2012 Press Conference


Biographies of Speakers

(press conference video follows the biography listings)

Neil Dias

In 2004 when I was promoted, I began to see Verizon employees getting bullied by Verizon Management. I did what I through was best, and tried to halt the bullying that was taking place at Verizon. After standing up against the powers to be, trying to help others I was targeted, harassed, bullied, discriminated against, endured racial harassment and eventually wrongfully terminated.

I knew then, I could not walk away like so many others that have had to endure such cruelty, and that the bullying issue is larger than me. A more in-depth account of my experience can be read at: http://justicefor7.wordpress.com/

Diana Whitaker

US Air Force Veteran/ RN/Paramedic, former part of the Space Shuttle Team and a strong advocate for disabled and homeless veterans. Women made up 300,000 soldiers of the total Iraqi/ Afghanistan war complement. The transition time for a female veteran to find a job in the civilian workforce is significantly longer than non-veteran women. Bullying in the workplace causes harms to returning veterans, when they have already suffered from loss of friends, and fellow troops, and suffered from trauma occurring during war time.

Heidi DiTonno

  • Born in Leeds, England and emigrated to the US in 1967.
  • Grew up in Kinderhook, New York and graduated from Ichabod Crane High School with honors in 1983.
  • Completed a Court Reporting program at Mildred Elley Business School in 1985.
  • Married to husband, Vince, for 22 years this August.
  • Has 1 daughter, Samantha, who is currently finishing up her 3rd year at Springfield
  • College in MA as a Dean’s List student majoring in Sport Management and minoring in
  • Business & Athletic Coaching.
  • Began working for New York State in 1987.
  • Works as a part-time, weekend night shift clerk for Cumberland Farms.
  • Enjoys spending time with family and friends and meeting new people.

Colleen O’Connor
Colleen O’Connor was born in Buffalo, New York and is presently a retired health care professional as well as a Veteran’s advocate. Ms. O’Connor served in the United States Navy as a hospital corpsman and emergency medical technician from 1974-1979. Upon discharge from
the Navy, Ms. O’Connor attended the University of Florida where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in occupational and recreational therapy.  Ms. O’Connor has worked in the social services and health care fields for both the State of Florida and the State of New York. Ms. O’Connor spent sixteen years working for the New York State Department of Health as a Public Health Representative and Vaccine Specialist. Ms. O’Connor has been a guest speaker at various conferences for the Centers for Disease Control and more recently at the National Summit on “Arts and Healing” at the New Walter Reed Memorial Army and Navy Medical Center in Washington, D.C. in October 2001.  Ms. O’Connor now spends her time actively advocating for legislation that impact individual rights and veteran rights.

Part 1

Senator Diane Savino and Assemblyman Steven Englebright speak about the Healthy Workplace Bill

Part 2

John Richter (MHANYS), Iris DeLutro (Professional Staff Congress) and Tom Comanzo (Public Employees Federation) among others voice their support for the Healthy Workplace Bill

Part 3

Neal Dias, former Verizon employee, Heidi DiTonno, Diana Whitaker and Colleen O’Connor speak about their workplace bullying experiences