OCWLA Logo Orange County Women
 Lawyers Association
For Women Lawyers and Those Who Support Their Advancement

Member Committees

Governance Committee

Chairs: Shelly Aronson, Jaimi Groothuis and Michelle Philo
Member: Dana Heyde

Membership & Engagement Committee

Membership Chair: Kelly Galigan
Communications Chair: Laurie Rowen
Members: Michelle Philo, Sheila-Marie Finkelstein, Jessica Achtsam, Abby Meyer and Carolina Gomez

The Membership Committee is responsible for raising awareness about the OCWLA and its mission, attracting new members, retaining existing members, and helping members engage with OCWLA.

    • New Member Recruitment Subcommittee (includes outreach to in-house counsel, law students, etc.)
      Responsible for recruiting new members to the OCWLA and organizing specific targeted outreach to engage segments of the legal community that are underrepresented in the OCWLA membership.
    • Member Engagement Subcommittee: (includes past presidents, mentorship program, and creative games/activities to engage existing members in outreach)
      Responsible for intentionally engaging existing members in the mission and activities of the OCWLA, soliciting feedback from its members on an ongoing basis and developing guidelines and overseeing the process for the mentorship program. This includes soliciting and evaluating nominations for Everyday Hero monthly meeting award and Bar stipend recipients for Board approval.
    • Communications Subcommittee
      Responsible for keeping OCWLA website content updated and relevant; developing online membership directory for purposes of facilitating referrals for its members; providing guidance regarding emails sent by OCWLA to members; establishing clear guidelines for OCWLA list serve; and engaging members via social media platforms including disseminating information regarding upcoming events.

Events Committee – Fundraisers

Chair: Michelle Philo
The Events Committee shall be responsible for organizing events which furthers the mission of OCWLA, raises funds for OCWLA, and develops meaningful professional connections.  Events include Mardi Gras, Gala the Holiday Dinner and mixers/socials. and 

  • Awards Subcommittee
    Chair: Jaqueline Beaumont
    Member: Jessica Achtsam and Michelle Philo
    Responsible for soliciting and evaluating nominations for awards related to these events (i.e. Attorney of the Year, Judge of the Year, President’s Award, etc.)
  • Annual Gala Subcommittee
    Michelle Philo
    • Gala Sponsorship Subcommittee
      Member: Dana Heyde
    • Silent Auction Subcommittee
      Co-Chairs: Shelly Aronson and Abby Meyer
  • Mardi Gras Subcommittee
    Michelle Philo
  • Holiday Celebration and Installation Dinner
    Michelle Philo

Programs Committee – Luncheons

Chair: Sarah Nowels
The Program Committee shall be responsible for arranging all programs for the education of the membership with the approval of the Board.

    • Sponsorship Subcommittee
      All board members

      Responsible for procuring sponsors and vendor partners for programs.

Philanthropy Committee

Chair: Dana Heyde
Members: Sarah Nowels, Laurie Rowen, Jessica Achtsam and Abby Meyer

The Philanthropy Committee shall be responsible for developing criteria by which OCWLA will evaluate requests for charitable involvement and partnerships and create a structure for how our membership can get involved and engaged in OCWLA’s philanthropic activities. It would also be responsible for recommending to the Board opportunities for OCWLA charitable involvement.

  • Make recommendations to the board regarding philanthropic giving. OCWLA aims to keep at least 50% of its annual operating budget in the bank account at fiscal year end. The remainder may be, but is not required to be, used for philanthropic giving.
  • Partner with worthy philanthropic organizations or non-profits in effort to build consistency over the years, and possibly even a sponsorship over time, to give back, but also to get our name out.
  • Seek out worthy philanthropic activities for our members to participate in, which gives back and/or serves our community.
  • Facilitate the collection and disbursement of any donations of money and other items.
  • Grant Subcommittee
    Chairs: Dana Heyde and Sarah Nowels
    Responsible for soliciting and evaluating applications for grants related to charitable giving.

Finance Committee

Chair: Sheila-Marie Finkelstein
The Finance Committee shall be responsible for finance-related matters.

California Women Lawyers

Chairs: Betty Fracisco and Shelly Aronson
Represent OCWLA at CWL events and perform duties as liaison to the organization.

Orange County Bar Association

Chair: Carolina Gomez
Represent OCWLA at OCBA events and perform duties as liaison to the organization.

Law Student Outreach and Services

Represent OCWLA at student outreach events and perform duties as liaison to law students.

  • Bar and Diversity Stipends
    Chair: Betty Fracisco

    Members: Dana Heyde and Jessica Achtsam
    Responsible for soliciting and evaluating nominations for awards related to Bar And Diversity Stipends.
  • Student Membership Subcommittee
    Chairs: Kelly Galligan (
    University of California, Irvine School of Law), Sarah Nowels (Chapman University's Dale E. Fowler School of Law & Western State College of Law) and Michelle Philo (Whittier Law School)
    Organize events for law students and members of the OCWLA.

Book Club

Chairs: Betty Fracisco and Dana Heyde
Member: Shelly Arnoson

Nominating Committee

Chairs: Jaqueline Beaumont and Kelly Galligan
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