Executive Committee Bios


Mariann is the founder of Hyland Solutions, which provides conflict resolution, leadership coaching, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consulting. She is an experienced mediator, executive leader, coach, and consultant who helps organizations maximize human potential, develop inclusive, innovative cultures, and manage conflict and risk to promote growth and resilience. Building on her early career as a labor and employment attorney with Stoel Rives, Mariann has over 24 years of experience in operations and administration in large and complex organizations, including Chemeketa Community College, Oregon Health & Science University, the University of Oregon, the Oregon State Bar, and one of the largest community foundations in the United States. She has provided leadership for human resources, public safety, risk management, contracts, civil rights compliance, legal compliance, and DEI.

Mariann leads with a strength-based, trauma-informed lens, which informs her work with clients. Her deep understanding of conflict and polarization related to race and other protected classes allows her to facilitate cross-cultural engagement among individuals and within organizations to promote healing, trust, and teamwork.

Mariann earned a JD from the University of Oregon School of Law, an MSW from Portland State University, and a BS from the University of Oregon.  She completed a two-year interprofessional ethics fellowship program at Oregon Health & Science University, and she is currently becoming an advanced certified personal and executive coach through the College of Executive Coaching’s ICF accredited program. Mariann’s recent mediation training includes a five-day mediation intensive with Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation (2023); and the 40-hour inaugural Oregon Diversity Mediator Project cohort training (2022).

Mariann has served on several nonprofit boards and is currently serving on the board of trustees for the University of Western States, where she is a member of the governance committee and chairs the equity, diversity, and inclusion committee. In addition, she is a member of the Oregon Supreme Court Council on Inclusion and Fairness, and she is the Chair for the Oregon State Bar Labor and Employment Section’s Executive Committee.


Ashlee Albies has been practicing civil rights and employee-side employment law since 2005. She has devoted her legal career to providing zealous advocacy for clients who have been harmed by discrimination, retaliation, and unfair treatment by their employer or by the government. She is a past chair of the Portland chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and of the Oregon State Bar Civil Rights Section, and formerly served on the Bureau of Labor and Industries’ Oregon Council on Civil Rights. She presents at many public forums and continuing legal education seminars about employment law, the First Amendment, free speech, creative uses of the law, trial advocacy, and civil rights litigation. She is a partner in the firm Albies & Stark LLC.


Kate Flanagan represents unions and union members as an Associate Attorney at Bennett Hartman, LLP.  Kate earned her Juris Doctorate from Lewis and Clark’s Northwestern School of Law in 2021, then clerked for Judge Judith Matarazzo at the Multnomah County Circuit Court. She serves as the chair of Oregon’s Democratic Third Congressional District Committee and of the Tryon Life Community Farm Board of Directors.


Sarah Hale is a partner at Miller Nash LLP and advises public and private employers on a wide variety of workplace-related matters. She has extensive experience counseling clients on day-to-day employment and labor issues, including leave and disability law compliance, conducting workplace investigations, drafting workplace policies and employee handbooks, and representing clients in collective bargaining, union contract negotiations, and grievance and interest arbitrations. Sarah also defends clients in state and federal court in claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wage and hour, and wrongful discharge. She previously worked as a municipal prosecutor where she tried cases to verdict and handled pre-trial and post-trial motions and sentencing.

Before private practice, Sarah served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Marsha J. Pechman in the U.S. District Court and the Honorable Marlin J. Appelwick in the Washington State Court of Appeals. Sarah received a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law and earned both a M.A. and B.A. in history from the University of Oregon.


Sam is an attorney with the law firm of AmicusPoint Law LLC. Sam began his legal career working as a judicial clerk for the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. After his clerkship, he worked for a boutique firm specializing in employment defense. He later transitioned to work for one of the largest AmLaw 100 firms in the country, continuing to hone his skills by working complex commercial and employment litigation matters for national and international companies. Sam also worked with clients to provide legal compliance advice; draft agreements and policies; enforce trade secrets; and handle single, multi-plaintiff, and class action litigation. After nearly a decade working for notable law firms, he decided to start AmicusPoint Law LLC and continue to help companies and individuals wade through business and employment-related challenges in state and federal courts. Sam currently serves as an Advisory Board Member to LatinoBuilt, an association for Latino contractors in Oregon. Sam served as an Infantry Officer with the Oregon Army National Guard, attained the rank of Major, and conducted two combat deployments to Afghanistan and one NATO-led deployment to Kosovo.


Meredith Holley is a workplace conflict mediator, communication coach, civil rights lawyer, and founder of Eris Conflict Resolution. She is the co-host of the Empowered Communication Podcast and author of Career Defense 101: How to Stop Sexual Harassment Without Quitting Your Job and The Inclusive Leader’s Guide to Healthy Workplace Culture. Meredith helps resolve toxic workplace conflict so that workplaces can go through conflict to creativity.


Wilson Jarrell is a partner at Barran Liebman LLP, where he advises and represents employers and management on labor and employment law and the law of higher education. Additionally, Wilson frequently serves as a workplace investigator, regularly conducting investigations into allegations of employee misconduct, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or other sensitive issues. Wilson is also a member of the National Association of College & University Attorneys, a board member of the Multnomah Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, and a board member of the Federal Bar Association Oregon Chapter.

Blerina is a partner in Tonkon Torp’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. For over a decade, she has represented and defended employers in numerous matters, including discrimination, retaliation, FMLA, OFLA, and ADA, wage and hour, harassment, and employment agreements. Blerina also represents employers in agency investigations of civil rights violations and wage and hour compliance—whether for individual complaints or systemic audits. She advises management on countless employment issues, from risk assessment of terminations and complex medical leave situations, to evaluating employee classifications and drafting employment documents.

Blerina further partners with clients in conducting workplace investigations, whether they relate to wage and hour issues or harassment and safety concerns. Her clients range from nonprofit organizations to national companies in a variety of industries, such as healthcare, military defense, and financial services.

The Portland Business Journal named Blerina as one of its 2018 Forty Under 40 award recipients, recognizing influential business and community leaders in the greater Portland area who are under 40 years old. Blerina has also been selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2022-2023, an Oregon Super Lawyer in 2022, and an Oregon Rising Star from 2015 to 2017.

SALLY LAJOIE (Chair-Elect)

Sally LaJoie is a mediator and arbitrator in private practice. She is a graduate of Willamette University College of Law and has spent over two decades working in labor and employment law in Oregon. She is a special education mediator and facilitator for the Oregon Department of Education and small claims court mediator. She also provides preventative services, including training, facilitation, workplace investigations and communication skill building.

Sally began her private mediation practice after serving as a mediator for the Oregon Employment Relations Board. As one of three mediators for the board, she assisted public employers and employee organizations throughout Oregon to resolve disputes and mediated over 100 cases. Those mediations included resolving collective bargaining disputes, grievances under collective bargaining agreements, unfair labor practice cases and civil service appeals. She also conducted joint trainings and facilitation services for labor and management representatives for improved negotiations.

Before becoming a mediator, her legal practice focused on representing clients in individual and class action claims for Wage and Hour, Family Medical Leave Act, Title VII and other employment related cases. She worked as a public affairs attorney at the Oregon State Bar in the law improvement and government relations program, as a labor representative for the Oregon Nurses Association handling contract negotiations, labor relations and administration in private sector healthcare, and as a Labor Relations Manager for Multnomah County.


Brena Moyer Lopez is a Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Oregon Department of Justice Labor and Employment Section, General Counsel Division. Brena began her career as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Farmworker program in Woodburn, Oregon. She joined the Oregon DOJ, Labor and Employment Section in 2013, where she provides legal compliance advice and training to a variety of state agencies, and represents state agency management in labor and employment-related litigation, including grievance arbitrations and hearings before the Oregon Employment Relations Board. She graduated from Gonzaga University and the University of Texas School of Law.


Diane S. Sykes has practiced law for 24 years, primarily in the area of employment, with an emphasis on civil rights case work. She represents both public and private employees of all sizes, including federal employees. Ms. Sykes graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in 1992 and University of Oregon School of Law with a JD in 1997.  After law school, Ms. Sykes was a public defender with the firm of Squires and Lopez, specializing in the representation of low-income Hispanic populations. In 1999, she was hired at Legal Aid Services of Oregon and continued to serve low-income populations at the Oregon Center, performing primarily casework in the area of employment and housing discrimination, as well as consumer protection cases, over a 10-year period. In 2009, Ms. Sykes was hired by Oregon Department of Justice to create and lead the DOJ Civil Rights Unit.  In this capacity, Ms. Sykes litigated several employment and fair housing cases.  In 2013, Ms. Sykes launched a private law practice in SE Portland and continues to advocate for the rights of employees.


Alex Wheatley is a partner in Fisher Phillips’ Portland and Seattle offices. Alex’s practice focuses on employment litigation, labor management relations, and counseling employers on Oregon and Washington employment and labor issues. He has substantial experience working with employers of all sizes to create and implement legally compliant policies and practices. Alex also provides counsel with respect to leave, disability, wage and hour, and discrimination and retaliation laws as well as discipline and termination decisions. Alex defends employers against lawsuits and administrative complaints related to all types of employment claims.


Maria Witt is Of Counsel to Albies, Stark & Guerriero. Maria has spent nearly fifteen years advocating for employee rights, first as a union organizer and then as an employment lawyer. She is passionate about fair treatment in the workplace and strives to make sure every client has the knowledge they need to make informed, empowered decisions. Maria is fluent in both English and Spanish. As an advocate for clients facing discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wage and hour violations, Maria has successfully represented employees in Oregon and Washington at trial, in mediation, and in negotiating settlements. Throughout her work, she draws on her extensive experience helping individuals resolve workplace disputes and obtain better working conditions.