Cynthia Pong, Esq.
Cynthia Pong, Esq., is a wellness trainer and coach for lawyers and other professionals. Her passion is helping lawyers and professionals find ways to work – and live – happier. To that end, after a successful career as a public defender at The Legal Aid Society in the Bronx, New York, Cynthia founded Embrace Change Consulting. She is the creator of a unique, 3-program wellness series, How to Work Happier, and regularly presents mindfulness trainings for lawyers and professionals.
Her experience as a public defender working in a high-stakes, high-stress legal work environment informs her dual mission: to help organizations achieve success through the creation of positive and supportive work cultures and to help professionals improve their own wellbeing, health, and resilience. Cynthia has received high praise for her talks and presentations, including her popular Lawline webinar on mindfulness for lawyers viewed by nearly 1000 people and her in person trainings and CLE presentations. She has previously given trainings and presentations at Mt. Sinai / Elmhurst Hospital, the International Institute for Restorative Practices, the National Association of Counsel for Children Conference, and Alfred University Downstate. Cynthia brings to her work years of experience working as a lawyer and public defender. Prior to working as a public defender, Cynthia clerked for Justice James E. Graves, Jr., on the Mississippi Supreme Court. She holds a law degree from NYU School of Law (cum laude) and a BA from Brown University in Ethnic Studies (magna cum laude). She is admitted to practice law in New York and a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. Cynthia is also an amateur tap dancer and woodworker who loves dad jokes and puns.
Pooja Kothari, Esq.
Pooja's wealth of experience in confronting bias and creating dialogue stems from her professional experience as a Public Defender at The Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Practice. From arraignment to trial, Pooja spent six years advocating on behalf of indigent clients in a criminal justice system that disproportionately targets poor people of color and people from marginalized communities.
During this time, she created dialogue around racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, poverty and its complicated intersections. Pooja was part of the efforts that tailored anti-bias trainings specifically to the needs of all staff and later was instrumental in designing the anti-bias LGBTQ trainings. She has spoken at law school and universities about bias in the criminal justice system and how implicit bias detrimentally affects the attorney-client relationship.
As a queer, first generation Indian-American woman, Pooja's life experience with intersections of bias provides the compassionate framework she uses in her workshops.
She earned her Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School, her Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Spanish from Union College. Pooja is fluent in Spanish, and conversational in Hindi and American Sign Language.