Board of Directors
Marilyn Robertson, President (Dallas)
Marilyn Robertson, Esq. is the current president of the JDP board. Ms. Robertson has been on the JDP board since 2012 and also works as a referral attorney. Ms. Robertson practices as an associate with an emphasis on healthcare entities at the law firm Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP. Ms. Robertson holds a J.D. with distinction from Cleveland Marshall School of Law, Cleveland, Ohio, and a B.S. in Business from the St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas. In addition to her work with JDP, Ms. Robertson is active in the Austin and Dallas communities, having served on the community board of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, as Section Leader of the Health Law Section of the Austin Bar Association, and as a pro bono attorney volunteer handling veteran’s and social security benefits appeals.
Jody Schechter, Vice President (Houston)
Jody Schechter first became involved with Jane’s Due Process as a hotline volunteer in 2008, while in law school at the University of Texas. After starting her legal career in New York, Jody transferred to Houston and was anxious to become more involved in supporting and empowering Texas minors in accessing their legal rights. She is a civil litigation attorney at Baker Hostetler LLP, and is passionate about volunteering in the fields of reproductive rights as well as asylum and human trafficking. She holds a J.D. and B.B.A. in Marketing, both from the University of Texas at Austin. In her free time, Jody can often be found exploring the great outdoors with her husband and two lovable rescue mutts.
Marilyn Burgess, Treasurer (Houston)
Marilyn Burgess was raised in Louisiana and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting from Louisiana State University. Upon graduation she moved to Texas and has been here ever since. Marilyn began her career in accounting, earning her CPA license. Throughout the years she was very involved in the local and state PTA. Through her independent accounting business, she was asked to work for the Texas PTA in Austin. Marilyn spent 12 years working there with the last four spent as Executive Director. The organization’s purpose is to foster the health, education and welfare of all children.
Debbie Barnes, Secretary (Dallas)
Debbie was born and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey and is a graduate of the University of Maryland. Debbie was a retail executive, the last 10 at Neiman Marcus in Dallas. For the past three years, Debbie has served on the Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Board, serving as the Board Chair of the NTX Community Board for the past two and a half years. On the PPGT board, Debbie serves on Executive, Governance, Finance, and Development committees. In 2015, she was invited to attend the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Leadership conference. She has also chaired committees at the Greenhill School, Temple Emanu El Pre-School, and NYU and Harvard Parent associations. She chaired the Planned Parenthood Annual Awards luncheon as well as co chairing the fundraising event for the Vogel Alcove.
Abigail Aiken (Austin)
Abigail R.A. Aiken is currently an assistant professor of public affairs at the LBJ School and a faculty associate at the Population Research Center. Her research focuses on reproductive health and spans several disciplines, combining backgrounds in biomedical sciences, public policy, demography and public health. Her current projects include: examining women’s experiences obtaining self-sourced abortion in contexts where legislative barriers prevent access to safe, legal abortion through the health care system; evaluating programs and policies designed to increase access to contraception in the postpartum and postabortion setting; and investigating the determinants and impacts of unintended pregnancies through a health equity and reproductive justice framework.
Thomas Ausley (Austin)
Thomas L. Ausley is the founding partner of GoransonBain Ausley’s predecessor firm Ausley, Algert, Robertson & Flores, LLP. He has devoted his legal career to the practice of family law and has earned the respect of peers and judges alike for his unwavering integrity in guiding and advising clients. Tom was bestowed the prestigious Sam Emison Award by the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists in 2013 in recognition of his significant contributions to the practice of family law and the Austin Bar Association’s Distinguished Lawyer Award in 2008.
Michelle Rojas Casillas (San Antonio)
Michelle Rojas Casillas is the principal attorney for Casillas Law Firm, PLLC, where she focuses on probate law, including wills and guardianship matters, and personal injury law. Born in Mexico and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Michelle moved to San Antonio soon after graduating from law school. Michelle earned her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, where she served as the Managing Editor of the Texas Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy, and her B.B.A. in Accounting cum laude from the University of Texas Pan American (now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) in Edinburg, Texas.
Joanna L. Grossman (Dallas)
Joanna L. Grossman is the Ellen K. Solender Endowed Chair in Women and Law and Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law. Her research focuses on gender equality and family law. Her most recent book, Nine to Five: How Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Continue to Define the American Workplace (2016), is a lively and accessible introduction to the laws, policies, and practices that shape women’s lives at work. She teaches, writes, and does legal work in the area of reproductive rights. She holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.A. from Amherst College. She is a regular columnist for Justia’s Verdict and lectures across the country on women’s rights. She has three sons and is a passionate, if aging, endurance athlete.
Carla Kelman (Fort Worth)
Carla Gibbs Kelman was born and raised in Amarillo Texas. She attended College at Phillips
University from 1978-1982 and received a BS Pre-law decree before attending Texas Tech School of Law and received Doctor of Jurisprudence in May 1985. Carla worked as a briefing attorney for the Honorable Harry Hopkins for a year before prosecuting Child Protective Cases, Mental Health, Protective Orders and Misdemeanors for the Potter County Attorney’s Office as an Assistant County Attorney. She worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Child Support Division for the Texas Attorney General’s Office for 11 years. In January 2001 she joined a law firm specializing in Family law and remained an associate until the opening her own office in January 2009. Carla began serving the City of Fort Worth as a substitute Municipal Court Judge in March 2003 and continues to do so today.
Rhiannon Hamam (Austin)
Rhiannon Hamam is a Dallas native and a Cowboys fan. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2010, where she majored in political science and French. After college, Rhiannon joined Teach for America and taught reading and writing to fifth and sixth graders in the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas. Before law school, she worked at a shelter for survivors of intimate partner violence, and in Denver’s public hospital system conducting outreach with immigrant and refugee communities. Rhiannon graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 2016, and moved to the Rio Grande Valley, where she was a public defender with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. She now lives in Austin where she works as a Criminal Defense Attorney. She enjoys discussions on prison abolition and racial and economic justice, activism in support of the liberation of Palestine, and nail art.
Carlos Loredo (Austin)
Carlos Loredo has been a licensed psychologist in Texas since 1978. He is a specialist in trauma and sexual assault counseling, and has worked with the Travis County Juvenile Court and Texas Youth Commission, among others. He has published various articles and chapters on juvenile sex offenders, culturally relevant sexual abuse treatment, child abuse, and more.
Dani Marrero Hi (Mission, TX)
Dani Marrero Hi is a Mexican immigrant born and raised in the southernmost part of the Texas-Mexico border. She is the director and founder of Neta, a progressive online platform covering culture and social issues from the perspective of border residents. Previously, Dani has worked as a digital organizer with La Union Del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), an immigrant rights organization in the Rio Grande Valley, and United We Dream, the nation’s first and largest youth-led immigrant rights network. In 2015, Dani helped launch the Rio Grande Valley’s first LGBTQ people of color conference known as Aquí Estamos and continues to be part of the team that plans the conference annually. Most recently, Dani was recognized by GLAAD as a Rising Star at GLAAD’s San Fransisco Gala and received the Trailblazer Grant from Target.
Kate Patrick (Brooklyn, NY)
Kate Patrick has over thirteen years of experience in corporate reorganization and bankruptcy law and related litigation. Kate began her legal career in 2003, first as an associate with the law firm of Rochelle McCullough LLP and later as an associate with Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C. In the fall of 2012, Kate became the founder and the managing member of the Law Offices of Kate M. Patrick, PLLC. In addition to maintaining her own law practice, Kate serves as of counsel to the Law Offices of Judith W. Ross.
Amanda Woog (Philadelphia, PA)
Amanda Woog is the Executive Director of the Texas Fair Defense Project, a legal nonprofit dedicated to improving criminal justice outcomes for low-income Texans. She previously held research fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania and UT-Austin, served as policy director of the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence and worked as an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Amanda got bitten by the Texas policy bug in the summer of 2013, inspired by Wendy Davis and the feminist army that took over the pink granite dome. She received her law degree with honors from the University of Texas School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
Legal Advisory Board
Dr. Herb Brown (San Antonio)
Susan Hays (Austin)
Louise Hytken (Dallas)
Michael Lowenberg (Dallas)
Rita Lucido (Houston)
Sarah Weddington (Austin)
Tina Hester, Executive Director
For a quarter-century, Tina Hester has been committed to social justice and women’s health causes working on behalf of abortion rights and women’s reproductive health at both the national and state levels. She served as hotline coordinator for three years and, as of 2011, as executive director for Jane’s Due Process. Prior to her work with JDP, Hester has been affiliated with the following organizations: People for the American Way in Washington, D.C.; Planned Parenthood Federation of America in New York City and its state affiliate in Kentucky; the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky; and the American Association of University Women, California chapter. In Texas, Hester served on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and committees at First United Methodist Church of Austin and St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. Hester is from Lubbock, Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.
Blake Rocap, Legal Director
Blake Rocap has worked in the Texas Legislature for almost a decade. For the past four legislative sessions Blake has focused on abortion rights for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. He is longtime board member and volunteer attorney for Jane’s Due Process, representing abused teenagers in judicial bypass proceedings. He also serves on the board of the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas.Blake grew up attending public schools in San Angelo, before moving to Austin to attend the University of Texas. He earned his BA in American Studies with a minor in Government before returning to West Texas to attend the Texas Tech School of Law on a full Regent’s Scholarship. While in law school he was a founding board member of the Student Public Interest Initiative, the social director of the Board of Barristers and a member of the institution’s curriculum committee. Blake and his wife live in central Austin with their two daughters.
Eleanor Grano, Community Outreach and Youth Engagement Coordinator
Eleanor Grano joined Jane’s Due Process as the Community Outreach and Youth Engagement Coordinator in June 2018. Prior to joining Jane’s Due Process, Eleanor provided direct services to victims of intimate partner violence as a Bilingual Digital Advocate at National Domestic Violence Hotline & loveisrespect, where she helped pilot their Spanish language chat platform. Eleanor is a NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Next Generation Fellow and a volunteer for Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity’s Spanish hotline. She studied Neuroscience & Jewish Studies at Smith College.
Amanda Bennett, Client Services Manager
Amanda joined Jane’s Due Process as the hotline coordinator and case manager in July 2016. Prior to joining Jane’s Due Process, Amanda worked as the Intake Hotline Coordinator for Fund Texas Choice, a practical assistance abortion fund. She also interned with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas during the 2015 legislative session. In May 2016, she earned her Masters in Global Policy Studies from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and her B.A. in 2014 from the University of Chicago.