We've gathered a variety of champions for women

We’ve assembled a group of women leaders who have dreamed big, challenged assumptions, and achieved extraordinary results. These women are strong-minded, articulate, positive influences in their fields who not only fight for what is right but are fighting for women leaders around the world. Our upcoming conference will feature the expertise, strength, and integrity of the following leaders at our June 26-28 leadership institute hosted by the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University.


Kay Chopard Cohen, J.D.

Ms. Kay Chopard is the founder of the Women’s Leadership Institute and is also the President and CEO of Chopard Consulting based in Northern Virginia. Ms. Chopard has more than 35 years’ experience in executive leadership in business and nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C.  She has a reputation as a transformative leader who has led organizations through launch, transition, and sustainability to deliver aggressive results.  She is committed to achieving success through courageous management practices by leveraging organizational strategy, structure, and culture to reach goals and optimize results.  Ms. Chopard excels at building networks and collaborations and is accustomed to getting a seat at the table where she is known to “lean in” with clarity of thought, vision, and enthusiasm. Ms. Chopard has recently accepted the position of U.S. Ambassador for the Women in Identity nonprofit organization bringing her expertise to the leadership team to empower women in the identity field and the broader tech industry. She is the former Executive Director of the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) and Deputy Executive Director of the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA). She has led government and nonprofit organizations at the local, state, national, and international level. She is admitted to the Iowa Bar and U.S. Supreme Court Bar.

Kay Chopard Cohen
Paula Rawl Calhoon, Representative for District 87

Paula Calhoon, Representative for District 87

Representative Paula Rawl Calhoon has spent most of her life serving others throughout Lexington County, South Carolina. She is currently the elected Representative for District 87,  Lexington County. She has worked on committees to address elder abuse, special needs, juvenile justice, and victim’s rights. Paula earned a Master’s in Education from University of South Carolina and is an owner in a small business.  She is a former teacher in Lexington District One from 1981 to 2989. She served as a Research Assistant for the South Carolina Senate Research in 1991. She was also the Deputy Director of the Commission on Prosecution Coordination from 1991 to 2011.  She is an active member of St. Stephens Lutheran Church and the Lexington Women’s Club. When she is not leading volunteer efforts at Lexington Medical Center, you can find her reading with her grandchildren, playing in her tennis league, or on the lake with family. For Paula, service, and family are not just political talking points, they are a way of life.

Linda Chezem (retired Judge)

Linda L. Chezem, Judge (ret.)

Chezem used her childhood experiences with her parents, chairing campaigns for other candidates, and winning her own contested races for the trial court bench to build a practical perspective of politics. From opening her office as the first woman to practice law in Paoli, Indiana, being the first woman appointed as a county court judge, the first woman to be appointed or elected to a Circuit court bench in Indiana, the second woman on the Indiana Court of Appeals and the first female department head in the Purdue University School of Agriculture, Chezem focused on being the best, not the first. Her experience on the three Indiana judicial benches, as a department head and professor of 4-H Youth Development at Purdue University, as an adjunct professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine Alcohol Research Center, as a Special Assistant to the Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has been informed by serving on boards such as the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.  Engaged in balancing ethics and political campaigns for over half a century, Chezem has focused on how law and policy can better serve community. Recognizing that program funding is part of the challenge, Chezem wrote her first successful grant application to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute in 1978. She continues her work.

Linda’s experience includes:

2016-Present: Private Law Practice Martinsville, IN
2016-Present: Professor Emerita Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
2001-Present: Adjunct Professor Indiana University, School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
1998-2016: Professor Purdue University, College of Agriculture, West Lafayette, IN
1988-1998: Judge Indiana Court of Appeals, Indianapolis, IN
1982-1988: Judge Lawrence Circuit Court, Bedford, IN
1976-1982: Judge Lawrence County Court, Bedford, IN
1971-1975: Private Law Practice Paoli, IN

To learn more about Linda, click here to view a more comprehensive resume.

Peg Dorer

Peg Dorer

Peg Dorer is a native North Carolinian and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a B.A. in English and Psychology.  She graduated from the Meredith College Paralegal Program in 1983.  Her past experience includes legislative assistant for Champion International, membership coordinator for the North Carolina Foundation for Research and Economic Education and vice president for a marketing research / public relations firm.  Peg has been the Director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys since January 1992.  She is a longstanding member of the National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators, serving as President  from 2001 until 2002.   In August, 2004, the News and Observer named Peg “Tarheel of the Week” for her extensive work on new discovery laws.  She served as a board member of the North Carolina Victim’s Assistance Network from 2001 to 2011 and on the National District Attorneys Association Executive Committee in 2016-2017.   She resides in Apex, is married to Steve Dorer and has two adult children, Nicholas and Winifred.

Honorable Irma E. Gonzalez (retired Judge)

Irma E. Gonzalez, Judge (ret.)

Judge Gonzalez, a retired United States District Judge, is presently a neutral with JAMS.  She was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of California on August 12, 1992, becoming the first Latina of Mexican heritage to be appointed to the federal bench.  She served as Chief Judge of the District Court from January, 2005 to January, 2012.  Judge Gonzalez served as a judge on the Superior Court, San Diego County ( 1991-1992) and as a Magistrate Judge, Southern District of California (1984-1990).  Judge Gonzalez retired from the federal bench in October, 2013.

Judge Gonzalez graduated from Stanford University in 1970 and received her law degree from the University of Arizona School of Law in 1973.

Judge Gonzalez served as a law clerk to United States District Judge, William C. Frey in Tucson, Arizona (1973-1975).  She served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the criminal division of the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona and the Central District of California (1975-1982).  Judge Gonzalez was a civil litigator in private practice in San Diego from 1982-1984.

Judge Gonzalez is a founding member of Latinas in the Law and is on the Lawyers Club Advisory Board.  She is on the Board of Trustees of California Western School of Law and is on the Board of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.  Judge Gonzalez is a Master of the William B. Enright Inn of Court.  She is also a member of Rotary.

In 2008 Judge Gonzalez was named Outstanding Jurist by the San Diego County Bar Association.  In 2011 she received the Joan Dempsey Klein distinguished Jurist award by the California Women Lawyers and in 2013 Judge Gonzalez received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic National Bar Association. In 2015 the University of Arizona, James Rogers School of Law, awarded Judge Gonzalez a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017 Judge Gonzalez was inducted into the San Diego Women’s Hall of Fame.

Judge Gonzalez is married to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, Robert Brewer. They have a married daughter and two granddaughters.

Judge Amy J. Hanley

Amy J. Hanley, District Court Judge

The Honorable Amy J. Hanley is a highly-sought champion of women’s leadership with more than 18 years of legal experience. She is a renowned teacher, recognized for dynamic and energetic presentations, and an enthusiastic advocate for the continued excellence of women, particularly in the legal discipline.

Judge Hanley was appointed as District Court Judge in Douglas County, Lawrence, Kansas in December 2016, following seven years as Assistant Attorney General and leading criminal prosecutor for the State of Kansas. She specialized in capital cases and was cross-designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the specific purpose of prosecuting online crimes against children. Judge Hanley’s courtroom highlights include State v. Kahler, a capital case in which the death penalty was imposed, and State v. Seacat, a premeditated first-degree murder conviction, that was nationally televised and featured on Dateline NBC. In 2011, she was awarded the KCDAA Associate Member Prosecutor of the Year.

Judge Hanley brings her brand of straightforward, constructive, and electric leadership as faculty, program director, and panelist at more than 20 training events each year, earning accolades like “force of nature” and “awesome organization, style and grace.” Judge Hanley is a Next Generation Faculty member of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA), leading programs across the U.S., including trial advocacy, negotiation, and deposition programs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Denver, Boulder, Fort Lauderdale, Indianapolis, Albuquerque, and her home area of Kansas City. She represented NITA at the Japan PSIM Consortium in Tokyo in September 2016, and Lagos, Nigeria in January 2019.

Judge Hanley has mentored and led law student competition trial teams for Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas, earning their Honorary Life Membership Award in October 2020. Judge Hanley also teaches trial advocacy for Washburn, serving as Adjunct Professor. In 2014, Washburn law students voted her Adjunct Faculty of the Year for making the most difference in their lives and educational experience.

Judge Hanley is a natural and outspoken leader with a career dedicated to public service. As a prosecutor, she served on the Board of Directors for the National District Attorneys Association, co-founding the Women Prosecutor Section. Upon taking the bench, she has continued her leadership on the Executive Committee of the Judge Hugh Means Inn of Court, the Kansas Judicial Education Committee, the Kansas Pattern Jury Instructions Committee, the Kansas Bar Association, and the Kansas Women Attorneys Association.

A native of Lost Springs, Kansas, Judge Hanley earned her J.D. from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and a B.A. in Political Science from Kansas State University. Judge Hanley’s current docket includes criminal and major civil cases. She is married to husband John, Chief Marketing Officer for Equity Bank. They reside in Lawrence, Kansas, with adopted rescue cats Sophie, Todd, and Wallace.

Linda Henderson

Linda Henderson

Linda Henderson is a former Indiana Legislator and has held a number of state and local appointments including the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications and the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission and the Lawrence County Public Defender Board.   Henderson has worked on a number of campaigns in various capacities including campaign management, strategic planning and communication strategies.  Henderson’s background also includes extensive work with communities to address a number of issues through improvement of communication.  Henderson’s work in communities includes building relationships with community members, civic leaders and government officials around the state.

Henderson is an adjunct instructor in communications for Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana.  She has a Masters Degree in Communications from Indiana University – Bloomington.

Judge Alma L. Hinton

Alma L. Hinton, Judge

Judge Alma L. Hinton is the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for the 6A Judicial District of the First Division of the Superior Court, serving Halifax County in North Carolina. She was appointed to the court by former Governor Mike Easley in August of 2004. She was re-elected to the court on November 6, 2012 and her current term expires in 2020.

Judge Hinton began her career in 1991 as an assistant district attorney. She was appointed to the District Court 6A as a district court judge in November of 2000. She was promoted to the Superior Court bench in August of 2004. Judge Hinton was re-elected without opposition on Nov. 6, 2012.

Judge Hinton received her B.A. in psychology from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in 1986 and her J.D. degree from the North Carolina Central University School of Law in 1990.

Roxanne Barrios Juneau

Roxie Juneau

Roxanne Barrios Juneau is the Assistant Director of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association in Baton Rouge, LA. She has been supporting elected prosecutors and career prosecutors for more than 35 years by her leadership and her coordination of a variety of training and technical assistance programs for all Louisiana prosecutors. She has also served in leadership roles in the Louisiana Society of Association Executives and the National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators. She is recognized nationally for her insight and innovation in continuing to transform the prosecution function to be more professional and accountable, aiding prosecutors to be agents for change and ministers of justice. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University Paralegal Studies and has provided the backbone of support to the formation of the Women’s Leadership Institute.

Dr. Cynthia Lum

Dr. Cynthia Lum is Professor of Criminology, Law and Society and Director the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University. She researches primarily in the areas of policing, evidence-based crime policy, crime prevention, technology, and translational criminology. Her works in these areas include evaluating the impacts of patrol and detective activities, interventions, and technologies; understanding the translation and receptivity of research in policing; and measuring police proactivity. Professor Lum is an appointed member of the Committee on Law and Justice (CLAJ) for the National Academies of Sciences (NAS), and has also served on the NAS’s Committee on Proactive Policing as well as its Standing Committee on Traffic Law Enforcement. She is a member of the National Police Foundation Board of Directors, the Research Advisory Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Misdemeanor Justice Project at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and an Executive Counselor for the American Society of Criminology. She is the founding editor of Translational Criminology Magazine and is the Chief Editor (with Christopher Koper) of Criminology and Public Policy, the flagship policy journal of the American Society of Criminology.

Kimberly Overton

Kimberly Overton

A prosecutor, trainer, teacher, speaker and facilitator, Kimberly Overton currently serves with the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys as the Chief Resource Prosecutor where she provides technical assistance, education and training to prosecutors, law enforcement and other criminal justice and allied professionals.   Before coming to the Conference of District Attorneys in 2003 as North Carolina’s first Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor, Kimberly served as an Assistant District Attorney in Halifax County, NC working in both district and superior court.  As an Assistant District Attorney and currently as a Special Prosecutor, Kimberly has handled all types of cases ranging from traffic tickets to homicide.

During her tenure as North Carolina’s Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor, Kimberly developed a collaborative model program.  Authoring several prosecution manuals, law enforcement resource materials and quick reference guides, Kimberly gained national acclaim for the Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor program yielding her recognition from various organizations and a two year prosecution fellowship with the National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators (NAPC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Kimberly has served as faculty for thousands of courses sponsored by numerous criminal justice organizations throughout the world.  Lecturing in more than 40 states and 3 countries, she has been instrumental in the creation of an “out of the box” approach to curriculum development and course production.  As guest lecturer at Wake Forest and North Carolina Central law schools and adjunct professor for a Prosecution Advocacy course at the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University, Kimberly understands the need to promote a grassroots, ground level approach to criminal justice issues and solutions.  As a regular keynote speaker and visiting lecturer at Police Training Academies, Community Colleges, Technical Institutes and Universities throughout the country, she frequently educates students and community organizations regarding criminal justice matters.  More recently, Kimberly has been focusing on leadership development curriculum and courses.

Additionally, Kimberly serves on the Professionalism Committee for the Wake County Bar Association, the Executive Board for the National District Attorneys Association, the Standards Committee for the American Bar Association (ABA), as Advisory Committee Chairman of NC MADD, and as the NAPC Highway Safety Committee Chairman.  She previously served on the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) Board of Governors and the Criminal Justice Section as a Past Chair, the Executive Board for the North Carolina Victim Assistance Network, International Association of Chemical Testing Ethics Committee Chairman, a member of the North Carolina Joint Legislative Taskforce on Fraud Against Older Adults and on the Discovery Task Force for the ABA.  Most recently, Kimberly was awarded the NCBA Peter S. Gilchrist Award for extraordinary service as a prosecutor, contributions to the criminal justice system of North Carolina, and to the legal profession. She also served her community as a past Executive Board member with the Woman’s Missionary Union of NC.

“Women make great leaders because they have an innate ability to dream big, challenge assumptions, and inspire teams – and they know how to translate big ideas into concrete action and results.”

– Angela Dejene, executive vice president, Crosswind Media and Public Relations