Regina Kardash – President
Regina A. Kardash is an attorney with Persson & Cohen, P.A., and has represented municipal clients throughout Pinellas County. She serves as the Town Attorney for Indian Shores and Belleair Shore, and held previous appointments as the Assistant City Attorney for Pinellas Park, Assistant Town Attorney for Redington Shores and Town Attorney for Redington Beach. She has also advised boards, staff and departments for Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Madeira Beach and Indian Rocks Beach. Regina was appointed to the Pinellas County Local Planning Agency, serving as Chairwoman in 2016. She has litigated cases for clients in County Court, Circuit Court and Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal. Regina has also served as a hearing officer for the St. Petersburg Housing Authority and was appointed to the Florida Bar’s Constitutional Judiciary Committee. She is a member of the Florida Bar, Middle District of Florida, St. Petersburg Bar Association and Clearwater Bar Association in addition to the Florida Association of Women Lawyers (FAWL) and Pinellas County Chapter of FAWL, where she has served in various Board positions, including Public Relations Director and Secretary. She has been awarded FAWL’s Leaders in the Law Award in 2013, and served on the state-wide legislative affairs committee. Regina has served as Editor of the St. Petersburg Bar’s Paracleteperiodical, and is a member of the Leadership St. Pete Class of 2010. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida Southern College in 2002 with a B.A. in Humanities with concentrations in both Art History and Theology, and briefly took master level classes in Art History at the University of South Florida before entering Stetson University College of Law, graduating with her J.D. in 2007.
Marcelana Anthony – Immediate Past President
Marcelana “Marcie” Anthony, Assistant Vice President and Claims Counsel for Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, knew from the age of seven that she would be a lawyer and never looked back. A Pennsylvania native, Marcelana attended Allegheny College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science, graduating magna cum laude in 2003. After completing her undergraduate degree, Marcelana made the move to Tampa Bay, where she earned her Juris Doctor at Stetson University College of Law in 2006. For years, Marcelana practiced products liability law before changing her career path to real property law. Marcelana is a member of the Real Property Probate & Trust Law section of the Florida Bar and is a member of the Florida Bar Title Issues & Standards Committee. Since 2011, Marcelana has been an active member of PFAWL and has served on the Board of Directors as Programs Director, Secretary, and President-Elect. Marcelana is a 2013 recipient of the FAWL Leaders in the Law award.
Carmen Johnson – President-Elect
Carmen Johnson earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami and her law degree from Stetson University College of Law. Following her graduation from Stetson, Carmen worked in complex civil litigation in Tallahassee, Florida. She later served as a Staff Attorney with the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida where she focused on criminal and postconviction law.
Carmen joined the administration at Stetson University College of Law where she is pursuing her passion for higher ed administration and education law and policy. She works with admission compliance policies, recruiting, diversity initiatives and articulation agreements. Carmen is admitted to practice law in the state of Florida and has served as Secretary of the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. She is currently President- Elect of the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers after serving a term as Secretary and a two-year term as Director of Continuing Legal Education.
Kristina Feher – Secretary
Kristina Feher is the managing member of Feher Law, PLLC in St. Petersburg, Florida. Kristina practices in the areas of bankruptcy, divorce, small business transactions, and immigration. Kristina received her B.S. in Criminology from Barry University and her law degree from Thomas M.Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Kristina is a St. Petersburg native and attended St. John Vianney Catholic School and the Center for Advanced Technologies (CAT).
She currently serves as a 6th Circuit Representative for the Young Lawyers’ Division Board of Governors. She rejoins the PFAWL Board as the Social Programs Director. Kristina previously served as Membership Director in 2012.
Elise Winters – Treasurer
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 Dahlquist – Public Relations Director
Shavarne Dahlquist joined Raymond James Trust as its Fiduciary Consultant.
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, the Clearwater Bar Association, and the Suncoast Estate Planning Council. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers and is active in several civic organizations 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.
Laura Jo Lieffers – Membership Director
Laura Jo Lieffers primarily practices in the area of construction law, while also practicing in the areas of commercial litigation and property damage litigation. Ms. Lieffers earned her Bachelor of Architecture, a professional degree, from Roger Williams University. She has experience in both traditional architectural practice and remedial design/construction. Combining her design and construction understanding with legal skill, she is able to help her construction clients throughout the planning and construction processes, while also handling any construction defect claims. Currently, her practice is dedicated almost exclusively to the representation of general contractors, subcontractors, developers, owners, architects, and engineers.
Erica Pless – Social Programs Director
Erica Good Pless founded The Pless Law Firm, P.A. in 2011 and practices primarily in the area of federal and state tax controversies. She represents clients before the Internal Revenue Service and the Florida Department of Revenue.
Erica attended Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida graduating with High Honors and a double major in Sociology and Business Management. After graduating, Erica worked at a public accounting firm preparing tax returns and providing litigation support services to forensic accountants. Erica then went on to earn her law degree, cum laude, from Stetson University College of Law. After graduating from Stetson, Erica completed her Masters of Law in Taxation (LL.M.) from the University of Alabama School of Law, cum laude. Roll Tide!
Erica enjoys writing and speaking about tax law and its complexities. She has co-authored several articles that have been featured in Steve Leimberg’s Estate Planning and Asset Protection Planning Newsletters, the Florida Bar Journal, ABA Health eSource, and Medical Economics. She has also been a guest speaker on several Bloomberg BNA webinars and radio talk shows.
In addition to her published articles and speaking engagements, Erica has also co-authored the following three books: The Planner’s Guide to the 2013 Income Tax Increases, The Florida Physician Advertising Book, and Estate Tax Planning in 2011 and 2012 Recent Developments and 2012 Supplement.
Vanessa Albaum – CLE Director
Ms. Albaum received her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida in 2005 and her law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2011. Ms. Albaum has practiced in the area of criminal law for over five years, and she served over three years as an Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth and Thirteenth Judicial Circuits. While with the State Attorney’s Office, she specialized in the prosecution of career criminals and she tried more than 25 jury trials, charges included attempted murder, armed robbery, and carjacking. Ms. Albaum is currently an Associate Attorney at Hebert Law Group, P.A., practicing in the area of criminal defense.
Throughout her career as an attorney, she has spent time litigating criminal matters in both state and federal courts. Ms. Albaum has represented clients in all stages of litigation, and she is admitted to practice in all Florida state courts and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. In August of 2014, Ms. Albaum was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award presented by the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency. She is a member of the Florida Bar Association-Young Lawyers Division, Saint Petersburg Bar Association, Florida Association of Women Lawyers (Health and Wellness Committee Chair), Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (CLE Director), Pinellas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Drug Court Alliance (Chair).
Mercedes Buntz – Awards Director
Mercedes Buntz uses her 18 years of legal experience to help bring order and peace of mind to clients and their loved ones during life’s major events, such as births, illnesses, deaths, marriages, divorces, changes in financial circumstances (loss of job, retirement, or inheritance), or a recent move to Florida.
As the founder of Mercedes Buntz Law, PLLC, Mercedes practices in Wills and Trusts, Probate, Bankruptcy & Consumer Issues. She is practically a Florida native, having moved to Clearwater at a young age from Puerto Rico. Mercedes is a proud graduate of The Florida State University College of Law and of The University of Central Florida. Before opening her own law firm, she worked for almost ten years with the UAW Legal Services Plan, where she worked almost exclusively with retirees.
Mercedes is passionate about helping clients make informed decisions to suit their unique wishes and circumstances, which allows clients to retain control, protect their independence and assets, and avoid unintended consequences. In her practice, Mercedes hopes to continue to serve the special needs of retirees, and also the needs of those in the Hispanic community.
In addition to being a member of PFAWL, Mercedes is a member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law and of the Elder Law sections of the Florida Bar, the Clearwater Bar Association, the Tampa Hispanic Bar Association, and BNI – Business Connections chapter.
Joann Grages Burnett – Chapter Representative
Joann Grages Burnett specializes in employer engagement and readiness for students and alumni and oversees postgraduate Judicial Clerkship initiatives within the Career Development Office. Prior to entering career services, Burnett practiced law as an assistant public defender for the 6th Judicial Circuit where she handled misdemeanor, juvenile, and felony cases.
Burnett received her Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law after graduating with honors from the University of Florida. While at Stetson, Burnett served as the chief ambassador, a judicial intern, and a certified legal intern for the Public Defender’s Office. In her spare time, she moonlights as an amateur baker.
Burnett is presently a Florida delegate to the ABA Young Lawyers Division and has been appointed to the National Conference Team. She is a member of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, The Stetson Lawyers Advisory Council, and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, where she is the Membership Chair and the Chapter Representative for PFAWL.
Cindy Campbell – Sub Committee Chair, Pro Bono
Cindy spent seven years in private practice as an estate-planning attorney before joining Raymond James. Her specialties include tax, estate and charitable gift planning, estate settlement and probate, and trust administration. Cindy holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Mount St. Mary’s University, in Maryland; a Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law, in Ohio; and an LL.M. in taxation from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and she is licensed by the New Jersey State Bar Association. Cindy’s memberships include the Suncoast Estate Planning Council, Junior League of St Petersburg, and the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers – an organization for which she serves on the board of directors.
Though she’s lived in several states, Cindy is a native of New Jersey. She enjoys swimming, biking and kayaking.
Megan Hurchalla – YLD Director
Megan was born and raised in a small town in Maryland. She grew up close to the beach and spent most of her childhood on the water. She attended McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, where she graduated with a degree in Biology – with thoughts of pursuing a career in medicine. Shortly after graduating, she changed her mind, packed her bags and moved to beautiful, sunny St Petersburg, FL.
Once in Florida, Megan worked for a pharmaceutical company focusing on microbiology, quality control and research and development. She realized that by going to law school she could still help to change the world for the better and keep her passion for science and medicine alive.
Megan graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 2014 with a passion for pursuing intellectual property law. In 2015, Megan opened her own firm, in St Pete, where she practices all areas of intellectual property law, with a main focus on patent and trademark prosecution. When Megan is not busy protecting her clients’ rights she enjoys reading, kayaking and spending time with her husband and their three small dogs.
Irene Maslanik – Social Media Chair
Irene Marie Garrett Maslanik is a native Floridian who practices law in the 6th Judicial Circuit at the Office of the Public Defender. Irene practices in the Juvenile Crossover Division, specializing in child advocacy, criminal defense, and family law. She’s never met a stranger. And, she’s never backed down from a fight. Irene comes from a long line of female attorneys — her mother and grandmother are both lawyers. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Sweet Briar College in 2007 with a dual degree in Comparative Religion and Classical Studies. Instead of becoming the next Indiana Jones, Irene enrolled in law school and chose the suit over the cargos – stylish suits, of course. She graduated in 2010 from Stetson University College of Law and started practicing at the Public Defender’s Office and hasn’t looked back since. She recently joined PFAWL and became the Social Media Sub Committee Chair. As a millennial, Irene is uniquely qualified to sort out the emojis. snaps, and tweets of the modern technological world. Want to know more? Follow PFAWL on Instagram and Twitter for the scoop.