2019 Annual Award Recipients

Kathy Flaherty

Since 2015, Kathy has served as Executive Director of Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc. (CLRP), a statewide non-profit agency which provides legal services to low income individuals with mental health conditions, who reside in hospitals or the community, on matters related to their treatment, recovery, and civil rights. Prior to coming to CLRP, Kathy spent 12 years as a Staff Attorney at Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, Inc., and at Connecticut Legal Services.

A graduate of Wellesley College (Class of ’88) and Harvard Law School (’94), Kathy has dedicated her professional life to advocating for the rights of the underserved. Kathy combines her personal experience as a recipient of mental health services and her legal background to speak to issues affecting those living with mental health conditions. Kathy is the co-chair of the Keep the Promise Coalition, a coalition of advocates (people living with mental health conditions, family members, mental health professionals and interested community members) with a vision of a state in which people with mental health conditions are able to live successfully in the community because they have access to housing and other community-based supports and services that are recovery oriented, person-driven and holistic in their approach to wellness. She is also a member of the steering committee of the Connecticut Cross Disability Lifespan Alliance, an alliance of people of all ages with all disabilities who pursue a unified agenda. She served on Governor Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission (a 16-member panel of experts created by the Governor to review current policy and make specific recommendations in the areas of public safety, with particular attention paid to school safety, mental health, and gun violence prevention) and the Task Force to Improve Access to Legal Counsel in Civil Matters.

Kathy’s advocacy work has earned her numerous honors including the Dr. Karen Kangas Advocacy Award (Advocacy Unlimited, 2010), the Spirit of the ADA Award, (ADA Coalition of Connecticut, 2011) and the Stigma Buster Award (State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction ServicesNAMI-CT, & CT Psychiatric Society, 2001, 2006, and 2007). Kathy is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers CT (the state’s lawyer assistance program), and the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement (CABLE). She is a former member of the Board of Directors of Advocacy Unlimited, Inc.

Jane Ryan, Steptoe

In more than 100 years of practice, Steptoe has earned an international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in structuring business transactions.

The firm is particularly noted for its capabilities in:

  • white-collar defense and other government investigations and enforcement including anti-corruption and economic sanctions, fraud, money laundering, criminal antitrust, and tax investigations, examinations, and enforcement actions;
  • high-stakes litigation particularly involving complex commercial claims and cross-border disputes;
  • patent and technology litigation especially life sciences, trade secrets, and Section 337 claims and controversies arising from disruptive technologies;
  • preventive international corporate compliance particularly FCPA/anti-corruption, economic sanctions/export controls, national and cybersecurity, including program development and implementation, transaction counseling, and internal investigations; and
  • challenging regulatory issues before the US government particularly agencies addressing energy, transportation, telecommunications, technology, the Internet, and the environment, as well as regulatory matters in Brussels, London, and Beijing.

Steptoe has more than 500 lawyers and other professional staff across offices in Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington.

Nyamuon Nguany Machar

Nyamuon Nguany Machar is a mental health advocate in Portland, Maine who first experienced the mental health system as a consumer. Working in the peer support field, Moon, as she is sometimes called, uses her own story to speak out on neglectful and harmful policies, systems, and engagement tactics that her community experiences. For the past 5 years, Moon has worked for Youth Move Maine, a youth advocacy organization that provided peer support services for youth and young adults transitioning from different systems of care. As a regional coordinator, she also used her reach to carve a space at service and treatment tables in hopes of affecting change through the voices of her community at decision and policy making tables. In her home state, Moon works with local and state universities where she teaches workshops for Masters-level social work students around mental health and wellness in immigrant communities. Moon also facilitates workshops for community members around mental health advocacy. Nationally Moon, speaks for major universities like Harvard and Georgetown, continuing the work of informing incoming service providers of how trauma translates in different languages and what it truly means to encompass best practices that are inclusive to all communities. Today, Moon works as a cultural strategist for Disability Rights Maine, where she now advocates for immigrant and disproportionate communities in legislation.

Aaron Panner

Aaron Panner is a partner at Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick, specializing in antitrust law and appellate and Supreme Court litigation.  Since 2010, he has represented the American Psychiatric Association as amicus counsel, participating in numerous cases in the United States Supreme Court and the courts of appeals in cases of interest to the psychiatric profession.  He has also prepared amicus briefs on behalf of other public interest clients, including the Bazelon Center, with an emphasis on cases involving mental health issues, education, and enforcement of anti-discrimination laws.  Panner also serves on the Supreme Court Advisory Group for the Center for Reproductive Rights.  Panner graduated from Harvard Law School and clerked for Judge Michael Boudin and Justice Stephen G. Breyer.  He earned his B.S. from Yale University and spent five years in the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer.    

Patti Yoder, Ernst & Young

In a world that’s changing faster than ever, our purpose acts as our ‘North Star’ guiding our more than 260,000 people – providing the context and meaning for the work we do every day. We help digital pioneers fight data piracy; guide governments through cash-flow crises; unlock new medical treatments with data analytics ; and pursue high quality audits to build trust in financial markets and business. In other words, working with entrepreneurs, companies, and entire countries to solve their most pressing challenges.

Through our four integrated service lines — Assurance, Advisory, Tax and Transaction Advisory Services — and our deep sector knowledge, we help our clients to capitalize on new opportunities and assess and manage risk to deliver responsible growth. Our high-performing, multidisciplinary teams help them fulfill regulatory requirements, keep investors informed and meet stakeholder needs.

We believe a better working world is one where economic growth is sustainable and inclusive. We work continuously to improve the quality of all of our services, investing in our people and innovation. And we’re proud to work with others – from our clients to wider stakeholders – to use our knowledge, skills and experience to help fulfill our purpose and create positive change.