Meet The Team

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Grant Gille
Board Chair

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Grant T. Gille is an associate at Dunlap Codding, practicing in the areas of patent drafting and prosecution, licensing, prior art searches, and patentability analysis.  His areas of technical focus are mechanical, construction and aerospace. His prior work experience includes the Office of Counsel Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Legal Intern, The Boeing Company, Materials and Process Engineer, US Army, Tactical Operations Officer

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Merideth VanSant
Board Chair-Elect

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Merideth is a public sector consultant, entrepreneur, and fitness enthusiast. She holds an MBA from NYU and her M.S. degree from OSU. Merideth is a member of Leadership OKC and serves on several OKC boards and committees that promote growth and community connection. She's completed over 5 full marathons and is looking forward to summiting Everest when she has time.

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Lina Khalaf
Secretary

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Lina is a complex business litigation attorney in Oklahoma City. Her practice primarily focuses on products liability and personal injury litigation, business transactions and disputes, and trademarks.
Lina was raised between Florida and Oklahoma and went to the University of Oklahoma for her undergraduate and law degrees. Lina graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science in 2017, while concurrently attending the University of Oklahoma College of Law in an early entry program. Lina graduated the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2019 with distinction.
Besides work and IgniteOKC, Lina enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and staying active.

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Braden Hoffmann
Treasurer

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 Braden Hoffmann is an associate attorney with the Law Firm Pierce Couch Hendrickson Baysinger & Green, LLP. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2016, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, and obtained his Law Degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2019.  Braden is an avid fan of his Oklahoma City Thunder and rarely misses a game.  He also loves camping, golfing, and hanging out with his family. 

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Janya Cox
Speaker Chair

Jayna was raised in Oklahoma and has lived here for most of her life. Jayna attended and received her Bachelors degree from Oklahoma State University where she studied Health Promotion and General Business. Before graduating from the University of Oklahoma College of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate, Jayna was a small business owner. Jayna is a tax attorney in Oklahoma City and board member of IgniteOKC. When she’s not working, Jayna enjoys spending time with her two children, watching her son play sports and daughter play the violin. Jayna also enjoys working out, going to barre classes, meeting friends for dinner, and shopping trips. 

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Caroline Carter
Speaker Chair-Elect

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Soprano Caroline Carter is a professional operatic soprano. While in undergrad, she spent three summers in Italy interning as an artistic administrator and performing as a soprano. In 2018, Caroline graduated from Meredith College, in Raleigh, NC, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a Professional Vocal Performance Certificate and a minor in Arts Management. Following a summer performing with the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, Caroline began her Master’s in Music in Opera Performance at Oklahoma City University. After graduating in May 2020, Caroline continued learning, teaching, auditioning, and performing in Oklahoma. Although Caroline lives with Type 1 Diabetes, her chronic illness has never held her back from following her dreams. Her creative lifestyle of free-lancing has been beneficial to building a community here, in Oklahoma City. Caroline is a local yoga instructor, private voice and piano teacher, and lifestyle blogger. She loves dogs, coffee, live music, plants, meeting new people, food, and big hugs!

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Kristin Josephs
Event Chair

Kristin is originally from Dallas, TX, where she graduated from Highland Park High School. From there she earned her bachelor’s degree in Letters & Classics with an emphasis in Constitutional Studies from The University of Oklahoma and graduated with distinction. Kristin was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority while at OU. She completed her Juris Doctor at The University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2019. During her time in law school, Kristin was worked in the OU Legal Clinic criminal division for three semesters where she was given the Clinic Distinguished Intern Award. She is currently an associate attorney at Kuykendall Law Office in Norman and practices criminal defense, representing defendants across the state of Oklahoma in cases ranging from misdemeanor offenses such as DUIs to drug trafficking and murder.

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Tessa Clinton
Event Chair-Elect

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Tessa is in her second year at Oklahoma City School of Law and a soft intellectual property intern at Dunlap Codding. She is currently a member of Law Review. Tessa was born and raised in Oklahoma. She attended Oklahoma State University, where she studied Apparel Design and Merchandising. Tessa has since then shifted her focus to intellectual property law. Before law school, Tessa worked with many entrepreneurs, small business owners, and creatives in Oklahoma City. She sees IgniteOKC as the perfect way to combine her creative background with her love for Oklahoma City to be a part of an organization that encourages people to foster innovation and bring growth to our community. Her free time is spent listening to podcasts, volunteering as a CASA, and advocating for endometriosis awareness.

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Shelby Kirkes
Communications Chair

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Shelby Kirkes joined the Oklahoma City Dodgers in August 2016 as the Manager of Special Events. Kirkes was born and raised in Carlsbad, NM and attended Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM, where she earned her bachelor's degree in communication with emphasis in public relations. Kirkes enjoys trying new restaurants, coffee shops and jogging trails. She has two Great Danes, Fitzgerald and Hemingway, named after two of her favorite authors. She enjoys supporting the Thunder, Dodgers, and Texas Rangers, and attending any Hockey game she can find.

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Breanna Kay
Programming Chair

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Bre Little is the Director of Legal Operations at GreenCarbon, a start-up company committed to promoting carbon neutrality globally and giving back to the developing world. Prior to the green energy game, she worked as a corporate paralegal in private practice following 10 years as a professional singer. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

When she’s not busy saving the world, you can find her on her yoga mat at 405 Yoga, where she both teaches and is a dedicated practitioner or being a helicopter dog mom to Scarlett and Jeff Goldblum.

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Jim John
Co-Sponsorship Chair

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Jim grew up in the north shore suburbs of Chicago. Jim attended Knox College, where he studied Neuroscience. After graduation, Jim worked at Cigna Healthspring in Chicago before moving to Oklahoma to attend University of Oklahoma College of Law. Since law school, Jim has been working as an intellectual property attorney at Dunlap Codding. 

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Liz Stevens
Sponsorship Co-Chair

Liz was born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Oklahoma. Before attending law school, Liz spent several years teaching English as a second language in Russia and Rwanda. Liz attended law school at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. While at OU Law, she served as an editor on the American Indian Law Review and was the Director of Judge Recruitment for the Board of Advocates. She received the Masterson Award for her work on American Indian Law Review, as well as the Class of 2019 Pro Bono award. She also received the Cindy Foley Award for her work with the OU Legal Clinic and was an Oklahoma Bar Foundation Fellow. While pursuing her Juris Doctor, she served as a judicial intern for The Honorable Noma D. Gurich of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, as well as an intern for the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the United Nations. Liz graduated from OU Law in 2019. Liz currently works at the Office of Attorney General in the Legal Counsel Unit. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading historical fiction books, and playing with her dog, Bear. 

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Hunter Akin
Technical Committee Co-Chair

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Hunter Kiyoshi Akin is an associate at Dunlap Codding, practicing in the areas of patent drafting and prosecution, licensing, prior art searches, and patentability analysis.  His areas of technical focus are computer hardware and software, including software as a service (SaaS). Prior to joining Dunlap Codding, Hunter worked as a summer associate at an Oklahoma City corporate firm and at Walt Disney World as a Disney College Program Cast Member.

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Dale Spoonemore
Technical Committee Co-Chair

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Dale Spoonemore is the creator of From Seed to Spoon, an iOS & Android mobile app that helps people grow food and manage pests in their garden. He's a member of the Surgical Care Affiliates software development team and lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and 4 children.

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Alyssa Grooms
Member-at-Large

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Alyssa’s practice focuses on advising clients on a variety of intellectual property issues. She has represented clients in intellectual property matters involving a wide range of technologies and industries, including chemicals, biotechnology, materials science, engineering, oil and gas, and medical arts. Her experience includes patent and trademark prosecution, licensing, due diligence, patent litigation, and strategic patent portfolio assessment.

Alyssa has worked with numerous U.S. and international companies to prepare and prosecute patent applications ranging from chemical compounds, polymers, medical devices, and diagnostic devices. She also has significant experience rendering intellectual property opinions, including freedom-to-operate, infringement, and invalidity opinions. Additionally, she has experience supporting teams through pre-litigation and litigation processes.

Alyssa was recently honored with a NextGen Under 30 2017 award recognizing individuals under 30 who demonstrate talent, drive, and service to their communities.

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Travis W. Brown
Member-at-Large

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Travis is a complex litigation attorney at Edinger Leonard & Blakley in Oklahoma City. His practice primarily focuses on general corporate litigation, oil and gas, and environmental law. Born an Oklahoma native, Travis attended college at Oklahoma State University majoring in Health Education and Promotion. Upon graduation, he attended and graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law. Besides work and IgniteOKC, Travis spends his time attending concerts, music festivals, enjoying the outdoors, hiking, Frisbee, learning about various topics, listening to podcasts, and spending time with his fiancé and daughter.

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Genni Ellis
Member-at-Large

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Genni Ellis is a hockey mom and an associate at Dunlap Codding, practicing in the areas of patent drafting and prosecution, licensing, prior art searches, and patentability analysis. Her work also extends to intellectual property litigation as well as trademark, copyright, and e-commerce representation. Genni’s areas of technical focus are life sciences and chemistry. Before joining Dunlap Codding as an associate, Genni served the firm as a legal intern. She also held legal internships at the Office of Counsel Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, and at Ward & Glass, LLP.