Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ("DEI") Committee

The DEI Committee was established to continue to execute the challenges of the Mission Statement, develop a comprehensive plan, and continue the necessary work to achieve systemic change in the College and the insolvency community.

Standing Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Paul E. Harner (Co-Chair)New York, NY

Erithe A. Smith (Co-Chair)Santa Ana, CA

Enrique S. Lamoutte-Inclan (1st Circuit Council Member)San Juan, PR

M. Benjamin Jones (2nd Circuit Council Member)New York, NY

Karen A. Giannelli (3rd Circuit Council Member)Newark, NJ

Paula S. Beran (4th Circuit Council Member)Richmond, VA

Omar J. Alaniz (5th Circuit Council Member)Dallas, TX

Richardo I. Kilpatrick (6th Circuit Council Member)Auburn Hills, MI

Catherine Steege (7th Circuit Council Member)Chicago, IL

Kristina M. Stanger (8th Circuit Council Member)Des Moines, IA

Jane Kim (9th Circuit Council Member)San Francisco, CA

David R. Payne (10th Circuit Council Member)Oklahoma City, OK

Leyza F. Blanco (11th Circuit Council Member)Miami, FL

Agustin Berdeja-Prieto (At-Large Member)Mexico, D.F.

Sheri A. Bluebond (At-Large Member)Los Angeles, CA

J. Scott Bovitz (At-Large Member)Los Angeles, CA

Joan N. Feeney (At-Large Member)Boston, MA

Rozanne M. Giunta (At Large Member)Midland, MI

Paul R. Hage (At-Large Member)Southfield, MI

Peggy Hunt (At-Large Member)Salt Lake City , UT

Enrique S. Lamoutte-Inclan (At-Large Member)San Juan, PR

Donald R. Lassman (At-Large Member)Needham, MA

Demetra Liggins (At-Large Member)Houston, TX

John A.E. Pottow (At-Large Member)Ann Arbor, MI

Kathy A. Surratt-States (At-Large Member)St. Louis, MO

Deborah Lee Thorne (At- Large Member)Chicago, IL

Maureen A. Tighe (At-Large Member)Woodland Hills, CA

Sharon Zemel Weiss (At-Large Member)Santa Monica, CA

Internal Subcommittee


The mission of the Internal Subcommittee is to make recommendations to the DEI Committee that incorporate the diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives of the College in relation to its corporate governance, infrastructure, and values.   The particular goals assigned to the Internal Subcommittee are to develop and implement: working principles of inclusion and equity to supplement the procedures of the Circuit Admissions Councils, Judicial Nominating Committee, Nominating Committee, Board of Directors, and Committee Chairs in making their appointments to promote and identify nominees of diverse backgrounds to be Fellows, officers, directors, and committee chairs as leaders of the College;  trainings and educational programs in the College’s DEI policy for all Fellows, in particular directors, officers,  members of the board of directors and board of regents, committee chairs, members of the Circuit Admissions Councils, and Freshmen Fellows;  to assist in the development and continuation of the Freshmen Fellows Program; and to review and make recommendations for Bylaws changes to implement any of the DEI Committee’s recommendations.


  • Hon. Joan N. Feeney, Chair
  • Agustin Berdeja-Prieto
  • Rozanne M. Giunta
  • Hon. Peggy Hunt
  • Richardo Kilpatrick
  • Donald R. Lassman
  • Prof. John A.E. Pottow
  • Catherine Steege

External Subcommittee


The External Subcommittee makes recommendations to the Committee regarding the development and support of “pipeline” programs that advance the College’s DEI objectives in the greater bankruptcy/insolvency community; reviews and makes recommendations specifically designed to assist CACs in creating pathways to excellence for diverse bankruptcy/insolvency professionals; and monitors the DEI activities of other like organizations such as ABI, NCBJ, IWIRC, and the newly formed Bankruptcy Consortium Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinating Committee.


  • Jane Kim, Chair
  • Paula Beran
  • Leyza Blanco
  • Demetra Liggins
  • David R. Payne
  • Hon. Kathy Surratt-States
  • Hon. Deborah L. Thorne
  • Hon. Maureen Tighe

Communication Subcommittee


The Communications Subcommittee reviews and makes recommendations with respect to all communications relating to the DEI Committee’s objectives, programs, projects, as well as content on the DEI page of the College’s website and relevant social media.  This Subcommittee also assists and supports the Internal and External Subcommittees in the planning and implementation of College sponsored DEI programs.


  • Omar Alaniz, Co-Chair
  • Hon. Sheri A. Bluebond,Co-Chair
  • J. Scott Bovitz
  • Karen A. Giannelli
  • Paul Hage
  • Hon. Enrique Lamoutte-Inclan
  • Kristina M. Stanger

Resources,Election of New Fellows, and DEI Training Certification

View DEI Resources (Fellows must be logged in to view this content. If you need your user name and password, email Jenny Cudahy at jcudahy@amercol.org)

ACB Foundation

DEI Grants from the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation

The Pro Bono and Grants Committee of the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation expanded its role in 2023 to fund grants supporting initiatives to promote diversity in the insolvency industry. 

In 2023, the Foundation and the DEI Committee awarded $66,675 in grants to six grantees in five states. Click here for the list of DEI grants awarded in 2023.

DEI Grants

ACB Scholars

ACB Scholars

The American College of Bankruptcy partners with Just the Beginning – A Pipeline Organization (JTB) to provide stipends to six law students participating in JTB’s Summer Judicial Internship Project (Project). The Project, a collaboration between JTB and the Judicial Resources Committee of the United States Judicial Conference, provides highly qualified law students, from socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds underrepresented in the legal profession, with summer judicial internships in the chambers of federal appellate, district, bankruptcy, and magistrate judges, as well as select state appellate judges

These "ACB Scholars" will be introduced at the Fall All-Fellows meeting. Click here to see the impact this program has had on the lives of one of our scholars.

Meet the Scholars!

Diversity in Restructuring & Insolvency Volunteer Effectiveness


In 2023, the College implemented a Diversity in Restructuring & Insolvency Volunteer Effectiveness (DRIVE) program designed to create a professional development network with/for diverse, mid-level professionals in the insolvency arena. . The program is designed to facilitate interaction between Fellows and diverse, mid-level professionals in a manner that encourages dialogue about enhancing one’s career in the insolvency arena, and all Fellows will be given the opportunity to pledge to participate in the program and connect with mid-level bankruptcy and insolvency professionals.  At the All Fellows Luncheon in 2023 over 90 ACB Fellows pledged to participate in DRIVE (over 100 Fellows are now in the program).  Click here start your DRIVE with us.

DRIVE Video 

Someone Believed Me


Many of our Fellows have inspiring stories to tell about how their journey to a career in bankruptcy was inspired or encouraged by someone who believed in them. View the video, linked below, for inspiration on how you may inspire and encourage the next generation of insolvency professionals.

Someone Believed in Me

Howard Dreams


The American College of Bankruptcy, supported by the American Bankruptcy Institute and their respective diversity committees, organized and presented the inaugural Discovering Restructuring Expertise and Mentorship Symposium (DREAMS) on the afternoon of November 9, 2023 at Howard University School of Law. This program was so successful that the next DREAMS Symposium is being planned for November 2024 at Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas. Stay tuned for more detail!


New York Women's Initiative

New York Women's Initiative

The DEI Committee has partnered with the New York Women's Iniative and the University of California’s Equality Action Center to conduct a wide-scale survey with member firms to examine how bias based on race and gender play out in bankruptcy and restructuring workplaces. This study will be launched in June of 2024 and presented at an event later this year.

DEI Consortium

The DEI Committee is a member of the Bankruptcy Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility Consortium, which comprises about a dozen insolvency organizations. The Consortium acts as a repository of resources relevant to the member organizations’ efforts to promote and foster diversity in the insolvency community.

DEI Consortium

The DEI Excellence Award

The DEI Excellence Award

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Excellence Award was established by the College's Board of Directors in 2022 to recognize "demonstrated extraordinary commitment to and achievements realized in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives by one or more individuals or an organization."

Nominees may be a current or former Fellow of the College, or any other deserving individual or organization. 

DEI Awards

NCBJ Blackshear

NCBJ Blackshear Presidential Fellows

The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges sponsors fellowships to enable up and coming diverse bankruptcy attorneys to attend its annual conference.  For additional information and nomination/application procedures, please click the button below. 

NCBJ Blackshear Fellows