Jessica is the Executive Director at Peek & Toland PLLC, a boutique immigration law firm, where she advises and helps craft the firm’s strategic vision and executes the strategy while managing the firm’s operation. When Jessica isn’t working on firm initiatives and leading her team at Peek & Toland, she indulges in her passion for mentorship, advocacy, and leadership by helping mid-career professionals make the leap from corner cubicle to corner office at By Aries, her leadership and career strategy company. She writes regularly on issues pertaining to professional development, leadership, career advocacy, and navigating the challenges of being the only millennial voice (not to mention female and Latina) with a seat at the table.
Jessica currently serves on the LMA Technology Task Force and is heading up the development of an LMASW Next Program focused on building out future legal marketing leaders within the LMASW region. In 2015 Jessica was honored to be named the LMA Rising Star and has remained heavily involved in LMA, the Southwest region, and her Austin local group. Jessica is a huge proponent of LMA and its work in helping to elevate and move the needle forward for business and marketing professionals in the legal industry.
To learn more about Jessica and her approach to professional development and leadership, visit www.byaries.com.
Holly Barocio, GrowthPlay
As a Principal Consultant with GrowthPlay, Holly helps lawyers leverage their natural business development strengths and find authentic approaches to growing their businesses. Holly is an experienced business development coach and trainer who has worked in the legal industry for 13 years. She has partnered with numerous AmLaw 100 and 200 firms and regional mid-size firms across the country helping attorneys master business development fundamentals.
Prior to joining the GrowthPlay Team, Holly was the head of marketing and client services for a Chicago-based law firm, where she led initiatives around business development, attorney coaching and client service interviews.
Holly currently serves on the board of the Legal and Professional Services Council and is co-chair of the Legal Marketing Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She is past president of the Chicago Association of Legal Personnel Administrators, is a past judge for the Legal Marketing Association’s Your Honor Awards and is the former vice chair of various NALP work groups.
She is also board president of Rampage Women’s Ice Hockey and serves on the advisory board of Thriveosity. She regularly presents on business development, professional branding and relationship building to organizations including the Legal Marketing Association, Legal and Professional Services Council, Association of Legal Administrators, Professional Development Consortium, NALP, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and the American Association of Law Libraries.
Holly graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is a passionate ice hockey fan and player, home improvement DIYer and Chicago foodie.
Michael Blachly, Gray Reed & McGraw
Michael Blachly is the Chief Marketing Officer for Gray Reed & McGraw, a full-service, Texas law firm with over 150 attorneys. Michael brings more than 15 years of experience in corporate marketing, business development and corporate communications primarily centered on driving business in the professional services sector.
Michael provides Gray Reed strategic direction on the firm’s business development and marketing initiatives and leads a team responsible for business development, marketing/branding, marketing technology, creative production, research, public relations and events. He is collaborative, a consensus-builder, highly organized, and a results-oriented problem solver.
Prior to joining Gray Reed, Michael directed the marketing and communications for the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, Cornerstone Credit Union League and his own political consulting firm, Hamby & Blachly.
Michael graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in journalism and from the SMU Cox School of Business’s Graduate Marketing Program.
He is a founding member of the Legal Marketing Association’s Texas Chapter, recently served as President of LMA’s Southwest Region and has held numerous leadership positions within LMA.
Michael regularly speaks on marketing and business development and has presented to numerous organizations including the Legal Marketing Association, Southern Methodist University, Baylor University and the International Association of Business Communicators.
Michael is also a passionate photographer and has pursued the hobby for most of his life. To view Michael’s photography portfolio, go to www.michaelblachly.com.
Kate Cain, Sidley Austin LLP
Kate Cain, Director of Market Intelligence & Operations at Sidley Austin LLP, focuses on supporting and expanding the firm’s use of technology, research and analysis to enhance the firm’s marketing and business development efforts. She leads the teams directly responsible for supporting and implementing CRM and experience management solutions as well as market research and internal analysis functions. With nearly 20 years of law firm experience, Kate has been a trainer, a support manager, a project manager, a business analyst, a technical analyst and a marketing professional. She has been instrumental in building programs around alternative fee arrangements, information governance, business intelligence and process improvement and automation. Through this experience, Kate developed a deep understanding of the challenges facing those working with legal technology in a way that allows her to translate between technical and business leaders and bring a different perspective and fresh ideas to discussions.
Darryl Cross, Intapp
Darryl helps leaders improve performance in a VUCA world with collaboration, technology, and teams. His groundbreaking research with the world’s most elite performers and teams including NASA, fighter pilots, professional athletes, and surgeons shows how to continuously grow without sacrificing the mental and physical well-being of your people.
Darryl combines his 30 years of experience and researching proven, scientific methods to offer a unique approach to improving performance. He is a certified business coach with the Association for Talent Development, a certified athletic coach with the International Rugby Board and one of 150 Master Fitness Trainers in the world certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He is a graduate of the George Washington University’s Law Firm Management program and has numerous certifications in change management, Human Performance Improvement and performance enhancement.
Darryl developed, coached and trained the largest, full time sales force of lawyers in the world as Vice President of Performance Development & Coaching at LexisNexis. The 1500 lawyers and executives under his instruction generated over $2 billion in annual sales in the legal, corporate and government sectors in North America, Asia, Australia and Europe.
Darryl’s also served as the Chief Marketing Officer and member of the Executive Committee of an international law firm where he was awarded the most prestigious national award in legal marketing, the Marketing Partner Forum’s Excellence in Marketing Award, for “Creating a Sales Culture at a Law Firm.”
Darryl is a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management and a past member of the international Board of Directors of the Legal Marketing Association as well as the Board of Editors of the Legal Sales and Service Organization. He is a past board member for the Association of Talent Development’s AG Forum, a collection of the top 50 training executives from companies such as Facebook, Delta, Hilton, and Accenture.
Darryl is an internationally known expert on the art, science and grit of high performance and team dynamics. He has spoken to over 10,000 lawyers and business executives from over 100 countries on five continents on how to balance business, body, and soul to maximize performance and results. His first book, Cultivating Excellence: The Art, Science and Grit of High Performance in Business, was published worldwide on May 16, 2017.
Brian Dare, Dentons
Brian is the US Business Development Director for Dentons, the world’s largest law firm. Brian leads a team that works with law firm leaders, practice groups, industry teams, and individual attorneys to help drive revenue growth and client engagement.
Prior to joining Dentons, Brian served as Managing Director of Rain Creek Business Development, where he provide management and business development consulting services for both lawyers and professional staff. Prior to launching Rain Creek Business Development, Brian held marketing and business development leadership roles in both international and regional law firms for more than 20 years. Throughout his career, he has been involved in various facets of business development, marketing, media relations, communications, administration, management, mentoring/staff development, and operations.
Jennifer Dezso, Acritas US, Inc.
Jennifer is the Vice President of Acritas US, a research consultancy helping organizations build business by navigating changing market dynamics and client demands.
Acritas’ data-driven approach defines how clients acquire, manage, and evaluate their professional services providers. Jennifer draws on this research and her 15 years of experience to develop high-impact client feedback programs, train professionals in client acquisition and growth, and deliver strategic consulting to organizations looking to improve performance and develop more business.
In addition, Jennifer is a frequent presenter and author on market trends, how to identify and create opportunities in the market, and tactics to implement organizational best practices in client relationship development.
Deborah Brightman Farone, Farone Advisors LLC
Deborah Farone is the author of “Best Practices in Law Firm Business Development & Marketing,” which was published by PLI Press in 2019. In addition, she operates her own consulting practice, helping law firms and other professional service organizations with their strategic marketing needs. In March of 2019, she joined with Brad Karp, Chairman of Paul Weiss, in chairing PLI’s live and webcast program “All Stars in Business Development.”
Ms. Farone has had the unique opportunity to play a role in developing the best practices in professional services marketing by working with the most respected and most demanding professionals in the world.
Over the past two decades, Ms. Farone has carved out a new niche by distinguishing herself as the chief marketing officer of two of the country’s most prestigious law firms, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. But before diving into the legal marketing profession, she honed her communications and business development skills by working at a global management consulting firm. When she applied for a position out of college, she didn’t take no for an answer when applying to the PR firm she had in mind for her first job. After rejection after rejection, the third letter she submitted to the firm’s director of HR, along with a press kit demonstrating her experience, she won a coordinator role, in the firm’s new business department.
Most recently, Ms. Farone was the CMO at the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. On the business development side, she worked with colleagues to create a business and industry intelligence unit to help generate business opportunities and prepare partners for presentations, but she also spent a large part of every day, working with individual lawyers on their own business development plans. On the communications side, she dealt with crisis communications, as well as strategic public relations, the Firm’s website and all marketing communications. Prior to joining Cravath, Ms. Farone was the chief marketing officer at Debevoise & Plimpton. Working with professionals at these extraordinary firms, with their talented lawyers and innovative practices, has allowed her a rare glimpse into how to do things right.
Ms. Farone joined Debevoise & Plimpton from Towers Watson, where she coordinated national press relations and marketing efforts. Prior to joining Towers Perrin, she worked at Ketchum Communications. While she started off in new business at Ketchum, she eventually worked on accounts for both investor and public relations clients including publicly held and private companies in the financial, professional services and consumer product sectors.
Part of marketing means communicating ideas and Ms. Farone has enjoyed doing this in the academic arena as well as professionally. She has served as an adjunct Assistant Professor on the faculty of New York University and has taught several courses, including “Effective Marketing and Public Relations for Professional Service Companies” and “Marketing and Public Relations for Law Firms,” the first course of its kind offered by a major university.
Ms. Farone is a past President of the Legal Marketing Association’s New York Chapter and past Chair of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s marketing communications committee. She is a charter member of the Luxury Marketing Council and a member of the National Investor Relations Institute, Elevate and the Council of Protocol Executives. Ms. Farone has served as a Sponsor Vice Chair for The New York Public Library’s Spring Luncheon.
She was recently honored with LMA’s Legacy Award, in recognition of making “a distinguishable mark on the chapter and the profession.” In addition, she was an honoree at the YWCA’s Women Leader Luncheon and serves as a member of the organization’s Academy of Women Leaders.
For many years, Ms. Farone had served on the Board of Directors of The Girl Scouts Council of Greater New York. She was also an appointed member of the International Trademark Association’s public relations task force. She has served as Chair of the New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s “Meet the Media” committee and an officer of PRSA’s professional service committee.
Ms. Farone has a B.S. in Marketing and Mass Communications from Boston University’s College of Communications, graduating magna cum laude. Upon graduation, she was the recipient of the College’s Alumni Award for Student Excellence and a member of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.
Lynn Foley, fSquared Marketing
Lynn Foley is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of fSquared Marketing a company that provides law firms with strong expertise in digital strategy, branding, websites, client development, strategic planning, and lawyer training.
Lynn has over 20 years of proven, hands on experience, starting in New York at JPMorgan Chase before joining PwC a decade later as Director of Business Development for their Private Company Services practice. These combined experiences led her to the global law firm White & Case LLP as Practice Development Director for their Americas Finance practices with global responsibility for strategic planning and business development.
Lynn relocated to Vancouver in 2010 to hold the newly created role of Director of Marketing and Client Development at Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP. There she led the development and implementation of a new strategic plan for the Firm, in addition to the creation of a new brand identity. Since starting fSquared Marketing in 2013, she has worked with numerous global, national, and regional professional services companies to help them achieve their strategic goals.
She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the LMA Western Canada Region since 2012 and frequently presents on topics associated with marketing, business development and digital strategy in the US and Canada. Lynn holds a dual MBA in Finance and Media Communications Management from Fordham University in New York and earned her undergraduate degree in Marketing Management from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
When not working, Lynn spends time with her two daughters and keeps telling herself that one day she’ll get back to that novel she’s writing.
Michelle Friends, Fairfield and Woods
Michelle Friends is a Member-At-Large on the LMA Board of Directors and the Director of Operations and Business Development for Fairfield and Woods, P.C, based in Denver, CO. She has held many roles within LMA, including speaking and co-chairing QuickStart at the annual conference. She also served two terms (2014 & 2015) as the Rocky Mountain LMA Chapter President.
In her role, Michelle oversees all aspects of firm operations, including attorney recruitment and development, marketing, information technology, and strategic planning. Michelle is passionate about her work in the legal industry, and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Judicial Institute (CJI) and chairs the organization’s Development Committee. CJI works to preserve and enhance the fairness, impartiality and excellence of Colorado’s Courts.
Prior to joining the legal industry, Michelle worked in the non-profit sector. She holds a Master of Applied Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of Denver. In 2018, she completed the Smithbucklin Leadership Institute.
Currently Michelle is pursuing her Master of Science in Legal Administration at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
Paul Grabowski, Bracewell LLP
Paul is an award-winning, innovative, seasoned professional and licensed attorney with 20-plus years direct management experience in business development, marketing, communications, administration, and operations for professional services, Fortune 500, professional & collegiate athletics, and private sports and entertainment facility management. He is a published author and recognized for visionary branding campaigns combined with a proven track record for increasing top line revenue on an individual and company level.
Paul has been responsible for the creation and implementation of marketing and branding campaigns, media relations, operations and administrative efforts, business development and training programs and the creation of several Internet and intranet projects. His work on behalf of three firms has been recognized within the legal marketing community having received multiple awards, for website design, promotional materials and advertising campaigns. Additionally, his re-branding efforts earned one firm the “Legal Standard of Excellence Award” and another a “Golden Bee” award from the B2B Network.
Previously, Paul served as a project manager in corporate communications for Reliant Energy, Inc. Before his foray into the Fortune 500 arena, Paul honed his business skills while working for the Chicago Bears and Houston Oilers of the NFL as well as at the NCAA Division I collegiate athletic level and in private sports & entertainment facility management. He is a licensed attorney in the state of Texas.
Christine Harris, Kane Russell Coleman Logan PC
Christine Harris is Director of Marketing for Kane Russell Coleman Logan, PC. With a focus on client-facing/revenue-generating activities, she collaborates with attorneys on all aspects of driving business development initiatives that deepen existing client relationships, cross-selling opportunities and thought leadership.
She is an active member of LMA and has served in various capacities including as a member of the Education Advisory Committee and the Diversity & Inclusion SIG. Additional involvement includes serving on the 2018 Annual Conference Committee, as President of the Texas Chapter, as well as Chair of the Nomination Committee for the Southwest Regional Governing Board, and member of the Governance Committee.
Jill Huse, Society 54, LLC
Jill, a certified Worldwide Association of Business Coach, is highly regarded for her ingenuity, research-based strategy and ability to deliver results for clients.
She has worked in professional services marketing for nearly 20 years, in industries ranging from legal and accounting to insurance and human resources. Most recently before launching Society 54, Jill led the marketing and business development efforts for Moore & Van Allen. While there, she and her team won several awards for communication, business development and marketing initiatives.
Further, Jill is a tenured member of the Legal Marketing Association, currently serving on the International Board of Directors and previously serving as past president of the Southeastern Chapter. She received her Masters in Law Firm Management from George Washington University and her undergrad from Illinois State University. In addition to her coaching certification, she has also received certifications in DiSC, Gamification, Leadership, Change Management and Six Sigma.
Terry Isner, Jaffe
As someone who is more likely to set trends than to follow them, Terry is the rare mix of business strategist and artist. A multiple LMA Your Honor Award recipient and one of LawDragon’s “100 Legal Consultants You Need to Know,” Terry has been the creative force behind a number of high-profile national campaigns that have pushed the envelope in professional services marketing. He incorporates a variety of multimedia – from video to digital design to photography – to provide clients with cutting-edge tactics that break them out of the legal marketing mold and get them the visibility and branding they need to be successful in <span>today</span>’s competitive marketplace. A former CMO of an AmLaw 100 firm, he has a unique understanding of law firm strategy and the creative vision to provide campaigns that generate results.
Terry often draws inspiration from outside the legal industry to formulate innovative approaches to law firm marketing and PR. As one of the owners of Jaffe, he works closely with our client teams across the agency to provide input on new strategic and creative tactics and techniques that distinguish our clients from others in the industry.
Tasneem Khokha, GrowthPlay
Tasneem K. Khokha has spent almost 20 years in the professional services space working with lawyers and other professionals to grow their businesses and helping firms make the most of their relationships with their clients, their talent, and their recruits.
Prior to joining GrowthPlay, Tasneem was a partner and the Director of Marketing at Katten Muchin Rosenman, where she led the firm’s marketing and business development team. Tasneem previously practiced law in the corporate department of Latham & Watkins and the restructuring group of Kirkland & Ellis.
Clients value Tasneem’s prior experience as a practicing professional and executive leader in professional services organizations and her relentlessly optimistic approach. Tasneem speaks frequently on topics related to new business development, selling professional services, marketing, client experience, leadership, diversity, and women in professional services. She has spoken at several law schools, including Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, University of Chicago Law School and University of Illinois College of Law.
Tasneem graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and earned her Bachelor’s degree, with honors, from the University of Chicago. Tasneem is the President of the Alumni Board of the University of Chicago, and she also serves on the board of Latinos Progresando.
Chris Kirby, The BridgeField Group
For more than 18 years, attorney and BridgeField Group’s CEO, Chris Kirby, has been dedicated to helping legal and professional services clients to achieve personal and professional success – as they and their firms define it. He has coached and trained over 3500 professionals from 38 states and at least 41 countries. His experience working with everything from the gargantuan (>40% of the current AmLaw100 and three of the Big 4) to the diminutive, has blessed Chris with an unparalleled ability to develop and implement uniquely tailored and immensely effective client-centric solutions.
Chris received his BA from Rhodes College and his JD from the University of Arkansas. He is a member of the Legal Marketing Association, Christian Legal Society, the State Bar of Texas, and the Order of the Barristers as well as a volunteer coach for the NCFCA.
Chris and his family call the Austin suburb of Bastrop, Texas home.
Shanna Lee, CubeFit Yoga
Shanna Lee is the founder of CubeFit Yoga, a wellness company that specializes in delivering zen to the corporate office. After a 10+ year career in corporate marketing, Shanna became a certified yoga instructor and began to notice the benefits of movement and mindfulness extending into her professional life. Shortly after successfully sharing yoga and meditation with her coworkers and clients, a business was born.
CubeFit Yoga specializes in designing and delivering practical, accessible tips and techniques that can be done in the office and beyond, to reduce stress and increase focus. No experience – or stretchy pants – required!
Shanna works with companies of all sizes, from startups to the Fortune 50 and has been featured on television and in print, all in an effort to promote corporate wellness and happy, healthy humans in every office.
Marny Lifshen, Marny Lifshen Communications
Marny is an author, speaker and nationally-recognized expert on strategic networking, communication and personal branding. She works with businesses and executives to help them develop brand awareness and credibility with audiences. Marny has more than 25 years of experience as a marketing communications consultant, author and speaker.
Michelle McCormick, Jaffe
Michelle started her career in professional services while working with a professional accounting association in British Columbia. In the post Sarbanes-Oxley era, Michelle was called upon to lead the association’s public and media relations efforts, while continually assessing public perception of the organization and increasing overall awareness and recognition. She also produced an annual report detailing economic conditions throughout the province and the corresponding government policies and regulations affecting these regions.
One of the unique parts of the job was attending provincial budget release days. On these days, Michelle would sit in a locked room with hundreds of others, reviewing the embargoed budget, trying to digest and come up with appropriate talking points before its release. When the door opened and media streamed in, it was a dash to connect with key reporters quickly to ensure being included in the first stories.
When the opportunity came for Michelle to move to Big Law, she jumped at the chance. With eight years of experience in heading the communications department of an AmLaw 200 firm, Michelle understands the challenges faced by in-house legal marketers and communicators. In her Big Law position, she grew the firm’s communications department from the ground up, focusing on leading public relations efforts in the U.S., UK and Middle East. She helped drive the firm’s global brand awareness and showcased its attorneys as thought leaders in business and industry publications. She also built a robust rankings program, created a social media presence, and launched podcasting and an app.
Michelle has the ability to view challenges from the client’s perspective, enabling her to come up with creative and effective solutions that meet each client’s unique needs. Knowing the pressures and deadlines that in-house teams face, she concentrates on providing responsive client service to deliver results-driven public relations and social media strategies.
Michelle got into communications somewhat by accident. She started her career as a government policy analyst, building programs to meet community needs. When she had the opportunity to start creating communications materials explaining the “why,” she couldn’t say no. This led her to return to school to learn as much as she could about the communication theories she was putting into practice.
Michelle earned her master’s degree in public relations from the University of Houston and bachelor’s degree from the University of Waterloo.
Heather McCullough, Society 54, LLC
Society 54 Co-Founder Heather McCullough is two parts wit and one part tenacity, with heaping doses of creativity and intellect on the side. For more than 15 years, she has brought game-changing results to professional services firms across the Southeast. As the director of business and practice development at one of the most well-respected law firms in the Carolinas, Heather oversaw all aspects of firm branding and business development, including communications, client relations, events and business development – – all while keeping a keen eye on budgets and ROI. In the consulting realm, Heather never says no to a challenge. She knows that hollow rebranding and marketing can fall flat, and operates as a tireless advocate for her clients to ensure that efforts are anything but hollow. She is well known in the legal marketing industry and her wheels never stop turning when it comes to generating profit, rapport and direction for her clients.
Dominica McGinnis, The BridgeField Group
As a coach and as BridgeField Group’s Chief Operating Officer, Dominica McGinnis drives business development, culture transformation, team performance, and leadership success. She stands alongside the CEO to execute our strategic vision and leads client and firm projects. Insightful and perceptive, Dominica strategically hones the focus of those she coaches and our firm on goals, opportunities, and results. A skilled, experienced leader and a staunch ally, Dominica is a strategic advisor that challenges her clients and propels them to go farther – faster. She works closely with every level of client leadership, personnel, and staff to ensure they achieve success as they define it. In short, Mrs. McGinnis is the functional epicenter of the BridgeField Group.
Coaching, training, and leadership are a way of life in the military, where Dominica honed her leadership, management, and organizational skills as an Officer in the United States Army. Completing her active duty service as a Military Police Captain, her career included a number of leadership roles that culminated in an appointment to serve as the interim Provost Marshal, “Chief of Police”, for Fort Myer and Fort Leslie J. McNair Military Installations (now Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall).
Throughout the 21st century, Dominica has been a trusted advisor to those in law and accounting firms, universities, non-profits, and private industry. She has worked with individuals in organizations of every size and at every stage of their career.
Dominica received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Memphis, and she continued her organizational and leadership training in Business Process Reengineering, Total Quality Management, and the Malcolm Baldridge Criteria of Performance Excellence. She completed her leadership coach training through PCCI, an ICF aligned school. She is also proudly Airborne and Air Assault Qualified.
Dominica and her husband have been married for over 20 years, enjoy life between two state parks, and raise their four daughters in the middle of the woods outside of Austin, TX.
Megan McKeon, Clark Hill PLC
Megan M. McKeon, a licensed attorney, has more than a decade of experience in law firm marketing and administration. She serves as the Director of Business Development at Clark Hill PLC. In her role, Megan works with the Banking and Financial Services, Intellectual Property, and Litigation groups to create and execute strategies to win new work and maximize business potential from targeted clients, including by developing and managing client teams and cross-selling efforts. Megan works to raise the market profile of Members and key practices and to drive new business and cross-selling efforts that generate revenue for the firm. She coaches individual lawyers and teams in preparation for formal pitch presentations and informal pitch opportunities and in creating and executing strategic business development action plans. Megan also coordinates with administrative teams across the firm to improve on Clark Hill’s lateral integration process with a focus on providing a consistent, outstanding client experience and a seamless onboarding, introduction, and long-term development for lateral attorneys.
Prior to joining Clark Hill, Megan was a Practice Manager at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, where she managed internal strategic projects and served as the administrative lead for the Financial Services, Intellectual Property and Litigation practices. She also developed the firm’s client service training program. Previously, Megan managed Katten’s marketing team and created and executed firm-wide marketing and business development strategy. Prior to joining Katten, Megan was Marketing Director at McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP, an intellectual property law firm. Megan also ran the marketing department at Corboy & Demetrio and was a member of the marketing team at Schiff Hardin LLP.
Megan regularly speaks on topics related to legal marketing and law firm administration. Most recently, she participated as a subject matter expert in developing the Legal Marketing Association’s Quick Start programs, was a speaker at the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference, and served as a panelist on multiple industry webinars. She is active in the Legal Marketing Association, having served on the International level as Membership Committee Co-Chair, Shared Interest Group Task Force Chair, and as a member of the Regionalization Implementation Task Force. Locally, she serves as President-Elect of LMA Midwest. She also co-created LMA Midwest’s Young Members Group and was also chairperson of the 2007, 2008, and 2009 LMA Chicago Your Honor Awards and the 2007 LMA Midwest Conference; she served as co-chair for the 2009 LMA Midwest Conference and the 2012 and 2013 LMA Midwest Your Honor Awards. She has served on a variety of positions on the local LMA board. In 2014, Megan received the Outstanding Service Award from LMA Midwest.
Mark Polansky, Former Astronaut
Mark Polansky is an American aerospace engineer and research pilot and a former NASA astronaut. He flew on three Space Shuttle missions: STS-98, STS-116, and STS-127.
Polansky received an Air Force commission upon graduation from Purdue University in 1978. He earned his pilot wings in January 1980 at Vance AFB, Oklahoma. From 1980 to 1983, he was assigned to Langley AFB, Virginia, where he flew the F-15 aircraft. In 1983, Polansky transitioned to the F-5E aircraft and served as an Aggressor Pilot, where he trained tactical aircrews to defeat enemy aircraft tactics. He was assigned in this capacity to Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines, and Nellis AFB, Nevada, until he was selected to attend USAF Test Pilot School, Edwards AFB, California, in 1986. Upon graduation, he was assigned to Eglin AFB, Florida, where he conducted weapons and systems testing in the F-15, F-15E, and A-10 aircraft. Polansky left active duty in 1992 to pursue a career at NASA. He has logged over 5,000 flight hours in over 30 different aircraft.
Polansky joined NASA in August 1992, as an aerospace engineer and research pilot. He was assigned to the Aircraft Operations Division of the Johnson Space Center. His primary responsibilities involved teaching the astronaut pilots Space Shuttle landing techniques in the Shuttle Trainer Aircraft and instructing astronaut pilots and mission specialists in the T-38 aircraft. Polansky also conducted flight testing of the NASA T-38 avionics upgrade aircraft.
Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Polansky began training in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, he was initially assigned as a member of the Astronaut Support Personnel team at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida supporting space shuttle launches and landings. Polansky also served as Chief of the CAPCOM branch (April 2002 to December 2002), Chief Instructor astronaut (April 2003 to January 2004) and Chief of the Return to Flight and Orbiter Repair branches. A veteran of three space flight, Polansky has logged more than 993 hours in space. He was the pilot on STS-98 and the mission commander on STS-116 and STS-127. Polansky also served as Director of Operations at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. He retired from NASA in June 2012.
Brenda Plowman, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Brenda Plowman is the Chief Marketing Officer at Fasken. She is responsible for building Fasken’s world-class brand and positioning our firm for success in the evolving legal services marketplace. One of Brenda’s most enduring qualities is her ability to harness our collective vision and translate it into tangible results. She drives change, ensuring that the purpose for transformation is meaningful to clients, lawyers and staff alike. She also understands that change takes time.
Brenda leads a talented group of marketing, business development and communication professionals across the firm. She is known for sincerely listening to everyone she works with and for encouraging innovative approaches to problem solving and collaborating. Before joining Fasken, Brenda attended and taught marketing at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. She also founded a successful business consultancy, served as the VP of US Sales and Marketing for a growing company and has led respected organizations such as the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International and the Legal Marketing Association.
Denise Robinson, The Still Center LLC
Denise A. Robinson is the Founding Principal of The Still Center LLC, a consultancy focused on facilitating personal well-being, interpersonal connection, and organizational inclusion through mindfulness and contemplative practices. Her work is informed by over a decade of advancing organizational diversity & inclusion and many years teaching yoga and meditation. After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, where she served as the president of the Black Law Students Association and a student advocate in the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, Denise started her career as a labor & employment attorney in her home state of Ohio. She later transitioned to promoting workplace equity in internal diversity roles as the Director of Diversity & Inclusion for O’Melveny & Myers, and subsequently, the Diversity Officer for the International Monetary Fund.
Denise is also a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance and her yoga teaching and practice are the foundation of her work in mindfulness, meditation, and other contemplative practices. She is an active writer and speaker on a variety of diversity and well-being issues and is proud to serve as the co-chair of the Committee on Diversity & Inclusion for the alumni board of her undergraduate alma mater, the Honors Tutorial College of Ohio University.
Erin Ryan, McGuireWoods LLP
Over her 14-year career, Erin has been fortunate to provide business development and marketing services to three AmLaw 100 firms, with the last 9 years at McGuireWoods. Her role as senior business development manager encompasses many facets, including revenue generation, practice development, coaching, innovation, and client relationship management.
Erin has a passion for team management and professional growth. She launched a “Professional Growth Forum” that regularly brings together members of the firms’ marketing and business development group to shine a light on “soft” skills to enhance their long-term success. She approaches each day with an open mind, ready to teach, to learn, and to do something to make her firm a better place. Above all, she strives to help people discover the same intrinsic joy in their careers that she has been fortunate to experience.
Erin is an active member of LMA and will serve as chair of the 2020 LMA Southeast Regional Conference in Louisville, KY. She frequently writes and speaks on business development, management, and professional growth. Erin received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin, where she also received her B.A. in journalism and public relations. In addition to being a proud wife, she loves re-experiencing life’s small wonders through the eyes of her two amazing children.
Rachel Shields Williams, Sidley Austin LLP
Rachel Shields Williams is the Senior Manager, Experience Management at Sidley Austin. In her current role with the organization, she blends her 15 years of marketing and business development experience with her passion for technology. She helps lawyers and marketers understand how they can apply technology to their business development and marketing activities in order to increase their effectiveness, operational efficiency and get results.
With her experience in marketing and business development, she seeks to identify opportunities to take the pain out of the regular blocking and tackling tasks that marketers face each day and to help them create synergies in existing processes; that gives them more time to tackle the innovative projects that help grow the organizations bottom line. She also develops and implements processes that allow the integration of technology across various professional departments in the organization. These multifaceted experiences afford her the skill and flexibility to translate between the needs of the business and the technical departments within the firm.