Helping Businesses Keep Both ii's On The BIG Picture For Over 16 Years!
Education Finance & Loan Symposium

MAY 15-16, 2023

Hilton Crystal City,
Washington, DC

Our Executive Speaking Faculty

Applications are now being reviewed from executives who wish to become members of our Executive Speaking Faculty. If you have extensive knowledge of education finance/student loans and would like to apply for a position on our speaking faculty, please complete our online JOIN OUR FACULTY application or contact:

Don Buford, Founder & CEO, iiBIG
Phone: 212-300-2521 | Email:

Patrick BelicaPatrick B. Belica, Managing Director, SL Capital Strategies

Mr. Belica takes day-to-day responsibility for many of SLCS’ clients.  He is responsible for all of the Firm’s analytics.  Prior to helping found SLCS, Mr. Belica worked in the Investment Banking Group at Citigroup with a focus on the student loan sector, where he was responsible for analytical work relating to client issuance of debt, M&A and whole loan sales.  Mr. Belica was the chief interface with rating agencies and other professionals in connection with these assignments. In all of these assignments, Mr. Belica was responsible for transaction structuring, rating agency analytics, derivative strategies and ultimately coordination with trading desks on the initial pricing and ongoing remarketing of securities.  Mr. Belica’s debt issuance experience spans the municipal, corporate and ABS markets, having executed transactions in every available mode in each sector.  This experience serves him well at SLCS where he oversees all analytics of the firm and ensures that quantitative analysis for each client is up to the highest standard. Since the founding of SLCS, Mr. Belica has served clients in a number of ways including acting as advisor on new debt issues, advising on M&A assignments, bond restructurings, private loan program development and capital markets financing, portfolio sales, and asset and liability valuations for financial statement purposes   Mr. Belica is a graduate of Columbia University.

Mark BrownGen. Mark Brown (Ret), Executive Director, Student Freedom Initiative (SFI)

Mark Brown is the Executive Director of the Student Freedom Initiative (SFI). SFI, A 501 (C) provides holistic support through four primary components: (1) Income contingent funding alternative to fixed payment obligations, (2) Internships, (3) Targeted HBCU capacity building, and (4) Tutoring, mentoring, and other student services. On 23 November 2020, SFI announced nine participating HBCUs, who identified the qualified STEM majors for eligible juniors and seniors starting with the Fall 2021 academic year.  Mr. Brown is the Former Chief Operating Officer for the U.S Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA). FSA, all Title IV funding (Grants, Work study, Student Loans) is a lending portfolio of $1.5T, 6K partner schools and 43 million customers (students, borrowers, and parents). In the Air Force, Major General Brown led a Continuum of Learning (Education, Training, and Experiences) for 600,000 global learners including two Graduate and Doctoral degree granting universities.  In addition, he has recent Senior Executive level experience in the successful enterprise-wide implementation and cultural change required to implement competency-based education, personalized learning, and a learning ecosystem for over 600,000 Air Force learners.  As a Senior Executive and CFO for $60B portfolio, Mr. Brown implemented enough savings and efficiencies to live within a budget that was reduced by 33% in a single year…received “Best in Air Force” rating. Rated “Best in Air Force” for quality of life and installation excellence, when serving as COO managing 6,013 acre pilot training base (equivalent to college campus).  Brown served in a 32-year Air Force career with over 20 years in senior executive positions encompassing all aspects of operations for diverse organizations ranging in size from 200 to over 200,000 individuals. Retired at the rank of Major General (Two Stars), Mark Brown is highly regarded for his ability to communicate at all levels both verbally and in written form. Security Clearance: TS/SCI

D. Grant CarwileD. 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.

Sharon GoldSharon 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.

Rich HainesRich Haines, CEO, OneLogos
Mr. Haines has thirty years of financial services and technology experience and is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OneLogos, an EdTech and enterprise software company.  OneLogos offers technology solutions to all stakeholders in the financial aid market including lenders, financial institutions, schools, non-profits, foundations and community groups through the Red Kite ( platform.  Red Kite is a digital ecosystem connecting students, parents and job seekers with money to pay for college and job training.  Mr. Haines also serves as co-founder and managing director of Crucible, a not-for-profit company formed to transform future-leaning college and job training organizations. Prior to OneLogos he founded two successful start-up organizations, served as the head of operations for a private education lender and has held senior leadership positions with MBNA America and Bank of America in the U.S., Canada and Europe supporting mergers and acquisitions, credit, customer service, collections and technology. Mr. Haines graduated with a bachelor’s degree in International Politics and Finance from The Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania.

Travis HornsbyTravis Hornsby, Founder, Student Loan Planner

Travis Hornsby is a speaker and the founder of Student Loan Planner, which he launched after helping his physician wife navigate ridiculously complex student loan repayment decisions. To date, Student Loan Planner has consulted on over $1 billion in student debt. Travis is a Chartered Financial Analyst and brings his background as a former bond trader trading billions of dollars. Trying to solve the student loan crisis brought him out of his first retirement at the age of 25. He brings that same intensity to analyzing the best repayment paths for graduate degree professionals with six figures of student debt. Travis and his team have helped over 8,034+ clients save over $426 million dollars on their student loans, and he’s been featured in U.S. News, Business Insider, Forbes, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, ChooseFi, Bigger Pockets, Afford Anything, Money, and more.

Eric HurwitzEric Hurwitz, Co-Chair, Financial Services Litigataion, Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young LLP

Eric Hurwitz is Co-Chair of Stradley Ronon’s Financial Services Litigation practice. Eric focuses his litigation practice on defending financial institutions from claims arising out of nearly every type of consumer and commercial financial product. He has extensive experience defending both single plaintiff and class action lawsuits against student lenders and servicers, banks, mortgage lenders and servicers, credit card companies, auto finance companies, debt collection companies and other financial services institutions. These include claims under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), as well as state unfair trade practices laws. Eric has defended both private and federal student loan servicers for many years in both court and private arbitration proceedings nationwide. He also works with clients to respond to regulatory inquiries and develop best practices for litigation avoidance.

Dr. A Wayne JohnsonDr. A Wayne Johnson, Former Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Student Loans, US Department of Education (DOE) [2017 to 2019]

Dr. Arthur Wayne Johnson is a public servant, accomplished businessman, veteran, student loan expert, and life-long Georgia native. From 2017 to 2019, Wayne was a senior official in President Trump’s Administration, serving as the Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer and Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid. Overseeing the largest provider of student financial aid in the country, Wayne successfully led thousands of employees whose mission was to make college education accessible and affordable for millions of Americans. Prior to entering public service, Wayne amassed over 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, senior executive, and CEO of multiple businesses, both domestic and international, in the consumer finance and customer service support industries. Wayne’s professional career has given him first-hand knowledge of how to make higher education more cost-effective, so students and their families receive an education that improves their long-term employment prospects without taking on crushing levels of debt. He knows how to run organizations efficiently and effectively, and wants to continue to bring this solutions-oriented approach to the federal government. Wayne is a U.S. Army veteran, an Eagle Scout, and a product of Georgia’s education system. He holds a PhD in Higher Education Leadership from Mercer University, a Masters of Business Administration from Emory University, and Bachelor of Arts from Mercer. He and his family have long called Macon, Georgia home.

Charles KelleyCharles Kelley, Executive Director, Rhode Island Student Loan Authority

Charles Kelley joined the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) in April 1991 as Deputy Director and was appointed Executive Director in 1993. Mr. Kelley served on the Board of the Education Finance Council from 1996 – 2002 where he served a two-year term as Chairman. A graduate of Harvard with a MA in Public Administration with a concentration in public finance, he received his Bachelors in Accounting and Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island. Mr. Kelley is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst.

Tim LehmannTimothy Lehmann, VP Student Financial Services, Southern New Hampshire University

An experienced higher education financing professional, with over 36 years of experience in higher education financing.  A common thread has been helping organizations to scale their operations along with finding innovative solutions to assist universities.  He has built a reputation as a thought leader in the area of technology, customer experience and innovation all the while maintaining a commitment to compliance to help colleges and universities organizational 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 experience by being relentlessly focused on creating integrating the right technology to deliver a student experience that is optimized, scalable, compliant and streamlined to achieve the universities goals.  The Vice President is a key member of the Student Experience leadership team who drives and evangelizes innovation to continuously advance the financing options available to students and to differentiate the University in the market. The Vice President establishes strategies and programs to help students become better off financially than when they started at SNHU; and ensures SNHU’s overall regulatory compliance and the financial integrity of its operations. The Vice President is a critical partner in the university’s strategic initiatives and new product development, representing SFS as a subject matter expert and regulatory advisor. The Vice President supports the Chief Experience Officer as a second in command in SFS. Mr. Lehmann has a Bachelor’s Degree from Concordia College in Minnesota and a MBA from Capella University.  He has been a presenter at numerous conferences and seminars on the topic of new and innovative financing options in higher education.

Robert Moran, Principal, Bose Public Affairs GroupRobert Moran

Robert Moran is a principal and member of the federal relations team in the Washington, D.C. office. Prior to joining Bose Public Affairs Group, Moran worked as the education policy director for the U.S. Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. In that role, he developed and oversaw the implementation of Chairman Lamar Alexander’s education policy agenda, coordinated policy goals with committee members on the Chairman’s behalf and served as lead negotiator on legislation and policy objectives. Moran has spent more than two decades working on a variety of federal K-12, higher education and career and technical education policy issues. He brings a deep knowledge of education policy and vast experience with the legislative and executive branch processes to the BPAG federal relations team.

Previously, Moran served as the director of federal relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, where he developed, implemented, and managed federal outreach efforts for an association of over 400 four-year public institutions of higher education. He also worked as a senior advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary under President George W. Bush at the U.S. Department of Education and served in high level roles in two lobbying firms. In addition, Moran worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for 12 years, crafting legislation for two Congressional offices. Moran is a graduate of Dickinson College with degrees in political science and mathematics.

Sara ParrishSara Parrish, President, CampusDoor

In her role, Sara is responsible for growth of our products. Sara’s areas of focus include business development activities, implementation of new programs on the software, managing client relationships, helping to advance the platforms and user experience, and oversight of finance activities. Around the office, Sara can frequently be found with a cup of tea in one hand and a stack of program guidelines or product requirements in the other. On that note, she likely uses more paper than anyone else in the office. In her down time, Sara can be found enjoying the outdoors with her husband and two young daughters. Prior to joining CampusDoor in 2016, Sara worked in various operational and portfolio management roles at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. Before starting in the student loan industry approximately 10 years ago, Sara worked in engineering business development and government services contracting. Sara earned her B.A. from Ursinus College and M.S. from Duquesne University.

Mike PierceMike Pierce, Executive Director, Student Borrower Protection Center

Mike Pierce is Executive Director and co-founder of the Student Borrower Protection Center. He is an attorney, advocate, and former senior regulator who joined SBPC after more than a decade fighting for student loan borrowers’ rights on Capitol Hill and at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For the past three years, Mike served as the founding Policy Director and Managing Counsel at SBPC. Before he left government service to start the SBPC, for seven years, Mike was the CFPB’s lead subject-matter expert on higher education and consumer protection. He advised all aspects of the Bureau’s work related to student lending, servicing, debt collection, and oversight of for-profit colleges. From 2015 to 2017, Mike also served as a Deputy Assistant Director of the Bureau, leading the day-to-day operations of the Bureau’s Office for Students and Young Consumers. Prior to joining the staff at CFPB, Mike served as a policy advisor to Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-03), where he assisted in the passage of legislation creating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and worked on the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Mike’s work on behalf of student loan borrowers has appeared in national print publications and broadcast media, including The New York TimesBBCNational Public RadioPolitico, and The Washington Post. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from George Washington University, and a JD from the Marshall-Wythe Law School at the College of William and Mary. As a law student, Mike worked in the Office of Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education.

Balaji (Raj) RajanBalaji (Raj) Rajan, CEO, IonTuition

Raj Rajan is the Founder of CoverPoint Partners, focused on providing support from capital to operations expertise in education-fintech. Experience includes 18 years as the CEO of Ceannate Corp and the founder of several companies in Federal education loan servicing and collections, collegiate mental health, and other SaaS platforms including government improper payment error reduction. Focus on high education ROI. And careers for our students.

Ian RasmussenIan Rasmussen, Managing Director, Co-Head ABS, Fitch Ratings

Senior Director in ABS focusing on: ABCP, consumer unsecured loans, credit cards, and student loans. Long standing relationships in asset management, with strong background in commercial paper, money markets and cash management. Also broad exposure to investment products including: closed-end funds, money market funds and local government investment pools and across many asset classes. Earned a B.S. in finance from Southern Utah University and an MBA in finance from Fordham University Graduate School of Business.



Continuing Education Credits (e.g. CLE, CPE, CME, etc.) may be available for iiBIG conference attendees. Upon request conference attendees will be provided with a “Certificate of Attendance” and a copy of the conference agenda, showing topics, length of sessions, and name(s) and professional affiliation(s) of presenter(s) for each session. Attendees wishing to apply for continuing education credits for attending this conference may submit this documentation to the relevant organization in his/her state when applying for such credits.

CE Credits
International Institute for Business Information & Growth LLC is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: