The unique design of our Rising Stars® program serves to distinguish Holland & Knight from other law firms. The goals of this year-long program are to help prepare participants for leadership opportunities, elevate their profiles within the legal profession and community, and increase their success in business development.

Each year Holland & Knight selects a group of talented and dedicated women lawyers to participate in Rising Stars® – a dynamic and intensive program of leadership, marketing, management and professional skills development, professional mentoring and experiential learning. To be eligible, Rising Stars candidates must be in at least their seventh year of practice and have been affiliated with Holland & Knight for at least two years. Other selection criteria include professional experience, community involvement, motivation to be a leader, and the ability to invest the time and effort necessary for success. Program applications are generally solicited each fall for participation in the following year.

Class of 2020

Renee I. Covitt
Renee Covitt 
New York City 

Allison S. Dyer
Allison Dyer

 Kerry L. Halpern
Kerry Halpern 

 Valarie M. Ney
Valarie Ney

Rebecca Plasencia Headshot
Rebecca Plasencia

 Lara M. Rios
Lara Rios 

Ashley Shively
San Francisco


Anne-Mette Andersen (2011)
Business  |  New York, NY

Kristin Asai (2019)
Litigation  |  Portland, OR

Kristina Azlin (2013)
Litigation  |  Los Angeles, CA

Leila Batties (2008)
Real Estate  |  Washington, D.C.

Jenna Bigornia (2015)
Business  |  Boston, MA 
Ms. Bigornia is currently commercial counsel at Biogen.

Cynthia Burnside (2012)
Litigation  |  Atlanta, GA

Lynn E. Calkins (2004)
Litigation  |  Washington, D.C.

Susan Eichler Edlein (2006)
Litigation  |  Atlanta, GA
Ms. Edlein is serving as a Judge in the State Court of Fulton County (Georgia).

Jessica Early (2017)
Litigation  |  Boston, MA

Cheryl Feeley (2015)
Litigation  |  Washington, D.C.

Carrie Friesen-Meyers (2018)
Structured Finance  |  San Francisco, CA

Annie Gamez (2017)
Litigation  |  Miami, FL 

Marjorie Gannett (2018)
Real Estate  |  Washington, D.C.
Ms. Gannett is currently deputy general counsel at Combined Properties.

Colleen Leonard Gans (2011)
Real Estate  |  San Francisco, CA
Ms. Leonard is currently senior counsel in Real Estate at Apple.

Steffanie Garrett (2012)
Litigation  |  Chicago, IL
Ms. Garrett is currently general counsel at the Department of Healthcare and Family Services for the State of Illinois.

Christine Gay (2016)
Litigation  |  Miami, FL

Suzanne E. Gilbert (2003)
Litigation  |  Orlando, FL

Stacie Andra Goeddel (2009)
Real Estate  |  San Francisco, CA

Shannon Hartsfield (2003)
Healthcare  |  Tallahassee, FL

Claudia Hinsch (2018)
Corporate  |  Tysons, VA

Janene Jackson (2017)
Government  |  Washington, D.C.

Naomi F. Katz (2008)
Labor and Employment  |  Chicago, IL
Ms. Katz is currently senior counsel in Employment at Ulta Beauty.

Bonni F. Kaufman (2007)
Environment  |  Washington, D.C.

Joanie Kim (2004)
Public Companies and Securities  |  Seattle, WA
Ms. Kim is currently managing director and corporate counsel of Global Strategy and Corporate Development at Starbucks.

Tammy L. Knight (2005)
Public Companies and Securities  |  Fort Lauderdale, FL

Chelsea Maclean (2013)
Government  |  San Francisco, CA

Jennifer A. "Jenn" Mansfield (2009)
Litigation  |  Jacksonville, FL

Louise McAlpin (2006)
Litigation  |  Miami, FL

Allison McCarthy (2010)
Real Estate  |  Fort Lauderdale, FL

Chelsea Ashbrook McCarthy (2019)
Litigation  |  Chicago, IL

Taite McDonald (2019)
Government  |  Washington, D.C.

Mia McKown (2013)
Litigation  |  Tallahassee, FL

Rebecca Mendez (2016)
Real Estate  |  Miami, FL

Katharine Menendez de la Cuesta (2019)
Litigation | Miami, FL

Judith M. "Judy" Mercier (2004) 
Litigation  |  Orlando, FL

Kathryn W. Oberto (2005)
Real Estate  |  Orlando, FL

Jennifer Oosterbaan (2004)
Litigation  |  Chicago, IL
Ms. Oosterbaan is currently in-house counsel at Abbott Labs.

Barbra Rachel Parlin (2006)
Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights  |  New York, NY

Sarah Passeri (2016)
Litigation  |  New York, NY

Christin Petroski (2016)
Business  |  Orlando, FL

Ashley Plemons (2018)
Corporate  |  Atlanta, GA

Danielle Price (2011)
Business  |  Miami, FL

Trisha Rich (2014)
Litigation  |  Chicago, IL

Susan Santana (2004)
Government  |  Washington, D.C.
Ms. Santana is currently vice president of Legislative Affairs at AT&T.

Tara A. Scanlon (2003)
Real Estate  |  Washington, D.C.

Christina Schwing (2012)
Litigation  |  Jacksonville, FL

Tracy Slavens (2011)
Real Estate  |  Miami, FL

Ilana Strickon (2012)
Real Estate  |  Miami, FL

Marisa C. Terrenzi (2009)
Corporate/Mergers and Acquisitions  |  McLean, VA

Vivian Thoreen (2010)
Business  |  Los Angeles, CA

Antonia Tzinova (2013)
Business  |  Washington, D.C.

Aymee Valdivia (2017)
Business  |  Miami, FL

Tara L. Vance (2008)
Corporate/Immigration  |  New York, NY

Christine Walz (2016)
Litigation  |  Washington, D.C.

Theresa Wanat (2018)
Litigation  |  Houston, TX

Stacey Wang (2014)
Litigation  |  Los Angeles, CA

Lisha Wheeler (2003)
Public Law  |  Washington, D.C.
Ms. Wheeler is currently commissioner at the Housing Authority of New Orleans. 

Kwamina Thomas Williford (2008)
Litigation  |  Washington, D.C.

Melissa Wong (2019)
Corporate  |  Boston, MA

Victoria Zerjav (2019) 
Corporate  |  Stamford, CT 

Other former Rising Stars include: Robyn Axberg, Cindy Basham, Tamara Carmichael, Kelli A. Edson, Michele Sibley Gonzales, Demrie Graham, Patricia Harris, Ani Hovanessian, Lauren Jenkins, Paula Kirlin, Tamara Kolz, Robin Main, Elizabeth M. Mitchell, Esther L. Moreno, Christine Quigley, Heather Pinder Rodriguez, Erika Royal, Ann-Therese Schmid, Jennifer A. Short, Jane K.P. Tam, Natalie P. Thomas and Angelique Waddell.