investment advisor. However, Percy's passion for people and desire to create large-scale change led him to human resources, where he served as a diversity, equity, and inclusion leader. Percy specialized in talent management, organizational development, training, recruiting, and performance management to create positive organizational change. Percy has successfully developed and implemented strategic diversity initiatives that improve workforce diversity and awareness, thereby creating an inclusive environment.
If you ask Percy, he will tell that his entire world revolves around the two P's! Percy(6) and Penelope(2) are his true north. He hopes to instill the best in them, provide the best for them, and ensure they are New Orleans Saints fans! Percy is quite proud of being from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Eric is a Technology executive with expertise in general management, customer programs delivery, sales and business development. He is experienced in creating strategies within multi-national companies and implementing with specific core competencies and operational excellence. Eric specializes in organizational and people development, increasing profitability, cost containment and managing growth in complex environments and emerging markets. Eric currently serves as Genesys’ Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion officer and formerly led Genesys’ Global Professional Services organization delivering over $1BUS in worldwide software solutions.
Prior to his current role, Eric served in multiple leadership roles at Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson, including the Program Executive of the largest global customer for Alcatel-Lucent’s Enterprise Business Group and the Vice President of Ericsson’s transformation office driving the company’s transition to Agile software delivery methods.
Eric co-founded, led and sat on the board of three different non-profit organizations across various Dallas-Fort Worth communities. These non-profits focused on the mentoring of African-American males ages 12-18 residing in underserved cities. The organizations also support various community-based activities including Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, the Collin County Boys & Girls Club and scholarship fund-raising for local high-school graduating seniors. Eric also supported the founding of the Collin County branch of the NAACP and remains an active member.
While at Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson, Eric led and co-founded both companies’ African-American employee resource groups (ERG). The ERGs brought a central leadership focus on the challenges unique to African-Americans in the corporate environment, highlighting challenges with the recruitment and promoting of African-American talent. Through the ERG groups, partnerships were forged with the business leaders, talent management and talent acquisition groups to establish new recruitment pipelines and more focus on the talent development of the African-American employee base. The partnerships helped forge relationships with Historically Black Colleges & Universities for recruitment and a version of the “Rooney Rule” as part of the selection process for appointing executive roles at Ericsson.
He holds a bachelor’s in Business and a master’s degree in Business Administration. He has been married to his wife Sherasa for 24 years. He and Sherasa have two children: their daughter Zharia, a graduate of Spelman College and their son Miles who is a Junior at Howard University. Eric enjoys music, physical training, spending time with his family and close friends and giving back to the community through volunteer activities.
Meyling “Mey” Ly Ortiz is Managing Counsel of Employment & Labor at Toyota Motor North America, where she provides advice & counsel, works on strategic company initiatives, conducts training and manages litigation. Prior to Toyota, she practiced in the Dallas office of Littler Mendelson, P.C., where she was named D Magazine’s Best Lawyers in employment law, Rising Star in Employment and Labor Law by Super Lawyers Magazine and made the Hot List of Lawyers of Color, Inc. Prior to Littler, Mey began her legal career at Wolf & Henderson, a small business litigation firm, where she first-chaired hearings and bench trials, second-chaired jury trials, and prepared appellate briefs.
Mey received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications from Texas A&M University, where she graduated with honors. She also graduated with honors from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. A self-proclaimed moot court geek, Mey was a finalist in the Wagner National Labor & Employment Law Moot Court and continues to coach moot court at SMU today. Mey is also active in the legal community and has held several leadership positions in local bar associations, including president of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers in 2014.
She is the proud wife of a Navy veteran, who she met in a running store. She has completed 6 marathons, 21 half-marathons, 3 sprint triathlons, and 1 Olympic distance triathlon, but since having two toddlers, in addition to her Pitbull, her “free time” is spent listening to books on Audible or on her Peloton bike or tread.
Tanya L. Boyle advises investment companies, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), interval funds, closed-end funds, and other financial services industry clients on the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and FINRA regulations.
Tanya’s representation of investment companies has included advice on formation and continued operations, including exemptive relief from the SEC in connection with various matters arising under the Investment Company Act of 1940. She also has experience on a breadth of transactions, including mutual fund reorganizations and mergers and hedge fund conversions to mutual funds and has advised on a broad range of investments, including derivative products and other alternative investments.
Tanya also counsels investment company boards of directors, private funds, and investment advisers. She advises on structuring, formation and continued operations both to domestic and offshore private investment vehicles, including hedge funds and private equity funds, among others.
Tanya’s in-house experience includes serving as lead counsel for registration matters for a large investment management, insurance products, and financial services company with more than 160 registered mutual funds and $49 billion in assets under management.
Michelle Carey Jones is an Associate General Counsel in the Global Transactions and Compliance group for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Ft. Worth, Texas. In this role, Michelle provides legal support for international transactions and legal compliance. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin in 2018, Michelle served as General Counsel for Wells Fargo Rail Corporation, an $8 billion railcar leasing company, NCH Marketing Services, Inc., an international coupon clearing and settlement company of over $4 billion in coupons annually, and Trinity Rail Group, Inc., a $2 billion international railcar manufacturing and leasing company. Michelle has a law firm background as an international commercial and employment litigator at Donovan, Leisure and Orrick. Michelle was a Phi Beta Kappa and received her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and B.A. in Economics/Business from UCLA. Michelle is involved in various charities, including Attorneys Serving the Community and Taste Community Project. Michelle is married to a Welsh rock climber and engineer, Peter Jones, and has two children, Kailey and Will, as well as her rescue dog, Sierra. She enjoys hiking, working out, travelling, food and wine and reading.
Meghan has over 15 years of experience as an entertainment, media, sports and marketing attorney and has worked for name brands such as the National Football League, Universal Studios, and Match Group. She has worked on transactions ranging from the creation of Harry Potter World, to the Super Bowl and implementing the new NFL officiating instant replay system. Meghan currently is responsible for marketing and advertising deals related to the promotion of various dating apps including Match, Hinge, OkCupid, PlentyofFish and more! She serves on the board of the Sports Section of the American Bar Association and dedicates her spare time to children's literacy causes.
Debera W. Hepburn, Esq., is a Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Goldman Sachs, focusing on Intellectual Property. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Debera was an attorney at JC Penney (where she focused on Corporate Compliance and Intellectual Property), FTS International (where she focused on Corporate Compliance and Intellectual Property), and the law firm of Sidley Austin (where she focused on litigation and transactional Intellectual Property). She received her law degree from the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University. Before then, she worked as a finance analyst at Frito Lay after earning her MBA from the University of Notre Dame and as a products research and development engineer at Procter & Gamble after earning her Chemical Engineering degree from Purdue University. Debera has been active in various organizations, including the Board of Directors of the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Honorable Barbara M.G. Lynn Inn of Court for Intellectual Property attorneys, the NEW Roundtable, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, alumni clubs at her alma maters, and various veteran legal aid clinics.
Brooke has over 20 years of experience helping companies through high-urgency regulatory investigations and the complexities of financial and accounting processes and controls improvement, concurrently identifying areas for cost reduction and increased compliance. Brooke has led and reported on multiple matters involving the U.S. Department of Justice, SEC, and FBI. She is an expert in project management, process improvement, controls integration, forensic accounting investigation, compliance remediation, and intellectual property litigation matters. With professional certifications in compliance, fraud, money laundering, valuation, and forensic analytics, Brooke offers her clients innovative solutions through automation and analytics while considering their business models and operational strategies. She has published multiple articles and been a speaker on topics of corporate compliance and governance, and the FCPA. She holds a B.S. in Finance with Honors from Virginia Tech.