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Executive Committee

FWLA  Executive Committee

Jay Ponazecki, President Jay is a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s Tokyo Business Department and regularly represents American, European and Japanese high-technology companies in a broad range of international business transactions including tender offers, joint ventures and other strategic alliances, and negotiated acquisitions. Jay also assists foreign hedge funds and asset managers with their investments in Japan. She received her B.A. in political science, magna cum laude, from Barnard College and her J.D. from New York University School of Law. Jay is admitted to practice in New York. Jay first came to Japan as a high school exchange student with the American Field Service. She was seconded to Nagashima, Ohno & Tsunematsu in the early 1990s, during which time she and other foreign women lawyers formed the FWLA. She has previously served as FWLA Public Relations Chair, Treasurer and Vice President, and is currently a Vice President of The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

Monica DeMartin, Vice President Monica is an Australian qualified lawyer in Queensland and New South Wales, graduating with Honours from Queensland University of Technology. Monica previously served as a legal officer in the Royal Australian Navy, serving in the Arabian Gulf in 2003 and worked as a prosecutor for the New South Wales Police and the Australian Defence Force. Monica moved from Sydney to Tokyo in January 2007 and joined the U.K law firm Ashurst soon thereafter. Monica is currently seconded to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Catherine M. Collins, Co-Secretary Catherine is a foreign associate at Anderson Mori & Tomotsune. She began practicing business law in Detroit after graduating from the University of Michigan Law School in 2000. At her present position Catherine assists in all aspects of the firm’s corporate practice: contract drafting and negotiating, providing regulatory advice and coordinating global due diligence reviews. In 2009, she became the first foreign qualified lawyer to attend the Law in Japan Program at Meiji University in Tokyo.

Manisha Desai, Co-Secretary Manisha is an Adjunct Professor at Temple University, Japan Campus. Prior to moving to Japan in June 2008, Manisha was a litigator at Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis, LLP in Nashville for two years and, before that, at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, LLP in New York for four years. Manisha also clerked for Honorable John T. Nixon, Senior Judge in the United States District Court, for the Middle District of Tennessee. Manisha is admitted to practice in New York and Tennessee. Manisha received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and French from the University of Louisville and her Juris Doctor from Cornell University Law School. Following law school, Manisha was a Dean Acheson Scholar to the Honorable Jean-Pierre Puissochet of the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Luxembourg.

Jerri Donovan, Treasurer Jerri is Chief Counsel for Wyeth K.K., the Japanese subsidiary of Wyeth, a research-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Madison, New Jersey and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. She received her undergraduate degree in Japanese history from Princeton University as a member of the last all-male class – back when Japanese was considered an esoteric language. Financially exhausted after a few years of Graduate School in Asian Studies at Columbia University, she worked for the then-Japanese National Railways in New York. She completed a J.D. at Brooklyn Law School while working for the US subsidiary of Nisshin Steel Co., Ltd. Jerri is admitted to practice in New York and Massachusetts.

Elisabetta Franceschin, Membership Elisabetta is an Italian qualified lawyer. She holds a law degree from the University of Bologna. She worked in Italy as a lawyer until 2006 and, then, in the same year, she moved to Copenhagen where she worked at Kopp Advokatfirma as a foreign lawyer. She is currently continuing to expand her education at Temple University in Tokyo doing an L.L.M. program in transactional law. In addition, she is studying Japanese.

Stefanie Holland, Membership Stefanie is an associate at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P. and focuses her practice on corporate transactions, finance and governance including U.S. securities matters, mergers and acquisitions and private equity investment. She advises both public and private companies on general business and commercial matters. Stefanie arrived in Japan in March of 2009 and is currently seconded to the Legal Department of ITOCHU Corporation. Prior to joining Squire Sanders, Stefanie spent 13 years in the import/export and transportation industry holding positions with several freight forwarders. She served as an import manager and licensed broker and she continues to maintain her U.S. Customs Broker License. She received her B.B.A., cum laude, from Baldwin-Wallace College and her J.D./M.B.A., magna cum laude, from Cleveland State University. Stefanie is admitted to practice in Ohio.

Catherine O’Connell, Membership Catherine moved back to Tokyo in January 2008 to join the U.K. law firm Lovells. In February 2008, Catherine was dispatched on secondment for two years to the Legal Department of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. Catherine was educated at University of Canterbury where she received a double degree in Law and Japanese. She qualified as a Barrister & Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 1995, and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England & Wales in 2009. Back In New Zealand, Catherine was in private practice with top-10 law firm Anderson Lloyd for seven years, then came to Japan to take up a position as In House Counsel for Olympus Corporation in Tokyo. From 2004 to 2007 Catherine was Senior Legal Counsel for Panasonic in Osaka. Catherine’s after hours passion is the study and enjoyment of wine.

Sakura Hozumi, Communications Sakura handles the day-to-day communications for the FWLA. She was previously a Communications Adviser and member of the legal team in a European pharmaceutical company where she led the Legal Function Project (applying global best practices to Japan), and was responsible for knowledge management initiatives, contracts and case management, and practice building. She completed her studies in international studies and comparative politics at the University of Denver and University of Paris and received a paralegal certificate from George Mason University. Having practiced corporate communications in London, New York and Tokyo, she continues expanding her postgraduate education and expertise in commercial law and arbitration through the IBA fellowship programme.

Kate Mansfield, Newsletter Kate works on the management team at Simul Academy International, an interpretation and translation school in Kamiyacho, and is a professor of English as a Second Language at Meikai University, Chiba. She received her B.A. in Political Studies (focusing on international relations with a particular curiosity towards North East Asia) from The University of Auckland. She completed her law degree at Victoria University, Wellington, and her Postgraduate Certificate in Legal Studies at The University of Auckland. In February 2009, she completed the Professional Legal Studies Course and bar examinations at the College of Law, Auckland receiving Top Grade Equal in New Zealand for Legal Drafting. She is currently attending intensive Japanese lessons at Alpha Academy, Toranomon in preparation for the Level 2 Proficiency Test. Kate is a fluent speaker of French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Laurie Lebrun, Career Pursuits Laurie is a Search Consultant in the Tokyo office of Major, Lindsey & Africa. Laurie specializes in placing associates and partners in international law firms in Tokyo, whether it is their first time living in Japan or they are looking to move laterally within the market. In addition, Laurie has been successful in placing lawyers in-house in Tokyo. A New York qualified lawyer, Laurie practiced for more than five years in the New York and Tokyo offices of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton as a securities, and mergers and acquisitions lawyer. Laurie received her B.A. in international politics from Columbia University, her M.S.F.S. in international business diplomacy from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. Following law school, she was a judicial clerk for one year for Chancellor William T. Allen of the Delaware Court of Chancery.

Jane Pardinas, Career Pursuits Jane is a foreign attorney at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (MHM). She is admitted in the Philippines and started her practice in Manila with SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan. She came to Japan on a 2-year secondment to Anderson Mori Tomotsune. She joined MHM in 2002. She specializes in project finance, structured finance and other finance transactions, Japan REITs and mergers and acquisitions, and has worked on transactions in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Japan. To maintain her sanity, she runs, sings, does yoga, cooks and dabbles in photography.

Jessica F. Blanch, Events Jessica is a foreign associate at Soga, Uryu, & Itoga and an adjunct professor at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. She holds a B.S. in political science from Michigan State University and a J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law. Jessica is admitted to practice law in the State and Federal courts of North Carolina. Prior to moving to Tokyo, Jessica worked in Raleigh, North Carolina as a staff attorney for a non-profit prisoner right’s law firm where she handled post-conviction matters and various other constitutional law issues.

Sandra Cave, Events Sandra was admitted as a lawyer in NSW, Australia in August 2005 and has worked since 2001 as a Legal Editor for 3 large law firms in Tokyo, prior to which she taught English for two years in Tokyo upon arriving in Japan from her birthplace of Tasmania in 1999. She has a B A (Political Science) and an LL B from the University of Tasmania and recently received a Graduate Diploma and an LL M in Legal Practice from the Australian National University. She enjoys traveling as much as possible, singing as loudly as possible at karaoke, photography, Zen meditation, writing and enjoying time with friends (karaoke optional!).

Florence Lomaglio, Events Florence is a Swiss qualified lawyer. Living in Tokyo since January 2008, she is working for a Swiss consulting company, CH Projects Management, as a legal adviser since January 2009. In addition, she conducts commercial mandates for Swiss and European companies on the Japanese market as a free-lancer. She speaks French, English, Japanese, Italian and German. Interested in humanitarian law, she was selected to participate in the Jean-Pictet competition in 2005 and writes monthly online articles for TRIAL (Swiss Association Against Impunity) about the international law of armed conflicts. In 2005, she received a master in law, magna cum laude, from Neuchâtel University, Switzerland. She was admitted to the bar in Switzerland in 2007.