Kay Chopard Cohen Executive Director
Kay Chopard Cohen was selected by the Board of Directors of the National District Attorneys Association in March 2014 to become the Executive Director of the organization. Having started her legal career as a local prosecutor, she is keenly familiar with the duties, responsibilities, and obligations of prosecutors, the many challenges they face, and the leadership role that they play in many justice issues. Prior to her appointment to lead NDAA, Ms. Chopard Cohen spent the previous 15 years as a nationally recognized association executive running two national membership organizations with multi-million dollar budgets and providing executive leadership in close working relationships with senior Executive Branch officials and with leaders on Capitol Hill.
Immediately preceding her selection to lead NDAA, she served as the Executive Director for the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group where she was responsible for partnering with the U.S. Department of Commerce and leaders in industry to launch a national nonprofit association whose mission was to implement the White House initiative on “Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.” Her leadership on this national priority included developing and implementing strategic plans, establishing goals, objectives, and association policies, and building infrastructure and internal governance. Ms. Chopard Cohen established funding mechanisms that combined federal grant dollars with private sector contributions developing a multi-million dollar budget and allowing the organization to become self-sustaining in less than a year of incorporation. Her leadership provided vision, inspiration, and energy in a meaningful public-private partnership approach to establish a new model of Internet commerce for the nation.
Ms. Chopard Cohen also has a long track record of consistently increasing the budgets at the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) where she served for more than a decade as the Deputy Executive Director. She created several new training and technical assistance programs that brought millions of dollars in grant funding to the NCJA membership. Prior to her work at NCJA, she was responsible for expanding the budget for state and local prosecution programs at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation from less than $100,000/year to more than $7 million/year. It was in this role where she developed first of-its-kind training curricula and delivered important trial advocacy training programs to thousands of state and local prosecutors across the United States.
Kay Chopard Cohen is a recognized leader on criminal justice issues among national criminal justice leaders and national justice organizations. She has dedicated her 30-year legal career to working on criminal justice topics at the local, state, tribal, and federal levels.
Ms. Chopard Cohen graduated cum laude from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, and received her J.D. from the University Of Iowa College Of Law. She served as an Assistant County Attorney in Johnson County, Iowa, and served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.