News Release

US Department of Labor appoints new members to ERISA Advisory Council

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the appointment of five members and leadership for the 2023 Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, also known as the ERISA Advisory Council.

The 15-member council provides advice on policies and regulations affecting employee benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

“Throughout its nearly 50-year history, the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans has played a valuable role advising the Department of Labor on a variety of issues,” said Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Lisa M. Gomez. “The knowledge and unique perspective that each of its members brings to the council will be immeasurable.”

The appointees and their areas of expertise are as follows:

Accounting: Gwen Mazzola is a partner and the ERISA Practice Leader of HoganTaylor LLP. Mazzola has worked in public accounting for more than 20 years and is a former member of the Executive Committee of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center.

Employee Organizations: Mayoung Nham is a principal with the law firm of Slevin & Hart PC. Nham has 15 years of experience in employee benefits law, representing multiemployer pension plans and welfare funds on plan design, tax qualification, disclosure, contracting, compliance and other issues. 

Employers: John M. Towarnicky has more than 40 years of employee benefits experience including leadership positions at four Fortune 500 employers and at the Plan Sponsor Council of America. Towarnicky is currently “Of Counsel” at Koehler Fitzgerald LLC and a member of aequum LLC.

General Public: Mark D. DeBofsky is the principal member of DeBofsky Law Ltd. and has practiced employee benefits law for more than 40 years, representing workers seeking retirement and other benefits. An arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association, he is also a prolific writer on ERISA topics.

Insurance: Alice Palmer is vice president and chief counsel for Retirement Plan Service for the Lincoln Financial Group. Palmer has 12 years of experience counseling insurers on employee benefits law and also serves as an adjunct professional responsibility professor at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

By law, members serve for staggered three-year terms representing nine different fields. Three members represent employee organizations, three represent employers and three represent the general public. One member is selected from each of the accounting, actuarial counseling, corporate trust, insurance, investment counseling and investment management fields.

Current ERISA Advisory Council member Shaun C. O’Brien will serve as council chair in 2023. O’Brien is policy director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He has more than 25 years of experience in employee benefits and currently oversees AFSCME’s federal policy work on employee benefits issues. 

Current ERISA Advisory Council member Megan Broderick will serve as council vice chair in 2023. Broderick is senior director for Global Retirement and Financial Wellbeing for PepsiCo. She has more than 30 years of experience in compensation and benefits, and currently leads the strategy, design and governance team for PepsiCo’s retirement programs globally.

The council’s first meeting for 2023 will be held on Friday, May 5, 2023, and is open to the public. Notice of the meeting will be published in the Federal Register and details will be available on the council web page in early April.

More information about the ERISA Advisory Council, including the reports of the 2022 ERISA Advisory Council, can be found on the council web page.


Employee Benefits Security Administration
March 7, 2023
Release Number
Media Contact: Grant Vaught
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