PFAWL Board of Directors 2021 - 2022
Meredith Gaunce is the 2021-2022 President of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Meredith specializes in helping business owners understand and navigate employment laws. For the past 14 years, Meredith has strived to protect her clients from legal exposure and poise them for success and growth. She graduated from Emory University in 2004 with her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish and then received her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2007 where she was the Founder and President of the Animal Legal Protection Organization (“ALPO”).
After relocating to St. Petersburg in 2010 Meredith began working for the Labor and Employment firm Ogletree Deakins. In 2013, Meredith left the firm to become an in-house attorney for a corporation handling their employment matters and corporate contract needs. In 2016, Meredith decided it was time to share her knowledge and passion with the local business community in St. Petersburg and opened Gaunce Law with her husband Andy. She has been a Super Lawyers Rising Star in Employment and Labor Law for the past four years and has been the only attorney in St. Petersburg receiving this designation for the past three years. She is the President of the local chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. In her spare time, she makes jewelry and runs after her 5-year-old son Noah and two dogs.
Daniela (Dany) Carrion is the President Elect of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Dany is an Attorney at the Linesch Firm, in Palm Harbor Florida, where she practices exclusively employment & immigration law. Born in Quito, Ecuador Dany brings a diverse background, which has made her an avid Immigration lawyer and human rights advocate. Having endured the difficult process of immigration, Dany understands both the emotional and legal issues associated with the immigration process. Dany attended American Washington College of Law, where she received her Juris Doctor Degree and specialized in human rights law and the cross section of environmental disasters and human trafficking.
Prior to coming to Florida Dany worked for Catholic Charities, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), and Service Employers International Union (SEIU). Dany’s work has earned her various awards, and she is a well regarded author concerning Indigenous and Immigrant Rights.
Dany heads the Pro Bono section of the Linesch Firm, which is devoted to Human Rights. She works closely for the “Fight for 15” Campaign with SEIU, is a member of the Human Resource Committee to RCS Pinellas, and advises the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. Dany has also been involved with the CARA pro bono project by providing on the ground legal support at the Artesia, New Mexico, and Dilley, Texas Family Detention Centers.
Currently, Dany is also the secretary of the Pinellas Young Lawyers Division, The Committee Co-Chair of the Pro-Bono Section of the Hillsborough Women’s Law Association.
Whitney Green is the Secretary of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Whitney Green is a native and life-long Floridian. In 2009, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the University of Florida, cum laude. In 2012, she obtained her law degree from the Florida State University Collge of Law, with honors, and was admitted to The Florida Bar.
After law school, Whitney relocated to St. Petersburg. Wanting to focus her career on public service, she served for six years as a staff attorney in the Office of Court Counsel for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. Her diverse positions within the office earned her legal experience with criminal and civil law, as well as with administrative matters impacting the judiciary. Whitney currently practices as an Assistant State Attorney in the Sixth Circuit, and specializes in postconviction litigation in Pinellas and Pasco counties. Whitney joined the Junior League of St. Petersburg in 2018 and currently serves as chair-elect on the Public Affairs committee. In addition to her work with the League, Whitney sits on the board of the Pinellas chapter of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers, as the Young Lawyers Director.
In her free time, Whitney enjoys travelling and antique-hunting with her husband Henry, trying new restaurants in St. Pete, and spending time with her two cats and dog.Whitney
Elise Winters is the Treasurer of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawers.
Based in Clearwater, Elise K. Winters, P.A. assists clients in a range of commercial matters, including real estate, landlord-tenant arrangements, construction, corporate law, and business transactions. Ms. Winters has thirty years of legal experience and a diverse background and range of commercial expertise. Since 1980, she has personally managed all of her clients, representing a wide range of developers, commercial landlords, and businesses. With extensive litigation experience earlier in her career, Ms. Winters’ transactional clients regularly request her services as in-house counsel, so that she can oversee her clients’ trial attorneys when litigation arises.
Ms. Winters is a longtime officer and director of the Clearwater Bar Association, and served as President of that organization from 1991 to 1992. She is also a Past Chair of the City of Clearwater Downtown Development Board. Ms. Winters has received an award from the Florida Supreme Court in recognition of her pro bono work and devotion to public service. Ms. Winters received her B.S. and J.D. from the University of Florida, graduating with honors for both degrees. She was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1980.
Shavarne B. Dahlquist
FAWL State Chapter Representative
Shavarne Dahlquist is the FAWL State Chapter Representative of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Ms. Dahlquist received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the University of Florida. Prior to attending law school, she worked in the Probate Division of the Howard Forman Clerk of Court, focusing on trust and estate administration. Ms. Dahlquist earned her Juris Doctor in the top 25th percentile from Barry University School of Law in 2006.
Upon graduating from law school, Ms. Dahlquist accepted a two-year clerkship with the 15th Judicial Circuit in West Palm Beach, serving as its Judicial Law Clerk and Criminal Appeals Coordinator and concentrating on probate, civil, criminal, family, and juvenile law. Subsequently, Ms. Dahlquist practiced with a small boutique firm in West Palm Beach, specializing in estate planning, probate and trust administration, corporate law, and civil litigation.
Ms. Dahlquist is a member of The Florida Bar and Clearwater Bar Association, and is privileged to serve on The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. She has also been on the Board of Directors for the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers for several years and is active in several organizations in the community as well.
She resides with her husband, David, and two daughters, Sydney and Olivia, in Palm Harbor, Florida. In her free time, she enjoys reading, music, and spending time with family and friends.
Kathleen E. McCarthy
Kathleen (Katie) McCarthy is the Public Relations Director of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Kathleen is a licensed Attorney in the State of Florida, the State of New York, and the District of Colombia. She is a Civil Litigation Associate with Andrews Biernacki Davis in Tampa, Florida. Kathleen is a member of the Junior League of Saint Petersburg. She is also an active member of the Saint Petersburg Bar Association and is currently serving on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
Kathleen became a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance in 2020 and is enjoying teaching yoga classes and hosting workshops in Saint Petersburg. She loves traveling, reading, and spending time with her partner, Tina, and their mini golden-doodles, Coasta and Chase.
Christina Pacheco is the Awards Director of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Christina Z. Pacheco, a board certified lawyer in Criminal Appellate Law, is an Assistant Attorney General at the Florida Office of the Attorney General. She currently handles appeals of first-degree murder cases, which allows her to practice in circuit courts throughout the state as well as district courts of appeal, the Florida Supreme Court, and federal courts. Ms. Pacheco’s oral argument experience includes eighteen different appearances, eight of which have been before the Florida Supreme Court. She has handled hundreds of cases throughout her career, and she is routinely involved in high-profile cases.
In addition to serving as a board member of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, she is a member and former board member of the Rotary Club of St. Petersburg Sunset. Ms. Pacheco is also serving her third term on The Florida Bar’s Criminal Law Certification Committee, and she edits for the St. Petersburg Bar Association’s publication, the Paraclete. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, cooking, traveling, and exploring St. Petersburg’s wonderful restaurants with her husband, Tony.
Programming and Social Director
Rebecca Deming is the CLE Programs Director of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Rebecca was born in Boynton Beach, FL and raised in New York, NY. After graduating Cum Laude from Cornell University, she spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, and then went on to pursue her legal studies at the University of Miami’s School of Law, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2008.
Rebecca’s early career path was influenced by her love for the law and her desire to contribute to the global war on terror. After working for two large international law firms, she joined the US Agency for International Development in 2011 and headed to Afghanistan to work on Rule of Law issues in support of US and NATO troops. After Afghanistan, Rebecca worked closely with a wide variety of military and civilian organizations in developing and complex environments. She has extensive experience working in Africa, Europe, and Central Asia conducting hands-on training and oversight of security sector reform, capacity building, educational, and institutional transformation projects. In addition to working as a Senior Human Rights Advisor for the US Department of State, Rebecca has taught lectures on human rights to UN Peacekeepers in Niger, Togo, Benin, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Rwanda, and Kenya.
Rebecca has more recently transitioned back into the practice of law. As an accredited attorney with the Veterans Benefits Administration, Rebecca moved to St. Petersburg and joined the Tucker Law Group in 2019 to help clients who served in the military obtain their service-connected disability compensation. She joined PFAWL to get to know other women attorneys in the community and expand her local network.
Amy Dilday is the CLE Director of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Young Lawyers Section & Pro Bono
Catherine Henry is the Young Lawyers Section and Pro Bono Director of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Catherine is a Central Florida native who moved to the Bay area in 2010. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of North Florida. After graduation, she took some time off from her education to travel and spend time with family, before eventually earning her Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law in 2015. After being admitted to the Florida Bar, she began her career at the Sixth Circuit Office of the Public Defender where she spent a significant amount of time in the misdemeanor domestic violence division before ultimately being promoted to a felony division. Most notably, she partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union to litigate the issue of pretrial detention, to secure affordable bonds and pretrial release for her clients stuck in custody on pending criminal charges. In April of 2021, Catherine left the Public Defender’s Office and opened her solo practice, Henry Law. While she handles most types of criminal charges, she specializes in domestic violence and civil injunctions.
Catherine is an active member of the legal community. She is currently the Secretary on the board of directors for the Pinellas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL), after serving one year as chapter representative at the state level (FACDL). Catherine was recently elected to the board of directors for the St. Petersburg Bar Association, after previously serving two years as chair and one year as co-chair of the criminal law section. She is a former board member of the Sarasota Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL) and a former member of the Tampa Bay Inn of Court. She also volunteers with the Lawyers for Literacy program and was previously a volunteer with the Guardian Ad Litem program in Pinellas County.
Membership- New Members
Joelle Bordeaux is the Membership (New Members) Director of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Courtney Fernald is the Membership (Retention) Director of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Courtney is the Managing Partner of Englander Fischer, a boutique business litigation firm in St. Pete. Courtney graduated summa cum laude, second in her class, from Stetson University College of Law in 2007. While in law school, she served as Articles Editor and Recent Developments Editor for the Stetson Law Review. She was also a member of Stetson’s Moot Court Board and completed Stetson’s Honors Program. Upon graduation, Courtney was awarded the E. Harris Drew Memorial Award for excellence in written and oral advocacy, and the Victor O. Wehle award for excellence in trial advocacy. In 2016, Courtney became Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice. Certification is the highest level of evaluation by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification. Courtney focuses her practice primarily on appellate law, but also represents clients in a wide variety of commercial litigation matters. She is a 2010 graduate of Leadership St. Pete, a division of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and one of the oldest leadership programs in the country, and currently serves on the LSP Alumni Association’s community service committee. She is also actively involved with the St. Petersburg Bar Association, and was elected to serve on the Executive Committee Board beginning July 2021.
Courtney lives in St. Petersburg with her husband, Jonathan, and their two children, Gabriella and Sebastian. Courtney and her family enjoy boating, swimming, and enjoying all that beautiful St. Pete has to offer.
Starlett Massey is the Sponsorship Chair of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Starlett is the founding shareholder of Massey Law Group. She founded MLG because she wanted to create an alternative law firm model based upon the principles of fairness, equality, and transparency. She understands that happy lawyers who are fairly compensated and treated with respect will deliver the highest quality of legal services to clients. She specializes in commercial litigation, corporate transactions, real estate, and construction law. She has been recognized as a Rising Star in Business Litigation by peer review through the Florida Super Lawyers from 2013 through 2017.
In 1998, Starlett graduated cum laude from the Florida State University with a degree in English. She is a 2007 graduate of the Florida State University College of Law. She is licensed to practice in Florida and Pennsylvania and is licensed and practices in all of the state and federal courts of the State of Florida. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Florida Bar Committee for Diversity and Inclusion and is Co-Chair of the Get Involved Subcommittee. Starlett is a member of the St. Petersburg Bar Association, the Hillsborough County Bar Association, and the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. In 2009, Starlett received the Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award from the Supreme Court of Florida, recognizing her work on behalf of the indigent. Starlett currently serves on the Board of Directors for Florida CraftArt, the Board of Directors for the Cultural Hub of NW Florida, and the Community Council for Champions for Children.
Starlett is committed to her personal and professional growth with a focus on gender and racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. Her vision for MLG stands in second position only to her dedication to parenting her son and his development as a young man committed to fun, play, and the principles of integrity, equality, and community responsibility.
CLE Committee Chair
Mercedes Buntz is the CLE Committee Chair of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Social Media Chair
Roxie Baxter is the Social Media Chair of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Rosie is a 2L at Stetson University College of Law. She received a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Florida State University in 2019. Rosie is a Tampa Native and hopes to pursue a law career in the Tampa Bay area.
Immediate Past President
Nicole Bell is the Immediate Past President of the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
After completing her undergraduate studies at Florida State University, Nicole pursued her passion for research and writing by attending the Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, FL. Now, Nicole is an attorney at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP where she practices estate planning, probate/trust administration, and business planning. Nicole is involved in the St. Petersburg community (Leadership St. Pete Class of 2019 and President-Elect of Brookwood Florida, a local nonprofit) and served as the President of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers for the year 2020-2021.
Interested in Joining the PFAWL Board of Directors?
There are always opportunities to join the PFAWL Board of Directors! If you’re interested and would like to become involved, please complete the form below. Would you like to become more involved but maybe not commit to a board position yet? You can join a committee!