COO, SVP, Private Client Group
Maria Contreras-Sweet was sworn in as the 24th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and as a member of President Obama’s cabinet on April 7, 2014.
The SBA is charged with supporting America’s 28 million small businesses, which create a majority of U.S. jobs and employ half of our nation’s private-sector workforce. The Agency oversees the world’s largest seed fund and the largest middle market fund of funds, as well as a $120 billion loan portfolio. It also directs the world’s largest business counseling network and one-quarter of the federal procurement activity to small businesses.
As a business leader, California state cabinet official and entrepreneur, Contreras-Sweet’s achievements in bringing efficiencies and modernization to large scale organizations have earned her international acclaim. Her drive to bring SBA into the digital age, and expand into broader domestic and global markets, has yielded record results in lending and contracting for small businesses.
Contreras-Sweet started three businesses, including a community bank in downtown Los Angeles, focused on small and mid-size businesses where she served as its executive chairwoman for seven years.
Prior, Contreras-Sweet served as the California cabinet Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, where she oversaw 44,000 employees, a $14 billion budget, and 14 state departments, including the departments of Transportation, Highway Patrol, Housing, Financial Institutions, Corporations, Real Estate and the DMV. She also oversaw the creation of the Department of Managed Health Care and its Office of Patient Advocate. During the state’s energy crisis, she was asked to serve on the board of California’s electrical power grid, CA-ISO, and helped to stabilize the volatile energy market amid the state’s rolling blackouts.
At the age of 24, Contreras-Sweet served as a district manager for the U.S. Census Bureau, hiring and managing 700 employees. She was then recruited by Westinghouse and joined their commercial division’s 7-Up/RC Bottling Company, at the time the largest 7UP bottler in the world, where she later became an equity partner. During her tenure, they posted double the national average sales and she helped lead California’s legislative negotiations for the creation of the Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act.
Contreras-Sweet is a founding director of The California Endowment, a $3 billion foundation dedicated to improving the health status of Californians. She served on the Boards of Blue Cross of California and numerous nonprofit organizations.
Contreras-Sweet sees entrepreneurship as a force that can change lives and lift whole communities around the world. Entrepreneurship helps people realize dreams and brings dignity to those who embrace its challenges.
Kenji Yoshino is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU School of Law. He was educated at Harvard (B.A. 1991), Oxford (M.Sc. 1993 as a Rhodes Scholar), and Yale Law School (J.D. 1996). He taught at Yale Law School from 1998 to 2008, where he served as Deputy Dean (2005-6) and became the inaugural Guido Calabresi Professor in 2006. His fields are constitutional law, anti-discrimination law, and law and literature. He has received several distinctions for his teaching, most recently the Podell Distinguished Teaching Award in 2014.
Yoshino is the author of three books—Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial (2015); A Thousand Times More Fair: What Shakespeare’s Plays Teach Us About Justice (2011); and Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights (2006). Yoshino has published in major academic journals, including The Harvard Law Review, The Stanford Law Review, and The Yale Law Journal. He has also written for more popular forums, including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
Yoshino makes regular appearances on radio and television programs, such as NPR, CNN, PBS and MSNBC. In 2015, he became a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine’s podcast and column “The Ethicists.”
In 2011, he was elected to the Harvard Board of Overseers for a six-year term. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Talent Innovation, the Board of the Brennan Center for Justice, the External Advisory Panel for Diversity and Inclusion for the World Bank Group, the Global Advisory Board for Out Leadership, and the Inclusion External Advisory Council for Deloitte.
He lives in New York City with his husband and two children.
Salene Hitchcock-Gear is President of Prudential Individual Life Insurance, which includes Prudential Advisors. Prudential Individual Life Insurance is a business unit of Prudential that offers competitive solutions to meet the needs of consumers through the manufacturing and distribution of a diverse portfolio of life insurance products.
An insurance industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience, Salene joined Prudential in 2017 as Chief Operating Officer of Prudential Advisors, the company’s national sales organization with more than 3,000 financial professionals, advisors and fee-based financial planners who offer clients a broad range of financial solutions. She was appointed president of both businesses in 2018.
Previously, Salene served as President and CEO of Ameritas Investment Corp. and President and CEO of Acacia Life Insurance Company.
Salene represents Prudential as a director on the Women Presidents’ Organization Advisory Board. She also serves on the board of trustees of the American College of Financial Services.
Salene has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and FINRA Series 7 and 24 securities licenses. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association.
Kate Healy is Managing Director of Generation Next at TD Ameritrade Institutional. In this role, she oversees TD Ameritrade Institutional’s industry-leading NextGen initiatives, including scholarships, grants, a career exchange and an internship network, all designed to help registered investment advisor (RIA) firms bring younger and more diverse talent into the business.
Kate joined TD Ameritrade Institutional in 2008, most recently serving as Managing Director of Marketing responsible for the development of marketing strategies and the execution of programs to help increase awareness and deepen relationships with nearly 5,000 independent RIAs who custody with TD Ameritrade Institutional. She oversaw the growth of the TD Ameritrade Institutional brand, including the division’s website, social media, acquisition and advertising efforts. Additionally, she was TD Ameritrade’s 2014 Impact Award winner for Diversity and Inclusiveness. Kate has spent more than 20 years in a variety of roles supporting the program development and marketing of financial and estate planning services in the financial planning industry.
She is a trustee for the Foundation for Financial Planning, a member of the Invest in Others board, is a founding member of the Center for Financial Planning Women’s Initiative (WIN) Council, and sits on the Center for Financial Planning’s Advisory Council. As an advocate for the industry, she was named to InvestmentNews’ inaugural “Women to Watch” in 2015, and to Investment Advisor magazine’s annual list of the 25 most influential people in the industry. Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Rutgers College and has completed the Securities Industry Institute program, sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) at the Wharton School of Business.
Craig Young is the Merrill Lynch Market Executive of the Westchester-Greenwich Market. The market includes offices located in Westchester County and Southern CT. Craig is also a member of the Bank of America Black Executive Leadership Council, Chairman of the Merrill Lynch African American Leadership Council, and a member of the Merrill Lynch Market Executive Strategy Council.
Craig started his career as a financial advisor with Smith Barney. Since then, he has held a number of leadership positions across wealth management in Texas and California. Craig joined Merrill Lynch in 2015 as the Associate Market Executive for the Private Banking & Investment Group in Los Angeles, CA. Most recently, Craig was the Market Executive for the Pasadena Market in California.
Young earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, where he was a running back for the Mustangs from 1996 to 1999. He finished as the school’s all-time leading rusher and was inducted into the Cal Poly Athletic Hall of Fame in September 2017 for his accomplishments. Craig was also an assistant football coach/offensive coordinator at Cal Poly University, Princeton University, and California State University, Sacramento.
Craig and his wife Lucy enjoy being involved in the arts and culture of the city, and love spending time with their two sons, Jackson and Hampton.
Damian Rivera serves as ALPFA’s CEO since September 2018. Prior to ALPFA, Damian was a Managing Director in Accenture’s Resources Utilities practice for 21 years where he started his career as a coder in their Technology Practice.
Most recently, Damian focused on Customer Care Transformation work for utilities including helping clients with strategically pivoting to digital capabilities as they look to improve customer engagement. Damian has performed Digital Transformation Strategy and Implementation, Customer Information System builds, Utility Customer Analytics as well as Customer Care operations work. Through these engagements he worked on all project phases including Strategy Development, System Implementation, Business Process Definition as well as Operations.
Damian holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from Rutgers University – College of Engineering and MBA from Columbia University specializing in Social Entrepreneurship.
Damian’s focus on social entrepreneurship would come as no surprise to people who know him. In addition to his client roles he served as Accenture’s Managing Director responsible for North American Hispanic American Employee Resource Group from 2011 – 2017. In this role he led the strategic direction of 16 ERG’s across the US engaging in internal career progression as well as local market activities focused on improving the community in which the ERG is based. Damian also served as the Office Diversity Advocate for Metro New York, which focuses on improving employee engagement across all of Accenture’s Metro New York based resources. Damian also serves on the National Board of Directors of Per Scholas, whose mission is to “Break the cycle of poverty by providing technology education, access, training and job placement services for people in underserved communities”. Also, over the past year Damian had been volunteering as the Chief Digital Officer for ALPFA.
In 2018, Damian was listed in Latino Leaders Magazine, as a member of their Top 101 Most Influential Latinos list.
In addition to his non-profit and diversity work, Damian is an angel investor having invested in tech start-ups with a social purpose mission.
Damian is married to his high school sweetheart Idanis, and has 2 children, Damian Francisco, 17, and Ilanis, 15. When not working, Damian enjoys watching his son run track, and watching his daughter’s artistic talents in photography. Damian also enjoys triathlons, having completed the NYC Triathlon 10 years in a row, and completed a charity bike ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls.
Mr. Mark C. Tibergien is Chief Executive Officer of Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon company. He is also a Managing Director for Pershing. In addition, he was named to BNY Mellon’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council to the CEO. Prior to joining Pershing in 2007, he was a principal at the accounting and consulting firm, Moss Adams LLP, where he was partner-in-charge of the Business Consulting group, chairman of the Financial Services Industry group and partner-in-charge of the Business Valuation group. Previously, he was president of a nationally recognized bank and business training and consulting firm, a principal in an investment management and business valuation firm, a writer for a financial trade magazine and a general assignment newspaper and radio reporter. He has worked with public and private companies on matters related to business management, transition planning and strategy formulation since 1976. This includes hundreds of independent registered investment advisors, broker-dealers, investment managers, insurance companies and other financial services organizations in the United States, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and Canada. In a 2017 Investment Advisor survey, he was named The Most Influential Person in Financial Services, with almost half of respondents voting for him. For his contributions to the industry, in 2016 he was named to the 2016 InvestmentNews’ Icons & Innovators list which recognizes those who have shaped and transformed the financial advice profession. In 2015, Private Asset Management magazine honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication, commitment and achievements in the industry. He has been recognized 14 times by, Investment Advisor (IA) magazine as one of the “25 Most Influential People” in the financial services industry and, in 2016, IA ranked him as number one in the “Top 7 Most Honored People in IA’s 25 History.” He received the 2015 Insiders Forum Leadership Award, and was named to the 2012 InvestmentNews “The Power 20” list. For eight consecutive years, Accounting Today recognized him as one of the “100 Most Influential” people in the accounting profession. He is the author of four books published by Bloomberg Press (John Wiley & Sons), Practice Made Perfect, How to Value, Buy or Sell a Financial Advisory Practice, Practice Made (More) Perfect and the latest, The Enduring Advisory Firm, co-authored with Kim Dellarocca, Global Head of Marketing for Asset Servicing and Technology at BNY Mellon. He has also been a regular columnist for Investment Advisor magazine and monthly contributor to ThinkAdvisor.com on management issues since 2005. He has previously served in a variety of community and industry organizations including the Rotary Club of Seattle, Travelers Aid Society, the Foundation for Financial Planning, the International Association for Financial Planning and the SIFMA Foundation. Most recently, he was named to the Advisory Council for the Center for Financial Planning whose mission is to promote diversity in the advisory profession.
Amy Philbrook is the head of diversity and inclusion for Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and other financial products and services to more than 26 million individuals, institutions and financial intermediaries.
Ms. Philbrook assumed her current position in 2017 and leads the effort to ensure that Fidelity is a workplace and service provider where everyone can fully be themselves. In her role, she is responsible for creating and attracting a more a diverse workforce, tapping into the power of our differences to develop and retain talent, creating a culture of inclusion, and showcasing Fidelity’s reputation and brand as an inclusive employer and service provider.
Ms. Philbrook joined Fidelity in 1995 and has held a variety of positions throughout the firm, including in human resources, compliance, retirement investment services, marketing and sales, and quality assurance and risk management. Prior to joining Fidelity, she worked in human resources for Fish & Richardson P.C., an intellectual property and litigation firm.
Ms. Philbrook received a bachelor of science in political science and government from Northeastern University. She also holds the FINRA Principal Series 7 and 24 licenses.
Sam Palmer is a Managing Director and the Head of Business Development and Strategy for Chase Wealth Management (CWM). In his current role he is responsible for identifying and executing opportunities to drive growth, performance, and health of CWM. He is the Chair of CWM’s Diversity and Inclusion Programs which aim to drive diverse thought, experience, and equitable distribution of opportunity among CWM advisors. He is also managing the direct-to-consumer wealth management business.
Prior to JP Morgan, Sam spent 10 years at McKinsey and Company where he advised executives of retail banks and wealth management firms on a number of topics ranging from overall strategy, to driving revenue growth, to value proposition design, working with leading firms across the US and Europe.
Sam enjoys kitesurfing, skiing, and sailing, and is an avid musician. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Economics.
Ileana Musa is the Co-Head of International Wealth Management and the Head of International Banking & Lending. In this role she leads the segment and strategy that focuses on Morgan Stanley’s International Client Advisors and international clients to ensure they have access to strategic solutions, services and thought leadership to address both sides of a client’s balance sheet. Ileana is a member of Morgan Stanley’s WM Management Committee, Latin America Management Committee, International Wealth Management Executive Committee, Morgan Stanley Private Bank, National Association Management Committee, Private Banking Group Executive Committee and the Private Banking Group Bank Leadership Committee.
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley she was the Global Client Segment and Strategy executive for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. In this capacity, Ileana focused on international financial advisors to ensure the delivery of a consistent, goals-based wealth management experience for international high-net-worth and ultra-high-net worth clients. Prior to this role, Ileana was head of International Credit & Banking within Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management (GWIM) Banking group. In this role, she led the teams that supported and delivered integrated liquidity, cash management and lending solutions and services to financial advisors and high-net-worth clients in Latin America, Asia and Europe.
Ileana held several leadership roles in the domestic, international and affluent banking platforms at Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, where she lent her talent in growing the cross-border wealth management business.
Ileana received her BBA degree, with a concentration in finance, from the University of Miami and an M.B.A. degree in finance from Florida International University. Ileana is fluent in Spanish, is FINRA registered and is Six-Sigma Greenbelt certified.
Ileana sits on the Corporate Advisory Board of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), and she leads Women of ALPFA, a strategic initiative focused on advancing Latinas. Ileana serves on the Advisory Board of the Florida International University Honors College as well as the Board of the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami.
Ileana was recognized as one of the 2019 MAKERS at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. She received the Latino Justice 2019 Latina Trailblazer Award honoring her professional and personal achievements in opening doors and new opportunities for other Latinas.
For three years in a row Ileana was recognized as one of ALPFA’s Top 50 Most Powerful Latinas in corporate America, featured in Fortune magazine in 2017-2018. In 2016 Ileana was awarded the 2015 Top 10 Corporate Executives of the Year by Latina Style magazine.
Ronald J. Adams is the Head of Field Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at Northwestern Mutual where he leads a team of diversity practitioners responsible for the creation and execution of D&I strategies for the organization’s career distribution system. In this role, Ron co-leads the Northwestern Mutual D&I Corporate Committee and serves on the Field Experience Talent Management Leadership Team focused on developing and delivering core components of the overall field talent strategy to ensure the industry-leading Northwestern Mutual career distribution system is strong and vibrant.
Ron joined Northwestern Mutual in January 2015 with 26 years of military experience where he held various leadership roles including the Wisconsin National Guard’s Diversity Officer, Equal Employment Manager, Human Resources Branch Chief, Operations Officer, Public Affairs Officer, and Commander of a logistics company and a public affairs detachment, respectively. Ron continues his 31-year military career as a Coach, Observer, Trainer (OC/T) in the Army Reserves.
Ron is a founding board member and immediate past president of the Wisconsin Veterans Network (VetsNet) – a nonprofit organization serving veterans and their families throughout WI. He is a member of the national diversity committee for the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU). He serves as a member of the advisory committee and a young adult mentor for the MKE Fellows program creating a pipeline of African-American male college graduates ready to return to Wisconsin to excel in their careers, build wealth, and become engaged leaders. Ron is an executive coach for mid-level cross-sector leaders enrolled in The African American Leadership Program (AALP) in partnership with The African American Leadership Alliance of Milwaukee and Cardinal Stritch University.
Ron is a recipient of the Army’s General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, the NAACP Roy Wilkins Renown National Service Award, a member of the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara, and numerous military awards and decorations. He is a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the National Guard Officers Association. He is the past president of the board for the Greater Madison Federal Agency Association and past vice president of the board for the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative (MHVI). Ronald holds Master of Arts in Strategic Communications and Leadership (MASCL) from Seton Hall University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management while serving in the military from Phoenix University. Ron is a Results Certified Coach, through the NeuroLeadership Institute.
Ron and his wife, Angela, reside in Milwaukee, WI and they have one son and three daughters. He is originally from Brooklyn, NY where his enthusiasm for sports, music and culture began.
Whether it’s numbers, people or fine-tuning a large organization, Kara Underwood has always loved puzzling out all the pieces and how they fit together as a whole.
Maybe it started with her love of Nancy Drew mysteries growing up. “I aspired to be an FBI agent,” she recalls. Instead, Underwood, a math major at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, chanced across a pamphlet for a financial services firm at the career center one day and, impressed by the variety of opportunities, applied for and got a position with Merrill Lynch’s Private Client Development Program.
Math and mysteries notwithstanding, Underwood quickly discovered that she had a good read on people, their motivations and strengths and how to help them develop their potential. It’s a skillset she has plied to great advantage at Morgan Stanley, whether it’s been developing and implementing a diversity strategy for the Financial Advisor ranks in Wealth Management or her current role as head of Field Talent Management.
Named a “Woman to Watch” by Investment News, Underwood says there’s no secret to what makes her good at her job. “There is a misconception that finance is all about the numbers. It’s really a relationship business” she says. A mother of two who earned her MBA from NYU by attending night classes while working fulltime, Underwood says she understands the struggle today to achieve more and just how hard it can be.
Every day, no matter how busy she is, she carves out time to take someone to lunch. “It’s a way for me to build relationships with key partners or pay it forward by investing in our talent coming up through the ranks. If someone reaches out to me, I’m going to help. I love coaching people and helping them to find the right path to contribute and excel.”
All of those connections across the organization come in handy. When Underwood assumed leadership of the Wealth Management diversity effort, the first thing she did was to quadruple the size of her team with the right people providing her with insights. That also allowed her to have “boots on the ground in our branches because driving change from headquarters wasn’t going to move the needle,” she says.
Underwood also helped cultivate more networking groups within the firm, including the Forum for Women, Multicultural and LGBT Financial Advisors, noting that the business case for diversity has never been stronger. “Wealth in America is diversifying, and it’s important that our financial advisory force reflects the communities we serve and the communities we aspire to serve. Clients demand it now.”
In her current role, Underwood’s job is to make sure that Wealth Management has the best and the brightest branch managers among its ranks. “Our branch managers are leaders of their branch and community. It’s a critically important role and we take a great amount of care in selecting and developing our management team.”
Underwood sees the workforce as a giant puzzle of different hues and shapes that come together to form a cohesive whole. “You’re exploring points of view that might not have come up otherwise. You check one another and avoid group-think,” she says. “Having more diversity of experience, gender, race and ethnicity helps large organizations like Morgan Stanley make smarter decisions. I love being a part of that.”
For over 30 years, Ms. Bohannon has delivered strategic leadership and business consultation solutions that have helped move people and organizations toward their desired performance results.
In her current position, Ms. Bohannon brings keen analysis and outcome-driven expertise on issues related to optimizing the contribution of a global workforce and advancing women worldwide. Her portfolio of client organizations served includes a broad range of U.S. and global industries and businesses, including building and consumer products, financial services, food and beverage, healthcare, manufacturing and retail, pharmaceutical, technology and communication, and transportation.
Ms. Bohannon’s consulting, facilitation, and executive coaching services have spanned corporate structure, from C-level executives to entry-level individual contributors.
Prior to her engagement at Korn Ferry, Ms. Bohannon served as principal at Global Novations, senior vice president of Novations Group, and as partner and one of the business architects of J. Howard & Associates.
Ms. Bohannon is a highly-sought, conference speaker, panel moderator, seminar facilitator, and thought driver on topics related to development, inclusion, and diversity. Whether engaging an industry audience or a global women’s summit, Ms. Bohannon delivers high energy, practical tools, and a transformative message: “Lead life by design, not by default.” Her many white papers and articles also emphasize this theme and expand her insights on achieving personal and business success.
Beyond Korn Ferry, Ms. Bohannon sits on the national boards of Community Builders and Accelerated College Experiences (ACE), and she serves on the Human Resources Committee of Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.
Elissa Sangster serves as CEO of Forté and brings to the role extensive knowledge of issues affecting women’s abilities to seek, prepare for and attain business leadership positions, drawn from her prior experience as Assistant Dean and Director of the MBA Program at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. There she oversaw all activities related to the full-time McCombs MBA program including marketing, admissions, student services, and alumni relations. Before McCombs, Elissa was Assistant Director of the MBA Program at Texas A&M University’s Mays School of Business. Elissa currently serves as Treasurer and Board Member for the Thirty Percent Coalition. She also sits on the Women’s Initiative Council of the CFP Board (Certified Financial Planning Board). She is past Chair of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) Annual Industry Conference and formerly served as chair of MBA Student Services Professionals (MBA SSP). Elissa sits on the board of Forté as an ex-officio member. She enjoys reading, running, cooking, and Aggie football. She lives in San Antonio with her husband, Jeremy, and their daughter, Anna Leigh. Elissa received her MBA and her B.A. in English from Texas A&M University.
Dr. Chia-Li Chien is an assistant professor and director of the financial planning program in the School of Management at California Lutheran University, a Hispanic-Serving Institution where about one-third of students are Latino. She holds a doctorate in financial and retirement planning and is a Certified Financial Planner and Project Management Professional. Before her academic career, she held several senior management positions in Fortune 500 companies including Diageo, ABB, CIGNA and RSA Insurance Group. She is a succession program director at Value Growth Institute and runs a succession consulting practice dedicated to helping female business owners increase the equity value of their firms. She wrote two award-winning books, “Show Me the Money” (2010) and “Work Toward Rewards” (2012). Palgrave MacMillan (Springer Nature) is planning to release her next peer-reviewed research book, “Enhancing Retirement Success Rates in the United States: Leveraging Reverse Mortgages, Delaying Social Security, and Exploring Continuous Work,” in spring 2020. She frequently speaks at local and national conferences. She hosts succession blog at valuegrowthinstitute.com, leads pro bono projects. Dr. Chien is a national board director of Women in Insurance & Financial Services Association (WIFS).
Crystal Hardie Langston is a principal and currently serves as chief diversity officer for Vanguard.
Prior to this role, Ms. Langston was chief learning officer and head of Vanguard’s specialty rotational programs.
Before her time in HR, Ms. Langston was head of Vanguard’s Institutional Sales Small Market Department where she had responsibility for Vanguard Retirement Plan Access™, a comprehensive suite of 401(k) retirement plan services for small businesses.
Her previous Vanguard roles include serving as a leader in the Corporate Strategy organization, leading the relationship management team and internal sales organization in Vanguard Financial Advisor Services™, and serving as chief of staff for the Institutional division. Ms. Langston started her Vanguard career as a relationship manager. Before Vanguard, she was an analyst with Banc of America Securities’ debt capital markets department.
Ms. Langston is a cofounder of the Vanguard Black Professional Network. She is a former board chair for Urban Tree Connection, an organization focused on community-based urban greening in Philadelphia.
Ms. Langston earned a B.S. from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Leslie Y. Tabor is a Managing Director with the Charles Schwab Advisor Services organization where she oversees the strategic direction of key programs for delivering value and high impact client experience for advisors who custody with Schwab, including the Executive Leadership Program, RIA Talent Advantage Program, RIA Intern Program, and Cybersecurity Resource Program.
Through the content, tools and action-oriented resources developed by her team these programs have provided advisors with the insights and capabilities for evolving and growing their firms – cultivating next generation leaders, attracting diverse talent and strengthening awareness of the financial planning profession across dozens of colleges and universities throughout the country.
Leslie is highly passionate about diversity at Schwab and across the financial services industry. She currently sits on the CFP Board’s Diversity Advisory Group, providing guidance and expertise in the development of diversity and inclusion initiatives that will increase the racial and ethnic diversity within the financial planning profession. She also serves as the co-chair for the San Francisco Women’s Interactive Network at Schwab (WINS) and the business advisor for all Charles Schwab San Francisco employee resource groups. She believes in the value that diversity brings to the workplace, is enthusiastic about helping people reach their leadership potential and passionate about bringing important issues to the forefront. Leslie also works with numerous organizations including the Professional Business Women of California (PBWC), Financial Women of San Francisco, and the CFP Board to support furthering the message on the value of diversity.
Leslie earned her Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Phoenix. She’s been recognized as one of the Top 100 Filipina Women in 2015 by the Filipina Women’s Network and was a recipient of the 2016 Industry Leader award by the Professional Business Women of California for her work in the area of diversity and inclusion. She is a Bay Area native and an avid San Francisco Forty-Niners, Giants and Golden State Warriors fan. She enjoys traveling with her family and dancing around the house with her 4-year old daughter.
Cheryl Nash is President for Investment Services at Fiserv, the leading global provider of financial services technology solutions. Cheryl is responsible for driving the strategic vision and direction of the industry leading technology solutions offered by Fiserv, which serve the wealth management industry. Cheryl has over 25 years of experience working in the wealth management industry and has been instrumental in the development of multiple strategy portfolios, more commonly known today as unified managed accounts (UMAs). \nIn her current position, Cheryl is now the driving force behind the Investment Services Single Platform strategy, which comprises many initiatives that will result in: an integrated front-middle-back wealth management solution; a single managed-account platform; an aggregated view of client assets and liabilities to support goals-based wealth management; and a heightened focus on supporting the financial advisor with a digital advice offering to complement the service they deliver, increase their effectiveness, improve the investor experience and grow assets under management. Cheryl played significant roles in the acquisitions of Upstream Technologies and AdviceAmerica, providing Fiserv clients with an integrated trading environment and financial advice and planning technology, respectively. Cheryl is a recipient of the Money Management Institute’s (MMI) prestigious Pioneer Award for contributions, which embody MMI’s mission to serve as an advocate and catalyst for growth in the managed accounts and wealth management industry. Cheryl is on the Board of Directors for the AdviceAmerica business at Fiserv. Cheryl sits on the MMI Leadership Advisory Council and is on the Board of Trustees for the MMI Gateway to Leadership Diversity program.
Michelle Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column The Color of Money, which appears in The Washington Post on Wednesdays and Sundays. Her award-winning column is syndicated by The Washington Post Writers Group and is carried in dozens of newspapers nationwide. She has written three personal finance books, including her latest, “The 21-Day Financial Fast: Your Path to Financial Peace and Freedom.” Singletary was the financial expert for “The Revolution,” a daytime program on ABC. For two years, she was host of her own national television program, “Singletary Says,” on TV One. She is a frequent contributor to various NPR programs and has appeared on national talk shows and television networks, including “Oprah,” NBC’s “Today,” “The Early Show on CBS” and CNN.
In her spare time, Singletary is the director of a ministry she founded at her church, in which women and men volunteer to mentor others who are having financial challenges. As part of this ministry, she and her husband also volunteer to teach financial literacy to prison inmates. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park. She has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins University, where she earned a master’s degree in business and management.
Cheryl D. Creuzot, a 35-year industry veteran, is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Wealth Development Strategies, LLC, a position she has held since 2001. Wealth Development Strategies, one of Houston’s oldest comprehensive financial planning firms, offers contemporary, personalized solutions for individuals and business professionals who wish to protect, grow and efficiently distribute their wealth. The boutique firm consists of 30 plus associates who combine extensive financial experience and expertise to affect personalized client solutions. Ms. Creuzot carries the same spirit of service delivery to her numerous civic and charitable endeavors. She is currently a Director of The Greater Houston Partnership. She was also recently appointed as Chair to The University Of Houston Board Of Visitors, and serves as Vice Chair of the University of Houston Foundation (Investment Committee). Ms. Creuzot serves on the Board of Visitors of the MD Anderson Cancer Center (Government Relations Committee), as well as the board of the Frenchy’s Companies, a 45-year-old family owned restaurant and food processing organization. Ms. Creuzot is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and a member of the Tri-City Chapter of Women Corporate Directors.
Robert Raben, and the seventy or so people who have joined him in the unique public policy firm he created in 2002, works to drive public policy in a humane and sensible direction; to bring diversity and equity to the boardrooms and think tanks and corporations of America; to create a fair judiciary and to influence legislation that will broaden civil rights, reform our criminal justice system, and improve education for all our children.
Nearly 30 years of professional experience as an attorney, senior Hill staffer, and Assistant Attorney General have given Robert a nuanced understanding of both the legal subtleties and the political realities of the issues he handles. In addition, he brings an aggressively bipartisan approach to the firm, built during a highly respected legislative career that began on Representative Barney Frank’s staff and concluded with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde’s endorsement of his Justice Department appointment.
Robert served as counsel to Congressman Barney Frank, Democratic counsel for two Subcommittees of the House Judiciary Committee; first on the Constitution, then on the Courts and Intellectual Property.
In 1999, Robert’s reputation and effectiveness caught the attention of the White House, earning him an appointment as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and, subsequently, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs. After a unanimous confirmation vote by a Republican-controlled Senate, Robert was charged with overseeing Attorney General Janet Reno’s legislative initiatives and handling extensive Congressional oversight of the department.
Since 2002 he has run The Raben Group. Robert serves on the Boards of The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the Unidos Action Fund, and former President Barack Obama’s My Brothers’ Keeper Alliance. Past Board Service includes the American Constitution Society, Alliance for Justice, and the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project
He is a serial NGO entrepreneur, having formed the Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary, the Friends of the Museum of the American Latino, Green 2.0, Committee for a Fair Judiciary, the March on Washington Film Festival, and the Pasos Graduation ceremony for Latino law students.
Robert is a native of Miami, and a graduate of the Wharton School and the New York University Law School.
Luis focuses on helping people build a better financial future. Luis is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and is enrolled to practice before the IRS. This diverse industry knowledge allows him to best serve his clients by understanding how one financial decision affects the other, allowing him to better guide them toward achieving their goals. Luis has been quoted in articles published in NBC News, Yahoo Finance, Investopedia, Business Insider, The Daily News, and other online publications. He’s also one of the few Spanish speaking CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals in the country. Although he lives in the Las Vegas area, he works with clients all across the country using video conferencing . When not helping a client, volunteering, or hosting an event, you can find Luis eating at one of his favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Los Angeles or Las Vegas.
Lauryn Williams, CFP® is a 4-time Olympian, 3-time Olympic medalist and the first American woman to medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. While pursuing professional sports Lauryn interacted with not one but two financial advisors that didn’t provide the services she needed. She asked friends what they were doing about their finances and the answers were vague and unsettling. Constantly looking for ways to make a difference in the lives of others she decided to put her Finance degree and MBA to use to fill the gap for young professionals. Eager to learn everything she then pursued the Certified Financial Planner™ certification. Her company, Worth Winning, offers virtual services to help young professionals get the answers to the financial question that matter most to them. Whether that is creating a budget, figuring out a plan for paying off student loans, setting goals for savings or understanding your 401(k) Worth Winning is ready to help with all things personal finance.
John leads Wilmington Trust’s business development initiatives in the minority business owner segment. With deep experience in fiduciary analysis, reporting, and risk management, he also advises the senior fiduciary leadership team, leading innovative projects designed to enhance the delivery of fiduciary services across the organization.
John joined M&T Bank in 1986, which acquired Wilmington Trust in 2011. He has more than three decades of experience in the wealth management industry. He holds an MBA from Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bucknell University. He is a graduate of the Central Atlantic School of Trust and has attained the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation. John also holds the FINRA Series 24, 7, & 66 Securities licenses and the Pennsylvania Life, Accident, and Health Insurance license.
He is recognized as a strong community advocate and is on the board of the McCormick Family Foundation, Kline Foundation, Harristown Development Corporation, and the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg. He is also the vice chair of the 2019 United Way Campaign of the Capital Region in Pennsylvania.