About NFPA - Board of Directors
Valerie Wilus, RP, Pa.C.P.
Valerie A. Wilus is a Litigation Paralegal with Ross Feller Casey, LLP, with over 22 years of experience. Valerie specializes in cases involving medical malpractice, wrongful death, personal injury, birth injury, brain injury, stroke injury, spinal cord injury, workplace injury, amputations, train accidents, automobile litigation, product liability and premises liability. She also has a background in legal malpractice, general commercial litigation, first-party and third-party insurance defense litigation, breach of contract claims, estate planning, estate administration, corporate and immigration. Valerie has extensive trial experience and is proficient in the rules and regulations dealing with arbitrations, mediations, the county and state courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, various Federal district courts and other Appellate courts.
Valerie currently serves as President of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. She has previously served as President, and other Board member positions, of the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals and as Chairperson of the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations. Valerie also served as past Chair of the Regulation Ad Hoc Committee of the Keystone Alliance that developed the Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal Program that is currently offered to the Paralegals throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Valerie is a Registered Paralegal (R.P.) through the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and obtained her designation on June 1, 2004. She also obtained her Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal (Pa.C.P.) designation on March 13, 2009, through the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations.
Vice President & Director of Profession Development
Mindi L. Schaefer, M.S., RP, OSBA, AACP
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.
As Administrative & Paralegal Support Director at Poling, Mindi L. Schaefer is responsible for the management of the administrative and paralegal support staff which includes recruiting, training, work-flow coordination, productivity management, and continuing legal education. Additionally, she analyzes public relation and promotional strategies for the firm including sponsorship activities, pro bono opportunities, and speaking engagements. She researches print and electronic media options to promote and advertise the firm. In addition, Ms. Schaefer focuses on social media implementation and website content management to maintain fresh and current firm content.
Ms. Schaefer actively participates in the Paralegal Association of Central Ohio ("PACO") and has held numerous leadership roles including President, President-Elect, NFPA Primary, NFPA Secondary, Public Relations Representative, and Mentoring Program Chair. She is also an Adjunct Paralegal Professor with Capital University Law School's Paralegal Program teaching Introduction to Paralegal Studies and Civil Litigation.
Vice President & Director of Positions and Issues
Lori Boris, RP, MnCP
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.
Lori J. Boris, RP®, a litigation paralegal since 1998, is currently employed as a Product Liability Litigation Paralegal at Nilan Johnson Lewis, PA, working in the area of recreational vehicle product liability. Over her 19 years as a paralegal, she has assisted attorneys in representing multiple and varied clients in many areas, including toxic torts, product liability, employment law, wrongful death, personal injury and contract claims.
Lori is a graduate of the Minnesota Paralegal Institute, an ABA-approved post-baccalaureate program, became a PACE® Registered Paralegal in 2009, and was credentialed as one of MPA’s inaugural MnCPs in 2014.
Lori has been very involved with the Minnesota Paralegal Association (“MPA”) holding various positions, including MPA’s Internet Coordinator, Publications Editor, Vice President, President, Primary, Secondary, Certification Co-Ambassador, Regulation Committee Chair, and Litigation Sectional C-Chair. She served the NFPA as Certification Coordinator – Ambassadors for three years, from 2013-2015.
Vice President & Director of Membership
St. Petersburg, FL
The Vice President and Director of Membership will be responsible for guiding NFPA in attracting and retaining 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.
Vice President & Director of Paralegal Certification
Nita Serrano, RP
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.
Nita Serrano, RP is a litigation Paralegal with the Tampa law firm of LaCava & Jacobson P.A. in their general casualty department handling all aspects of cases from case inception through trial preparation and participation. Nita has been a paralegal for almost 20 years, four of those years as a freelance paralegal. Nita specializes in the areas of civil litigation, insurance defense, medical malpractice, personal injury, nursing home and general negligence. She has also worked in the areas of criminal and family law.
Prior to becoming a Paralegal, Nita worked for two large Tampa Bay Area Hospitals as a Certified Health Unit Coordinator in the Emergency Room/Trauma Center, Transplant, Orthopedic, and Maternity Floor. This experience provided the training necessary to communicate effectively with experts and medical professionals, as well as understand medical terminology and medical records.
Nita earned her Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies from Florida Metropolitan University, and her designation as a PACE Registered Paralegal (RP®) from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations in March, 2007.
Nita has been a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA) since 2006. She is currently serving as the Vice President & Director of Paralegal Certification and has served as the Marketing/Public Relations Coordinator in 2011 and 2012, Certification Study Materials Coordinator under the NFPA Vice President & Director of Paralegal Certification from 2012-2014; and CLE Co-Coordinator under the NFPA Vice President & Director of Profession Development in 2014. Nita has been a member of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc. (TBPA) since 2006, and has served as a Second Vice President for the years 2006-2007 and 2007-2008; President Elect for the year 2008-2009; President for the years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011; Board Advisor 2011-2012 and 2012-2013; Director for the year 2012-2013;. She was TBPA’s first Paralegal Certification Ambassador from 2008-2010 and then held the position from 2011 -2014. She has also served on various committees, including the Annual Seminar, Pro Bono, Luncheon, Education & Professional Development and the 10th Anniversary Celebration Committees. She has also Chaired various committees including, Education & Professional Development Committee and Public Relations Committee. Nita has also been a member of the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (“FAPA”) since 2013, and was President 2014.
Nita has been a volunteer with Wills for Heroes, Dress for Success and PACE Center for Girls, Hillsborough for several years and recently became a Guardian ad Litem.
Away from work, Nita can usually be found reading, spending time with her husband, three children and their furry family members, a Toy American Eskimo and two Yorkshire Terriers.
Vice President & Director of Marketing
Lisa Lynch, CRP
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.
Lisa Lynch, CRP is a litigation paralegal employed by Pinnacle in Dallas Texas. Over the years, she has worked in areas such as litigation, labor and employment, medical malpractice defense and intellectual property. In 2014, Lisa was presented with the DAPA Paralegal of the Year Award.
Lisa has been involved with the Dallas Area Paralegal Association since 2004. Lisa served as the DAPA NFPA Primary or Secondary Representative in 2015 and 2011 – 2013, President in 2014, President-Elect in 2013, NFPA and Vendor Advisor (2009-2013), as well as serving on many special committees. She has also been a CLE speaker at many DAPA and student events. She is also a member of Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas. Lisa has also served NFPA as the Membership Growth Coordinator and the Technology Coordinator (2015). Lisa is also a member of the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas.
Lisa obtained her Paralegal Certificate from the Professional Development Institute at the University of North Texas in 1993. Lisa was certified by NFPA as a Core Registered Paralegal in 2011, becoming one of the first 16 CRPs in the State of Texas and initial 148 paralegals in the nation who passed the pilot exam administered at 12 test sites across the country. Lisa also participates in DAPA’s mentor/protégé program and is a volunteer with the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program and other community service programs benefiting such non-profits as the North Texas Food Bank, Juliette Fowler and The Stewpot.
Treasurer & Director of Finance
Barbara Helmeke Peppersack
The treasurer and director of finance shall be responsible for ensuring that NFPA is in a sound financial position by supervising the collection of dues and generation of non-dues income, and evaluating financial management performances and opportunities.
Secretary & Director of Operations
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.
Cherylan Shearer lives in Goshen, Indiana. She is a corporate paralegal at the law firm of Yoder Ainlay Ulmer & Buckingham, LLP in Goshen, Indiana, and has been with the firm for 20 years. She received her paralegal certificate with honors in June 1999 from Indiana University at South Bend. She works with the initial set up of organizations including for-profit, nonprofit, and limited liability companies, and maintains corporate compliance for approximately 500 clients of the firm. She also focuses on mergers and acquisitions for the firm.
Ms. Shearer has been a member of the Michiana Paralegal Association since 1999 and is also an Affiliate Member of the Indiana State Bar Association. While a member of her local Association, she has served as Membership Chair, Primary, and most recently as President. She also served as the NFPA Region III Director from 2009 through 2012, and as Chair of the Region Directors from 2010-2012. Most recently, she served as Convention Coordinator for 2013-2014.
Since 2009, Ms. Shearer has taught the Paralegal Methods in Business Organization seminar to paralegal students at the Indiana University at South Bend. In March 2014, she also presented a webinar for NFPA on Basics of Corporate Structures for Paralegals. She was also awarded the Michiana Paralegal of the Year for 2010.
The Region Directors are the main liaison between members associations and other members of the Board. There are five region directors serving members in the five regions of NFPA.
Director, Region I
Ronell B. Badua
Ronell B. Badua is a paralegal at the Department of the Corporation Counsel, City and County of Honolulu. The Department of the Corporation Counsel meets the diverse legal needs of all city agencies, the Council and all officers and employees relating to their official powers and duties in all legal proceedings and services incident as required by the Charter or law. Mr. Badua contributes his paralegal experience as the transit paralegal working on the Honolulu Rail Transit Project, the largest public works and first grade-separated fixed rail system in Hawaii.
Mr. Badua received his Associate in Science paralegal certificate from Kapi`olani Community College, an American Bar Association-approved program since 1978.
Mr. Badua’s community involvement and awards include recognition from the Hawaii Paralegal Association (HPA) as its 2011 Paralegal of the Year and in 2014 was awarded the Career Achievement Award for his outstanding and meritorious service to the legal community and the paralegal profession. In 2015, he was also awarded the HPA Leadership Award for his service within the Association. He has been an advocate for advancing the paralegal profession serving in various roles with the NFPA, including the State of the Paralegal Profession Report Committee, Marketing the Paralegal Profession Committee and Strategic Planning Committee. He has also served as the Inside Reports Coordinator and Advertising/Public Relations Coordinator to the NFPA. He volunteers on various pro bono activities, including Legal Line and public Legal Clinics in conjunction with the local bar association. Mr. Badua also successfully co-chaired the planning of the NFPA Annual Convention and Policy Meeting in October 2015. In July 2015, he was featured on The Paralegal Mentor.
In addition, Mr. Badua has served in a variety of positions for the Hawaii Paralegal Association, including President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Director of Publications, Director of Professional Development, Board Advisor and local association national affairs delegate to the NFPA for eight consecutive years. He is also employed as a part time key holder at Sugarfina. He is a proud member of Region I and being affiliated with the Oregon Paralegal Association and Washington State Paralegal Association.
Director, Region II
Mianne L. Besser
Mianne L. Besser works at Otten Johnson Robinson Neff + Ragonetti, PC, in the firm’s litigation group as they represent business and real estate clients in litigation, bankruptcy and land use matters. The group’s practice covers a broad spectrum of commercial litigation, and Mianne contributes her 22 years of experience as a litigation paralegal.
Mianne received her BA in Management and Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. In 1996, she received her paralegal certificate from the Denver Paralegal Institute, an ABA-approved program.
Mianne has been a CLE speaker at many events hosted by the Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (RMPA); she has also been a speaker for a CLE hosted by NFPA. Mianne is a Faculty Member of the Institute for Paralegal Education (IPE). She has been interviewed for her perspective on the paralegal profession by LawCrossing.com, Paralegal411.com, Careersand Liberty.com, Andrew Morkes, Laurel Vietzen, TheParalegalMentor.com and PracticalParalegalism. She has authored, or co-authored, articles which were printed in the National Paralegal Reporter and Trial Talk (Colorado Trial Lawyers Association); she also wrote articles as NFPA Special Projects Coordinator, “Legal Process Outsourcing” and “Ethical Considerations for Paralegals and Social Media”.
Prior to being elected to a third term as a member of the NFPA Board of Directors, Mianne served in a variety of positions for the Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association, including two non-consecutive terms as president, NFPA Primary Representative and NFPA Secondary Representative. She is also a member of the Colorado Association of Litigation Support Professionals.
Mianne’s community service and awards include: Program Advisory Committee, Westwood College (2013 to Present); 2012 Outstanding Local Leadership Award, National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc.; and 2011 ParalegalGateway Paralegal Superstar; Kaplan College: Adjunct Instructor, Paralegal Studies (2009-2010) and Paralegal Advisory Committee (2009 to November 2011); Community College of Aurora: Adjunct Professor of Paralegal Studies (2012 - 2013) and Paralegal Advisory Committee (2008 to present); Colorado Bar Association, Paralegal Committee (2007 to 2015 [Committee sunsetted]); Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Legal Staff Member (2003 to 2015) and Chair (2007 to 2014); and American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (2008 to present).
Director, Region III
Lori Wagner, RP, IRP
Lori Wagner has been employed by Burt, Blee, Dixon, Sutton & Bloom, LLP, for the past 33 years. During her years with the firm she has worked in many practice areas of law. Most recently she spends her time split between collections, in-house IT specialist and office administration.
Ms. Wagner started her paralegal career in 1992, affiliated with the local paralegal association which was a satellite chapter of the Indiana Paralegal Association (IPA) based out of Indianapolis. In 1995, as a member of the board of directors she helped form the Northeast Indiana Paralegal Association and separate from IPA. She served as President of the Northeast Indiana Paralegal Association (NIPA) in 1997 for a two-year term and then again in 2010 for a four-year term, holding various positions in between. She has been the NIPA Primary Representative to NFPA for the past six years. She received the NIPA Outstanding Paralegal Award in 1997, 2011 and 2014. She is also a member of the Indiana State Bar Association where she received the Outstanding Affiliate Member Award in 2015. She has been registered with the Indiana State Bar Association as an Indiana Registered Paralegal since July, 2015.
As a Member of NIPA, Lori is a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc., where she has served as Strategic Planning Coordinator and the 2016 Convention Coordinator, She currently serves as the Region III Director on the NFPA’s Board of Directors.
Director, Region IV
Becky Reedy is a litigation paralegal for the State of New Jersey, Department of Child Protection and Permanency, where she specializes in family law. Prior to her employment with the State, Becky worked in areas such as personal injury, medical and legal malpractice. She has an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Burlington County Community College (now known as Rowan College) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies from Peirce College. Becky has been a member of the South Jersey Paralegal Association (SJPA) since 2005. She was appointed by the President in 2009 as the Chair for the Scholarship Committee, a position she held for two years.
In 2012, Becky chaired the New Jersey Certified Paralegal program and later that year, she was appointed as the Primary Delegate for the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Becky served as the President of the SJPA in 2012-13 and 2013-14, was the NFPA Primary Delegate from 2012-15, and Board Advisor for 2015-16. Becky was also a member of the Paralegal Committee through the New Jersey State Bar Association from 2012-15. Becky was named Board Member of the Year in 2014. Becky is active with the NFPA and has served as a member for the Nominations Committee (2013-14) and Strategic Planning Committee (2016). She has been the Special Research Coordinator (2013), Armed Forces Coordinator (2015) and Inside Reports Coordinator (2013-15). Becky served on the Ad Hoc Committee for the State of the Paralegal Profession Report beginning in 2013. In 2015, Becky was appointed the Chair of the Standing Committee for the State of that Committee and at the Annual Convention in October 2017, her Committee presented the Inaugural State of the Paralegal Profession Report. Becky is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association, a member of its Paralegal Committee and also a member of the Burlington County Bar Association. She also serves on the Advisory Committees for the Paralegal Studies programs with Peirce College and Brookdale Community College.
Director, Region V
Josie Estes is currently employed as a Paralegal with the Law Firm of Frasca & Frasca, PA in Nashua, NH. Through this role, she primarily focuses in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, Guardianships, and Landlord/Tenant Issues.
Josie is active within the professional community currently serving as Region V Director to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Josie is an active member of the Paralegal Association of New Hampshire (PANH) and prior to her appointment to the NFPA Board served four years on the PANH’s Board of Directors. Josie is currently serving on the Advisory Committee for the Nashua Community College Paralegal Program. Josie has served as a New Hampshire Notary Public for the last ten years.
Josie received her Associate of Science degree in Paralegal Studies, magna cum laude, in 2011 and is currently studying to sit for the PACE Advanced Paralegal Competency Exam.
Lisa Vessels, RP, CP, FRP
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.
Lisa Vessels, RP, CP, FRP lives in Miami, Florida, and is employed by Duane Morris LLP managing the docketing function and rules-based docketing software for 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 is a former two-term President of the South Florida Paralegal Association and the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations. As an active member in both organizations, she served in many roles since joining in 2005. She served as NFPA’s President from 2014-2016, Vice President and Director of Positions and Issues from 2012-2014, Regulation Review Coordinator from 2009-2012, 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 is currently serving her fourth three year term as a non-lawyer member of The Florida Bar's Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee for the 11th Circuit in Miami-Dade County. 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.
Ms. Vessels 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. She earned the Certified Paralegal® credential in 2005, became a Florida Registered Paralegal with The Florida Bar in 2008, and earned the PACE® Registered Paralegal credential 2012.
See also the Past and Present Board Members and Coordinators.