Newsletter Editor - Candidate Statements

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Ingrid Benson-Villegas

This year during the pandemic, I had the honor of serving on the Board of Directors of MDFAWL and now seek your support for Newsletter Editor to further our mission on gender equality.  I have been involved with MDFAWL since 2014.  As Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, we developed contests and presented at law firms, increasing our membership by almost three times.  This year, I also participated in preparing grant applications to furnish lactation spaces in the Miami-Dade courthouses and to obtain funding for quality programming.

Along with The Florida Bar YLD, I initiated the development of and spoke in favor of the American Bar Association Parental Leave Resolution in 2018.  In January 2019, the ABA House of Delegates adopted the Resolution.  The Florida Supreme Court adopted the Parental Leave Rule in 2019 and it has been adopted in North Carolina. 

I am the Membership Committee Co-Chair of MDFAWL and Past Chair of the Public Relations Committee, Awards Committee, and Website Committee.  As Chair of the Public Relations Committee, I gained key insight into developing marketing material to publish to our readers – insight that makes me uniquely positioned to design our Newsletter.  I have also been Associate Editor of The Young Lawyer at the ABA since 2016.  This position has sharpened my editing skills. 

As Newsletter Editor, I will publish material in support of gender equality.  Thank you for your support!  To learn more about my work, please click here


Schuyler Smith

Friends and Colleagues, I am running for Newsletter Editor of Miami Dade FAWL. Since graduating law school 12 years ago, I have consistently held numerous leadership positions in the legal community including serving as a Director for the Dade County Bar Association YLD from 2011- 2014, serving as the youngest President of the Caribbean Bar Association from 2012-2011, serving on the Florida Bar Board of Governors, YLD from 2011-present, and on the Board of Directors for MDFAWL from 2019- present. In MDFAWL, I have served as chair/co-chair for the diversity, table for 8 with the Judges, GOOD Guys, and Corporate Counsel committees.


This year, I spearheaded the adoption of MDFAWL’s policy on ensuring diversity among speakers for all its programming and organized and facilitated a program on combatting gender pay disparity. I am also spearheading MDFAWL’s first implicit bias workshop and training which will be available to members and other partner organizations, and am co-chairing MDFAWL’s first virtual corporate counsel summit which will provide  members with access to a diverse slate of in house counsel.


Community involvement is important to me. Advancing diversity and inclusion efforts for women in our practice is also important to me.  Facilitating efforts to ensure women are treated equally, fairly, and with respect is even more important to me. MDFAWL advances these goals and I ask for your support so that I can continue to serve the female attorneys in our legal community and the community at large.

Congratulations to the 2021-2022 Board of Directors

  • Giovanna Abreu O’Connor

  • Claire Armagnac-Rodriguez

  • Alexa C. Bontkowski 

  • Carmen Contreras-Martinez

  • Mallory Cooney

  • Marianne Curtis

  • Allison Leonard

  • Vannessa Mari-Milhem

  • Melissa Roca Shaw

  • Jessica Saiontz

  • Shelby Walton

Elections Committee

Diana Mendez
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Stephanie Casey
Kristin Drecktrah Paz

If you have any questions about the nomination or elections process, please contact the Elections Committee at elections@mdfawl.org.

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