Board of Directors

Stephanie Battaglino

Stephanie is an Assistant Vice President - Communications Director at New York Life Insurance Company, located in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  She successfully transitioned on the job in October of 2005, and is the first transgendered person to do so in the 165–year history of the company.  In so doing, she worked collaboratively with NYL’s human resources executives to establish a process for successful workplace transitions for transgender employees.  She spearheaded the formation of NYLPride, the first-ever LGBT employee network group in the history of the company in May of 2007. 

Outside of New York Life, Stephanie is a tireless activist and advocate for transgender rights – both in and out of the workplace.  Stephanie is on the Board of Directors of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City, she is a former Communications Director and Board member for the International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE), and is the past Chair of the organization’s endowment fund, the Winslow Street Fund.  She is a past commissioner for the Oasis Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, New Jersey, whose mission it is to foster a greater awareness and understanding of the LGBT community throughout its 120 congregations.

She is also active in Out & Equal Workplace Advocates’ Metro New York regional affiliate, having recently accepted a position to serve on the Advisory Board to the affiliate’s Leadership Council.  She also is an active member of Out & Equal’s Transgender Advisory Committee.

She is a nationally recognized speaker and workshop presenter, who conducts motivational and experiential workshops both inside the transgender community and to the public at-large.  She speaks regularly on behalf of the transgender community at colleges, churches, businesses and community groups throughout the New York metropolitan area and nationally, and facilitates the transgender support group, TrueSelves, which she conducts in cooperation with the Pride Center of New Jersey

Stephanie’s professional career spans over 28 years in marketing, marketing communications and related fields.  Stephanie received her BA in Communication from the University of Delaware and holds an MBA in Marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University.  She resides in Cliffside Park, NJ with her partner Mari and her son Andrew.   

David Brown

David Brown is a litigation fellow at the Center for Reproductive Rights. He earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.A. in international relations and Latin American studies from Pomona College. David has been a grantmaker to human rights groups in Central America and provided legal and translation assitance to a number of LGBT rights organizations both there and in the United States. He has authored a number of publications, including a study of anti-LGBT hate crimes in Honduras and a forthcoming article in the Michigan Journal of International Law on the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Huaman Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. David was one of TLDEF's first interns.

Michael R. Flynn

Mike is a partner in the New York office of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.  Mike focuses his practice on corporate law, private equity and mergers and acquisitions. He represents venture capital funds, private equity funds and other private investors investing in early stage companies and in complex restructurings of troubled companies.  He also advises companies at all stages of development in the information technology, life sciences, financial services and telecommunications sectors in a full range of financial and strategic transactions.  Since 2008, Mike has been recognized by Chambers USA as a nationwide expert in the field of venture capital.

In addition to his work on behalf of the transgender community, Mike regularly provides legal assistance to non-profit and community healthcare organizations in the greater New York area.

Mike received his J.D. degree from Columbia Law School and his B.A. degree from the University of Texas at Austin.  He lives in Sleepy Hollow, New York with his wife Mary-Claire and their three children.

Robyn Gigl

Robyn is the managing partner of the law firm of Stein, McGuire, Pantages & Gigl, LLP, a 20 attorney law firm in New Jersey.  Robyn has been a partner in the firm for more than 20 years and in 2007 became managing partner. She has had the unique experience of running a law firm while successfully transitioning. Robyn practices primarily in the areas of employment law, business litigation, probate litigation and criminal defense.

Her employment litigation practice extends to the representation of employees and employers on a myriad of issues that include employment discrimination, wrongful termination, and employment agreements. Her business litigation practice focuses on disputes arising out of commercial transactions and contracts, shareholder, partner and owner disputes and non-compete agreements. In criminal matters, Robyn has represented a diverse clientele, including medical professionals, law enforcement officials and corporate executives.

Robyn is admitted to practice before the state and federal courts of New Jersey as well as the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She is a member of the Essex County and New Jersey State Bar Associations, and a member of the Labor & Employment Section, the Business & Commercial Litigation Committee and the LGBT Section of the New Jersey Bar Association.

Robyn is a graduate of Stonehill College and Villanova University School of Law, where she was a Member and Associate Editor of the Villanova Law Review.

Elise Gordon

Elise Gordon is Founder and CEO of Purple Genie Inc., a New York City information technology goods and services supplier.  Purple Genie’s clients include noted LGBT organizations such as The Stonewall Community Foundation, The Trevor Project and the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.  Purple Genie has also provided technology equipment and services pro bono for the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.  Ms. Gordon garnered her vast experience over the past 25+ years working in the IT industry for two international technology giants - Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and Sun Microsystems.   

As a trailblazing transgender businesswoman, Ms. Gordon has been invited to both The White House and Capitol Hill to discuss diversity issues and how top government officials can better form policy and assist LGBT small businesses.  Elise has also been a panelist at the United Nations during the World Diversity Leadership Summit.

A former Broadway theater critic, Ms. Gordon holds both a B.A. and M.F.A. in Theater and Arts Management respectively, from Brooklyn College.  She is also a former doctoral candidate at New York University in Educational Drama.  Elise served proudly in the military and is a service disabled U.S. Naval veteran.

Michael D. Silverman

(hi-res photo)

Michael has been TLDEF's Executive Director since it was founded.  He has worked as an attorney in the LGBT civil rights movement since 1994.  In addition to his work at TLDEF, Michael is Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, where he teaches courses on gender, sexuality and the law.

As a cooperating attorney with Lambda Legal, Michael worked on a number of groundbreaking cases, including Baehr v. Miike, one of the earliest challenges to restrictions on the freedom to marry, and Boy Scouts of America v. Dale.  In that case, Michael represented a coalition of religious organizations opposed to the Scouts’ exclusionary policy, and his brief  (cover, tables, brief) submitted to the United States Supreme Court on their behalf was cited in the opinion of the dissenting justices.  While on a Georgetown University Law Center Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship, Michael taught in the law school’s domestic violence clinic and worked in the legal department at NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Immediately prior to joining TLDEF, Michael worked for four years in New York Lawyers for the Public Interest’s Access to Health Care Program and Disability Law Center.  In that capacity, he provided technical assistance to numerous community groups seeking to end discrimination in access to health care on the basis of race and ethnicity.  He also successfully prosecuted large scale litigation in conjunction with the United States Department of Justice against hospitals for violations of, among other things, the Americans With Disabilities Act.  He is thrilled to be back in the movement for transgender equality.

Michael is a graduate of Vassar College and The University of Michigan Law School.

Click to contact Michael.

Mike Stafford

Mike has been producing and directing television shows for over 18 years for a variety of networks including, ABC, Bravo, Comedy Central, Columbia Tri-Star, Direct TV, Discovery, DIY, ESPN, MLB Network, NBC, TLC, The Style Channel, Telepictures, TrueTV, Twentieth Century Television and WE.

Every phase of production requires some legal involvement and Mike decided to pursue a law degree.  While producing full time, he attended St. John’s University Law School at night.  It was during his time at St. John’s that Mike discovered TLDEF and started volunteering.

After passing the bar exam, Mike was admitted to practice in New York State.  He is currently a member of the New York State Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Producers Guild of America.

Susan Zachman

Sue is a corporate attorney and entrepreneur, currently working on her next entrepreneurial venture.  Sue was formerly a corporate partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s New York office where she specialized in corporate and private equity transactions and general corporate counseling. Sue sat on Kirkland & Ellis’ firm-wide diversity committee and its LGBT and Gender Subcommittees and was coordinator of several of the firm’s pro bono projects, including the firm’s Name Change Project, coordinated with TLDEF. Sue received her J.D from Columbia Law School and M.B.A from Columbia Business School, and also received a M.S. Electrical Engineering from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego. Sue was formerly the Director of Regulatory Affairs for start-up medical device company Biosense Israel, before it was sold to Johnson & Johnson, becoming part of its Biosense Webster electrophysiology division in 1998.  Sue also serves on the Board of Directors of Immigration Equality.