2019-2020 Executive Board
The George Edgecomb Bar Association Executive Board: July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020
President- Valeria Obi, Esq.
Valeria Obi is entering her second year as President of the George Edgecomb Bar Association. President Obi has contributed her time, energy, and talents to GEBA since she was a law student and was named our 2015 Outstanding Young Lawyer’s Award winner. In 2017, Valeria also received the George Edgecomb Bar Association's President's Award, was named an Up & Comer by the Tampa Bay Business Journal and received The Florida State University Alumni Association's Notable Noles Award. She graduated, with honors, from The Florida State University with a Bachelors in Political Science and English Literature and received her Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law.
Valeria is Staff Counsel with Encore Capital Group, Inc. where she handles collection and compliance matters. Valeria serves as Co-Chair for The Florida Bar’s Diversity & Inclusion Pipeline Sub-Committee and was also selected for the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Leadership Institute Class for 2016-2017 and served as its Chair for 2017-2018. Valeria also sits on the Board of Directors for Solita's House, and is also a member of the C.H. Ferguson-M.E. White American Inn of Court, Florida Creditor’s Bar Association, and is a Class VI graduate of the Florida Bar’s Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy. She is also an active member of the St. Petersburg Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Vice-President- Travis Coy, Esq.
Travis Coy serves as the Vice President of the George Edgecomb Bar Association. Additionally, he is the co-chair of GEBA’s Role Model Committee where he mentors students from both Franklin and Ferrell Middle Schools. He is an Assistant State Attorney with the Office of the State Attorney, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit and is the Deputy Chief in Circuit Criminal Division A, where he prosecutes serious felony cases. Travis graduated from The Florida State University with honors in Communication Studies and a minor in Sociology.
As a law student at Stetson University College of Law, Travis served as Associate Chief Justice of Stetson’s nationally recognized Moot Court Board and as Treasurer and Parliamentarian of the Black Law Student Association. He was also appointed to The Florida Bar’s Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee and is a Barrister in the Tampa Bay Inn of Court. Travis is a Tampa native and was Hillsborough High School’s first recipient of a GEBA scholarship.
Immediate Past President- Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy, Esq.
Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy is the Immediate Past President of the George Edgecomb Bar Association. She is the principal owner of Jean-Pierre Coy P.A. where she focuses her practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury. Theresa has extensive criminal trial law experience having handled cases ranging from misdemeanors to murder and has chaired close to 50 jury trials. In 2015 she received GEBA’s Presidents award for outstanding service and commitment to the organization. She serves on the Florida Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Section as the 2018 co-chair of the Tech Show and served on the Florida Bar’s Criminal Procedure Rules Committee. She was a member of both the Tampa Bay Inn of Court and the Goldburg-Cacciatore Criminal Law Inn of Court. She was selected by the Mayor and currently serves on both the Mayor’s African American Advisory Council and as legal counsel for Tampa’s Civil Service Board.
Theresa graduated magna cum laude from Florida A&M University with a double major in Political Science and Public Administration. She later attended Stetson University College of Law and graduated with a Concentration in Advocacy. At Stetson she served as a Stetson Ambassador, a member of Stetson’s nationally ranked Moot Court Board, won First-Place Best Oral Advocate and received the Victor O’ Wehle award for excellence in trial advocacy.
Treasurer- Howard Williams, Esq.
Howard Williams serves as the Treasurer of the George Edgecomb Bar Association. He is an assistant public defender at the Office of the Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida in New Port Richey, Florida. In 2014, Howard was named the Public Defender of the Year for the Pasco County office for his zealous, meticulous, and tenacious representation of the accused.
The Flint, Michigan native attended Northwood University graduating with honors in Business Management. Howard earned his juris doctorate from Stetson University College of Law and was awarded the Marc. L. Levine Award for his emergence as a respected campus leader. While in law school, Howard served as President of the Black Law Students Association and named their Alumni of the Year Award. Howard also interned at the St. Petersburg Police Station in the area of civil forfeitures. Howard has been a member of GEBA since 2013 and also serves as a board member for After School All-Stars program.
Secretary- Vanessa Ferguson, Esq.
"Vanessa Ferguson serves as the Secretary for the George Edgecomb Bar Association. The Orlando native obtained her Bachelor Degree in Criminology, with a concentration in Legal Studies, from the University of South Florida St Petersburg. She also attended the University of Dayton School of Law and graduated in two and a half years with a certification for her Intellectual Property concentration. While attending law school, Ms. Ferguson pursued extensive studies in Intellectual Property, the Internet of Things and privacy issues related to both subjects. Vanessa is currently the managing director at her firm, Ferguson Legal, which focuses on data privacy, intellectual property, and general business law."
Press Secretary- Cornelius C. Demps, Esq.
Cornelius C. Demps serves as the Press Secretary for the George Edgecomb Bar Association and was named our 2018 Outstanding Young Lawyer’s Award winner. The Fort Pierce, Florida native earned his degree in Industrial Engineering from The Florida State University and his juris doctorate from Stetson University College of Law. He earned his certification in Stetson’s Concentration in Advocacy program and competed as a member of the Stetson Law Trial Team. He was bestowed the Victor O. Whele Excellence in Trial Advocacy award and inducted into the National Order of the Barristers.
Mr. Demps is the Founding Partner of The Demps Law Firm, PLLC specializing in appellate and business law matters. After beginning his career an assistant state attorney serving as a trial prosecutor in New Port Richey, he would go on to serve as an appellate prosecutor at the Florida Office of the Attorney General in Tampa. During his time as an assistant attorney general, he argued cases before the Second District Court of Appeal, the United District Court for the Middle District, and the United States Court of Appeals for Eleventh Circuit. He has an AV preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, was named a Tampa Bay Business Journal Up and Comers 2017 nominee, listed on Florida Trend magazine’s 2018 Legal Elite for Government Attorneys, and is a Class IV fellow of the Florida Bar’s Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy. In 2019, Mr. Demps was listed among Florida Super Lawyer's Rising Stars in Appellate Practice.
Parliamentarian- Keyara F. Marshall
Keyara F. Marshall serves as the Parliamentarian for the George Edgecomb Bar Association. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies and minor in Business Administration (Finance Concentration). She received her Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law. While at Stetson she served as an Ambassador and was actively involved with the Black Law Student Association serving as President and Secretary during her time at Stetson.
Keyara is Counsel for Citi, where she handles corporate legal matters for Citi Private Bank's North America Ultra High Net Worth, High Net Worth and Law Firm Group client segments. She also participates in the Citi Volunteer program assisting outside of work with nonprofits and non-governmental organizations supported by the Citi Foundation.
General Counsel- Norman Harris, Esq.
Norman Harris graduated from LaGrange College with a major in English and a minor in Philosophy and Religion. He went to Graduate School at Emory University and Chandler School of Theology where he received a Master’s in Divinity. He attended law school at Mercer University School of Law and currently manages his own firm, Champions for Justice, P.A. where he specializes in personal injury, criminal defense and music entertainment. Norman also serves as Assistant General Counsel for the Southwestern Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ and Vice President of Arts Conservatory for Teens. He is also an Executive Board Member of Tampa Hillsborough Action Plan, and is a Writer for Emerge Magazine.
At Large Member- Jane A. Rose, Esq.
Jane A. Rose is a BV Distinguished rated attorney who currently serves as Board Member at large of the George Edgecomb Bar Association. Ms. Rose has dedicated her legal career to government service. She is a Senior Assistant County Attorney with the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office, in the Employment & Regulatory Services division. Since 2002, she has also practiced in the office’s Water & Environmental Management Division and Municipal Services Division. Ms. Rose is a former Senior Assistant Attorney General with the Economic Crimes Litigation Division of the Florida Attorney General’s Office in Tallahassee, FL, and a former Assistant Counsel with the United States Navy, Office of Counsel in Philadelphia, PA. Ms. Rose is a native of Boston, Massachusetts.
She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts degree, magne cum laude, and from Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, DE. Ms. Rose has made Florida her home since 1990. Ms. Rose has been a dedicated member of GEBA since 2002 and in 2016 received GEBA’s President’s Award for her commitment, loyalty, unwavering support, time, care and humility in all that she does for the organization. Ms. Rose serves on The Florida Bar’s Judicial Administration & Evaluation Committee. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers, and is a member of The Pearl Society of Bay Area Legal Services, Inc.
At Large Member- LaKisha M. Kinsey-Sallis, Esq.
LaKisha M. Kinsey-Sallis serves as one of the At-Large members for the George Edgecomb Bar Association. She graduated magna cum laude from Florida A & M University and earned her juris doctorate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. The school recognized her trial advocacy skills by naming her a Philip H. Corboy Trial Fellow.
LaKisha is Of Counsel at Fisher Phillips. She has extensive experience representing private and public sector employers of all sizes and across several industries including hospitality, retail, healthcare, education, public housing, and technology. She is a 2012 graduate of the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Leadership Institute and currently serves as the National Legal Advisor to Jack and Jill of America, Inc. As an At-Large member, Lakisa is an ambassador for GEBA at various organizations including Junior League of Tampa and the Florida Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Ex- Officio Judicial Liaison- Judge Jessica Costello, Esq.
Judge Jessica Costello serves as GEBA's first Ex-officio Judicial Liaison and was named our 2017 Outstanding Young Lawyer’s Award winner. She was previously an Assistant Statewide Prosecutor with the Florida Attorney General's Office of Statewide Prosecution. Currently, she serves as a County Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.
Named Florida's Gang Prosecutor of the Year in 2015, Jessica has been named to on Florida Trend magazine’s Legal Elite for Government Attorneys since 2014 and was named to the Tampa Bay Business Journal's 'Up and Comers' Hall of Fame in 2016. She was named a 'Woman of Color Leading Change' by the YWCA of Tampa Bay in 2017, and received the University of Florida's Outstanding Young Alumni award in 2018. She is also a Class I fellow of the Florida Bar’s Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy.
She has spent the majority of her career in the field of criminal prosecution and has tried cases ranging from misdemeanors to complex multi-defendant criminal matters to capital homicides. She received her B.A. from the University of Florida and J.D. from Florida State University College of Law.