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Meet Our 2021 Summit Speakers

Monday, August 9th

Judy Mares-Dixon: 
Addressing Equity through an Ableism Lens

Judy Mares-Dixon, M.A., owner of Mares-Dixon & Associates, former Partner with CDR Associates, has worked in the conflict resolution field since 1986 as a trainer, mediator, coach, facilitator, consultant, and dispute resolution systems designer in the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.  She mediates disputes involving collective bargaining agreements, sexual harassment complaints, ADA complaints, other EEO complaints, grievances, interdepartmental conflicts, organizational conflicts, conflicts between parent organizations and their subsidiaries, conflicts involving cross-cultural issues, community and public policy disputes.

Ms. Mares-Dixon has applied alternative dispute resolution procedures in the private and public sectors at the local, state, and federal levels.  Ms. Mares-Dixon has trained human resource personnel, union officials, managers, lawyers, advocates, social service personnel, educators, law enforcement personnel, community organizers, and medical professionals in mediation, negotiation, coaching, facilitation, resolving cross-cultural issues and dispute resolution system design.

Her clients include:  United Airlines, National Institute of Health, The Department of the Interior, The US Army Corps. Of Engineers, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, New Zealand Employment Tribunal, Fletcher Building, Fletcher Forest, Levi Straus and Co, Ohio Supreme Court, Oklahoma State Courts, Denver Public Schools, and the Department of Justice.

Ms. Mares-Dixon holds a Master’s Degree in Social and Multicultural Education from the University of Colorado (1985) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Colorado (1977).

Tuesday, August 10th

General Counsel Roundtable

Chalyse Robinson

David Fine

Natalie Hanlon Leh

Michelle Lucero

As a highly regarded and seasoned practitioner, Chalyse Robinson guides public and private companies and private equity sponsors through all aspects of their debt financing transactions. Ms. Robinson has built a distinguished practice over the years, with a broad range of experience representing national and international companies and private equity funds active across a diverse range of industries, including energy and natural resources, oil and gas, mining, financial services, technology, entertainment, retail, healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing and real estate. With her invaluable practice experience and wide industry knowledge, Ms. Robinson is able to provide comprehensive and exceptional service for her clients. 

Ms. Robinson’s experience includes acquisition financings, particularly for private equity sponsors, handling credit facilities for other public and private companies and financings for investment grade and non-investment grade issuers, as well as handling asset and reserve-based lending transactions. In addition, she structures, negotiates and closes US and cross-border secured and unsecured debt financing transactions, including leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, asset-based financing, venture capital, and mezzanine and subordinated debt financings. She has also counseled clients on other corporate-related matters, including compliance, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and commercial transactions.

Ms. Robinson is a member of the American Bar Association, Colorado Bar Association and New York Bar Association. She was recently appointed to Law360’s Private Equity Editorial Advisory Board.

Before joining WilmerHale, Ms. Robinson was a partner at another large international law firm, splitting her time between Colorado and New York to represent clients in various bank financing transactions. Previously, she was a business and corporate finance lawyer with another law firm in Denver, CO and an associate focusing on capital markets at a firm in London, UK.

Before becoming General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Trustees at MSU Denver, David Fine was a partner at the international law firm of Holland & Knight specializing in several areas of law, including higher-education law. He also served as the Denver City Attorney under Mayor John Hickenlooper from 2007-11. 

Fine has been listed in Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers and 5280 Top Lawyers on multiple occasions. He serves on the boards of the Florence Crittendon Services and the Urban Land Conservancy, where he is Board Secretary.  Fine also served on the MSU Denver Foundation board.

Fine is a fourth-generation Coloradan and a proud graduate of Denver Public Schools. He received his Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Wisconsin and his Juris Doctor from the Northwestern University School of Law.

Natalie Hanlon Leh serves as the Chief Deputy Attorney General for the State of Colorado.  Natalie oversees the litigation for the State and the legal counsel to all state executive and judicial agencies.  She coordinates legal policy and acts as the intergovernmental liaison on behalf of Attorney General Phil Weiser and the Colorado Department of Law.

Natalie worked for over 20 years in private practice – most recently serving as the Partner in Charge of WilmerHale’s Denver office.  Natalie also served as national Intellectual Property Practice Group Leader and as Office Leader for Faegre Baker Daniels’ Denver office.  Before private practice, Natalie served as a staff attorney in the Family and Children’s Unit of the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Denver and as a law clerk for the Honorable John Porfilio of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Natalie is the immediate past Chair of the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado. She served as the President of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, President of the Faculty of Federal Advocates, and as Chair of the Colorado Bar Association’s IP Section.  Natalie helped start the District of Colorado’s Civil Pro Bono Panel, and served as Chair of the District of Colorado’s Standing Committee for Pro Se Litigation.  Since 2004, she has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado School of Law, where she teaches patent litigation.

Natalie’s family hails from Holyoke, Colorado, and she grew up in Centennial. She graduated from Harvard Law School and from the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she was a Boettcher Scholar and a member of the President’s Leadership Class.

Michelle Lucero is the Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel of Children’s Hospital Colorado.  Hailing from Ignaciao, Colorado, Michelle has always stayed true to her southern Colorado roots, and is driven to improve the lives of all Colorado communities

She currently serves on six boards/councils, including Boettcher Foundation and Vectra Bank, reaching a broad number of people across Colorado. She also previously served as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Metropolitan State University of Denver, was named to the Denver Chamber of Commerce Leadership Foundation Board for a six-year period. As a lawyer, Michelle brings that rare, but so valued, ability to look beyond the legal answer when asked a question and offer insights into the broader operational, people and long-term implications of every decision.

As Jena Hausmann, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital said, “[Michelle] has been instrumental in leading the way on how the legal and risk professions should be redesigned within the healthcare industry, literally saving countless of lives.”

Michelle serves as the pro-bono Chief Legal Officer and Strategist for the Papua New Guinea Tribal Foundation. In this capacity she is working to combat gender-based violence, bring medical supplies to villages in need, improving pediatric wards, training health administrators, and supporting organizations that work with children born with HIV/AIDS. Michelle has established scholarships in her mother’s name, Phyllis E. Lucero, at both the University of Colorado Law School and Metropolitan State University of Denver for women and Latinas. She also provides scholarships annually for Latinas through the Latinas First Foundation.

Wednesday, August 11th

Michelle Johnson:

Intergenerational Trauma and Its Impact Today

Michelle Johnson is the founder of Skill in Action; she is a social justice warrior, author, dismantling racism trainer, empath, yoga teacher and practitioner, and an intuitive healer. With over 20 years of experience leading dismantling racism work and working with clients as a licensed clinical social worker, Michelle has a deep understanding of how trauma impacts the mind, body, spirit, and heart. Her awareness of the world through her own experience as a Black woman allows her to know, first-hand, how privilege and power operate.

Michelle holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from the College of William and Mary and a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has worked in several non-profits and served as an elected official and on many non-profit boards of directors. Michelle has led Dismantling Racism Trainings with large corporations, small non-profits, and community groups, including the ACLU-WA, Duke University, Google, This American Life, The Center for Equity and Inclusion, Eno River Unitarian Universalist Church, Lululemon, and many others. She published Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World in 2017, and her new book Finding Refuge: Heart Work for Healing Collective Grief was released in July 2021. Michelle teaches workshops in yoga studios and community spaces nationwide and is on the faculty of Off the Mat, Into the World. She was a Tedx speaker at Wake Forest University in 2019, and she has been interviewed on several podcasts in which she explores the premise and foundation of Skill in Action, along with creating ritual in justice spaces, our divine connection with nature and Spirit, and how we as a culture can heal. Recently, she created her own podcast, Finding Refuge, which explores collective grief and liberation and serves as a reminder about all the ways we can find refuge during unsettling and uncertain times and of the resilience and joy that comes from allowing ourselves to find refuge.

Michelle leads courageously from the heart with compassion and a commitment to address the heartbreak dominant culture causes for many because of the harm it creates. She inspires change that allows people to stand in their humanity and wholeness in a world that fragments most of us. Whether in an anti-oppression training, yoga space, individual or group intuitive healing session, the heart, healing and wholeness are at the center of how Michelle approaches all of her work in the world. There are myriad of ways to work with Michelle, and she hopes to support you on your healing journey and path towards wholeness in whatever capacity allows you to live your fullest life.

Thursday, August 12th

Matt Bodnar: 

Research Reveals the Vital Importance of Changing Your Mind

Matt Bodnar, named to “Forbes 30 Under 30” and partner in multiple “Inc Fastest Growing Companies,” is a deal maker and strategy expert who has scaled businesses across multiple industries. Bodnar is Chairman of Fresh Technology, Cofounder & Managing Partner of Fresh Capital, and Managing Partner of Fresh Holdings. Bodnar has a deep expertise in acquisitions from more than a decade investing with his family office Bodnar Investment Group. He is also the Creator and Host of The Science of Success Podcast with more than 5mm downloads. Bodnar previously worked as a consultant in Nanjing, China and spent several years at Goldman Sachs.

Friday, August 13th

Keynote Speaker
Professor Eli Wald:

Equity in the Wake of 2020

Eli Wald is the Charles W. Delaney Jr. Professor of Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. A legal ethics and legal profession scholar, Wald has written on topics such as increased lawyer mobility, conflict of interests and attorney disqualification, lawyers' fiduciary duties to clients, the nationalization and globalization of law practice, the challenges facing lawyers representing clients in the emerging marijuana industry and, most recently, in-house lawyers. Professor Wald is a co-author of a leading casebook on the law governing lawyers. His work has appeared in leading journals such as the Fordham, Stanford, University of Colorado and Wisconsin law reviews, and the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. Wald’s articles have been cited in ABA ethics opinions and excerpted in legal ethics casebooks.

Professor Wald's ongoing research into the causes and manifestations of explicit prejudice and implicit bias at large law firms and in-house legal departments, as well as means of overcoming discrimination, has gained national attention. His scholarship examines the structure and organization of law firms and in-house departments as well as the professional and personal identities of their lawyers to better understand the hiring and promotion patterns of law firms, and the lingering under-representation of minorities in positions of power and influence. Wald's articles have explored the rise and fall of WASP and Jewish law firms, the role of kinship and nepotism in law firms' promotion decisions, the discriminatory consequences of professional ideology, and implicit bias and structural discrimination in BigLaw and in-house legal departments.

Wald is a member of the Colorado Supreme Court Standing Committee on the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, a member of the Colorado State Bar Association's Ethics Committee and a member of the Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board. A past member of the executive committee of the Association of American Law Schools' Professional Responsibility Section, and a longtime co-editor of the Legal Profession Section of JOTWELL – The Journal of Things We Like (Lots), Professor Wald is an expert witness in legal ethics and malpractice matters, and a frequent legal ethics CLE instructor. At the law school, his accomplishments include winning the best faculty advisor award, and being named a Chu Family Faculty Fellow and the Hughes-Ruud Research Professor.

Professor Wald is an enthusiastic supporter of the performing arts. A former board member of Wonderbound, a leading Colorado modern dance company, he serves on the board of Friends of Chamber Music Denver.

Prior to joining the Sturm College of Law, Professor Wald was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City. He holds S.J.D. and LL.M. degrees from Harvard Law School, where he was a John Olin Fellow in Law and Economics, a Fellow at the Center for Ethics and the Professions, and a Clark Byse Fellow. Wald also earned LL.B. and B.A. degrees from Tel-Aviv University, where he was a law review editor and a Visiting Fellow at the Max Plunk Institutes in Hamburg and Heidelberg, Germany.


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