Deb Volberg Pagnotta, JD

Visiting Instructor

JD, University of California, Hastings College of the Law
AB, Anthropology, Brandeis University

Office: 18 President Street Room 204
Phone: (914) 633-2051

Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm, and by appointment.

Deb Volberg Pagnotta, J.D. serves Iona in our Speech Communication Studies Department as a Visiting Instructor. She served as Iona liaison to the groundbreaking Stand Up for Women Vets event held in Westchester in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Professor Pagnotta received her A.B. in Anthropology from Brandeis University in 1977, and her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1981. A top-rated lawyer for over 25 years, she served as a managing Assistant Attorney General for the NYS Department of Law, Director of Legal Affairs for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and as employment law partner for Kirkpatrick & Silverberg, LLP with a focus on workplace harassment and discrimination. She founded Interfacet, Inc., in 1999 as a boutique workplace-conduct training company. As a trainer, fact-finder and mediator, she worked with a broad spectrum of organizations US-based and international, ranging from a global corporate communications firm and a medical technology company to high-end restaurants, fire departments, banks, museums, government agencies and fashion companies. In 2010, she spearheaded the team which developed diversityDNA®, a diversity training app, and serves as CEO of diversityDNA llp, which recently released a “disruptive” online application to explore personal diversity and human insight ( In 2013 she also organized Iona’s first annual Student Storytelling Slam, and continues to run one each semester.

Her passion for multiculturalism and human communication began with her childhood in Africa and Europe, and has been amplified by her work/life experiences. For a look at Prof. Pagnotta’s interests and background, see: and


  • Junior Faculty Award (2013)


Professor Pagnotta's publications include numerous articles in legal and other media, including Sexual Harassment in Academe: Negotiating the Maze (New York Law Journal) and Three White Ducks and One Brown: Diversity at the Workplace (NYSBA Labor & Employment Journal). She created and curates the Bene Loqui blog on communication for our department. (All students invited to participate!) Most recently in November 2014, she delivered a TEDx talk, entitled Diversity: Connections Trump Categories.