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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
Laurie-Leigh White, President 

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.

Lisa Chandler, President Elect

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.

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.

Colleen Nichols, At Large

As a Middle Market Banker for the Chase Commercial Bank in Houston, Colleen Nichols is responsible for leading an integrated team of advisors who assist companies with managing their complex balance sheet and cash flow needs. Colleen advises commercial clients across diversified industries on treasury services, credit and international banking and specializes in the construction industry.  Prior to rejoining JPMorgan Chase, Colleen was a Private Lending Underwriter at Goldman Sachs where she worked on a team responsible for developing the firm's credit platform for ultra high net worth clients. Colleen began her career with the JPMorgan Private Bank, where she worked in the Capital Advisory group and was responsible for structuring complex credit facilities for ultra high net worth clients. She also served as a Relationship Manager, advising clients on their credit, banking, investment and trust planning needs. Colleen holds a BBA in Finance from Southern Methodist University.

Colleen is actively involved in the Houston community and is a Vice-Chair of the Greater Houston Partnership Ambassadors and is a member of the Leadership Team for the SMU Houston Alumni Chapter. Colleen also serves as Treasurer of JPMorgan Chase Women's Interactive Network-Houston.

To contact Colleen, email her at colleen.n.nichols@chase.com.

Deborah Barron, At Large -- Programs Implementation

Deborah Barron is a native Houstonian who has served in business development and sales roles throughout her career. Since she joined Achilles Group, Deborah has helped the company grow. Having a great desire to serve others, Deborah is a team player, leads by example and helps clients and the organization to reach their goals.With a diverse professional working in financial, legal, publishing and accounting arenas, Deborah has a passion for meeting new people, understanding what they hold important and building long term relationships. Deborah earned a BA in Marketing from Sam Houston State University. In her free time, she enjoys being with her family and friends and enjoys spending time outside.

To contact Deborah, email her at deborah@achillesgroup.com.

Melissa Salmeron, Programs

Melissa Salmeron is a Treasury Management Sales Advisor at Mercantil Commercebank. Melissa builds relationships with clients and develops strategies to help them maximize their working capital. Melissa has the CTP designation and has been in a Treasury Sales role since 2005. Melissa earned a Bachelors of Science in Marketing from the University of New Orleans. Prior to joining Mercantil Commercebank, Melissa worked at both Capital One, N.A. and Regions Bank. Melissa is also on the UT Health School of Nursing Advisory board and an active volunteer at her son's elementary school. In her off time, Melissa and her husband chase around there two children and dog at various playgrounds across Houston.

To contact Melissa, email her at msalmeron@mercantilcb.com.

Elizabeth Johnson, Special Events

Elizabeth is a partner at the law firm of Hanszen Laporte LLP. Her practice encompasses all types of transactional matters, including commercial real estate, contract negotiation and drafting and banking. She was previously General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Camden Property Trust and a partner at Winstead, Sechrest and Minick- now known as Winstead, P.C. Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor at the University of Alabama.

Elizabeth has volunteered extensively with numerous non-profit organizations, including Christian Community Service Center, Medical Bridges, Star of Hope and Easter Seals. She was very involved in her daughters' schools, serving on the boards of St. Agnes Academy, Lanier Middle School and West University Elementary. She also served as the President of the Heart of Texas Chapter of National Charity League.

To contact Elizabeth, email her at ejohnson@hanszenlaporte.com.

Faith Allen, Treasurer

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.

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 Gilman, Assistant to the President

Taylor Gilman is a financial analyst with The BVA Group LLC, a nationally recognized litigation, valuation, and financial advisory firm. As a financial analyst, her role is to work on teams that are responsible for the execution of a variety of valuation engagements. Taylor began her career with Duff and Phelps, where she worked as a Dispute Consulting Analyst. 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 tgilman@bvagroup.com.


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!

Summer Sizzle 2016

Click here to see photos from our annual Summer Sizzle event!