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Staff Biographies

Karen Ferguson is president of the Pension Rights Center. She oversees Center activities, initiates new programs, and sets the overall direction of the organization. Before starting the Center in 1976, she was an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board; the law firm of Bell, Boyd, and Lloyd; the Public Interest Research Group; and the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds. Karen is co-author of Pensions in Crisis: Why the System is Failing America and How You Can Protect Your Future, and a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Harvard Law School. 

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.

Kyle Garrett, the Pension Rights Center's Chief Operations Officer, provides information and assistance to individuals contacting the Center. He also manages the day to day operations of the office, arranges meetings and travel, and is responsible for maintaining the PRC client and donor databases. In addition, he does research and writes content for the website. Kyle has worked with the Center since 2005, and is a graduate of Roanoke College.

Emily Gilbert is the Pension Rights Center’s outreach associate. 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.

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 economic analyses of policies, proposals and studies. 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.