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. email

Chief Learning Officer, Grace Woods, Esq., CAE
  • Chief Operating Officer, Grace Woods, Esq., CAE
    Leads efforts to optimize the association's operating performance at all levels and maximize AILA’s business strategies to ensure future growth and sustainability. email

  • Chief Advisor – Policy & Partnerships, Angela Kelley
    Provides leadership and oversees public policy and advocacy, including mobilizing support for federal policy priorities, participating and leading national coalitions, and overseeing the advocacy strategies that incorporate policy development, communications plans, strategic partnerships, and power building. email

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

Governance and Member Services

The Governance and Member Services Department supports AILA’s Board of Governors, Chapters, Member Groups (Interest Groups, Law Students, and New Member Division), leadership cultivation and recognition, committee selection and other governance activities, and provides customer service for all current and prospective members.

  • Senior Director, Governance and Leadership Strategy, Kay Ciesla
    Responsible for managing relationships with the Board of Governors and other volunteer leadership and facilitating improved connectivity and collaboration between members. email
  • Associate Director, Volunteer Engagement and Member Services, Jerrica Stovall
    Responsible for volunteer engagement, leadership recruitment and development, and member services and recognition. email
  • Volunteer Engagement Manager, Anna Rappoport
    Oversees volunteer and chapter outreach and support and facilitates improved connectivity and collaboration between members. email
  • Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, Nicole Richardson
    Provides administrative support to the Volunteer Engagement Manager to help further AILA’s mission. email
  • Member Groups Manager, LaJuan Campbell
    Leads efforts to expand member engagement within the AILA community and promotes the development of diverse leaders and volunteers. email
  • Member Services Manager, Andrew Gilkes
    Manages Member Services Team, as well as customer service and support for e-commerce customers. email
  • Member Services Coordinator, Tonya Reeves
    Responsible for member customer service. email
  • Member Services Coordinator, Ian Longmire
    Responsible for member customer service. email
  • Member Services Coordinator, Haydee Garcia
    Responsible for member customer service. email

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. email
  • Senior Associate Director, Communications, Belle Woods
    Develops press releases, talking points, opinion pieces and blog posts, PSAs, and other messaging materials. email
  • Video/Audio Producer, Duygu Eruçman
    Provide video/audio expertise across the association to support AILA departments on their video/audio needs and projects. email
  • Digital Media Specialist, Kaitlin Bell
    Provides strategic leadership for AILA’s social and digital media portfolio, manages the Think Immigration blog, fields press inquiries, and builds out messaging materials. email


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. email
  • Associate Director, Jody Wolfe
    Provides support to the Finance Department. email
  • Finance Manager, Arnita Jones
    Responsible for managing all operating transactions for the Association. email

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. email
  • 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. email
  • 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. email
  • Business Immigration Litigation Attorney, Jennifer Coberly, Esq.
    Pursues litigation to advance AILA’s advocacy and policy priorities. email
  • Supervisory Policy and Practice Counsel, Michael Turansick, Esq.
    Works to advance AILA’s immigration benefits policy and advocacy objectives, with an emphasis on identifying and addressing problematic case trends through liaison and resource assistance in coordination with AILA committees. email
  • 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. email
  • Policy and Practice Counsel, Amy Grenier, Esq.
    Works to advance AILA’s administrative and congressional advocacy goals by working with AILA staff, coalition partners, AILA members, and AILA volunteer committees. email
  • Grassroots Advocacy Associate, Sofia Rosales-Zeledon
    Coordinates grassroots activities related to AILA’s advocacy agenda. email
  • Policy Associate, Paul Stern
    Collaborates with and provides support to designated agency liaison committees with a focus on employment-based immigration. email
  • Liaison Coordinator, Blanca Hernandez
    Receives, screens, and processes requests for individual case liaison assistance. email
  • 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. email
  • Government Relations Assistant, Joy Hardy
    Provides administrative support. email

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.

  • Associate Director, Human Resources, Tania DaSilva
    Leads annual budget process, vendor negotiations, and overall HR and building operations. email
  • 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. email

Marketing and Member Experience Department

The Marketing and Member Experience Department plays a vital role in developing and promoting the products, services and member experience that are at the core of the value and mission of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). The department’s goal is to identify, analyze, and understand member needs, and to use these critical insights to define, communicate, and deliver a premier member experience. The department supports the organization by developing and leading the strategic direction and delivery of a comprehensive brand and marketing strategy, by providing the insights needed to inform the prioritization of critical resources, and by identifying new opportunities to sustain the organization’s growth.

  • Senior Director, Marketing and Member Experience, Janet Kolokithas
    Leads and develops the association’s marketing, member experience, and business development strategies. email

  • Manager, Creative Services, Robert Bequeaith
    Oversees the design and production process for graphic design work for the National Office. email

  • Business Development and Marketing Manager, Cassie LoPiccolo
    Responsible for supporting non-dues revenue initiatives across the organization. email
  • Business Development Coordinator, Gianna Ward
    Supports non-dues revenue initiatives across the organization. email

  • Director of Marketing Operations, Mary Johnson
    Directs the implementation of the association’s day-to-day marketing
  • Creative Writer, Giomar Silva
    Develops fresh ideas and winning creative copy for AILA’s emails, direct mail, and online marketing campaigns. email
  • 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. email

  • Associate Director, Content Delivery, Rachel Pulda
    Responsible for the overall content and vision of AILA’s website and daily electronic newsletter. email
  • Web Manager, Greg Horvitz
    Serves as technical editor for email
  • Content Manager, Laura Embree-Lowry
    Ensures AILA’s online content expands member engagement with valuable resources. email
  • Creative Writer, Liz Toff
    Develops fresh ideas and winning creative copy for AILA’s emails, direct mail, and online marketing campaigns. email
  • Website Specialist, Walter Rust
    Serves as the primary person responsible for posting materials to the association’s website ( email
  • Online Editorial Specialist, Sharon Burk
    Assists with creating regular email communication to members regarding immigration law news. 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 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. email
  • Meeting Operations Manager, Barry Collins
    Responsible for developing and managing education processes. email
  • Meetings Manager, 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. email
  • Meetings and CLE Manager, Matt Antico
    Provides oversight of CLE process and manages logistical needs for all AILA in-person, virtual, and hybrid meetings. This position is responsible for pre-conference logistical planning and on-site logistics. email
  • Meetings and CLE Associate, Rick Connelly
    Responsible for the administration of association’s continuing legal education accreditation programs. email
  • Meetings Associate, Elina Gross
    Supports the meeting operations department.

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 & Professionalism Center and Innovation, 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. email
  • 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. email
  • 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. email
  • Practice Innovation Associate, Alexis Kreun
    Provides extensive staff support on various components of the Practice and Professionalism Center, including practice management, consumer protection, and other professionalism-related activities. email

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 Professional Development team, planning committees, and programs. email
  • Associate Director, Mike Orlando, Esq.
    Develops, plans, and implements the association’s continuing legal education (CLE). email
  • Education Program Manager, John Area
    Develops, plans, and implements the association’s continuing legal education (CLE). email
  • eLearning Manager, Kate Molski
    Responsible for developing, standardizing, and implementing learning and development programs for the association. email
  • Education Coordinator, Thomas Thornton
    Coordinates AILA seminar logistics and implementation, conference resources, and video editing for AILA programming. email
  • eLearning Programs Associate, Sarah Kra
    Provides support and assistance with the development, standardization, and implementation of learning and development programs for the association. email


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. email
  • Associate Director, Publications, Sarah Redzic, Esq.
    Works with the Editorial Director to focus AILA’s publishing efforts on those publications that will best serve the needs of AILA’s membership. email
  • Senior Legal Editor, Rizwan Hassan, Esq.
    Serves as lead legal editor for all conference handbooks and select AILA publications, materials, and resources. email
  • Online Legal Publishing Manager, Sarah Loor, Esq.
    Serves as editor for AILALink, the association’s online immigration law research database. email
  • Legal Editor, Richard Link, Esq.
    Responsible for editorial and production processes associated with publication of print and electronic practice resources. email
  • Online Publishing Specialist, Alhan Millones-Bilbao
    Responsible for digitizing AILA publications and developing new digital products. email

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.
    Oversees all internal and external technology. Project manager for all association online technology. email
  • Associate Director, Technology Strategy and Services, Sara Jones
    Works with the Director to manage technology operations and infrastructure to support the association. email
  • E-Commerce Manager, Hanh Pham
    Serves as the principal manager of the Agora e-commerce site. email
  • Systems Administrator, Karina Caro De Gruppelaar
    Responsible for ensuring the security and efficiency of the IT infrastructure. email
  • Technology Implementation Analyst, Terrance Quaynor
    Serves as the point person for new technology needs within the association. email
  • E-Commerce Specialist, Thomas Burless
    Serves as the primary person responsible for AILA’s e-commerce site. email
  • IT Support Specialist, Jason Benson
    Assists in providing technical support and expertise. email