Sandra S. Yamate

Chief Executive Officer

Sandra S. Yamate is the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (“IILP”). IILP is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to creating a more diverse and inclusive legal profession through its research and programs. Sandra is IILP’s subject-matter expert on diversity and inclusion and is responsible for all of its research and programming.

After practicing law for ten years, Sandra served as the Executive Director of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms and as the Director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

Sandra has long been active in a variety of charitable causes. Currently, she serves as the Chair of the National Judicial College and is a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Women Lawyers.

Sandra earned her JD from Harvard Law School and an AB in Political Science (cum laude) and History (magna cum laude) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Sandra has written and spoken extensively on community engagement, diversity and inclusion, cultural competency, and multicultural issues.

Sandra and her husband reside in Chicago with their two dogs, Cashew and Filbert.

Linda Chanow 

Chief Operating Officer 

Linda Chanow is a non-profit executive, professor, lawyer and nationally-recognized authority on women, especially women lawyers. Linda has nearly 25 years of experience researching, writing, and speaking on issues that impact the legal profession including women’s leadership, inclusive women’s initiatives, allyship, growth mindset, unconscious bias, and flexibility programs. Hundreds of women nationally have participated in Linda’s educational programs that empower women to achieve fulfilling careers and significant leadership posts in their respective organizations.

Linda has substantial experience working with a wide array of stakeholders, including CEOs, general counsel, chairs of global law firms, judges, deans and government officials. She is an author and sought-after speaker who has presented to audiences of all sizes on a variety of topics, including women's leadership, inclusive women’s initiatives, grit and growth mindset, unconscious bias, pay equity, and workplace flexibility. Most recently, Linda co-authored In Their Own Words:  Experienced Women Explain Why They Are Leaving Their Firms and the Profession (2021) for the American Bar Association. She has been quoted or her organization featured in USA Today, The Washington Post, Ms. Magazine, The Austin-American Statesman, Dallas Morning News, The American Lawyer, The Texas Lawyer, ABA Journal, Bloomberg Law, Law360, The Texas Lawbook, HBR Blog Network, and Forbes.

Linda was selected to serve on two Presidential Initiatives for the American Bar Association (Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law and ABA Toolkit for Gender Equity in Partner Compensation) and as a liaison to the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession for nearly a decade. She was a Team Advisor for the first Women in Law Hackathon and is a member of the advisory board for the Bexar County Women’s Bar Foundation LEAD Academy.

The Texas Minority Counsel Program honored Linda with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award and Lawdragon named her one of the 100 Leading Legal Consultants and Strategists for three consecutive years. The Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association presented her with the 2013 Advancement of Women Award. 

Prior to joining the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, Linda led the Center for Women in Law at Texas Law for a decade, growing its influence nationally, increasing annual revenues from $150,000 to $1.2 million, and overseeing more than $8 million in gifts and sponsorships. Under her leadership, the Women’s Power Summit™ grew to be one of the most sought-after invitations in the national legal community. Linda also built and directed the leading convocation of advocates of women lawyers that gathers annually in New York. She taught a leadership theory course at Texas Law for five years. The class was oversubscribed each year. She was also the Assistant Director at the Project for Attorney Retention, an initiative of the Center for WorkLife Law of the University of California Hastings College of the Law and Vice President of Development at The Center for American and International Law. Linda began her legal career as a commercial litigator at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. after graduating magna cum laude from American University’s Washington College of Law in 1999. 

A Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a former member of the Dell Medical School Society for Health & Women, she currently serves on the board of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation, South Texas Naval Academy Parent Club and on the Solution Grants Review Committee for The Livestrong Foundation. Linda and her husband reside in Austin, Texas.

Jennifer A. Jackson

Program Manager 

Jennifer A. Jackson is the Program Manager at IILP.  She is a Diversity & Inclusion professional with 12 years experience in the legal industry.  She provides Diversity & Inclusion and management services to law firms, membership organizations and diversity consulting firms. Jennifer offers a wide range of services including program development, diverse attorney recruitment and statistical analysis. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Jennifer was the Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator for a mid-size law firm in Chicago. 

Before entering the legal diversity field, Jennifer was the Administrative Director at Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, a management consultant at Ernst & Young LLP, and a systems engineer at Ford Motor Company. As a Career Pivot CatalystTM, she coaches professionals who need to change career paths, but don’t know how to efficiently navigate the personal, professional and financial hurdles that stand in the way.

Jennifer earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  She also earned an MBA in Strategy, Marketing and Arts Administration from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Avani Patel

Project Specialist

Avani Patel is a Project Specialist at the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession and the Supervising Senior Manager of the Illinois Court Help Program at the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC). In her role at AOIC, she leads a team of court guides dedicated to assisting court users on state court matters in all 102 Illinois counties via phone, text message, and webmail. Her team helps with navigating court processes and court forms and answering court-related inquiries. Avani also plays a crucial role in collecting and analyzing user data and stories to identify system gaps, making recommendations to simplify and standardize court procedures and forms. As a member of the Access to Justice Division management team, she contributes to the oversight of the Illinois Courts’ statewide access to justice strategy and programs.

Before joining AOIC, Avani built a robust career in business development and legal recruitment with organizations that provide support services to the legal profession. Shortly after law school, she joined the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation (CVLS) as a supervising attorney for the Economic Issues Program, where she managed the program, represented clients in bankruptcy, family law and contract disputes, supervised interns and volunteers, and conducted trainings throughout Chicago.

In 2023, Avani was appointed by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Theis to the Supreme Court of Illinois Committee on Equality. She currently serves as a board member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the president of the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) of Chicago Foundation and is a past-president of SABA Chicago. Her leadership experience includes serving four years on the SABA-DC board, serving as a former president of Women in eDiscovery’s DC chapter, and formerly co-chairing a DEI committee for the Women's Bar Association of Washington, DC, as well as the sponsorship committee for the Chicago chapter of the Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law. Avani holds a Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion certificate from Northwestern University, a JD from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, and a BBA from Loyola University Chicago.

Regina Speed-Bost

Project Specialist

Regina Speed-Bost is a lawyer by training and began working to address diversity issues in the legal profession upon entering private practice in 1998. Regina has served on or led Diversity Committees for AmLaw 100 and AmLaw 200 law firms since that time. Her work on these committees included developing and forming employee resources/affinity groups, managing business development budgets to ensure fairness and access to diverse members of the firm, planning diversity and inclusion summits and retreats, and identifying the types of diversity, equity and inclusion training needed for each firm with which she worked. Her understanding of how law firms work informs her work as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant. Regina recognizes that each organization defines its DE&I goals and objectives in line with overall organizational goals and objectives. Regina focuses on the meanings of inclusion and success as each are defined by each organization with which she works.

More broadly, Regina served as the first chairperson of the Energy Bar Association’s (EBA) President’s Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and drafted the EBA’s first Diversity Mission Statement. As a lawyer, she works on enforcement and compliance issues and that knowledge assists in developing DE&I programs that are actionable with results metrics that are achievable. Regina has a working relationship with the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP) through which she assists in providing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training and consulting services to law firms.

Regina received her juris doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College. In her legal practice, she completed the Hastings Leadership Academy for Women at the University of California and the ClientFocus curriculum produced by Sarah Holtz. Currently, Regina is completing course work through Cornell University to receive her certification as a Diversity and Inclusion Specialist.

Regina has been featured on the Podcast of the Energy Bar Association (SEASON 2, EPISODE 1: LETS TALK LEADERSHIP, COURAGE AND NAVIGATING PRIVATE PRACTICE WITH REGINA SPEED-BOST - where she provides insights into the makings of a successful law practice, and as a Spotlight feature for the fashion brand Eloquii ( where she shares perspective about advancing ones goals in pursuit of successful outcomes. Regina is a wife, mother, grandmother, and a licensed minister and lives in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Nishan Ardon


Nishan is passionate about helping professional associations and non-profit organizations amplify their reach and impact. His expertise centers on strategic communications, marketing, systems development, stakeholder engagement, event planning and presentation, and organizational and client relationship management.

Over the past 20+ years, Nishan has served in several leadership roles focused on social impact work and driving results for non-profit, non-governmental, and professional membership associations dedicated to positive change and contributing to the greater social good.

In 2020, Nishan launched Elavanz, a digital marketing and communications agency serving the types of organizations in which he has been actively involved for over two decades. He brings to his clients a unique combination of skills, experience, creativity, and insider knowledge essential for success in the non-profit and professional association space.

Nishan served as the Director of Communications and Systems for the California Minority Counsel Program from 2010 to 2020, and as Director of Marketing, Communications, and Events for the International Research Foundation from 2000 to 2005. He also served on the Board of Directors of Youth Spirit Artworks from 2007 to 2010, chairing the Board in 2010.

A dynamic professional with over 20 years of experience, Nishan possesses a wide range of knowledge and abilities spanning communications, marketing, technology, and digital media. He has a proven ability to lead diverse creative and technical initiatives and teams, set effective strategies, and execute hands-on to build brands and engage audiences.

Throughout his career, Nishan has served in various levels and roles in organizations focused on positive change and the greater social good. He thrives when engaged in meaningful work.


Jonathan W. Kanter, Ph.D

Jonathan W. Kanter, Ph.D. received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Washington in 2002. Shortly afterwards he became a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  In Milwaukee, Dr. Kanter spent several years collaborating closely with members of the Black community on issues of social and political activism (including police brutality and voter rights), racism and discrimination, mental health stigma, and culturally appropriate treatments of depression.  Dr. Kanter also spent several years working closely with Latino researchers and community members to develop culturally informed treatments for depression in Latino community settings for low-income Latino immigrants.  Dr. Kanter also worked closely with members of the Muslim community in the United Kingdom on Islam-consistent approaches to depression treatment.  His lab consisted of a multi-cultural team of committed student researchers working on individual and collective projects.  

In 2013, Dr. Kanter came to the University of Washington to direct the Center for the Science of Social Connection (CSSC).  As Director, he brings a wealth of experience working in the trenches with people of color and disenfranchised groups as a team member, as well as working with scholars and scientists internationally.  

Dr. Kanter is regularly invited to give talks and workshops nationally and internationally on topics of interest to the Center, including anti-racism workshops which seek to help white people grow and overcome racism, workshops for therapists on how to improve psychotherapy relationships and help clients with relational problems, and behavioral treatments for depression.

Scientifically, Dr. Kanter approaches projects with a contextual behavioral science model that integrates disciplines, including evolution science, neuroscience, anthropology and psychology, within a behavioral science foundation.  He lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife Gwynne Kohl, who is also a clinical psychologist, and their 11-year-old daughter Zoe. 

Karyn S. Linn 

Karyn is passionate about helping non-profit organizations be their best so they can do their best. She is an association management professional in Chicago, Illinois, with over 30 years of experience working in the non-profit sector. Karyn focuses on helping organizations build capacity through strategic planning, organizational development, purposeful communications, and stakeholder engagement. She advises boards and committees in strategic planning, governance best practices, leadership development, program design, and project management. All with the goal of helping these mission-driven organizations increase their impact on the communities they serve. 

Karyn spent twenty-three years working for the American Bar Association’s Division for Bar Services. She held many positions during her tenure at the ABA, the most recent being the Director of Outreach and Education. In this role, Karyn met with bar leaders around the country to discuss trends in the legal profession impacting bar associations and best practices in non-profit governance and organizational development and was a frequent speaker at bar leadership conferences. She facilitated strategic planning sessions and board retreats, met with bar leaders to brainstorm solutions to problems, and developed educational and communication strategies to keep bar leaders informed on current events and trends.  

Karyn works with Chicago Association Management (CAM) to increase her ability to help mission-driven organizations. As a CAM team member, she has served as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Rotary Club of Chicago, the world’s first service club, and as administrator for the ROTARY/One Foundation and the Charitable Foundation of Rotary District 6450. She manages the day-to-day operations and helps guide leaders on how best to use their limited resources (time, treasure, and talent).  

Karyn earned her BA from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. She recently earned a certificate in Strategic Management Performance Systems from The George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership. She is a member of the Association for Strategic Planning and the Association Forum and enjoys being a Girl Scout leader for her daughter’s troop. 

Karyn balances her work life by getting lost in Audible books, striving to perfect her photography skills, thinking about becoming a yogi, and her favorite pastime, spending time with her husband Paul and their 14-year-old daughter.  

Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D, PCC, CMC  

Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., PCC, CMC is a psychologist, certified coach, strategic talent advisor, and Founding Principal of Lawyers Life Coach LLC who brings particular expertise in coaching, training and advising lawyers and the law firms and corporations that employ them. Since starting her firm in 1998, Ellen has coached hundreds of attorneys throughout the world at all levels of experience and seniority in law firms of all sizes, corporate legal departments, government, not-for-profits and the judiciary.


The executive coaching Ellen provides to attorneys includes leadership development and effectiveness, communication and emotional intelligence, career planning and advancement, business development and work life integration. She assists lawyers in developing resilience and psychological flexibility, i.e., the capacity to be fully present and aware, in any given context, and to flexibly choose to act in a manner that will be optimally effective, authentic and aligned with values.

Ellen is particularly interested in assisting attorneys at transition points in their careers: from a time-keeper role to a leadership role, either as a law firm partner or an in-house leader; a service provider to a client manager and business generator; or a team player to a team or organizational leader.

Ellen consults with practice groups, law firms and corporate legal departments on strategic talent management, retention, promotion and inclusion. She has advised law firms and the legal departments of Fortune 500 companies regarding leadership development, optimizing attorney-client communication and collaboration, diversity and inclusion, effective management, delegation and supervision, developing mentoring and sponsorship programs and retaining and developing diverse talent. She works with law firms to design and implement effective strategies to better recruit, develop, retain and advance the lawyers and staff within the firm.


Ellen brings a unique understanding of the complexities of human behavior, motivation, emotion and learning, derived from her extensive training in psychological science, 30+ years of experience working with individuals and organizations to facilitate change, and 20+ years of working exclusively with attorneys and their employers. She approaches all of her work from an interdisciplinary and evidence-based model of change that includes behavioral science and positive psychology.

Ellen is particularly sought after as a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant because her evidence-based work, derived from the science of social connection, focuses on observable behavior rather than unconscious processes that are not subject to conscious influence efforts. Instead, Ellen’s work with law firms seeking to become more inclusive focuses on developing mindful awareness and enabling lawyers to create authentic connections across differences. Her humanizing approach avoids the common triggers of defensiveness that hamper the effectiveness of typical implicit-bias focused interventions.


Since founding Lawyers Life Coach, Ellen has become known for her expertise in the challenges faced by women and diverse attorneys in the profession and has been invited to address numerous audiences – including the Department of Justice Canada, the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, Harvard Law School’s Women’s Leadership Summit, the Center for Women in the Law, the Latina Executive Leadership Academy, the National Bar Association, the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law’s Women Leadership & Equality Program and bar and women attorney’s groups on the national and local level throughout the US and Europe – on strategies for advancing women and diverse attorneys.

Her consultation with a law firm to become a more diverse and inclusive workplace resulted in that firm becoming one of the most honored firms for its diversity accomplishments. In addition, Ellen worked with a consulting team engaged by a judicial system to develop “A Great Place to Work.” In this capacity she conducted leadership development training, team building and provided leadership development coaching to court leaders including judges.

Ellen has also been selected as the exclusive Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF)-endorsed leadership development coach. She serves as a facilitator and coach for Diversity Lab’s On-Ramp Fellowship and OnTrack Sponsorship programs. She has been the Co-Chair of the Board of the ThirdPath Institute since its founding and has served on the District of Columbia Bar Association’s Lawyers’ Assistance Program Advisory Board as well as the DC Bar’s Board of Governors. She uses her expertise in the social and neurosciences to inform her efforts to increase resilience, satisfaction and effectiveness among legal professionals.

A frequent contributing writer for print and electronic legal media, Ellen’s articles have been published in the New York Law Journal Magazine, Perspectives, The Woman Advocate, NAWL’s The Women Lawyers’ Journal, GP Small/Solo, Trial Magazine, Lawyers Weekly USA, the Talent Think Tank Blog and many other prominent legal publications. The New York Times, the Washington Post, US News & World Report, the Legal Times, Of Counsel, Law 360 and the Careerist have quoted Ellen and her email newsletter, Beyond the Billable Hour, has been reprinted by more than 30 print and electronic publications and translated into multiple languages.

Ellen received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Rochester and her coach training from the MentorCoach ™ program, for which she has also taught, and her Professional Certified Coach certification from the International Coach Federation. She served on the faculties of three universities before starting her independent practice. She lives in suburban Washington, DC. with her husband and two cats, remotely parents her adult children in Las Vegas and Bel Air and adores her two grandchildren.

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