MCLE Credits: 3.75 including 3.75 MCLE, 1.25 Ethics
DBA DIVERSITY SUMMIT
Diversity: Shaping Agents of Change
Elizabeth Alvarez is an attorney from the Dallas-Fort worth Metroplex. As a graduate with honors of both Abilene Christian University and Pepperdine University School of Law, she would classify herself as a true Judge Jack Pope fellow.
Elizabeth is the principal of The Law Office of Elizabeth Alvarez in Plano, Texas where her practice focuses on concierge in-house counsel for small businesses, statewide and county elections, and immigration. In election law, she’s done work on ballot litigation, election fraud, recounts, The Voting Rights Act, and Election Contests. She’s taught CLEs in immigration, business association law, and election law, and currently serves as General Counsel to the Dallas County Republican Party, as well as the general counsel for many elected officials.
She and her husband live in Spring Park, Texas, with their three cats Dagny, Taggart, and Luna.
Nnamdi Anozie is a partner in the Dallas office of White Wiggins & Barnes LLP. Nnamdi represents an impressive list of clients, including Fortune 500® companies, government agencies, corporate officers, arts organizations and prominent individuals in a variety of complex business and legal matters. Nnamdi has litigated matters on behalf of clients engaged in multi-million dollar disputes throughout Texas state and federal courts, and has advised businesses in compliance related matters across the nation and globe. Nnamdi is recognized by his peers as a Thomson Reuters' Super Lawyers® Rising Star in Texas.
Prior to joining White Wiggins & Barnes, Nnamdi was a trial attorney at one of the top four litigation boutiques in Texas. Nnamdi is also a former Presidential Management Fellow and has worked closely with executive agencies and policy and research organizations to author and publish regulatory works used as support for federal and state law reform.
Nnamdi also maintains a strong presence within the community. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, JL Turner Legal Association, and the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. Nnamdi is a Life Fellow of the DAYL Foundation.
Nnamdi is a proud triple graduate of Howard University.
American Bar Association: - President, 2003-2004 - Member, Board of Governors, 1999-2002
National Bar Association: - President, 1983-1984; - Life Member
Detroit Bar Association: - Member, Board of Directors, 1973-1975; - Chairman, Young Lawyers Section, 1973-1975
State Bar of Michigan: President, 1984-1985
Associate Professor, Detroit College of Law, 1972-1978
Adjunct Professor, Wayne State University Law School, 1984-1985
Life Member, Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference
Life Member of Fellows, American Bar Foundation and Life Member of Fellows, Michigan State Bar Foundation Fellow, International Society of Barristers Western Michigan University, B.S., 1965
Detroit College of Law, J.D., 1970
A Morgan Stanley veteran of over 24 years, Marilyn Booker serves as Head of Morgan Stanley’s Urban Markets Group. In addition to running a traditional wealth management business, Marilyn also focuses on the urban community and teaches financial education programs all across the country. Prior to establishing The Urban Markets Group, Marilyn was the head of Diversity, Work-Life, EEO and Human Resources Policy for Morgan Stanley. Marilyn is an attorney by training, who has practiced in the areas of criminal defense litigation, municipal finance, corporate bankruptcies and corporate restructuring.
A native of Chicago, Marilyn received her B.A. magna cum laude from Spelman College and her J.D. from the Illinois Institute of Technology-Chicago Kent College of Law. Marilyn is a former trustee of the Morgan Stanley Foundation, a member of The Morgan Stanley Benefit Plan Administrative Committee and a former member of the Morgan Stanley Residential Franchise Risk Committee. She is a former board member of the New York Urban League and a member of the Executive Leadership Council. She is also a former board member of the Arthur Ashe Institute of Health and the Michael J. Berkeley Foundation and has served as Co-Chair of the legendary Apollo Theater’s Women’s Committee. Marilyn testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations at its hearing on “Diversity in the Financial Services Sector.” She also appeared on “ABC World News Tonight” in a segment on “Women and the Workforce” and was featured in a “CBS MarketWatch Weekend” segment highlighting Morgan Stanley’s Emergency Day Care Program.
Brittany K. Barnett is an attorney and lifelong social justice advocate. As the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother, Brittany knows first-hand the impact of mass incarceration is far reaching, devastating families and entire communities.
She is co-founder of the Buried Alive Project, an organization that works to end unfair and inhumane life without parole sentencing handed down under federal drug laws through transformative litigation, legislation, and humanization. While working several years as a corporate attorney, Brittany was committed to pro bono representation of clients in federal prison. Her dedication to this life changing work paid off tremendously – resulting in executive clemency from President Obama for seven of her clients, as well as freedom for several additional clients through the federal court system. She was a leading member of the legal team that represented Alice Johnson, who was recently granted clemency from President Trump after serving 21 years of a life without parole sentence for federal drug offense.
Inspired by her own difficult experience as the daughter of an incarcerated mother, Brittany is also founder of Girls Embracing Mothers (GEM) – a nonprofit empowering woman in prison and their daughters to break the cycle of incarceration and lead successful lives with vision and purpose. Since 2013, GEM has partnered with the Texas prison system and works to lessen the impact of maternal separation by strengthening the mother-daughter relationship and equipping girls with the tools to make positive life choices.
Brittany recently left corporate law to devote herself fully to criminal justice reform. She has been named one of America’s most Outstanding Young Lawyers by the American Bar Association for her professionalism, commitment to serving the community and dedication to helping others through her pro bono work. Brittany is a graduate of SMU’s Dedman School of Law. She previously served as the Associate General Counsel at ORIX USA Corporation focusing on mergers & acquisitions and general corporate matters. Prior to her legal career, Brittany earned her license as a Certified Public Accountant and worked for international accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Accounting.
Mary Elizabeth (Liz) Cedillo-Pereira is the Director of the Dallas Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs which was established in March 2017. The Dallas WCIA seeks to be a bridge connecting Dallas’ diverse immigrant communities with existing Dallas residents so that common ground and shared leadership can be realized.
A Dallas native, Liz has more than 15 years of experience at the federal, state and local level on immigration related matters. Prior to joining the City of Dallas management team, Liz served as the Obama Administration’s Senior Advisor to the Director at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where she focused on immigration policy and community engagement to foster relations in communities across the U.S. An attorney, advocate and policy advisor, Liz is dedicated to improving our nation’s immigration system.
Among numerous awards for commitment to service and excellence in the legal profession, Liz has been conferred with the Distinguished Alumni Award by SMU Dedman School of Law, the Ohtli Award from the Republic of Mexico, the Maura Award by the Dallas Women’s Foundation, the 2018 SMU Latino/a Alumni of the Year, the 2017 Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas Latina Trailblazer Award, D Magazine 2018 Best Attorneys in Dallas.
Liz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and received her high school diploma from North Dallas High School, her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Pennsylvania and her Juris Doctorate from Southern Methodist University. She is married to Oscar Pereira, an aeronautical engineer, and they are blessed with three children.
Cece Cox is recognized for her longtime effective leadership and advocacy in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) civil rights movement. She serves as CEO of Resource Center, which operates one of the largest LGBTQ community centers in the United States, and provides health services and programs to individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. The Center serves more than 60,000 people annually with a staff of over 50 employees and 1,100 volunteers.
Cox has advocated on behalf of the LGBTQ and HIV communities for nearly 30 years. She was instrumental in the passage of the City of Dallas’ sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy, the Dallas Independent School District’s first anti-harassment policy and its subsequent anti-bullying policy. Since June 2010, over 50,000 public sector employees and a quarter-million students in the Dallas area have new or expanded LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections thanks to the Center’s advocacy.
In 2007, Cox joined the Center as associate executive director and became CEO in July 2010. Previously, she practiced commercial law and provided pro bono legal services to individuals with HIV. Cox is a member of the executive committee for SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development; the Dallas Assembly; and Dallas Summit. She is board co-chair of the national organization, CenterLink and a former board member of the Dallas Women’s Foundation. In 2016, Cox was recognized as an outstanding alumna of SMU’s Dedman School of Law, and she was named the LGBTQ Texan of the Year by the Dallas Voice. In June 2017, Cox was selected as a winner of the Dallas Business Journal’s Women in Business Awards.
Cox is also a former president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance (DGLA), a former co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation/Dallas and a former officer of the LGBT Section of the State Bar of Texas. She is an alumna of Leadership Dallas and Leadership Lambda & was recognized with the Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Black Tie Dinner in 1999.
Cox is a former professional photographer who co-authored a book chronicling the 1993 March on Washington for gay and lesbian rights. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and is a proud alumna of SMU’s Dedman School of Law. Cox is a member of the State Bar of Texas. She lives in Dallas with her partner and son.
Rhonda Hunter is Chief of the Juvenile Division of the District Attorney’s office. Ms. Hunter is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has 35 years experience practicing in the juvenile courts, handling CPS and juvenile delinquency cases as an advocate, and two decades as a visiting juvenile court referee.
Ms. Hunter currently sits in the American Bar Association House of Delegates where she serves as Chair of the Minority Caucus Newsletter Committee; is a member of the ABA GPSolo Womens Caucus, and, former member of the ABA Diversity Center.
Rhonda Hunter is past president of the Dallas Bar Association, the J.L.Turner Legal Association, the Dallas Association of Black Women Attorneys and the DBA Community Service Fund. Ms. Hunter is a former member of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors, the National Conference of Bar Presidents’ Executive Council, the Metropolitan Bar Caucus Executive Committee, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She has also served as Chair of the Committee for a Qualified Judiciary.
Ms. Hunter is past course director for the Implicit Bias seminars, DBA Diversity Summit, Dallas Minority Attorney Program, Hopwood: the Decision and Its Legacy seminars; and, is a frequent speaker and lecturer on marital property, trial skills, probate, CPS issues, child support, diversity and media relations. Programs developed by Ms. Hunter have won ABA Partnership Awards from the ABA and Star of Merit awards from the State Bar of Texas.
Rhonda Hunter graced the cover of the 2016 edition of Texas Superlawyers magazine and has been named a Superlawyer for 13 years. She was named as one of the 500 Most Powerful Business Leaders in Dallas by Dallas CEO Magazine in 2016 and 2017.
Michael K. Hurst is widely recognized as one of the top trial lawyers in the country in large and complex commercial, intellectual property, and employment litigation. Michael is also a prominent leader of The Bar Association and the community, serving as President of the 11,000+ member Dallas Bar Association in 2018. He has extensive courtroom experience and has litigated and tried numerous high profile cases, including breach of contract, fraud, theft of trade secrets, non-compete agreements, partnership disputes, oil and gas, electricity, employment discrimination, tortious interference, and breach of fiduciary duty. Michael is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
A passionate advocate of the preservation of the civil jury trial system, Michael has also handled oil and gas disputes, catastrophic matters, products liability litigation, and class actions. He is a frequent speaker and panelist on topics ranging from trial skills, theft of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duties to energy litigation.
Regina Montoya is a nationally recognized attorney, speaker, and community leader. She is the Chair of the Board of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF), and she serves on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Texas Book Festival and Girls Inc. Regina worked in the White House as an Assistant to President Bill Clinton, and she was nominated by the President to serve as a U.S. Representative to the 53rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Currently, Regina is the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and is the Chair of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ Task Force on Poverty. Regina is currently working on a book about the importance of incorporating Latinos into the economic, political and social fabric of America. She is a frequent public speaker on a wide range of issues including healthcare,
Judge Parker was elected in 2010. Prior taking the bench she was a trial attorney and litigator for more than a decade in complex commercial and tort litigation cases, where she prosecuted and defended matters on behalf of individuals and corporations.
Judge Parker is an active member of several local bar associations and community groups. She is committed to increasing civility and professionalism in the bar, as well as meaningful mentorship opportunities for law students and young lawyers.
Dr. Sheron C. Patterson is the senior pastor of Hamilton Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. She is a trailblazer and glass ceiling breaker for women. Dr. Patterson is the first African American woman ordained an elder in the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.
A leader in her own community, Dr. Patterson sits on the Board of Trustees of SMU and the Methodist Health System Board of Directors. The daughter of a school teacher and a policeman, Dr. Patterson grew up in a Charlotte, NC household that encouraged the interruption of the status quo. As a result, Dr. Patterson writes and works for understanding between the Police and African American communities.
Dr. Patterson is a ten year survivor of breast cancer. She turned her diagnosis into a vehicle of community empowerment via awareness programs and fund raising thousands to provide low-income and no-income women with free mammograms.
With 25 years as a relationship counselor, media personality and prolific writer, Dr. Patterson earned a national reputation as an expert in matters of the heart, mind and soul. She has written eight books. Her latest book is entitled “Lead Yourself Now”.
She holds degrees from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, and Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, TX.
Dr. Patterson and her husband, Robert, have been married 33 years and are the parents of two adult children.
Mike Rawlings came to Dallas in 1976 with a couple hundred dollars in his pocket and plans to work as a radio reporter. He didn't think he'd stay long. But over the next four decades, Rawlings proved that Dallas is truly a city of opportunity.
Today, Mike Rawlings is the 61st mayor of Dallas and the longest-serving mayor in more than 45 years. During his time in office, he has focused on spurring economic development in the long-overlooked southern portion of Dallas through his GrowSouth initiative, improving public education, combatting poverty and domestic violence, developing parks, elevating the city's international profile and turning Dallas into a top destination for artists, young professionals, families and corporations.
A Borger, Texas, native and proud Boston College graduate, Mayor Rawlings worked his way up from an entry-level position at TracyLocke, then the largest advertising agency in the South, to become the CEO. Later, he took the helm of the world's largest pizza company, Pizza Hut, and grew it to record sales. He previously served as Chairman and Managing Partner of private equity firm CIC Partners, where he is currently the vice chairman.
During the seven years that Mayor Rawlings has led the ninth-largest city in America, Dallas has experienced tremendous economic growth. The city’s labor force has grown every year since Rawlings took office and unemployment was reported to be 3.3 percent as of December 2017, the 34th consecutive month that Dallas outperformed the national and state unemployment rate. New building permit valuations reached a minimum of $2 billion annually in the past six fiscal years and at least $4 billion in each of the last three fiscal years. The city’s property tax base value rose more than 7 percent in the current fiscal year to $118.3 billion, from $110.4 billion the prior year.
The success is not confined to one area of the city, as the mayor’s GrowSouth initiative has led to major progress in southern Dallas. For the first time since the initiative launched, the growth in taxable value in southern Dallas outpaced that of northern Dallas in 2016. Since 2012, real property values increased nearly 44 percent in southern Dallas and annual residential investment topped $163 million.
Mayor Rawlings also continues to keep Dallas in the national and international spotlight, serving as an executive committee member for the U.S. Conference of Mayor and traveling the globe as a member of the DFW Airport Board of Directors.
Public service has long been important to Mayor Rawlings. In the years before his 2011 election as mayor, he served as the Chair of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau (VisitDallas), the city's Homeless Czar and president of the Dallas Park Board. Voters re-elected Mayor Rawlings by a wide margin in 2015 to his second and final four-year term, which runs through June 2019.
Rawlings and his wife, Micki, live in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas. Their daughter, Michelle, an artist, and their son, Gunnar, and his wife, Gaby, also live in Dallas.
Dr. Sanford completed her doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Momentous Institute, and has been with the agency for 9 years. Dr. Sanford is currently the Training Director and serves as part of the Therapeutic Services Leadership Team. In her role, Dr. Sanford oversees intensive clinical training opportunities offered to students enrolled in various mental health and counseling programs and early career clinicians. This includes overseeing a doctoral internship program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). In addition to her training responsibilities, Dr. Sanford has an integral voice in helping to promote cultural humility and racial equity across the agency as part of her role on the leadership team. She recently contributed to the agency’s Blog series about race to provide parents understand the importance of talking with their children about race. Read the blog here: How (and Why) to Talk to Kids About Race. Prior to joining Momentous Institute, Dr. Sanford worked in a variety of settings in Louisville, KY and surrounding areas including the prison system, a residential treatment center for children and adolescents, an inpatient hospital, the public school system, child protective services and other community mental health agencies. Some of Dr. Sanford’s clinical interests include, complicated family systems, complex trauma, cultural humility and sensitivity, working with African American families and clients from diverse backgrounds including poverty.
Julia A. Simon is Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary for Mary Kay Inc., overseeing the company's Legal Department, Risk Management, Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility functions. Her teams protect the company's reputation and operations in nearly 40 markets around the globe. She is a member of the company’s executive committee and also serves as the Senior Privacy Officer for the company. Prior to joining Mary Kay, Julia was a partner at the law firm, Locke Liddell & Sapp in Dallas, practicing in the areas of commercial litigation and labor & employment. She is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University and The University of Texas School of Law.
Julia has been recognized by D CEO Magazine and the Association of Corporate Counsel as Best Deputy General Counsel in 2015, and by the Dallas Business Journal as a Minority Business Leader in 2010. She received the Texas General Counsel Forum Diversity Award in 2009, and was listed as a Rising Star in Texas Monthly’s Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star Edition for 2004, 2005 and 2007. She was featured as one of Texas’ top in-house lawyers by Texas Lawyer in 2005.
Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.), a trailblazer and leader, heads Jones Day's efforts in advancing the rule of law in Africa. Devoted to promoting the effective delivery of justice worldwide, particularly in Africa, she has partnered with judiciaries, attorneys, NGOs, and the U.S. Departments of Justice and State to lead training programs in Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. She also has taught at the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
President Ronald Reagan nominated her in 1985 to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, making her the first woman of color to serve on a district court in the three-state Seventh Circuit. In 1999, President William Clinton's nomination made her the first and only judge of color to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the third woman of color to serve on any federal circuit court. She brings her vast experience on the bench to serve as a resource for the Firm's leading trial and appellate practices.
Judge Williams has served on many judicial committees and, as treasurer and president of the Federal Judges Association, was the first person of color to become an officer. Committed to public interest work throughout her life, she helped found Just The Beginning — A Pipeline Organization, the Black Women Lawyers' Association of Chicago, and Minority Legal Education Resources. She serves on the boards of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the University of Notre Dame, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Equal Justice Works, and the Museum of Science & Industry Chicago.
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