Commission Members

The Equal Rights Commission Board Members

The Equal Rights Commission is led by administrator, Kara Jenkins. Similar to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), NERC is also comprised of an appointed board which includes five members who represent the community. The current membership includes:

Connye Harper, Chair

Previously a litigator, Connye Harper’s practice now focuses entirely on preventive counseling, policy development, staff training regarding labor and employment issues, conflict resolution and nonprofit management. With over 40 years of experience, she is a recognized expert in the field of employment practices, including implicit bias, age discrimination and sexual harassment, and she has been quoted in many newspaper articles and magazines addressing these issues.

She has been a member in good standing of the State Bar of Michigan since 1976 and a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers since 2004.

She currently serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors, Affiliate Equity Officer, Chair of the HR Committee and a member of the Finance, Executive, Nominating, Strategic Planning and Governance Committees of the American Civil Liberties Union, Nevada. She is formerly the Chapter President of the Southern Nevada affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management and the 20 Pearls Foundation.

She earned her Juris Doctor degree at the University of Michigan Law School, a BA Degree in Journalism from the University of Michigan and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She has also successfully completed several courses in Pepperdine Law School's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.

Ms. Young is a mother of two beautiful children, KaPreace (22, UNR Graduate) and Anthony (18, HS Senior).  She is an advocate for families, community, young women, and education.  As a resident of the Reno/Sparks community for over 25 years, she has been a spokesperson for the community, diversity and equitable practices, student achievement, and community and economic development.  She is a public speaker, trainer, workshop facilitator and community collaborator at heart.

Ms. Young is currently working for the Washoe County School District (WCSD) as the Coordinator of Equity and Diversity.  Her work is within systems to support and clarify the role of Equity and cultural competency interwoven into all schools, departments, and systems. Ms. Young leads work around programs and policies that must addressed through an equitable and culturally responsive lens, as well as creating and facilitating professional learning around Equity and Cultural Competency.  Ms. Young owns her own consulting business, Tiffany Young Consulting LLC, and has previously contracted with the State of Nevada on various contracts, managing the statewide Nonprofit Association for Head Start, local nonprofit associations, and providing nonprofit board development, grant writing, and Strategic Planning.

Ms. Young holds a M. Ed. and B.A. from the University of Nevada Reno where she is also an Adjunct Professor in the Human Development and Family Studies Department. Ms. Young has served the WCSD Parent Involvement Committee as a member chair. Ms. Young has been a Commissioner for the Nevada Equal Rights (NERC) Commission since January 2006, and has participated as a Peer Mentor for the Department of Justice Community Capacity Development Office (formerly the Executive Office for Weed and Seed).  She has served as the M.C. for the Northern Nev. Human Resources Assoc. Conference in addition to facilitating workshops on Diversity, and Community Involvement.  She is the current President of the N. Nv. Black Cultural Awareness Society. She previously served as a Board Member for Join Together Northern Nevada (a drug prevention coalition), the Impartial Policing Advisory Committee, and the Human Services Network.  She was awarded the Education Service Award by the African American Clergy Council of Northern Nevada (AACCONN), and was appointed to the Commission on Minority Affairs from 2013 to 2014. Awarded a Community Service Award by the local chapter of the Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, and served as the Keynote speaker for the National Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club conference held in Reno in 2012.

Tiffany Young, Secretary

Ivette Fernandez

Ivette Fernandez has over 20 years of experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. She currently serves as the Vice President of Government Relations for Endeavor- the parent of multiple entertainment companies, including UFC, William Morris Endeavor, IMG, Professional Bull Riders and Miss Universe.

Prior to joining Endeavor, Ivette worked for Stand Together, The LIBRE Institute, News Corp and Pfizer Inc. Prior to joining the private and non-profit sectors, she worked for President George W. Bush at The White House, as a political appointee at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and in the U.S. Senate for twoof Alaska's senators.

Ivette has been recognized for her contributions to the community by numerous entities, including the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Eielson Air Force Base,Alaska; LATINO Magazine; and The Latino Coalition. She was honored with the United Way of NYC’s 2012 Women’s Leadership Council “Woman of Distinction Award,” and selected one of PODER Magazine’s 2013 “20 under 40: Latinos Going Places.” In summer 2008, Ivette was the feature of LATINA Style Magazine’s article “Inspirational Latina, Ivette Fernandez,” and was 1 of 15 nationwide recipients in 2006 recognized as a Hispanic American leader by the Government of Spain’s “Young Hispanic Leaders Program,” where she was honored by HRH Crown Prince Felipe of Spain.

Ivette is a Commissioner on the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, Board Member and Vice Chair of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino,and a Member of the Winning for Women Advisory Committee, Hispanic Scholarship Fund Las Vegas Advisory Council, and Junior League of Las Vegas. She participated in a cultural study abroad to Argentina in college and was selected to be a Rotary Foreign Exchange Student to Sweden in high school. Ivette hastraveled to over 30 countries and 30 states in the U.S. and speaks three languages.

Ivette was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, and in 2000, won the title of Miss Alaska USA and Miss Congeniality and competed in the 2001 Miss USA Pageant. In 1999, she was selected to be Alaska’s Cherry Blossom Princess in the world-renowned Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC, and was crowned Senorita Latina of Fairbanks in 1990.

Ivette received her Bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University and her Master’s degree from Georgetown University.

Jocelyn Cortez is an immigration attorney at GWP Immigration Law. She has been a proud Nevadan for most of her life, moving to Las Vegas with her parents as an infant. Born in El Salvador during the start of a violent civil war her family made the difficult choice to create a new home in southern Nevada. Many years later, Jocelyn earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from UNLV and her law degree from the University of Arizona. During her time as a law student, Jocelyn was a member of the Arizona Law Review and a student-attorney at the law school’s immigration clinic, a program that permits law students to represent people in immigration court.

After law school, Jocelyn returned to Nevada to pursue a practice rooted in social justice. For almost 5 years, she represented employees in employment discrimination matters ranging from sexual harassment to discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and disability in state and federal court as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and NERC.

In 2011 Jocelyn focused her practice on immigration law, drawing on her family’s experience navigating complex legal processes she began to represent immigrants in their own pursuit of the American Dream. Currently, Jocelyn represents clients from all over the world in obtaining U.S. citizenship, visas, and protection from deportation based on humanitarian reasons like being victims of domestic violence or crime. She has assisted hundreds of Dreamers apply for DACA.

In addition to her practice and advocacy, she is active in her community. For many years, Jocelyn has given presentations at legal workshops to demystify immigration law for the public and helped in citizenship and DACA application drives. She has also been a frequent commentator on various types of media regarding recent developments in immigration law. Jocelyn is the Board Secretary for Dream Big Nevada, a non-profit dedicated to advocating for immigrant rights and serves as an attorney consultant for the Mexican Consulate. She is also a member and past-president of the Nevada Latino Bar Association and a member of the Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys.

In her spare time, Jocelyn enjoys exploring the world through travel and food and sharing her love of books with her two children and husband.

Jocelyn

Jocelyn Cortez

Krista Wahnefried

Krista Wahnefried is an accomplished environmental consultant who is passionate about science, social justice, and education. Krista is an Environmental Scientist with McGinley & Associates, and serves as the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment lead for the Reno, Nevada office. Her professional interests and experiencefocus on environmental due diligence for commercial real estate transactions, natural resources, and hazardous materials management.

Krista is currently a member of the philanthropy committee for the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) association of Northern Nevada, and is a proud supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. As a member of the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) appointed in November 2018, Krista looks forward to serving the people of Nevada for years to come.

Prior to her current position with McGinley & Associates, Krista worked as a scientist with several other environmental consulting firms, as a laboratory instructor and teaching assistant at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, as a botanist with the United States Bureau of Land Management, and as a naturalist with the Girl Scouts of America. Krista also owned and operated a small event florist business; her favorite project was donating floral arrangements to “Quinceañera sin Alcohol”in Phoenix, a free program providing education and support to at-risk young women and their families. She has also spent time as a STEM education intern, volunteering with a LGBTQ youth support group, and serving on a civil rights and social action fundraising board. Krista enjoys being politically active and has been involved with several efforts to increase voter registration and participation in her community.

Krista was born and raised in La Cañada Flintridge, California and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from Northern Arizona University in 2010. She has since lived and worked in a number of areas throughout the western United States. Krista is proud to now call Reno, Nevada her home where she lives withher husband, Nick, and their two dogs Sophie and Porter.