Women We Admire is pleased to announce the Top Women Leaders in Finance for 2024. The leaders in finance have a crucial role to play in the growth and success of the companies and organizations they serve. These women leaders are critical members of the executive team, responsible for financial planning, market analysis, budgeting and forecasting, and investor relations, as well as helping to drive long-term success and profitability.

This year’s honorees are leading the financial futures of some of the most well-known companies in the world. Among them is Jasmine Ahmed, the Global Director of Finance Integration & Capabilities for The Coca-Cola Company. Ahmed brings to this role a passion for innovation, a commitment to investing in top talent, and a wealth of experience in building high-performing teams and winning trust-based business partnerships. 

We also recognize honoree Cerita Battles for her accomplishments as the Managing Director and Head of Community and Affordable Lending at JPMorgan Chase. In this role, she is responsible for the company’s strategic plan to enable sustainable homeownership among low-to-moderate income consumers and communities, including active duty service members and veterans across the US.

Finally, we want to highlight the amazing career of Melissa Wright, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of American Pacific Mortgage. She has built companies from the ground up to multi-million-dollar acquisitions, led organizations from last to number one in their industry, and grew sales by over 500%.

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of the Top Women Leaders in Finance for 2024.

Daniah Robertson
CFO of North America Corporate Services and Energy & Resources, Sodexo

Daniah Robertson is the Chief Financial Officer of North America Corporate Services and Energy and Resources for Sodexo. She was promoted to this role in March of 2023, where she drove performance and growth through the finance function across more than $1.5 billion of food services and facilities management services for Fortune 500 companies. She is a financial advisor and business partner to the CEO on strategic capital investments, driving the top line, expanding gross margin performance, and cultivating a disciplined cost culture. Robertson has a passion for developing and coaching high-performing teams of finance professionals in delivering best-in-class functional support through business partnership and constructive challenge.

Prior to her current role, Robertson was the VP of finance for Sodexo’s North America energy and resources portfolio. She has two decades of experience translating strategic objectives into tactical plans and navigating operational challenges to deliver financial results, inclusive of international multi-industry expertise in mature Fortune 500 companies and scaling operations. Before joining Sodexo, Robertson established herself as an operationally adept finance leader and top performer in the oil and gas industry, holding various senior finance roles in BP’s downstream refining and renewables operations in the US and UK, earlier in Sunoco’s Midwest refining operations and prior to that in automotive manufacturing start-ups. 

Throughout her career, Robertson has built a reputation as a collaborative business partner and leader, delivering constructive challenges and results at all levels of the organization. She also serves as an executive board member at Bread of Life International, working to help eliminate hunger and food insecurity in poverty-stricken communities in Africa. Robertson is an Eastern Michigan University graduate with an MBA in finance and supply chain management and holds an undergraduate degree in computer science and engineering from the University of Toledo.

Victoire Sabine Ouédraogo
Senior Vice President, Apps Development Group Manager – Emerging Payments, Citi

Victoire Sabine Ouédraogo is a Senior Vice President at Citibank, where she leads geographically dispersed technology teams to deliver best-in-class IT solutions. Before this role, she held various positions in technology at Crédit Agricole and BNP Paribas, Financial Services leaders in Europe.

Ouédraogo was born and raised in Burkina Faso and is fascinated by STEM. In high school, she was one of five girls selected to represent Burkina Faso at an international excellence camp for girls in sciences, organized by Dr. Cheick Modibo Diarra’s nonprofit organization at the time. In her senior year in high school, she was chosen to participate in the National Olympiads in mathematics, physics, and biology. 

In 2006, Ouédraogo left Burkina Faso to pursue her college studies in France. After two years of intensive programs, she succeeded in the French nationwide competitive examinations for engineering school by securing a seat at ENSEA. She earned her Master of Engineering in Computer Science three years later. In 2021, she left France to enhance her leadership and business skills in Boston, where she graduated from HULT International Business School with an MBA specializing in analytics.

Tricia Schumann
Chief Investment Officer, MedTherapy Biotechnology

Tricia Schumann is the Chief Investment Officer of MedTherapy Biotechnology. MedTherapy is a global biotechnology corporation for gene cell therapies for cancer. Schumann has a career that spans 35 years in the technology and healthcare sectors. In addition to her role at MedTheraphy, she also serves as a part-time chief investment officer for Scioto Biosciences, a clinical-stage biotech company dedicated to innovative research and discovery in the field of microbiome therapeutics. 

Before joining MedTherapy, Schumann was chief marketing and communications officer at Arches Health Plan. Arches Health Plan was one of several dozen health plans launched through HHS for the Affordable Care Act. Prior to her role at Arches, she held various executive roles at over a dozen companies, including a venture fund. Schumann serves on various healthcare and community boards, including Steward Health Care. 

Schumann was named one of the “30 Women to Watch” by Utah Business Magazine and was recognized as a finalist by the Woman Tech Council. Schumann is a graduate of Harvard Business School and has passions for golf, pilates and yoga, cycling, skiing, and travel.

Sarah Keren
Sr. Area Vice President, US & Canada Financial Services | Salesforce

Sarah Keren is the Sr. Area Vice President of Sales at Tableau, a Salesforce company, leading the US and Canada Financial Services team. With nearly two decades of experience in sales and leadership, she has been instrumental in guiding companies through data and AI transformation. Notably, during her 13-year tenure at Cisco, Sarah was recognized in the top 1% of a 20,000-person sales force for her innovative customer success approach.

Sarah advocates for the strength of diverse teams and is dedicated to mentoring women in data, tech, and financial services. She founded the Tableau Women in Leadership series, fostering connections among women across various industries to promote the advancement of women in data. Previously, she served as the President of Cisco’s "Connected Women" Northeast chapter.

Originally from Ohio, Sarah relocated to New York City in 2008. She currently resides in NJ, where she takes pride in being the wife of Roger and the mother of three children: Chase (7 years), Charlotte (4 years), and Cole (1 year). Sarah holds degrees in International Business and Marketing from The Ohio State University (go Buckeyes!), and when she's not with her family or driving data transformation with her Tableau team, you can find her on the tennis court.

Cerita Battles
Managing Director and Head of Community & Affordable Lending, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Cerita Battles is the Managing Director and Head of Community and Affordable Lending at JPMorgan Chase. She has 34 years of experience in the financial industry with 26 years specifically dedicated to mortgage. As the Head of Community and Affordable Lending, Battles is responsible for building, implementing, and ensuring the execution of the company’s strategic plan to enable and increase sustainable homeownership among low-to-moderate income consumers and communities, the full economic spectrum of minority consumers and communities, as well as active duty service members and veterans across the United States.

Battles has held several leadership positions within home lending and other major banking institutions. She is well respected within the mortgage industry and known for her passion and strategic vision as it relates to advancing homeownership within minority communities. In 2012, Battles was identified by the Florida Diversity Council as one of the Most Influential Women in the State of Florida. She’s also affiliated with multiple corporate boards in the industry, such as Freddie Mac’s Advisory Housing Council, Fannie Mae’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council, Mortgage Bankers Association Affordable and DE&I Councils, National Housing Conference Black Collaborative, OCC’s Project Reach, and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers Corporate Advisory Council. She was the 2022 Chairwoman for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Profession’s Corporate Board of Governors and served on the Asian Real Estate of America’s Housing Advisory Board.

Battles graduated from the University of Phoenix, where she earned her undergraduate degree in business management. She is a native of St. Augustine, Florida, where she currently resides with her husband and daughter. Battles is an ordained minister and reverend at St. Paul A.M.E. Church in St. Augustine, Florida, and is a licensed Zumba instructor.

Chitra Arora
Senior Vice President - Investments of Private Client Advisor, J.P. Morgan 

Chitra Arora is a Senior Vice President and Private Client Advisor with J.P. Morgan Wealth Management. In her role, Arora helps clients and their families plan and invest to reach their goals. 

She has over 17 years of experience in financial services and was ranked on the Forbes list as one of America's Top Women Wealth Advisor-Best in State in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Arora was also featured in Working Mother's Magazine as one of the Top Women Wealth Advisors and Working Moms in 2021, and she was awarded the Indian Icon Award by Des Pardes Magazine & Business NJ in 2022.

Arora joined J.P. Morgan in 2010. She holds the required Finra Series 7,66 and life and health insurance licenses. She graduated from CSJM University, India with a Bachelor of Commerce. As of today, she manages over $400 million of clients' assets, and she has been a National Achieving Wealth Advisor for the past six years and a member of the President's Club at JPMorgan for the past two years. She and her team are located in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey.

Lillie Louis-Fils
Executive Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Lillie Louis-Fils is an Executive Director for Consumer Banking and Investments. In this role, she has responsibility for leading teams of leaders and financial advisors across Georgia and Tennessee. In addition, she is responsible for the National strategy development and execution of the Consumer Investments Small Business Retirement Partnerships for more than 1,000 advisors. Louis-Fils’s career in the financial services industry spans over 23 years. She held various leadership roles across consumer banking and investments, including, national performance manager, director, private bank program performance manager, VP, market sales manager, assistant vice president, financial solutions advisor, and Merrill Lynch financial advisor in Washington DC.

In addition to the time she spends working, she makes time to be part of her community. She serves on the board of Habitat for Humanity, which allows her to help the community. She is passionate about volunteer work and has been a dedicated volunteer for the March of Dimes, local food banks, Operation Hope (financial literacy), Wounded Warriors, Junior Achievement, Year, Atlanta Boys and Girls Club, and the Mentor Foundation. In 2012, Louis-Fils was honored to participate in the Top 100 Business Leaders Forum at the White House.

Louis-Fils is an Executive Sponsor for Bank of America’s Community Volunteers, serves as a chair on the Black Executive Leadership Council, and chair for the Consumer Investments Diversity Initiatives. Louis-Fils has an undergraduate degree in theology from Shiloh Seminary. She holds FINRA Series 7, 9, 10, and 66 licenses, Life Health and Annuities, Accredited Wealth Management Advisor designation, and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation.

Maggie Burke
Senior Vice President of Loan Originations, Capital One

Maggie Burke serves as Senior Vice President on Capital One’s Commercial Real Estate Team, specializing in advising commercial property owners and operators across the US on capital markets and debt strategies. She provides clients with creative solutions to support their individual business plans through several capital source executions, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, life companies, CMBS, debt funds, and banks.

Burke joined Capital One from Berkadia in 2021 to grow its national platform and continue delivering highly tailored financing solutions, working alongside her partners. The team has originated more than $2 billion in these capital product types within just two years. Notably, they recently closed a 24-property portfolio with Fannie Mae totaling $477 million.

Burke is a sought-after industry expert, contributing as a media commentator, panelist, and moderator for The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Annual Conference, its Senior Bank Executive Roundtables, Freddie Mac's Customer Conference, and news outlets like Real Estate Forum and Bisnow. In recognition of her influence in commercial real estate, Burke was honored with Connect CRE's Women in Real Estate Award for 2023. In 2022, she was named on Globest.com's prestigious Rainmakers in Finance, Debt & Equity annual list. She has served as the immediate past Chair of the MBA's mPact Advisory Committee, currently serves as Vice Chair of the MBA's Mortgage Action Alliance, and is active in MORPAC, MBA’s political action Steering Committees. 

Burke is also the sole representative for Capital One on the Freddie Mac Advisory Committee, providing real-time feedback to the agency with the goal of creating a more frictionless experience for borrowers working with Freddie Mac. She also serves as a board member of Real Estate Network Empowering Women (RENEW) and is a valued member of CREW Tampa Bay, furthering her commitment to advancing the future commercial real estate landscape for women.

Darina Janovova
Vice President of the Finance Innovation Office, CBRE

Darina Bockman is a Vice President of the Finance Innovation Office at CBRE, where she leads implementations of new systems, business transformations, and internal process improvement programs

Bockman earned accolades for outstanding work on prior major projects, which included ERP rollouts in different parts of the world, integrations of acquired companies, operating model overhauls, and other notoriously difficult initiatives. She has been described as a “force of nature” and a leader with an exceptional ability to motivate people.

Outside of CBRE, Bockman is known for her leadership in nonprofit causes. She is the founder of Vegan Leaders in Corporate Management, a 501c3 nonprofit promoting plant-based initiatives in Fortune 500 companies. She has spoken at conferences and has been interviewed in publications and podcasts. She is fiercely passionate about strategy and effectiveness. She was born in Slovakia and she speaks multiple languages. She lives in Dallas, Texas.

Joanna G. Burish
Managing Partner, Custer Burish Financial Services

Joanna G. Burish is the Managing Partner of Custer Burish Financial Services. She moved to Wisconsin with her family in January of 1976 from Nazareth, Israel. She graduated in December of 1996 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in accounting, with a focus on finance and real estate. She has a lifelong passion for both business and the performing arts, combining extraordinary business and artistic sensibilities into a rich and diverse career.

In 1998, she launched a music production company with studios in Los Angeles and New York and a film/TV production company. She developed and produced feature films, television pilots, and web-based films. She co-produced the film MADISON, which became the number one viewed film at the 2008 Wisconsin Film Festival, and she produced the soundtrack with the renowned international talents of Tom Waits. Along with her film production company, she was involved in international acquisitions and sales working worldwide, including the Cannes Film Festival. She served on film festival executive and leadership panels, as well as being a judge on worldwide screenwriting competitions.

Burish joined a family-owned real estate company in 2002 as VP, developing a golf course and residential neighborhood, and in 2008, she joined another real estate family portfolio, becoming their CEO in 2011. She previously launched her company MTI-RED, LLC focused on real estate development, family and business consulting, and equity fundraising for real estate partnerships. Due to the 2008-2011 financial and real estate crisis, the family business and individual consulting service grew strongly, as there was a demand for Burish’s strategic planning and financial restructuring skill sets. In 2015, she joined Northwestern Mutual as a financial advisor to develop her holistic financial planning services. In 2022, Burish joined Custer Financial Services as a Managing Partner, and in 2024 she finalized being named successor of the Custer Burish Financial Services firm. Among her proudest endeavors is founding The Brauds Network in 2012 with the mission of women empowering women. Burish is a community leader involved in various start-ups and nonprofit businesses, consulting on best business practices, leadership, and sustainable growth.

Pascale Petit-Frere
Vice President, Operational Risk Management, Prudential Financial

Pascale Petit-Frere is the Vice President of Operational Risk Management of Prudential Financial. She first joined the company in 2007 as senior audit manager. Prudential Financial was founded on the belief that financial security should be within reach for everyone, and for over 140 years, they have helped their customers reach their potential and tackle life's challenges for now and future generations to come. Today, they are one of the world's largest financial services institutions, offering individual and institutional clients a wide array of financial products and services. 

Petit-Frere is a financial service professional with broad and vast experience supporting investment management and insurance institutions to identify and mitigate operational risk, as well as financial report risk. She is a strategic thinker with the ability to sort through complex situations, see patterns, develop solutions, and find the best course of action. Petit-Frere supports her business partners' strategic objectives of growth and long-term sustainability through thoughtful and proactive risk management.

Previously, Petit-Frere was a senior auditor at PwC. Earlier in her career, she worked with Enterprise-Rent-A-Car as a senior auditor. Petit-Frere is currently in the process of completing her MBA in analytics and information management from Rutgers Business School. She earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from Rutgers University - Newark.

Claire McDonough
Chief Financial Officer, Rivian

Claire McDonough is Rivian’s Chief Financial Officer. She is responsible for the company’s financial activities, including financial planning and analysis, accounting, treasury, tax, and investor relations. She is also the lead for Rivian’s facilities, corporate development, consumer financing, insurance, and capital expenditure procurement. McDonough’s team leverages data and insight to inform strategic decision-making and is working to create a strong financial foundation and the processes and systems needed to help Rivian scale globally. 

Before joining Rivian in January 2021, McDonough was a managing director in investment banking and co-head of the Disruptive Commerce Group at J.P. Morgan. Additionally, she held the titles of executive director and vice president of retail and consumer investment banking prior to her managing director role. Before J.P. Morgan, she held various financial leadership roles at Fairway Market and Credit Suisse. She also spent time as a professional pastry chef in the South of France. 

McDonough graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Visual Art from Duke University and earned her Master of Business Administration at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. ​

Jen Earyes
Head of Investor Relations (Vice President), Navient 

Jen Earyes is the Head of Investor Relations (Vice President) of Navient. She is a financial professional with over 15 years of experience driving revenue success while strengthening relationships and improving operational efficiencies. She has served in roles across corporate finance, M&A, and capital markets while building her track record of successful advocacy. 

Expanding from her in-house experience, she served as the head of policy at the Structured Finance Association, where she was responsible for developing policy initiatives while ensuring industry priorities were understood and addressed across policymaking bodies. Earyes played a large role in the strategy to minimize disruption across their nation’s financial system caused by the discontinuation of the global index rate LIBOR.

Throughout her career, Earyes has led numerous industry committees, including serving on Federal Reserve-convened committees as chairwoman of a student loan committee and co-lead of a securitization committee, as an appointee to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Interest Rate Benchmark Reform Subcommittee, and as an advisor of the Treasury Advisory Group for the Association for Financial Professionals.

Earyes is actively involved in mentoring employees, and helping to prepare them for leadership roles. In addition to her career, she is also a passionate advocate for financial literacy and education. She volunteers her time and expertise to help people learn how to make informed decisions about their financial future. Earyes earned an undergraduate degree with distinction in finance from the School of Business at George Mason University and is designated as a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP).

Jasmine Ahmed
Global Director of Finance Integration & Capabilities, The Coca-Cola Company

Jasmine Ahmed is the Global Director of Finance Integration and Capabilities for The Coca-Cola Company. She first joined the company in April 2023. In addition to her roles with Coca-Cola, she serves as an advisory board member for the Asian University for Women to raise awareness, opportunities, and funds for the Asian University for Women (AUW). AUW is the first of its kind – an independent, regional institution dedicated to excellence, women’s education, and leadership development.

Ahmed is recognized for building high-performing teams and winning trust-based business partnerships by simplifying the complex to carve out a path for everyone to win. Ahmed’s in-depth transformation expertise across operating models, talent investment, technology stack, and data has driven her success in multiple global industries to directly transform the way over 7,000 employees work in multiple functions across the globe to create an empowered workforce while delivering over $100 million in benefits. Her diverse industry experience includes highly federated media organizations, global pharmaceuticals, complex financial service companies, and regulated utility companies.

Ahmed’s passion to drive progress and innovation goes beyond her day job. She provides thought leadership regularly for many professional organizations focused on transforming the ways of working. She serves on the New York Advisory Board for the Asian University for Women to help women in disadvantaged communities access higher education. Ahmed also serves as a board member for the National Chorale, where she is helping them increase their digital footprint. She obtained her MBA from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Virginia. Ahmed completed her Leadership in Digital Transformation post-graduation program at Columbia University Business School.

Stefanie Gorres
Executive Director & Branch Manager, Morgan Stanley

As an Executive Director and Branch Manager of Morgan Stanley, Stefanie Gorres is responsible for driving growth in three Arizona offices, Phoenix, Peoria, and Prescott, and helping every financial advisor in her branches realize his or her full potential. She is committed to cultivating a positive atmosphere that promotes peer-to-peer idea exchange, team building, and the strategic connections required to satisfy the sophisticated needs of clients. She is also a passionate advocate for women in business and financial services. In 2021, Gorres was one of eighteen individuals across Morgan Stanley Wealth Management to be named a Morgan Stanley MAKER.

Gorres joined Morgan Stanley in 2006 and has held positions as a complex manager assistant, branch service manager, complex business service officer, and associate complex manager. Before joining Morgan Stanley, Gorres worked at AIG, where she managed a team that was responsible for writing compliance policies and procedures for all broker-dealers under the AIG Advisor Group umbrella. 

Gorres earned her undergraduate degree in business finance from Minnesota State University at Mankato. She began her financial services career at Ameriprise Financial, where she started on the service and trading queue. Before that, she was transitioning to institutional compliance. There, she and two others developed a patented personal trading monitoring system. She then moved to the retail side of the business, where she performed high-profile fraud investigations and branch exams as a senior compliance examiner. Her background in risk, compliance, and operations gives her a well-rounded vision of all the different components of the financial services industry.

Jennifer Sullo
Managing Director of Asset Management, Earth Finance

Jennifer Sullo is Managing Director of Asset Management at Earth Finance (EF), an investment and advisory firm delivering growth solutions that accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future. EF investment solutions seek to generate compelling financial returns and real-world impact, while EF advisory strives to build novel, climate-resilient business models through the lens of sustainability. 

Before her current role, Sullo held multiple leadership positions at Goldman Sachs. She started at the company as the managing director and was promoted to global head of ESG and then global head of sustainable investing solutions. Before that, she served as a VP at J.P. Morgan and an associate at ING. Earlier in her career, she worked at GE as a senior specialist in fixed-income trade operations and then as an associate of institutional sales and marketing. 

Sullo has a BS in economics from Trinity College-Hartford and an MS in finance from Fairfield University, where she was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS), an honor society for business students. She is an advisory board member for Innovation Zero and the ESK Risk Management Summit.

Yvonne Garcia
Chief of Staff to Chairman & CEO, Global Head of Internal Communications, & Global Head of the CEO Experience Program, State Street

Yvonne Garcia serves as Chief of Staff to State Street’s Chairman and CEO, Ron O’Hanley, as Global Head of Internal Communications, and as Global Head of the CEO Experience Program. In these roles, Garcia is responsible for the setting and execution of the Chairman and CEO’s firmwide strategic priorities and the internal communications strategy for State Street, including for over 40,000 employees and executive leadership platforms and the engagement of their most strategic clients representing over $9 billion in revenue as part of a program intended to gain insights into how State Street can help clients achieve better investment outcomes for those they serve.

Before State Street, Garcia served as director of marketing and distribution strategy for Liberty Mutual and as a VP for Bank of America’s China Construction Bank Strategic Assistance Program. In that role, Garcia and her team created and implemented over five new wealth management centers throughout China, which resulted in over 80 centers currently throughout the country. Garcia is a fully certified Six Sigma Black Belt and applies that discipline, rigor, and process to every project on which she deploys.

Garcia served as the chairwoman for the largest Latino Professional Organization in the country, ALPFA. Garcia is also the co-founding chair of Milagros para Niños, a board at Children’s Hospital in Boston, which has raised more than $20 million in funds for Hispanic children who can’t afford medical care. She was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey to serve on the state’s Latino Empowerment Commission Board and was also appointed to the executive committee of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Garcia has been featured in Fortune magazine in partnership with ALPFA as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Latinas in the United States five years in a row. She has also been recognized by Boston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business and by Yahoo Finance four years in a row on their top 20 HERoes list nationally showcasing leaders who are championing women in business and driving change for gender diversity in the workplace. Most recently, Garcia was appointed to the board of directors of Reading Cooperative Bank and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. Garcia holds an MBA from Boston University in finance and marketing and an undergraduate degree from SUNY Albany. She was also awarded an honorary degree in Doctor of Humane Letters from Cambridge College in Boston, Massachusetts, and most recently an honorary degree in Doctor of Commerce from New England School of Business.

Shaundra Clay
Global Vice President of Finance, Beam Suntory

Shaundra Clay is a global finance and strategy executive who delivers results through strategic vision, financial stewardship, and planning. She has a passion for driving impact and sustainable change. She currently serves as the Global Vice President of Finance for Beam Suntory, a world leader in premium spirits. 

As a multidimensional leader, she has had progressive experience in large, multinational organizations and proven commercialization acumen to expand markets, grow market share, increase margins, and reduce costs. Originally from Chicago, she has spent almost a third of her career working and living abroad.

In addition to traditional CFO responsibilities, she has led large diverse teams of more than 700 invidious, strategic plans with large-scale cost containment strategies across multiple regions and market development efforts focused on creating unique customer solutions that balance revenue and profit growth with operational efficiency. Shaundra is on the board of directors of Integra Lifesciences and the Executive Leadership Council. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, the University of Illinois Chicago, and the Wharton Business School.

Sharla Godbehere
Vice President of Sales in Auto Lending, Equifax

Sharla Godbehere is the Vice President of Sales in Auto Lending at Equifax. For more than 25 years, she has been focused on leading successful teams to drive innovation and thought leadership within financial services. She is responsible for launching the FinTech vertical practice at Equifax, building a dedicated organization of specialists in product management, data and analytics, customer fulfillment, sales, and marketing.

Godbehere consults regularly with today's future-designing companies to help expedite responsible growth in lending, with a mission to expand financial opportunities, allowing all consumers the freedom to live their financial best. 

She graduated from Arizona State University with an undergraduate degree in business administration and finance.

Debbie Merritt
Chief Financial Officer, Starrex International

Debbie Merritt is the Chief Financial Officer of Starrex International, a Canada-based company that acquires, manages, and grows companies active in mortgage, real estate, and other financial service sectors. It targets mortgage operations, mortgage servicing, mortgage-backed securitization, lead generation, staffing, and recruitment operations. 

In her role, Merritt is responsible for all aspects of finance and accounting. She is primarily focused on analyzing merger and acquisition activities to grow shareholder value, as well as providing financial guidance and requisite reporting to the board of directors and governing public agencies. 

Merritt has over three decades of experience. Before joining Starrex International, she was a CFO at National Asset Direct. Before that, she was a director of portfolio services at New Century Mortgage Corporation. Earlier in her career, she worked with Arthur Andersen as a manager of business and advisory services. Merritt graduated from UCLA Anderson School of Management with a PhD in global economics and management, and from The University of Memphis with an MBA and an undergraduate degree in accounting.

Ilana Esterrich
Chief Financial Officer, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Ilana Esterrich is the Chief Financial Officer At Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Previously, she was the chief financial officer at the American Coatings Association, a trade association in the paint and coatings industry, and she was the chief financial and administrative officer at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a national security and defense research institution.

Esterrich is an advisory committee member of the Washington DC chapter of the CFO Leadership Council and sits on the 2023 North American FP&A Advisory Council at the Association for Financial Professionals. She is also a senior member of the Fairfax Composite Squadron and National Capital Wing Civil Air Patrol, where she serves as the logistics and personnel and administrative officer for the squadron’s cadets. She is a frequent public speaker on topics related to leadership, the future of the office of the CFO, and financial management. 

Esterrich has a BS in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

Victoria Kuklina
Chief Financial Officer, Pinnacle Home Care

Victoria Kuklina is a seasoned Chief Financial Officer, often referred to as the 'FinTech CFO,' at Pinnacle Home Care, a leading provider of skilled home health nursing services with a robust presence across 17 locations in Florida with 10,000 patient census. 

In her role as FinTech CFO, Kuklina is instrumental in guiding Pinnacle towards informed and strategic decision-making, with a strong focus on leveraging information technology to support the company's ambitious consistent 35% YOY growth and innovative tech objectives. Kuklina’s expertise and contributions have been acknowledged with her recognition as a CFO of the Year honoree by Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2021.

Before her tenure at Pinnacle, Kuklina dedicated a decade to CFO consulting, where she spearheaded and nurtured teams through strategic and tactical processes and successfully steered numerous organizations through critical financial transformations. She graduated from Laurentian University/Université Laurentienne with an undergraduate degree. With Kuklina at the helm, Pinnacle Home Care is poised for sustained success and innovation in the home care industry.

Leah Lombard
Vice President, DWS Group

Leah Lombard is the Vice President of the FATCA Responsible Office at DWS Group. DWS is recognized by clients globally as a trusted source for integrated investment solutions, stability, and innovation across a full spectrum of investment disciplines.

Lombard holds an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Miami with a minor in business law. As a recipient of the Henry King Stanford Scholarship, she has served in numerous academic honor societies, including serving as the Pre-law Ambassador to the Lecture Series and Mock Trial Team. She was a recipient of the Scholar’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Business Law and tutored anatomy and physiology, mathematics, and logic. Lombard volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Neighborhoods Program, and she is a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. 

Lombard has served as a faculty assistant for the University of Miami School of Law, Center for Ethics & Public Service and obtained a wide range of both legal and financial experience, on a national and international level, in the areas of Corporate Trusts, OTC Derivatives, Regulatory Affairs, Compliance Testing, and Anti-Money Laundering.

Vanessa Rosenthal
Chief Operating Officer, Credit & MarketsChief Operating Officer, Credit & Markets, KKR 

Vanessa Rosenthal joined KKR, a global investment firm, in 2023 as Chief Operating Officer for the Redit and Markets team. As a member of the executive team, she is responsible for providing strategic, fiscal, and operations leadership for the business unit globally. 

Prior to joining KKR, Rosenthal spent eighteen years at Neuberger Berman, most recently as COO for the firm’s institutional equity and multi-asset business, where she was responsible for overseeing global investment teams across all aspects of business operations. Prior to assuming this role within the firm, she was COO for the quantitative and multi-asset class team, and before that, she was a portfolio specialist for quantitative and alternative strategies.

Rosenthal began her career at commodities research company CPM Group as a research analyst. She graduated from Swarthmore College with a BA in mathematics and economics and subsequently received an MBA from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

Stephanie Murphy
Vice President Commercial Lending, Central Bank of St. Louis 

Stephanie Murphy is the Vice President and Commercial Lending Relationship Manager for the Central Bank. She has over 15 years of relationship banking and commercial lending experience. Murphy is passionate about building quality relationships and prefers to offer a personal approach. She is responsible for providing legendary service while assisting her clients with the right products and services for their personal and business credit needs.

Murphy holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from Vatterott College. She is active with the Springfield Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Voice of Business Committee and the Small Business Council. She’s a past board member and current general member of The Network, a member of the Catholic Business Network and Rotary Club Springfield Southeast. She is also a past board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks.

Shannon Nash
Chief Financial Officer, Wing

Shannon Nash currently serves as Chief Financial Officer at Wing, a drone delivery company and subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc.

Nash serves as an independent director on several boards, including NetScout Systems Inc. and SoFi Bank, a subsidiary of SoFi Technologies Inc. She's also on the Board and Audit Chair at Lazy Dog Restaurants. Previously, she was on the board of UserTesting, including Lead Independent Director and Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee. She serves as a board advisor to Black Women on Boards, an executive board member to How Women Lead, and a mentor for Santa Clara University’s Black Corporate Board Readiness Program. 

She was appointed to the CalCPA Diversity Equity & Inclusion Commission and named one of the 100 most influential women in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2023 and on the 2023 Top 50 Women in Accounting list by Ignition. She was previously named to the 2022 Top 50 Women Leaders in Finance list by Women We Admire and featured on Accounting Today’s 2020 list of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting. Finally, she was named one of 2020’s Most Powerful Women in Accounting by the AICPA and CPA Practice Advisor and received the 2021 Trailblazer Award from CalCPA.

She holds an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. She serves on the board of advisors for the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce. In her free time, Nash enjoys fitness and teaches Zumba and U-Jam Fitness. She’s also an award-winning documentary film producer with her film, Colored My Mind, winning best short at the 2013 American Pavilion in Cannes. Her latest film, OnBoard, premiered during the Tribeca Film Festival in June 2023.

Nusrath Khan 
Vice President, Finance & GTM Sales Operations, Acuity International

Nusrath Khan began her professional career 14 years ago. Today, she is the Vice President of Finance and Go-to-Market Sales Operations of Acuity International. Acuity International, headquartered in Reston, Virginia, provides process and technology-based critical services to global government and commercial enterprises. With expertise in a range of engineering and consulting, software solutions, medical care, occupational health, global mission, environmental remediation, and secure and complex construction management services, augmented by deep expertise in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and cloud solutions, Acuity International is positioned to assist its customers in their critical missions anywhere in the world with the latest technology and repeatable processes.

Nusrath first got her start in 2010 as a financial analyst at Raytheon. From there, she went on to Dell Technologies, where she focused on financial planning, analytics, and go-to-market sales operations for nine years. She was involved in the historic Dell and EMC $67 billion merger.

Nusrath completed both her undergraduate degree in economics and finance and her MBA from Babson College. She currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband and their son. Outside of work, Nusrath enjoys spending time with family and working out.

Ava Villegas
Vice President and SBA & USDA Credit Relationship Manager, First United Bank

Ava Villegas is the Vice President SBA and USDA Credit Relationship Manager for First United Bank, overseeing the Central Texas Market. In her role, she is a change agent who is passionate about ensuring that businesses across communities have access to responsible capital. She identifies partnerships with local business leaders and organizations, government agencies, CDCs, and CDFIs to broaden the SBA & USDA program reach. 

Villegas has over 15 years of experience as an analytical, women's, and minority-owned business advocate on the finance track with extensive project management and business experience, specializing in small business administration loans and USDA loans. Born into entrepreneurship, and marrying a local business leader, she has vowed to dedicate her life to amplifying the voices of minority business owners, forging connections, and fostering an economy, where everyone has an opportunity to prosper and build generational wealth. Currently, she has goals to adopt and rebuild her and her husband’s business to provide the same opportunities for her family.

She is recognized for building high-performing teams and winning trust-based partnerships by simplifying the complexities of government lending to carve out a trusted path for everyone to win. Villegas provides thought leadership on a regular basis for many local small business leaders focused on opportunities for growth and prosperity. Frequently sought out as an SBA and USDA lending expert, she has been invited by numerous financial professionals, including competing lenders, to speak to help drive communities forward. Villegas obtained her BA degree in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Business Foundations Certification from McCombs School of Business. Currently, is sitting through RMA classes to sharpen her risk management skills. 

Ixchell Duarte
Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, and Senior Vice President - CNL Healthcare Properties, Inc., CNL Financial Group

Ixchell Duarte is currently the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, and Senior Vice President of CNL Healthcare Properties, Inc. for CNL Financial Group, a leading private investment management firm providing alternative investments opportunities.

As a key member of the leadership team and voting member of the company’s investment committee, Ixchell presents strategic and financial updates to the board of directors and audit committee. She is a seasoned financial executive with over 25 years of public company experience overseeing corporate financial strategy, debt and treasury functions, accounting, financial reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission, tax, internal audit, and Sarbanes Oxley Act compliance for various public, non-traded companies. 

With over 15 years of real-life boardroom experience and as a named executive officer of several public non-traded companies and previously, one NYSE-listed company, Ixchell presents at board and audit committee meetings and leads the relationships with the audit committee chairs and external auditors of several public, non-traded companies. She has extensive reporting experience in the areas of IPOs, M&A, and registration statements and can provide guidance to companies preparing to go public. Ixchell earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from The Wharton School.

Elisha Gonzalez
Vice President of Community Relations & Government Affairs, FAIRWINDS Credit Union

Elisha González is the Vice President of Community Relations and Government Affairs at FAIRWINDS Credit Union. She also serves as Executive Director of the FAIRWINDS Foundation. As VP, she leads the company’s nationwide community relations and government affairs initiatives, programmatic activities, strategic philanthropy, team member engagement, social corporate responsibility, and market reputation risk. González has been instrumental in the new, unified vision for the FAIRWINDS Foundation, where she leads the philanthropic effort to bolster organizations that advocate financial literacy, education, and volunteerism.

Most recently, González was the lead consultant for the Central Florida collective impact initiative, Project Opioid, in association with Change Everything Inc. She also led the government and community relations efforts for Duke Energy Florida, where her focus was the company’s East Coast operating area encompassing Seminole, Volusia, Flagler, and Brevard counties. She served as Duke Energy’s leader in the region for local governments and civic partnerships and was responsible for government relations, philanthropy, community engagement strategy, and social responsibility. González served as director of community affairs for Valencia College and executive director of Valencia Promise/Orange County Take Stock in Children, where she successfully relaunched the program in Orange County providing college scholarships, mentors, and hope to economically disadvantaged youth locally. In addition to her experience in education, González worked as the Central Florida regional director for the United States Senate. 

She serves on multiple boards, including the gubernatorial appointment to Career Source Florida State Board, where she served as Vice Chair of the Finance committee. Currently, she serves as the chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando, United Arts of Central Florida, Prospera USA, Florida Chamber Foundation, Junior Achievement of Central Florida, and Heart of Florida United Way. González has been recognized for her community work and leadership with numerous honors. She earned a Master’s degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University. A native of Mexico City, Mexico, González earned an undergraduate degree in education from the University of Central Florida.

Melissa Wright
Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, American Pacific Mortgage

Melissa Wright is a nationally ranked executive leader, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of American Pacific Mortgage, and a true expert in strategic design. With more than 20 years in C-suite leadership, Wright has built companies from the ground up to multi-million-dollar acquisitions, led organizations from last to number one in their industry, and grew sales by over 500%. Wright has been ranked as a Top Marketing Leader, is a 7-time winner of Best of State, and has been nationally recognized as one of the Elite Women in Mortgage. 

As a self-proclaimed entrepreneur, Wright currently leads the areas of sales technology, marketing, communication, innovation and support, and business development for the nationally recognized mortgage lender. Wright’s vision and leadership can be seen in several areas of the company, including the strategic growth and expansion of the APM’s national footprint over the past few years. She is valued for her collaborative leadership style, her delivery of modern-day sales, marketing, and communications strategies, and her complete ownership of driving strategic initiatives for the company. 

Wright sits on three advisory boards for advancing tech companies. She is also a sought-after speaker and industry expert who works with executives, leaders, and emerging leaders on how to transform their leadership style through radical generosity, purpose-driven work, and living to make a difference.

Tamar Mogilski
Senior Vice President, Wealth Enhancement Group

Tammy Mogilski a Senior Vice President at Wealth Enhancement Group. For more than 30 years, she has served the needs of individuals and families seeking comprehensive financial plans and strategies and personalized asset management strategies. 

As a Chartered Life Underwriter®, Chartered Financial Consultant®, and Certified Financial Planner®, Mogilski focuses on helping clients in or nearing retirement develop effective retirement income strategies.

Mogilski is experienced in all areas of financial planning, including retirement, income distribution, estate, investment, and special needs estate planning. She received undergraduate degrees in political science and finance from Alfred University. She earned her CLU®, ChFC®, and CFP® certifications from The American College.

Jonna Turner
Vice President & Commercial Relationship Manager, Fidelity Bank

Jonna Turner is a Vice President and Commercial Relationship Manager for Fidelity Bank,  a client-focused, community-minded, financially stable, and operationally sound financial institution. Since 1908, Fidelity Bank’s mission has been to remain the long-term institution of choice in the marketplace. 

Turner has been in finance for 25 years, specializing in commercial lending for over 20 years. She plays an active role in the Greater New Orleans community, where she resides. She has served on several boards, both past and present, including Leadership Northshore Alumni Association, Olde Towne Main Street, Steel Mimosas, Junior Auxiliary of Slidell, Emerging Young Professionals, and Camellia City Kiwanis Club. Before joining Fidelity Bank, Turner was an assistant VP of commercial lending for The First, A National Banking Association. Before that, she had multiple roles at Whitney Bank, including personal relationship banker, commercial client administrator, and executive assistant. She started her financial services career at Parish National Bank as a mortgage loan closer and then a loan specialist. 

She is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Northshore, was nominated for the Athena Leadership award in 2017, and has been a volunteer for East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity as part of their “Rosie the Riveter” Women’s Build program for the past four years. She recently took on the role of a 2023 board member for East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity.

Jenna Nicholas
Head of Investments and Acquisitions, One Planet Group

Jenna Nicholas is the Head of Investments and Acquisitions at One Planet Group, which incubates, operates, and invests in businesses. In this role, she leads corporate development and invests in early-stage businesses in transformative industries, such as education technology, marketplaces, media, and the future of mobility. There is a focus on investing in socially conscious companies, at least 60% of which are run by women and people of color.

Nicholas is also the co-founder and CEO of Impact Experience, which focuses on addressing equity across investments, healthcare, education, and climate. Nicholas is currently spearheading the business climate finance initiative through Impact Experience to decarbonize corporate bank accounts and retirement funds. Sge formerly founded Phoenix Global Impact, a firm that specializes in impact investing, social entrepreneurship, and strategic philanthropy. Through her firm, she project-managed Divest-Invest Philanthropy, a coalition of foundations, divesting from fossil fuels and reinvesting in new economic solutions. Nicholas spoke at TedX Portland about the Divest-Invest work. She has worked with the World Bank Treasury on green bonds and with Toniic helping to support an impact investing community and with the Calvert Special Equities team, investing in impact-oriented companies and funds. She is an advisor to the Nexus Global Youth Summit and Ethic, an impact investing platform. 

Nicholas is a Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA graduate, a PD Soros Fellow for New Americans, a recipient of the Stanford Social Innovation Fellowship, an Echoing Green Fellow, a Forbes 30 under 30 for Social Entrepreneurship, a Summit fellow, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a coach for the Roddenberry Foundation, and a Young Leaders Council member of Milken Institute. She serves on the Impact Advisory Committee for Apollo Global Management and on the Investment Committee of the Wayfarer Foundation. Nicholas co-taught a course at the Tsinghua School of Economics and Management in Beijing on sustainability and impact investing. She’s the VP of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneur and an active member of the Baháí Faith.

Mia Liezel Lao
Vice President of Consumer Lending, Wings Financial Credit Union 

Mia Lao is the Vice President of Consumer Lending at Wings Financial Credit Union. She first joined the organization in 2021. Founded in 1938, Wings Financial Credit Union is Minnesota's largest credit union and ranks among the nation’s top 40 credit unions with over $8.4 billion in assets and over 365,000 members. 

Lao oversees the consumer lending originations and operations group with 51 headcounts. She led the first fintech engagement with Wings, which resulted in a total of over $67.3M in loan production in just fourteen months and saved 1,300 days of auto loan processing time. Most recently, she led another Fintech partnership between Wings and TruStage Digital Storefront for loan pre-approvals for existing members. Her knowledge and experience in process improvement and Six Sigma gave her the edge to succeed on these projects.

Previously, Lao was a major accounts manager of commercial finance at Toyota Industries North America, where she earned her Kaizen Coach certification. Earlier in her career, she worked with Bank of America as a customer service manager, where she received her Six Sigma training and completed “The Dale Carnegie Course.” Before she migrated to the US in 1986, she attended an engineering school in the Philippines. Lao earned an MBA from California State University, Long Beach, and an undergraduate degree in technology and operations management from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Yvonna Stevens
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, International Youth Foundation

Yvonna Stevens is an Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the International Youth Foundation. She is responsible for leading the organization’s global financial, accounting, human resources, and information technology operations. Stevens is a dynamic finance and administration leader with over 20 years of experience in international nonprofit operations. She is known for her outstanding leadership, coaching, and relationship-building skills and for developing diverse teams across global locations to collaborate and maximize results.

Stevens currently serves on the boards of the Latin American Youth Center, Global Health Council, and Poets & Writers. Additionally, she serves the Obama Foundation as a scholars program mentor and as the US country representative of International Financial Reporting for Nonprofit Organizations. 

Stevens graduated from Morgan State University with an undergraduate degree in accounting and from the University of Maryland with an MBA.

Raquel Favela
Executive Managing Director, Grow America

Raquel Favela is the Executive Managing Director of Grow America. In the competitive field of economic development and housing, Favela stands uniquely with a solid foundation of nearly 30 years. Proving her executive mettle, Favela conceptualized and executed the pioneering flex-staff system at Grow America, seamlessly mobilizing an astounding $1 billion in critical COVID-response efforts nationwide. Her stewardship at the Training and Technical Advisory Services Division has transformed public sectors, empowering them with tailored strategic roadmaps and innovative policy solutions that are quintessential for fostering equitable wealth-building opportunities.

Favela's distinctive leadership style is an alchemy of hands-on execution and visionary strategy, positioning her as an unmatched catalyst for community advancement. Her achievements are evident in her instrumental role in San Antonio's inaugural Strategic Community Development Plan. Moreover, her tenure as Dallas’ Chief of Economic Development saw her pioneering the city’s benchmark Comprehensive Housing Policy, addressing deeply rooted housing challenges with efficacy and insight.

At Grow America, she has not only been a trusted advisor but has also sculpted her legacy by guiding clients through intricate financing blueprints for high-stakes redevelopment initiatives for over sixteen years. Her comprehensive grasp of federal, state, and local financial tools underscores her acumen, making her a coveted asset in optimizing public benefits. Favela brings to the table an impeccable track record, strategic talent, and a vision aligned with the future of economic development and housing. Her leadership promises not just growth, but transformative evolution. 

Kristin Ferge
Chief Financial Officer, Capri Communities

As Capri Communities’ Chief Financial Officer, Kristin Ferge is a well-rounded and highly accomplished C-level financial executive and business leader. Ferge’s holistic understanding of sustainable growth coupled with her expertise in the senior living industry has directly contributed to Capri’s growth during her tenure. Since joining Capri in September 2016, the company’s revenue has grown by over 178%. She has been instrumental in enhancing the company’s executive committee to position Capri for continued growth and operational success. Ferge’s specialty is leading fast-paced, dynamic high-growth, and business turnaround initiatives to a successful conclusion. She is able to lead multi-discipline teams across a wide variety of financial areas and brings expertise in both a for-profit and nonprofit setting. She leads capital-raising activities and is also responsible for building relationships with joint venture partners, investment bankers, commercial banks, lessors, auditors, attorneys, and shareholders.

Ferge’s expertise includes debt and equity financing, IPOs, M&A, restructuring, SEC matters, strategic planning, governance, treasury, banking, financial analysis and modeling, financial reporting, and auditing. She also has significant experience working with boards of directors and audit committees. Before Capri, Ferge was EVP, chief accounting officer, and treasurer with Brookdale Senior Living, which has revenues over $6B, making it the largest for-profit, publicly traded senior living corporation in the US. She also served as VP and CFO at Alterra Healthcare Corporation, a privately held senior living company, where she was responsible for the financial operations of 300 locations and overseeing a team of over 300 professionals. 

Ferge graduated with a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration and Finance from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and an undergraduate degree in accounting from Marquette University. She is a CPA.

Sophia Corona
Chief Financial Officer, tZERO Group

Sophia Corona is the Chief Financial Officer for tZERO Group, Inc., a financial technology company that is pioneering the next generation of the capital private markets, which includes significant public company investors, such as Intercontinental Exchange/NYSE. Corona is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience in the financial services, fintech, e-commerce, marketing, telecommunications, healthcare, and hospitality industries. She has held CFO and COO positions at both start-ups and F-500 companies, including the Intercontinental Exchange/New York Stock Exchange, Inc.

She is a highly accomplished executive with a wealth of experience in the financial services industry as a myriad of others. Corona has a proven track record of delivering growth strategies, M&A, and turnarounds. She is a strategic thinker with strong financial acumen and a deep understanding of the global markets. She is also a decisive leader who can build and motivate high-performing teams.

Her professional experience and ACFE expertise make her an invaluable asset to any board of directors. She has been a member of the audit, nominating, governance, and deal committees at public companies. She is also a sponsor/mentor for the mayor’s office Partnership Fund for NYC and Accenture – the Fintech Innovation Lab, NYC.

Kim Bright
Vice President, Finance and Operations, Hopelab 

Kim Bright has extensive experience in leading and scaling effective policies and operational solutions in the nonprofit and private sectors. As Hopelab’s Vice President, Ms. Bright leads the organization's operational, compliance, risk management, and financial functions. Prior to joining Hopelab, Ms. Bright led the finance and administration functions for the Campaign Legal Center as well as the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. Prior to those positions, she served as the COO for the National Police Foundation, leading the foundation’s financial, human resources, information technology, and operations functions. During her tenure with Booz Allen Hamilton, she managed a technology solutions contract with the Department of Justice, including providing contract oversight, building and leading teams of subject matter experts to support national policies to improve information-sharing capacity, and the delivery of technical assistance to stakeholders and practitioners.

Ms. Bright is a highly effective strategist, with expertise in client service, solutions development, process improvement, and change management. She has a track record of success in linking strategy to effective operations, leveraging technology to increase efficiency, and leading high-performing, cross-functional teams. In addition, she is an exceptionally active listener with the ability to influence, engage, and build consensus and partnerships across diverse constituencies and stakeholders on complex issues.

Ms. Bright holds a Master of Public Policy degree from American University, an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute.

Kimberlee Davis
Partner & Managing Director, The Bahnsen Group

Kimberlee Davis is a Managing Director and Partner at The Bahnsen Group, a private wealth management firm based in Newport Beach, California. She is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and the Founder of The Fiscal Feminist, a platform to empower women to achieve solid financial footing. She is the author of The Fiscal Feminist – A Financial Wake-Up Call for Women and the host of the podcast The Fiscal Feminist. 

Davis specializes in personal wealth advising and financial, retirement, and estate planning solutions for high-net-worth individuals and multi-generational families. Her proficiency also includes helping her clients transition to financial independence after life-altering events, such as death or divorce. With more than 25 years of finance, legal, and corporate experience, her career has included being a corporate securities lawyer, investment banker, and CFO. 

Davis received her undergraduate degree in foreign service/international finance at Georgetown University and earned a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. 

Michelle Chao
Head of Investor Relations, Bertram Capital 

Michelle Chao is currently serving as Head of Investor Relations for Bertram Capital, a Bay Area based lower-middle market private equity firm. She began her career with Bertram over 14 years ago when she was hired as an administrative assistant to support the firm’s business development efforts. 

Chao’s curiosity and passion for deal sourcing led to numerous promotions, which enabled her to grow outside of her administration position. She was eventually promoted to SVP of origination and capital markets, where she was responsible for sourcing and assessing new investment opportunities across business services, consumer, and industrial sectors.

Chao currently leads investor relations at Bertram, where she focuses on fundraising, marketing, and communicating with investors. Chao is also a member of Bertram’s DEI Committee focused on initiating and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout the firm. In addition, Chao leads the firm’s ESG Committee, which aims to consider environmental, social, and governance factors when partnering with businesses. Chao holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis, and a Master’s degree in Education from Arizona State University.

Lisa VanArsdale
Financial Advisor & Managing Director, SageView

Lisa VanArsdale is a Financial Advisor and Managing Director of SageView’s Deer Park, Illinois office. She works on portfolio management, financial research, and client communications. Before joining SageView, VanArsdale was a financial advisor and co-owner of Lakeview Wealth Management, an LPL Financial affiliate. Before that, she was the firm’s acquisition by SageView in 2022.

VanArsdale is passionate about the industry and strives for opportunities to make an impact. She is also currently a member of George Washington’s Women in Leadership Program Advisory Council. Outside of the office, she is an avid Chicago Blackhawks fan. She enjoys spending time with her family and staying active. She has completed three marathons – Chicago, Paris, and New York City. 

VanArsdale graduated from Elmhurst University as a student-athlete with a degree in finance and international business and continues to mentor students at the business school of her alma mater. She holds the Series 7 and 66 FINRA licenses.

Sweta Shah
Chief Financial Officer, Northeast Private Client Group

Sweta Shah, Chief Financial Officer at Northeast Private Client Group, smoothly manages the firm’s finances and budgeting oversight. With a goal to help clients succeed, Shah serves all of her clients with professionalism and efficiency. She is dedicated to earning and keeping the trust of her clients through creating personal connections and providing excellent service. 

Her finance work includes areas of commercial banking, accounting, financial planning, investment banking, and money management. Before working at Northeast Private Client Group, she worked as the financial coordinator for City College of New York and the branch operations manager for Santander Bank.

Shah graduated with an undergraduate degree in finance from Rutgers University. There, she was inspired to pursue a career in finance because of opportunities to work with a broad range of clients and colleagues across geographies and industries. 

Renee Melville
President, 818 Capital Group

Renee Melville is the President of 818 Capital Group. 818 Capital Group’s vision is to empower one billion dreams through strategic investing and professionally managed portfolios. 818 Capital Group nurtures a portfolio of top-performing companies that span the finance industry. Their businesses were founded on the principles of integrity, excellence, and innovation, but their success formula is the deep and trusted relationships they have built with their leaders, their clients, and their business partners over the past 35 years. 

Melville is a results-driven executive with a passion for transforming lives through financial empowerment. In her current role, her key competencies lie in strategic planning and bringing clarity to the path of continual growth and unparalleled success. She believes in the power of diplomatic communication and emotional intelligence, fostering a collaborative environment where her exceptional team is inspired to give their best.

Before joining 818 Capital Group, Melville was a founder and senior managing partner at Sharp Point Accounting Solutions, and before that, she was an advisory team leader at BeanLab. Melville graduated from Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University with an MBA in accounting and from Northwestern University with an undergraduate degree in organizational behavior.

Shay Kleinschmidt
Vice President of Lending, FranFund

Shay Kleinschmidt is the Vice President of Lending at FranFund, a financial services company that crafts insightful funding strategies that help solidify the dreams of franchise or small business ownership for entrepreneurs while positioning them for long-term success.

Since Kleinschmidt joined FranFund in 2012, her strategic vision has helped the company’s lending department gain a distinguished reputation for quality. She has established a wide variety of lender relationships throughout the years, which continues to expand today. As a direct and powerful result of her dedication, FranFund is able to offer competitive funding products of all shapes and sizes. In her role, Kleinschmidt also focuses on developing processes that promote thorough internal controls and risk mitigation within compliance guidelines of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other funding programs.

Kleinschmidt has a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University. She currently resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Judy VanArsdale
Financial Advisor & Managing Director, SageView Advisory Group

Judy VanArsdale is a Financial Advisor and Managing Director of SageView’s Deer Park, Illinois office. VanArsdale is focused on helping her clients achieve their financial goals and gain clarity and confidence in their financial journey. Communicating in a clear, friendly manner, she takes the fear out of investing and engages clients in planning strategies relevant to their financial success. Her clients value the encouragement and confidence they receive as they take control of their money and goals.

Prior to joining SageView, VanArsdale was a financial advisor and co-owner of Lakeview Wealth Management, an LPL Financial affiliate. Before that, she was the firm’s acquisition by SageView in 2022. VanArsdale and her team have been honored by Forbes for the past three consecutive years as both Best in State and Top Women Wealth Advisors. In 2022, Women in Asset Management added her to the shortlist for Employer and Advocate of the Year. VanArsdale has worked tirelessly building relationships in Washington after being asked to testify in front of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight at a hearing on the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary rule. These opportunities allow her to project her client’s voices on a broader scale.

Financial advising is a second career for VanArsdale. She retired as VP of national accounts from McKesson Corporation. VanArsdale enjoys golf, cooking, skiing, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She graduated from Elmhurst University with a degree in business management and marketing and continues to support the university in many ways, including serving on their board of trustees. She holds the Series 7 and 66 FINRA licenses.

Liz Hocker
US Managing Director of New Listings and Capital Markets, NASDAQ 

Liz Hocker is the Southwest US Managing Director of New Listings and Capital Markets at Nasdaq. She works with private companies on the planning and execution of IPOs, deSPACs, and direct listings.

With more than 20 years of business consulting, banking, and HR experience, Hocker has worked with hundreds of companies that were positively impacted through the strong operations and people-oriented initiatives her teams have delivered. Since joining Nasdaq in 2018, she has worked with over 135 companies on successful new listings, representing over $117 billion in market value, including some of the highest-profile IPOs in the world. 

Hocker received her undergraduate degree in organizational communication from St. Edward's University and is currently a mentor at The Capital Factory. She was awarded Volunteer of the Year by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce in 2019, featured in Austin Business Journal’s Profiles in Power, named a Women of Influence in 2015, and was a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society 2018 Woman of the Year Pediatric Cancer Research Grant winner.

Kimberly Stemley
Chief Financial Officer, YWCA Metro St. Louis

Kimberly Stemley is the Chief Financial Officer of YWCA Metro St. Louis, recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal as one of the largest nonprofits in the region. She has more than 18 years of experience in finance, business strategy, and nonprofit development, with positions in public accounting at Ernst and Young, AT&T telecommunications company, and Innoventor, an engineering firm previously recognized in St. Louis’ Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies. She has served as a leader in healthcare as the EVP of business development and CFO at Rx Outreach, the nation’s largest nonprofit, mail-order pharmacy, and patient assistance program. At the YWCA, Stemley is addressing the need for expanded early childhood centers to respond to approximately one million women who have not returned to the workforce since the pandemic.

Stemley is a transformative leader, working passionately within the region to improve the quality of life for those most in need. In 2010, her commitment to helping those in need became personal when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This journey for relief and assistance for her mother began a movement in Stemley’s life, revealing several systemic problems for those aging in their communities and the people who loved them. In conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association, Stemley became a champion for the 15 million caregivers supporting those living with Alzheimer’s disease. Her fight, which started locally in St. Louis, led to her speaking at the US Senate Special Committee on Aging and requesting Congress to increase research funding by $500 million to fight the disease. Within three months after her testimony, they did.

Stemley is a contagious leader in the region, extending her business acumen from large corporations to the indigent in the community. She has tackled hard healthcare issues, serving on the Community Advisory Council for the Missouri Foundation for Health as their chair, faced childhood education issues as a founding board member of Preclarus Mastery Academy – Charter School, and previous Accounting Careers Taskforce Chair for the Missouri Society of CPAs. In 2022, Stemley became an International Bestselling author on Amazon with the release of Overcoming: Living Our Best Life in Spite Of. 

Tara Wachendorf
Vice President & Public Relations Director, GreenState Credit Union
President, GreenState Foundation

Tara Wachendorf is a Vice President & Public Relations Director for GreenState Credit Union. She first joined the company in 2013 as public relations director. GreenState Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative with 35 office locations. Since being organized in 1938, GreenState has grown to over $10 billion in assets and 400,000 members.

Wachendorf is also the president of GreenState Foundation, an organization founded to improve the quality of life for the people they serve. In this role, she promotes the financial health and well-being of neighborhoods, schools, and society at large. GreenState Foundation gives generously to programs and projects that assist in making every place a better, safer place to live, work, and play.‍

Previously, Wachendorf was an account executive at MRINetwork. Before that, she was a recruiting and marketing director at MassMutual Financial Group. Earlier in her career, she worked with Midwest Heritage Bank as a sales associate. Wachendorf earned an undergraduate degree in marketing from Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa.

Marisa Calderon
President & CEO, Prosperity Now

A veteran of the financial services industry, Marisa Calderon is the President and CEO of Prosperity Now, a persistent voice championing economic opportunity, innovating outside of and beyond existing systems to build power for all communities.

She has been ranked as one of the most powerful leaders in the residential real estate industry and named one of HousingWire’s 2018 and 2021 Women of Influence for her work in increasing real estate and mortgage professionals’ understanding and appreciation of the Hispanic home-buying market. Frequently sought out as an expert, Calderon has been interviewed by numerous publications and media outlets, including NPR’s Marketplace, and regularly speaks at events, such as those for the Mortgage Bankers Association, Consumer Federation of America, the FDIC, and the National Fair Housing Alliance.

Calderon previously served on the advisory board for the Banc of California and the Fannie Mae Affordable Housing Advisory Council and also previously authored the State of Hispanic Homeownership Report. She’s a former board member for Latinas Lead California, the first and only non-partisan political action committee dedicated to increasing the number of Latinas in elected office, appointments, and other prominent leadership positions, and for the Hispanic Wealth Project, which has a stated goal of tripling the median household wealth of Hispanics by 2024. Her most recent role before Prosperity Now was as executive director of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and is in the process of completing her MBA.

Tracey Stratton
Public Relations Manager, Advisors Excel

Tracey Stratton is the Public Relations Manager for Advisors Excel. Advisors Excel takes a holistic approach to helping independent financial professionals build dynamic practices so they are free to create the businesses and lives they want, while helping their clients create their desired retirement lifestyles, as well. 

Stratton is a motivated professional who is dedicated to helping clients plan and execute a marketing and PR strategy that is effective in communicating their brand and value to their customers and end-users and increasing their return on investment.

Before joining Advisors Excel, Stratton was a director of public relations at Jones Huyett Partners. Before that, she was a sales executive at KTKA 49 ABC. Earlier in her career, she worked with Peterson Publications, Inc. as a national sales director. Stratton graduated from Washburn University with an undergraduate degree in communication studies.

Susan Jenull
Senior Vice President in Texas Commercial Banking, US Bank

Susan Jenull is a Senior Vice President for Texas Commercial Banking at US Bank. Jenull and her team were responsible for building the US Bank’s commercial banking division for the state of Texas. Starting with US Bank in mid-2017, after 15 years of experience with other large banking institutions in Texas, Jenull has increased the commercial business for US Bank in Texas by over 2,000%. She is responsible for the development of new businesses in the state to commercial public and private companies across a broad range of industries.

Jenull also leads in the community. She is actively involved with several nonprofits and has been on the boards of both Artreach Dallas and Broadway Dallas. She began the Women Bankers Club of Dallas and is a recent graduate of the Dallas Regional Chamber Leadership Dallas program. She is a sustaining member of the Dallas Junior League, a member of the National Charity League, and a leader in the schools her children attend.

Before her banking career, Jenull worked as a tax consultant for KPMG and Deloitte, focusing mainly on state and local taxes. Jenull is a Certified Public Accountant. She earned her MBA in finance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and an MA and undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently a student at Pacific Banking School to earn a Master’s degree in banking, corporate, finance, and securities law, and she is pursuing a Leadership Certificate in Banking and Financial Support Services from the University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business.

Jacqueline Reeves
Director of Retirement Plan Services, Bryn Mawr Capital Management

Jacqueline Reeves is Director of Retirement Plan Services with Bryn Mawr Capital Management. With more than 20 years of experience in wealth management, Reeves provides a foundation of research and analysis for retirement planning. She operates a central repository for research, process, and monitoring by developing a risk-adjusted return analysis that is used throughout the client base.

Before joining the company, Reeves served as an institutional equity research analyst, as well as director of research and head of financial institutions research at firms including Ryan Beck, Putnam Lovell, Citigroup, Janney Montgomery, CS First Boston, and Rothschild. She’s led a research team with more than a hundred companies under coverage. Reeves performed extensive financial modeling and analysis.

She holds a Board Certified Fiduciary, AIFA®, and PPCTM designation. Reeves is a resource to the national media, including CNBC, Bloomberg television and radio, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and various other printed media.

Olivia Ferris
Director of Strategy and Operations, Capstone Partners

Olivia joined Capstone Partners in 2012 and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer. In this role, she is responsible for overall firm strategy, corporate development, partnerships, strategic initiatives, and investments. She is central to communicating, executing, and sustaining Capstone’s priorities and translating them into a comprehensive strategic plan.

Prior to her position as Chief Operating Officer, she served as director of strategy and operations, executive director, and vice president of investment banking operations at Capstone, overseeing all banking activities for the firm. She continues to perform these duties in her new role, which includes being responsible for resource allocation, workflow management, and technology investments. In addition, she serves on the board of directors of IMAP, an international partnership of middle market investment banks. Prior to the acquisition by Capstone, Ferris was a VPat Headwaters MB that is now known as Capstone Partners, where she was responsible for all aspects of deal execution ranging from due diligence and materials preparation through organizing bids and management presentations to facilitating buyer discussions. 

Ferris graduated from the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business with an undergraduate degree in finance.