Ms. Nicholson is Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of Ciner Resource Partners LLC, an Atlanta based soda ash producing company that has operations in Green River, Wyoming. She was most recently Deputy General Counsel, and before that she served as Senior Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary of Ciner from November 2017 until September 2019. Throughout Ms. Nicholson’s tenure with the company she has been instrumental in overseeing its legal, compliance and corporate governance functions. Prior to joining Ciner, Ms. Nicholson served as Director & Senior Corporate Counsel at LexisNexis Risk Solutions where she worked from April 2013 until November 2017. From May 2010 through April 2013 she was counsel for CDC Corporation. She began her practice in the Mergers & Acquisitions group at Jones Day where she worked from September 2007 through April 2010. Ms. Nicholson earned a Juris Doctor from Cornell Law School and a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the Pennsylvania State University.
Elizabeth Hill is an Associate General Counsel of Hibbett Sporting Goods. Prior to working at Hibbett Sporting Goods, she was an Associate Attorney at Carr Allison. Elizabeth received her J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law at the Samford University and her Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
Ashna Zaheer is Assistant Corporate Secretary and Securities Counsel for The Coca-Cola Company, the world’s largest nonalcoholic beverage company. She is responsible for providing legal counsel to the Company on matters of corporate governance, public company disclosure and securities law compliance, as well as planning for the Board of Directors and Board Committee meetings. Ashna joined The Coca-Cola Company in 2017 and was elected as an officer of the Company in 2019.
Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Ashna was a corporate attorney at Jones Day, a leading international law firm, with a practice focused on capital markets transactions, securities and corporate governance for public companies.
Ashna received her Bachelor of Arts and Science, magna cum laude, from Vanderbilt University and her Juris Doctor, summa cum laude, from Notre Dame Law School.
Chris Gantt-Sorenson is a highly effective trial lawyer who concentrates in employment defense litigation. Chris chairs Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd's Employment Law practice group and is a frequent contributor to the group's SCEmployersBlog.
She defends employers in employment related claims and litigation, particularly Title VII litigation, in venues from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. She also provides advice and counsel to human resource professionals and employers on issues that arise daily, particularly in the areas of FMLA, ADA, ACA, FLSA and general employment law matters. Chris defends employee benefit plan administrators and fiduciaries in Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) cases brought pursuant to life and disability policies. She presents regularly on employment law issues and provides management and employee training.
She has tried more than 50 cases to verdict in state and federal courts throughout South Carolina and has represented employers in federal employment litigations as first chair in over 200 filed cases in the last 10 years.
Chris began her legal career defending product liability defendants, representing Ford Motor Company and other manufacturers in products liability and product defect cases in courts across the state. She has also overseen a team of associates in defending a national retailer in personal injury litigation in South Carolina.
Notably, Chris had a 100% conviction rate in prosecuting drug king-pin cases for the State Grand Jury Division of the Attorney General’s Office from 1993 to 1997. Chris was an attorney with a large regional law firm from 1991-1993.
Natasha has a robust litigation and regulatory practice representing financial institutions, broker-dealers, and investment advisers against consumers and government regulators in federal and state courts. Her experience allows her to comprehend and navigate the complexities of the financial and regulatory landscape and reach the optimal outcome for the client. She has represented the world’s largest broker-dealers and currently serves as outside regulatory counsel to one of the nation’s leading broker-dealers. While attending Emory University School of Law, Natasha worked as a Corporate Counsel extern with The Coca-Cola Company, servicing its North America business unit.Natasha currently serves on the Board of the Pipeline to Practice Foundation and is the Chair-Elect of the American Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division Litigation Committee. In 2019, the National Black Lawyers named Natasha as a Top 40 under 40 Lawyer.
J. Henderson Gaines III has been a corporate attorney for more than 20 years, cultivating legal experience ranging from mergers and acquisitions and finance early in his legal career to fintech and telecommunications for the majority of the last 15 years. After graduating from Morehouse College and New York University School of Law, John practiced corporate law in the New York office of Paul, Weiss before returning home to Georgia and working at Alston and Bird and Morris, Manning and Martin before ultimately heading inhouse with Verizon for more than a decade as an Assistant General Counsel. John currently specializes in the human capital management industry as counsel with ADP.
LaChandra Pye is General Counsel and Vice President for Caduceus. She serves as primary legal counsel to senior management, heads the company's Legal Department, and ensures that Caduceus is compliant with federal, state, and local regulations. In addition, Ms. Pye guides Caduceus through emergent issues within the specialties of labor and employment, the Federal Acquisition Regulations, and corporate compliance. She ensures that the company operates according to the highest ethical standards.
Ms. Pye worked in the government sector and in private practice, prior to joining Caduceus. Her background includes labor and employment law, real estate acquisition, transactional law, and regulatory compliance. She is a seasoned negotiator within government contracting industry and the private sector.
Ms. Pye is a talented and sought-after speaker on a variety of topics. She has spoken on numerous panels, has served on various committees and executive boards, and has been an active volunteer with several non-profit and civic organizations. Ms. Pye is a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel, the American Bar Association, the Gate City Bar Association, and the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.
Ms. Pye holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Dillard University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law.
Kristi D. A. Matthews, Esq. is Senior Labor and Employment Counsel with Newell Brands headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, where she provides employment advice and counsel for the company’s global operations of several brand portfolios. She also serves as a member of the company’s Ethics and Compliance team. Matthews is responsible for the management of employment legal matters, including compensation, wage and hour, non-compete agreements, investigations, and other labor and employment advice and litigation management. Ms. Matthews has tried several cases in the United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, receiving unanimous defense verdicts and has appeared in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, successfully defending her client in a case involving employee use of social media and the First Amendment.
Ms. Matthews is a 2006 graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. She earned her BA in Political Science and Theatre from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA in 2001. She was a recipient of the 2002-2003 Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Fellowship. As a Rotary Fellow, Ms. Matthews studied at the University of Leeds in Leeds, England where she received her MA in International Politics in 2003.
During her law school career, Matthews interned as an in-house counsel summer associate with the Occidental Petroleum Corporation. She was also selected to be a judicial extern for the Honorable George P. Schiavelli, in the U.S. District Court of Southern California. Mathews has also served in many leadership roles during her law school career. She was elected board member to the Student Bar Association, and a director to the Graduate Student Association at UCLA. Matthews was also elected by her peers to serve as the Western Regional Chair for the National Board of the Black Law Students Association. Ms. Matthews has received several awards for her distinguished legal career, including NBA Top 40 under 40 Lawyers and is a member of LEAD Atlanta 2012 Class.
Ms. Matthews is an international speaker, having extensively traveled throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Europe and African continent. Matthews places great value and emphasizes her commitment to community service through mentoring youth and motivational speaking. Matthews’ message is one of personal triumph despite adversity. Matthews motivates audiences to triumph over obstacles and make life-enhancing decisions, like she did, to reach extraordinary goals that may initially seem unattainable. Matthews currently serves on various nonprofit boards and volunteers her time to assist women and children.
Tamika Archer is a Director of Tax at Ocwen Financial Corporation (NYSE: OCN) where she manages the federal and state income, franchise and gross receipts tax audits. Prior to joining Ocwen, Tamika served for over ten years as an Assistant Attorney General with the Virgin Islands Department of Justice, Civil Litigation Division and was the exclusive local tax attorney representing the Virgin Islands on controversy matters, including real property, deficiency and refund income tax matters. She also handled a broad array of complex matters and was the lead trial attorney in a range of litigation matters involving personal injury, wrongful death, police abuse, employment discrimination and termination, sexual harassment and retaliation, breach of contract, and matters involving violation of federal and local election law. Tamika earned a Master of Laws degree in Taxation from Georgetown University and Juris Doctorate from American University, Washington College of Law. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Morgan State University.
Tamika has also partnered with the University of the Virgin Islands, Center for Spirituality and Professionalism to deliver Global Ethics and Integrity training and was a visiting lecturer on professional ethics in the Certified Public Manager’s program. She is a recipient of the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from former Representative Donna M. Christensen for outstanding and invaluable service to the United States Virgin Islands.
Before joining Carter’s in August 2010, Mr. Robinson was a Shareholder in the Atlanta office of Littler Mendelson, P.C. Mr. Robinson represented employers throughout the United States, in state and federal court, on a variety of employment law claims, including discrimination and wage and hour claims. He also gained valuable employment law experience while working for Jackson Lewis LLP. Before moving to Atlanta, Mr. Robinson started his career at the New Orleans, Louisiana-based firm Jones Walker LLP.
In his current role, Mr. Robinson provides business and legal advice on a broad range of global issues, including cybersecurity, privacy, and mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Robinson also oversees the Company’s Ethics and Compliance Program, through which he addresses ethics and compliance issues in the Company’s domestic and international operations. Mr. Robinson also manages investigations of potential ethics or compliance violations and ensures that the program is effective. Additionally, Mr. Robinson has primary responsibility for matters involving regulatory agencies and litigation brought against the Company.
Mr. Robinson routinely volunteers his time for charitable causes, such as serving as a coach for a local inner-city high school mock trial team and serving as Board Chairman for Quality Care for Children, an organization dedicated to ensuring that Georgia’s children have access to quality child care and early learning.
Ronna Ruppelt is Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, as well as Interim Chief Claims Officer, of Good2Go Auto Insurance, which is the parent of several subsidiary insurance carriers. Prior to these roles, she held several executive claims positions, including Vice President of Casualty Claims for National General Insurance, where she managed the casualty strategy, along with the Claims Legal, Complex Litigation, Claims Training and Auditing Departments; Vice President of Claims at AIG Personal Lines; and Director of Claims at Direct General Insurance. Ms. Ruppelt started her in-house career at Progressive, where she worked for just short of 20 years. There, she held a variety of legal, staff counsel and claims management positions. Before that, she was an insurance defense litigator for several years after law school.
Ms. Ruppelt is a licensed attorney in Ohio and Georgia. She is a member of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel and a Fellow with the CLM, where she is on the faculty for Claims College, a past co-chair of the National Committee and a past Georgia state chair. She also is a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel, Defense Research Institute and various bar associations.
She has presented as both a speaker and panelist at many CLM events and several Association of Corporate Counsel annual meetings. Ms. Ruppelt has extensive community involvement experience, including co-chairman of a school levy campaign and a long-time member of the school district’s strategic planning committee. She was also a founding board member of a thriving arts organization.
Ms. Ruppelt received her BS from Kent State University and her JD from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
Melissa Paulk is a Manager of Technology Contracting at Capital One. Prior to working at Capital One, she was a Senior Sourcing Specialist at Bank of America and an IT Sourcing Consulting at Wells Fargo. Melissa is a forward-thinking transactional attorney specializing in drafting and negotiating software licensing SaaS agreements and master services agreements. She is adept at strategizing and advising internal partners of best practices to ensure transactions protect the interest and goals of the organization.
Melissa received her LL.M. in Taxation from the James E. Beasley School of Law at the Temple University and her J.D. from the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of District of Columbia. She also received her B.S. in Architecture from the University of Virginia.
Riane N. Sharp is Business Communications/Intellectual Property Counsel for Change Healthcare, a healthcare information technology company. Riane provides consumer protection and marketing support for Change Healthcare, advising on questions that arise from product offerings and service activities that are regulated by both TCPA and CAN-SPAM. In addition, Riane performs legal review of all draft marketing collateral/business communications including, for example, press releases, product manuals, product flyers, etc., to identify any legal or regulatory concerns, as well as non-compliance with any Change Healthcare policies.
Riane received her law degree in 2017 from the University of Georgia. In 2014, Riane earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business (magna cum laude) from Howard University.
Ashley is the SVP of People & Legal for Modern Luxury Media. After graduating from Emory School of Law, she began her legal career at Ogletree Deakins. She has also worked in the global legal departments of Yum! Brands and McKinsey & Company. She lives in Atlanta but recently spent 2 years living in Sydney, Australia, with her family.
Adriana is an Assistant Vice President-Senior Legal Counsel at AT&T Services, Inc. where she litigates and advises business clients on litigation matters for the Southeastern states. Adriana also advises various Business Units (Real Estate, Marketing) on various case-specific issues. Adriana enjoys helping businesses meet their objectives while minimizing risk and liability. Adriana understands that a critical part of helping clients address litigation and related issues is understanding the client’s business structure, values, and aspirations.
Adriana obtained her Civil Law degree from the Universidad Bicentenaria de Aragua in Venezuela in 2002. Upon graduation she enrolled in the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain where she obtained a Masters in Business Law. After the Universidad de Salamanca, worked as in-house counsel at Alianza, a non-profit committed to saving the Amazon Rainforest. Since coming to the U.S., Adriana has obtained an LLM from the University of Miami in 2005, and a J.D. from the University of Miami in 2008.
Andrea Peters is Senior Counsel for Interface, Inc., a global commercial flooring company (NASDAQ: TILE). In her role, she provides legal support for the company’s global operations, including Procurement, Human Relations, Finance, Technology, Sales, Marketing, and Compliance. She joined the company in 2018. Prior to her time with Interface, Andrea served as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of CAN Capital, a business-to-business financial services company, where she worked for over 9 years providing legal support and guidance to executives and senior managers in all functional departments including Sales, Operations, Marketing, Human Resources, Accounting & Finance, Collections and Risk, and also managed the day-to-day operations of the Georgia office of the Legal Department.
Andrea has over 22 years of legal experience, over two-thirds of which comes from working in-house at companies such as The Weather Channel, General Electric Company and GAMBRO Healthcare. Andrea earned her J.D. from The Vanderbilt University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising from The Pennsylvania State University, where she was the Student Marshall (Valedictorian) for the College of Communications.
Andrea resides in Atlanta with her husband, 6-year old daughter and 22-year old cat. She has gone sky diving twice and has been bungee jumping and ziplining once. She enjoys cooking, wine and travel. When she retires, Andrea plans to go back to college to audit all of the hard but interesting classes without worrying about writing papers or taking exams.
Faith Knight Myers (JD, CIPP/US/EU & CIPM, FIP) is currently the McKesson Privacy Officer and Vice President, Global Privacy at McKesson Corporation, the oldest healthcare company in the United States and a Fortune top ten company.
Faith leads the Privacy Office at McKesson, which is responsible for overseeing enterprise privacy compliance and providing legal advice and counsel to internal clients on data privacy and related issues at the state, federal and international level. Prior to assuming these roles, she served as Chief Counsel, Regulatory Operations, for the technology division of McKesson Corporation, where she provided legal guidance and support on a variety of health care regulatory matters. Faith started her legal career in the Atlanta, Georgia area where she was a member of the Healthcare practice groups at Alston & Bird LLP and Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP. Just prior to joining McKesson, Faith served as an Associate General Counsel at Emory University/Emory Healthcare for six years. Faith is currently on the Board of Directors of the Pro Bono Partnership Atlanta and volunteers to provide legal advice to local non-profits through the same organization. She is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, Corporate Counsel Women of Color and the Marietta-Roswell Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Responsible for leadership, management, hiring, training and staff development of corporate legal teams of up to 100 attorneys and support staff covering a wide range of practice areas including litigation, commercial contracting, product development, employment law and corporate compliance. Legal department budget responsibility of over $5 million annually. Workflow management, auditing document reviews and project management. Implementation and training on corporate compliance policies, procedures and programs.
Strategic Partner to C-level executive leadership in identifying and mitigating risk across all business functions including Sales, Product Development, Finance, Internal Audit, Regulatory Affairs, Risk Management and Human Resources.
Experienced Corporate Counsel delivering comprehensive legal guidance to global organizations. Subject matter expert in drafting agreements, negotiating settlements, court appearances, mediations and hearings. Collaborative Communicator focused on building and strengthening relationships with internal and external stakeholders to drive legal excellence while fostering growth.
Benefits arrangements generally reflect a company's business philosophy, budget constraints and market influences. With this in mind, Vanessa Scott helps employers design competitive benefits packages that comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code and the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Drawing on more than 15 years of experience in employee benefits, Vanessa works with some of the nation’s leading companies, including global insurers, airlines and financial services organizations. She provides counsel on a broad range of issues, from comprehensive, company-wide benefit plans to the individual compensation arrangements that attract and retain key personnel. She also has significant experience advising large employers and insurance companies on ACA compliance issues. Additionally, Vanessa currently serves as Eversheds Sutherland (US)’s Chief Diversity Officer. Vanessa previously served as Legislative and Tax Counsel for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives where she specialized in financial services policy and legislation. Prior to joining Eversheds Sutherland (US), she was Legislative Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) in Washington, D.C., where she represented the benefits and compensation interests of Fortune 100 employers before Congress, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor.
Nia M. Jenkins currently serves as the business attorney in OptumInsight for Optum Connect, Optum Services Puerto Rico, The Advisory Board Company and various OptumInsight strategic partnerships. These businesses are in the main areas of healthcare research, services and technology. In this lead role, she provides key guidance to solve critical business issues and identifies strategic areas of risk based on new customer acquisitions and other growth opportunities. Nia joined Optum through the acquisition of Advisory Board in the fourth quarter of 2017. Prior to Advisory Board, Nia worked as a technology and transactions attorney at The American Red Cross where she led deals for the acquisition of major technologies and equipment to be used during times of disaster. Nia started her career as a corporate associate at the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP where she worked on many biotechnology transactions for several global corporations. She graduated with her Juris Doctorate cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, and her Bachelors of Science in Accounting summa cum laude from Towson University.
Ms. Robin D. Dunson is Assistant General Counsel- Commercial at Cox Enterprises, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to serving in this role, Ms. Dunson served as Assistant General Counsel, Marketing, Sales and Product, at Cox Communications, Inc. Before joining Cox, Ms. Dunson served as for 3 years as Counsel at SBC/Ameritech concentrating on marketing and residential and large business commercial contracts; worked for 5 years as Attorney at AT&T Corporation with a focus on marketing law, contracts, and regulatory litigation; and started her legal career as an Associate at the law firm of Jones, Day in their Corporate and Finance Group handling Mergers and Acquisitions, Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) of stock, and general corporate transactions.
Ms. Dunson is a graduate of Leadership North Fulton, NAMIC’s Executive Leadership Development Program, and CTAM’s Harvard Business School Cable Executive Management and leadership program. Ms. Dunson’s professional associations include the Georgia Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and Corporate Counsel Women of Color (CCWC). In 2006, Ms. Dunson was featured as one of “The Second 50 Most Influential Minorities in Cable” in CableWorld Magazine.
Ms. Dunson currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Trust for Public Land and has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Emma Bowen Foundation, the YWCA of Greater Atlanta and Dress for Success Atlanta. Ms. Dunson is actively involved in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. where she was a Charter member of Psi Omega Omega Chapter, its former Parliamentarian, and currently serves as the President of the Georgia Pearls of Service Foundation, Inc., the Chapter’s 501(c)(3). She is a member of the Azalea City (GA) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated and is a charter member of Greater North Atlanta Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. She was included in the 2010, 2011, and 2012 editions of “Who’s Who in Black Atlanta”.
Ms. Dunson obtained her JD degree from Harvard Law School and a B.S. degree in Accounting, Cum Laude, from Bradley University. Ms. Dunson is admitted to practice law in Georgia and Illinois. Ms. Dunson is the proud mother of Alexander Benton.
Jasmine Johnson is Corporate Counsel at ExamWorks. Her practice focuses primarily on mergers and acquisitions, commercial real estate, and information technology development. She has lectured on legal topics relating to real property, mediation/dispute resolution, and diversity. Jasmine is the co-founder of BLOOM, an organization committed to the professional and social development of young women. She is a proud graduate of Emory University School of Law and Florida State University.