Speakers

2019 In-House Counsel Seminar speakers include:

Melissa Alphin Jason Christie Kate Garcia Jason Idilbi Paula Kohut
Hope Murphy Tyehimba David Onuscheck Danya Perry Meghan Pridemore Jena Taft

Melissa Alphin

Melissa Alphin

Senior Manager Risk Oversight, Monitoring and Reporting
First Citizens Bank

Melissa Alphin is a Senior Manager and SVP within Enterprise and Operational Risk Management (ERM/ORM) at First Citizens Bank.  She is accountable for enterprise risk oversight, monitoring, and reporting, as well as Third-Party Risk Management. Prior to joining ERM/ORM, Melissa managed the compliance program for First Citizens, covering lending, deposits, consumer protection, and safety and soundness regulations.  Her experience also includes several years in Internal Audit.  Melissa is a summa cum laude graduate of Campbell University where she obtained her MBA and BBA degrees with a concentration in Trust and Investment Management, and is a Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager, and Certified Fiduciary and Investment Risk Specialist.

Jason Christie

Jason Christie

Market President and Publisher
Triangle Business Journal

Jason Christie is the Market President & Publisher of the Triangle Business Journal, overseeing all operations and strategy for the media company, which include content, advertising, audience, events, production, and finance. Prior to this role, Christie was previously Director of Advertising for the Charlotte Business Journal, part of the American City Business Journal group, a division of Advance Publications, owners of Conde Nast, ACBJ as well as daily & weekly newspapers across the United States.

The media industry has been Christie’s passion throughout his professional career. From sports reporter, to spot news photographer, paper carrier, online news director, advertising sales & beyond. He has dedicated his work life to the prosperity of the media industry. In 1995, Christie launched the country’s first daily online newspaper, derived from a print weekly. In 2004, he launched his first dot com company, dedicated to the promotion of online legal notice publishing. In 2000, he successfully ran & won a bid on his hometown’s city council in Swartz Creek, Michigan, a position he held for 2 terms including a stint as Mayor Pro-Tem. Christie is married to Becky. They have three children Owen (6) and three-year-old twin daughters, Layla & Liberty. They reside in Morrisville, NC. 

Katie GarciaKate Garcia

VP, Sr, Manager of Sourcing
First Citizens Bank

Kate Garcia is the Senior Manager of Sourcing for First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company, leading a team of ten contract management professionals, sourcing and negotiating resources across the Bank’s enterprise. Prior to her time at First-Citizens, she worked at M&T Bank (Buffalo, NY), where she led a staff of twelve contract professionals, sourcing and negotiating resources for technology.

Jason Idilbi

Jason Idilbi

General Counsel
Passport

Jason is General Counsel of Passport, a Charlotte-based company providing parking and transportation technology solutions to nearly 1,000 clients to streamline operations, increase revenue, and reduce costs. During Jason's tenure at Passport since March 2017, the company has completed two capital raises totaling $107 million and two acquisitions and has grown from a staff of under 70 to over 300. Originally, the only in-house attorney at Passport, Jason has grown the legal department to five full-time attorneys and is proud that his team was recognized as "Outstanding Law Department" in the Charlotte Business Journal's 2019 Corporate Counsel awards. 

Paula Kohut

Paula Kohut

Owner
Kohut & Adams, P.A.

Paula A. Kohut is a shareholder in Kohut & Adams, PA in Wilmington, North Carolina. Her principal practice areas are estate planning, trust and estate administration, business law and asset protection. Paula is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She received her B.A. degree, from the University of California at Irvine in 1980 and her J.D. degree, with honors, from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1983. She is a Council Member of the Estate and Fiduciary Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, the North Carolina Commission on Inclusion and the Governor’s Council on Aging. She also serves on the Boards Coastal Women Attorneys and St. Jude’s Wilmington Foundation, Inc. 

Hope Murphy TyehimbaHope Murphy Tyehimba

General Counsel
NC Central University

Hope Murphy Tyehimba is General Counsel for North Carolina Central University, a constituent institution within the University of North Carolina System. In her role, Ms. Tyehimba serves as the chief legal advisor to the Board of Trustees, chancellor, vice chancellors, and other senior campus administrators. Ms. Tyehimba also manages the selection and retention of outside counsel for the university and provides legal advice regarding a host of other issues including employment, public records, open meetings, athletics, constitutional issues, litigation, contracts, and regulatory matters. Prior to becoming General Counsel in 2016, Ms. Tyehimba was employed as Assistant University Legal Counsel at NCCU, Assistant General Counsel at North Carolina State University, Assistant University Attorney at East Carolina University and Assistant Attorney General at the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office. Ms. Tyehimba was also previously employed as a Senior Associate in private practice. Ms. Tyehimba received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Political Science from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Juris Doctorate from the UNC School of Law. She is currently a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and the North Carolina Bar Association.

David Onuscheck

David Onuscheck

Sr. Vice President and Legal and Integrity General Counsel
Americas Region, ABB

Dave is the Sr. Vice President and General Counsel for ABB’s North America Territory.  There are 35 people on Dave’s legal team.  ABB is an automation company focusing on electrical products, motors and drives, industrial systems and robots. 

ABB’s US Headquarters is in Cary, NC and ABB’s worldwide Headquarters is in Zurich, Switzerland.  Dave’s has responsibility for all legal matters in North America with the exception of intellectual property issues.  In addition to managing the North American legal team, Dave focuses on litigation, contracts and integrity issues and has been with the company for 30 years. 

Dave graduated from the University of Notre Dame and received a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center.   

Danya Perry

Danya Perry

Director, Equitable Economic Development Director, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Wake County Economic Development

Danya Perry serves as the Director, Equitable Economic Development with Wake County Economic Development (WCED) and Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Perry supports efforts to ensure economic development in Wake County’s most vulnerable communities. This includes increasing economic mobility, workforce development, strengthening municipal economic ecosystems, and supporting small businesses. Prior to WCED, Perry worked for Communities In Schools (CIS) of North Carolina as the Vice President of Support Services and has served as an education and community advocate for the past twenty years. In this capacity, Perry has assisted many organizations in their mission to ensure academic proficiency, provide a conducive learning environment, and mobilize the community around youth. Perry has co-authored several books - “Preventing Violence & Crime in America’s Schools: From Put Downs to Lock Downs,” which speaks to the need for early prevention and “The Secrets for Motivating, Educating, and Lifting the Spirits of African-American Males.” Perry has also served as a national consultant for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Gang and Violence Reduction Project. This project seeks to provide states with the tools necessary to intervene and eradicate gang activity.

Meghan Pridemore

Meghan Pridemore

VP, Manager Default Counselor
Credit Resolution Group | First Citizens Bank

Meghan Pridemore is the Default Counselor and Manager of Default Litigation for First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company.  Before leaving private practice for banker’s hours, she was a creditor’s rights attorney in the Raleigh area.  Meghan began her career as a clerk for Judge J. Rich Leonard, and also later clerked for Chief Judge Stephani W. Humrickhouse of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.   

Jena Taft

Jena Taft

Assistant General Counsel
Affordable Care

Jena serves as the Assistant General Counsel at Affordable Care - a dental support organization headquartered in RTP with 350 affiliated dental practices and 600 dentists across 44 states. Jena has a strong foundation in health law and a growing expertise in corporate law as she advises the company on both healthcare regulatory and corporate operational matters navigating frequent acquisitions and unprecedented growth and innovation. 

Prior to joining Affordable Care Jena was Associate General Counsel with Vidant Health, an 8-hospital system in eastern North Carolina serving a third of the state and reaching across 29 counties. At Vidant Jena was legal counsel to the 300+ physician group specializing in physician contracts, Stark Law and Anti-Kickback statutes while working on a wide variety of risk-management issues. 

A NC State and Campbell Law Alum, Jena has consistently been involved with professional groups in the Triangle including the Association of Corporate Counsel, the North Carolina Bar Association and has served extensively in the 10th district with the Wake County Bar, currently as Vice-Chair of the Membership Committee.

Ward and Smith Speakers

Charles Collins Angela Doughty Paul Fanning Ken Gray Emily Massey
Jamie Norment Allen Trask Hayley Wells Devon Williams  

Charles Collins

Charles Collins

Director of Information Technology

Charles is responsible for leading the firm's evaluation and implementation of all technology platforms. He leverages his extensive knowledge and all available technology to ensure the firm provides innovative and secure solutions to clients. He has more than 15 years of experience in information technology and application development in the legal industry. He has a Yellow Belt certification in Legal Lean Sigma® and Project Management from the Legal Lean Sigma Institute.

Angela Doughty, CIPP/US

Intellectual Property and Privacy Attorney

Angela is a North Carolina State Bar Board Specialist in Trademark Law and a Certified Information Privacy Professional- United States (CIPP/US) that serves as the firm's Director of Legal Process Management. She oversees several initiatives to optimize and increase the efficiency of the firm's legal services. In addition to adopting and executing practices, such as Legal Lean Sigma, Angela is responsible for moving the firm through the implementation of process improvement, design methodologies, and innovative technology. 

Paul Fanning

Paul Fanning

North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Business and Consumer Bankruptcy Law

Paul leads the Creditors' Rights Practice and is certified by the American Board of Certification and the North Carolina State Bar as a Board Certified Specialist in Business and Consumer Bankruptcy Law. His practice experience encompasses bankruptcy, collections, creditors' rights, and lender liability. He concentrates his practice in the representation of creditors in complex bankruptcy cases and state court litigation, including workouts, collection reorganizations, and contested matters. 

Ken Gray

Labor and Employment Attorney

Ken's practice experience encompasses various areas of employment-related litigation.  He advises clients and litigates cases involving all forms of employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, and breach of employment contracts from small start-up companies to Fortune 500 corporations.  Ken is a frequent lecturer on employment discrimination, workplace retaliation, workers' compensation, and wage and hour law issues.  He has been rated by his peers as being "preeminent" in his fields of law and serves in leadership roles with various legal and civic organizations.  Ken is a former president of the Craven County Bar Association, a former two-term president of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Coastal Carolina, and Chairman of the Deacons of First Baptist Church of New Bern.

Emily Massey

Labor and Employment Attorney

Emily's practice focuses on a wide range of labor and employment law issues, including personnel policies and handbooks, background checks, employment discrimination, and harassment, employee discipline and termination, drug and alcohol testing, and various wage and hour matters.

 

Jamie Norment

Jamie Norment

Government Relations Attorney

Jamie works regularly with individuals, corporations, and governmental entities on a variety of complex legal matters. His experience in substantive areas of the law includes government contracts (with an emphasis on local, state, and federal construction contracts and the procurement of goods and services), government relations and lobbying (including campaign finance and ethics issues), and economic development law (especially public-private partnerships and incentives). Jamie has extensive experience with board governance issues, open meeting and public records laws, and military economic development initiatives.

Allen Trask

Allen Trask

Agribusiness and Hemp Law Attorney

Allen co-leads the firm's Hemp practice and is passionate about the hemp and cannabidiol ("CBD") industries and the people who participate in them. He works with clients from all sectors of the hemp and CBD markets, both in North Carolina and beyond, and he helps guide the Firm's practice in those efforts. Allen regularly partners with hemp farmers, processors, extractors, product manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers to address their unique legal needs. He also assists indirect industry participants, including brokers, consultants, marketing agencies, lenders and financial institutions, and other suppliers and vendors.

Hayley Wells

Labor and Employment Attorney

Hayley's practice primarily focuses on labor and employment law and civil litigation. She regularly advises individual and corporate clients in matters of covenants not to compete, employment discrimination, discipline and termination, harassment, wrongful discharge, wage and hour matters, personnel policies and procedures, and preparation of employee handbooks and employment agreements. Additionally, she represents both corporate and individual clients in all aspects related to litigation including hearings, depositions, discovery, mediation, arbitration, and trial. Her experience ranges from commercial litigation to personal injury matters. Hayley also advises brewery and craft alcoholic beverage clients in various aspects of the law, including permitting, negotiation and preparation of distribution agreements, enforcement actions, interpretative guidance, music licensing, and personnel matters.

Devon Williams

Devon Williams

Labor and Employment Attorney

Devon leads the Labor and Employment practice. Her practice focuses on a wide range of labor and employment issues, including wage and hour matters, federal contractor compliance, employment discrimination and harassment, employee discipline and termination, personnel policies, and background checks. In matters relating to employee benefits, she concentrates on issues confronting welfare benefit plans (such as medical, dental, and other plans) and their sponsors, including the provisions and impact of the Affordable Care Act.