About NFPA - Board of Directors

    President
Bob Hrouda, RP  

Robert Hrouda, RP®
Philadelphia, PA

The President will be the leader of NFPA and a mentor for the paralegal profession. This individual will be responsible to make daily, on-going and long-term decisions regarding NFPA's overall effect on the profession and ensure these decisions are implemented and monitored.

Robert Hrouda, RP, is a litigation practice paralegal with expertise in litigation support technology. Robert is a former three-term President of the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals, where he also served as a delegate to both the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. In 2006, he received the Outstanding Local Leadership Award from the NFPA and was elected Region IV Director. Robert also served on the Policy Meeting Minutes and Marketing Committees for NFPA. In May 2008, Robert passed the PACE exam designating him as a PACE Registered Paralegal. In addition to his current NFPA position, Robert was recently reappointed to the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Committee on Judicial Selection and Retention. Prior to joining Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, he was a paralegal at two prominent Philadelphia law firms where he worked in the areas of personal injury, litigation, labor law, aviation law, and family law. A 1992 graduate of Temple University, Robert received a bachelor’s of business administration in law and business.


    Vice President & Director of Profession Development
Beth Bialis  

Beth Bialis, RP
Buffalo, NY

The Vice President and Director of Profession Development will assist the President in addressing the future growth and expansion of the profession and the development of NFPA to support these changes. If the President is incapable of functioning, the Vice President and Director of Profession Development will assume the duties of the President.

Beth Bialis, RP has been a paralegal for over fifteen years with experience in bankruptcy law and business litigation. Ms. Bialis is currently employed as a paralegal in the Business Litigation Practice Group at Hodgson Russ LLP in Buffalo, New York. She has experience in factual investigation and research, pretrial discovery involving analysis and production of voluminous documents, analysis of financial documents for securities litigation, and providing support for hearings and trials. In addition, Ms. Bialis is Paralegal Coordinator for the litigation practice area at the firm.

Ms. Bialis has been a member of the Western New York Paralegal Association since 1996. She has held several positions on the Board of Directors including liaison to the Bar Association of Erie County, Secondary Representative to ESAPA (Empire Alliance of Paralegal Associations) and most recently as Vice President, Director of Programming and NFPA Primary.


    Vice President & Director of Positions and Issues
Lisa Vessels, CP, FRP  

Lisa Vessels, RP, CP, FRP
Miami, FL

The Vice President and Director of Positions and Issues will assist the President and the Vice President and Director of Profession Development in leading NFPA and the paralegal profession by addressing position and issues that will directly affect the association and the profession. If the President and the Vice President and Director of Profession Development are incapable of functioning, the Vice President and Director of Positions and Issues will assume the duties of the President.

Lisa Vessels, RP, CP, FRP lives in Miami, Florida, and is employed by Duane Morris LLP as manager of the rules-based docketing software program utilized by her firm's U.S. offices. Lisa has worked in the paralegal profession since 1992 with experience in commercial litigation, as well as corporate contract law specializing in commercial aviation equipment leasing and sales.

Lisa has served two terms as President of the South Florida Paralegal Association and the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations. As an active member in both organizations, she has served in many additional roles such as Webmaster, Treasurer, Secretary, and Membership Chair since joining in 2005.

She served as Regulation Review Coordinator for NFPA from November 2009 until September 2012, and was an active participant on the PCC Exam Development Committee from its inception in 2008 through its launch in 2011. Lisa served on Miami-Dade College's Paralegal Studies Program Advisory Board from 2006 to 2012, serving as chairperson from 2010. She served as a non-lawyer member of The Florida Bar's Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee for the 11th Circuit in Miami-Dade County, Florida from 2005 to 2011. She was an adjunct instructor at Florida International University's Paralegal Studies certificate program from 2006 to 2008. Lisa also volunteers for the Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida as a trainer for adult volunteers.

Lisa earned her Bachelor's degree in Paralegal Studies from Nova Southeastern University in 2005, and Associate's degrees in Computer Information Systems and Computer Programming (Visual Basic) from Miami Dade College in 2002. Lisa earned the Certified Paralegal® designation in September 2005, qualified as a Florida Registered Paralegal of The Florida Bar in June 2008, and earned the PACE Registered Paralegal designation in September 2012.


    Vice President & Director of Membership
Cindy Welch, RP  

Cindy Welch, RP
Fort Worth, TX

The Vice President and Director of Membership will be responsible for guiding NFPA in attracting and retaining members.

After graduating from the University of Texas at Dallas School with a B.S. in Business Administration, Cindy Welch, RP went to El Centro Community College for her paralegal certificate. She has been employed by a group of trial consultants and a national mediation and arbitration firm. She has also worked for a Dallas firm that assisted police officers and fire fighters in legal actions relating to their employment and a defense labor and employment firm. Currently, she is teaching paralegal students and working as a freelance paralegal in the areas of labor and employment, family law, personal injury and representation of peace officers.

Cindy is in her tenth year as an adjunct professor, including five spent in the paralegal department of El Centro Community College. She is the author of many articles for The Reporter and has written for the Texas Paralegal Journal. Over the years, Cindy has served her local association, Dallas Area Paralegal Association, in several capacities: President, Secretary, PACE Ambassador, NFPA Primary and Vendor Advisor. Before serving as Region II Director 2010 - 2012, she served NFPA as CLE Co-Coordinator and as a PACE Assistant Coordinator. Cindy became a PACE Registered Paralegal® in 2001 and is also a member of the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas. She has been honored by the Dallas Area Paralegal Association with the Volunteer of the Year award in 2004, the President's Award in 2008, and the Paralegal of the Year award in 2011.

    Vice President & Director of Paralegal Certification
Suellen Honeychuck, RP  

Suellen Honeychuck, RP
Washington, D.C.

The Vice President and Director of Paralegal Certification will assist the President in leading NFPA and the paralegal profession by overseeing and managing the administration of the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE), the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCC Exam) and the PACE Standards Committee, by addressing issues related to paralegal certification and by being the main spokesperson regarding paralegal certification.

Suellen Honeychuck, RP has overseen the completion of development and fielding of the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam and development and publication of the PCCE™ Study Manual. She has previously served NFPA as the PACE Coordinator for RP Renewals and as the PACE Coordinator for Study Materials. In addition, Ms. Honeychuck authored the Family Law chapter of the PACE Study Manual and participated in all phases of the 2007 PACE update.

Ms. Honeychuck received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Michigan State University majoring in criminal justice and political science. After graduation, she joined the United States Air Force and served as an Intelligence Systems Officer, retiring in July 1995. Ms. Honeychuck then completed her paralegal studies at The George Washington University in 1995.

Ms. Honeychuck has worked as a litigation paralegal since 1995 in white collar crime and fraud, domestic relations, consumer and land/tenant law. Since 2005 she has been a domestic relations paralegal at ShounBach in Fairfax, Virginia.

Ms. Honeychuck is a member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (Paralegal Section). She was a founding member and Secretary/Treasurer of the Paralegal Association of Northern Virginia and she is a former President of the National Capital Area Paralegal Association.


    Vice President & Director of Marketing
Melissa Marquez Leslie  

Melissa Marquez Leslie
Dallas, TX

The vice president and director of marketing shall be responsible for all aspects of marketing which include the development of NFPA’s marketing plan, strategies and promotion materials. The vice president and director of marketing shall supervise all activities concerned with the implementation of the Corporate Partners Program, development and growth of other marketing programs, and shall have other duties as may be assigned by the board of directors or the president.

Melissa Marquez Leslie has been a family law paralegal for over 17 years. She is currently a paralegal at the North Texas firm of KoonsFuller, P.C. She became a member of the Dallas Area Paralegal Association (DAPA) in 2005. During her membership in DAPA, Ms. Leslie has held the offices of President, President-Elect, Professional Development Director, NFPA Primary, Board Advisor, NFPA Secondary and Vendor Advisor. She has chaired many events for DAPA including the 2009-2011 full day CLE seminars, Diversity University. She has also been a member of numerous DAPA committees that plan events such as happy hours, Texas Paralegal Day and the annual Holiday Luncheon. Ms. Leslie was named DAPA’s Volunteer of the Year in 2007. She served as the NFPA Corporate Partners Coordinator from November 2009 – October 2011. Ms. Leslie received her Paralegal Certificate (with Honors) from Southeastern Paralegal Institute in 1994 and received her B.S. in Political Science from Sam Houston State University in 1993.


    Treasurer & Director of Finance
  Tracey Irvin Chandler, RP
Albany, NY

The Treasurer and Director of Finance will be responsible for ensuring that NFPA is in a sound financial position by supervising the collection of dues and supervising generation of non-dues income, and evaluating financial management performances and opportunities.

Tracey Irvin Chandler, R.P. lives in Corinth, New York.  She has been employed as a paralegal by the law firm of McNamee, Lochner, Titus & Williams, P.C. of Albany, New York, since February 1999. For the McNamee firm, Mrs. Chandler has worked in the areas of consumer financial services law, insurance law, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights law, civil litigation and construction law. Prior to moving to New York, Mrs. Chandler began her career as the Financial Administrator for the U. S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Georgia and spent six years as a Paralegal in bankruptcy litigation with a local law firm.  Mrs. Chandler has worked as a paralegal for almost 35 years.  She has been a PACE Registered Paralegal® since November 10, 2003

Mrs. Chandler has been a member of the Capital District Paralegal Association, Inc. (CDPA) for over eleven years.  She has served on the CDPA Board in the positions of Treasurer since May 2007 and as Sponsorship Director and NFPA Secondary delegate since December 2011.  For the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, she has served on the Budget Committee and served on the Paralegal Core Competency Exam Item Writing Committee.

Mrs. Chandler is also a member of the Albany County Bar Association and the  Capital District Women’s Bar Association (CDWBA).  As a CDWBA member, she co-chaired the Ads and Sponsors Sub Committee for the 2002 State Convention of the Womens Bar Association for the State of New York and worked on the updates to the CDWBA's By-Laws.  She was also the CDWBA’s 2002 recipient of the Distinguished Non-Attorney Member Award.  

Mrs. Chandler received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from North Georgia College & State University.  She also attended the University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain, the American Association for Paralegal Studies and the Atlanta Law School, both of Atlanta, Georgia.  She continues to attend Continuing Legal Education.


    Secretary & Director of Operations
Valerie Dolan, RP, Pa.C.P.  

Valerie A. Wilus, RP, Pa.C.P.
Philadelphia, PA

The Secretary and Director of Operations will be responsible for taking minutes at official NFPA meetings and oversee the daily operations of the association through the Management Company. If the President, Vice President and Director of Profession Development and the Vice President and Director of Positions and Issues are incapable of functioning, the Secretary and Director of Operations will assume the duties of the President.

Valerie Wilus, RP, Pa.C.P. is a Civil Litigation Paralegal.  Prior to joining Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller in 2010, she worked as a paralegal with two (2) other firms, most notably, Dolchin, Slotkin & Todd, P.C., specializing in estate planning, estate administration, corporate, immigration, personal injury, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, commercial litigation and contracts.
               
                Valerie currently serves as the Secretary and Director of Operations for the National Federation of Paralegal Association.  Valerie served as past President and Board Advisor to the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals, previously held numerous Officer positions at PAP and, over the years, Valerie served on many of the committees that PAP offers its members.  Valerie has served the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations as Chairperson and Chair of the Regulation Ad Hoc Committee that developed the Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal Program that is currently offered to the Paralegals throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Valerie has received many honors over the years, including, but not limited to the NFPA Outstanding Local Leadership Award in October 2007.  Valerie has often written articles for both The Forum and the Legal Intelligencer and her most recent article entitled “Should disbarred or suspended attorneys be allowed to work as paralegals?” has generated numerous comments and even a responsive article by the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Valerie obtained her R.P. designation on June 1, 2004 and obtained her Pa.C.P. designation on March 13, 2009.

    Director, Region I  
Theda M. Yandell, RP®  

Theda Yandell, RP
Seattle, WA

The Region Directors are responsible for the "humanization of NFPA" to local associations, and are the main liaison between member associations and other Board members.

Theda M. Yandell, RP is employed as a paralegal in the Seattle law firm of Forsberg & Umlauf, P.S., a litigation defense firm. She currently participates in personal injury, premise liability, property damage, and product liability cases. During her over 20 year paralegal career she has also assisted in the areas of legal malpractice, medical malpractice, employment litigation and construction defect. While she has been involved primarily in defense work, she has also participated in plaintiff cases. Theda is a member of Washington State Paralegal Association (WSPA) and has held the offices of President, Seattle Chapter Director, At-Large West Director, PACE Ambassador, NFPA Primary Representative and NFPA Secondary Representative. She has chaired many events for WSPA including the 2009 NFPA Regulation/Leadership Conference. Theda became a PACE Registered Paralegal in December 2006. She graduated from Highline Community College with an A.A. degree and an A.A.S. degree, Legal Assistant. She is a member of the Highline Community College Advisory Board and volunteers at the Kent Legal Clinic.

 

    Director, Region II
Allen Mihecoby, RP, CLAS  

Allen Mihecoby, CLAS, RP
Dallas, TX

The Region Directors are responsible for the "humanization of NFPA" to local associations, and are the main liaison between member associations and other Board members.

Allen Mihecoby, CLAS, RP, is currently employed as a Senior Paralegal at Kimberly-Clark, a global enterprise which manufactures some of the best known brands in the consumer products industry.  In this role, he is responsible for supporting the Company’s efforts in SEC Reporting, Corporate Governance, Strategic Transactions and Compliance.  He was previously employed in the position of Manager, Law Department, for the second largest railroad in the U.S. He has primarily worked with international firms and multinational corporations in various areas of law, including IP, corporate, securities, real estate and commercial litigation. He received his BA in Political Science at the University of Texas--Arlington, with a concentration in International Affairs and Pre-Law. In 1997 he graduated with an ABA-approved paralegal certificate from Southeastern Paralegal Institute in Dallas, Texas. He became a PACE Registered Paralegal in 2002; and earned the CLAS credential (Business & Corporate Law) in 2005.

Allen has served the paralegal profession on national, state, and local levels. He is a member of the Dallas Area Paralegal Association (DAPA), the Metroplex Association of Corporate Paralegals (MACP), Fort Worth Paralegal Association (FWPA), the Texas Center for Legal Ethics (TCLE), the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas (PD) and a charter member of the State Bar College (SBC). In several of these organizations, Allen has served in leadership positions, including: NFPA CLE Co-Coordinator and Assistant Pro Bono Coordinator; DAPA President, VP of Programs, Board Advisor and Ethics Chair; FWPA First Vice President-Programs and Ethics Chair; PD Parliamentarian and District 3 Director; and MACP Co-Chair/Ethics/Professional Development.

In 2004, Legal Assistant Today named Allen as one of the runners-up in its Paralegal of the Year Contest. The same year, NFPA and Dyncorp awarded him the Outstanding Local Leader award. He was named 2009 Fort Worth Paralegal Association’s Paralegal of the Year. ParalegalGateway.com named Allen as one of its 2011 Paralegal Superstars and DAPA awarded him the 2011 Pro Bono award.
 


    Director, Region III
Yvonne DeAntoneo  

Yvonne Lewis DeAntoneo
St. Petersburg, FL

The Region Directors are responsible for the "humanization of NFPA" to local associations, and are the main liaison between member associations and other Board members.

Yvonne Lewis DeAntoneo is a litigation paralegal with Nationwide Insurance in their Tampa Bay Trial Division and has over 20 years of paralegal experience in medical malpractice, personal injury, mass torts and commercial litigation.

Yvonne has served two terms as the President of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc.  An active member with TBPA since its inception, Yvonne has also served in various other roles and committee positions with TBPA, including 1st Vice President, Pro Bono/Community Service Committee; 10th Anniversary Celebration Chair; Bar Liaison/Public Relations; Education/Professional Development/Student Mentoring; Membership; Newsletter; Parliamentarian; Seminar/CLE; and State & National Affairs.

Yvonne has an Associate Degree In Paralegal Studies from St. Petersburg College and a Bachelor’s of Arts in English & American Literature from the University of South Florida.


    Director, Region IV
Donna Huntermark, RP®, PaCP  

Donna Huntermark, RP, PaCP
Pittsburgh, PA

The Region Directors are responsible for the "humanization of NFPA" to local associations, and are the main liaison between member associations and other Board members.

In February 2011, Donna Huntermark, RP, PaCP started with Leech Tishman as a Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Paralegal. In addition, she assists the Corporate and Real Estate Departments with projects as needed.

Prior to joining Leech Tishman, she was employed by Houston Harbaugh for eleven years as a Bankruptcy Paralegal for a Chapter 7 U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee. Being the paralegal for a Trustee taught her many skills outside of the typical necessary legal skills, such as accounting and payroll techniques. She learned to administer the day-to-day operation of companies that filed for Chapter 11 protection, along with the selling of real estate and various types of property. With the volume of bankruptcy filings, she learned how to be an effective manager of her time.

In September 2011, she sat for and passed the NFPA Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE).

Her involvement in a paralegal association dates back to 1986 when she joined National Capital Area Paralegal Association in Washington, DC. After returning home to Pittsburgh, she joined the Pittsburgh Paralegal Association in 2000. She has held several positions within PPA including Vice-President, Director, PACE Ambassador, NFPA Primary Representative and NFPA Secondary Representative.

She has been the Region IV Representative on the NFPA Budget committee for three years and the Coordinator Paralegal Certification – Ambassadors for 2012. As the Coordinator Paralegal Certification – Ambassadors, she helped the VPDPC coordinate and facilitate the Paralegal Certification Ambassadors Conference in April 2012.
 


    Director, Region V
Pat Gagnon, RP  

Patricia C. Gagnon, RP
Springfield, MA

The Region Directors are responsible for the "humanization of NFPA" to local associations, and are the main liaison between member associations and other Board members.

Patricia C. Gagnon, RP lives in Connecticut and is an in-house paralegal for a large manufacturer, focusing on intellectual property issues, litigation support and general corporate matters.  As a paralegal for more than 20 years, she also has experience in the bankruptcy and corporate trust areas.

Pat has served  as President, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Chair, Board Advisor, Scholarship Chair, Newsletter Editor, NFPA Representative and other capacities in her more than 20 years serving on the Central Connecticut Paralegal Association (CCPA) Board and it Committees.  She was the 2008 Recipient of CCPA’s President’s Award.

Pat has also worked with NFPA as Association Management Coordinator for 2 -3 years, Host Association Coordinator for 2013 Convention for three years, was a member of the NFPA Strategic Planning Committee for 2 to 3 years, served on the Budget Committee for 2 years and worked on various ad hoc Committees.   She was the 2009 Recipient of NFPA’s Local Outstanding Leadership Award.

With a Bachelor’s Degree from Charter Oak State College and an Associate’s Degree from Bay Path College, Pat earned the PACE Registered Paralegal designation in July, 2000. Pat also sits on the Bay Path College Paralegal Program Advisory Committee.

Pat is the co-author of the article published in the Reporter, “Officers and directors of a non-profit association –Fiduciary or Window Dressing?” and has been a speaker at seminars:  1) Intellectual Property Due Diligence; 2) Revised UCC Article 9 Seminar;  and 3) Bankruptcy Basics.  She was also a speaker at the University of Hartford Paralegal Graduation ceremony in 2013 and at various Career Days at local colleges.


    Board Advisor
Tracey Young, RP  

Tracey L. Young, RP
Clifton Park, NY

The Immediate Past President assumes the office of Board Advisor, and provides continuity to the Board of Directors, is an advisor to the current President, and provides the President with background information and other assistance as needed. Moreover, the Board Advisor serves as the NFPA Historian and as the supervisory board member to the Nominations Coordinator and the Strategic Planning Coordinator.

Tracey L. Young, RP is a litigation paralegal at LaMarche Safranko Law, PLLC in Clifton Park, New York practicing in the areas of plaintiff personal injury and criminal defense. With 30 years of experience, she has worked in a variety of areas of law, including family law, real estate, collections, estates, personal injury and miscellaneous civil litigation. Tracey joined the Albany Legal Assistants Association in 1995 which later became the Capital District Paralegal Association (CDPA). She was instrumental in CDPA’s decision to join NFPA in 2001. Tracey served two terms as president and vice president of CDPA as well as secretary, newsletter editor and six years as delegate to NFPA. Tracey is also a member of the Albany County Bar Association, Capital District Trial Lawyers Association and New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

Tracey served as NFPA's President for the 2010 - 2012 term, Vice President and Director of Positions and Issues for the 2008 - 2010 term and as Director of Region V for the 2007-2008 term. She previously served as NFPA Regulation Review Coordinator from June 2006 to October 2007. Tracey was a speaker at the 2007 and 2009 NFPA Regulation Conferences and the 2010, 2011 and 2012 NFPA Joint Conferences. Tracey was the keynote speaker at the Massachusetts CLE 2008 Paralegal Conference on the topic, “Regulation – The Future of the Paralegal Profession” and also spoke at the 2008 Paralegal Conference sponsored by the Paralegal Association of New Hampshire on “What the Future Holds for the Paralegal Profession”.

Tracey has published several articles in The National Paralegal Reporter®, including "UPL is Focus of Several State Legislatures", “Regulation – The Future of the Paralegal Profession” and “Paralegal as Investigator” which was also published by The National Law Review. Tracey was a guest on MyLegal.com and "The Paralegal Voice" on LegalTalk Network in June 2010 and was interviewed for the U.S. News Best Jobs 2012. In 2012, Tracey was a panelist on the webinar “Career Development: How to achieve your professional goals,” offered by the George Washington University Paralegal Studies Program.

Tracey earned a BA degree in Sociology magna cum laude from the University of Virginia, a Master of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a paralegal certificate from the American Institute of Paralegal Studies. She earned her professional certification as PACE Registered Paralegal in December 2000.

 

modified 4/22/2014

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