Staff

ChawT_employee_rights_advocacy_instituteTerisa E. Chaw, Executive Director

Terisa E. Chaw is the founding Executive Director of The Institute and has served as the Executive Director of the National Employment Lawyers Association since 1991. Prior to joining NELA, Ms. Chaw worked as an attorney with a number of public interest law organizations, including the Pension Rights Center, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and Equal Rights Advocates. In addition, she was a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she litigated cases under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. Ms. Chaw has served on the board of directors of several nonprofit organizations, including Alliance for Justice, Asian Law Caucus, Child Care Law Center, National Committee on Pay Equity, and the Organization of Pan Asian Women. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and the University of San Francisco School of Law.


Elizabeth Colman, Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow

(415) 296-7629 x107 | ecolman@employeerightsadvocacy.org

Elizabeth Colman is The Institute’s 2016–2018 Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow. 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 | lflegel@nelahq.org

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.

GoodinC_employee_rights_advocacy_instituteColleen Goodin, Director of Donor Relations & Events
(415) 296-7629 x104 | cgoodin@nelahq.org

Colleen Goodin is the Director of Donor Relations & Events for The Institute and the Membership Director, Events Manager, and Publications Editor for the National Employment Lawyers Association. Prior to joining NELA in 2000, Ms. Goodin worked at a non-profit hospital in the Communications Department and spent 10 years in the Membership/Development Department of the California Nature Conservancy. She has served as a member of the Board of and currently volunteers for Halleck Creek Ranch, which provides therapeutic horseback riding for people with disabilities. Ms. Goodin attended the University of Maryland, College Park.

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

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.

Matthew C. Koski, Program Director
(415) 296-7629 x103 | mkoski@nelahq.org

Matthew C. Koski is the Program Director for The Institute and the National Employment Lawyers Association. He re-joined The Institute and NELA in 2015, after spending two years as a contract attorney for two plaintiffs-side employment law firms, during which time he also authored a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief in support of certiorari on behalf of NELA in Graves v. Deutsche Bank Securities. From 2010-2013, Mr. Koski served as The Institute’s first Paul H. Tobias (PHT) Attorney Fellow and as a NELA Staff Attorney. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Davis and his J.D. with distinction from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where he was a member of the Roger Traynor Honor Society and the Articles Editor for the McGeorge Global Business and Development Law Journal.

MaokiK_employee_rights_advocacy_instituteKaren Maoki, Project Manager
(415) 296-7629 x203 | kmaoki@nelahq.org

Karen Maoki joined the staff of the National Employment Lawyers Association in 2000 and now serves as Project Manager 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, Finance Associate
(415) 296-7629 x142 | nnalivka@nelahq.org

Nareeya Nalivka is The Institute’s Finance Associate and the Membership and Finance Associate 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 | mrapier@nelahq.org

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 Slate.com 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, Technology & Office Administrator
(415) 296-7629 x105 | pvalverde@nelahq.org

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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