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2014 Mid-Year Meeting

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2014 Annual Meeting Sponsors




The Waldorf Astoria New York
301 Park Avenue
New York, NY


2013 Annual Meeting Highlights


Speaker Biographies

Joan Stearns Johnsen is a commercial mediator, arbitrator, and trainer.  Joan began her career as an enforcement attorney with the CFTC in Washington, D.C.  She also was corporate counsel at Smith Barney and the Commodity Exchange, Inc., in New York.  Most recently Joan was a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of Albany Law School’s Securities Arbitration Clinic. In addition to the Clinic, Joan taught Negotiation and ADR.  Joan is on the Executive Committee and is the CLE Officer of the ABA’s Section of Dispute Resolution. Joan is a member of the DR Section’s Committee on Women in Dispute Resolution, or WIDR. Joan can be reached at

Michele Coleman Mayes is Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the New York Public Library (NYPL). Ms. Mayes joined NYPL in August 2012 after serving as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Allstate Insurance Company since 2007. She served as a Senior Vice President and the General Counsel of Pitney Bowes Inc. from 2003 to 2007 and in several legal capacities at Colgate-Palmolive from 1992 to 2003. In 1982, Ms. Mayes entered the corporate sector as managing attorney of Burroughs Corporation. After Burroughs and Sperry Corporation merged, creating Unisys Corporation, she was appointed Staff Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Worldwide Litigation. From 1976 through 1982, she served in the U.S. Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney in Detroit and Brooklyn, eventually assuming the role of Chief of the Civil Division in Detroit. Ms. Mayes received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Zohra Tejani is a Senior Attorney responsible for the legal affairs of Microsoft's Worldwide Public Sector business.  She is based in the Washington, DC area.  In addition to supporting the legal work for a dynamic business group, her work also focuses on the policy and regulatory issues that may arise when public sector customers transition to cloud-based services.  Prior, Ms. Tejani supported Microsoft's US Public Sector business. Before joining Microsoft in 2002, Ms. Tejani's experience includes practicing commercial information technology law first in-house for a start-up Internet company and then later for a regional law firm. Ms. Tejani has a BA in Economics and a JD from Georgetown University.  She is a 2012 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow. 


Elisse B. Walter, serves as a member of Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board of Directors. Prior to retiring from public service, she served as the 30th Chairman and a Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Earlier she was FINRA’s Senior Executive Vice President, Regulatory Policy & Programs; a member of FINRA’s Investor Education Foundation Board; General Counsel of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance; SEC Associate General Counsel; and as an attorney with a private law firm. Ms. Walter is a member of the Academy of Women Achievers of the YWCA of the City of New York and the inaugural class of the DirectWomen Institute. She also received, among other honors, the Presidential Rank Award (Distinguished), ASECA’s William O. Douglas Award, and SEC’s Distinguished Service Award. She received a B.A., cum laude, in mathematics from Yale University and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. She can be reached at