Elizabeth Colman, Senior Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow &
Policy Advocate

(415) 296-7629 x107 |

Elizabeth Colman is The Institute’s Senior Paul H.Tobias Attorney Fellow & Policy Advocate. Elizabeth graduated from Golden Gate University School of Law, where she served as the Research Editor for the GGU Environmental Law Journal and earned specialization certificates in Public Interest Law and Labor & Employment Law. As a law student, Elizabeth served as a summer associate with the Alliance for Justice, a Graduate Legal Assistant with the California Office of Legislative Counsel, and an extern with the National Employment Law Project.  Prior to law school, Elizabeth spent nearly a decade working as a progressive political organizer and workers’ rights advocate.

FlegelL_employee_rights_advocacy_instituteLaura M. Flegel, Director of Law & Policy
(202) 898-2880 |

Laura M. Flegel has served as The Institute’s Director of Law & Policy as well as the Legislative & Public Policy Director of the National Employment Lawyers Association since February 2015. Immediately prior to joining NELA and The Institute, Ms. Flegel served as the Legislative Counsel to the District of Columbia City Council’s Committee on Human Services where she worked on a variety of workers’ rights legislation, such as the Minimum Wage Act, the Wage Theft Prevention Act, and a Ban the Box measure. She also worked for 18 years on civil rights, disability rights, and poverty law issues as the Director of Legal Services & Interim General Counsel for the Whitman-Walker Clinic, and as the Director of Legal Advocacy and Education at the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities. Ms. Flegel is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Law.

HofkinL_employee_rights_advocacy_instituteLeah A. Hofkin, Director of Development
(415) 296-7629 x221 |

Leah A. Hofkin joined The Institute and the National Employment Lawyers Association as Director of Development in 2010 with nearly 15 years of fundraising experience in the San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit community. She was Director of Development for Magic Theatre for five seasons, managed the institutional giving program for the American Conservatory Theater for four, and spent three years at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Ms. Hofkin began her career as a lawyer, working for prominent firms in New York, Washington, DC, and Silicon Valley. She has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Art Monastery Project, Jewish Voice for Peace, Keneset HaLev – Community of the Heart, and the San Francisco Children’s Art Center. Ms. Hofkin holds a B.A. with distinction from George Washington University, a J.D. from Columbia University, and a master’s degree from Golden Gate University.

MaokiK_employee_rights_advocacy_instituteKaren Maoki, Director of Operations
(415) 296-7629 x203 |

Karen Maoki joined the staff of the National Employment Lawyers Association in 2000 and now serves as Director of Operations for The Institute and NELA. Ms. Maoki came to NELA from organized labor, having worked with UNITE HERE Local 2850 as an organizer intern and, later, their bookkeeper. In her free time, she has volunteered with Berkeley Needle Exchange Emergency Distribution and Celebration of Craftswomen, a benefit for The Women’s Building of San Francisco. Ms. Maoki is a graduate of Scripps College in Claremont, California.

NalivkaN_employee_rights_advocacy_instituteNareeya Nalivka, Director of Finance & Human Resources
(415) 296-7629 x142 |

Nareeya Nalivka is The Institute’s Finance Associate and the Director of Finance & Human Resources for the National Employment Lawyers Association. A native of Bangkok, Thailand, she worked at the Education for Development Foundation, providing scholarships to underprivileged children in rural parts of Thailand prior to joining The Institute and NELA in 2008. In her free time, she volunteers with the House Rabbit Society as weekend supervisor, educator, and foster guardian. Ms. Nalivka holds a B.A. in Political Science from Thammasat University, and an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise from Dominican University of California.

RapierM_employee_rights_advocacy_instituteMaria Rapier, Administrative Assistant
(415) 296-7629 x205 |

Maria Rapier joined the National Employment Lawyers Association in the spring of 2016 to provide administrative assistance to the staff of NELA and The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy. Previously Ms. Rapier has been a Social Media Research Assistant at and an Executive Assistant for the Boy Scouts of America in New York City. Ms. Rapier holds a Master’s of Science in Non-profit Business Management from Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy in Manhattan; she earned her Bachelors of Liberal Arts at The New School. Ms. Rapier has lived in Brooklyn, NY for ten years and now happily calls Oakland home. She is a member of the California Native Plant Society, enjoys farmer’s markets and is a doting mother of two rambunctious children.

ValverdeP_employee_rights_advocacy_institutePedro A. Valverde, Digital Communications Associate &
Technology Manager

(415) 296-7629 x105 |

Pedro Valverde joined the National Employment Lawyers Association in August 2000 as the Member Services Coordinator and is now the Technology & Office Administrator. Prior to joining the NELA team, he worked at Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro in the Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources practice group. Mr. Valverde relocated to the Bay Area 18 years ago from Austin, Texas where he worked for both defense and plaintiff firms. He is proud to call Texas A&M University his alma mater.

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