Sandra S. Yamate

Chief Executive Officer

Sandra S. Yamate is the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (“IILP”). IILP is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to creating a more diverse and inclusive legal profession through its research and programs. Sandra is IILP’s subject-matter expert on diversity and inclusion and is responsible for all of its research and programming.

After practicing law for ten years, Sandra served as the Executive Director of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms and as the Director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

Sandra has long been active in a variety of charitable causes. Currently, she serves as the Chair of the National Judicial College and is a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Women Lawyers.

Sandra earned her JD from Harvard Law School and an AB in Political Science (cum laude) and History (magna cum laude) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Sandra has written and spoken extensively on community engagement, diversity and inclusion, cultural competency, and multicultural issues.

Sandra and her husband, Brian Witkowski, reside in Chicago with their two dogs, Cashew and Filbert.

Linda Bray Chanow 

Interim Strategy & Operations Officer 

Linda Chanow is a lawyer, non-profit executive, professor, and nationally recognized authority on women lawyers with more than 20 years of experience researching and writing on women’s leadership, diversity, and flexibility programs.  Linda’s renowned educational programs have empowered hundreds of women lawyers nationally to achieve fulfilling careers and significant leadership posts in their respective firms, corporations, and associations.

Linda is an author and sought-after speaker who has presented to hundreds of audiences on a variety of topics, including leadership, inclusive women’s initiatives, grit and growth mindset, unconscious bias, pay equity, and workplace flexibility. Since 2014, Linda has taught a leadership theory course at Texas Law that explored the gap between the number of women law school graduates and the number of women who occupy leadership positions in the legal profession. The class has been oversubscribed each year.

For nearly a decade, Linda led the Center for Women in Law at Texas Law, where she grew the organization from start-up to national industry leader.  She increased the annual budget from $150,000 to $1.2 million, built a $2.2 million endowment, and secured reserve funds of $1.2 million. Prior to CWIL, Linda was Assistant Director at the Project for Attorney Retention, an initiative of the Center for WorkLife Law of the University of California Hastings College of the Law

The Texas Minority Counsel Program recently honored Linda with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award and Lawdragon named her one of the 100 Leading Legal Consultants and Strategists for 2018, 2017, and 2016. In 2013, the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association presented her with the 2013 Advancement of Women Award. 

Linda began her legal career as a commercial litigator at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. after graduating magna cum laude from American University’s Washington College of Law in 1999.  

Jennifer A. Jackson

Interim Program Manager 

Jennifer A. Jackson is the Interim Program Manager at IILP.  She is a Diversity & Inclusion professional with 12 years experience in the legal industry.  She provides Diversity & Inclusion and management services to law firms, membership organizations and diversity consulting firms. Jennifer offers a wide range of services including program development, diverse attorney recruitment and statistical analysis. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Jennifer was the Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator for a mid-size law firm in Chicago. 

Before entering the legal diversity field, Jennifer was the Administrative Director at Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, a management consultant at Ernst & Young LLP, and a systems engineer at Ford Motor Company. As a Career Pivot CatalystTM, she coaches professionals who need to change career paths, but don’t know how to efficiently navigate the personal, professional and financial hurdles that stand in the way.

Jennifer earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  She also earned an MBA in Strategy, Marketing and Arts Administration from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.


Jonathan W. Kanter, Ph.D

Jonathan W. Kanter, Ph.D. received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Washington in 2002. Shortly afterwards he became a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  In Milwaukee, Dr. Kanter spent several years collaborating closely with members of the Black community on issues of social and political activism (including police brutality and voter rights), racism and discrimination, mental health stigma, and culturally appropriate treatments of depression.  Dr. Kanter also spent several years working closely with Latino researchers and community members to develop culturally informed treatments for depression in Latino community settings for low-income Latino immigrants.  Dr. Kanter also worked closely with members of the Muslim community in the United Kingdom on Islam-consistent approaches to depression treatment.  His lab consisted of a multi-cultural team of committed student researchers working on individual and collective projects.  

In 2013, Dr. Kanter came to the University of Washington to direct the Center for the Science of Social Connection (CSSC).  As Director, he brings a wealth of experience working in the trenches with people of color and disenfranchised groups as a team member, as well as working with scholars and scientists internationally.  

Dr. Kanter is regularly invited to give talks and workshops nationally and internationally on topics of interest to the Center, including anti-racism workshops which seek to help white people grow and overcome racism, workshops for therapists on how to improve psychotherapy relationships and help clients with relational problems, and behavioral treatments for depression.

Scientifically, Dr. Kanter approaches projects with a contextual behavioral science model that integrates disciplines, including evolution science, neuroscience, anthropology and psychology, within a behavioral science foundation.  He lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife Gwynne Kohl, who is also a clinical psychologist, and their 11-year-old daughter Zoe. 

Karyn S. Linn 

Karyn is passionate about helping non-profit organizations be their best so they can do their best. She is an association management professional in Chicago, Illinois, with over 30 years of experience working in the non-profit sector. Karyn focuses on helping organizations build capacity through strategic planning, organizational development, purposeful communications, and stakeholder engagement. She advises boards and committees in strategic planning, governance best practices, leadership development, program design, and project management. All with the goal of helping these mission-driven organizations increase their impact on the communities they serve. 

Karyn spent twenty-three years working for the American Bar Association’s Division for Bar Services. She held many positions during her tenure at the ABA, the most recent being the Director of Outreach and Education. In this role, Karyn met with bar leaders around the country to discuss trends in the legal profession impacting bar associations and best practices in non-profit governance and organizational development and was a frequent speaker at bar leadership conferences. She facilitated strategic planning sessions and board retreats, met with bar leaders to brainstorm solutions to problems, and developed educational and communication strategies to keep bar leaders informed on current events and trends.  

Karyn works with Chicago Association Management (CAM) to increase her ability to help mission-driven organizations. As a CAM team member, she has served as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Rotary Club of Chicago, the world’s first service club, and as administrator for the ROTARY/One Foundation and the Charitable Foundation of Rotary District 6450. She manages the day-to-day operations and helps guide leaders on how best to use their limited resources (time, treasure, and talent).  

Karyn earned her BA from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. She recently earned a certificate in Strategic Management Performance Systems from The George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership. She is a member of the Association for Strategic Planning and the Association Forum and enjoys being a Girl Scout leader for her daughter’s troop. 

Karyn balances her work life by getting lost in Audible books, striving to perfect her photography skills, thinking about becoming a yogi, and her favorite pastime, spending time with her husband Paul and their 14-year-old daughter.  

Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D, PCC, CMC  

Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., PCC, CMC is a psychologist, certified coach, strategic talent advisor, and Founding Principal of Lawyers Life Coach LLC who brings particular expertise in coaching, training and advising lawyers and the law firms and corporations that employ them. Since starting her firm in 1998, Ellen has coached hundreds of attorneys throughout the world at all levels of experience and seniority in law firms of all sizes, corporate legal departments, government, not-for-profits and the judiciary.


The executive coaching Ellen provides to attorneys includes leadership development and effectiveness, communication and emotional intelligence, career planning and advancement, business development and work life integration. She assists lawyers in developing resilience and psychological flexibility, i.e., the capacity to be fully present and aware, in any given context, and to flexibly choose to act in a manner that will be optimally effective, authentic and aligned with values.

Ellen is particularly interested in assisting attorneys at transition points in their careers: from a time-keeper role to a leadership role, either as a law firm partner or an in-house leader; a service provider to a client manager and business generator; or a team player to a team or organizational leader.

Ellen consults with practice groups, law firms and corporate legal departments on strategic talent management, retention, promotion and inclusion. She has advised law firms and the legal departments of Fortune 500 companies regarding leadership development, optimizing attorney-client communication and collaboration, diversity and inclusion, effective management, delegation and supervision, developing mentoring and sponsorship programs and retaining and developing diverse talent. She works with law firms to design and implement effective strategies to better recruit, develop, retain and advance the lawyers and staff within the firm.


Ellen brings a unique understanding of the complexities of human behavior, motivation, emotion and learning, derived from her extensive training in psychological science, 30+ years of experience working with individuals and organizations to facilitate change, and 20+ years of working exclusively with attorneys and their employers. She approaches all of her work from an interdisciplinary and evidence-based model of change that includes behavioral science and positive psychology.

Ellen is particularly sought after as a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant because her evidence-based work, derived from the science of social connection, focuses on observable behavior rather than unconscious processes that are not subject to conscious influence efforts. Instead, Ellen’s work with law firms seeking to become more inclusive focuses on developing mindful awareness and enabling lawyers to create authentic connections across differences. Her humanizing approach avoids the common triggers of defensiveness that hamper the effectiveness of typical implicit-bias focused interventions.


Since founding Lawyers Life Coach, Ellen has become known for her expertise in the challenges faced by women and diverse attorneys in the profession and has been invited to address numerous audiences – including the Department of Justice Canada, the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, Harvard Law School’s Women’s Leadership Summit, the Center for Women in the Law, the Latina Executive Leadership Academy, the National Bar Association, the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law’s Women Leadership & Equality Program and bar and women attorney’s groups on the national and local level throughout the US and Europe – on strategies for advancing women and diverse attorneys.

Her consultation with a law firm to become a more diverse and inclusive workplace resulted in that firm becoming one of the most honored firms for its diversity accomplishments. In addition, Ellen worked with a consulting team engaged by a judicial system to develop “A Great Place to Work.” In this capacity she conducted leadership development training, team building and provided leadership development coaching to court leaders including judges.

Ellen has also been selected as the exclusive Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF)-endorsed leadership development coach. She serves as a facilitator and coach for Diversity Lab’s On-Ramp Fellowship and OnTrack Sponsorship programs. She has been the Co-Chair of the Board of the ThirdPath Institute since its founding and has served on the District of Columbia Bar Association’s Lawyers’ Assistance Program Advisory Board as well as the DC Bar’s Board of Governors. She uses her expertise in the social and neurosciences to inform her efforts to increase resilience, satisfaction and effectiveness among legal professionals.

A frequent contributing writer for print and electronic legal media, Ellen’s articles have been published in the New York Law Journal Magazine, Perspectives, The Woman Advocate, NAWL’s The Women Lawyers’ Journal, GP Small/Solo, Trial Magazine, Lawyers Weekly USA, the Talent Think Tank Blog and many other prominent legal publications. The New York Times, the Washington Post, US News & World Report, the Legal Times, Of Counsel, Law 360 and the Careerist have quoted Ellen and her email newsletter, Beyond the Billable Hour, has been reprinted by more than 30 print and electronic publications and translated into multiple languages.

Ellen received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Rochester and her coach training from the MentorCoach ™ program, for which she has also taught, and her Professional Certified Coach certification from the International Coach Federation. She served on the faculties of three universities before starting her independent practice. She lives in suburban Washington, DC. with her husband and two cats, remotely parents her adult children in Las Vegas and Bel Air and adores her two grandchildren.

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