Ronald C. Hokemeyer has over 30 years of employment at Baltimore Gas and Electric, an Exelon company. With a significant background in customer relations and leadership, his most recent roles have focused on process improvement and change management for large corporate projects. As well, he was a founding member and the leader for five years of the company’s LGBT Employee Resource Group known as Exelon Pride Baltimore. In the community, Ron was the president of the Gay Fathers’ Coalition/Baltimore for three years and volunteered as a District Coordinator with Equality Maryland for over five years.
Sue Westgate, MBA, MSW, LCSW-C is a board approved clinical supervisor in the state of Maryland. Sue obtained a Masters in Social Work at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work and a Masters in Business Administration with a focus on Leadership and Management at the University of Baltimore. Sue is currently employed as a Clinical Instructor at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work. Sue also currently serves as National Director of Behavioral Health at Absolute Care assisting with program development related to provision of behavioral health services for high risk and medically and socially complex patients. Sue has participated in a CSWE-sponsored National Trauma Task Force workgroup that focused on the intersection of ethics and trauma-informed practice. Additionally, Sue was awarded an immersion fellowship through Boston University to study addiction and behavioral health. Teaching is of central importance to Sue. As a faculty member in the University of MD, School of Social Work’s graduate program Sue has received numerous teaching awards including that of the Exemplary Faculty Member of the Year Award along with the Dean’s Teaching Award for several consecutive semesters. Sue has been published in the The New Social Worker, The Journal of Employee Assistance, Infusion Magazine, Provider Magazine, and Social Work Today.
Eric is a Baltimore-based Senior Staff Writer for Elle.com where he writes “Eric Reads the News,” a daily current events and culture column. He is also a playwright and the long-running host of The Moth in Philadelphia and D.C. Prior to joining the staff at ELLE, he was Program Director for the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia. He won the 2016 Barrymore Award for Best New Play for TIME IS ON OUR SIDE, which focuses on the LGBTQ rights movement in Philadelphia and the lives of queer elders. His debut collection of essays on belonging, being, and otherness, entitled “Here For It”, will be published by Ballantine Books in early 2020. His website is rericthomas.com.
Woody Derricks started working as a Financial Advisor in 1998. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and has the Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor(sm) designation. His firm, Partnership Wealth Management, specializes in working with same-sex couples. Since 2001, Woody has been writing articles on LGBT financial planning for several regional newspapers. Woody has served as a guest speaker on LGBT financial issues at the national conference for the American Psychological Association and as a panelist for organizations such as the University of Maryland and the Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Additional, Woody has conducted workshops on financial planning for same-sex partners for corporations, federal agencies, and local advocacy groups. Woody also serves as the co-founder/president of Paws for a Cause and is a current member of several LBGT, environmental, and local community groups. Woody and his wife, Heidi, enjoy hiking and traveling with their daughter, Elise, and dogs, Fenway & Roxy.
Lee Carpenter is an attorney with Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr, where he focuses on estate planning and administration, trusts, and general business and corporate law. His estate-planning work includes a special emphasis on the unique needs of same-sex couples and other members of the LGBTQ community. He is admitted to practice in Maryland and is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, the LGBT Bar Association, and the Estates and Trusts Section Council.
Mr. Carpenter is a member of the Baltimore Community Foundation’s Professional Advisors Recognition Society and the Baltimore Estate Planning Council. He also serves on planned-giving councils at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Walters Art Museum, and the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. He is a volunteer attorney for FreeState Justice, which provides free legal services to low-income members of the LGBTQ community and serves on the organization’s Policy Committee. He is a frequent author and lecturer on topics related to estate planning and LGBT law.
Mr. Carpenter received his B.A., cum laude, in Journalism and English for the University of Maryland University College and his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, where he was Editor in Chief of the Journal of Business & Technology Law. After graduation, he served as Dean’s Fellow to the head of the School of Law and currently teaches there as an adjunct professor.
Michael DeStefano was born in Spooner, Wisconis: population 2,400. He went to college at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 2002 to 2006. When he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Spanish, he was also commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Germany shortly thereafter, where he spent the bulk of his next eight years as a Medical Logistics Officer travelling throughout Europe.
He was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2008 to 2009. He was stationed primarily in Balad, Iraq, but travelled extensively to include Kirkuk, Tikrit, Baghdad, and Kuwait.
Mike was redeployed back to Germany, where he finished out his eight year tour in the Army and received an honorable discharge in 2014. He used a headhunter to help him find a job back in the states, which is how he ended up in Maryland. He took a job with Cardinal Health in Baltimore and continued his work as a medical logistician, only this time in the civilian sector.
It was not long into his first year back stateside that he met his future husband, Phillip Westry, a nonprofit attorney that specialized in property law – mainly landlord/tenant issues for low-income Baltimoreans. They met in August 2014 and were married a year later at the American Visionary Arts Museum.
It was Phillip’s passion that inspired Mike to go back to school at the University og Baltimore, School of Law. Using his GI Bill benefits from the VA, he enrolled as a 1L in 2017 and is set to graduate in 2020.
Mala Malhotra-Ortiz, Esq. is the Director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Division of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. At the federal level, she is an ADR Advisor for FEMA’s Office of Chief Counsel. She was an executive appointment in the U.S. Department of Interior, Department of Justice, and the Department of Transportation as a Presidential Management Fellow. During her tenure with the federal government, Ms. Malhotra-Ortiz negotiated international air-rights agreements, facilitated multiple-party discussion around public land-use planning, negotiated divestitures involving corporations under anti-trust investigations, and litigated in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the Department of Justice. She was also owner and managing attorney of a solo practice specializing in immigration litigation and family law, particularly focused on providing services to the GLBT community. She has mediated over 800 disputes including business, domestic relations, estates, multiple-party environmental disputes, products liability, real property, worker’s compensation and zoning. She has served as counsel in over 200 matters in both state and federal forums.
Ms. Malhotra-Ortiz earned her J.D. from the University of Maryland, School of Law; cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park; and studied at the American School of International Business in Vevey, Switzerland and at the University of North London, U.K.. She served in the U.S. Peace Corps, Paraguay, and is fluent in Guarani, Hindi, Punjabi, and Spanish.
Rianna Matthew-Brown is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law with nearly ten years of federal, state, and local policy experience. Currently, Rianna is the Chief of Staff for Behavioral Health and Disabilities with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). She regularly briefs and advises the Deputy Secretary on policy, programmatic and administrative issues. Rianna began her career in the Washington, DC office of U.S. Senator Paul S. Sarbanes. She worked on Capitol Hill for approximately six years and specialized in health, labor, and employment issues. Rianna subsequently worked for the Baltimore City Health Department as the Director of the Office External Affairs. In this capacity, she served as the Department’s official spokesperson and advised the Commissioner of Health on the Department’s strategic communications, legislative and policy direction. Prior to joining DHMH, Rianna worked as Assistant Director of Legislation for the Service Employees International Union.
Joanne Rosen is an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she teaches courses on the regulation of intimate behavior and on the intersection of public health, law and policy. She is also the Director of the Clinic for Public Health Law and Policy. Her interests include reproductive health, the regulation of intimacy, and discrimination. Joanne served as counsel to the Ontario Human Rights Commission in Toronto for 17 years, and specialized in human rights and administrative law. Joanne appeared before tribunals and all levels of Canadian courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. She was also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and an instructor in the Bar Admission Course in Toronto. From 2007 to 2010, Joanne was a lecturer at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, where she taught courses on the public interest and on the right to privacy.
Diane Stollenwerk, MPP, is president of StollenWerks Inc, a consulting firm providing services in public affairs, strategic planning, performance measurement, sustainability, competitive intelligence, marketing, and product or service development. While her primary focus is healthcare, she has worked with clients in software, transportation, manufacturing, corrections, education, utilities, and professional associations. She has a masters degree in public policy from Harvard University and is currently a Commissioner on the Maryland Health Care Commission, which oversees performance measurement and public reporting about health care in Maryland.
Ebony Thompson is an Associate in Venable’s Commercial Litigation Group. Prior to joining Venable, Ms. Thompson provided wealth management services to clients internationally as a Private Client Group Associate with UBS Global Asset Management, Inc. in New York. As a private real estate investor, she developed partnerships with leading real estate financiers in Maryland and Virginia to rehabilitate dilapidated neighborhoods. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and serves as a mentor to many children and teens in West Baltimore.
Jessie Weber is an attorney at Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP (BGL). Her practice includes cases involving disability rights, civil rights, wage and hour violations, and appeals. She has handled LGBT rights cases involving discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in contexts ranging from employment to students’ exercise of their First Amendment rights. Prior to joining BGL, Jessie served as the 2010-2011 Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. Appellate Advocacy Fellow at the Public Justice Center, where she represented clients and authored amicus briefs in federal and Maryland appellate courts on a variety of civil rights and anti-poverty issues. Jessie graduated from Princeton University and Yale Law School, where she co-directed the LGBT Rights Litigation Clinic. Following law school, Jessie clerked for the Honorable Catherine C. Blake of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.