David Albers, President, Revenue Connections
Prior to starting Revenue Connections, a top-line focused consultancy firm, Mr. Albers held senior executive roles in sales, marketing, product development, credit, collections and loss recovery with banks and consumer finance companies, both domestic and international. This broad-based experience was gained at companies such HSBC, SunTrust, Barnett Bank, Household International and Altisource Portfolio Solutions. Over Mr. Albers’ three-decade career in the consumer finance industry, he has led organizations and advised clients in all phases of their lifecycle and across multiple asset classes, on corporate and portfolio acquisitions, mergers, start-ups and systems modernization. He is currently promoting and leading numerous clients through conversions to mobile, omni-channel environments while restructuring operations to support these changes.
Keith Anderson, Partner, Bradley, Arant Boult Cummings LLP
Keith Anderson, a Partner with Bradley, Arant Boult Cummings LLP, has wide-ranging experience across multiple jurisdictions and concentrates his practice on representing financial institutions in the financial services industry, as well as representing employers in employment matters. His financial services practice includes representing financial institutions, mortgage lenders and servicers, student loan lenders and servicers, auto-finance lenders in defensive litigation throughout the country. Keith has handled causes of action and advised on matters including federal regulations, predatory lending, wrongful foreclosure, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, mortgage-related fees and services, origination, pooling and servicing agreements, deceptive trade practices’ claims, loan repurchase disputes, investor disputes, servicing matters, mortgage fraud, lender-placed insurance, Texas home equity loans, class actions, bankruptcy adversary proceedings, student lending compliance, and contentious foreclosure actions. Before joining Bradley, Keith graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with academic, military, and athletic distinction. He served as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Air Force, where he handled dozens of court-martials and administrative boards as both a prosecuting and defense attorney.
Melissa Bassett, Business Lead, In-School Student Loans, SoFi
Randy Behm, Principal, Education Solution Partners LLC
Randy Behm has extensive experience in the education financing area. In addition to a professional career dedicated to education lending, Randy has served on the board of two national guarantee agencies, has been the president of an association of two private high schools and has served as vice-chairman for a private elementary school. As a principal of Education Solution Partners, LLC (ESP), an education lending management company that Randy and his partner started in 2010, he has worked closely with numerous education financing organizations throughout the country to manage and improve their education loan programs and portfolios. The clients have included a wide spectrum of programs and organizations, including federal loan programs for non-profit quasi-government organizations, private education loan programs for some of the largest Fintech organizations, national banks and for-profit schools. The work product ranges from one-time program reviews to management of the entire client organization. Before launching ESP, Randy was the Senior Vice President and Director of Consumer Lending for Liberty Bank, N.A. Prior to joining Liberty Bank, Randy was Executive Vice President of Private Loans for Student Loan Xpress. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and mathematics from Lawrence University in Wisconsin, and a Master’s degree in finance and operations research from the University of Michigan’s Graduate School of Business.
James Bergeron, President, National Council of Higher Education Resources
James P. Bergeron currently serves as President of the National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER), which represents a nationwide network of lenders, secondary markets, guaranty agencies, loan servicers, private collection agencies, schools, and others that assist students, borrowers, parents, and families access, manage, and pay for the costs of postsecondary education. The membership includes education finance organizations that administer and service federal education loans and entities that underwrite, administer, and service private education loans. Prior to joining NCHER, James worked as the Director of Education and Human Services Policy for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. In this capacity, he advised Chairman John Kline, members, and staff, and oversaw policy development on all areas of education and human services programs, including the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Head Start Act, and other federal laws governing elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. Before joining the Committee in 2006, James served as Legislative Director in California Rep. Buck McKeon’s personal office where he was responsible for developing and implementing the legislative agenda within the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness. He authored important legislative initiatives on college affordability and financial aid simplification. James began his Capitol Hill service almost 20 years ago as a Legislative Assistant to former Louisiana Rep. Bob Livingston, who chaired the House Appropriations Committee. James also served as Vice President of MARC Associates (now part of Holland & Knight), a government relations firm where he consulted for a number of elementary and secondary education and higher education organizations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Marilena Botoulas, Assistant Dean for Financial Aid, Columbia University, Graduate School of Business
Marilena Botoulas joined Columbia Business School in 2005 as the Director of Financial Aid and is now Assistant Dean. Her responsibilities include overseeing financial aid counseling and processing for students in the school’s full time, Executive MBA and MS programs. Prior to her current position, Marilena was the Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business and a Fund Accountant for the asset management company Lord, Abbett, & Co. Over the last 15 years, she has also held several NYC Executive Committee positions for the not-for-profit, Minds Matter of NYC, Inc. Marilena received her B.S. in Finance from St. John’s University, her M.A. in School Counseling from New York University and her Executive MBA at Columbia Business School.
Scott Buchanan, Executive Director, Student Loan Servicing Alliance
Scott Buchanan is the Executive Director of the Student Loan Servicing Alliance (SLSA), a trade association that represents more than 40 student loan servicers and their business partners in both federal and private student lending.
Previously, Scott was Senior Vice President of Business Development and Government Affairs for CBE Companies, a global provider of outsourced call center and collection services. Scott has also been Principal Consultant at Merak Associates LLC, where he has advised and counseled clients including financial services and investment firms, institutions of higher education, and BPO companies on legislative, regulatory, and business development strategy. Before his consulting work, Scott served as Vice President of Business Development, Sales, and Marketing at Navient. In that role he ran corporate marketing, oversaw brand strategy, directed business development and the sales organizations, while advising the company on corporate strategy. Prior to Navient, he served as Vice President of Government Affairs and Services with Sallie Mae. In that role he worked with Members of Congress, government agencies, and other policymakers to inform discussion on higher education, financial services, and tax policy. He oversaw the state affairs interests of the company and had responsibility for lobbying and political compliance processes. Over the years he also worked at Sallie Mae in various management capacities, has past political campaign experience, and worked for Wachovia Corporation in Atlanta, GA. Scott holds a Bachelors in Political Science from Davidson College and a Masters in Public Policy from George Mason University. He currently resides in Alexandria, VA.
D. Grant Carwile, Managing Director, SL Capital Strategies LLC
Grant Carwile currently serves as Managing Director in SL Capital Strategies, a national financial advisory and consulting firm providing services to various participants in the fields of higher education & consumer loan finance, municipal finance, and corporate finance. His client base includes public, non-profit and private finance companies; banks and other lending institutions; loan servicing organizations; loan guaranty agencies; specialty data companies; higher education institutions; loan collections organizations; and small corporations. Mr. Carwile has been active in lending, financial advisory, investment banking and capital markets for over 31 years, including nearly 20 years at RBC Capital Markets. During his banking and financial advisory career, Mr. Carwile has provided a variety of financial services including capital formation; capital markets advisory; securities issuance; asset and company valuation; merger and acquisition advisory; asset sale advisory; lending platform design and development; strategic planning; and management consulting. He has been a frequent speaker at industry associations and asset-backed finance conferences. He is a graduate (BSBA) with high honors of the University of Arkansas and holds a Juris Doctor degree with high honors from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the UALR Law Journal. Mr. Carwile currently serves on the board of directors for FirstString Research (a bio-pharmaceutical company) and previously served on the boards of directors for the Roper Saint Francis Foundation, the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation and EdVantage Corporation.
Angelina Galardi Ceresine, CEO, Climb Credit
Angela Galardi Ceresnie is the CEO of Climb Credit, an education finance company that evaluates the return on investment of education programs and helps consumers find, evaluate, and finance these programs to increase their earning potential. She joined Climb as the Chief Operating Officer in 2016 and quickly helped shape the operations, culture, and future of the Climb, earning her the role of CEO in 2018. Prior to Climb, Angela co-founded and was COO/CFO of Orchard Platform—a provider of software and data products offered to institutional investors to purchase loans from marketplace lenders [acquired by Kabbage]. Before her time at Orchard, she spent 9 years running credit risk analytics teams at American Express and Citibank where she made billions of dollars’ worth of data-driven credit decisions.
Debra Chromy, EdD, President, Education Finance Council (EFC)
Debra Chromy is the President of Education Finance Council (EFC), the national association representing nonprofit and state-agency student loan organizations. At EFC, Dr. Chromy leads EFC’s advocacy efforts on regulatory and legislative issues related to student loans and higher education. She collaborates with all EFC members, EFC’s Board of Directors, staff, the Administration, Congress, and other industry groups, facilitating and promoting EFC’s goals and initiatives. In addition, Dr. Chromy works to develop and implement member services and operational and communications strategies. Dr. Chromy has worked in the student loan industry her entire career, for a student loan lender of both private and federal loans, a student loan servicer, and a federal loan guarantor. Prior to EFC, Dr. Chromy served as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for American Student Assistance (ASA), where she was a leader in ASA’s corporate strategic planning process and managed ASA’s external relationships and partnerships, including federal and state governments, colleges and universities, higher education associations, and other student loan industry organizations. Dr. Chromy received an A.B. in economics from Smith College, an M.B.A from Boston University, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Chromy currently volunteers as a member of the Board of Directors of the Smith College Club of Washington, DC; a member of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education Executive Doctorate Alumni Advisory Board; Chair of the Legislative Task Force for the Municipal Bonds for America Coalition; and is President of the College Club of Boston Scholarship Fund, Inc.
Joseph Cioffi, Partner and Chair of the Insolvency, Creditors’ Rights & Financial Products, Davis & Gilbert LLP
Joseph Cioffi is a partner and Chair of the Insolvency, Creditors’ Rights & Financial Products Practice Group at Davis & Gilbert in New York City. With a breadth of business experience in finance and marketing functions and a legal career spanning transactional, bankruptcy and litigation work, Joseph leads a multidisciplinary practice with experience in all stages of credit and market cycles – from cradle to grave – including in subprime lending operations and asset-backed securities litigation.
Joseph has written for and has been quoted by numerous publications, including American Banker, Law360, Asset Securitization Reporter, The Banking Law Journal, The Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Auto Finance News, regarding student loans, marketplace lending, auto loans, PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing and residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). He has written extensively regarding the student loan debt market and has been interviewed by several publications, including The New York Times, for his experience regarding student loan enforcement issues. In 2017, Joseph launched Credit Chronometer™, a microsite dedicated to analyzing the economic, market and political events that shape the legal landscape and impact loan and credit markets. Written from the perspective of lawyers and professionals, Credit Chronometer™ examines the effects of these events on future performance and participants’ exposure to legal and business risk.
Robert Collins, VP Financial Aid, Western Governors University
Bob Collins joined Western Governors University (WGU) in October 2012 as the Vice President of Financial Aid. In the late 1990’s, Collins was the Acting Director of Financial Aid at the University of Colorado at Boulder and was a consultant for WGU in the very early stages – before the first students enrolled. Collins has 35+ years of experience in student aid administration and continues to be active in the state, regional, and national professional associations. Collins has been a member of several technical review panels for the National Center for Education Statistics, participated on numerous negotiated rulemaking committees, and actively engaged in the Distance Education Demonstration Program with the US Department of Education. In 2016, WGU received national recognition from AAUA and WCET for its Responsible Borrowing Initiatives (RBI) program. Collins has published several topical articles on LinkedIn and has quotes in Yahoo, Education Dive, Good Call, and Huffington Post, among other media outlets. Collins is a member of the NASFAA Forward50 committee as a national thought leader on higher education public policy.
Noah Cooper, Head of Capital Markets & Strategy, Laurel Road
Noah Cooper serves as Vice President of Capital Markets at Laurel Road and Darien Rowayton Bank where he leverages nearly a decade of experience in securitized products and banking. Noah earned his bachelor’s degree at Columbia University.
Tonio DeSorrento, CEO, Vemo Education
As CEO, Tonio DeSorrento leads the team at Vemo Education, where he focuses on income-based product development and policy issues. Tonio has contributed to the development of ISAs in the United States since 2007. Before Vemo, he held legal roles at SoFi and Pave, and practiced law at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Tonio holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he is also an adjunct professor of law, and a B.S. from the United States Naval Academy.
Paul Dockry, General Manager, Launch Servicing LLC
Paul is a 38-year veteran of the education and consumer finance industry. As General Manager of Launch, he and his team manage over $500 million in private loans for 24 clients. Prior to Launch, Paul led the start-up of Wells Fargo Bank’s Education Financial Services business providing executive leadership over a 20-year span, including leadership for two of the industry’s largest education lending portfolio integrations; originating and servicing over $32 billion in student loan portfolios. Prior to Wells Fargo, Paul held several executive leadership positions with EduServ Technologies/HEMAR Service Corporation of America then the nation’s largest third-party servicing company in the nation.
Nick Ducoff, Co-Founder & CEO, Edmit
Nick was previously Northeastern University’s Vice President for New Ventures. At Northeastern, Nick founded the Experiential Network which has served over two thousand students with real world projects from 800 employers. He also launched the first university bootcamp, Level, which was recognized as an innovation by the U.S. Department of Education. Nick previously co-founded Infochimps, which was acquired by CSC (NYSE: DXC), and was a Vice President at Boundless, which was acquired by Follett. He earned his JD, with Honors, at the University of Texas at Austin, and his BBA at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
Keri Ebeck, Partner, Bernstein-Burkely
Keri is a partner in the firm’s Bankruptcy & Restructuring practice group. She handles commercial, consumer, and real estate bankruptcy matters. Keri currently serves as secretary of the Allegheny County Bar Association Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section, which is responsible for studying bankruptcy and commercial law and informing its members of proposed changes to related legislation. A member of the American Legal & Financial Network (ALFN), Keri was awarded the 2017 JPEG: Picture the Future Award, which recognizes stand-out young professionals for their achievements and commitment to the mortgage servicing industry. She is a member of the ALFN’s Bankruptcy and Women in Legal Leadership Committees. Keri is also a member of the American Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association, and is involved with the Judith K. Fitzgerald Western Pennsylvania Bankruptcy American Inn of Court. She is licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Pennsylvania; the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana; the Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas; the Third Circuit Court of Appeals; and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sharon Gold, Head of Capital Markets, College Ave Student Loans
Sharon Gold is the Head of Capital Markets at College Ave Student Loans, a private student loan fintech lending company. Sharon focuses on College Ave’s student loan securitizations, debt facilities, warehouse lines, loans sales and forward flow agreements. Prior to College Ave, Sharon spent over 20 years in the student loan business in senior level positions at investment banks and rating agencies. Sharon was a senior banker in the Fixed Income Division of Morgan Stanley where she worked on student loan ABS and municipal bond transactions for for-profit, state agency, and not-for-profit student loan lenders. Sharon was also the Head of Student Loan ABS Originations at ABN AMRO managing student loan securitizations and student loan financings through ABN’s ABCP conduits. At the rating agencies, Sharon was the Head of the Student Loan Ratings Group at Moody’s Investor Service. She also spent time at S&P Global developing and writing methodologies for the Structured Financed Group for all securitized asset types, including student loans. Sharon has a B.S. in Accounting from Syracuse University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of New York.
Sandy Hota, Director, PwC
Sandy Hota is a Director in the Financial Markets practice of PwC in Washington, DC. He has over 15 years of progressive experience in the securitization industry, advising first time securitization issuer clients, focusing on structured transaction execution, financial modelling, model validation, valuation, credit risk and loan valuation. Sandy has extensive experience leading teams on ABS transaction and valuation engagements. His clients include several Fortune100 companies in various sectors such as financial services, asset management, insurance, alternative investment management, issuers of consumer loans including several Market Place Lenders.Sandy holds an MBA in Finance and Information Systems from the Kogod School of Business at American University, Washington DC. He is a Certified Public Accountant in Virginia and Washington DC. Sandy is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Henry B. Howard, President & CEO, U. S. Education Finance Group
Henry B. Howard began his banking career in 1978 at Maryland National Bank in Baltimore, Maryland. Subsequently, he held officer or management level positions at National Bank of Washington, Student Loan Marketing Association (“Sallie Mae”), American Security Bank of Washington, Marine Midland Bank (Delaware), CenTrust Savings Bank in Miami and BAC International Credit Corporation in Miami. Henry founded U.S. Education Finance Group in 1999 (assets of $2.75 Billion as of 12/31/10). He has been continuously involved with education lending since 1981. Henry Howard has 30 years and $7 Billion of education loan origination and financing experience.
Scott Kemp, Student Loan Advocate, State Council of Higher Education – VA
Scott Kemp is currently serving as the Student Loan Advocate in the Office of the Qualified Education Loan Ombudsman at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Prior to his new position, Scott served as an Interim VP of Student Services, a State Director for the High School Career Coach Program, a community college Civil Rights Compliance Coordinator, a K-12 State Career Specialist, and a School Counselor. His career has focused on helping students and those who work with students on their career pathway to success. Scott received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Religious Studies from the University of Virginia; a master’s degree in general experimental psychology from Hollins College; a master’s degree in education with a concentration in counseling from The Catholic University of America and is a doctoral candidate in community college leadership from Old Dominion University.
Chuck Knepfle, Associate VP Enrollment Management, Clemson University
Chuck Knepfle serves as Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Clemson University. Knepfle manages the personnel, budgets, technology, and operations for Records and Registration, Undergraduate Admissions, Student Financial Aid and other units to strategically lead the various aspects of enrollment management. Chuck served as the director of student financial aid at Clemson for five years, and for ten years prior at Miami University. He serves on the board of trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, as well as the chair-elect and executive board member of the Higher Education Loan Coalition and peer review leader for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. He earned his bachelor’s degree in systems analysis and his master’s degree in management from Miami University, and his PhD from Clemson in educational leadership. His research focuses on college access and affordability.
Timothy Lehmann, VP Student Financial Services, Southern New Hampshire University
An experienced higher education financing professional, Mr. Lehmann has worked for schools in all sectors of higher education both large and small. With helping organizational to scale their operations, he has built a reputation as a thought leader in the area of technology and customer experience to help colleges and universities achieve optimization goals.
Beginning his career working in the not for profit sector he has worked for both for profit and not for profit institutions focused primarily on Distance Education. Mr. Lehmann has been the Vice President for Student Financial Services at Southern New Hampshire University for the past five years and has helped guide the institution through significant growth as well as assisting with improving the student financing team’s delivery by being relentlessly focused on creating a customer experience and integrating the right technology to deliver a student experience that is optimized, scalable and streamlined to achieve the universities goals.
Mr. Lehmann has a Bachelor’s Degree from Concordia College in Minnesota and a MBA from Capella University. He is a licensed Financial Aid Administrator and has been a presenter at numerous conferences and seminars on the topic of financing higher education.
Kelly Lipinski, Member, McGlinchey Stafford LLP
Kelly’s practice focuses on compliance and regulatory matters involving the consumer financial industry. She regularly advises depository institutions and their affiliates, mortgage companies, sales finance companies, and education lenders on federal and state consumer finance issues. Kelly has experience with the Truth in Lending Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Kelly also has experience with state compliance issues and frequently represents clients before state regulatory agencies, concerning licensing and examination issues.
Daniel Meyers, CEO, Cognition Financial (formerly First Marblehead)
Mr. Meyers is Chairman & CEO of First Marblehead Corporation.Mr. Meyers has been working in finance for 35 years. From 1980 to 1991, Mr. Meyers was involved in arbitrage and derivatives trading. He began working on ABS financings in 1986. He currently serves as the Chair Emeritus of the Board of the Curry School of Education Foundation, and sits on the finance committee of the Board of Visitors at the University of Virginia, the Council of Foundations and the President’s Advisory Group. He also serves on the Board of the Forum for the Future of Higher Education. He is the Chairman of the Board of Steward Medical Group, a system of eleven hospitals in Massachusetts. Mr. Meyers also serves on the Board of TRACO, an offshore insurance company, where he chairs the finance committee. Mr. Meyers received an A.B. in Economics from Brandeis University and completed the Owner President Management Program at the Harvard Business School.
Alvaro Mezza, Principal Economist, Federal Reserve Board
Alvaro Mezza is a principal economist at the Federal Reserve Board. He works at the Consumer Finance Section in the Research & Statistics Department. One of his research interests is student loans. He has written several articles and short notes investigating who defaults on student loans, the effect of student loans on homeownership and aggregate consumption, and how student loan borrowers interact with other consumer debt products. His other research interests include consumer finance and risky health behaviors. Before joining the Board in 2011, he pursued his Ph.D. in Economics at University of California Los Angeles. He also holds a B.A in Economics from the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina.
Jefferson B Moore, Vice President, National Loan Exchange, Inc.
Jefferson Moore is a seasoned advisor and analyst to the debt-purchasing industry. Serving the education finance segment of consumer debt, Jeff is an industry pioneer monetizing non-traditional sources of institutional debt. Jeff advises student loan servicing agencies, private loan issuers and holders of institutional receivables. Concentrating efforts in educational finance, he and National Loan Exchange, Inc. (NLEX) have cultivated a vibrant secondary market for student loan portfolios. Jeff’s expertise began from brokering some of the industry’s first public non-performing debt portfolio sales in the early ’90s. Jeff affiliated with and was an officer of the nation’s first publically-traded debt purchasing entity. While there he was responsible for sourcing and acquiring over $5.0 billion in inventory. Following a similar role with a national, contingency based collection agency, Jeff launched multiple debt-purchasing partnerships more often focused on non-traditional, boutique sources of receivables. Jeff earned a Bachelors’ of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri.
Catherine Mueller, Executive Director, Mapping Your Future, Inc.
Catherine Mueller is the Executive Director of Mapping Your Future, a division of Money Management International (MMI). Mapping Your Future provides college, career, financial aid, and financial literacy services. She also works with companies and financial institutions to implement organizational financial education and counseling partnerships through MMI’s Financial Solutionsprogram. With a mission to help students succeed, Catherine led the creation of Mapping Your Future and development of its services, offered through an innovative and award-winning website. Founded in 1996, Mapping Your Future merged with MMI in 2014. Based in Texas, Catherine has been included as a source for articles on higher education and financial aid issues and has presented at numerous conferences. She has previously worked in higher education, communications, journalism, and public relations. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware and is currently working on a Masters in Digital Communications from the University of North Texas.
Aaron Pisacane, Product Lead – Student and Personal Loans, Entech Consulting
Aaron Pisacane is Director of Business Systems Integration – Student Loans at Entech. Mr. Pisacane has been in the student loan industry for over 24 years. The last 13 years have been on the lending side of the business, while the first 11 years was in capital markets. Aaron’s focus has been business strategy as well as hands-on experience in operations. Prior to joining Entech, Aaron held senior-level positions at Laurel Road, NYS Higher Education Services Corporation (Governor Appointee) and Education Finance Partners. Aaron has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance/Accounting from the University of Delaware He resides in Westport, CT until he moves to the Philadelphia area. He enjoys club cycling, trips to Italy annually with his wife, and cooking for dinner parties.
Charles Pruett, Assistant Dean, Student Financial Aid, Georgetown Law Center
Charles Pruett is the Assistant Dean for Financial Aid at the Georgetown University Law Center and has been with the Financial Aid Office since 1997. The ever-evolving state of the economy ensures that the needs of Georgetown Law’s student body are constantly changing. He regularly works with students to increase their knowledge of financial planning and illuminate the nuances and pitfalls important to the lives of younger professionals. For over fifteen years, Georgetown Law’s flagship financial program, “Life after Georgetown Law” has prepared thousands of graduating students to enter the “real world” as informed earners and consumers. Mr. Pruett earned both his B.A. and J.D. from The George Washington University.
Jonathan Riber, Vice President, DBRS
Jon Riber is a Senior Vice President for DBRS and manages the company’s student loan ratings team. In addition to rating student loan transactions, Jon has developed and maintains methodologies for FFELP and private student loan securitizations. Jon joined DBRS in 2010. From 2003 to 2010, Jon was a Vice President within Citigroup’s investment banking group focusing on the origination and structuring of mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities. From 1997 to 2003, Jon worked at Prudential Securities and Wachovia Securities focusing on the origination of structured finance transactions. Jon hold a BS from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MBA from Bentley University.
Dubravka Ritter, Senior Research Fellow, Consumer Finance Institute, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Dubravka Ritter is a Senior Research Fellow at the Consumer Finance Institute at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. She has published numerous studies covering education finance and student loans, the economics of discrimination and equal access to credit, credit and payments markets for underserved consumers, and consumer payment choice. Prior to joining the Philadelphia Fed, she spent four years as an economist at the consulting firm Charles River Associates. While there, she performed statistical and econometric analysis as part of regulatory compliance and risk management support for financial institutions with mortgage, payment card, auto loan, and other portfolios. She also conducted economic analysis in support of litigation alleging antitrust violations and patent infringement, as well as for purpose of merger and acquisition activity. Ritter holds an M.A. in economics from the University of Toronto, and a B.A. in economics, magna cum laude, from Wellesley College.
Ken Ruggiero, Chairman & CEO, Goal Structured Solutions (Goal)
Ken Ruggiero is a veteran and tireless innovator in higher education finance with more than 25 years spent managing start-up through Fortune 1000 companies, helping them create meaningful change and improvement in their delivery of financial services. Throughout his career Ken has worked to improve access to higher education and he continues to be a passionate advocate for expanded financial literacy and transparency in the space. During his tenure at Goal Financial, from 2003-2007, the company originated more than $8 billion in student loans and became a top 10 student-loan provider. After the company’s exit from the lending space in 2008, Ken spearheaded the reinvention of Goal Financial into Goal Structured Solutions, a leading provider of asset management in the education finance industry. Under his leadership as CEO, Goal Structured Solutions has significantly grown their service and product offerings, eventually re-entering the origination space in 2017 with the creation of Ascent Student Loans. Education: University of Massachusetts, B.B.A | Columbia University, M.B.A.
William Shaffner, Director, Business Development & Government Relations, Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA)
Will Shaffner has over 37 years of experience in the student loan and higher education finance arena and currently is the Director of Business Development & Government Relations at the Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri (MOHELA), serving in this capacity since 2004. In this role, Mr. Shaffner participates as a member of the Executive Management Team at MOHELA and is responsible for all sales activity within the Authority, including school and lender channels, private loan management, government relations, as well as marketing, e-commerce, and public relations efforts. Mr. Shaffner currently serves on the NCHER Board, and serves as Chair of its Government Relations Committee. Prior to MOHELA, he worked with American Student Assistance from as Director of Lender and Strategic Partnerships. He also held various sales and training positions at USA Group/SLMA from 1990 – 2001, most recently as Regional Director Central Region USA Funds Services. Prior to working within the FFELP industry, Mr. Shaffner was the Associate Director of Student Financial Aid at the University of Central Florida, where he worked for over eight years. He currently serves on the Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation Board, and the board of Stray Dog Theatre. Mr. Shaffner holds a B.A. in business administration from the University of Central Florida.
Mike Stallmeyer, Co-Founder, LendKey
Mike is responsible for all financial management, lending operations, credit and risk analytics, and client service. He brings decades of experience across financial services. Previously, Mike worked for a number of global organizations in investment banking, fixed income structured finance, portfolio management, and capital markets—including UBS where he served as Executive Director of the Investment Bank and as Vice President at Credit Suisse. Mike began his career in banking at Fifth Third and received his BA in economics from Duke University.
Lance Teinert, Chief Operating Officer, CURevl
Lance is a 30-year veteran of consumer and education finance, having worked in executive positions since 1995 when he became the founding student loan operations executive with LoanStar Education Loans. He has held senior and executive level positions with Cology, First Marblehead Corporation, Education Credit Management Corporation, and ReliaMax Holdings as well as co-founding FUTR Corporation. Lance not only brings executive experience, but also an entrepreneurial spirit, having founded or co-founded several successful ventures including a nationally recognized education finance consulting firm and private education entity that partnered with several investment banks to originate, service, and securitize federal and private education loans.
Melvin Zhou, Director, ABS Consumer, Kroll Bond Ratings Agency
Melvin Zhou is a Director on the ABS consumer team at Kroll Bond Rating Agency. Prior to joining KBRA in December 2018, Melvin was a director at Fitch Ratings focusing on FFELP and private student loan ABS new ratings and surveillance. Prior to joining Fitch Ratings, Zhou worked at The Student Loan Corporation, a subsidiary of Citibank, responsible for asset securitization and financial analysis. Zhou holds a BS in Mathematics from Peking University and an M.B.A. from Baruch College, City University of New York.