Zoomin’ in On

Zoomin’ in On: Alumni/ae Spotlight Series

Our new Zoomin’ in On series features an amazing graduate in a virtual conversation with Mielle Marquis, Northeastern Law’s director of external relations.

Recent Guests

Friday, June 25, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Zoomin’ in on
Celebrating Pride Month

Elyse Cherry
CEO, BlueHub Capital; President, Boston Community Venture Fund, Aura Mortgage Advisors and NSP Residential

Since 1997, Elyse Cherry has served as the CEO of BlueHub Capital, a national nonprofit community finance organization with a 35-year history of building healthy communities where low-income people live and work. Under Cherry’s leadership, BlueHub has invested over $2.2 billion, leveraged an additional $10 billion, and built a national tax credit practice to: finance affordable housing, health centers, schools, and other community facilities; provide foreclosure relief through the creation of a mortgage lender aimed at stabilizing urban neighborhoods; create jobs; benchmark and drive down energy and utility costs; and promote resiliency.

Cherry is a former partner at the law firm of Hale and Dorr (now WilmerHale) where her national transactional practice focused on multi-family and commercial real estate finance and development, affordable housing, and open space preservation.

An active civic and business leader, Cherry is a member of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees, the Board of Advisors of Eastern Bank, and Chair of the Board of the Forsyth Institute. She is also on the Board of Directors of The Boston Foundation, where she co-chairs the Advisory Committee for The Equality Fund -- a fund supporting greater Boston nonprofits that strengthen the LGBTQ community.

Cherry has been named one of 50 most influential Bostonians by the Boston Business Journal, one of the Top 100 LGBT Executives in the world by the Financial Times and OUTstanding, and one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’s eNews.  In 2014, The White House named Cherry a Solar Champion of Change. She received Wellesley’s Alumnae Achievement Award in 2017, and she received the Susan M. Love Award from Fenway Health in 2014. For the past seven years, The Boston Globe and The Commonwealth Institute have included BlueHub Capital as one of the Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts.

Cherry is a frequent speaker and panelist at national gatherings, and has been cited and published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Boston Globe, among others. She has been featured on CBS Evening News, NPR’s Marketplace, PBS NewsHour and MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes.

Cherry is a former or present member of more than a dozen privately held company boards, including Zipcar. She chaired the Massachusetts Cultural Council, served on Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s statewide transition team and was a member of Governor Patrick’s Foreclosure Impacts Task Force. Cherry also chaired the Board of Mass Equality during that organization’s historic fight for marriage equality.

Cherry, an attorney, graduated from Wellesley College and Northeastern University School of Law.

Friday, August 14, 2020 | 11:00 AM
Zoomin’ in on
Breaking Down Barriers

State Representative Tram Nguyen represents the 18th Essex District, which includes parts of Andover, Boxford, North Andover and Tewksbury. She is a first-generation Vietnamese American immigrant and was the first person in her family to attend college and law school. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a JD from Northeastern University School of Law. From the start of her legal career until she took office, Nguyen worked at Greater Boston Legal Services as a legal aid attorney and advocated for domestic violence survivors, workers, seniors, veterans and children. She also engaged in legislative advocacy and worked with statewide coalitions, lawmakers and lawmaking bodies to push for laws that address issues of racial and economic justice and protect the rights of the most vulnerable populations. Nguyen was elected to office in November 2018 and is the first Vietnamese American woman to serve in the Massachusetts Legislature. Among her many honors are the Lawrence Bar Association Merit Award, the Vietnamese American Bar Association Public Service Award, the Reginald Heber Smith Award for innovation and excellence in legal advocacy and the United Auto Workers Social Justice Award.

Thursday, July 9, 2020 | 11:00 AM 
Zoomin’ in on
Celebrating Recent LGBTQ Victories and Looking Ahead

MARY BONAUTO has served as the Civil Rights Project Director at GLAD since 1990. She has litigated in the state and federal courts of New England on discrimination issues, parental rights, free speech and religious liberty, and relationship recognition. In 2015 she successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the historic case Obergefell v. Hodges, establishing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide.

Mary and two Vermont co-counsel won a 1999 ruling in Baker v. State of Vermont which led to the nation’s first civil union law.  She was lead counsel in the groundbreaking case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which made Massachusetts the first state where same-sex couples could legally marry in 2004. She was also co-counsel in Kerrigan v. Department of Public Health, in which the Connecticut Supreme Court also ruled for marriage; advocated in state legislatures for marriage; and served on the Executive Committee of the 2009 and 2012 Maine ballot campaigns.

Mary led GLAD’s federal court challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in Gill v. OPM and Pedersen v. OPM, leading to the first federal court rulings against DOMA, and then coordinated amici briefs for the Windsor case at the Supreme Court.  As a member of the legal team in the Michigan marriage case DeBoer v. Snyder, she became the Supreme Court oralist on behalf of the plaintiffs in Obergefell. 

Mary’s work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2014 MacArthur Fellowship.  She is the Shikes Fellow in Civil Liberties and Civil Rights and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, serves on an advisory board for the American Constitution Society and has also served as co-chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities.

Friday, June 26, 2020 | 11:00 AM
Zoomin' in on
Advocating for Women and People of Color Amidst the COVID Crisis

>> View on YouTube

Betty Francisco ’98 joined Compass Working Capital as general counsel in November 2017. In this role, she serves as the organization’s chief legal advisor, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization’s legal affairs. She also supports the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion work.  As an attorney, she has over 17 years of experience advising health clubs, life sciences, and technology companies in the areas of legal, compliance, risk management, operations, and human resources. An entrepreneur, business executive, attorney and community leader, Franicisco is known as a powerful convener and changemaker, unapologetic about creating visibility for Latinx and people of color. In 2018, Boston Magazine named her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Boston and GetKonnected honored her to the GK100: Greater Boston’s Most Influential People of Color list.

Friday, May 19, 2020
Zoomin’ in on
Leading in Times of Crisis

Leocadia Zak serves as the ninth president of Agnes Scott College in July 2018. A treasurer of the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE), Zak ie is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta and the SunTrust Atlanta Advisory Council. She serves on the Metro Atlanta Chamber Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advisory Board (IEAB) and is a trustee of Global Communities: Partners for Good, an international non-profit organization.

With an extensive background in international economic development and international project finance, in 2010 Zak was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. USTDA is an independent federal agency that advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. She first joined the agency in 2000, and prior to her appointment as director, she served as general counsel, deputy director and acting director under the Bush and Obama administrations.

Zak’s accomplishments during her time at USTDA are many: she led the development of the Aviation Cooperation Programs in China, India and Brazil; the Energy Cooperation Programs in China and India; and the Smart Cities Initiative in India. She also created the worldwide Global Procurement Initiative. She testified before Congress on behalf of the Agency’s programs; served as principal in bilateral dialogues along with the Secretaries of State, Treasury, Commerce and Agriculture as well as accompanied President Obama on foreign trips, met with heads of state and other senior government officials and business leaders around the world and regularly served as a keynote speaker at domestic and international events. But, the accomplishment that means the most to her is the USTDA’s recognition, for five consecutive years, as one of the “Best Places to Work” in the federal government, as measured by the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

Before joining the public sector, Zak spent 18 years at the Boston law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, which she joined as an associate in 1982. At the firm, she practiced in the area of international and domestic project finance, becoming a partner in 1990.

Zak has taught international project finance as an adjunct faculty member at the Georgetown University Law Center and the Boston University School of Law, including team-teaching with her husband, Kenneth Hansen, a partner in the Washington, DC, office of the international law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright.

Friday, June 12, 2020 | 11:00 AM
Zoomin' in on
Championing Civil RIghts

Noell is the founder and managing partner of Tin, Fulton, Walker and Owen, one of North Carolina’s leading law firms. Since its founding in 2002, the firm has grown to twelve attorneys with offices in Charlotte, Chapel Hill and Raleigh. Noell's practice is criminal and regulatory. He has represented clients in over 40 North Carolina counties and the three federal districts in North Carolina, as well as federal courts in New York, Florida, Virginia and South Carolina. He has successfully defended clients in state and federal jury trials and secured impressive victories in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Noell has also successfully petitioned the United States Supreme Court and obtained summary reversals of lower court decisions three times.

Noell’s cases—have attracted media coverage by The Charlotte ObserverThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, ABC News’ 20/20 and CBS’ Sixty Minutes.

In addition to trial work, a significant portion of Noell’s practice involves representing people and businesses implicated in “white collar” regulatory and criminal investigations involving securities, health care and banking.

Noell has been recognized by numerous associations including Best Lawyers in America in the areas of white collar and non-white collar criminal defense. He is also a fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, an honorary society for trial lawyers.

Noell has served on two Merit Selection Committees responsible for selecting finalists for United States Magistrate Judge positions in the Western District of North Carolina.

Friday, June 5, 2020 | 11:00 AM
Zoomin' in on

Director, Racial Justice Program, American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts

On Friday, June 5, Rahsaan Hall '98, director of the Racial Justice Program for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts, joined Mielle Marquis over Zoom to talk about recent events and delve into issues that impact communities of color.

Rahsaan Hall ’98 is the director of the Racial Justice Program for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. In this role Rahsaan helps develop the ACLU of Massachusetts’ integrated advocacy approach to address racial justice issues. Through legislative advocacy, litigation and community engagement, the program works on issues that deeply impact communities of color and historically disenfranchised communities. Rahsaan also manages the ACLU of Massachusetts' What a Difference a DA Makes campaign to educate state residents about the power and influence of district attorneys.

Prior to joining the ACLU of Massachusetts, Rahsaan was the deputy director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice where his work included policy and legislative advocacy, community outreach, and maintaining a litigation caseload of voting rights, police misconduct and public accommodations cases. Rahsaan headed up the Voting Rights Project that included the coordination of the statewide Election Protection initiatives, voting rights litigation and his prior involvement in community coalitions on redistricting after the last decennial census.

He also served as an Assistant District Attorney for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. A significant portion of his work in the DA’s Office included his time in the Safe Neighborhood Initiative and Senior Trial Units where he prosecuted drug, gang and homicide cases.

In addition to leading the ACLU of Massachusetts’ Racial Justice Program, Hall also serves on the Hyams Foundation’s board of trustees and is a member of the Massachusetts IOLTA Committee. He is an ordained reverend in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Friday, May 15, 2020 | 11:15 a.m. (ET)
Zoomin' in on
Lessons in Leadership

William “Mo” Cowan ’94, President, Global Government Affairs and Policy and Developed Markets for General Electric (GE), shares his Lessons in Leadership...

US Senator William “Mo" Cowan ’94 (retired) is President, Global Government Affairs and Policy and Developed Markets for General Electric (GE), responsible for directing the company’s government relations and public policy engagement in the United States and around the world. Mo also leads the Global Growth Organizational national executive teams in Europe and Canada. Mo previously served as Vice President, Litigation and Legal Policy for the Company, overseeing litigation, enforcement proceedings, investigations and compliance globally. Before joining GE, Mo held leadership roles (President and CEO, May 2016-March 2017; SVP and COO, November 2013-April 2016) with ML Strategies, a leading government relations and consulting firm, and the law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo. Mo also served as a Fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics for the Fall semester of 2013.

On January 30, 2013, Governor Deval L. Patrick appointed Mo to serve as interim United States Senator upon the resignation of John F. Kerry. During his Senate term, Mo served on the Senate Agriculture, Commerce, and Small Business Committees, and co-chaired the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Food and Agricultural Research (Commerce Committee). Senator Cowan concluded his Senate service on July 16, 2013.

Prior to his Senate appointment, Mo served Governor Patrick in a variety of leadership positions, including Chief Legal Counsel, Chief of Staff, and Senior Advisor. As Chief of Staff, Mo directed strategic planning, investment and operations, including oversight of the state’s multi-billion dollar, annual budgeting process. As chief strategist and crisis manager to the Governor, Mo advised on all domestic and international affairs, intergovernmental relations and gubernatorial appointments and administered all management and personnel functions within the Governor’s office.

Mo is a graduate of Duke University and Northeastern University School of Law. He holds honorary degrees from Georgetown University, Newbury College, and Bridgewater State University.

Mo is a member of the US Association of Former Members of Congress. He also serves on the governance boards of: Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, Partners Healthcare, Massachusetts General Hospital, Eastern Bank Corporation, Duke University (Trinity College) Board of Visitors, Northeastern University, and Greater Boston YMCA Board of Overseers.

Friday, May 8, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. (ET) 

Zoomin' in on
Author Talk: Passage West

Award-winning author Rishi Reddi '92 spoke with Mielle Marquis, Northeastern Law's director of external relations, on Friday, May 8, 2020. Reddi has just published her first novel, Passage West, which follows a family of Indian sharecroppers at the onset of World War I, revealing a little-known part of California history.

Rishi Reddi '92 is the author of two books of fiction, Karma and Other Stories, and her latest book, Passage West. Karma and Other Stories was the winner of the 2008 PEN New England / L.L. Winship prize for fiction. Stories from that collection were published in Best American Short Stories, broadcast on National Public Radio, performed at New York City’s Symphony Space, received honorable mention for the Pushcart Prize and chosen for the Boston Book Festival’s “One City, One Story” community read.

Rishi’s debut novel, Passage West, has been recommended by The BustleBook RiotMs. Magazine and The Millions. A sweeping saga set in rural California at the onset of World War I, it relates the story of a Punjabi family, their Mexican in-laws and their Japanese neighbors during an era of tightening immigration laws.

Rishi was born in Hyderabad, India, and lived in Great Britain and several regions of the United States before attending Swarthmore College and Northeastern University School of Law. She has worked as an environmental lawyer for state and federal government for more than twenty-five years and served on the boards of Grub Street, Boston’s creative writing center, and SAALT, a national nonpartisan organization that represents the South Asian-American community. She has also served as the Massachusetts legislative liaison for Amnesty International USA. Her essays and translations have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Asian American Literary Review and the Partisan Review and she has received grants and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the US Department of State and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Friday, May 1, 2020
Career Coaching in View of COVID-19

On Friday, May 1, Mielle was joined by long-time attorney career counselor Kathy Morris '75. Kathy spoke about Career Coaching in View of COVID-19 and shared her career advice for Northeastern Law graduates and students.

Kathy Morris is an attorney counselor and founder of Under Advisement, a premier career advisory service for lawyers, based in Chicago and operating nationwide via technology.  She graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1975 and from the University of Michigan in 1971. She has tried cases in courtrooms from Hawaii to Massachusetts. In 1985, she was asked to serve as the director of placement and career counseling for Northwestern University School of Law where she was a member of the teaching faculty, and has since gained decades of experience guiding law schools, law students, lawyers, law firms and other legal employers.

In addition, Morris pioneered in-house lawyer training and career development initiatives at the national law firms of Katten Muchin & Zavis (now Katten Muchin Rosenman), Gardner, Carton & Douglas (now Faegre Drinker) and Sidley Austin. She also launched the Chicago Law Firm Training Consortium and was a charter board member of the national Professional Development Consortium.

In 1996, the American Bar Association selected Morris to head its Continuing Legal Education Center to maximize the technological delivery of programming. In 2000, she created and directed the Career Resource Center of the ABA and authored three ABA career manuals for lawyers. In 2015, she was selected to chair the board of the ABA’s then-new, then-named Legal Career Central.

Morris' monthly advice column, “Career Question,” ran in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin for over fifteen years. She has been the sole featured career counselor of the Chicago Bar Association’s multi-faceted Career Advancement Program since 2013 and, in 2019, was invited into the membership of the prestigious Forbes Coaches Council.

Having expanded the reach of Under Advisement adding video counseling to the array of available options, Morris makes job search advice, career counseling and consulting services for individuals, law firms, legal departments and law schools accessible, affordable and effective. She is a frequent speaker, author and served on the advisory board of Northeastern Law's Women in the Law Conference. 

Follow Morris on Twitter @LawyerCounselor and view her newest offering, Just A Minute!, a one-minute video answering professional development and legal job search questions. She can be reached via underadvisement.com or Kathy@underadvisement.com.

Friday, April 24, 2020
How Can We Think of Art at a Time Like This?

Award-winning journalist and art critic Barbara Pollack '82 joined Mielle Marquis, Northeastern Law's director of external relations, on Friday, April 24,  to talk about her her career path and her new online exhibition, How Can We Think of Art at a Time Like Thiswhich has provided artists with a platform for the exchange of ideas at this time of crisis.  

Barbara Pollack has been writing on art since 1994, often addressing the situation for artists in repressive regimes from a global perspective, particularly China. She is the author of many essays and books including most recently Brand New Art from China: A Generation on the Rise, published in 2018.

Pollack has regularly curated shows, starting with a 1996 show staged in her home titled My Friends in My Apartment and a one-day exhibition in 2001 at a local schoolyard, Yard Sale, with the cooperation of Simon Watson. In recent years, she has curated shows at the Tampa Museums of Art, Orange County Museum of Art, the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai and the Yuz Museum, also in Shanghai.

In 2022, Pollack will present Mirror Image: Changing Chinese Identity at the Asia Society Museum in New York. She is a professor at the School of Visual Art.

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