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Leadership Biographies

Debra S. Albright

Debra S. Albright

Debbie is an Associate Paralegal for Dean Foods Company, a food and beverage company that processes and distributes milk, various other dairy products and dairy-related branded products.  Debbie is a member of the legal team embedded with the Supply Chain division and assists with the purchasing transactions for the company.  Debbie received her Paralegal certification from the University of North Texas.

Previous to working for Dean, Debbie was with Equifax Services, Inc. serving in many capacities but primarily specializing in insurance claims fraud and the management of multiple investigative teams in connection with the defense of insurance companies.  She held multiple certifications in fraud investigation and claims adjustment. 

Previous to becoming Treasurer for DAPA, Debbie also served on the Entertainment Committee for DAPA in 2010.

Debbie lives in Frisco and is the proud grandmother of two beautiful grandsons, Noah and Sam. 

Michele Boerder, CP

Michele Boerder, CP, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Board Certified - Civil Trial Law


Michele Boerder is a litigation paralegal with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Dallas, Texas and has 34 years of experience. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of North Texas and an A.A. from the El Centro College Paralegal Program in 1979. She is a Board Certified Paralegal - Civil Trial, Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a Certified Paralegal ("CP" through NALA) as well as a past President of the Paralegal Division, State Bar of Texas and a past President of the Dallas Area Paralegal Association. Michele has also served on the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Committee, the TBLS Paralegal Civil Trial Commission, NFPA's Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam Standards Committee, and Paralegal Today magazine's editorial review board. She received the Dallas Area Paralegal Association's Paralegal of the Year Award in 1995, NFPA's Paralegal of the Year award in 2005,the Dallas Area Paralegal Association Lifetime Achievement award in 2006 and NFPA's Robie Leadership Award in 2011.

Mariela Evora Cawthon, CP, TBLS-BCP

Mariela Evora Cawthon, CP, TBLS-BCP

Mariela E. Cawthon, CP, TBLC-BCP has more than 20 years of experience as a paralegal and is currently employed as a senior litigation paralegal with the lawfirm of Lynn Tillotson & Pinker, a commercial litigation firm.  She has been with LTPC for over 13 years.  Mariela earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University in 1993, with degrees in Spanish and Political Science.  In 1996, she took the National Legal Assistant Association’s (NALA) exam and earned her CP designation.  In December 2004, Mariela became a Board Certified Paralegal in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Mariela joined DAPA in June 1997.  In addition to serving on several committees including Paralegal Day, Holiday Luncheon and Career Day, Mariela was the Chair of DAPA’s Pro Bono Committee/Community Services Committee from April 2004 through December 2007.  She served as DAPA’s Membership Vice President in 2005 and 2006, and she has chaired the Mentor/Protégé Committee and the CLE Audit Committee.  Mariela won the the Pro Bono award in 2005, the President's Award in 2006, DAPA's Paralegal of the Year award in 2010 and NFPA's Paralegal of the Year Award in 2011.   She hals also served on NFPA's Budget Committee in 2016 and NFPA's Regulation Committee in 2017.

Mariela has been written numerous articles for DAPA's On The Record during her tenure on the DAPA Board. Her articles focused on Pro Bono and Membership actitvities. In addition to her duties with DAPA, Mariela served as a District Director for the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas from 2012-2014.  She also served on the Division's Membership Committee from  2009-2012.  She also has had articles published in the Divisions The Paralegal Journal.

In addition to her duties with DAPA and the Division, Mariela has also given numerous CLEs on topics such as Trial Preparation and the Role of the Paralegal in a lawfirm.  She has presented these topics for both her peers at DAPA and the Division, as well as for her firm.

Mariela and her husband are the proud parents of a Son.  With the assistance of her Husband, she is actively involved with the Cub Scout organization as a Den Leader.  In this role, Mariela and Don are able to help the boys prepare for their future and to teach them useful tools to improve their lives and the values by which they live as they grow to become young men.  Mariela also volunteers at her Son's school whenever possible by assisting with field trips, classroom activities and in other areas of need at his school.  Mariela also participates in a feed the homeless program with the Many Helping Hands organization.

Andrea M. Clark

Andrea M. Clark

Kathy K. Connell

Kathy K. Connell

Katherine K. Connell (Kathy) is an Assistant Secretary & Senior Paralegal for Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc., a publicly-held mortgage services company.  Kathy has more than 25 years of experience as a paralegal in the areas of corporate securities, contracts, banking and finance, real estate, corporate governance, subsidiary maintenance and various areas of regulatory law. She received her Bachelors of Arts Degree, with a major in Political Science, and certificates in Integrated Liberal Studies and Women’s Studies, from the University of Wisconsin. Kathy completed, with honors, the ABA approved, Lawyers Assistant Program at Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL.

Kathy has served in various capacities as a member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas Area Paralegal Association (“DAPA”), including her current positions of Parliamentarian, Rules and Bylaws Committee Chairperson, CLE Audit Committee Chairperson and Assistant Secretary, she has also served in the past as Membership Vice President, Parliamentarian, Rules and Bylaws Committee Chairperson and Assistant Secretary. Kathy received DAPA’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2006 and Paralegal of the Year Award in 2007.

Kathy is also a member of the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas and the Paralegal Program Advisory Board of Kaplan College, Dallas, TX.

Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis, PLS

Kathy Davis is a paralegal for James S. Robertson, III at the law firm of Glast, Phillips & Murray, P.C. since November 2001.  Kathy obtained her paralegal certificate in 1991, obtained credentials as a certified legal professional in 1997, and is listed in the United Who's Who Executive and Professional Registry.  Kathy is currently serving as DAPA's Website Administrator and has also served as DAPA's treasurer for 6 years and has served as a committee member on numerous committees.

Lisa Fenty

Lisa Fenty

Lisa is from Buffalo, New York and has worked as a paralegal for 15 years.  She works in the area of Workers’ Compensation as an insurance defense paralegal.  She assists attorneys with preparing workers’ compensation claims for hearings before an administrative board.


Lisa has been a member of DAPA since 2001.  Lisa received her Paralegal Certificate from Kaplan College and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Texas A& M University-Commerce.

Floy Gaidarski

Floy Gaidarski

Floy Gaidarski earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Southern Methodist University in 2013. She joined the Dallas Area Paralegal Association as a student member before her graduation from the SMU Paralegal Certificate Program in 2015 and became Corporate Section Chair and voting member of DAPA shortly thereafter. She is currently serving on DAPA's Board of Directors as the Director at Large, Scholarship Committee Chair, and Corporate Section Chair. Floy is the Executive Vice President of Abruzzo Woodworks LLC where she provides paralegal services for the company's corporate matters.  She has lived in Dallas for over 20 years.

Katherine Henderson

Katherine Henderson

Katherine is currently a student at Collin College working towards an Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies. After receiving her Associate’s degree, she plans to continue her education and get her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She has a background in banking, retail, and office management. Katherine has been a member of DAPA since Fall 2016. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, golfing, cooking and exploring Dallas.

Shenna Lawless

Shenna Lawless

Shenna Lawless is a Senior Paralegal at The Law Office of Anne Ashby, PLLC. She has more than 13 years of professional experience in the legal field, much of that time dedicated in the ADR field.  Shenna graduated from Texas Woman's University with a Bachelor of Science in Government with an emphasis in Legal Studies. She is a member of the Paralegal Division State Bar of Texas, Dallas Area Paralegal Association, and a legal professional member of the American Bar Association and Collin County Bar Association.   She proudly served as a paralegal with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corp, assisting judges and Army lawyers with legal matters and judicial work all over the world, including Seoul, South Korea and Tikrit, Iraq.

Beyond the office doors, faith and family serve as a foundation for her life.  Shenna loves spending time with her husband and toddler twins.

Debbi Lowe

Debbi Lowe

Debbi Lowe is a litigation paralegal with over 20 years of experience in the legal field. She has worked on a variety of cases such as Patent Litigation, Trademark, Commerical Litigation, Employment, Personal Injury and Appellate cases. Debbi earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and an Associates degree in Paralegal Studies from El Centro College.

Debbi joined DAPA as a student member in 1998. She became an active member in 2003. In 2010, Debbi served as Job Bank Administrator until the summer of 2011. She has served as Weekly Communications Manager distributing the Weekly E News since 2011. Debbi is the board advisor for the Job Bank Administrator and Website Administrator. She also serves as the Newsletter Editor and is a mentor in DAPA’s Mentor/Protégé Program.  Debbi is the recipient of DAPA's 2012 President's Award.

She is a member of the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas and The Bar College of the State of Texas.

She is a supporter of Dallas Komen in which she participates yearly in the Dallas Komen Race for the Cure. Debbi is also a supporter of the Texas SPCA, Operation Kindness and the North Texas Food Bank.

Debbi spends her free time gardening, reading, listening to music, and spoiling her dog or as she likes to call her “furry child”.



Mary E. Morman, CP

Mary E. Morman, CP

Mary E Morman, CP is currently working as a Licensing/Credentialing Paralegal at Catapult Health in Dallas.  Over the years, Mary has worked in litigation, in foreclosure both multi-family and single-family, real estate and bankruptcy both corporate and individual.

Mary has been involved with the Dallas Area Paralegal Association since she joined as a student member in 2005.  In 2011 DAPA’s Collin County Section Chair; again in 2014 DAPA’s Collin County Section Chair and also DAPA’s Co-Chair for Community Service & Pro-Bono, again in 2015 DAPA’s Collin County Section Chair and has just been appointed to the DAPA Board of Directors as VP Programs. 

Mary has been active in volunteering and paralegal associations since she graduated from El Centro College's ABA Accredited Paralegal Studies program in May of 2005.  Mary became a Certified Paralegal with NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants & Paralegals) in January 2006.  Mary earned her BAAS (Bachelor's of Applied Arts & Sciences) from Texas A&M University-Commerce in May 2010.

Mary was honored with DAPA’s 2006 Pro Bono Service Award and was again honored with DAPA’s 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award.

Kay Redburn

Kay Redburn, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Board Certified - Family Law

Kay Redburn has been a paralegal in Family Law since 1983 and has worked with Brian L. Webb and The Webb Family Law Firm since 1992. Kay is a Board Certified Paralegal in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization; is a Charter Member (Paralegal) of the State Bar College; is a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists (TAFLS); the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas; the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas; as well as DAPA. She received the "Paralegal of the Year Award from DAPA in 2006 and the President's Award from TAFLS in 2008. She is also the chair of the Paralegal Studies Program Advisory Committee at El Centro College and does volunteer work with the Mesquite Police Department.

Hilary Roberts

Hilary Roberts

Hilary works with corporate counsel at Walker & Doepfner, P.C. in Addison, Texas.  Her work involves civil and business litigation matters as well as employment, contract law and real property issues.  In her previous position, she worked as a Global Immigration paralegal.  She has a paralegal certificate from SMU and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Southern Illinois University.  She has been a member of DAPA since 2015 and brings an extensive business background that includes corporate sales, management, marketing and customer development.  Hilary is from Springfield, Illinois and currently lives in Plano, Texas.

Michelle Roberts

Michelle Roberts, CP

Michelle Roberts is an Advanced Certified Paralegal and is employed in the Intellectual Property Section of Locke Lord LLP.  Her responsibilities include patent, trademark and copyright prosecution and litigation matters.  Michelle holds advanced certifications in both patent and trademark law.

Michelle obtained her paralegal certificate in 2005 from the Southeastern Career Institute in Dallas (now Kaplan College) and soon thereafter, became a nationally certified paralegal specializing in litigation, criminal law and estate planning.  

In addition, Michelle worked as a former Federal Courtroom Deputy for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and also has extensive appellate law experience working as an assistant to a State of Texas Supreme Court Judge.  She is a certified jury consultant and has had the rare opportunity of supervising voir dire jury examinations for civil and criminal cases.  Michelle has been a DAPA member since 2007.

Candy Ryan

Candy Ryan, CRP™

Candy Ryan, CRP™ is a Litigation Paralegal at the firm of Beirne Maynard and Parsons, LLP.  Ms. Ryan has extensive experience handling such diverse matters as commercial litigation, insurance defense, bankruptcy, business and corporate, probate and trust, real estate, trucking and railroad, as well as family law. She has ably assisted attorneys with commercial and business litigation case management, in both federal and state courts in numerous jurisdictions, including, Texas, California, Washington, Oregon, Arkansas, Oklahoma and others.

Ms. Ryan has been an active part of the legal community since 1979 in Seattle, San Diego and Dallas.  She is a graduate of the University of San Diego, ABA accredited Paralegal Studies Program (1988) and has specialized in litigation for more than 25 years.  She received her Bachelors of Arts in Legal Studies from California Creek University in 2015. She is very proud to be one of the initial 16 paralegals to be certified by the National Federation of Paralegal Association (NFPA) as a CORE Registered Paralegal in the State of Texas and one of the first 200 CRPs in the United States. She has also served DAPA for many years as Chair of the Litigation section since 2009, President-Elect (2010), President (2011), Education Vice President (2012-2013), and NFPA Association Coordinator (2014).  She currently serves on the Everest College Paralegal Program Advisory Commission (2009-2015), as well as, past board advisor for ITT Technical College and the Court Reporting Institute. She was a former member of DALA and President of the San Luis Obispo County Paralegal Association (1989 - California).

She has been a certified Divemaster since 1995 and has enjoyed working with dive groups in Texas, Florida, Mexico and Belize.


Kelli Smith

Kelli Smith, CRP™

Kelli Smith brings a comprehensive background coupled with her numerous years of experience working in the legal industry to the Dallas Area Paralegal Association and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. Kelli is an Assistant Vice President, Senior Paralegal in the Legal Affairs Department of Dallas-based PlainsCapital Corporation, a diversified Dallas-based financial services company, and one of the largest Bank Holding Companies in Texas.

Prior to joining PlainsCapital, Kelli worked for seven years as a litigation paralegal specializing in bankruptcy and mortgage litigation at Locke Lord, LLP, a full-service, international law firm. Prior to joining Locke Lord, Kelli worked for nine years as a legal assistant for Centex Corporation, a Fortune 250 company and one of the nation's premier companies in homebuilding, financial services, home services and commercial contracting.

Kelli obtained her AAS in Management from Eastfield College in 2006, and in 2011, was one of the first 148 paralegals in the nation who passed the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam® pilot test administered at 12 test sites across the country. Sixteen Texas paralegals passed the exam earning the CRPTM credential.

While attending Eastfield, Kelli was chosen by the college to serve in their Texas Legislative Internship Program where she interned for Texas State Senator John Carona. Kelli also served as Executive Vice President, then Chapter President of the Psi Eta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, International Honor Society of the Two-Year College, where she received nominations for Distinguished Chapter Officer and Distinguished Chapter President, and was voted into the Texas Hall of Honor for Distinguished Members. During her tenure as Chapter President, she received numerous honors and awards including the Guistwhite Scholar (highest honor in Phi Theta Kappa), All-USA Academic Team, All State Academic Team, Who's Who Among Students in America's Junior Colleges, and National Dean’s List.

Kelli has been a member of DAPA since 2008, serving on the Board of Directors since 2011, and has held various positions within the organization including Vendor Co-Advisor from 2009 through 2012, Professional Development Director in 2011, Director-at-Large from 2012 and 2013, Membership Vice President, NFPA Primary in 2014 and 2016, DAPA's Education Vice President in 2015, and currently serves as President-Elect.  In 2015, Kelli was also appointed NFPA's Internal Marketing Coordinator at the national level, and serves as NFPA's Association Co-Coordinator since 2015, as well as on NFPA's Ethics Board since 2016.

Kelli has served and continues to serve on several committees including NFPA Convention Planning Committee, Scholarship Committee, Mentor/Protégé Committee, Paralegal Day Committee, Holiday Luncheon Committee, and Membership Committee.  Kelli is also a member of the State Bar of Texas-Paralegal Division and was Co-Chair for the 2013 Annual Meeting Planning Committee. In 2013, Kelli was the recipient of the Dallas Area Paralegal Association’s Paralegal of the Year Award.

Kelli currently volunteers for, and is a 16-year veteran and 2017 Co-Chairperson over nearly 200 Corporate Venue Volunteers at the Byron Nelson Golf Classic, volunteering on behalf of the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the quality of life of young people through education and mental health services. Kelli is also a former charter member, volunteer, and computer software training instructor at The Women’s Museum, where she taught beginning-level computer software training classes to underprivileged women in the greater Dallas area. She currently participates in DAPA’s Mentor/Protégé program and is a volunteer with the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program.

Cindy Welch, RP

Cindy Welch, RP®

After graduating from the University of Texas at Dallas School with a B.S. in Business Administration, Cindy Welch, RP went to El Centro Community College for her paralegal certificate. While currently working in the areas of family law and employment law, her previous work experience includes working for a group of trial consultants and a national mediation and arbitration firm.  She also spent 10 years as an instructor for paralegal students.

She is the author of many articles for The National Paralegal Reporter and has written for the Texas Paralegal Journal. Over the years, Cindy has served her local association, the Dallas Area Paralegal Association (DAPA) in several elected and appointed positions before joining the board of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) where she served as Region II Director (2010-2012) and Vice President & Director of Membership (2012-2015).  In addition to membership in NFPA and DAPA, Cindy has been a member of the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas for almost 20 years.

Cindy became a PACE Registered Paralegal® in 2001.

Sheila White

Sheila White

My name is Sheila L. White and I have been a paralegal for fifteen years. I currently work in the Legal Department for Dean Foods Company as a Senior Paralegal with a primary focus on contracts for the Procurement Department of the company. The majority of my career has been in the areas of Banking and Corporate Law. I graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications. I have been an active member of Dallas Area Paralegal Association since 1995. I served on the Board of Directors as Secretary from 1997 to 1999. I also served as the advisor for the Mentor Program and I have been the chairperson of the Elections Committee since 2005. I will be celebrating 16 years of marriage with my husband Michael. We have one daughter named Morgan and she is 8 years old. I love reading, shopping and spending time with my family.

Angela Wilson

Angela Wilson

Education: Graduated Heald Business College – San Francisco, CA, 1982 (Paralegal Certificate – Corporate and Tax Law); Graduated UT Arlington 2001 (B.A. English).

Experience: Have worked over 20 years as a paralegal. Employed at Lackey Hershman, LLP, Dallas, Texas, November 2005 to Present.

Affiliations: Member of Dallas Area Paralegal Association, (DAPA) 2006.

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