Guest Speakers

Hank HarrisHank Harris
Director of Consulting
Ward and Smith Business Consulting

Hank Harris spent most of his career in a national management consulting and investment banking firm, specialized in working with privately held businesses.  He rose to become CEO and Chairman of that firm, where he still maintains an affiliation and many friendships. Hank's background gives him a unique perspective.  He has seen the inner workings of literally hundreds of successful businesses, understands the mind of entrepreneurs, and has a deep understanding of the issues unique to privately held businesses.  CEOs call on Hank to be part of their strategic planning, help with succession planning, or consult on family business matters.

Rendi Mann-Stadt

Rendi L. Mann-Stadt
In-House Counsel and Compliance Officer
Aeroflow Healthcare

Rendi's experience encompasses a wide range employment and business law matters.  As in-house counsel at Aeroflow, she provides daily guidance to the C-suite and all business units on employment, regulatory, compliance, and transactional matters.  

In her previous experience as outside counsel, Rendi has represented clients before professional boards, administrative agencies, and in state and federal courts in a wide variety of employment matters, including FLSA, FMLA, USERRA, and wrongful discharge.  She also represented clients in general and business litigation matters, including closely-held businesses and their owners on such issues as the formation of business entities and the acquisition and sale of businesses, including start-up businesses, business transfers and acquisitions, transactional matters, and contract drafting and negotiation.

Marie Appleby RichardsonMarie Appleby Richardson
Senior Vice President and Special Assets and Commercial Credit
United Community Bank

Marie Appleby Richardson is Senior Vice President and Special Assets and Commercial Credit Counsel for United Community Bank, a close to $25 billion financial institution headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, with locations throughout the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama.  Marie has specialized in the Creditors’ Rights, Bankruptcy, and Insolvency practice areas for over thirty years, including private practice in Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin, before heading south and becoming in-house counsel for a community bank in Southwest Virginia.  Marie joined UCB in 2018, where she now heads the Creditors’ Rights Team of the Legal Department that provides guidance and services to the Special Assets, Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, Loss Mitigation teams, Credit Administration, as well as many other internal bank constituencies needing assistance with defaulted or distressed loans.  Marie and her husband, Todd, live in Travelers Rest, South Carolina.

Ward and Smith Speakers

BT AtkinsonB.T. Atkinson
Corporate Attorney

With nearly 30 years of experience, B.T. is a veteran banking attorney whose practice focuses on corporate, securities, and regulatory matters in the financial services space. He regularly advises regional and community banks, underwriters and issuers, and public and private companies. Clients rely on B.T.'s extensive experience for guidance with securities offerings and reporting, business formation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance matters under federal and state law, and corporate governance issues. 

Whitney Campbell ChristensenWhitney Campbell Christensen
Government Relations Attorney

Whitney represents clients before the North Carolina General Assembly, where for more than a decade, she has evaluated, drafted, supported, amended, and opposed legislation in accordance with client needs. Whitney has experience advocating on behalf of some of the nation's largest corporations, statewide professional associations, manufacturers, the hospitality industry, environmental service providers, financial institutions, military and education nonprofits, and local governments. She has successfully secured state budget provisions and has had legislation introduced and enacted pertaining to business liability, internet privacy and security laws, virtual currency, higher education, criminal justice, state and local pension system reforms, vehicle registration, transportation funding, special elections, alcoholic beverage laws, state procurement of information technology, local government purchasing requirements, and 911 dispatch center redundancy.

Richard CrowRichard Crow
Business and Tax Attorney

Richard has significant experience in a broad range of business law matters, including mergers and acquisitions, tax planning, private securities offerings, and start-up businesses. He recently served as in-house counsel for a major background screening and compliance provider, giving him the rare experience of managing both the inside and outside counsel roles for the same entity. That experience colors his practice, and Richard is now known as "an inside counsel's outside counsel."

Angela DoughtyAngela Doughty, CIPP/US
North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Trademark Law

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 Innovation. 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 implementing process improvement, design methodologies, and innovative technology. 

Paul FanningPaul 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 GrayKen Gray
Labor and Employment Attorney

Ken leads the firm's Labor and Employment Practice Group. His 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.

Justin HillJustin Hill
Labor and Employment Attorney

Justin focuses his practice on labor and employment matters. He works with businesses, employers, and human resources professionals across the state. Additionally, Justin is a member of the firm's Professional Licensing group and defends licensed professionals before North Carolina's many professional and occupational licensing boards. Justin received his undergraduate degree from Davidson College and earned his J.D. from Campbell University School of Law, where he graduated in the top ten of his class.

Xavier LightfootXavier Lightfoot
Labor and Employment Attorney

Xavier regularly advises employers on a wide range of labor and employment law issues, including personnel policies and handbooks, employment discrimination and harassment, employee discipline and termination, drug and alcohol testing, and various wage and hour matters.  He has also conducted training presentations and webinars for employers on various COVID-19 employment topics such as workforce reduction, ADA compliance, emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements under the FFCRA, best practices and strategies for employers to return workers to the workplace, and preparation of liability waivers.

Avery LocklearAvery Locklear
Labor and Employment Attorney

Avery has a diverse practice that focuses on labor and employment law. She helps businesses of all sizes, as well as individual employers and human resources professionals. Avery is committed to finding practical, efficient solutions to the challenges that employers face every day. 


Emily Massey

Emily Massey
Labor and Employment Attorney

Emily's practice focuses on helping employers navigate complex employment law issues.  She has become a trusted advisor to businesses and organizations in facilitating compliance in the rapidly-changing employment landscape, providing counsel at all stages of personnel matters and negotiating resolutions to employee disputes. Her litigation experience bolsters her ability to both represent clients in active disputes and advise clients on effective human resources practices to help prevent litigation.

Erica RogersErica Rogers
Intellectual Property Attorney

Erica leads the firm's Name, Image, and Likeness Practice Group. Many individuals license commercial use of their name, image, and likeness ("NIL") to companies, and more recently, individual collegiate athletes have been able to do so.  The NIL Practice Group primarily assists businesses that work with these athletes to promote products or services, in addition to assisting NIL collectives, marketing agencies, software platform providers, and financial advisors. Erica stays aware of the changing laws and regulations in this space, which complement her already-developed skills in negotiating and drafting license agreements.

Hayley WellsHayley Wells
Employment Law Attorney

Hayley's practice primarily focuses on alcoholic beverage law, labor and employment law, and civil litigation. As head of the firm's Alcoholic Beverage Law Practice Group, she regularly advises brewery and other craft alcoholic beverage clients in various aspects of the law, including permitting, negotiation, preparation and termination of distribution agreements, defense of ALE enforcement actions, labeling compliance, interpretative guidance, music licensing, liability waivers, festival questions, and personnel matters. Hayley also 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.

Devon WilliamsDevon Williams 
Co-Managing Director and Labor and Employment Attorney

Devon's practice encompasses a wide range of labor and employment issues, including wage and hour matters, federal contractor compliance, employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims, employee discipline and termination decisions, personnel policies and practices, restrictive covenants, and background checks.  Devon regularly counsels HR executives and C-suite officers, navigating them through the many state and federal requirements for employers with the aim of helping clients avoid costly litigation and improve workplace relations.

Amy WootenAmy Wooten
Litigation Attorney

Amy's litigation practice focuses on complex commercial disputes, fiduciary duty claims, unfair and deceptive trade practices claims, and community association matters.  Amy also has experience handling federal Housing and Urban Development claims, and she litigates disputes of all flavors that arise in the agribusiness and hemp industries.  In addition, Amy has significant experience representing policyholders in a broad range of first- and third-party coverage litigation with their insurance carriers.  That experience includes litigating coverage disputes pertaining to commercial property insurance, directors and officers ("D&O") insurance, errors and omissions ("E&O") insurance, disability insurance, and commercial general liability ("CGL") insurance.

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