Fay Pappas Wins Pro Bono Award

We are BEYOND excited for #CFAWL’s very own, Attorney Fay Olga Pappas, for being selected as the 2021 recipient of the The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division – Pro Bono Service Award! Congrats, Fay! Very well deserved! To read The Florida Bar press release, click here.

Congratulations Mary Alice “Molly” Nardella

Congrats to #CFAWL member, Mary Alice “Molly” Nardella on her appointment to the Fifth District Court of Appeal!

Congratulations Justice Grosshans!

CFAWL congratulates Judge Jamie Grosshans on her appointment to the Florida Supreme Court! Judge Grosshans currently sits as a judge on the Fifth District Court of Appeal. She will become the just the fifth woman to serve on the Florida Supreme Court. Judge Grosshans has said that she “stands on the shoulders of champions who have fought for equality and the right of women to lift their voices to the leadership of this great state.” We appreciate your involvement with #CFAWL! And, we are so proud of you, Judge Grosshans! #CFAWLOwnYourStory

Congratulations to the new FAWL Leadership Team

CFAWL and FAWL in Partnership

Join us in congratulating the CFAWL – Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers members who will be joining the Florida Association for Women Lawyers Board of Directors for 2020!!Congratulations Kimberly Hosley- President Jessica D. Thomas– Journal Editor Mariane Dorris-Public Relations Director

FAWL Leaders In the Law Award

CFAWL Recognized by FAWL

Thanks FAWL for the kudos! We are proud to be part of such a great organization!

Congratulations Barbara!

CFAWL congratulates its Past President Barbara Leach on her election without opposition to the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit. We are so proud of you!

Fay Pappas – Rock Star!

Kudos to Leadership Team member, Fay Pappas, on instituting the movement to provide temporary housing for hospital doctors and medical team members to reduce the risk of passing COVID-19 back to their families at home. Inspired by the struggles of her own family, it has grown to a statewide conglomerate of over 60 recreational vehicle parks and resorts donating free housing to medical worker who cannot safely stay in their own homes because of their exposure to COVID-19 patients.  Read more about it here.


Our President wishes to use this time to recognize CFAWL’s outstanding leadership. These women are exceptional attorneys/professionals, bar volunteers, and human beings. They are Rock Stars‼ Every few days, we will recognize the members of our Board of Directors and Leadership Team and thank them for their tireless service to our organization.  

Our first #rockstar is President-elect Mary Walter Ingram. Mary is a board certified appellate specialist at Liebler, Gonzalez & Portuondo. She is a double graduate from Florida State University and was a member of the Marching Chiefs in both undergrad and law school. She and her husband Brad are the proud parents of Gizmo, their handsome fur baby. Mary has been very active in the Orange County Bar Association and recently chaired its Law Day 5k. Presently, she is on the Executive Council of The Florida Bar’s Appellate Practice Section. Mary has held just about every position in CFAWL and is imminently qualified to lead our organization. But, most importantly, Mary is a ray of sunshine to all who know her. Mary makes everyone feel welcome and HAPPY. No one brightens a room or a day like Mary!

Our second #rockstar is Secretary Wynne McFarlin. Wynne is a graduate of Florida State University and Stetson Law School. Wynne practiced with Winderweedle, Haines, Ward and Woodman before establishing her own recruiting company –Legal Talent. Now, she spends her time connecting legal professionals with legal opportunities. Wynne is very active in the Orange County Bar Association and just recently served as President of the OCBA Legal Aid Society. In addition to serving as Secretary, Wynne chaired CFAWL’s Angel Tree Project which provided gifts to 100 children who would not have otherwise celebrated the holidays. She and her husband David live very active lives as is evident by the fact Wynne is an Ironman‼ What everyone loves about Wynne is that she is a voice of reason at all times. She is calm, cool, and steady no matter what she or others are facing. She’s also incredibly generous with her time and talent and leads a Special Olympics triathlon team trying to qualify for the 2022 Special Olympics!

Our third #rockstar is Treasurer Lauren Millcarek. Lauren is a Senior Associate at Shutts & Bowen where she focuses her practice on federal court litigation. Lauren is a double Gator having attended undergrad and law school at the University of Florida. Lauren is the immediate past president of the Orlando Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. During her tenure, the Chapter was recognized as Chapter of the Year by the Federal Bar Association. Lauren is an avid traveler and foodie. Nothing makes her happier than Halloween and Disney, except maybe her fur baby Marlow. Lauren has held numerous positions in CFAWL and has chaired some of its most successful charity events and programs. Lauren is a straight shooter and will always tell you what she thinks. Lauren provides critical analysis on all issues and consistently steers the Board in the right direction. Add her sharp wit and there’s never a dull moment with Lauren around!

Our fourth #rockstar is Assistant Treasurer Amanda Sampaio Bova. Amanda currently practices criminal defense with the Law Office of Corey Cohen. Amanda is one of less than 1% of criminal defense attorneys who are Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law. Amanda is a past president of the Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. As CFAWL’s Assistant Treasurer, she is in responsible for making sure the monthly luncheons run smoothly. Amanda has done a fabulous job this year streamlining reservations and check in. In addition to serving as Assistant Treasurer, Amanda chaired CFAWL’s highly successful Backpack Project in conjunction with the OCBA Young Lawyers Section. Amanda is calm, cool, and collected at all times. Amanda and her husband have a beautiful daughter who looks more and more like mama every day! 

Our fifth #rockstar is Immediate Past President Arti Hirani. Arti works with her mother at Meenakshi A. Hirani, P.A. where they serve their clients’ vast business needs. Arti graduated from Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. She is currently attending The University of Chicago Booth School of Business (ranked #1 in the country) while continuing to practice law. Arti also serves on Executive Council of the Orange County Bar Association and is a Ninth Circuit Representative to the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar. While President, Arti’s theme was #cfawlconnects and she worked tirelessly and successfully to promote cooperation, coordination, and camaraderie among Central Florida’s voluntary bar associations.

Our sixth #rockstar is our Membership Director Erica Cipparone. Erica is a partner at Beusse, Wolter, Sanks & Maire, PLLC where she is a registered patent attorney licensed to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Erica attended Rollins (Bachelor of Arts), UCF (Masters of Science), and Barry University School of Law (J.D.). Erica and her husband are both exceptionally busy attorneys juggling working and raising their two adorable daughters. Erica tackled the labor intensive job of Membership Director with a positive attitude and grace. She always has a smile and something positive to say! This year, Erica is being honored as one of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers’ Leaders in the Law.

Our seventh #rockstar is Programs Chair Kathleen Shea. Kathleen is an associate at Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, P.A. where she focuses her practice in the area of casualty defense. Prior to transitioning to civil practice, Kathleen was a public defender in the Ninth Judicial Circuit where she tried nearly 70 (!) cases to verdict. Because of that experience, Kathleen is an advocate for CFAWL having programming which attracts and encourages participation by government lawyers. Kathleen was recently selected to serve on the Pace Center for Girls’ Central Florida Young Professionalism Board. Kathleen is one of the funniest people you will ever meet. She is witty and quick with perfect timing. If she ever quit her day job, stand up would totally be doable. Kathleen is being honored as one of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers’ Leaders in the Law.

Our eighth #rockstar is Programs Co-Chair Marina Ellis. Marina is not your typical CFAWL Board member as Marina is not a Florida lawyer. Marina is a financial representative with Principal Financial Group and an insurance agent with Bankers Life. Before moving to America, Marina studied law at Rostov State University in Russia and then practiced law in Russia. Marina is a single mother of two exceptionally polite and well behaved boys who participate in so many CFAWL programs they could be members themselves! Marina has a fabulous Russian accent and is an impeccable dresser! Marina is also the kindest woman you will ever meet. CFAWL is so fortunate to have her!

Our ninth #rockstar is FAWL Representative Heather Meglino. Heather is a litigation attorney at Spire Law where she practices employment litigation defense. Heather attended USF where she was captain of the bowling team (seriously!). After USF, she attended Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. Heather has been incredibly involved in CFAWL while simultaneously serving multiple roles in the Young Lawyers Section of the Orange County Bar Association. Additionally, Heather has been very active on the Young Professionals Board of the Harbor House of Central Florida and chaired its “Handbags for Hope” event raising thousands of dollars for Harbor House. In her spare time, Heather trains for and competes in obstacle course races. Heather doesn’t just race, she wins having recently placed second overall elite woman in the Bonefrog Challenge. You don’t want to get in a fight with Heather, she will literally kick you b*tt!

Our tenth #rockstar is OCBA Representative Tina Leger. Tina is a lawyer with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida where she serves those less fortunate. Tina attended the University of Florida and Florida Coastal School of Law. Tina has held many positions in CFAWL and is always willing to help. In fact, when the OCBA called for acts for its recent talent show, Tina volunteered to be on the “Attractive Nuisances” risking utter embarrassment if it didn’t work out. Nevertheless, they were awesome! Tina is a fitness buff, adventurous chef, and exceptionally active member of Grace Church. Tina is soft spoken, kind, and thoughtful. She brings peace to all those around her.

Our eleventh #rockstar is PR Director Jessica Thomas. Jessica runs the Thomas Law Firm where she practices family law, adoption, and dependency law. Jessica attended Florida State University and then Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. Jessica is a force to be reckoned with. In addition to CFAWL, Jessica has served on the Florida Association for Women Lawyers Board, and was the President (twice!) of the Central Florida Women’s Resource Center. Jessica has received many awards throughout her career including The Black Women Handling Business 2019 Women in Law Award. While juggling her law practice and all of her volunteering, Jessica and her husband David are raising their precious son and daughter. Jessica is an inspiration to all of us – she keeps us real, she keeps us honest, but most of all, she keeps us on our toes!  

Our twelfth #rockstar is PR Co-Director Lisa Bedwell. Lisa is a Magistrate Judge in the Ninth Judicial Circuit in the domestic relations/mental health division. Lisa attended Flagler College and then obtained her Masters and J.D. from Stetson University. Lisa was incredibly active in the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers before moving to Central Florida and jumping right into CFAWL. Lisa is an exceptional writer and published author which made her a perfect for the FAWL Journal Committee. As if that wasn’t enough, Lisa has also served on FAWL’s Legislative Committee. Lisa is so committed to CFAWL she even recruited her husband to serve and we are all grateful for his immense IT knowledge. They have single handedly saved the CFAWL website from crashing many times over‼ Lisa is incredibly thoughtful and articulate while often challenging the Board to look at things differently. She’s compassionate about doing what is right at all times. She is a constant reminder of what truly matters in our lives and that we must always focus on that. Additionally, she too has a quick wit and a wicked sense of humor. Lisa never seeks the limelight, but rather does her job diligently and efficiently with little fan fair. Every Board needs a Lisa!

Our thirteenth #rockstar is Young Lawyer Representative Jessica de la Cruz. Jessica is a family law practitioner with Conti Moore Law, PLLC. Jessica received her A.S. in paralegal studies from Keiser University, her B.A. in Legal Studies from Kaplan University, and her law degree from the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. Prior to law school, Jessica joined the U.S. Air Force and worked as an aerospace ground equipment mechanic. Jessica grew up in Honolulu, Hawai’i and tries to go back whenever she can. Keeping her busy here in Florida are her four children who are incredibly active in school and sports. Jessica is the type of Board member every organization should be blessed to have – she shows up – to everything! You can always count on Jessica to work the check in table at every luncheon or event. Jessica is sweet, kind, and compassionate. These attributes make her a fabulous board member and an even better family law practitioner. Jessica has big plans for the future, but those are for her to share! Regardless, her future is so bright, she’ll have to wear shades!

Our fourteenth #rockstar is Director at Large Traci Deen. Traci is an environmental lawyer who serves as the Executive Director and CEO of Conservation Florida. In this role, Traci oversees statewide land conservation efforts by fostering strategic partnerships, engaging the community and community leaders, and facilitating large-scale land transactions. Traci’s passion for Florida’s environment is evident in all she does. Traci is also an active volunteer in the community having served as Chair of the Junior Leagues of Florida State Public Affairs Committee and on the Board of Directors of AMIKids Orlando. In addition to CFAWL, Traci has been FAWL’s Legislative Director and serves on The Florida Bar’s Governmental and Public Policy Advocacy Committee. Traci is passionate about conservation, informed political action, and wildlife. She’s an experienced equestrian and can often be found at the barn with her riding buddy. Traci and her husband Michael are raising a strong little conservationist named Molly. Traci has such a beautiful spirit which shines through in all she does. She’s literally a ray of sunshine for all who know her.

Our fifteenth #rockstar is Director at Large Lorraine Pitre. Lorraine works in the Human Resources Department at Florida Hospital. Lorraine received her undergraduate degree from the University of Phoenix and her Juris Doctorate from the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. Lorraine has been involved in CFAWL since she was in law school. She has served on and chaired numerous committees as well as serving as the OCBA and FAWL Representative. Lorraine has also been very active in the Orange County Bar Association and served as Law Week (months!) Chair. Lorraine is absolutely the kindest person you will meet. She’s such an asset to CFAWL because she’s the epitome of a work horse. She shows up early, she stays late, and she doesn’t rest until the work is done. You can always count on Lorraine‼ 

Our sixteenth #rockstar is our Judicial Liaison Tanya Wilson. Tanya is a circuit judge on the Ninth Judicial Circuit. Judge Wilson is a proud Double Gator having received her undergraduate degree in journalism and her law degree from the University of Florida. Tanya began her legal career as a public defender in the Ninth Judicial Circuit and them became an Assistant Federal Defender. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Tanya was with the Department of Justice serving as a federal prosecutor. She was appointed to the county court in 2014 and then to the circuit court in 2017. Tanya serves as an officer of For The Kidz, Inc., a charitable organization connecting children and teens in poverty to educational, health, and social resources. She is also an active member of The Links Inc., a volunteer service organization of extraordinary women committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African Ancestry. Tanya is a keen listener and contemplative. She brings her restrained judicial demeanor to all discussions while providing valuable insight to our discourse. Most importantly, she is a HUGE Cowboys fan‼ 

Our seventeenth #rockstar is Awards Chair Peggy Smith Bush. Peggy practices at Marshall Dennehey. Peggy received her marketing degree from the University of North Alabama. After college, Peggy worked in radio and television for several years. She then obtained her Series 7 and Series 63 Securities Licenses and went to work at Prudential Securities and Robinson-Humphrey-Smith Barney in the sale of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Peggy then decided to attend law school at Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law where served as the managing editor of the Law Review. Although Peggy has practiced general personal injury and products liability defense, she has become well recognized in the transportation law industry traveling around the country to speak at various seminars. In addition to being an exceptional lawyer, Peggy is the epitome of a Southern woman. She is classy, poised, soft spoken, and gracious, but underneath it all she is as tough as nails. She and her husband were recently blessed with twin boys who keep them on their toes. Peggy brings calmness to all situations and always has a sweet story of her beloved mother or mother-in-law to share. When talking to Peggy, you feel like you’re being wrapped in a comfy quilt sipping lemonade on the porch. 

Our eighteenth #rockstar is Mallory Widgren. Mallory held THREE positions this year: Kudos Chair, Judicial Reception Co-Chair, and Table for Eight Chair. To say Mallory has contributed this year would be an understatement. Mallory received her B.A. in legal studies from the University of Central Florida and then her law degree from the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. Mallory graduated in the top ten of her class and served as a senior editor for the Law Review. Not surprisingly she “booked” many classes including torts. Anyone who knows Mallory knows she is a fierce advocate for plaintiffs’ rights and thus it is fitting she is a trial attorney at Paul & Perkins, a personal injury boutique law firm. Mallory is probably the most organized person you will ever meet. She has to be to juggle two positions with responsibilities which spanned the entire year and one highly successful Judicial Reception. In addition to being organized, she’s incredibly creative. Mallory’s influence on CFAWL’s success this year cannot be denied. In addition to being a fierce advocate, organizational icon, and creative genius, she’s a huge GEEK – which she wears proudly – whether it’s Harry Potter, Star Wars, planets, or science fiction, she’s on board with it all!  

Our nineteenth #rockstar is Judicial Reception Co-Chair Fay Pappas. Like her Co-Chair Mallory, Fay is a fierce plaintiffs’ rights advocate. Fay is an accomplished trial lawyer at Bailey Fisher where she focuses on wrongful death, medical malpractice, serious auto accidents, products liability, and nursing home abuse. Fay obtained her undergraduate degree from Rollins College and then her J.D. from the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law. While in law school, Fay was an editor on the Florida Law Review and received the Honorable George C. Carr Memorial Merit Scholarship and the Dunspaugh-Dalton Foundation Merit Scholarship for her academic achievements. In addition to CFAWL, Fay is very active in the Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association and the Florida Justice Association. Fay’s entire life has been about justice and fairness. Not surprisingly, when Fay saw a need during the pandemic she went into action and made things happen. When Fay saw that her brother, a doctor, had to sleep in the garage in order to avoid infecting his family, she went to work to find alternative housing for our first responders. Not surprisingly, Fay got it done – and quickly‼ Fay doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk.

Our twentieth #rockstar is Grande Dame Co-Chair Deborah Cook. Deborah is a second career attorney. Prior to becoming an attorney, she was a Marriage and Family Counselor for thirty years. After raising her children and caring for her aging parents, she went to law school at the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. Presently, she practices at Deborah A. Cook, P.A. where she uses her years of experience in marriage and family counseling to practice family law, probate, and mediation. Deborah is active in the OCBA, the Central Florida Family Law Inn of Court, and the Collaborative Family Law Group of Central Florida. Deborah has been involved in CFAWL from the beginning of her legal career and has held numerous positions. She can absolutely be counted on to get things done! Deborah is also one of those people who instantly brings peace and calmness to a situation. Deborah has a gentle soul, a caring and compassionate heart, and an easy smile. She makes all situations easier and lighter. She is absolutely a blessing to be around!

Our twenty first #rockstar is Grande Dame Chair Valencia Poitier. Valencia is in house counsel at American Integrity-Orlando where she practices insurance defense. Valencia is a HUGE Gator fan having obtained her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in secondary education from the University of Florida. She then obtained her M.B.A. with certificates in finance and marketing from Nova Southeastern University. She obtained her law degree from Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. While in law school, Valencia “booked” Legal Research and Writing II and received the Best Oralist award at the Frederick Douglas Moot Court Competition. She was also a senior editor of the Southern Region of the Black Law Students Association (“SRBLSA”) Law Journal. Prior to civil practice, Valencia was an assistant state attorney and a public defender. Thus, Valencia has extensive trial experience. Valencia is probably the most involved person you will ever meet. She’s an active member of her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha through which she engages in extensive community service. Not a weekend goes by without Valencia having numerous volunteer and mentoring commitments. Valencia is also an adjunct professor at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University School of Law. Additionally, Valencia has become a sought after speaker on human trafficking. Valencia is one of the hardest working women you will ever meet. She is focused, diligent, and tireless. She is a fierce friend and loves her family deeply. She is also a dear mother to her fur baby and no one can tell her you can spoil a dog. That’s just nonsense‼

Our twenty second #rockstar is Holiday Party Co-Chair Kimberly Lorenz. Kimberly is a civil trial lawyer with Davey Law Group, P.A. representing national retail, hospitality, entertainment, and corporate clients, as well as individuals in probate and trust litigation and minor settlements, and small businesses in contract disputes and employment litigation. Kimberly is a proud Double Gator having received her B.S. in journalism and her J.D. from the University of Florida. She has been recognized by Super Lawyers multiple years and has received the 2018 Guardian Ad Litem Award of Excellence from the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association. In addition to being incredibly active in CFAWL and the OCBA, Kimberly serves on the Thornton Park Redevelopment District Board and the Downtown Orlando Partnership. Additionally, Kimberly is active in No Down Side – an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of people with disabilities and their employers by facilitating and encouraging meaningful employment between the two. Kimberly is a no nonsense, straight shooter who works hard and plays hard while being incredibly reliable and loyal. Kimberly is always the life of the party while also being the best listener in the room. Kimberly is a fierce advocate, devoted friend, and staunch advocate for all that is just. Kimberly is absolutely who you want on your side in any battle, whether it be legal or playful, real or imagined. Finally, Kimberly’s high heel collection is to die for‼!

Our twenty third #rockstar is Holiday Party Co-Chair Penelope Perez-Kelly. Penelope is of counsel with Fisher Rushmer where she practices business and commercial litigation, corporate law, international law, and intellectual property and trademarks. Penelope is one of only 51 Florida lawyers board certified in international law. Penelope received her Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Miami and then her J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Penelope was honored in 2011 with the OCBA’s Lawrence G. Mathews, Jr. Young Lawyer Professionalism Award. She is also AV rated and has been recognized by Florida Super Lawyers every year since 2009. Penelope has been incredibly active in the Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida having served as its President in 2007. She currently serves on the Executive Council of The Florida Bar’s International Law Section as well as the International Law Certification Committee. Penelope is a consummate professional and is deliberate and thoughtful with her words. She’s fiercely loyal and loves her friends and family deeply. Penelope would do anything for her loved ones. Penelope shies away from the limelight (unless it’s on the dance floor) and let’s others get the attention. But, you can be confident she will get the job done perfectly whether she gets the credit for it or not. Finally, Penelope is an avid professional basketball fan – do NOT get between her and the NBA! You don’t want to know what happens!

Our twenty fourth #rockstar is Sponsorship Chair and Judicial Relations Committee Liaison Camy Schwam-Wilcox. Camy is the principal attorney at Schwam-Wilcox & Associates where she practices family law as well as criminal defense, bankruptcy, and wills and trusts. Camy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida and then obtained her J.D. from Nova Southeastern University-Shepard Board College of Law. Camy is one of the most involved people you will ever meet. In addition to CFAWL, Camy is very active with Jewish Family Services, Congregation of Reformed Judaism, WOAMTEC, the Seminole County Bar Association, the Orange County Bar Association, the Central Florida Family Law Inn of Court, and the OCBA Family Law Committee, to name a few. Camy has been very active in CFAWL her entire career. Although having held many leadership positions, Camy’s greatest talent is obtaining sponsorships. Camy has an absolute gift for being able to connect people and businesses with the various organizations with which she is affiliated. Because of Camy, CFAWL has been able to keep the cost of its luncheons the same price for many years. In addition to all of the work she does for various organizations, Camy is also the first to start a fundraiser or a food drive when a need arises. Camy is always collecting donation items for one charitable cause or another. Finally, what makes Camy so very special is her unabashed and uncensored love for her family. Camy would do anything for her family and that is evident in all she does. Camy is a devoted daughter, granddaughter, mother, wife, aunt, and cousin. So many are fortunate to have Camy in their lives.

Our twenty fifth #rockstar is Scholarship Chair Nequosha Anderson. Nequosha was the principal of Anderson Law Firm, LLC where she provided in-house counsel to online merchants, tech developers, tech startups, and multimedia companies. She presently serves as Assistant Regional Counsel for the Office of Criminal Conflict & Civil Regional Counsel where she represents indigent clients involved in Department of Children and Families proceeding as well as probate, adoptions, and guardianships. Nequosha received her B.A. in Legal Studies from the University of Central Florida and her J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law. Not surprisingly, during law school, Nequosha received pro bono honors and was President of the Technology Law Club. In her spare time, she co-hosts the “Professional Use Only Podcast.” Nequosha has volunteered her time with CFAWL’s Bar Study Scholarship Committee for years and was the obvious choice to chair this committee. Nequosha is exceptionally organized and made the process of advertising for the scholarship and eventually selecting its recipient seamless and efficient. Nequosha is a valuable member of the leadership team because she speaks her mind with grace, patience, and candor. Additionally, Nequosha’s diverse practice experience gives her keen insight into two very different areas of our profession allowing her to add commentary otherwise missing from our discussions. Finally, Nequosha’s laugh is contagious!

Our twenty sixth and final #rockstar is Women of Distinction Chair Ani Rodriguez-Newbern. Ani works with her mother at Tangel-Rodriguez and Associates representing the Department of Revenue. Ani is a proud ‘Nole having attended Florida State University to study media production and communications. After college, Ani worked in television and radio before deciding to go to law school. Ani obtained her J.D. from Barry University School of Law. After becoming a member of the Bar, Ani immediately took the profession by storm. Ani is very active in the Orange County Bar Association having recently chaired its Law Day 5k, the OCBA Foundation having served as its President, the Legal Aid Society serving on its Board of Trustees, the Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida having served as President in 2017-2018 (her parents are two of the seven founding members), and Class VII of The Florida Bar Leadership Academy. Ani is so awesome her beloved sorority Delta Zeta recently honored her as one of its 35 Under 35. Many organizations have benefited from Ani’s immeasurable talents: creativity, organization, positive attitude, motivation, and boundless energy. It is because of these traits Ani was tasked with establishing CFAWL’s first ever Women of Distinction Awards to honor women in the law: attorneys, judges, educators, law enforcement officers, and civil servants. Unfortunately, the pandemic resulted in CFAWL having to cancel its Women of Distinction Awards Gala. Nevertheless, what Ani had created was sure to be exceptional. Ani is a super star‼!

CFAWL 2020 Scholarship Winner

CFAWL is pleased to announce the 2020 $1,000 Bar Study Scholarship winner, Kenisha R. Morgan. Kenisha attends Florida A&M University College of Law. She is currently active in the Women’s Law Caucus, National Lawyers Guild, Phi Alpha Delta, and the Young Lawyers Section of the Orange County Bar Association. Congratulations, Kenisha!”

GAL/FAWL Recognition

Congratulations to Thomasina Moore and the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation for being honored with the Productivity Award for efficiency in government by Florida TaxWatch for the second year in a row! The partnership between Guardian ad Litem and FAWL in Love with GAL continues to be a success! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to GAL and FAWL. We are extremely proud!!

CFAWL President Featured on Open Ninth

Open Ninth’s newest guest is none other than Jamie Billotte Moses!  Head over to https://www.ninthcircuit.org/openninth/forging-future-female-lawyers or your favorite podcast streaming service to listen in as Jamie talks about her life’s journey, her experience as a female lawyer, and her future plans for CFAWL.

Congratulations to All FAWL Chapter Incoming Presidents!


Congratulations to the incoming 2019-2020 Board of Directors and Leadership Team!

Board of Directors

  • President – Jamie Billotte Moses
  • President – elect – Mary Walter
  • Treasurer – Lauren Millcarek
  • Treasurer – elect – Amanda Sampaio Bova
  • Secretary – Wynne McFarlin
  • Past President – Arti Hirani
  • Membership – Erica Cipparone
  • Programs – Kathleen Shea
  • Co-Programs – Marina Ellis
  • FAWL Rep – Heather Meglino
  • OCBA Rep – Tina Leger
  • PR – Jessica Thomas
  • Co-PR – Lisa Bedwell
  • Young Lawyer Rep – Jessica de la Cruz
  • Director at Large – Traci Deen
  • Director at Large – Lorraine Pitre
  • Judicial Liaison – The Honorable Tanya Wilson

Leadership Team

  • Angel Tree Project Chair – Wynne McFarlin
  • Awards Chair – Peggy Smith Bush
  • Backpack Project Chair – Amanda Sampaio Bova
  • Grand Dame Event Co-Chairs – Deborah Cook and Valencia Poitier
  • Holiday Party Chair – Kimberly Lorenz and Penelope Perez Kelly
  • Judicial Reception Co-Chairs – Mallory Widgren and Fay Pappas
  • Kudos Chair – Mallory Widgren
  • Luncheon Sponsors/JRC Liaison – Camy Schwam-Wilcox
  • Scholarship Chair – Nequosha Anderson
  • Table for Eight Coordinator – Mallory Widgren
  • Women of Distinction Gala Chair – Ani Rodriguez Newbern

CFAWL Leadership

Congratulations to newly installed members of the 2019-20 OCBA Executive Board, the OCBA Legal Aid Society Board of Trustees, and the OCBA YLS Executive Board. #bossbabes #mytriberocks#vegastribe#halftribe #girlsrule @artihirani @hmeglino — with Arti Hirani and Heather Meglino in Orlando, Florida.

Congrats to Celeste Thacker!

On December 12, 2018 Celeste was FAWL’s featured #LeaderintheLaw. Celeste is in-house counsel for The Villages. Celeste is (takes deep breath) a board member of Foundation for Foster Children, former The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Law Student DivisionPresident, Membership Co-Director for CFAWL – Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, and member of Orange County Bar Association, Osceola County Kissimmee Chapter of Young Professionals, Silver Spurs Club, Support our Scholars, and Orlando Health Young Philanthropist. Great job Celeste!

FAWL Highlights One of Our Own!

This week, FAWL highlighted #LeaderintheLaw Jessica Thomas, of Thomas Law Firm, PLLC, who practices family and dependency law in Central Florida. Not only is Jessica a passionate advocate in the courtroom, she also gives back to her community by serving on the Board of Directors for the Central Florida Women’s Resource Center, being an active member of CFAWL – Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, and volunteering with the Children’s Home Society of Florida. #Firedup4FAWL#WomenWednesday

Congratulations to the Hispanic Bar Board!

These phenomenal, professional, intelligent and strong women were installed as the 2019 Board for the Hispanic Bar Association Of Central Florida on November 30th! Congratulations to Maytel Bonham, Christina Alvarez, Natalie Quinonez, Camila Pachon Silva, Ani Rodriguez-Newbern, Andrea Ortiz, Laura Maria GutierrezEsquire and Sandra Kay Davila Artreche.

Congrats to Lauren Millcarek, FBA Chapter President

Congrats to our very own Lauren Millcarek, who was just sworn in as the youngest Federal Bar Association, Orlando Chapter president in history, and is one of only six women presidents in nearly 50 years. #runtheworld #girls #FBAorlando

Thanks to Our Great Judicial Reception Sponsors!

You guys – you rock.

FAWL Features One of Our Own

Congratulations to Heather Meglino for being named FAWL’s next #LeaderintheLaw! Heather Meglino is founder of Heather Meglino, where she practices business and employment law and serves as in-house counsel for several companies. Heather is a Barry University College of Law alum, CFAWL – Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers Board member, an Orange County Bar Association Young Lawyers Board member, AND USF Alumni Association, Orange County Board. Heather also devotes time to the civic community as a Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish America. That’s how you get it done Heather! #WomenWednesday#Firedup4FAWL

A Place for Children

#CFAWL’s charity auction raised TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS for A Place for Children, the free daycare center in the Orange County Courthouse (Orlando, Florida)! Last week, our Immediate Past President Kimberly Hosley presented the check to their thrilled reps – AND made the awesome announcement that a portion of the donation will go to refurbishing their nursing room! 

$10,000 will go a long way toward ensuring that no child has to be burdened with witnessing litigation involving their parents, that attorneys who need last-minute childcare have extra support if they need it, and that nursing litigators have a convenient place to pump and store milk when they’re not killing it in the courtroom.

HUGE thanks to everyone who came to the auction and donated to support this awesome cause!

(Psst…does YOUR local courthouse need a nursing room? Florida Association for Women Lawyers has a handbook for that )
CC: Orlando Day Nursery; The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division

Kudos to Former CFAWL Member Karen Scanlon!

Congratulations to CFAWL alumni Karen Scanlon, Esq. for her diligent commitment to helping to educate the Florida Legislature about the needs of military spouses. As reported in Florida Bar News, the Florida Bar’s proposed rule to allow lawyer-spouses of military personnel stationed in Florida to practice law cleared Supreme Court muster on July 19, 2018.

Karen (who currently heads the national Military Spouse JD Network, a bar association for lawyers married to service members), said the rule approval is especially significant. Florida has several military bases from Key West to Pensacola, is home to around 55,000 service members. “The Bar has been amazing in its support of this initiative, keeping the dialogue open between their efforts and our efforts.”

Congratulations to the 2018 Board and Leadership Team

President Arti Ajit Hirani
President-Elect Jamie Billotte Moses
Secretary Heather Meglino
Treasurer Mary Walter Ingram
Treasurer-Elect Celeste Thacker
Membership Director Heather Kolinsky
Co-Membership Director Camy B. Schwam-Wilcox
Programs Director Kayla Mudge
Co-Programs Director CJ Bosco
Public Relations Director Lauren Millcarek
Co-Public Relations Director Lisa Smith Bedwell
Young Lawyers Director Kathleen Shea
Co-Young Lawyers Director Erica Cipparone
FAWL Representative Lorraine Pitre
OCBA Representative Charity Tonelli
Director at Large Suzanne Gilbert
Immediate Past President Kimberly Hosley
Judicial Liaison Hon. Bob Leblanc
Annual Members Reception Tara Tedrow
Backpack Project Amanda Sampaio
Annual Spring Fundraiser Anne Marie Williams/ Deborah Cook
Judicial Reception Marina Ellis/Kathleen Shea
Table for Eight Coordinator Janki Thakkar
Development Chair Bill Umanksy
Holiday Party Melissa Vickers
Angel Tree Project Brian Lawrence
Scholarship Committee Chair Jessica Thomas
CFAWL Awards and Kudos Chair Andrew Roy
Diversity and Inclusion Chair Melody Lynch
Programs Chair Aid Melissa Vickers
Outreach Chair Hon. Faye Allen