About NFPA - Board of Directors
Nita Serrano, RP, AACP
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.
Nita Serrano, RP®, is a Litigation Paralegal with the Tampa law firm of La Cava & 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 more than 24 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 Floors. This experience provided the training necessary to communicate effectively with experts and medical professionals, as well as understand medical records and medical terminology.
Nita earned her Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies from Florida Metropolitan University in 2000, 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 2005. She is currently serving as President of NFPA. Nita as also served two terms as the Vice President & Director of Paralegal Certification 2014-2018, and has served as the Marketing/Public Relations Coordinator, Certification Study Materials Coordinator under the NFPA Vice President & Director of Paralegal Certification; and CLE Co-Coordinator under the NFPA Vice President & Director of Profession Development. Nita has been a member of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc. (TBPA) since 2006, and has served various leadership roles including, Director, Second Vice President, President Elect, President and Board Advisor. She was TBPA’s first Paralegal Certification Ambassador. She has also chaired and served on various committees, including the Annual Seminar, Pro Bono, Luncheon, Education & Professional Development, Public Relations Committee and the 10th Anniversary Celebration Committees. Nita has been a member of the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (“FAPA”) since 2013, and served as President in 2014. Nita has also served on the Hillsborough Community College, Paralegal Advisory Board for several years.
Nita has been a volunteer with Wills for Heroes, Dress for Success, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and PACE Center for Girls, Hillsborough for several years. She is also Master Guardian ad Litem for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Florida.
Away from work, Nita can usually be found reading, spending time with her family and their furry family members, a Toy American Eskimo and two Yorkshire Terriers.
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 product liability litigation. 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
Linda Odermott, RP, OCP
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 NFPA’s two certification exams, the PCCE and PACE, and the Paralegal Certification Standards Committee, by addressing issues related to paralegal certification, and by being the main spokesperson regarding paralegal certification by NFPA.
Linda has been a paralegal since 2007, focusing on complex litigation, municipal law and real property with expertise in land use, construction defect, real property and cannabis-related matters. In 2012, she received herRP® credentials from NFPA and in 2017, Linda received the OCP credentials from OPA. She currently works with attorneys at the law firm of Dunn Carney in Portland, Oregon, in the firm’s litigation and real estate practice groups.
Linda is also an instructor and member of the adjunct faculty with the Portland Community College, where she is entering her fifth year teaching real property to paralegal students. In 2015 and 2016, she was awarded the Paralegal of the Year Award from OPA and in 2015,she was also fortunate enough to receive the Certification Ambassador Award from NFPA.Linda was appointed by two consecutive Oregon State Bar (OSB) Executive Directors to two different task forces researching licensing paralegals in Oregon, similar to the Washington LLLT. Most recently, she was appointed to an implementation committee to create the rules for such a program approved by the OSB Board of Governors. In addition, Linda co-authored the Oregon Certified Paralegal program, which issues the OCP credentials during her tenure as the OPA Regulation Committee Co-Chair, which also implemented the program in 2016-17.
Her volunteer commitments include:
- NFPA: Armed Forces Coordinator, Paralegal Certification Coordinator PR, Association Management Co-Coordinator, Budget Committee Member, Regulation Review Coordinator, Regulation Review Committee Member, Ad Hoc Committee Chair; both the UPL Position Statement (current) and the Non-Lawyer Practice Committees
- OPA: Nominations, Elections and Awards Chair – current, Certification Ambassador, Regulation Committee Co-Chair, Board of Director, Joint Conference Hosting Association Committee Member, Annual Convention Committee Member, Pro Bono Committee Member – current, Military Outreach Coordinator, Public Relations Chair
- OSB: Paralegal Licensure Implementation Committee Member – current, Legal Futures Task Force Regulatory Committee Member, Limited License Legal Technician Task Force Member
- Everest College: Paralegal Program Advisory Committee Member
Vice President & Director of Marketing
Lisa Lynch, CEDS, 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, CEDS, 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.
Most recently, Lisa became CEDS certified through ACEDS (Association of Certified eDiscovery Specialists).
Secretary & Director of Operations
Mianne L. Besser
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.
Mianne L. Besser is a Corporate Paralegal for Whiting Petroleum Corporation where she contributes her 22 years of experience. She has a background in multiple legal disciplines, with a focus in litigation; she also has extensive trial experience and is well-versed in eDiscovery.
Ms. Besser 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.
Prior to being elected as Secretary and Director of Operations, Ms. Besser served three terms as NFPA Region Director, Region II; member and Chair of the State of the Paralegal Profession Committee; member of the Budget Committee; and Special Projects Coordinator. Ms. Besser served in a variety of positions for the Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (RMPA), including two non-consecutive terms as President, President-elect, Board Advisor, NFPA Primary Representative, NFPA Secondary Representative, Director-at-Large and Editor. She is also a member of the American Bar Association, Colorado Association of Litigation Support Professionals and Women in eDiscovery.
Ms. Besser is a CLE speaker at events hosted by NFPA and RMPA. She is also 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, CareersandLiberty.com, Andrew Morkes, Laurel Vietzen, The Paralegal Mentor and Practical Paralegalism. She has authored, or co-authored, articles which were printed in the National Paralegal Reporter and Trial Talk (Colorado Trial Lawyers Association). While serving as NFPA’s Special Projects Coordinator, she wrote two articles, “Legal Process Outsourcing” and “Ethical Considerations for Paralegals and Social Media”.
Ms. Besser’s community service and awards include: Community College of Aurora, Paralegal Advisory Committee Member (2008 to present); NFPA Outstanding Local Leadership Award (2012); Paralegal Gateway Paralegal Superstar (2011); Adjunct Instructor of Paralegal Studies, Community College of Aurora (2012 – 2013); Adjunct Instructor of Paralegal Studies, Kaplan College (2009 – 2010); Colorado Bar Association, Paralegal Committee (2007 to 2015 [Committee sunsetted]); and Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Legal Staff Member (2003 to 2015) and Chair (2007 to 2014). Ms. Besser has served as a coordinator for many planned giving events benefitting many organizations including The Gathering Place, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Bears on Patrol, and Free the Girls.
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.
Barbara Helmeke Peppersack has been a paralegal with Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren Ltd. for 40 years. Barbara specialty is probate and trust administration, tax return preparation for estates, trusts and personal returns. She is also the bankruptcy paralegal working with Chapter 7 & 11 filings. She also handle’s the firm’s corporate audit response letters for business clients.
Barbara received her B.A. from North Dakota State University in 1975 and received her Paralegal Certificate from the Paralegal Program at the University of Minnesota, 1978.
Barbara has been an active member and held various board positions throughout her career. Currently she is a voting member of the Minnesota Paralegal Association, Committee Member of the Minnesota State Bar Association for the Paralegal Section, Chair of Minnesota Chapter and Member of the International Paralegal Management Association, Chairperson of her firm’s paralegal group and Member of the American Bankruptcy Institute.
Past participation in the American Bar Association - Paralegal Education - Site Team; former President, 1st Vice President, Treasurer of the Minnesota Paralegal Association, past Treasurer of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc., Records Coordinator for National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc., Committee Member of the Strategic Planning and Budget Committees for NFPA. Contributed various articles in paralegal publications. Participated in pro bono opportunities, including the Wills for Heroes. Presented at various seminars throughout the years.
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
Brenda Cothary is a paralegal at Coordinated Care, a managed care organization that provides health care services to members across Washington State. She has worked as a paralegal for 19 years and has experience in bankruptcy, collections, risk management, eminent domain, personal injury, administrative law, and contracts.
Ms. Cothary graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice. She worked in law enforcement for 7 years prior to obtaining her paralegal certificate from Highline Community College, an ABA approved paralegal program. In 2015 she graduated from Champlain College with an M.S. in Law.
Ms. Cothary has been a member of the Washington State Paralegal Association (WSPA) since 2001. She has served WSPA as Regulation Coordinator, CLE Coordinator, Chapter Director, Vice President, President, NFPA Secondary and NFPA Primary. In addition, she has served NFPA as its Education Coordinator, Legislative Committee Co-Coordinator, and served on the Ad-Hoc Committee for Non Lawyer Legal Practice.
Ms. Cothary was appointed by the Washington State Supreme Court to serve on the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Board in 2013. She is currently in her second term on the Board, where she is involved in developing an additional practice area for Washington LLLTs. In addition, she served on the Tacoma Community College Paralegal Advisory Committee during the time the school was seeking ABA approval. She has taught various CLE seminars and has been a substitute instructor at local community colleges.
Director, Region II
Ed C. Schneider, M.A.
Ed is a Michigan-native who has called the Rocky Mountains of Colorado home since 2008. Since living in Colorado, he has been a litigation paralegal serving in a variety of practice areas and has had growing leadership hybrid roles in the last five years with the firms he has worked for. Currently, he is the Practice Group Staff Supervisor for the California and Colorado offices of AM-LAW 100 firm, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.
Ed obtained his Bachelors in Law and Criminology (Criminal Justice) from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan as well as his Masters of Arts in Legal Studies, with honors, from American Military University, based in Charles Town, West Virginia. Currently, he is a Doctoral Candidate for a Doctor of Public Administration where he is focusing on Judicial and Legal Administration.
From 2015 through 2019, Ed has served in a variety of roles with the Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association, becoming President in 2017. During his presidency, he also served as Regulation Review Coordinator for the 2018 Joint Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, and the Host Coordinator for the 2019 Joint Conference in Denver, Colorado.
The Region II Director is responsible for helping local associations in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma,South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and is the main liaison between member associations and other Board members.
Director, Region III
Lori Wagner, RP, IRP
Lori Wagner has been employed by Burt, Blee, Dixon, Sutton & Bloom, LLP, for the past 35 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.
Valerie Wilus, RP, Pa.C.P.
The Board Advisor will provide continuity, be an advisor to the current President and provide the President with background information and other assistance as needed and/or requested.
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 is the immediate Past 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.
See also the Past and Present Board Members and Coordinators.