Fighting for Women's Equality
ERA Board of Directors

Barbara S. Bryant

Barbara S. Bryant has specialized in employment, sexual harassment and discrimination law for 30 years, as a litigator, speaker, author, workplace investigator, discovery referee and mediator. She has taught sexual harassment law at UC-Berkeley’s School of Law since 1989, and since 2001 has been on its Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice Advisory Council. She has been an executive board member of California Women Lawyers, Alameda County Bar Association, Earl Warren Inn of Court, Alameda Contra Costa Trial Lawyers and Bar Association of San Francisco Labor and Employment Law Section.  Prior to law school, she was a professional house carpenter and class member in a successful sex discrimination class action case challenging the union/employer practice of denying apprentice carpenter positions to women.  Equal Rights Advocates was instrumental early co-counsel in this case. She was elected to ERA’s board in 2014.

Eve H. Cervantez

Altshuler Berzon LLP

Eve H. Cervantez is a partner at Altshuler Berzon LLP, where she represents workers and consumers in class action lawsuits, with a particular emphasis on civil rights, employment discrimination, wage and hour, and privacy cases. She has prosecuted several class action lawsuits for women challenging discriminatory hiring, promotion, and compensation policies, and has also assisted female professors vindicate their right to a discrimination-free tenure process. Eve is currently on the Senior Editorial Board of The Fair Labor Standards Act and is a chapter author and contributor to Employment Discrimination Law (Supplement) and Wage and Hour Laws, a State-by-State Survey.  Eve also lectures regularly on wage and hour, employment discrimination, and class action law. Prior to joining Altshuler, Eve worked as a staff attorney at the Prison Law Office representing inmates challenging unconstitutional conditions of confinement, and was a partner at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, where she represented plaintiffs in class action employment and consumer lawsuits. She is a graduate of Washington University and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Eve has been selected to Northern California Super Lawyers every year since 2010, has been named one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Northern California, and is a “Leading Lawyer” listed in The Legal 500 United States. Eve is a longtime supporter of ERA, and has served on its Luncheon and Litigation Committees for several years.

Natalie Dana

Natalie Dana is Senior Corporate Counsel at Zymergen, Inc. There, she advises Zymergen in a variety of transactions and practice areas, including joint ventures, customer and other commercial contracts, human resources, and real estate.

Prior to joining Zymergen, Natalie worked in the Legal Department of Wells Fargo Bank. She represented Wells Fargo in mergers, acquisitions, and strategic transactions. Natalie began her legal career in the Silicon Valley office of White & Case LLP where her practice included advising technology and pharmaceutical companies in a broad array of corporate transactions. She focused primarily on mergers and acquisitions, venture investments, and pharmaceutical licensing and co-development agreements.

Natalie received her JD from Emory University School of Law in 2012 and her BA in Human Biology from Stanford University in 2006.

Nitin Jindal, Treasurer

Oracle

Nitin Jindal is Corporate Counsel at Oracle and was elected to the ERA Board of Directors in March 2018 after serving on the Finance Committee. Nitin works in Oracle’s Litigation Group, where he helps resolve a wide variety of commercial disputes. Prior to joining Oracle, Nitin worked at the San Francisco office of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, where his practice focused on antitrust and intellectual property litigation. Nitin received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. in Legal Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).

Emily Katz

Emily Katz got an early start in marketing, growing up in rural California where she rode door-to-door selling her school’s fundraising gift wrap by horseback.  She’s spent the interceding decades helping organizations find their voices to make the world a better place and ruthlessly slaying the demons of jargon. She’s focused her management positions on advancing the rights of people to live dignified lives and fulfill their greatest potential.

Autumn McDonald

Autumn McDonald is the director of New America CA. She has nearly two decades of experience working with foundations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and associations on strategy, advocacy, program design, and civic innovation. She served as a Senior Advisor for Women’s Policy to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee through the FUSE Corps Executive Fellowship. Autumn helped shaped policies, programs, and public-private initiatives to improve economic and social opportunities for women and families throughout the Bay Area.  Previously Autumn worked with FSG, a social impact focused consulting firm, where she led a range of strategy and evaluation projects. Autumn has worked in the social sector at both the state and national level with organizations including Genesys Works, the American Institutes for Research, the Center for Reform of Schools Systems, and Teach for America. Throughout her career, McDonald has led work related to education, distressed communities, place-based initiatives, health, and economic mobility. She received her B.A. from Stanford University, and Masters degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two children.

Nisha Nanda

Loxo Oncology

Nisha Nanda is the VP of Development Strategy at Loxo Oncology, a biotechnology company focused on developing targeted therapies for cancer.  Nisha has a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from UNSW, Sydney, Australia. Nisha has held multiple roles in research and development positions across medium to large multinational biotechnology companies, resulting in the approval of new treatment options for patients with cancer.

Marja-Liisa (Mari) Overbeck

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Marja-Liisa (Mari) Overbeck is a litigator at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP. She focuses her practice on general civil litigation and employment law, and also maintains an active pro bono practice providing assistance to minors in school disciplinary matters (in conjunction with Legal Services for Children), and serving as co-counsel with the ACLU in a lawsuit against the Department of Defense challenging its policy excluding women from combat service.  Mari also works as an Adjunct Professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, where she teaches Appellate Advocacy and also coaches Hastings’ Jessup International Moot Court Team. Before joining Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Mari clerked for the Honorable Bernard Zimmerman of the Northern District of San Francisco. She received her B.A. from Middlebury College, and her J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law. Before law school, Mari worked as criminal investigator for the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan.

Kristen Palumbo, Vice Chair

Kristen was elected to the Board in January 2013 after serving on the Development and Luncheon Committees.  Kristen has been a litigator for over fifteen years.  Her practice primarily focuses on antitrust litigation, class action defense and other high-stakes complex commercial litigation, including copyright, fraud, unfair competition, breach of contract and bankruptcy-related matters.  She is highly skilled in all phases of litigation including pre-filing investigations, fact and expert discovery, motion practice, settlement and trial.  Her past clients encompass a wide range of industries and technologies, including microprocessors, flash memory and data storage systems, biometric authorization and payment solutions, enterprise software and support services.  Kristen has also represented pro bono clients in a variety of matters.

Lucia Corral Peña

Blue Shield of California Foundation

Lucia Corral Peña is Senior Program Officer for Blue Shield Against Violence at Blue Shield of California Foundation, and manages the portfolio of grants focused on ending domestic violence in California. Prior to her role at the Foundation, Ms. Corral Peña was principal of Corral Peña Consulting where she worked with foundations and nonprofit clients to design and implement programs and strategies to address the needs of diverse populations, including immigrant, low-income, and vulnerable residents.  Previously, Ms. Corral Peña served as director of the Western Region for Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP), managing the organization’s award-winning Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities in five states. Ms. Corral Peña received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and her law degree from University of California, Hastings College of Law. She has served as pro bono counsel, and on a variety of nonprofit boards, including Equal Rights Advocates and Centro Legal de La Raza.

Drucilla Ramey, Chair

Drucilla Ramey is Dean Emerita of Golden Gate University School of Law, having earlier served as the longtime Executive Director and General Counsel of the Bar Association of San Francisco, Executive Director of the National Association of Women Judges, and staff counsel at MALDEF. A founder of California Women Lawyers and the California Minority Counsel Program, Drucilla served as the first woman chair of the ACLU of Northern California and is a former chair of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. Elected to ERA’s board in 2013, her awards include the ABA Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, the American Jewish Committee’s Learned Hand Award and CWL’s Fay Stender Award. She received her B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard University and her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Dale Schroedel

Dale has spent most of her professional life working on issues related to equality for women. For the past eleven years, she has been a political organizer and fundraiser for projects focused on electing more women to public office, including Outreach Director for WomenCount, Programs Director for The 2012 Project, co-founder of Electing Women San Francisco, Hillary Clinton’s two presidential campaigns, London Breed for Mayor, and Volunteer Candidate Coordinator for Emerge America. She served on the Women’s Committee of Mayor London Breed’s Policy Transition Team. Prior to involvement in electoral politics, Dale was a private investigator for 18 years, with a specialty in employment discrimination and criminal defense investigations, a contract attorney for Equal Rights Advocates briefly, Executive Director of the National Women and the Law Association for five years, and a psychiatric nurse in major New York City hospitals and institutions for five years. Dale has a B.S. in Nursing (Hunter College, NY), an M.S. in Psychiatric Nursing (New York University), a J.D. (Cardozo School of Law), and she is a Licensed Private Investigator.

Jihan E. Spearman

Uber

Jihan joined the Equal Rights Advocates Board in 2018 after many years of volunteering for the organization. She is a technology attorney licensed to practice in the State of California. She loves assisting engineers, developers, and product managers throughout all phases of the product development lifecycle by identifying, mitigating, and removing legal risks. She currently works at Uber as a Product Counsel for Consumer Products. You can find Jihan playing indoor, grass, and sand volleyball in her spare time. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, son, and fiddle leaf fig plant named “Figgie.” 

James Sturdevant

The Sturdevant Law Firm

James Sturdevant, the principal of The Sturdevant Law Firm, is one of the nation’s most respected consumer rights and class action attorneys. He was named 2004 Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys of California, 2002 Trial Lawyer of the Year by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, and has received numerous other awards for his outstanding advocacy on behalf of consumers and workers. Mr. Sturdevant specializes in representing plaintiffs in class actions involving consumer protection, financial and insurance fraud, employment discrimination and a wide variety of unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practice cases. During his thirty-five-plus year career, he has represented plaintiffs and plaintiff classes in cases involving federal and state benefit rights, housing, employment discrimination, institutional conditions at prisons, jails, and mental institutions, school desegregation, consumer protection, and binding, mandatory arbitration clauses. He has tried and settled many multi-million dollar class action cases and is known as well for his appellate advocacy. He serves on numerous national, state and local boards and committees concerned with civil litigation and amicus curiae work, and he and his firm have authored a significant number of briefs and amicus briefs on the issues of mandatory arbitration, federal preemption, the interpretation of consumer protection statutes and attorneys fees, among others. James was elected to ERA’s board in 2013.

Gilda R. Turitz, Secretary

Turitz Dispute Resolution

Gilda R. Turitz is an attorney and an independent arbitrator and mediator, concentrating on business disputes. She is a Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, on the roster of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, the American Arbitration Association and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution for both arbitration and mediation, among others. Before establishing Turitz Dispute Resolution in September 2017, Gilda was the head of the Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Groups in the woman-owned law firm Sideman & Bancroft LLP in San Francisco.

Gilda is passionate about ERA’s mission to fight for equality for women and girls in all aspects of the workplace, schools, and society. Gilda’s support of ERA began in the 1980’s when she served on the Development Committee and helped establish the strategy of broadening ERA’s support from corporations as well as law firms. Throughout her legal career of over 30 years, Gilda has been active in bar associations and groups for the advancement of women and civil rights. She has held numerous leadership positions in the American Bar Association (ABA), including the Section of Litigation’s Woman Advocate Committee, its Dispute Resolution Section’s group Women in Dispute Resolution (WIDR), and the Women Rainmakers group of the Law Practice Management section, for which she received the Golden Hammer Award for her efforts to shatter the glass ceiling. Gilda has served on the boards of The Mediation Society, Leadership California, and the Anti-Defamation League, including chairing its Civil Rights Committee for the Central Pacific Region.

Gilda has been recognized by her peers as an AV-rated attorney and as a Northern California’s SuperLawyer™ for business litigation, and is listed in Best Lawyers of America for arbitration. She received her J.D. from the University of California, Davis, School of Law where she was Order of the Coif and on law review; her B.A. from the University of Michigan with distinction; and a M.L.S. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Information (previously School of Librarianship).

Claudia Vetesi

Morrison Foerster LLP

Claudia Vetesi is a partner at Morrison Foerster LLP where she focuses her practice on the defense of consumer class actions, and on complex commercial litigation, including unfair competition, false advertising, privacy issues, contract and licensing disputes, financial services litigation, and trade secrets misappropriation. She regularly counsels clients in the food, retail, financial, and technology industries. She also represents companies in false advertising disputes before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. Claudia is an editor and frequent contributor to the firm’s Class Dismissed blog (classdismissed.mofo.com) and is a co-author of Chapter 7, Unfair Competition, in California Business Litigation2016, The Recorder. Claudia is active in the firm’s pro bono efforts and has appeared in federal court numerous times on behalf of clients in various criminal matters. She is a member of the American Inns of Court, and a recipient of the State Bar of California’s Wiley W. Manuel Award for public service. She received her J.D. degree in 2004 from Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall School of Law), where she was an associate editor of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal

Carl Whitaker

Whitaker Communications

As President of Whitaker Communications, Carl Whitaker assists law firms and non-profits with public relations and marketing matters. With 25 years of law firm and consulting experience, Carl provides focused, practical advice on public relations, positioning, marketing and communications planning, and website development. He has special expertise in the area of litigation public relations and advises lawyers on case-specific public relations strategies. A skilled writer and story-teller, Carl helps clients distill and communicate their key messages. Carl also has extensive experience developing strategic marketing initiatives for law firms at the firm, office, industry and practice group levels. He was Director of Marketing at Morrison & Foerster, a 1,000 lawyer international law firm, from 1992 to 2003. Carl received a Bachelor of Arts, with Distinction, from Sonoma State University and his Masters degree from the School of Library and Information Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ellen Widess

Ellen Widess has been engaged in public policy from various perspectives throughout her career—regulatory, academic, philanthropic, and advocacy. As Senior Program Officer of the Rosenberg Foundation, Ellen led efforts in philanthropy to strengthen policy advocacy and capacity building of nonprofits advocating for low wage workers,  women workers, immigrants’ rights and immigration reform. Her regulatory work includes directing California’s OSHA program and the Texas Pesticide Program, where she initiated innovative and effective programs to protect the health and safety of workers.  As an academic at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Texas Law School, Ellen inspired students who have been leaders in occupational and environmental health and policy advocacy. In the policy arena, Ellen contributed to improving access to and quality of health for children and leading efforts in California to prevent childhood lead poisoning. She founded and directed Lead Safe California, a non-profit dedicated to building consensus among disparate public and private stakeholders about solutions to prevent childhood and occupational lead poisoning. Ellen has served on numerous national and state commissions including the National Academy of Science/Institute of Medicine’s Task Force on Child Labor in the US. She has written extensively on public policy and health.In addition to serving on ERA’s Board, she currently serves on the Board for Farmworker Justice and the Advisory Council of the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley Law School. Ellen received her J.D. from Boalt Law School, UCB, and BA in history from UC Berkeley.

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