Staff & Consultants

The Pension Rights Center's hardworking staff members are passionate about its commitment to economic justice.

Read our bios to learn more about our team.

Karen Friedman is the Pension Rights Center’s Executive Director. She develops solutions and implements strategies to protect and promote the rights of consumers, and for more than 20 years has represented their interests in the media and before congressional committees. Karen coordinates Retirement USA and the Conversation on Coverage and is responsible for the Center’s day-to-day operations. A graduate of Georgetown University, she previously worked for human rights organizations.

David Brandolph is the Pension Rights Center’s senior communications consultant. He writes and edits articles for publication, informs the media of important issues affecting pension plans and their members and helps policymakers get the information they need to make better decisions. Previously, he served as an award-winning editor and journalist for Bloomberg BNA, where he covered and reported on retirement plan issues to a national audience. He has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.

Kyle Garrett, the Pension Rights Center’s Chief Operations Officer, provides information and assistance to individuals contacting the Center. He also conducts research, writes fact sheets and blog entries, and arranges meetings and travel. Kyle has worked with the Center since 2005, and is a graduate of Roanoke College.

Emily Gilbert is the Pension Rights Center’s outreach manager. She manages the development and maintenance of the Center’s website, Story Bank, and social media sites. She serves as the Center’s liaison with retiree groups and individuals seeking assistance, develops outreach materials, writes fact sheets, newsletters, and alerts, and responds to requests from the media. She is a graduate of The College of William & Mary.

Katie Jonckheer is the Pension Rights Center’s legal and policy associate. She assists Emily Gilbert with outreach efforts, updates PRC’s social media sites, and works on a variety of legal and policy-based research projects. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.

Raechel Parolisi is the Pension Rights Center’s Legal Director. She has also been in private practice where she assisted family law attorneys divide retirement and employee benefits in divorces. Prior to opening her own firm, she worked in the retirement industry doing everything from performing benefit calculations to drafting plan documents and handling compliance issues. She earned her law degree from SMU Dedman School of Law and her LL.M. in Employee Benefits from UIC John Marshall Law School.

Jane Smith, the Pension Rights Center’s policy analyst, conducts analyses of policies, proposals and studies and translates these into plain-English for the general public. Previously, Jane worked for the Labor Department’s Division of Technical Assistance of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). Prior to working at the Labor Department, she was a volunteer research economist for the PRC. She is a graduate of the College of William & Mary and has a Master’s degree in Economics from George Mason University.

Norman Stein is a professor of law at Drexel University, where he teaches in the areas of pensions, other employee benefits, social insurance, federal business and individual taxation. As Senior Policy Advisor to the Pension Rights Center, he provides legal guidance on many pension issues, authors legal briefs on behalf of the Center, and represents the Center before congressional panels.

In Memoriam: Karen Ferguson founded the Pension Rights Center in 1976 and served as director and president from 1976 to 2021. Read our statement on Karen’s death on December 23, 2021.

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