Operation Safe Spaces Task Force announces leadership team

Operation Safe Spaces, a task force assembled to ensure the safety of women at conferences, has announced its leadership team, with Esther Birnbaum, the associate general counsel of Interactive Brokers announced as president, and Blair Cohen, director of client solutions at Legalpeople as vice president.

The task force was formed after a number of incidences of women being harassed at the Legalweek tech conference earlier this year, although the incidences reported since are not confined to that conference. While this was the starting point for OSS, the task force stresses that the initiative will help to foster inclusive spaces for all people, regardless of gender.

The leadership in full is as follows:

Executive Committee:

  • President: Esther Birnbaum
  • Vice President: Blair Cohen
  • Secretaries: Jennifer Griffith and Christine Porras

Working Group Chairs:

  • Allies Working Group: Florinda Baldridge and Jared Crafton
  • Events Liaison Working Group: Marla Crawford and Joy Heath Rush
  • PR/Media Working Group: Amy Juers and Maribel Rivera
  • Resource Aggregation/Reporting Working Group: Shimmy Messing and Rachel O’Shea
  • Training/Education Working Group: Deeanna Fleener and Shana Pederson

“We are honored to lead the Operation Safe Spaces Task Force with such a dedicated team. Our mission is to create environments where respect and safety are paramount,” said Birnbaum. “Together, we will establish strategic goals and initiatives to make a tangible difference in the legal and eDiscovery communities. With our collective expertise and passion, we will set new standards for inclusivity and safety.”

Cohen added: “The heart of OSS’s efforts is a deep commitment to our community. We believe every individual deserves a safe space to thrive, and our team’s dedication to this cause is unwavering. We hope our collective expertise and passion will transform industry standards and inspire others to join us.”

Operation Safe Spaces is collaborating with ILTA to better understand the safety protocols in place for ILTACON. The task force will provide an educational session at ILTACON, taking place August 11-15, 2024, in Nashville, Tennessee.