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.
|Stasa Cushman, President|
Stasa is Director of Corporate Communications for AIG Life and Retirement. AIG Life and Retirement is comprised of several leading life insurance and retirement services businesses that market their products and services under their highly respected legacy brands including American General, VALIC, Western National, SunAmerica Retirement Markets, SunAmerica Mutual Funds, FSC Securities, Royal Alliance and SagePoint Financial. The unified businesses offer a comprehensive suite of life insurance, retirement savings products and guaranteed income solutions through an established multi-channel distribution network that includes banks, national, regional and independent broker-dealers, career financial advisors, wholesale life brokers, insurance agents and a direct-to-consumer platform.
With more than 20 years of experience, Stasa has served in corporate communications roles within many industries, including insurance, private banking, wealth management, engineering, energy and mutual fund management. In her current role, she is responsible for public relations, crisis communications, media relations, executive communications and events planning for American General, one of the AIG Life and Retirement businesses. Stasa earned her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Houston.
To contact Stasa, email her at email@example.com.
Denise Marks, President-Elect
Andrea Blaize, Communications Chair
Andrea is a Senior Associate in Grant Thornton's Forensic and Valuation Services practice. Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the six global accounting, tax and advisory organizations. Andrea has over four years of corporate advisory experience focused on the valuation of corporate securities, partnership interests, and intangible assets of privately-held and publicly-traded businesses. Her valuation projects serve a variety of purposes, including mergers and acquisitions, financial reporting, tax reporting, litigation, and general corporate planning. She is an Accredited Member of the American Society of Appraisers. Andrea received a BS in Finance from Louisiana State University.
To contact Andrea, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Freudenberger, Membership Chair
Laura is Audit Shareholder at Briggs & Veselka, and her specialities include nonprofit, maritime, medical and other privately and small publically held companies.
To contact Laura, email her at email@example.com.
Kari Hartmann, Programs Chair
Melissa Owens Juenke, Secretary
Melissa Owens is a Client Manager with Essential Global Consulting, L.P. ("EGC"), where she specializes in accounting and finance solutions, with an emphasis in SEC compliance and financial system design and implementation. She brings with her over 20 years of consulting and operational experience in a variety of industries, including oilfield services, chemical manufacturing, mobile technology, banking, insurance, non-profit and higher education. Prior to joining EGC, Melissa held key finance positions at Sterling Bancshares, including Controller, and began her career in the audit practice of KPMG. She holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Texas A&M University in College Station.
To contact Melissa, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carol Coale, Special Events Chair
Carol Coale is a Managing Director at Dennard, Rupp, Gray & Lascar (DRG&L) in the firm's energy research and advisory practice of its investor relations services. Prior to joining DRG&L, Carol served as the Managing Director of the Energy Group at Sanders Morris Harris (SMH Capital) and provided sell-side research on integrated natural gas, power and exploration & production companies. She brings over 20 years of Wall Street experience to DGR&L, including a year as a Portfolio Manager at an energy hedge fund. Carol was a Senior Vice President for ten years at The Prudential Equity Group LLP where she was the Senior Equity Analyst for natural gas, utilities and power company securities. She was ranked an All American Analyst for six consecutive years in the Institutional Investor magazine survey, reaching the number one spot in 2002. She also achieved the top ranking in Greenwich and Starmine analyst surveys during that same time period, and was ranked three times as an All-Star analyst in The Wall Street Journal's stock picking survey. Before joining Prudential, Carol spent five years with energy boutique Howard Weil Labouisse Friedrichs, and was a fixed income analyst and trader at Rauscher Pierce Refsnes (now RBC Capital), E.F. Hutton and Rotan Mosle (now UBS).
Carol earned her MBA from Southern Methodist University and is an honors graduate with a BA from the University of Texas in Austin.
To contact Carol, email her at email@example.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. Mrs. White 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, Mrs. White has been involved in litigation consulting assignments related to economic damages, financials forensics, and valuation matters.
Mrs. White 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. Mrs. White is a Certified Public Accountant who holds the designation of Accredited in Business Valuation, and is an Accredited Member of the American Society of Appraisers. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.
To contact Laurie-Leigh, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Chandler, At-Large Programs Implementation
Lisa has 15 years of experience consulting with domestic and foreign companies regarding tax and business strategies, including tax planning, and related tax compliance requirements. Currently, she is a shareholder of Weinstein Spira & Company, P.C. Her experience includes working for a regional firm, a national firm, a public company and a start-up company. She received her BBA and JD from the University of Texas at Austin.
Lisa is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants. She is also fluent in Spanish.
To contact Lisa, email her at LC@weinsteinspira.com.
Debbie Clark, Director at Large
Kim Cagle, Advisor -- Sponsorship
19th Annual Duck Hunt
Our annual WFE Houston Duck Hunt drew a crowd of approximately 125 members and guests at the Junior League for a glimpse of fall clothing styles and to hear the latest trends.
On June 11th, members and guests were treated to delicious cocktails, wine and appetizers, exchanged business cards and conversated over an ice-breaker bingo game, followed by a presentation by Mary Kathryn Campion of Champion Capitol Research.
Navigating the Storm – Cloud Technology and Social Media
On May 16, WFE members and guests heard a thought-provoking presentation by data security experts David Cunningham of Winston and Strawn LLP and Angela Haun with the FBI.
Looking and Feeling Your Best
In April, the WFE invited four Houston-area health care and beauty experts to discuss various women's well-being issues, ranging from cosmetic to medical. The ensuing conversation was both lively and information-packed!
Perspectives from the C-Suite
We held our first panel event of the year in March when we were joined by three female executives to discuss what they are looking for in a service provider – good experiences, bad experiences and what it takes to get (and keep) their attention.
Understanding Nonverbal Communication
In February, the WFE had the pleasure of welcoming Jan Latiolais Hargrave who helped us understand what body language communicates to the world around us.
18th Annual Duck Hunt
More than just a fashion show, our 18th annual WFE Houston Duck Hunt drew a crowd of almost 90 members and guests who gathered at the Junior League for glimpse of fall clothing styles and to hear the latest trends.
Sweltering heat and a torrential rain storm didn't put a damper on our Summer Sizzle networking event this year, which was held at the chic champagne and wine bar, Cha in the River Oaks area.
Living Your Colors
On May 17 we held our Living Your Colors workshop, which was led by Mary Davis of Choices Seminars. For the past 17 years Mary has facilitated hundreds of people through various life changing processes, and she has become convinced that Colors has the ability to be the simplest yet most profound tool for people to use to understand that we are all truly different.