Dina Bakst is a Co-Founder and Co-President of A Better Balance. Dina features regularly in local and national news coverage of work-family issues. Her 2012 New York Times op-ed, Pregnant & Pushed Out of A Job, inspired the introduction of the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which she helped draft, and contributed to passage of the New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2013. Dina is a co-author of the recently published Babygate: What You Really Need to Know About A Pregnancy & Parenting In The American Workplace, a national know-your-rights book covering pregnancy discrimination, family leave, caregiver discrimination, breastfeeding rights, workplace flexibility and more. Dina has written numerous articles and reports on workplace fairness including, most recently, “It Shouldn’t Be a Heavy Lift: Fair Treatment for Pregnant Workers.”
Prior to co-founding A Better Balance, Dina was an attorney with the NOW Legal Defense & Education fund (now Legal Momentum) where she pursued litigation and public policy advocacy on a wide range of women's issues including economic justice, child care and reproductive rights. Dina is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan. She also served as a litigation associate with Kaye, Scholer LLP.
Sarah Brafman joined A Better Balance in fall 2016 as a Skadden Fellow. She graduated in May 2016 from the New York University School of Law, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the N.Y.U. Review of Law & Social Change and co-chair of NYU Law Students for Reproductive Justice. During her summers in law school, Sarah interned for the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project and the National Women’s Law Center Health Care & Reproductive Rights Team. She was also a student advocate and teaching assistant for the NYU Reproductive Justice Clinic. Prior to law school, Sarah was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Bogor, Indonesia. She graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University.
Prior to joining A Better Balance, Patricia Garcia Rodriguez practiced Human Rights and International Law in both Spain and with the United Nations in New York City. Patricia Garcia Rodriguez worked as Human Rights Policy Analyst at the United Nations from 2013 to 2015. She advised governments and international groups of companies in complying with all aspects of the Business and Human Rights Agenda, and in implementing international human rights standards in the workplace. Patricia also worked on development issues with a focus on social justice and gender equality in Latin American Countries. Patricia assisted with international summits and conferences worldwide, participating in the third Global Sustainability Summit in Madrid and the Colloquium on Policy, Law, Contracts, and Sustainable Investments, Institute for Human Rights and Business in New York.
Patricia Garcia Rodriguez earned both her Spanish dual Law and Business Administration degree from the European University of Madrid, in 2008 and her LL.M in International Legal Studies from New York University, in 2013. Before working for the UN, she worked as an Associate Attorney from 2008-2012, with one of the top 10 law firms in Europe. Patricia is a member of the Madrid Bar and her admission to the New York State Bar is pending.
Elizabeth Gedmark, Staff Attorney/Director of the Southern Office, joined A Better Balance in September 2011 and served as an NYU School of Law Fellow from 2011-2012. She graduated in May 2011 from the New York University School of Law, where she was co-chair of the Mental Health Law Association and a Feminism & Diversity co-chair of Law Women. She interned over the summers at the ACLU of Tennessee and the New York Legal Assistance Group's Special Litigation Unit. She also interned one semester at the New York Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Rights Project. As a part of NYU Law's Federal Defender Clinic, Elizabeth acted as co-counsel on a criminal defense case in a federal bench trial. She also argued before the Second Circuit on a separate clinic case. Elizabeth was a member of the Medical-Legal Advocacy Clinic, where she assisted individuals with civil legal needs. Elizabeth graduated cum laude from Wake Forest University in 2006 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in International Studies.
Marcella Kocolatos joined A Better Balance in September 2015 as an NYU Law Carr Center for Reproductive Justice Fellow. She graduated in May 2015 from New York University School of Law, where she served as an executive editor of NYU Review of Law & Social Change and a board member of NYU Law Students for Reproductive Justice. She also participated in the school’s inaugural Reproductive Justice Clinic, assisting in the first federal challenge to a pregnant woman’s arrest under a “personhood”-like measure. During her summers, Marcella interned here at A Better Balance and at National Advocates for Pregnant Women. She is a proud graduate of Hunter College, City University of New York, where she majored in English.
Sherry co-founded A Better Balance in 2005. From 2005 to 2006, she was an Adjunct Professor of Law at CUNY School of Law teaching an upper level class on civil rights. From 1996 until 2005, Sherry was a senior staff attorney at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund running the State Advocacy Project, working on issues intersecting women’s rights and poverty, including reproductive health, violence and child care. Prior to joining NOW Legal Defense Fund, she spent 12 years as a senior staff attorney at the Welfare Law Center, a national legal organization doing litigation and public advocacy on a variety of income support issues around the country. Prior to that, she was a staff attorney at the Department of Health Education and Welfare and an Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of New York. Sherry graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University and from Columbia University School of Law School. She has three children and has served on the Boards of Bank Street College of Education and Basic Trust Infant and Toddler Center.
Jared Make joined A Better Balance in September 2010 and served as an NYU School of Law Fellow from 2010-2011. He graduated in May 2010 from the NYU School of Law, where he served as President and Vice President of the HIV Law Society and volunteered with OUTLaw, the National Lawyers Guild, and Law Students for Human Rights. He also interned at the Brooklyn Family Defense Project and South Brooklyn Legal Services’ HIV Project. As a member of NYU’s Comparative Criminal Justice Clinic, Jared helped to expand an LGBTQ Domestic Violence Initiative at the Urban Justice Center, a project that involved extensive outreach, coalition-building, and community education. Based on his efforts in both this clinic and the Children’s Rights Clinic, Jared was honored at convocation with the Ann Petluck Poses Memorial Prize for outstanding work in a clinical course requiring student practice. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University and cum laude from NYU School of Law.
Rachel began working with A Better Balance in 2013 while completing a Masters Degree in Health Advocacy at Sarah Lawrence. She joined the staff full time in August 2014, after graduating. She is also actively involved with the American Heart Association and serves on their NYC Advocacy Committee. Rachel has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked as designer before turning her attention to advocacy.
Phoebe started working with A Better Balance in 2007 as a volunteer and served as an Equal Justice Works Fellow with A Better Balance from 2008-2010. Prior to joining A Better Balance, Phoebe served as a law clerk to the Honorable Faith S. Hochberg of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark and as a litigation associate at Mayer Brown in New York City. She has also worked as a consultant with Third Way, contributing research and policy analysis to their middle-class project on work-family policy, and as an independent consultant with WorkLife Law. She is a graduate of Harvard University and of Georgetown University Law Center and is a mom.
Preston Van Vliet, National Campaign Organizer for the LGBTQ Work-Family Project,
Preston joined A Better Balance in the spring of 2015 through the LGBTQ Work-Family Project, the joint initiative with Family Values @ Work. He graduated from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where he was previously the President of the Gay-Straight Alliance and the Vice President of Students Advocating for Gender Awareness. He worked with Michigan Voice, as part of the State Voices network, in co-managing an LGBTQ voter engagement project to identify voters that supported LGBTQ inclusive non-discrimination ordinances. Preston also helped healthcare groups such as Planned Parenthood and MICHUHCAN in ACA outreach and enrollment efforts. He volunteered with economic justice groups such as Mothering Justice and the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan, in collecting signatures for raising the state minimum wage. Preston worked in homelessness and case management services at a housing non-profit for two years. In 2014, Preston authored and helped to implement a transgender leadership grant to train trans community members to build power around statewide non-discrimination legislation.
Molly Weston Williamson joined A Better Balance in fall 2014 as a Liman Fellow. She graduated from Yale Law School in 2013, where she served as Scholarship and Advocacy Chair for Yale Law Women, an Articles Editor for the Yale Law Journal, and a member of the Ethics Bureau at Yale. Prior to joining A Better Balance, Molly clerked for the Honorable Thomas L. Ambro of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Wilmington, Delaware. She is the author of One Person, No Vote: Staggered Elections, Redistricting, and Disenfranchisement, published in the Yale Law Journal in 2012. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with high honors from Swarthmore College.