National Office and Staff

Learn about what each department at the AILA national office in Washington, DC, does and how to contact staff within each department.

Executive Office

The Executive Office is responsible for the overall management of the organization, national office, and staff. Staff execute the policies and priorities as determined by the Board of Governors and work closely with the Executive Committee.

Executive Director, Benjamin Johnson, Esq.
  • Executive Director, Benjamin Johnson, Esq.
    Implements association goals as determined by the Board of Governors. Works with the Executive Committee to develop and carry out strategies to achieve organizational goals. Oversees the operation of the national office and its staff. e-mail

  • Chief Operating Officer
    Leads AILA's executive team in planning and executing the strategic vision of the association.

Chief Learning Officer, Grace Woods, Esq., CAE
  • Chief Learning Officer, Grace Woods, Esq., CAE
    Leads efforts to create and deliver member resources across the organization through new and innovative delivery channels. e-mail

  • Executive Assistant, Victor Pattianakotta
    Provides administrative support to the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. e-mail

Board Governance and Component Relations

The Board Governance and Component Relations Department provides AILA’s Board of Governors and component groups (chapters, sections and interest groups) with strategic leadership and consultative services related to governance, leadership development, compliance, and operations.

  • Senior Director, Governance and Leadership Strategy, Kay Ciesla
    Responsible for managing relationships with the Board of Governors and with component volunteer leadership. e-mail
  • Component Relations Associate, Anna Rappoport
    Responsible for component and Chapter outreach and support. e-mail
  • Governance and Component Relations Coordinator, Nicole Richardson
    Provides administrative support to the Executive Office and Senior Director of Governance and Leadership Strategy to help further AILA’s mission. e-mail
  • Member Services Manager, LaJuan Campbell
    Runs the membership service center. e-mail
  • Member Services Coordinator, Tonya Reeves
    Responsible for member customer service. e-mail
  • Member Services Specialist, Andrew Gilkes
    Responsible for e-commerce customer service including sales, product inquiries, and user support. e-mail
  • Member Services Coordinator, Ian Longmire
    Responsible for member customer service. e-mail

Communication and Outreach

The Communications and Outreach Department is charged with promoting the mission of the association and the expertise of the 15,000-plus member attorneys to media and the general public. The department staff works strategically to identify and prepare media spokespeople on key immigration issues of national interest. Staff also develops effective outreach and materials for various media markets, assists members in reaching out to local media, and provides members with substantive and rhetorical tools for use in public presentations to multiple audiences and constituencies.

  • Senior Director, Communications and Outreach, George Paul Tzamaras
    Develops association's communications and outreach strategies. e-mail
  • Associate Director, Communications, Belle Woods
    Develops press releases, talking points, opinion pieces and blog posts, PSAs, and other messaging materials. e-mail
  • Communications Associate, Vacant
    Responsible for supporting a variety of communications activities, with a focus on producing content for the Justice Campaign.
  • Video/Audio Producer, Duygu Eruçman
    Provide video/audio expertise across the association to support AILA departments on their video/audio needs/projects. e-mail

Content Delivery and Analytics

The Content Delivery and Analytics department implements and evaluates content strategies and tactics in support of Association-wide goals and initiatives. The department is responsible for using data-driven strategies to disseminate critical information to the membership, increase membership engagement, and drive value for different constituencies across various demographics, practice areas, and levels of experience, using segmentation, analytics, digital marketing, and other channels while building community through AILA’s online presence.

  • Associate Director, Analytics, Mary Johnson
    Creates and manages cross-organizational, integrated marketing strategies. e-mail
  • Manager, Creative Services, Robert Bequeaith
    Oversees the design and production process for graphic design work for the National Office. e-mail
  • Data Analyst, Tizita Wasihun
    Leverages a range of data mining and statistical analyses approaches to identify marketing opportunities. e-mail
  • Creative Writer, Giomar Silva
    Develops fresh ideas and winning creative copy for AILA's emails, direct mail, and online marketing campaigns. e-mail
  • Marketing and Member Experience Associate, Tanesha Norman
    Brings expertise to market segmentation, tailored messaging and offers, campaign creation and coordination, metrics tracking, database management, and inter-departmental coordination of content and scheduling. e-mail

  • Associate Director, Content Delivery, Rachel Pulda
    Responsible for the overall content and vision of AILA's website and daily electronic newsletter. e-mail
  • Website Editorial Manager
    Serves as editor for
  • Online Editorial Associate, Laura Embree-Lowry
    Responsible for content of regular e-mail communication to members regarding immigration law news. e-mail
  • Creative Writer, Liz Toff
    Develops fresh ideas and winning creative copy for AILA's emails, direct mail, and online marketing campaigns. e-mail
  • Website Specialist, Walter Rust
    Serves as the primary person responsible for posting materials to the association's website ( e-mail


The Finance Department is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the association's financial data processed through the accounting system according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). On a regular basis, the finance staff perform critical functions such as collecting cash from sales and other sources, preparing cash disbursements, interfacing with external treasury management systems and performing account reconciliations, maintaining the general and subsidiary ledgers within the accounting system, and adhering to and administering effective systems of internal controls. In addition, the Finance Department plays a leading role in preparing and monitoring the annual budget, developing the accounting and finance policies and procedures, preparing internal financial reports, and issuing annual financial statements for audit and tax compliance.

  • Controller, Scott Van Den Berg
    Responsible for all in-house financial management. e-mail
  • Finance Manager, Arnita Jones
    Responsible for managing all operating transactions for the Association. e-mail
  • Staff Accountant, Tim Kelley
    Provides support to the Controller and Finance Manager. e-mail

Government Relations

The Government Relations Department advocates for immigration-related legislative, regulatory, and policy reforms before Congress and the agencies, consistent with AILA's principles and priorities. Working with member-based committees, the AILA Executive Committee and the Board of Governors, the department draws upon the knowledge and expertise of the members to provide lawmakers and policymakers with the best and most current information to advance AILA's policy and legislative goals. The department also organizes AILA's National Day of Action and handles member requests for AILA assistance on individual cases pending at USCIS Service Centers and other agencies.

  • Senior Director, Government Relations, Gregory Z. Chen, Esq.
    Directs AILA's agency, congressional, grassroots, and coalition strategies with a focus on immigration enforcement, due process, and removal defense. e-mail
  • Director, Government Relations, Sharvari (Shev) Dalal-Dheini, Esq.
    Directs AILA's agency, congressional, grassroots, and coalition strategies with a focus on employment-based immigration and immigration benefits. e-mail
  • Senior Associate Director, Government Relations, Kate Voigt, Esq.
    Works with the Director of Government Relations to advance AILA's policy and advocacy objectives relating to immigration enforcement, due process, and removal defense. e-mail
  • Associate Director, Government Relations, Diane Rish, Esq.
    Works with the Director of Government Relations to advance AILA's policy and advocacy objectives relating to employment-based immigration. e-mail
  • Policy Counsel, Jennifer Ibañez Whitlock, Esq.
    Works to advance AILA’s administrative and congressional advocacy goals by working with AILA staff, coalition partners, AILA members, and AILA volunteer committees. e-mail
  • Grassroots Advocacy Associate, Melina Roche
    Coordinates grassroots activities related to AILA's advocacy agenda. e-mail
  • Policy Associate, Paul Stern
    Collaborates with and provides support to designated agency liaison committees with a focus on employment-based immigration. e-mail
  • Liaison Coordinator, Blanca Hernandez
    Receives, screens, and processes requests for individual case liaison assistance. e-mail
  • Liaison Coordinator, Jonathan Valdez
    Receives, screens, and processes requests for individual case liaison assistance with a focus on the National Benefits Center and USCIS Lockboxes. e-mail
  • Government Relations Assistant, Joy Hardy
    Provides administrative support. e-mail

Human Resources and Administration

The Human Resources (HR) and Administration Department is committed to attracting, motivating, and retaining the best and the brightest employees in support of its professional members and programs. We are strategic partners, change champions, employee advocates, and administrative experts. As part of our total rewards program and philosophy, the HR department works throughout the year to ensure all benefits programs support the mission and culture of the organization. The department also is responsible for managing administrative support functions for the organization.

  • Director, Human Resources, Janet Parker
    Responsible for human resources and facilities. e-mail
  • Human Resources Manager, Tania DaSilva
    Develops and implements people strategies that support the mission of the organization and its management philosophy. e-mail
  • Facilities Manager, John Robinson
    Charged with the day-to-day implementation of policies, procedures, and programs that will assure a well-managed and well-maintained building. e-mail


The Litigation Department is responsible for filing and overseeing federal litigation and other legal strategies for AILA.

  • Director, Federal Litigation, Jesse Bless, Esq.
    The Federal Litigation Attorney works to implement AILA's mission by promoting greater accountability and transparency in the immigration realm through litigation and advocacy. email

Meeting Operations

AILA’s Meeting Operations Department plans and implements the association's educational programs and events, including continuing legal education conferences in virtual, hybrid, and in-person format. The Meeting Operations Department also oversees the CLE accreditation, affinity, advertising, exhibits, and sponsorship programs and provides support to members and other practitioners seeking guidance relating to AILA’s educational programming.

  • Director, Meeting Operations, Kathryn Y. Chong, CMP
    Responsible for all meeting planning and conference administration for the association. e-mail
  • Marketing Coordinator, Cassie LoPiccolo
    Responsible for supporting non-dues revenue initiatives across the organization. e-mail
  • Education Resources Manager, Barry Collins
    Responsible for developing and managing education processes. e-mail
  • Senior Meetings Associate, Eunice Lee
    Provides support to the Senior Associate Director with the association’s logistical needs for all AILA/Council meetings, including pre-conference logistical planning and on-site logistics such as registration, set up, food and beverage arrangements, and A-V and other vendors and negotiating contracts for topics conferences each year and other conferences as needed. e-mail
  • Senior Continuing Legal Education Associate, Sarah Schwarz
    Responsible for the administration of association's continuing legal education accreditation programs. e-mail
  • Meeting Associate, Matt Antico
    Assists the Meeting Operations team with the association’s logistical needs for all AILA in-person, virtual, and hybrid meetings. This position is responsible for pre-conference logistical planning and on-site logistics. e-mail

Practice and Professionalism Center and Innovation

The Practice and Professionalism Center (PPC) and Innovation Department is dedicated to the shared ideals of the legal profession, including service to clients, ethical conduct, increasing competence and respect of the legal system, and pursuit of the public good. The department focuses on providing assistance with developing our members' practice, resolving ethical dilemmas, providing ideas on improving firm management, and help meeting pro bono commitments.

  • Senior Director, Practice and Professionalism Center, Reid F. Trautz, Esq.
    Serves as centralized staff resource for members in areas of practice management and development, ethics, UPL, mentoring, and pro bono coordination. e-mail
  • Practice and Ethics Counsel, Charity Anastasio, Esq.
    Coordinates existing practice management and ethics resources for AILA members. In addition, helps develop and organize new resources using a variety of media and provides general support to volunteer committees. e-mail
  • Senior Pro Bono Associate, Erin Lynum
    Provides extensive staff support on various components of the Practice and Professionalism Center, including various pro bono initiatives (the Military Assistance Program, the Annual Conference Pro Bono Clinic, Citizenship Day, and more), the Mentor Directory, and in the area of ethics. e-mail

Professional Development

AILA’s Professional Development Department drives revenue, creates member value, and advances member professional development through the association' educational programs and events. These programs include in-person and virtual continuing legal education conferences, audio and web seminars, online learning content and courses, and conference handbooks and materials. The Professional Development Department works closely with the Meeting Operations Department to coordinate logistics for all programs and to ensure CLE accreditation is obtained for AILA educational content.

  • Director, Professional Development, Emmie Smith, Esq.
    Managing the Education team and planning committees. e-mail
  • Education Program Manager, John Area
    Develops, plans, and implements the association's continuing legal education (CLE). e-mail
  • Education Program Manager, Vacant
    Develops, plans, and implements the association's continuing legal education (CLE).
  • eLearning Manager, Kate Molski
    Responsible for developing, standardizing, and implementing learning and development programs for the association. e-mail
  • E-Learning Coordinator, Alexis Kreun
    Provides support and assistance with the development, standardization, and implementation of learning and development programs for the association. e-mail
  • Education Coordinator, Vacant
    Responsible for providing customer service support to members and practitioners seeking information relating to AILA's Education programs as well as providing administrative support for Continuing Legal Education programs.
  • eLearning Specialist, Lisa Ward
    Provide extensive staff support on various components of the Practice and Professionalism Center, including Practice Management, Consumer Protection, and other professionalism-related activities. e-mail
  • Sections Specialist, Lennet Penate
    Develops, plans, and implements the association’s work with its sections. e-mail


AILA’s Publications Department is the leading publisher of information and analyses serving the practicing immigration lawyer, with an extensive collection of peer-reviewed treatises, manuals, toolboxes, and other reference materials, including AILALink—AILA’s online immigration law research library.

  • Director, Editorial, Danielle M. Polen, Esq.
    Oversees the association's publishing program and its online resources. e-mail
  • Senior Legal Editor, Rizwan Hassan, Esq.
    Serves as lead legal editor for all conference handbooks and select AILA publications, materials, and resources. e-mail
  • Online Legal Publishing Manager, Sarah Loor, Esq.
    Serves as editor for AILALink, the association’s online immigration law research database. e-mail
  • Senior Publications Manager, Sarah Redzic, Esq.
    Manages the association’s publishing program to best serve the AILA membership. e-mail
  • Legal Editor, Richard Link, Esq.
    Responsible for editorial and production processes associated with publication of print and electronic practice resources. e-mail
  • Online Publishing Specialist, Alhan Millones-Bilbao
    Responsible for digitizing AILA publications and developing new digital products. e-mail

Technology Strategy and Services

The Technology Strategy and Services Department is responsible for the health and security of internal network services (servers and desktops, "helpdesk" support and training for staff, and support for users of the association's AMS); and identifies emerging technologies to meet the association's ever-changing needs. Additionally, the department uses web technology to improve communications, enhance programs, and distribute information to staff, members, constituents, and the public.

  • Director, Technology Strategy and Services, Andrea M. Chempinski, Esq.
    Project manager for all association online technology. e-mail
  • Associate Director, Technology Services, Sara Jones
    Provides technical support to the National Office staff. e-mail
  • Online Services Manager, Jorge Cardona
    Serves as the principal manager of the Agora e-commerce site. e-mail
  • IT Support Specialist, Karina Caro De Gruppelaar
    The IT Support Specialist assists the Technology Services Manager in providing technical support and expertise. e-mail
  • E-Commerce Specialist, Thomas Burless
    Serves as the primary person responsible for AILA’s e-commerce site. e-mail
  • IT Support Specialist, Jai Lyn Pulliam
    Assists the Technology Services Manager in providing technical support and expertise. e-mail