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FY20-21 MWL Board of Directors

Wednesday, July 1, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Debra Pexa



Minnesota Women Lawyers is pleased to announce its 2020-2021 Board of Directors for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020. 


Breia Schleuss assumed the office of President as of July 1, 2020. Breia is a partner at Faegre Drinker LLP, where she is a member of the Finance & Restructuring Practice Group and a co-chair of the firm’s Food & Agribusiness Industry Team. Breia has been recognized as a Top Woman in Finance by Finance & Commerce, a Rising Star in banking by Super Lawyers, and 40 Under 40 by Minneapolis/ St. Paul Business Journal. Breia has served on the Board of Directors of Minnesota Women Lawyers since 2011. Among other board service, Breia previously served on the Business Finance Advisory Committee of WomenVenture, a small business lender, and on the Board of Directors for the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.

Kristin Haugen has been elected to the office of President-Elect. Kristin is Vice President, Legal for Morneau Shepell, a global provider of technology-enabled human resources services. Previously, Kristin founded her own consulting business providing workshops and one-on-one coaching focused on business development, leadership, and diversity and inclusion.  Kristin also practiced as a solo attorney and as a partner with one of Minnesota’s largest law firms.


Jennifer Robbins has been elected to the office of Secretary. Jenny is the Managing Partner at MADEL PA, where she represents Fortune 500 companies and individuals in plaintiff- and defense-side business litigation (e.g., antitrust, trade secret, complex class actions, regulatory matters) and white-collar criminal defense, government investigations, and matters alleging misconduct against professionals. Jenny also serves as Co-Chair of the D&I Subcommittee.


Poonam Kumar has been elected to the office of Treasurer. Poonam is an attorney with DLA Piper LLP. Poonam has extensive experience working on a wide variety of cross-border transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and corporate restructurings, as well as general corporate, securities and commercial law matters. Poonam is a representative for DLA Piper’s Leadership Alliance for Women and serves as a co-chair of Mosaic, DLA’s affinity group for diverse partners and counsel. In addition to serving on the MWL Board of Directors, Poonam is one of the founding co-chairs of the MWL’s Corporate Counsel Affinity Group and has previously served as a co-chair of the Governance Committee and the Development Committee. She has also served as a MWL Foundation Board Director in the past.  


Amy Taber will assume the office of Past-President. Amy is Prime Therapeutics’ Employment and Litigation Senior Legal Counsel where she provides legal advice and support to Prime's human resources and facilities teams and assists with oversight of Prime's employment and general business litigation activities. Amy began practicing law in 2004 and was a partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP before joining Prime. Prior to becoming a lawyer, she was a human resources professional for 10 years. Since joining the MWL Board as a Director in 2012, Amy has served in the role of Secretary and President. Amy is also a two-time recipient of the Service to MWL Award. 


Ellen Ahrens, MADEL PA; Dionne Blake, Target Corporation; Molly Hough, Bassford Remele; Kelsey Kelley, Anoka County Attorney's Office; and Mary Szondy, Attorney at Law, will serve two-year terms on the Minnesota Women Lawyers Board of Directors beginning July 1, 2020.   


Deborah Autrey, Attorney at Law; A. Elizabeth Burnett, Robins Kaplan LLP;  Emerald Gratz, Minnesota Supreme Court; Theresa Johnson, Theresa Johnson Law, PLLC/Elder Law Services, and Karen Opp, Korn Ferry, will serve the second year of their current terms on the Minnesota Women Lawyers Board of Directors.


The MWL Central, Northeastern, South Central and St. Croix Valley Chapters each elect a representative to serve on the Board. Michelle Draewell will serve as the Central Chapter representative; Kay Biga, Spott Law Office, will serve as the Northeastern Chapter representative; and Anne Brown, Sjoberg & Tebelius, PA will serve as the St. Croix Valley Chapter representative. The South Central Chapter representative will be named shortly.


The women’s law student organizations at Minnesota three law schools each elect a member to serve as non-voting liaison to the Board. Alexandria Yakes will serve as the liaison for the University of Minnesota Law School. Megan Hsiang will serve as the liaison for the University of St. Thomas Law School; Kathryn Fredrickson will serve as the liaison for the Mitchell Hamline School of Law.


For more information about all of the members of MWL's FY20-21 Board of Directors, visit our leadership webpage HERE.


MWL also extends its welcome and thanks to leaders across the organization, including Affinity Group Chairs, Committee Chairs, Chapter Leaders, Bar Liaisons, Advisory Board Members, Partner Leadership Council Members and so many more volunteers.  MWL's work is not possible with the dedicated efforts of so many of its members.  With this strong commitment, MWL looks forward to a tremendous year ahead!


For information on how to get involved, visit MWL Leadership & Volunteer Opportunities.


Minnesota Women Lawyers is an association of over 1,200 attorneys, judges, law students, legal employers, and others who are dedicated to advancing the success of women attorneys and striving for a just society. 




Breia Schleuss, FY20-21 President and Debra Pexa, Executive Director


View a PDF of the news release here.


Minnesota Women Lawyers
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Minneapolis, MN 55402

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