Team & Mission

Our Mission

The ERA Project at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law is a law and policy think tank established in January 2021 to develop academically rigorous research, policy papers, expert guidance, and strategic leadership on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution, and on the role of the ERA in advancing the larger cause of gender-based justice.

The ERA Project does not engage in lobbying, but instead develops academic, legal and policy expertise to support efforts to expand protections for gender-based equality and justice.


Project Staff


Ting Ting

Ting Ting Cheng is Director of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Project at Columbia Law School. Ting Ting, a civil rights attorney and activist, has spent her career advocating for marginalized communities. Previously she was a public defender and immigration attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services and litigated gender discrimination cases at Legal Momentum (formerly the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund). 

Ting Ting served as the Legal Director of the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017, helping to organize the largest single-day protest in US history. She was a foreign law clerk to Justice Albie Sachs and Justice Edwin Cameron at the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Ting Ting was also a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa, where she received the Amy Biehl Award. 

Ting Ting has written for a range of publications, such as the Harvard Social Impact Review and the American Bar Association’s Perspectives Publication, and has offered commentary for numerous media outlets including CNN, NPR, New York Magazine, Bloomberg News, Philadelphia Inquirer, and The 19th.

Naomi Young

Naomi Young is a Policy Associate at the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Project at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. Previously, she worked as a Senior Staff Attorney managing the Financial Freedom Project at Her Justice, where she started as an Equal Justice Works Fellow. As an attorney at Her Justice, Naomi provided direct legal services and mentored pro bono attorneys representing women living in poverty in New York City matrimonial, Family Court, and consumer debt matters. From 2020-2023, Naomi co-chaired New York City's Domestic Violence & Consumer Law Working Group and advocated for policy reforms relating to economic abuse and consumer debt. Naomi obtained her J.D. at City University of New York School of Law as a Graduate Fellow and a Sorensen Center for International Peace & Justice Fellow. She obtained her B.A. from Allegheny College.

Image of Professor Katherine Franke

Katherine Franke, Director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law and James L. Dohr Professor of Law, is the ERA Project’s Faculty Director. 





Image of Lilia Hadjiivanova

Lilia Hadjiivanova, the Assistant Director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, is the ERA Project’s Administrative Director. 




Advisory Board

The ERA Project's Advisory Board is made up of leaders from law, business, politics, and social justice sectors with enormous expertise and long-time work on the effort to achieve gender based-equality and finalize the ERA.

Their bios are available below.

Photo of Susan Bevan

Susan Bevan

Susan Bevan is a philanthropist and non-profit volunteer.  A former corporate attorney, she has served on many boards, both locally near her home in Connecticut, as well as internationally.  Susan sits on the board of the University of Washington Foundation and serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Washington Foster School of Business.  As a board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, Susan served as Vice President and also co-chair of its capital campaign that rebuilt the pool and clubhouse and added a hockey rink. Susan is a member of the board of the Equal Rights Amendment Project working to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution that will guarantee equal rights regardless of sex. A former member of the Executive Board of Alpha Phi International Fraternity, based in Evanston, IL, she still serves as liaison to and board member of the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee and the Fraternity and Sorority Action Fund in Washington, D.C.  She is the recent past-national Co-Chair of the Republican Majority for Choice having served on its board for 17 years.  Susan has been published in the Huffington Post and the New York Times and has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki discussing issues regarding reproductive choice and the Republican Party.  Susan has co-produced two independent films with strong female protagonists, Equity and An Acceptable Loss.


Image of Nia Cross Castelly

Nia J.C. Castelly

Nia Castelly, a graduate of Spelman College and Columbia Law School ‘00, currently serves as senior counsel at Google where she is the co-founder and legal and privacy lead for a product in the company's in-house incubator. Throughout her distinguished career, Nia has founded, led, and been an ardent supporter of civic, non-profit, and employer-sponsored programs that advocate for the rights and protections of children, women, and people of color. She is passionate about technology and entrepreneurship, and particularly the opportunities these areas provide to narrow the gap for underrepresented and disenfranchised groups. Nia continues to serve the women of Spelman College as a member of the 25@25 Sister Circle, an organization which promotes and supports the school's technology and innovation initiatives.


Bari Harlam

Bari Harlam

Bari Harlam is a successful C-suite business leader, marketer, educator, and author. She is co-Founder of TROUBLE LLC, and she relishes in being a TroubleMaker for good. Bari is a pioneer in personalized & digital marketing, loyalty & experience, and data analytics. Bari’s strategic consumer focus and business acumen have driven enormous value for several companies including CVS Health, Swipely, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Hudson’s Bay Company.

Bari’s people and thought leadership capabilities are especially relevant across a variety of industries such as healthcare, retail, finance and services.

Bari is an experienced Board Director and Advisor for corporations and not-for-profit organizations. She serves on the Board of Eastern Bankshares, Inc., Rite Aid Corporation, Aterian, Inc., Champion Petfoods, OneWater Marine Inc., Rhode Island PBS, and as Advisor for Govern for America and Gift Card Bank. Bari serves as the Chair for Nominating & Governance, Compensation, and Trust Committees across a variety of the boards.

Bari’s first chapter was in academia as Marketing Professor at Columbia’s Graduate School and the University of Rhode Island, and Adjunct Faculty at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Bari has published in numerous academic and industry journals.

Bari received her B.S., Masters, and Ph.D. from The University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School. She and her husband have three grown children. They love the outdoors, both above and below the water, and enjoy nature’s many spectacles.

Photo of Wade Leak

Wade Leak

Wade Leak is Deputy General Counsel for Sony Music Entertainment. Wade is a graduate of Columbia University Law School where he is a regular guest lecturer and Vice President of the law school’s Alumni Association.  After graduating from Columbia, he was a judicial clerk for Justice Christine M. Durham, Utah Supreme Court and then worked at the law firms Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Bodian & Eames.  He began his career in the music business in 1999 at the Zomba Group of Companies, the largest independent music company in the world at that time.  In addition to serving as the company’s Chief Compliance, Ethics and Privacy Officer, Wade manages U.S. litigation and provides day-to-day legal advice to the label groups at Sony Music on a wide range of matters, including copyright, trademark, online marketing and data privacy issues. Wade credits Columbia Law School with awakening his commitment to pursuing equality for all.


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Marianne Stack

Marianne Stack is a former Communications Director for the ERA Coalition. She is a political activist who has helped elect women candidates running for national, state, and local office. Marianne worked for ABC News for 16 years where she won two national news Emmy awards and produced many stories on women’s issues.


Photo of Marcy Syms

Marcy Syms

Marcy is founding Trustee and President of the Sy Syms Foundation and, since 2012, President of TPD Group LLC. She is the former Chair and CEO of SYMS, one of the first companies to offer designer and brand-name clothing at “off-price” rather than “regular price”. In 1983, when taking SYMS public, Marcy became the youngest female president of a New York Stock Exchange company. In 2009, SYMS acquired Filene's Basement and operated 50 stores under both names. Marcy is a member of the Women's Leadership Board of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School. She has chaired the ERA Coalition and The Fund for Women’s Equality. She is an author and independent board member, and has been recognized for her work in the area of women’s rights with honors of distinction.


Photo of Liz Young

Liz Young

Liz Young is currently a visiting Fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation at Saïd Business School.

She is the former Executive Vice President and Global Head of Communications at Sony Music Entertainment (SME). As Executive Vice President, Liz Young was responsible for press relations and managing media strategies for the CEO, the head of Digital, the Legal department, and for strategic partnerships and agreements with third-party companies and investor relations. She worked on Sony Music financial reports to Sony Corporation for their quarterly reporting to shareholders and media. She was responsible for Sony Music quarterly financial reporting to media globally. Reporting directly to the CEO, she also managed external and internal communications for SME. She was also responsible for corporate giving and major events. 

Previously, Young held the position of Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications for Bertelsmann, Inc, where she worked in the Office of the Chairman and reported to the Bertelsmann Board in Germany. She also represented the Bertelsmann Foundation in the United States.

Prior to that, she was a Vice President of Mazda North America, where she worked in corporate research and development in Washington, D.C. She was a registered lobbyist for Mazda working on U.S.-Japan trade issues. She also started and managed the Mazda Foundation and was a member of the Board. 

Young is co-founder of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality. She is a founding member of the ERA Project’s Advisory Board at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law.


Photo of Candace Straight

In memoriam: Candace Straight

Candace Straight was a private investor and independent director. Throughout her career she worked for numerous corporations including, Merck & Co. Inc. and Bankers Trust Company. Straight also served as a principal in a private equity firm and as an Advisory Director of Securitas Capital, L.L.C., a global private equity investment firm specializing in insurance.

Straight was a director of Neuberger and Berman’s mutual funds and the Executive Producer of EQUITY, an independent film starring two-time Emmy winner Anna Gunn. EQUITY is the first female-driven Wall Street film which premiered at the Sundance film festival in 2016 and was purchased by Sony Pictures Classics. Straight was also an Executive Producer of AN ACCEPTABLE LOSS, political thriller starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Tika Sumpter. AN ACCEPTABLE LOSS was released in theaters in 2019.

Straight was also on the board of Rebelle Media, a film and TV production company dedicated to providing outstanding roles for women in front of and behind the cameras. She was a co-producer of a documentary about the ERA which is currently in post-production.

Straight served on the Board of Governors of Rutgers University from 2011 through December 2016 and on the Board of Trustees of Wilson College. Until her passing, Straight served as a Visiting Associate of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. Governor Christine Todd Whitman appointed her to the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority Board where Straight served as Vice Chairman from 1996 to 2003.

Straight was a graduate of Bloomfield High School. She received her B.A. from Wilson College and her M.B.A. from New York University. In June 1994, Wilson College awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Straight.

Straight passed away on June 13, 2021. As a tireless champion for the ERA and women's rights, she left a legacy that the ERA Project will carry on proudly. 


Academic Advisory Council

Image of Professor Mabel Abraham

Mabel Abraham, Assistant Professor, Management

Columbia Business School






Image of Professor Penelope Andrews

Penelope (Penny) Andrews, Professor of Law, New York Law School

Co-Director, Racial Justice Project

President, Law and Society Association



Image of Professor Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, UC Berkeley School of Law

Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law





Image of Professor Martha F. Davis

Martha F. Davis, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law

Faculty Director, NuLawLab

Co-Director, PHRGE




Image of Professor Cary Franklin

Cary Franklin, W. H. Francis, Jr. Professor of Law

University of Texas at Austin School of Law





Image of Professor Julie Goldscheid

Julie Goldscheid, Professor of Law

CUNY School of Law



Image of Professor Mitu Gulati

Mitu Gulati, Professor of Law

Duke School of Law




headshot of Jane Kamensky

Jane KamenskyPforzheimer Foundation Director, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Harvard Radcliffe Institute

Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, Harvard University





Image of Professor Serena Mayeri

Serena Mayeri, Professor of Law and History

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School




Image of Professor Melissa Murray

Melissa Murray, Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law, New York University

Faculty Director, Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network




Headshot of Victoria Nourse

Victoria F. Nourse, Ralph Whitworth Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School

Director, Center for Congressional Studies

Author, The Impeachment Trials of Donald Trump: An Introduction to Constitutional Interpretation 






Image of Professor David Pozen

David Pozen, Vice Dean for Intellectual Life and Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law

Columbia Law School





Image of Professor Darren Rosenblum

Darren Rosenblum, Professor of Law

Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Pace University 




Headshot of Meredith Rosenthal

Meredith Rosenthal, C. Boyden Gray Professor of Health Economics and Policy

Faculty Chair, Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative





Image of Professor Reva Siegel

Reva Siegel, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law

Yale Law School






Image of Professor Kate Shaw

Kate Shaw, Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University

Co-Director, Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy




Image of Professor Julie C. Suk

Julie C. Suk, Florence Rogatz Visiting Professor of Law (fall term) & Senior Research Scholar, Yale Law School

Professor of Sociology & Political Science, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Author, We The Women: The Unstoppable Mothers of the Equal Rights Amendment