COFO Leadership

Executive Committee Members

Term: March 1, 2024 – February 28, 2026


Paul Sotoudeh is the Chief Ombudsman at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), serving as an internally-facing organizational ombudsman to the USPTO, and has chaired COFO since March 2018. Prior to joining USPTO in January 2017, Paul served three years as an Associate Ombudsman in the externally-facing Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Ombudsman’s Office, six years as an internally-facing Senior Assistant Ombudsman for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and 3 1/2 years as a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Specialist and acting FOIA Operations Manager in the TSA FOIA Office. Additionally, Paul served as the president of the Screaming Eagles, an approximately 1200-member 501(c)(4) organization, from 2007-2011, and as a member of its board of directors from 2004-2017. Paul has received ombudsman training from the United States Ombudsman Association and International Ombuds Association as well as mediation training from the Justice Center of Atlanta and the Northern Virginia Mediation Service. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Rochester and his J.D. from the Washington & Lee University School of Law.

Vice Chairs

Andrea Brown is a Senior Associate Ombudsman at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Prior to joining USPTO, she served as an Associate Ombudsman at the U.S. Department of State, and ADR program manager at the Department of Homeland Security – U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Andrea believes in advancing the ombuds profession through her work as a practitioner and also in her involvement with the Coalition of Federal Ombudsman (COFO). She is currently a co-Vice Chair; Chair of the Mentoring Committee and has served on the Governance Board, and the Executive Committee as Secretary. She is a mentor and member of IOA’s mentoring committee. She has received Ombuds training from International Ombuds Association (IOA) and holds certifications in mediation, facilitation and conflict coaching.  She has an MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.  Andrea is committed to public service, prior joining the federal sector, she served as a public-school educator for 10 years.

Guy Weber, CO-OP® serves as a member of the Ombudsman team at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, starting as an Associate Ombuds in February 2014 and becoming the Deputy Ombuds in September 2020. He provides non-adversarial approaches for resolving issues for employees, external consumers of NGA products, civilians, military members, and contractors, who may bring forward concerns related to the agency’s mission, policies, and practices. Mr. Weber collaborates throughout the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and other Federal agencies to address issues of common concern. Prior to joining NGA, Mr. Weber served as a Senior Assistant Ombudsman (2011-2014) at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) where he assisted employees and public stakeholders, including the traveling public. He served as a program director at Rutgers University (2009-2010) where he incorporated conflict resolution skills and collaboration skills into leadership programs. Mr. Weber has facilitated groups in Conflict Resolution Training and Mediation at Teachers College, the United Nations, and public schools in New York City. Mr. Weber earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Rutgers University and a Masters of Arts in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. He has a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the International Center for Collaboration and Conflict Resolution at Teachers College. Mr. Weber is active in the Coalition of Federal Ombudsman, serving as a co-Vice Chair and is active in the International Ombudsman Association (IOA), serving as the Chair of the COOP® communication committee. He obtained the credential of Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner® CO-OP® in January 2013.


Marcus Stergio currently serves as Ombuds for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), a civil rights enforcement agency working to protect workers, promote diversity, encourage federal contract compliance, and ensure equal employment opportunities for workers. He joined DOL and OFCCP in August 2019 and was tasked with developing and implementing a new ombuds program, which today serves as a neutral and confidential resource offering ombuds services to all OFCCP staff and stakeholders nationwide, including nearly 25,000 federal contractors and subcontractors, contractor representatives, industry liaison groups, law firms, complainants, worker rights organizations, and current and potential employees of federal contractors and subcontractors. Before joining the agency Marcus was a mediator, conflict coach, consultant, and conflict resolution skills trainer. He specialized in workplace and employment dispute resolution, providing organizational conflict analysis and resolution services to a wide range of public and private sector clients, with experience facilitating workplace discrimination, equal employment opportunity, and franchisee-franchisor agreements. He has served on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission mediation panel for workplace discrimination and the Massachusetts Bar Association’s arbitration panel, and was trained as an ombuds by the International Ombudsman Association in 2016. Marcus earned his B.A. in Communication Studies and Business Administration from Northeastern University, and his M.A. in Conflict Resolution from the University of Massachusetts.

Chris Vermillion is an Associate Ombuds at the United States Census Bureau, having joined the office in July of 2023. He works with employees, teams and leaders to effectively address a wide variety of challenges at the individual, team, and systemic levels. Prior to joining the Census Bureau, Chris served as an Associate Ombudsman at the Department of Energy (2021-2023) and as an Ombudsman Specialist at the Transportation Security Administration (2019-2021). He also served as an Assistant Ombudsperson at Georgia State University, where he worked with students, faculty and staff. Other experience includes serving as Training Director for the Dispute Resolution Center of King County and mediating hundreds of cases in a variety of contexts including small claims court, universities, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and for federal employees as a contractor for the Beacon Group. Chris has also served as an adjunct professor at John Jay College, facilitated dialogue sessions for The Dialogue Project, Soliya, and Seeds of Peace, and provided extensive conflict-related services in New York City Public Schools, including three years as the Peer Mediation Coordinator at the Bronx High School for Visual Arts. Chris has a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Brigham Young University, a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and a masters in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University. He is a certified mediator and coach, and an active member of the Coalition of Federal Ombuds (COFO) and the International Ombuds Association (IOA).


John Fields is an Associate Ombudsman with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). He is relatively new to COFO and Federal service, having come from the University of Minnesota – Office for Conflict Resolution in December 2023. John served as Assistant Director from February 2021 to December 2023, where he primarily worked with staff, faculty & graduate students in a conflict resolution role. Before joining the Ombuds field, John worked as a Senior Paralegal at the University of Minnesota – Student Legal Service from March 2016 to February 2021 and prior to that as a Paralegal alongside a solo Family Law Attorney from June 2012 to March 2016. In his pre-paralegal life, he worked as a Wholesale Inventory Auditor for Ford Motor Credit Company. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication/History and Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership & Policy Development (OLPD) from the University of Minnesota and a Paralegal Certificate from Hamline University. John has completed the IOA Foundations course and is a current member of both IOA and USOA.

Heather Milner is an Ombudsman Analyst at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). She has been with the CFPB Ombudsman’s Office since the Office’s opening in December 2011 and served as the Office’s Assistant Ombudsman, as well as two details in the office serving as an Acting Associate Ombudsman and an Acting Outreach Specialist. Heather is in her third term as Co-Coordinator on the COFO Executive Committee. In 2020, she facilitated the first COFO Ombuds Supporting Ombuds (OSO) meeting and has continued facilitating these monthly meetings. She is also a participant of the COFO Mentoring Program. At the 2019 COFO Conference, she presented a plenary session on “Self-ish, Self-less, and Self-Care…Where is the Balance?” She is currently serving on the COFO Voluntary Leave Transfer Initiative and in the past has served as a member of the COFO Annual Conference Committee. Heather received her ombudsman training from the International Ombudsman Association as well as mediation training from the Northern Virginia Mediation Service. Heather earned her Associates Degree in Graphic Design from Westwood College and designs many of the materials for the CFPB Ombudsman’s Office.