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The mission of the Women’s Finance Exchange is to develop professional women working in financial areas by providing networking and learning opportunities in a relationship-driven environment.

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Meet the Member: Jillian Nel
Welcome to our latest installment in our "Meet the Member" series. This month meet Jillian Nel, our newest member! 

Meet the Member: Margaret Ceconi

Welcome to WFE's inaugural news series where we will feature a member each month. This month meet Margaret Ceconi, founder of the WFE!

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Board of Directors
Lisa Chandler, President 

Lisa Chandler is a highly skilled researcher with a powerful knowledge of accounting and tax law. Lisa's career has spanned a wide range of roles and industries from mid-level and Big 4 accounting to startup and international companies. Intellectual and precise, Lisa has a natural ability to see the big picture and craft and weigh innovative solutions. Her clients include distributors, manufacturers, retailers, health care companies, software companies, real estate and professional services.

From poring over company minutes to combing through audit binders and researching complex tax issues, Lisa leaves no stone unturned in pursuit of her goals. She believes in keeping in touch with her clients throughout her assignments and likes nothing more than tackling their challenges.
Lisa joined Weinstein Spira in 2001 and was made a Shareholder in 2007. She and her husband, David, love to travel to tropical places, especially Costa Rica. They share their lives and living room couch with BB. Lisa is a Certified Public Accountant. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

To contact Lisa, email her at lc@weinsteinspira.com.

Faith Allen, President - Elect

Faith Allen is Senior Vice President of corporate and commercial relationships with Bank of Texas, providing financing for Houston area commercial, industrial, and energy service businesses. A lifelong Houston resident, Allen has more than 30 years of banking experience, including officer and manager roles with other banks in the Houston market. She most recently served as senior vice president and mid-corporate relationship manager for the Houston office of Citibank and earlier served 16 years at JP Morgan Chase in middle market banking.

She earned a BBA degree in finance from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from the University of Houston Bauer College of Business. She is actively involved in the community, serving as a member of Victory Houston, a branch of the American Cancer Society, on the finance committee and on the advisory board for The Woods Project, Inc., which has a mission to create wilderness education and exploration experiences for disadvantaged students.

To contact Faith, email her at fallen@bankoftexas.com.

Rzan Swaidan, Communications

Rzan Swaidan is a Sr. Business Analyst for American International Group (AIG), a leading insurance organization serving customers in more than 100 countries. In this role, Rzan is responsible for managing various high-profile initiatives to completion and optimizing processes in the Actuarial and Finance Department. Rzan began her career with AIG as a Corporate Communications Intern in 2011. She was then accepted into a highly competitive two year Analyst Rotation program where she spent 3-6 months in key functional departments of AIG's life insurance business.

Rzan earned her undergraduate degree in Marketing from University of Houston and is currently pursuing an MBA from Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business. When she is not at work or school, Rzan enjoys exercising, traveling to new places, and sampling cuisines from around the world. 

To contact Rzan, email her at rzan.swaidan@aig.com.

Latrice Tubbs, Membership

Latrice is a Corporate Relationship Manager, Vice President for BBVA Compass in their Houston Middle Market Specialty group. Latrice is responsible for identifying short and long-term financial solutions in the healthcare industry with revenues of $50 million to $2 billion. After receiving dual honors degrees in Political Science and Economics from Houston's Baptist University, Latrice began her professional career at Amegy Bank where she spent over 2 years serving consumer clients with both depository and lending needs. After which, Latrice moved to BBVA to assist the retail division with developing a sales platform. Six months later, Latrice received an opportunity to move into the commercial underwriting world. She served in this capacity for over 5 years, becoming the youngest commercial underwriting manager in the then BBVA footprint in 2008. During this time, Latrice received the distinct opportunity to work on special commercial wide projects, including the unique opportunity to play an integral role in establishing permanent Underwriting structure for the company's commercial markets footprint wide. Thereafter, Latrice was promoted to BBVA's Large Middle Market team to work with a senior lender to study the healthcare industry. After 2 years of traveling around the country to visit with clients in the healthcare space, Latrice was placed in the Houston's Commercial Specialty team in 2013. Today, Latrice has more than 10 years of professional financial banking experience, more than 9 years are with her current employer BBVA Compass where she has been a recipient 5 consecutive years of the company's highest recognition of Top Talent.

Latrice's current professional board and civic volunteer involvement includes serving as the Programming Chair for f.r.e.s.h. Houston Foodbank, Community Relations Chair for the 2016 Men's Final Four Board and as a NDBA Houston Board member. She is also an alumni of Leadership Houston XXIII. 

To contact Latrice, email her at latrice.tubbs@bbva.com.

Susan Jistel Spillios, At Large

Leveraging her knowledge of the Houston professional services market, Susan's current focus is on the Houston Consulting Practice and the growth of the Houston office through business development leadership. Susan initially joined SolomonEdwards (SEG) in early 2012 as a Principal in the firm's National Banking and Financial Services practice and has led numerous initiatives upon promotion to Partner in January 2013. These include the establishment of a National Energy Practice based in Houston while co-managing the Houston Consulting Practice as well as the creation of a National Recruitment Office during a period of rapid firm growth.

Susan's career began at Deloitte where she served as an auditor and was designated as a firm-wide energy specialist. She has spent the bulk of her career in professional service organizations, making her adept at managing and servicing clients on any size engagement within multiple industries. Susan, an honors graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with an accounting degree, is also a CPA and currently sits on the board of the Texas Society of CPAs and holds leadership roles in the Houston Society of CPAs. She is an active member of numerous professional and community service organizations. Her husband, Nick, and Susan, both native Houstonians, are busy raising their teenage daughter, Emma, and precious rescue pup, Jill.

To contact Susan email her at sspillios@solomonedwards.com

Melissa Salmeron, At Large - Programs Implementation

Melissa Salmeron is a Vice President and Cash Management Sales Officer with Woodforest National Bank; assisting Middle Market clients by developing strategies and maximizing their working capital. Melissa has earned the Certified Treasury Professional designation and has more than thirteen years of experience in the banking industry.

Prior to joining Woodforest, Melissa was a Treasury Sales Advisor at Capital One N.A. in the New Orleans market and at Regions Bank in the Houston Market. Melissa brings her knowledge and experience and has worked with clients across multiple industries including: manufacturing and distributing, construction, healthcare and professional services.

Melissa earned her Bachelors of Science with dual majors of Marketing and Management from the University of New Orleans. In addition to her involvement on the Women's Finance Exchange, Melissa is on the UT Health School of Nursing Advisory Board. She is also a fellow with the Center for Houston's Future, a collaborative leadership program seeking to address some of the toughest problems in the Houston MSA. Melissa enjoys spending her free time with her husband and two children and is an avid reader and volunteer with her church.

To contact Melissa Salmeron, email her at msalmeron@woodforest.com .

Kristy Nagel, Programs

Kristy joined BancorpSouth Insurance Services, formerly GEM Insurance, in 2012. Prior to joining BancorpSouth she worked at Guaranty Insurance as a commercial account manager and also John L. Wortham as a commercial and contract surety bond technician. Kristy's responsibilities as a Sales Executive include cultivating relationships with new and prospective clients, problem solving and counseling customers so they are able to make educated and informed decisions regarding their insurance program, and bridging the gap between insureds and the carriers who insure them.

Kristy is a member of the H-Town Weightlifting Team, and has served 5 years on the Gatekeepers Committee for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. She is a current board member of the Houston Delta Zeta Alumnae Chapter and is the Delta Zeta delegate for the Houston Area Panhellenic Association. Kristy has been slated to serve on the board for HAPA next year. Kristy is an avid dog lover and currently lives in Houston with her two very spoiled dogs AllyBoy and BoogieMan.

To contact Kristy, email her at kristy.nagel@bxsi.com

Cindy Overton, Special Events

Cindy Overton founded Convergence Advisors International, a corporate responsibility consulting firm in Houston. The firm supports companies in their efforts to create sustainable business strategies and manage the business risk associated with social investment.

Her background includes over 20 years of management, strategy development and program implementation in the consulting and corporate sectors. She has worked throughout the developed world, and in Russia, China, Brazil, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Ghana and Equatorial Guinea.

Prior to founding Convergence Advisors International, Cindy led Arthur D. Little’s Houston Global Environmental practice where whe worked with energy majors Chevron, Exxon & Shell; National Oil Companies including Petrobras, Nigerian National Petroleum & others; and various up, down and midstream energy clients to permit new oil & gas projects in developing countries & has been actively involved in leading strategy & process change assignments. In addition she developed & implemented clients’ social investment strategies to meet governmental requirements.

To contact Cindy, email her at coverton@convergenceadvisors.com.

Laurie-Leigh White, Treasurer

Laurie-Leigh White is a Senior Vice President with The BVA Group LLC. As a Senior Vice President, Mrs. White is responsible for overseeing the execution of a variety of valuation engagements. Laurie-Leigh has been involved in over a hundred valuation projects for a wide variety of purposes, including financial reporting, employee stock ownership plans, valuations for tax purposes, transaction advisory, and fairness opinions. Additionally, she has been involved in litigation consulting assignments related to economic damages, financials forensics, and valuation matters.

Laurie-Leigh received a Master of Science in Accounting, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Southern Methodist University, where she graduated with highest honors. She is a Certified Public Accountant who holds the designation of Accredited in Business Valuation, and is an Accredited Senior Appraiser of the American Society of Appraisers. Laurie-Leigh is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants. In 2007, She was awarded the Accounting Excellence Award by the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

To contact Laurie-Leigh, email her at lwhite@bvagroup.com.

Carol Coale, Sponsorship

Carol Coale is a Managing Director at Dennard▪Lascar Associates LLC (DLA), an investor relations consulting firm, where she oversees the firm's energy research and advisory practice. She works with approximately a dozen companies, about one-third of DLA's customer client base, ranging from micro-cap and start-ups to mid- and large-cap corporations offering financial, communications and investor relations consulting services. As a seasoned sell-side analyst for over twenty years, Carol provides to her DLA clients an outside viewpoint as a "Wall Street insider" which enables senior management to better understand how their strategic decisions will be perceived by the investment community.

In addition to her professional career, Carol has served as a non-executive board member of Truestar Petroleum Corporation, an oil and gas exploration company with mining interests in California and Nevada. In addition to serving on the board of the Women's Finance Exchange, she also currently serves on the board of Women of Wine Charities, a 501(c)(3) organization which benefits the local Houston Area Women's Center. For three years, she has been a member of the Tri-Cities Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Over the past twenty years, Carol has been considered one of the most credible voices on Wall Street and an expert in the energy field. She starred in a brief role in the documentary film, "The Smartest Guys in the Room", which examined the collapse of Enron, and she is quoted in several related books including the Smartest Guys in the Room, Pipe Dreams, and Power Failure in addition to guest appearances on CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg News.

To contact Carol, email her at ccoale@dennardlascar.com.

Kristy Boles, Secretary

Kristy Boles joined The CFO Suite as a Recruiting Director in 2014 and leads the Houston office. Kristy was previously with a national recruiting firm as an Executive Finance and Accounting Recruiter. During her tenure and while managing a team of five, she was consistently ranked in the top 10% of her national peer group.

Kristy began her career in Dallas but has spent the last 10 years in Houston focused on serving clients in a variety of industries such as Oil & Gas, Manufacturing, Energy, and E&P companies. Kristy joined The CFO Suite to be able to serve the C-Suite and provide greater value to her clients beyond simple and transactional search.

Kristy graduated from The University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science

To contact Kristy, email her at kristy.boles@cfosuite.com

Taylor Meier, Assistant to the President

Taylor Meier is a senior in the valuation and business modeling group at EY. As a senior in the valuation and business modeling group, she focuses on tax and financial reporting valuation engagements within the energy sector. Taylor has been in the valuation industry since starting her career in Houston, previously working at Duff and Phelps and The BVA Group. Taylor earned a BBA in Finance from Texas A&M University. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and watching Aggie football.

To contact Taylor, email her at taylor.gilman@ey.com.


Economic Forecast 2017
Greg Young, SVP and Senior Portfolio Manager at Bernstein Global Wealth Management spoke to WFE on January 11th to provide an overview of the 2017 U.S. Economic Outlook from an investment stand-point.

Integrating Office Politics into Your Success Strategy

Christine Spray, nationally recognized business development keynote speaker and two time best-selling author, spoke to WFE about integrating office politics into any successful strategy. 

Duck Hunt 2016

Click here to see photos from our annual Duck Hunt event!