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PRESS RELEASE: DCBF Names New Members to its Board of Directors and Advisory Committee

[District of Columbia, October 4, 2023] – The DC Bar Foundation has named four new members to its Board of Directors and one new member to its Advisory Committee. “It is an honor to welcome these five individuals to the Foundation’s leadership. Their diverse perspectives and experiences will be an asset to our efforts to transform the District’s civil legal aid network,” says DC Bar Foundation CEO Kirra Jarratt.


Board of Directors


Gail Makode has served as chief legal officer and general counsel for Omega Healthcare Investors since September 2019. Immediately before joining Omega Healthcare, she was the senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of IES Holdings, Inc. Ms. Makode has extensive board experience, including current positions on the board of the Y of Central Maryland and as board development chair of the Maryland-based nonprofit Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. She has also previously served on the New York-based Legal Services board of the Hudson Valley and the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Westchester, New York/Southern Connecticut Chapter. Ms. Makode is a current member of the 77 Society, which recognizes individuals who give $1,000 or more each year to the Foundation.


Jehan Patterson is counsel in Debevoise & Plimpton’s White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group, where she advises and represents banks, nonbank financial institutions, businesses, and individuals on matters related to consumer finance regulatory compliance and enforcement. Previously, Ms. Patterson served as a senior litigation counsel in the Office of Enforcement at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, staff attorney at a public interest law firm, an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton, and law clerk to Judge Anne E. Thompson in the US District Court of New Jersey. Earlier in her career, she was a staff attorney with Legal Services NYC, where she defended clients in residential foreclosure actions and filed affirmative litigation against mortgage lenders and servicers.


Jaya Saxena is the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Spencer Stuart, one of the world’s leading global executive search and leadership consulting firms. She is a recognized DE&I leader with experience creating and implementing DE&I strategy across organizations in partnership with leadership and internal partners. Ms. Saxena has served in various DE&I directing and managing roles, including positions at The Brattle Group, White & Case LLP, and The George Washington University Law School. Before these roles, she was a staff attorney at Maryland Legal Aid. She currently sits on the board of the Sitar Arts Center, a DC-based nonprofit providing young people with access to arts education and career training, and has extensive prior board experience with two local voluntary bar associations.


Kenyattah Robinson is president and CEO of the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District (MVT CID), one of DC’s 12 business improvement districts (BIDs). With nearly 25 years of combined public, private, and nonprofit management experience, he is responsible for overall organizational management and works with local and Federal government, private sector, association, and nonprofit partners to achieve MVT CID’s day-to-day and long-term strategic objectives. Prior to MVT CID, Mr. Robinson was senior vice president and national director on the Public Institutions team at commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle. He is the current Chair of the DC BID Council.


Advisory Committee


Stephanie Bitto is a senior manager and senior counsel at Capital One. Before her role at Capital One, Ms. Bitto was a US Department of Labor trial attorney and an associate at Arnold & Porter. At Arnold & Porter, Ms. Bitto served as a loaned associate to DC Bar Foundation grantee partner, Legal Aid DC. She is a former member of the DC Bar Foundation’s Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council, where she helped plan and execute the 2020, 2021, and 2022 Avenues to Justice fundraising events, which raised $41,500, $76,355, and $68,327, respectively, for the District’s civil legal aid network.


The Advisory Committee is composed of strategic thought leaders who share their expertise

on programmatic, evaluation, and development issues related to the Foundation’s mission to fund, support, and improve the District’s civil legal aid network.


About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents who are financially disenfranchised, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the District’s largest funder of civil legal aid, we are a steadfast community partner committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.


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