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CELEBRATING THE 40 UNDER 40 AWARD RECIPIENTS

THE SECURED

SEPTEMBER 2020 WWW.SFNET.COM

Putting Capital To Work

COVER STORY

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles MEET THE FUTURE LEADERS OF YOUR INDUSTRY!

A publication of


When you have to be right

What you can’t see could hurt you Bankruptcy is expected to surge in the second half of 2020 and the average lender lacks first lien position approximately 20% of the time. Changes since origination or small errors like debtor name mismatch can lead to a loss of claim. How much visibility do you have into imperfections in your lien portfolio? With resources stretched thin and your focus on the customer, Lien Solutions can help you identify areas of concern within your portfolio. Our customized Risk Assessment can be the first step toward building processes to better secure your assets and build a stronger lending operation.

Call our experts today at 800.833.5778 for a complimentary customized risk assessment.

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TOUCHING BASE SFNET 40 UNDER 40 AWARDS

Celebrating the Future of the Industry

The SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards are now recognized as both an honor and a tradition in the secured finance industry. The two hallmarks of the Awards have been this issue of The Secured Lender, in which we profile each recipient, and the gala in New York City. Of course, this year, as is the case with just about everything else, we are celebrating a bit differently. Although it is disappointing that we will be not be able to honor the Class of 2020 in person this year, we are determined to not let the pandemic diminish our focus on their achievements. In addition to a live event to be held in the future, we will feature videos of the winners’ acceptance speeches this month on SFNet.com as well as congratulatory videos submitted by their colleagues and supervisors. Look for an announcement in your daily TSL Express on how you can join in the celebration by adding your own congratulatory message! Despite the seemingly intractable challenges we’ve faced in recent months, I have been inspired by the ability of our industry to overcome these obstacles and work through this tumultuous time while continuing to fulfill our mission of deploying essential capital to the many businesses we serve. After reading the profiles of the industry’s future leaders, on the following pages, my faith and confidence has only been solidified. This year’s winners personify success, leadership and dedication. I am humbled by all they have achieved before reaching their 40th birthdays, not only in their careers, but also their contributions to their communities, including volunteering to help disadvantaged children, the homeless, animal shelters and religious organizations. The future is indeed bright thanks to the creativity, ingenuity, generosity and compassion that illustrate the strength of their character and the depth of their talents. The SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards wouldn’t be possible without the tireless efforts of those who volunteer to chair and judge the Awards. A big thank you to Kate Lepak of People’s United Business Capital, and Stewart Hayes, Wells Fargo Capital Finance, for co-chairing and judging, and to judges Betty Hernandez of North Mill Capital and David Kurzweil of Greenberg Traurig. For insight into Kate and Stewart’s experiences as chairs, turn to page 88 for an interview with them both. On page 94, we catch up with members of the 2017 and 2018 SFNet 40 Under 40 Classes. Eileen Wubbe, TSL’s senior editor, spoke with several past recipients to find out how receiving the Award has affected their careers.

In Flexible Workplace Arrangements - Attracting and Retaining Talent in the Current Environment on page 90, Jason Hoefler of BMO discusses how this “new norm” of remote work could better enable the industry to attract and retain top talent. On page 100, Dr. Arin Reeves, a leading researcher, author, and advisor in the fields of leadership and inclusion, RICHARD D. GUMBRECHT explains how different SFNet Chief Executive Officer generations are being affected professionally by COVID-19 and reminds leaders they need to keep generational differences in mind as they conceptualize and communicate the new normal. In times of crisis, the secured finance industry never fails to respond. Brian Resutek of Rosenthal & Rosenthal spoke to several SFNet members to highlight how they have stepped up to assist during the pandemic, on page 104. Stories such as these make me proud to be leading your association. I thank you all of you for what you do every day, from putting capital to work to giving your time and financial resources to assisting others as they navigate their way through this unprecedented time.

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020


TABLE OF CONTENTS. SEPTEMBER, 2020 VOL. 76 ISSUE 6

COVER STORY SFNET’S 40 UNDER 40 PROFILES P.18

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles Meet the future leaders of your industry! In this issue, we highlight the recipients of SFNet’s 2020 40 Under 40 Award. Turn to page 18 to get know these bright stars better. 18

FEATURE STORIES

Interview with SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards Co-Chairs, Stewart Hayes and Kate Lepak The SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards wouldn’t be possible without the tireless efforts of those who step up to chair the Awards Committee. Here, co-chairs, Kate Lepak, asset-based lending business director, People’s United Business Capital, and Stewart Hayes, senior vice president, Lender Finance, Wells Fargo Capital Finance, discuss the Awards and why they were compelled to get involved. 88 BY MICHELE OCEJO

Flexible Workplace Arrangements - Attracting and Retaining Talent in the Current Environment The secured finance industry, just like so many others, has demanded that remote work become the “norm.” Will this change better enable the industry to attract and retain top talent? 90 BY JASON HOEFLER

SFNet’s 40 Under 40: Where are they now? 2

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FEATURED STORY FLEXIBLE WORKPLACE ARRANGEMENTS P90

Members of the class of 2018 and 2017 share their accomplishments and career updates since receiving the Award, while giving advice to this year’s class. SFNet’s 2020 40 Under 40 Awards celebration will be held in person at a later date. 94 BY EILEEN WUBBE


Leading Different Generations in Post COVID-19 Workplaces As leaders in workplaces begin to process the changes in their post-COVID-19 practices, it will be critical to remember that while every generation is going to be changed, different generations will be looking for different things in postCOVID-19 workplaces, and leaders need to keep generational differences in mind as they conceptualize and communicate the new normal. 100

BY DR. ARIN REEVES

Departments TOUCHING BASE 2 INDUSTRY DEALS 8 NETWORK NOTES 14 PUTTING CAPITAL TO WORK

Financial Heroes, Community and Awesome People: Always a Formula for Success The secured finance industry has always had more than its share of generous “difference makers.” These men and women are shining examples of how asset-based lending and asset-based lenders provide the foundation for success and growth to many companies. The COVID-19 crisis has certainly allowed for many opportunities for us to “step up” and help fuel businesses in need. 104

BY ROBERT D. KATZ

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

SFNET MEMBER PROFILE

Wolters Kluwer Lien Solutions supports the top U.S. banks and lenders Wolters Kluwer Lien Solutions supports

the top U.S. banks and lenders with their lien filings across UCC, vehicle titles and real property. It helps lenders manage their loan interests throughout the lending cycle, from due diligence searches to filings to ongoing lien management. 106

BY EILEEN WUBBE SFNET COMMITTEE SPOTLIGHT

YoPro Committee 2020 This column highlights the hard work and dedication of SFNet committee volunteers. Here we speak with William Bence, the chair of SFNet’s Young Professionals (YoPro) Committee and principal, Wingspire Capital. 108

BY EILEEN WUBBE SFNET MEMBERS GIVE BACK

SFNet Members Respond to those in Need During COVID-19 Brian Resutek of Rosenthal & Rosenthal spoke to several SFNet members to highlight how they have stepped up to assist during this time of crisis. 110

BY BRIAN RESUTEK

The Secured Finance Network is the trade group for the asset-based lending arms of domestic and foreign commercial banks, small and large independent finance companies, floor plan financing organizations, factoring organizations and financing subsidiaries of major industrial corporations. The objectives of the Association are to provide, through discussion and publication, a forum for the consideration of inter- and intra-industry ideas and opportunities; to make available current information on legislation and court decisions relating to asset-based financial services; to improve legal and operational procedures employed by the industry; to furnish to the general public information on the function and significance of the industry in the credit structure of the country; to encourage the Association’s members, and their personnel, in the performance of their social and community responsibilities; and to promote, through education, the sound development of asset-based financial services. The opinions and views expressed by The Secured Lender’s contributing editors and authors are their own and do not necessarily express the magazine’s viewpoint or position. Reprinting of any material is prohibited without the express written permission of The Secured Lender. The Secured Lender, magazine of the asset-based financial services industry (ISSN 0888-255X), is published 8 times per year (Jan/Feb, March, April, May, June, September, October and November) $65 per year non-member rate, and $105 for two years non-member rate, SFNet members are complimentary. Secured Finance Network 370 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001. (212) 792 -9390 Email: tsl@sfnet.com

www.SFNet.com Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster, send address changes to The Secured Lender, c/o Secured Finance Network, 370 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 Editorial Staff Michele Ocejo Editor-in-Chief and SFNet Communications Director Eileen Wubbe Senior Editor Aydan Savaser Art Director Advertising Contact: James Kravitz Business Development Director T: 646-839-6080 jkravitz@sfnet.com


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DEPARTMENT INDUSTRY DEALS

Lender/Participant

Lender Type

Amount

Borrower

Industry

Structure

Access Capital

Non-bank

$1.5 Million

truData Solutions, a data-centric firm focused on partnering with clients in building analytics and data integration capabilities leveraged through Cloud solutions, California.

Technology

Credit facility

Accendo Banco S.A.

Bank

$3 Million

Goldgroup Mining Inc., Vancouver, Canada

Mining

Secured loan facility

Allied Affiliated Funding

Non-bank

$1 Million

Company that provides commercial flooring to retailers, schools, senior living centers and other commercial projects, Texas

Flooring

Receivables financing

Allied Affiliated Funding

Non-bank

$400,000

Company that provides consultants for Oil & Gas the oil and gas industry, Louisiana

Receivables financing

Amerisource Business Capital

Non-bank

$3 Million

International occupational health services company, Texas

Healthcare

Credit facility

Antares

Non-bank

$65 Million

To support the acquisition of Metal Era, Waukesha, WI, by GreyLion Capital

Industrial roofing

Senior secured credit facilities

Ares Management Corporation

Non-bank

$450 Million

LivaNova PLC

Healthcare

Credit facility

Ares Management Corporation

Non-bank

$400 Million

Chimera Investment Corporation 

Internally managed Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)

Secured loan commitment

Austin Financial Services, Inc.

Non-bank

$2.5 Million

Logistics and fulfillment company

Logistics

Revolving A/R facility

Bank of America

Bank

$2.5 Billion

Danaher, designer, manufacturer and marketer of professional, medical, industrial and commercial products and services

Manufacturing

364-day revolving credit facility

Bank of America

Bank

$90 Million

Armstrong Flooring, Inc., a leader in the design and manufacture of innovative flooring solutions

Manufacturing

Senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility

Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada

Bank

$500 Million

Home Capital Group Inc., Toronto, Canada

Mortgage

Standby secured funding facility

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

Service Provider (Type)

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as exclusive advisor

Jefferies LLC acted as a financial advisor and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acted as legal advisor to Armstrong Flooring.


Lender/Participant

Lender Type

Amount

Borrower

Industry

Structure

The Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

Bank

$50 Million

Nomad Royalty Company Ltd., Montreal, Quebec

Mining & Metals

Revolving credit facility with the option to increase to $75 million

Bay Point Advisors

Non-bank

$3.05 Million

Hannah Solar, LLC, a full-service, NABCEP certified design/build firm that provides solar energy engineering, products, installation, and service with offices throughout the Southeast

Solar Energy

Multi-tiered, senior secured debtor-in-possession loan

N/A

N/A

$850 Million

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.

Retail

Three-year secured assetbased revolving credit

BOK Financial

Bank

$88 Million

Global Net Lease, Inc., a publicly traded real estate investment trust listed on the NYSE focused on acquiring a diversified global portfolio of commercial properties

REIT

BOK Financial led a syndicate of six regional banks

BNP Paribas, ABN AMRO Capital USA LLC, MUFG Bank, Ltd., Societe Generale, Citibank, N.A., Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., New York Branch, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and Natixis, New York Branch

Bank

$2.4 Billion

Castleton Commodities International LLC, a global energy commodity merchant

Energy

Borrowing base facility, consisting of $750 million 3-year tranche, a $1.15 billion 2-year tranche and a $500 million 364day tranche. The facility also includes a $1.0 billion accordion which remains available to support future growth. ING Capital LLC acted as Senior Managing Agent for the Facility. CCI is also pleased to welcome Credit Suisse (Switzerland) Ltd. and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. as Senior Managing Agents in the facility this year. BNP Paribas served as Global Coordinator and Administrative Agent for the facility.

Bridge Bank - Life Sciences Group

Bank

$18 Million

Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development of PEDMARK™

Healthcare

This amendment provides Fennec with an $18 million debt facility comprised of two term loans. Term Loan A consists of $12.5 million to be funded upon New Drug Application (NDA) approval of PEDMARK™ in the U.S. Term Loan B consists of $5.5 million to be funded upon the occurrence of a revenue event in 2021.

Service Provider (Type)

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP served as counsel to the lenders. Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP served as counsel to the borrower.

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DEPARTMENT INDUSTRY DEALS

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

Lender/Participant

Lender Type

Amount

Borrower

Industry

Structure

Service Provider (Type)

Capital Southwest Corporation

Non-bank

N/A

Coastal Television Broadcasting Holdings LLC and its affiliates’ recent acquisitions of stations controlled by Wyoming Media Group

Media

Term loans and a revolving credit facility

Main Street Capital Corporation was a coinvestor in the credit facilities

Citibank

Bank

$40 Million

Despegar.com, the leading online travel company in Latin America

Travel

Committed revolving credit facility featuring a one-year term, renewable for an additional six months if certain financial covenants are met.

Citigroup Global Markets Bank Inc., PNC Bank National Association, Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Bank of America, N.A., BMO Harris Bank, N.A., HSBC Bank USA, National Association, Royal Bank of Canada, Fifth Third Bank, National Association, The Huntington National Bank, Keybank National Association, ING Bank N. V., Dublin Branch, Trust Bank (formerly known as Branch and Banking Trust Company), Bank of the West, and Santander Bank, N.A. as joint lead arrangers.

N/A

Harsco Corporation, a global market leader providing environmental solutions for industrial and specialty waste streams and innovative technologies for the rail sector, Camp Hill, PA

Industrial

Amendment of its existing senior secured credit facilities, comprised of a term loan A facility, a term loan B facility and a revolving credit facility, to provide the Company with increased operating flexibility

CIT Group Inc.

Bank

$118.5 Million

Utility-scale Harts Mill Solar Solar Energy project in Edgecombe County, North Carolina

Financing

CIT Group Inc.

Bank

$126 Million

Trent River Solar project in Pollocksville, NC

Solar Energy

Financing

Citizens Commercial Banking

Bank

$150 Million

Steve Madden, a leading designer and marketer of fashion-forward footwear, accessories and apparel for women, men and children

Asset-based revolver

Asset-based revolver

CIT Northbridge Credit

Bank

$40 Million

Europa Sports Products, a distributor of nutritional supplements, sports drinks and accessories

Retail: Sport accessories

Senior secured credit facility

CIT Northbridge Credit, through its investment advisor CIT Asset Management LLC

Bank

$20 Million

Marquis Construction Services LLC, Clute, TX

Construction

Senior secured credit facility


Lender/Participant

Lender Type

Amount

Borrower

Industry

Structure

Credit Suisse-led consortium

Bank

N/A

Cavotec, a global engineering group, Lugano, Switzerland

Engineering

New long term credit facility

Crestmark, a division of Meta Bank, NA and Iron Horse Credit

Non-bank

$12.5 Million

The Singing Machine Company, Inc.

Electronics

Tri-party Intercreditor agreement for a revolving line of credit on eligible accounts receivable and inventory. A two-year loan and security agreement for a $10 million financing facility with Crestmark, a division of Meta Bank, NA on eligible accounts receivable. The company also executed a two-year loan and Security Agreement with Iron Horse Credit for up to $2.5 million in inventory financing.

Crestmark - Asset-Based Lending Division

Non-bank

$10 Million

Wholesaler of consumer electronics, Florida

Electronics

Ledgered line of credit facility

Crestmark - Asset-Based Lending Division

Non-bank

$2.5 Million

Consumer snack food distributor, Illinois

Food

Ledgered line of credit facility

Crestmark - Asset-Based Lending Division

Non-bank

$150,000

Flatbed trucking company, Texas

Transportation

Ledgered line of credit facility

Crestmark Vendor Finance Non-bank

N/A

Trucking company, Northwestern U.S.

Transportation

Equipment finance transaction

Crestmark Vendor Finance Non-bank

N/A

Medical practice, Northwestern U.S.

Healthcare

Equipment finance transaction

Crestmark Government Guaranteed Lending

Non-bank

$3,903,000

Financial advisory firm, Virginia

Financial advisory

SBA 7(a) term loan facility

CVC Credit Partners

Non-bank

N/A

Calibre Scientific, the life Life sciences sciences and diagnostics business owned by StoneCalibre, Los Angeles, CA

Multicurrency first lien credit facility

Encina Business Credit, LLC

Non-bank

$35 Million

Leading retailer and distributor of paint and paint supplies

Retail: Paint Supplies

Senior secured credit facility consisting of a senior secured revolving line of credit based on accounts receivable and inventory

Encina Business Credit, LLC

Non-bank

$12.5 Million

Provider of digital and telephonic marketing services

Technology

Senior secured credit facility

Danske Bank A/S, Finland Bank Branch and Nordea

â‚Ź100 Million

Suominen, a manufacturer of nonwovens as roll goods for wipes and other applications

Nonwovens

Singe-currency syndicated revolving credit facility

Gateway Trade Funding

Non-bank

$500,000

US Importer of chemicals selling to US OEMs

Chemicals

Purchase order finance facility

Gateway Trade Funding

Non-bank

$2.5 Million

US importer of hand sanitizer selling to Fortune 500 US corporations

Hand sanitizer

Purchase order finance facility

Service Provider (Type)

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DEPARTMENT INDUSTRY DEALS

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

Lender/Participant

Lender Type

Amount

Borrower

Industry

Structure

Gateway Trade Funding

Non-bank

$1.25 Million

US importer of PPE products selling to US municipalities

Healthcare

Purchase order finance facility

Goldman Sachs, Telstra Ventures, Northbridge Venture Partners and Silicon Valley Bank

Bank and Non-Bank

$40 Million

Nasuni, a provider of cloud file storage solutions, Boston, MA

Technology

New equity financing

Great Rock Capital

Non-bank

$5.1 Million

Mersino Management, a leading provider of pumping and dewatering services

Construction

Renewed and expanded senior secured credit facility

Green Ivy Capital, LLC, an affiliate of Chicago Atlantic Group, LLC

Non bank

$30 Million

Verano Holdings, LLC , Chicago, IL

Cannabis

Senior secured term loan facility

Franklin Capital

Non-bank

$1 Million

Supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE)

Manufacturing

Accounts receivable facility

Franklin Capital

Non-bank

$3 Million

IT equipment supplier, based in the UK

Technology

Accounts receivable facility

Huntington Business Credit

Non-bank

$10.5 Million

Midwest Iron and Metal Metal Company LLC, located in Dayton, OH, and involved in the collection, processing and resale of ferrous and nonferrous scrap metals.

Credit facility

InterNex Capital

Non-bank

$1.25 Million

Consumer goods company in New Jersey that formulates and manufactures branded skincare and cosmetics products

Cosmetics

Line of credit

Intesa Sanpaolo SpA

Bank

€400 Million

Moncler, a luxury fashion brand mostly known for its skiwear

Retail

Sustainability-linked revolving credit facility

J D Factors

Non-bank

$700,000

Transportation company, California

Transportation

Factoring facility

J D Factors

Non-bank

$100,000

Transportation company, Georgia

Transportation

Factoring facility

J D Factors

Non-bank

$300,000

Transportation company, Illinois

Transportation

Factoring facility

J D Factors

Non-bank

$300,000

Transportation company, Illinois

Transportation

Factoring facility

JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

Bank

$75 Million

GreenSky, Inc., a leading Technology financial technology company

Incremental term loan B facility

J.P. Morgan and backed by Bank of America, Union Bank and SunTrust

Bank

$700 million

New Regency, the entertainment company behind “The Revenant” and “Gone Girl”

Credit facility

Entertainment

Service Provider (Type)


Lender/Participant

Lender Type

Amount

Borrower

Industry

Structure

Service Provider (Type)

JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, Cadence Bank and Wintrust Financial

Bank

$400 Million

BRP Group, Inc.'s subsidiary Baldwin Risk Partners, LLC

Insurance

Amended senior revolving credit facility

As part of the expanded credit facility, Capital One joined the group of original lenders as a co-documentation agent. The bank group is led by JPMorgan as sole bookrunner, lead arranger, administrative agent and lender, Wells Fargo and Bank of America as co-syndication agents, Cadence Bank as the other co-documentation agent and Wintrust Financial. Each of the original lenders is maintaining or increasing its commitment under the revolving credit facility.

J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

N/A

N/A

Triad Manufacturing, Inc., an established leader in the retail fixture industry, creating cutting-edge retail fixtures for Fortune 500 brands

Retail

Refinancing

FocalPoint Securities, LLC served as the exclusive investment banker to the company.

Loeb Term Solutions

Non-bank

$3.5 Million

Earth moving construction company

Construction

Covenant-free equipment financing

Loeb Term Solutions

Non-bank

$2 Million

Southern steel producer

Steel

Covenant-free equipment financing

Loeb Term Solutions

Non-bank

$500,000

Midwest truck fabricator

Manufacturing

Covenant-free equipment financing

Loeb Term Solutions

Non-bank

$500,000

Dessert manufacturer

Food

Covenant-free equipment financing

LSQ

Non-bank

$10 Million

Educational software and technology company

Technology

AR facility

Maxim Commercial Capital

Non-bank

N/A

Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in 30 states across the United States during the second quarter of 2020

Funded transactions for such borrowers included $95,000 secured by a 2019 Mack GR64F Tri-Axle Dump Truck for a growing landscaping company in New Jersey; $42,500 for a seasoned contractor’s purchase of a 2014 Caterpillar 312E Hydraulic Excavator; and, $29,000 to enable a business started up by seasoned contractors to purchase a 2020 Reinert ZR Concrete Pump.

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DEPARTMENT INDUSTRY DEALS

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

Lender/Participant

Lender Type

Amount

Borrower

Industry

Structure

MidCap Business Credit

Non-bank

$4.5 Million

CR Brands, Inc., a portfolio company of Resilience Capital Partners, headquartered in West Chester Township, Ohio

Packaging

Asset-based revolving line of credit

Monroe Capital

Non-bank

N/A

ATTOM Data Solutions to support the acquisition of Home Junction, Inc., San Diego, CA

Technology

Credit facility

MUFG Bank, BNP Paribas, CrĂŠdit Agricole, Natixis, Mizuho Bank, National Bank of Canada, Sumitomo Mitsui, Truist, CoBank, Rabobank, ING Capital and DZ Bank

Non-bank

$1.1 Billion

Geysers Power Company, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Calpine Corporation

Electricity

Climate Bonds Certified financing , consisting of a $900 million senior secured term loan and a $200 million letter of credit facility. In addition, MUFG Bank acted as administrative agent and first lien collateral agent, BNP Paribas acted as syndication agent, and CrĂŠdit Agricole and Natixis acted as green loan coordinators.

White & Case LLP acted as borrower counsel and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as lender counsel

N/A

N/A

$250 Million

Neiman Marcus Group Ltd LLC

Retail

Debtor-in-possession financing. Includes an additional $150 million as needed after September 4, 2020.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as legal counsel to the company. Lazard Ltd. is serving as the company's investment banker, and Berkeley Research Group is serving as the company's financial advisor. The extended term loan lenders are represented by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as legal counsel and Ducera Partners LLC as investment banker. The noteholders are represented by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP as legal counsel and Houlihan Lokey as investment banker.

Service Provider (Type)


Lender/Participant

Lender Type

Amount

Borrower

Industry

Structure

National Bank of Canada, ATB Financial and Canadian Western Bank

Bank

$25 Million

Essential Energy Services Ltd., a provider of oilfield services to oil and natural gas producers, primarily in western Canada

Oil & Gas

Amended credit facility with decrease in the commitment from $50 million to $25 million

North Mill Capital

Non-bank

$2 Million

LTL transportation company specializing in the transport and storage of products for industrial manufacturers throughout the Midwest.

Transportation Accounts receivable credit facility. North Mill Capital’s funding was simultaneous with a term loan provided by an equipment finance group.

North Mill Capital

Non-bank

$2 Million

Consulting firm based in Iowa providing IT staffing and services to businesses throughout the country

Consulting

North Mill Capital

Non-bank

$400,000

Manufacturer of retail fixtures and point of purchase displays, Minnesota

Manufacturing Accounts receivable credit

North Mill Capital

Non-bank

$500,000

The Right Staff, LLC is a full-service, professional employment firm with locations in Minneapolis, MN

Staffing

Accounts receivable facility

North Mill Capital

Non-bank

$1 Million

Rebel Green, LLC, a provider a broad line of natural, ecofriendly household cleaning products, Mequon, WI

Household goods

Financing

North Mill Capital

Non-bank

$1.25 Million

Mighty Spark, a provider of poultry products to grocery retailers all over the country

Retail: Grocery Accounts receivable credit facility

N/A

N/A

$206.7 Million

Pyxus International, Inc., a global value-added agricultural company, and its subsidiaries, Alliance One International, LLC, Alliance One North America, LLC, Alliance One Specialty Products, LLC and GSP Properties, LLC

Agriculture

Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.

Non-bank

$225 Million

Athenex, Inc., a global Healthcare biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer and related conditions

Service Provider (Type)

Accounts receivable credit facility

Debtor-in-Possession financing facility

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is serving as legal counsel, and Lazard and RPA Advisors are serving as financial advisors to Pyxus.

$100 million is being funded up front, with a portion of the upfront loan proceeds being used to repay in full the existing debt facility with the Perceptive Credit Opportunities Fund. Additional debt tranches of $125 million in aggregate are available subject to Athenex’s achievement of certain regulatory and commercial milestones.

Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc. and Royalty/ Revenue Interest Capital Advisors LLC served as financial advisors to Athenex and Cooley LLP served as legal counsel to Athenex. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP served as legal counsel to Oaktree.

13

THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020


DEPARTMENT INDUSTRY DEALS

Lender/Participant

Lender Type

Amount

Borrower

Industry

Structure

Service Provider (Type)

Pathlight Capital

Non-Bank

$70 Million

Armstrong Flooring, Inc., a leader in the design and manufacture of innovative flooring solutions

Manufacturing

Pathlight Capital acted as sole lead arranger for the term loan

Jefferies LLC acted as a financial advisor and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acted as legal advisor to Armstrong Flooring.

Republic Capital Access, LLC

Non-bank

N/A

Technology firm

Technology

N/A

Sallyport Commercial Finance

Non-bank

$3 Million

National distributor of gaming Electronics and consumer electronics

Accounts receivable facility

Sallyport Commercial Finance

Non-bank

$2 Million

Company that provides due diligence and document management solutions

Technology

Accounts receivable facility including a $500,000 cash flow loan

Scotiabank

Bank

$175 Million

Horizon North Logistics Inc., operating a pan-Canadian support services platform across eleven provinces and territories and diversified end markets, Calgary, Canada

Industrial

Credit facility

Second Avenue Capital Partners, LLC and CIT Northbridge Credit

Non-bank and Bank

$60 Million

Stock+Field, a premier farm, home, and outdoor retailer, Watseka, IL

Retail

Senior secured credit facility

Siena Healthcare Finance

Non-bank

$20 Million

Company in the home health space

Home healthcare

Financing

Siena Lending Group

Non-bank

$25 Million

Company in the pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceutical

Financing

Silicon Valley Bank

Bank

$10 Million

HTG Molecular Diagnostics, Inc., a life science company whose mission is to advance precision medicine

Healthcare

Senior term loan agreement. Proceeds from the $10.0 million senior term loan have been used to pay off HTG’s outstanding $7.0 million principal amount term loan with MidCap Financial and its $3.0 million principal amount subordinated convertible promissory note held by Qiagen North American Holdings, Inc.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and Citizens Bank, N.A.

Bank

$165 Million

ProSight Global, Inc., Morristown, NJ

Insurance

Delayed draw term loan

Tradewind Finance

Non-bank

N/A

Consultancy firm based in Hong Kong that provides financial advisory services to global banks and other financial institutions located in the region

Financial services

Factoring facility

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020


Lender/Participant

Lender Type

Amount

Borrower

Industry

Structure

TradeCap Partners

Non-bank

$1.6 Million

Importer of soap products, West coast-based

Beauty

Purchase order finance facility

TradeCap Partners

Non-bank

$350,000

Importer of paper products, Minnesota

Paper

Purchase order finance facility

TradeCap Partners

Non-bank

$1.5 Million

Promotional products importer located, Southwest

Promotional products

Trade finance facility

Varagon Capital Partners

Non-bank

N/A

To support the acquisition of Labels Consolidated Label by Private equity firm Tenex Capital Management

Senior secured credit facility

White Oak Commercial Finance

Non-bank

$81 Million

Aspire 42 group of companies; majority owned by Moss Ridge, a Sydneybased family office that manages a diverse portfolio of holdings across public and private markets.

Family office

Asset-based credit facility

White Oak Commercial Finance

Non-bank

$6 Million

Hunt & Sons Inc., a thirdgeneration, family-owned diversified petroleum products distributor

Petroleum

Asset-based credit facility. Increased funding on Hunt's $75M asset-based credit facility by $6M

White Oak Commercial Finance

Non-bank

$4 Million

Washington DC-based telecommunications contracting firm

Telecommunications

Factor-based credit facility funding

Service Provider (Type)

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020


DEPARTMENT DEPARTMENT NETWORK INDUSTRY NOTES MOVES Commercial Finance Consultants Announces Passing of David Rains, Founder & CEO David Rains, founder and CEO of Commercial Finance Consultants, passed away on July 29, following a courageous battle with COVID-19. David was a long-time executive recruiter specializing in the factoring and asset-based lending industries. In addition to his work in the industry, David’s work in prison entrepreneurship was a passion and helped many who had no one else championing their cause. David wrote an inspiring article about the program in the June 2019 issue of The Secured Lender. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Prison Entrepreneurship Program at the following address: PO Box 83661

all and was personally responsible for helping fill many, many positions in our industry. On behalf of the SFNet, we extend our sympathies to David’s wife, Billie, his sister, Debra Wilson - Zukonik, and the entire family.” — Stewart Hayes, Managing Director, Wells Fargo Commercial Capital. Bank of America Business Capital Names Meredith Gall Senior Business Development Officer Based in Denver, Meredith Gall will be responsible for originating new ABL financing opportunities in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Wyoming. Gall brings 25 years of ABL experience, including underwriting, portfolio management and business development.

Richardson, TX 75083-6617

BHI Appoints Jocelyn Bluth Chief People Officer

“David was highly respected, admired, and loved by all who knew him, and leaves a large legacy in our industry. David was a friend to

Jocelyn Bluth joins BHI with more than 25 years of human resources experience in banking and financial services. Previously, Bluth served as a human resources executive

for Golub Capital, responsible for employee engagement and growth, and supporting all front-office functions. CIBC Welcomes Nathan Love to U.S. AssetBased Lending Team CIBC announced it has expanded its U.S. asset-based lending capabilities in Buffalo, NY, naming Nathan Love managing director of business development. Citi Expands Commercial Banking Business in the Nordics; Mariève Gauthier Appointed to Lead and Grow the Nordic Operations The commercial bank business in the Nordics, covering Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, serves the middle-market segment in a wide range of traditional industries as well as the fast-growing digital sector. Mariève Gauthier will be based in Stockholm and will start transitioning to her new role with immediate effect. Cindi Giglio Joins Gordon Brothers, Ben Olushola Assumes Expanded Role and Additional Attorney Sought Cindi Giglio has joined as associate general counsel, with primary responsibility for Retail and Commercial & Industrial transactions in North America.

Unlock the

Corporate Counsel Ben Olushola takes on an expanded role as associate general counsel for the enterprise and continues to serve as lead counsel for Gordon Brothers’ International business from his current base in London.

of your clients’ equipment.

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

Lacking in cash flow but have equipment? Utica Leaseco can help improve your clients’ position with a creative funding approach that gets challenging deals done, fast. They’ll benefit with lease and loan solutions such as: • Capital leases and sale/leaseback transactions • Secured loans • Debtor-in-possession financing Contact us today! 248-710-2134 | info@uticaleaseco.com | www.uticaleaseco.com

Finance with collateral, not credit.

Gordon Brothers Welcomes Appraisal Expert to Expand Valuations Practice in Australia Gordon Brothers announced that Brendan Smyth has been named head of the Australian Valuation team and will be based in Sydney. Great Rock Capital Expands Senior Management Team, Hires Brett Goodwin as Chief Financial Officer Brett Goodwin will be based in Westport, CT and will be responsible for overseeing and managing the financial operations of the firm. Goodwin has been a finance, risk, and audit professional within the financial services industry for over 25 years.


Loeb Expands its Executive Talent with the Hiring of Greg Andricopulos and Eric Schwartz To Key Positions at Loeb Term Solutions Loeb Terms Solutions (LTS), The Equipment Term and DIP Lenders, continues to strengthen its executive talent with the hiring of Greg Andricopulos as CFO and Eric Schwartz as CIO & CMO. Andricopulos was previously the CFO for one of the premier auction and appraisal firms in the country and will now lead the financial aspects of all LOEB Companies. Schwartz is a highly experienced technology and digital marketing executive and will be heading up the digital and information technology areas for all Loeb Companies. Safeer Named Managing Director at Newpoint Newpoint Advisors Corporation, a financial consulting firm dedicated to improving troubled and underperforming businesses, announced that David Safeer, a cash flow consultant with more than 20 years of experience, has been named managing director of the Salt Lake City office. Pacific Western Bank Hires William J. Black as Executive Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development In this newly created role, William Black will focus on sourcing and evaluating prospective strategic opportunities for the Bank with the goal of generating improved financial results and shareholder value over time. Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida Announces New Hire, Austen Carroll, to Lead Commercial Banking; Julie Kleffel Promoted to Chief Banking Officer In his newly created role, Austen Carroll will lead the commercial banking division at Seacoast. Additionally, Julie Kleffel, the company’s current community banking executive and central Florida market president, has been promoted to chief banking officer of the company. SPECTRUM Commercial Services Opens North Carolina office and Adds Travis Smith to Sales Team

Travis Smith joins SPECTRUM Commercial Services Company as vice president, bringing over 20 years of experience in commercial lending, most recently providing factoring and asset-based lending solutions. Smith can be reached at: (910) 690-5983 and Travis. Smith@spectrumcommercial.com.

Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP), a national law firm with 1,100 attorneys in 23 U.S. cities. The new firm offers clients greater resources and bench strength, enhanced practices, and expanded geographical reach. Troutman Pepper is one of the 50 largest law firms in the country, with offices in eight of the 10 largest U.S. markets.

TD Bank Names Jo Jagadish Head of Commercial Operating Products and Payment Innovation

The new firm is led by Steve Lewis, chair and chief executive officer.

Jyotsana “Jo” Jagadish was named head of Commercial Operating Products and Payment Innovation, a new role focused on developing and executing a strategy that positions TD as a partner of choice for commercial fintechs by engaging in market intelligence, developing potential partnerships and managing fintech relationships. In this role, Jagadish will also lead a team focused on mature commercial operating products and revenue management. Troutman Pepper Officially Launches; Law Firm one of 50 Largest in U.S. Troutman Sanders and Pepper Hamilton officially became Troutman Pepper (Troutman

Additional officers of Troutman Pepper are Tom Cole, managing partner, and Andrea Farley, chair of Troutman Pepper’s Partner Compensation Committee. They will be joined by these department chairs: John West - Business Litigation Department Rachael Bushey - Health Sciences Department Amie Colby - Regulatory & Finance Department Bill Belanger - Specialized Litigation Department Mason Bayler - Transactional Department.

TRANSACTION CONFIRMED. CONFIDENCE SECURED. Michael A. Boeheim, CIA, CFE Director, Practice Leader ABL Services

David L. Mancuso, CPA Director, Practice Leader Transaction Advisory Services

Industry experience, proactive scheduling and rapid deployment that top lenders and private equity groups demand. TRANSACTION ADVISORY SERVICES

ASSET BASED LENDING Pre-loan surveys & rotational inspections Fraud investigations Portfolio reviews Mark Stebbins, Director Freed Maxick CPAs

Due diligence Quality of earnings Structuring Paul Ciminelli, President & CEO Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation

Remote field exams & due diligence available.

716.847.2651 or FREEDMAXICK.COM

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020


SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Award Winners In 2016, the Secured Finance Network announced it was looking for the best and brightest in our industry through the SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards program, which was introduced to honor the achievements of young secured finance professionals and service providers from across the industry. The Awards Celebration took place at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, with over 350 attendees. The SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards has quickly become both an honor and a tradition. The SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards celebrate the achievements of young professionals in the secured finance industry — the movers and shakers who exemplify true excellence in their careers and who bring a strong voice and commitment to the industry at large. On the following pages, we invite you to get to know the industry’s future leaders. Also in this issue, you can catch up with several of the inaugural class who are making their mark on the industry. SFNet offers its deepest gratitude to all of the nominees and their managers. We would also like to recognize the hard work and dedication of the judges: Kathleen Z. Lepak of People’s United Business Capital; Stewart Hayes of Wells Fargo Capital Finance; Betty Hernandez of North Mill Capital; and David Kurzweil of Greenberg Traurig. Additionally, Kate and Stewart served as co-chairs of the Awards Program. The CFA 40 Under 40 Awards would not have been possible without their leadership and their commitment to the young professionals of our industry. We would also like to thank the SFNet 40 Under 40 Leadership Council for their support and guidance.

SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards Leadership council Katherine Bell, Paul Hastings William D. Brewer, Winston & Strawn LLP Cheryl Carner, Crystal Financial Paula Currie, PNC Business Credit Tim Eichenlaub, Regions Business Capital Larry Flick, Blank Rome Jon Helfat, Otterbourg PC.

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

Marc Heller, CIT Commercial Services Brad Kastner, MidCap Financial Services Richard Kohn, Goldberg Kohn David Koshenina, Wells Fargo Commercial Capital – Lender Finance Robert Meyers, Republic Business Credit Sam Philbrick, U.S. Bank Karen Sessions, Bank of America Business Capital Michael Sharkey, Fifth Third Business Capital


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles BUSINESS CONSULTING/TURNAROUND

M

ichelle Gross Kuhr is a managing director in Riveron’s Chicago office, where she is responsible for developing new clients and expanding Riveron’s presence in the Chicago marketplace. Michelle joined Riveron in 2014 as a deal professional supporting clients through merger integration, IPO preparation, and divestiture activities. In 2016, she moved into a business development role. As part of this transition, Michelle helped grow Riveron’s Lender Services practice nationally. She focuses on fostering a collaborative environment, developing authentic relationships, and being a trusted advisor through all client challenges and successes. A native of St. Louis, Michelle remains loyal to her St. Louis Cardinals in a sea of Chicago Cubs fans. She enjoys spending her free time traveling with her husband, Ben, and son, Ari.

MICHELLE GROSS KUHR Managing Director Riveron Consulting

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? Throughout my career, I’ve had incredible mentors, both formally and informally, whom I often think about as I strive to implement their advice. However, there’s one phrase that has remained with me the most and that I continue to put in to practice almost every day: you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. This advice was given to me when speaking with a highly respected peer at a pivotal crossroads in my career. I was contemplating a career move that would shift my focus from client service to the business development side of our business. The notion of being comfortable in uncomfortable situations has since stuck with me during the many nerve-wracking client presentations, tense board room meetings, stressful pitches, and palm sweating year-end reviews that occur daily in my professional life. In each of these scenarios, no matter how nervous, unsettled, or intimidated I may feel, I remind myself that the people with whom I’m speaking are only human and have been on this side of the table. If I present myself in a strong, confident, and intelligent way, then that is how I will be perceived. This mentality takes practice and internal coaching to hone, but I’ve found that as long as I’m prepared, there’s no situation that I can’t approach in an authentic and intelligent way and leave feeling confident in my abilities, performance, and ultimate outcome. How do you define a good leader? A good leader is present, mindful, listens first, is approachable by all demographics of their team, and actively supports its members through both challenging and successful times. I’ve been fortunate to be around some fantastic leaders and have acknowledged attributes

I want to emulate in my own career. Chief among them is the ability to enhance the successes of the team and recognize individual performers while participating in and supporting improvement initiatives and moments of growth. With heightened success or a big win, there’s no better feeling than knowing your leader or mentor was along for the ride and can share in the journey and ultimate achievement. A leader doesn’t have to be the most senior or high-ranking employee on the team. At any level, those around you may look for guidance, support, or affirmation. Being conscious of your interactions, intentions, and impact is important to ascend in your career. I have found that encouraging the success of others, thoughtfully making suggestions, and fostering genuine introductions can be more fulfilling than if I had achieved that goal, new relationship, or win myself. How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life? I always encourage young professionals to get involved in external community events, industry specific associations, or volunteer work. These initiatives are not only fun but can lead to accomplishments outside of work and allow you to augment and diversify your personal network. I’ve been grateful to have a vast network through my external activities and have witnessed many friendships develop into powerful professional contacts. You never know the direction your career may take and where your diverse contacts may be most helpful. Similarly, I’m part of numerous professional organizations where I’ve made great professional contacts, many of whom have turned into genuine, lifelong friendships.

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

F

arrah currently serves as senior vice president, business development at Allied Affiliated Funding, a division of Axiom Bank, N.A., providing accounts receivable financing and ledgered asset-based lending to companies with facilities ranging from $100K - $15MM.

Farrah has been with Allied for over 12 years and the primary thing people have come to expect from her is MORE. Whether leading branding efforts, managing the underwriting department or, more recently, in a business development capacity, she always delivers more than required. Because of that, referral sources as well as clients have come to trust her and know that by calling Farrah, she will go above and beyond to get the job done expediently while delivering exemplary customer service. Farrah has reviewed over 3,000 businesses applying for financing and directly delivered over $100MM in annual fundings, allowing her to bring a breadth of knowledge to each funding need presented.

FARRAH VARGAS SVP, Business Development Allied Affiliated Funding, a division of Axiom Bank, N.A.

In addition to serving as a member of the executive management team, Farrah currently oversees Allied’s key bank referral relationships while developing new business opportunities. She prioritizes staying in constant connection with the marketplace and solidifying relationships even during challenging times. Farrah graduated in the top five percent of Texas A&M University’s business school with a degree in finance. She enjoys traveling adventures with her husband, entertaining her dog, exploring new food and cultures, and serving her friends/community.

What is your definition of success?

How do you define a good leader?

Continual growth, both personally and professionally. To be better every day than I was before and enjoy each moment of the journey. Darren Hardy wrote a book called The Compound Effect that applies the same concept of compounding interest to your life choices – that all of the small, seemingly insignificant decisions you make every single day compound and greatly change the trajectory of your ultimate destiny. This has been a guiding principle for my life. The Compound Effect is the operating system that is running all of our lives and it is up to us to use it to our advantage. That is success.

A good leader is someone who makes you think, someone who doesn’t answer all of the questions, but questions the answers, making one think at a more advanced level, resulting in growth. A good leader will push their team members to find ways to lean in to the discomfort, for outside of the comfort zone is often where growth happens…and accomplishment…and excitement. A good leader creates a culture of teamwork and accountability; one that can have candid conversations about what is working and what is not working. They let their team members know what they need done, but not how to do it. This gives the employee a great opportunity to think cognitively and learn and the leader often learns a new way of doing something as well. A good leader makes the same decision when no one is watching as the one they would make if the world were watching. They do what is right, even when it isn’t what is easy. A common thread amongst all of these things is the necessity to be an impactful communicator. In order to have commitment, there must be clarity in the message. A leader will often have to deliver messages to a variety of audiences and the ability to adapt this message, while still maintaining clarity and the solidarity of the relationship, is an art.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it?

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

Always deliver more than required. It is usually what you do after what is required that matters. It is the MORE that matters. Considering the excessive environment we live in, things tend to blur together and thus, are unmemorable. To be memorable, you have to do MORE. In order to do more, you have to listen and then utilize your creativity when asking yourself “what is the pain point they are asking me to solve and how can I take it three steps further?” An example would be if a prospect is asking about the difference between your product and two competitors. Instead of telling them in a phone conversation (the easiest route), perhaps you make them a quick infographic that compares all three, easily listing the pros and cons in addition to verbally covering the information. Instead of sending someone a standard gift basket at Christmas time, you send them a present specifically tailored to their interests that they causally mentioned six months ago over lunch.


Congratulates

Farrah Vargas and all of this year’s winners of the Secured Finance Network’s 40 Under 40 Award. Farrah is a Senior Vice President of Business Development for Allied Affiliated Funding. For 12 years she’s been a servant leader, motivating the team to excel and perform at higher levels, delivering solutions, and building and retaining stronger client and referral relationships, all while creating a positive energy to help in both their personal and professional lives. Allied Affiliated Funding provides Factoring and Accounts Receivable Financing. As an accompaniment, we also offer: • • •

Purchase Order Financing Revolving Lines of Credit Small Term Loans

• • •

Inventory Loans Equipment Loans Real Estate Loans

Credit facilities range up to $15,000,000, funding a variety of industries including staffing, service businesses, manufacturing, technology, transportation and more. We’re extremely proud of Farrah and excited to see her leadership and work recognized. We wish her continued success in the future.

www.FundingByAllied.com • (972) 776-5300 Referrals@FundingByAllied.com


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

M

eredith began her career as an attorney working in private practice at a national law firm in its Delaware office, first as a corporate litigator and then as a corporate transactional lawyer. Meredith later ran the firm’s nationwide business development and marketing department.

Prior to joining Context Business Lending (“CBL”), Meredith was managing director of BD at a committed capital fund focused on financing high stakes patent litigation. She helped grow that business from inception and later helped sell it to a UK-based litigation funder.

MEREDITH L. CARTER President and CEO, Context Business Lending

Currently, Meredith is president, CEO and CLO of Context Business Lending, a family-office backed specialty finance company focused on asset-based lending. Since becoming CEO, Context has quadrupled its portfolio and its team. CBL is taking a new approach to an archaic industry, incorporating best practices from successful technology companies and financial services firms. Consider ABL Disrupted ®. Meredith is on the Board of Trustees of the Overbrook School for the Blind and on the Executive Board of the Villanova Law Inn of Court.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? I have been lucky to receive a lot of professional guidance from some amazing mentors. These are five pieces of advice that I found particularly illuminating: (1) “Find a way or make one.” – partner at my first law firm. I have taken this advice to heart and incorporated it into the Context Business Lending culture. We challenge each other to think creatively, to embrace new ideas, to always be improving things and to know that “because we’ve always done it that way” is never an acceptable answer. (2) “When you really want something, you’ll find a way to do it. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. If you are not doing your best, you are only hurting yourself.” – my high school track coach. I think of his words every time I am tempted to not give something my all. (3) “The older you get, the more you realize you know nothing.” – mentor when I was in litigation funding. His advice rings truer each year. At work, I freely acknowledge my knowledge gaps and encourage others to do the same. We can’t be good at everything. At CBL, we hire people for culture and to cover our blind spots.

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

(4) “Think of every conversation as an opportunity to learn something new, regardless of with whom you are speaking. Everyone has something interesting about them.” – friend quoting their father. Approaching conversations with curiosity has made me a more active listener. As a result, I have learned much more than I would have otherwise. (5) “Analyze the common denominators of what you have liked and not liked in every job, then choose your work accordingly.” –Executive Coach Kathleen Marron, Esq. Following her advice, I realized that to be professionally satisfied (a) I need to feel like I am making an impact, and (b) the people with whom I work matter more to me than the vertical. I also understood that a company with rigid

processes would not be a fit; rather I enjoy improving things. I chose CBL and a new vertical (I started my career as an attorney) because I respected its people and their values. What is your definition of success? I think success is prioritizing who you are and who you want to be, then spending your life in furtherance of those values and goals. Personally, I measure how successful I feel in positively impacting my family, my CBL team, my friends, and our greater community. Professionally, I think feeling successful comes if you can play to your strengths while making a difference in something you are passionate about. Success for me is not just about what I will accomplish in my own life; it is about what I hope to inspire others to do. How do you define a good leader? I think a good leader empowers their team, giving them the confidence to share ideas and the autonomy to make a meaningful impact. I think it is important to understand everyone’s individual strengths, then align responsibilities with those strengths. Good leaders should also understand their colleagues’ long-term career goals, then show them paths to get there. I think a good leader also solicits team input, then sets clear, measurable goals that align individual and company interests. What advice do you give to those you mentor? When I mentor Villanova Law students, I advise them to: identify and follow their own passions not others’ expectations; be persistent; say yes, then figure it out; ask for what they want; and never compromise their values. I remind them opportunities can’t present themselves while sitting behind their desks. They need to put themselves out there, meet many people, create opportunities for themselves, and take risks.


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

D

avid is senior vice president at Express Trade Capital, Inc., a premier trade finance and logistics provider, which he joined in 2009, while still in law school. In addition to his role as head of business development, his executive responsibilities extend to operations, strategy, marketing, management, legal matters and client relations.

David earned a BA in international relations from John Hopkins University (2004). He received his JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (2010) where he was a Dean’s Merit Scholar and member of the Public Law, Policy & Ethics Journal. He’s admitted to the New York State Bar since 2011.

DAVID ESTRAKH Senior Vice President, Express Trade Capital, Inc.

Outside Express, David plays music, writes, performs comedy (often unintentionally), and produces films, two of which are premiering this year (“Honeydew,” screened at Tribeca, and “Silo the Film” screened at KIFF). In his commitment to philanthropy and volunteering, he serves on the Young Leadership Board of Tikva Children’s Homes, and is an active member of several New-York, based community programs and organizations including New York Cares, Central Park Conservancy, City Meals on Wheels, and the NY Public Library.

What is your definition of success? Fame, fortune, being buff! There are countless definitions of success and limitless avenues in life to be successful, none inherently better or worse. For me, someone who achieves mastery in any field that adds value to nature or humanity is at a high level of success. I feel the same about anyone who develops good relationships – whether with family, friends, colleagues, the larger community, nature, or themselves. I think we all eventually realize that success can be a trap. Some people chase success, thinking they’ll live happily ever after once they achieve it. The problem with that is, in the long term, you can’t fulfill all internal needs by measuring and attaining external success. Not to mention, most external success is ephemeral and requires maintenance, constant practice and attention, like being buff. How do you define a good leader? If you like Gino’s eggplant parmesan from Great Neck, you have the taste of a leader. So that’s definitely where it starts. Sorry, I’m staying in Great Neck lately where I grew up so I’m eating my favorite eggplant parmesan in the world. Seriously, I’ve tried eggplant parm everywhere. Maybe it’s because I ate it for the first time in my teens and there’s some nostalgia baked in it. Anyway, leadership, it’s delicious – and, like good Italian food, it’s varied and all over the place. I’ve met so many leaders with such different strengths and styles, it’s hard to give a single definition that accounts for all the variations. Instead, here are some traits that seem most common: leaders set the tone and practice what they preach; they listen deeply and communicate effectively; they stay level under pressure and act decisively, while allowing others to offer counsel and participate in the process; they make room for different perspectives and personalities. The leaders I admire most are first and foremost

leaders of themselves – they have integrity, good character and selfcontrol. The best leaders are also great coaches who can shape, mold and create new leaders. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? Keep your head down, do the work, dig in. That’s how you learn. That’s how you grow. Simple. Get the reps in. Quantity becomes quality. Also, it doesn’t hurt to be a good team player and help your colleagues and company shine along the way. Oh, and be nice. (Or you can play the difficult genius card. Warning: you’d better be a genius to play this card.) How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life? Yes, volunteer! Volunteering helps me put into perspective the relative importance (or unimportance) of professional aggravations and setbacks and focus on the bigger picture. Among other benefits, for me, participating in worthy causes promotes gratitude, meaning and purpose. Working to fulfill needs outside myself highlights to me how much I take for granted, sometimes even the very air I breathe. It also offers me a healthy dose of ego shrinkage. Ultimately, serving people and good causes roots me in larger communities and plugs me into higher purposes than my own. In particular, I’d like to give a shout-out to an organization that speaks to me personally – Tikva Children’s Homes (https://www. tikvaodessa.org/). They rescue and care for disadvantaged children from the FSU while rebuilding and revitalizing the decimated Jewish community of Odessa, where my family is from. I’ve been to their homes and their work is truly inspiring.

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

K

enny Smith is a managing director at Crystal Financial, responsible for sourcing and structuring new transactions from a nationwide network of private equity firms, commercial banks, and other intermediaries. Kenny joined Crystal in 2011 as a member of its underwriting and portfolio management team. Prior to joining Crystal, Kenny held roles at JMH Capital, Breakaway Ventures, and BDC Capital. He received his B.A. from Harvard University and his M.B.A from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Secured Finance Network’s New England Chapter. Kenny lives in the suburbs of Boston with his wife, Karianne, and their sons, Kenny and Patrick.

KENNY SMITH Managing Director, Crystal Financial

What effect has the COVID-19 crisis had on your professional life?

How do you define a good leader?

As awful as this crisis has been, there have been some silver linings to our new working environment. Like many of us, I’m working entirely from home. While that has its challenges, it is really nice to have so much extra time with my wife and two sons. The workdays are incredibly busy, but being able to sit with my family for most meals during the week is a nice change of pace and it gives good real-time perspective as to why we work so hard. The other positive I’ve experienced around this change in work environment is a sense of camaraderie with colleagues and counterparts alike, around dealing with the work-from-home challenges. With so many folks dealing with connectivity issues, children entering Zoom calls, or dogs barking in the background, I’ve found people to be a lot more collegial, even in difficult conversations. The sense that we are all in the same boat, dealing with similar issues, seems to have created a sense of understanding with everybody.

I believe the best leaders, be it in families, teams, businesses, or other organizations, are those who take on their role with a tremendous work ethic and a strong sense of humility. Effective leaders need to demonstrate a deep level of caring about the members of their organization. Leading by example by being willing to work as hard as any other member of the group is one way to demonstrate that level of care. Being humble is another. A willingness to give credit to others, to take opinions from others, and to empower others to go out and perform their roles decisively, shows humility in a leader. Demonstrating that level of trust in the members of the organization is empowering and creates a sense ownership for everyone. Any organization that is comprised of people who feel valued, and who are being tasked with going out and executing their role well, is going to see positive results.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it?

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

The best advice I’ve been given was by my parents and that was to have integrity in all that you do, and to “be your word.” While this wasn’t meant to be advice specific to a career in secured lending, I think incorporating that into my role has been very important. We deal with complex financings, in hypercompetitive environments, on short timeframes. It is really important that everyone in these processes understands exactly where we stand, what we can do, and what we can’t. In addition to simply being the right thing to do, I believe being clear and candid creates a level of trust that not only makes the transactions go more smoothly, but also leads to repeat business.

I also think the best leaders are those who are willing to follow other good leaders. If someone is better suited to lead or handle a situation, a good leader will recognize that and allow them to do so.


CRYSTAL FINANCIAL IS PROUD TO CONGRATULATE OUR COLLEAGUE

Kenny Smith AND ALL THE 2020 40 UNDER 40 AWARD RECIPIENTS

Kenny has made valuable contributions to Crystal and the industry with his creative and client centric approach. He is highly respected by his colleagues and across the industry given his responsiveness, insightful perspective and candor.

BOSTON | ATLANTA | CALIFORNIA

crystalfinco.com


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

B

ryan Courcier is senior vice president, Transportation & Construction Advisory within Hilco Commercial & Industrial. He is responsible for business development, sourcing and relationship management within Hilco’s expanding transportation, energy services and heavy equipment sectors in both the valuation and asset acquisition/liquidation practices.

Bryan is also the chief operating officer of H19 Capital, LLC, a portfolio company of Hilco Global headquartered in Indianapolis, IN providing trucking leasing & remarketing services. Bryan has extensive knowledge of equipment lending and asset management functions from a valuation, liquidation, banking and finance perspective over a 14-year career in the industry.

BRYAN COURCIER SVP, Transportation & Construction Advisory Hilco Commercial & Industrial

He previously served as national account manager at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, with a focus on insolvency, restructuring and special situations within the construction and heavy equipment industry. He is an active member of the Turnaround Management Association, the Secured Finance Network and the American Bankruptcy Institute.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? You cannot progress in your career until you have mastered the current role you have. Maintain a balance of patience, ambition and application to the task in front of you. Understand there is always a long-term goal in your career and make almost every business decision on a daily basis with that in mind. What is your definition of success? Dictating your own career path in a manner that leads to enjoyment, cultivation of genuine lasting relationships, and material financial achievement. What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life? From day one I have told myself that COVID, more than anything else, presents an opportunity for those of us who are willing to lean in and continue to pursue transactions. At Hilco, we are built to see diversity and changes in our world as valuable moments where we shine and take the challenge head-on. While many of the social events of our industry have been tabled, I have been busier than ever working to generate business solutions for our partners and clients.

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely? I have completely adopted the video conference. In some instances, it feels as though we speak more because so few of us have had our days cut short by conflicting travel schedules. How do you define a good leader? In the traditional sense: Someone who empowers and enables colleagues and employees, and never stands in the way of talent.

What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? Say yes to every task that you are asked to handle (within reason) and never make the same mistake twice. What advice would you give to forthcoming generations of talent aspiring to win this award? This award is the result of many years of hard work and dedication; likely in more than one organization. Stay consistent and persistent in the pursuit of your career aspirations and you will eventually find yourself in a position where your achievements will be recognized. When interviewing newcomers to the industry, what do you say to pique their interest about why they should accept a position in this industry? No two projects are the same and there is always more to learn about one industry or another. In order to be successful within this space, you have to be on your game and strong in your approach to situations. The industry is filled with highly educated and capable people who expect a lot from one another. How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life? I would encourage young professionals to become educated on what community or volunteer options are out there in their local area, and pick one that has a natural appeal. If I am being frank and honest, the amount of travel and time spent on the road has limited my ability to regularly contribute as a volunteer. However, every instance I have had the opportunity to participate in any type of community or charity event has been extremely rewarding.


Congratulations Bryan Courcier on being recognized as one of SFNet’s 40 Under 40

Hilco Global acknowledges Bryan and the rest of the SFNET 40 Under 40 class for demonstrating outstanding leadership in the commercial finance industry.

V ALUA TI ON + MONETIZ ATIO N + ADVISOR Y www.HilcoGlobalAssetSmarter.com


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

L

eena Stover is a vice president in the Assed Based Lending Group for Truist Financial. Leena is responsible for ABL originations in the southeast and mid-Atlantic. She joined SunTrust Robinson Humphrey (now Truist) in February 2015.

Leena has 12 years of banking experience. Prior to SunTrust, she was a vice president with BB&T in their Corporate Banking group. With her previous experience in underwriting and portfolio management, she brings a full skillset to the origination of ABL loans for publicly and privately held companies in a diverse range of industries and capital structures. Leena holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Elon University and a master in finance from Johns Hopkins University. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Danny, and their two young daughters, Emery and Leighton.

LEENA STOVER Vice President, Asset Based Lending Truist Financial What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it?

ever-changing environment of banking, a good leader is adaptable and able to lead their team through change.

I have been very fortunate to have great mentors in my life. Whether it’s family members, friends, or coworkers, I have always had supportive and strong people around me. The best professional advice I have been given is to stay true to you. It is important to be authentic. Don’t try to change yourself to fit in. Find a workplace where you enjoy the work and the people that surround you. You should feel comfortable being yourself. It is important to like what you do and who you are doing it with.

I have been fortunate to have many good leaders over the course of my career. They lead by example and I am forever grateful to have had them in my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely? In this new entirely remote environment it quickly became all the more important to make an effort to stay in touch with colleagues and clients. Instead of having the fallback of going to the office each day or meeting in a client’s office, you now have to connect on the phone, e-mail or WebEx. Fortunately, technology has made this transition seamless. Companies have been forced to get creative with virtual meetings and events. Whether it is pitching new business, a virtual happy hour, or even wine tasting! The industry seems to have successfully adapted to this new remote environment.

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

The banking world in particular is ever-changing. It could be organizational changes, process changes, or industry wide changes. To be successful, you must be nimble and adaptable to this change. COVID is just another example of how the industry changed. How do you define a good leader? A good leader is someone who elevates others around them. They lead by setting a good example and maintaining a positive attitude. In the

What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? My advice to junior talent is threefold – stay positive, ask questions, and be eager to learn. Stay positive: it is important to keep a good attitude, both for you and others. Work hard and try to have fun! There will be hard times where you are frustrated, don’t understand or simply have too much to do. Try to stay positive through these periods that are inevitable – seek advice or just step away. Focus on the positive. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: take advantage of being new and ask as many questions as you can. No one expects you to understand everything when you start. Leverage others’ experience and knowledge to boost your own. There is so much to learn. Be eager to learn: when you start your career you have so much to learn, keep an open mind and try to diversify your experience. Stay focused, work hard and have pride in your work.


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

D

aniel Pfeiffer, head of Technology for Distribution Finance, joined Wells Fargo in 2016, where he led sales and originations for its Payables and Account Receivables Finance team for the bank’s Supply Chain Finance group. Prior to joining the bank, Pfeiffer worked at San Francisco-based software company, Taulia, where he managed their customer portfolio team and worked to establish and grow their Supply Chain Finance business. In addition, he spent 12 years at Citibank, serving in various leadership roles in operations, sales and business management. He holds a bachelor degree from the University of Delaware, and lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

DANIEL PFEIFFER Head of Technology for Distribution Finance Wells Fargo What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? I once had a manager recommend that I take an honest look at my success over the years, to help me fully understand how it had come about. We tend to dissect our failures and all the ways we could have done better, but I learned it’s just as important to focus on what we did right. In addition, to ensure our continued success, we should celebrate when things go well, while also being candid with ourselves about our individual roles, giving credit to others in meaningful and specific ways, and accurately applying lessons learned. What is your definition of success? There are many great answers to this question but one of the most important things I strive for daily is to be genuinely present — for my family, my colleagues, and my team.

When interviewing newcomers to the industry, what do you say to pique their interest on why they should accept a position in this industry? Finance sits at the intersection of all economic activity — you get to work with so many people, including brilliant colleagues, clients, and partners from whom you never stop learning. How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life? It’s important to engage in the community with causes close to your heart. I believe being involved in the community encourages so much good by binding us to a collective wellbeing, but it requires participation and great effort. Staying connected reminds me of the importance of a common cause, as well as balances our ideas of effort and reward, which is critical for being centered, calm, and thoughtful at work.

How do you define a good leader? A good leader is one who provides clarity of purpose for those around them. At the end of the day, what drives us all to work hard, focus, and block out the noise and distractions, is feeling and knowing our work is significant and tied to a broader purpose.

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What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? Lean into your strengths; be honest with yourself and others; hold fast to and trust your moral compass; make use of your perspective; listen intently; and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions.

THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

A

aron Sceva is vice president, business development for U.S. Bank’s Asset Based Finance division. Based in Chicago, IL, Aaron manages the Illinois and Wisconsin territory in which he sources direct and syndicated asset-based opportunities for middle-market companies and private-equity sponsors. Aaron began his asset-based lending career in 2006. Prior to his current position, he served as a portfolio manager from 2010 – 2014, a field examiner from 2007 – 2009 and a credit analyst from 2006 – 2007, all with the U.S. Bank Asset Based Finance division. Aaron earned a bachelor in accounting from the University of Cincinnati (2006) and is currently a third-year student at the Pacific Coast Banking School. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Chancé, and dog, Hughey.

AARON SCEVA VP, Business Development U.S. Bank

Aaron currently serves as the President and Director of the SFNet Midwest Chapter. His prior involvement with the Midwest Chapter includes serving as its First Vice President, Treasurer and as a committee co-chair and volunteer.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it?

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

“The harder you work, the luckier you get.” This quote, and the advice it provides, has influenced my interactions with colleagues and customers throughout my career. It has been my experience that, when you put in extra effort and analysis, it often makes the difference when it comes to building strong relationships and winning new opportunities.

I’ve also been able to participate in a few happy hours through Zoom. At U.S. Bank we’ve been using video calls more and more, which I think does a good job of keeping everyone engaged. That said, the vast majority of my day-to-day interaction has been through e-mail and phone/conference calls, as I think people are still warming up to the idea of participating in video calls. Overall, I think the increase in video/virtual meetings has been a positive and I’m looking forward to the continued evolution of video conferencing.

What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life?

How do you define a good leader?

In addition to my current role, and because of the economic issues caused by the pandemic, I’ve been able to utilize my background and provide support to our portfolio team. It’s a challenging time in our lives, but everyone in our group has been focused on being as supportive as possible and I’m proud of the way we are all working together. Also, I’m definitely looking forward to the day we can return to the office; I miss seeing all of my co-workers and colleagues.

A good leader is someone who recognizes the talent of those around them and encourages their development by providing guidance and honest feedback, good or bad. A personal experience of good leadership that I often think about came when I was early in my career. Following a tough meeting with a client, my division leader called to give me encouragement for how I handled the situation and then shared his thoughts about items to consider and areas where I could improve. What I’ve always appreciated about that moment is that, while it was likely routine for him, I was early in my career and it was a new situation for me. As a leader, he recognized it was the right moment to provide me with feedback and encouragement that was focused on my development.

Another impact COVID has had on my professional life is that my wife and I are both working from home. Like many city dwellers, we’ve had to make some interesting changes to our apartment in order to create a functional workspace. Our dining table became a two-person desk, our coffee table became our dining table, our second bedroom became the conference call center and our dog became the office mascot! How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely? I’ve found the SFNet virtual panels have been a great way to stay connected and keep up to speed with what’s going on in the industry,

What advice would you give to forthcoming generations of talent aspiring to win this award? The process of learning is critical to your on-going development, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to admit when you’ve made a mistake. In those moments it may feel uncomfortable to put yourself out there, but it’s those same moments that will help you build your foundation and continue to grow in your career.


Impossible is vastly overestimated.

At U.S. Bank, we believe that your company can reach its goals, no matter how ambitious, and we’re proud to offer the competitive products and services to help you reach them. Get started on making your possible happen today.

Congratulations to

Aaron Sceva

Recipient of the Secured Finance 40 under 40 award

usbank.com

“World’s Most Ethical Companies” and “Ethisphere” names and marks are registered trademarks of Ethisphere LLC. Member FDIC ©2020 U.S. Bank. 397503 (8/20)


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

T

revor Brown is a director in Bluewater’s Lender Analytics Group. Trevor joined Bluewater in 2008 as a field examiner and has since performed over 454 (yes, he’s that detail-oriented) collateral field exams. Trevor’s integrity and task-oriented focus have helped him gain comprehensive knowledge about the asset-based lending industry. His attention to detail and ability to “think outside of the box” have been valuable to multiple lenders, providing them assurance about the security of their collateralized loans. Trevor earned a bachelor of business administration degree, with a double major in finance and business management and a minor in Business Administration from the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

TREVOR BROWN Director, Bluewater Transaction Advisors LLC

Trevor is an Eagle Scout, lives in Michigan, and keeps active spending time with his wife, Kathryn, son Louis, and daughter Bliss.

What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life?

leaders must also display an air of confidence to achieve success.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the day-to-day operations of our firm. Before the pandemic, we spent most of our weeks conducting on-site field exams, and transitioning to remote exams has been a challenge. These tough times have helped develop my emotional intelligence given everyone is going through something deserving of my patience and understanding. Conducting field exams in this current environment requires a deeper empathy for the struggles causing delays and the potential stressors facing the borrowers. Routine delays have caused inefficiencies in our process and are now causing us to re-evaluate how our collateral exams will be handled going forward. It is apparent this global pandemic will change how we conduct our daily business forever.

My leadership style is built on trust. I strive to be consistent, kind and authentic. I approach everyone with respect, but I also expect people to keep their word, and I expect results. Being authentic and genuine has helped me become a more successful leader.

What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? Starting my professional career in 2008 as junior talent and then growing into a next-generation leader of Bluewater, I have been fortunate to learn that I have the ability to empower others to be the best they can be. The best advice I give to junior talent comes straight from my father: “Hard Work Always Pays Off.” There are no shortcuts. Set goals, work hard to achieve them, and good things will happen for you.

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

Also, take pride in your work. This mindset will encourage you to work hard and will lay a foundation for a positive reputation in our industry. A positive reputation will open doors and opportunities for you. How do you define a good leader? A good leader displays passion, works to build positive rapport with others, and is always trustworthy, credible, and dependable. All great

When interviewing newcomers to the industry, what do you say to pique their interest about why they should accept a position in this industry? There will never be a boring day in this industry. Every structure, borrower and lender is different, and I can safely say that I have not yet worked on a field exam where I didn’t learn something new. I am not the type of person who can go to the same cubicle or office each day. I love getting out, meeting new people and learning as much about a company in a week or two as I can. I’ve been lucky to perform exams on so many cool companies and learn how they are run and how everyday things are made.


Congratulations Trevor Brown Bluewater is proud to congratulate Trevor Brown for being recognized as a 40 UNDER 40 award winner. Trevor’s diligence and mentorship lays the foundation for the next group of industry professionals. Trevor fully embodies the essence of Bluewater by providing an opportunity to engage in an experience that inspires those we encounter to move toward their personal and our collective fulfillment.

Bluewater has served the secured finance markets for 20 years relieving the angst of complex and high profile examinations, and we stand with Trevor to continue that tradition in the coming generations. Manufacturing

Distribution

Information Technology

Service

Healthcare/Medical

Agriculture

consultbluewater.com 586.558.8888

Just add water.


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

S

amir Ahuja is an associate in Blank Rome’s Finance, Restructuring and Bankruptcy Practice Group in New York. Samir concentrates his practice on finance, restructuring, and bankruptcy matters. He represents investment banks and financial institutions in connection with acquisition and working capital financing transactions, including assetbased lending and leveraged finance transactions, FAL facilities, fund financing transactions, and debt restructurings. Samir has extensive experience in technology finance and unitranche transactions, and has worked on numerous cross-border transactions with borrowers, guarantors and collateral in over 40 jurisdictions.

SAMIR AHUJA Associate, Blank Rome LLP

Samir previously served as a judicial intern for the Honorable John J. Hughes of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, and interned for the Enforcement Division of the New York Stock Exchange. He has been involved in civic and community groups, including among others Shree Bidada Sarvodaya Trust, where he assisted physicians in underprivileged village elementary schools in Gujarat, India to provide healthcare education and evaluations, including preparing and presenting seminars/workshops so that students could learn skills necessary to maintain ongoing health.

How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely?

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

It is, to say the least, an unprecedented time in our professional and personal lives. I’m sure you have seen the usual work-from-home tips and used Zoom and Microsoft Teams with family, friends and, potentially, clients. Although it’s been difficult, it’s still necessary to find a way to maintain company culture and relationships while also fighting loneliness and isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic. Along the way, I’ve learned some techniques that are especially useful. The first couple of weeks working from home, I appreciated my new virtual “commute” to work. It was amazing. I woke up and I was already in my office. With all the saved time, I could sleep, read the daily news or a book, and catch up on my latest TV obsession. However, I quickly learned that I needed to reinvent that time to be more productive. What do I mean? I now use that “commute” time to set up virtual meetings, coffee breaks, and/or calls with colleagues and clients alike. Now, with my new schedule, I have a set time daily where I am actively looking to build upon my relationships. I’ve also begun to develop my relationships with my colleagues and clients to help liven up the slower moments. Let’s face it, Zoom calls and coffee meetings can become mundane and dull, even under normal circumstances. As a result, to come up with creative ideas, I have put in the effort to understand my colleagues’ and clients’ interests outside the office so that we could connect on a more personal note (for example, we have set up intimate classes to make fun cocktails or bake bread together). Through this pandemic, I’ve learned the importance of maintaining relationships, both in my professional life and my personal life.

How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life? Some of my proudest memories are not what I accomplished in the office, but rather the service projects I participate in outside of it. As a mentor to talented underserved youth at my temple and with a local nonprofit, I attempt to make an impact both in my community and the corporate world. To this day, students I have worked with call to share some of their great accomplishments. My achievements at work are dwarfed by the satisfaction I get being a small part of these kids fulfilling their goals. I quickly realized that they are not the only ones benefiting from the experience. I have come away with a completely new set of skills. For example, I have been forced to learn and develop new leadership skills, communicate more effectively, and serve as an effective teacher and mentor, all of which have benefited me at work and in my overall professional life. It would be so much easier for me to say, ‘I would love to volunteer but I simply have too much on my plate.’ The reward I receive from these service opportunities make me glad that I don’t. There are a lot of exciting opportunities out there to volunteer and I am sure if you look, you will find something that you enjoy (and help yourself obtain the skills you need to grow in your profession along the way).


We proudly congratulate Samir Ahuja on his inclusion in SFNet’s 40 under 40. His commitment to the highest standards of achievement is outstanding and we are honored to call him our colleague. We are very proud of Samir Ahuja as he is recognized by the Secured Finance Network. Samir Ahuja, Associate | Finance sahuja@blankrome.com Blank Rome is an Am Law 100 firm with 14 offices and more than 600 attorneys and principals who provide a full range of legal and advocacy services to clients operating in the United States and around the world.

Chicago • Cincinna • Fort Lauderdale • Houston • Los Angeles • New York • Philadelphia • Pisburgh • Princeton • San Francisco • Shanghai • Tampa • Washington • Wilmington Attorney advertising. © 2020 Blank Rome LLP. All rights reserved.


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

J

ennifer Fenn, a partner in Choate Hall & Stewart’s Finance & Restructuring Group, is a recognized leader both in and out of the office. She routinely leads, and is an integral part of, some of the firm’s most high-profile transactions. Her practice focuses on the representation of lenders in a broad range of complex financing transactions for both banks and institutional investors, focusing on asset-based transactions with an emphasis on the retail market. Jen’s ability to execute the full lifecycle of a variety of deal structures – including originations, distressed work, DIP financings, and emergence financings – has impressed clients and peers alike.

JENNIFER FENN Partner, Choate Hall & Stewart

Beyond her client work, Jen has a proven commitment to developing and mentoring the next generation of talent. Having played an active role in Choate’s hiring process for years, Jen was recently appointed as one of the firm’s two Hiring Partners. She has also dedicated considerable efforts to supporting and advancing women within the financial community. Jen serves as both an informal and formal mentor and is an active member of the Choate Women’s Network steering committee and Choate’s alumni committee.

What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life? Like many working parents, I’ve had quite a few unexpected experiences over the last few months - surprise visitors on my Zoom meetings, tending to scuffed knees while on calls, and attempting to work through the remote learning curriculum for my first grader, just to name a few. COVID has had an undeniable impact on almost every aspect of our daily routines, and has forced many of us to adjust the ways in which we approach our jobs - not only in the nuts and bolts of our dayto-day, but also in how we think about the high-level issues that remain critical to career development. By way of example, some of the best learning opportunities in my experience often happen organically and informally; so, while we all continue to work remotely, I think it is more important than ever to proactively seek feedback and prioritize training. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor?

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

I think most people understand the importance of building a professional network, but many struggle with knowing how to go about it. You need to focus on building honest connections with the people around you. What may work for the person in the office next to you might not be right for you, and what may be successful in one situation might not work in another. You may find that you connect with someone over a mutual love of golf or local sports teams, but it could just as easily be about trading tips on how to get your toddler to go to bed on time, your favorite summer activity, or a shared alma mater. In my experience, the people with the strongest networks are those who learn from the people around them, and are then able to take those skills and adapt them in a way that is authentic for them.

How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life? Finding a way to get involved in your community is something I think everyone should strive to do. It can have incredible benefits, both personally and professionally. Because it takes a material time commitment to have a meaningful impact on any organization, my advice is always to find something about which you are passionate. For me, that has been seeking opportunities to help connect and advance women within the finance community and within Choate. Through serving as a member of the steering committee for Choate’s firm-wide women’s leadership initiative, the Choate Women’s Network, for the last several years, I have been fortunate enough to work closely with women throughout the firm to help facilitate training, business development and networking opportunities for women throughout our organization. Over the years, I have also worked to spearhead a series of networking events aimed at bringing women within the finance community together. Through these efforts, I have seen the networks of my women colleagues become stronger, watched as new skills have been cultivated, and seen many confidently take the next step in their careers. Becoming involved in these efforts has also afforded me the chance to collaborate with, and learn from, so many people with whom I might not otherwise have crossed paths.


The Secured Finance Foundation’s Campaign 2020 Is Underway This year's goal is $350,000 – your support can get us there. When faced with unprecedented challenges, SFFound is there to help A strong network is more important than ever in times of uncertainty. That’s why the Secured Finance Foundation helps unite our industry for crucial conversations, delivers actionable data to inform smart business decisions and prepares individuals for what comes next with our Education Focus 20/20 initiative. But none of this is possible without your support.

Networking, Industry data, Education, NextGen, Community and Webinars/ Roundtables

Where does your money go? Community Outreach & Investment

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For more information or to make a donation, please visit SFFound.org Follow the Secured Finance Foundation on


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

J

effrey Dunlop is a principal in the Commercial Finance Group of Goldberg Kohn Ltd. Jeff’s practice focuses on the representation of banks and other commercial lenders in structuring, negotiating and documenting a variety of commercial finance transactions. His experience includes secured asset-based and cash-flow loans, leveraged buy-outs, mezzanine financings, second lien financings and unitranche loan transactions. In addition, Jeff has extensive experience in cross-border lending transactions involving North and South America, Europe and Asia.

JEFFREY DUNLOP Principal, Goldberg Kohn Ltd.

Jeff is admitted to practice in Illinois. He received his law degree, cum laude, from Northwestern University in 2007 and his B.B.A., with highest honors, from the University of Michigan in 2002. Prior to law school, Jeff worked as a consultant for an international consulting firm providing economic and financial valuation for complex commercial disputes. He served as an editor of the Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business while in law school.

How do you define a good leader? A good leader is someone who leads by example while also developing those whom they are leading. In order to do that successfully, a good leader needs to build a relationship of trust with colleagues, built on honesty and the belief that you are all working together to achieve a common goal. In addition, a good leader needs to take initiative and demonstrate the ability to take on the difficult tasks, while also motivating subordinates to work as hard as they do. As I work to develop my own leadership skills, I have looked to the senior leadership of our firm to emulate these traits. Our firm, through the leadership of many of our partners, thrives on developing attorneys internally though an environment where questions and dialogue are core values. Though each of these individuals, who have built our firm and made it successful, may have their own leadership styles, the common theme is to lead and develop the firm through trust, support and respect. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor?

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THE SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

Be patient and work hard. Practicing law in commercial finance is intellectually stimulating and rewarding, but it comes with a very steep learning curve. The only way to become a proficient attorney in this area is, like so many other things in life, through repetition and practice. Junior attorneys need to appreciate that it takes time — and a lot of hard work – where you are encountering issues and solving problems in order to develop. The most important requirement of this development is to ask questions and build upon each experience. I often get asked by junior attorneys where they should be in what year of their career in terms of capabilities and skills. The answer is

not a black-and-white objective standard, but rather a curve. Everyone develops differently and so it’s important to focus more on your own development and not get caught up looking too much at your peers. Put in the effort and, when the light goes on in terms of understanding a new concept or solving a novel problem, apply that to the next challenge. When interviewing newcomers to the industry, what do you say to pique their interest about why they should accept a position in this industry? My favorite part of practicing law in commercial finance is the ability to see a broad cross-section of business and industry. In some respects, every secured lending transaction seems like it should be the same. When I talk to friends and family outside of our industry, they certainly think this is the case. But, in practice, the nuances of company industries (from manufacturing, to retail, to hospitality and everything in between), structures and types of facilities, acquisition and growth strategies and risk-to-reward profiles of clients, among others, allow practitioners in this industry to interact with an incredibly wide range of commerce. Add in cross-border transactions and you have the further overlap with how other countries create legal frameworks to address many of the same ideas, and it is a fascinating window into cultures and problem-solving around the world. In other words, you get to see many of the same problems or issues facing companies today and find ways to solve them.


"Jeff is a consummate pro who handles his deals with an enviable combination of technical expertise and practical sensibility that makes him very effective at protecting his clients and getting deals done. He has already accomplished some great things in his career and we expect more to come." – Michael Hainen, Chair of Goldberg Kohn's Commercial Finance Group

Congratulations to our standout Commercial Finance partner

JEFFREY DUNLOP

for being named a winner in the Legal Services category for SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Awards.

Goldberg Kohn, commercial attorneys based in Chicago, has one of the most highly respected commercial finance practices in the U.S. The firm represents a diverse group of major and regional banks, commercial finance companies, mezzanine lenders, and other institutional lenders in structuring and documenting commercial finance transactions. Our Commercial Finance Group works on a wide range of transactions, including revolving working capital facilities (asset-based and cash flow), leveraged acquisitions, loan restructurings, mezzanine loans, and debtor-in-possession financings, covering virtually all business sectors.


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

R

ichard C. Kim focuses his practice on representing private equity sponsors, public and private borrowers, lead arrangers and lenders in connection with syndicated and bilateral loan financings, including senior secured financings, first lien and second lien financings, domestic and cross-border financings, unsecured financings, acquisition financings and bridge financings.

Richard was selected as an IFLR1000 “Rising Star (New York)” from 2018 through 2020 and as a recipient of The M&A Advisor’s “Emerging Leaders” award in 2017. Richard serves as the co-hiring chair and the co-career development liaison for the firm’s New York office, and he’s a member of the Secured Finance Network’s New York Chapter and the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG). Richard also serves as a mentor to diverse law students and associates through his involvement in the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

RICHARD C. KIM Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Richard received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 2006, where he served as an executive editor of the Michigan Law Review. Richard received his B.S., with honors, from Cornell University in 2003.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? “Business is personal” is a phrase that resonates with every facet of my practice as a corporate finance attorney. I enjoy spending a significant portion of my time during each day growing client relationships and advising them on their day-to-day and strategic matters, in addition to training and developing our team, and coordinating with and leveraging our firm’s practice area experts. As a corporate finance attorney, being able to quickly and efficiently gather the collective knowledge of the firm’s experts helps to facilitate our team’s ability to successfully represent our clients. Furthermore, I’m grateful for the time spent with clients and colleagues and for each of the relationships that we’ve been able to build, and I appreciate the personal nature of our business as I work with clients and colleagues that I respect and trust, which makes the practice even more rewarding. How do you define a good leader?

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A good leader must acknowledge that he or she is not alone and operating in a vacuum, but rather, a good leader leads by example, inspires other team members and has a sincere enthusiasm for the business or practice. A good leader demonstrates effective ways to interact with and earn the trust of clients, to collaborate with colleagues and to mentor and teach younger professionals. A good leader isn’t simply empowered to make decisions due to his or her position; but, rather they are willing to take on the risk of decision-making and to earn the continued loyalty of the team. Furthermore, a good leader understands that true loyalty is reciprocal and they find ways to express his or her loyalty for the team in tangible ways that benefit the team, including standing up for the team members during challenging times and ensuring that

the team members have the training and resources to do their jobs. A good leader also needs to understand the company, the nature of the business and the needs of their clients in order to effectively and collaboratively advise the firm’s clients. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? I’ve been fortunate to work with great junior associates on my team, who are each highly motivated and eager to learn. I often advise junior associates to embrace their role on the team, and to understand why their role is important to the transaction. Since I encourage junior associates to be empowered to take ownership of a workstream with respect to a transaction, junior associates are oftentimes coordinating due diligence and disclosure with companies, drafting collateral documentation and assisting in the review of other loan documentation. Therefore, junior associates play a very important role. Furthermore, junior associates should be curious about their practice, and I advise them to ask questions, and to followup during and after a transaction with the senior team members, and their mentors. Oftentimes, this iterative process of asking questions, hearing the answers, and then applying those newly learned concepts to the current and subsequent transactions is how junior associates are able to expand their knowledge base and transactional skillset. In addition, it has the advantage of also informing the senior members of the team about the breadth and depth of the junior associate’s knowledge, and where they can focus on learning more, which allows for opportunities to invite them to webinars, CLEs and other practiceoriented teaching moments.


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

L

iz Buckley is a senior counsel in the Debt Finance practice group of McGuireWoods LLP in Atlanta, Georgia. She represents financial institutions in financing transactions across a broad range of industries, including the healthcare industry. She particularly enjoys, and focuses her practice on, asset-based loans, but also has experience with acquisition and other leveraged financings, workouts and restructurings, debtor-in-possession financings and exit financings. Liz joined McGuireWoods in November 2015 after working at two other law firms in their debt finance practices. McGuireWoods LLP is a member of the Secured Finance Network.

ELIZABETH BUCKLEY Senior Counsel, McGuireWoods LLP

Liz earned her J.D., magna cum laude, from The University of Georgia in 2007 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is a native of Atlanta, GA where she lives with her husband, Robert, and their two young sons.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? Don’t be in a hurry and don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. While these may seem contrary ideas, I have found both of these pieces of advice very helpful to me in my practice, particularly after I became a mother. Don’t be in a hurry because you need to take your time and pay attention to what you are doing, especially in our practice, which is so detail-oriented. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good because practicing law and raising a family are both time- and energy-intensive pursuits and much of the time you will feel you are not doing one job or the other perfectly.

How do you define a good leader? I think a good leader is someone who is respectful of other viewpoints and perspectives, can recognize the strengths of various team members, motivate team members to work together and help each team member feel like their contribution was valuable and valued. This requires a certain level of unselfishness and willingness to share credit, particularly with those that may be junior to you. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor?

Do it for you. As in, do the best job you can do and do it for your own satisfaction of knowing you did the best job you could. Don’t look for praise from your employer, your colleagues or your clients. You can’t control that piece, and, if it doesn’t come, it will lead to frustration.

Try to be on every phone call you can be on to learn all you can about negotiations before you are expected to be the person negotiating a document, even if it is time you cannot bill. Looking back on my career, that time was invaluable as it allowed me to observe many different attorneys and the negotiation styles they chose to employ and helped me to develop my own.

What is your definition of success?

Be solicitous of more senior lawyers and consistently ask how you can help.

My definition of success is doing high-quality work that feels meaningful to me on a team of professionals that I like and respect for clients that I like and respect. The team piece is critical as most working professionals spend (or used to spend) more time at the office with our colleagues and clients than we do at home.

Always ask the question if you do not understand something. If you don’t feel you can ask the senior attorney you are working with on the matter, ask someone else on your team. What we do is not intuitive and is very different from what is taught in most law schools, so on-thejob training is essential.

How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely? During this time of working remotely I have found one-on-one phone calls with colleagues and clients to be most effective in terms of helping me to feel more connected. While Zoom happy hours and meetings can be fun and helpful for certain projects, I think a call really helps people to feel connected to each other.

If you make a mistake, own up to it. Most mistakes can be fixed relatively easily and quickly if you do this.

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SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

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lizabeth Khoury Ali is a Partner in Morgan Lewis’s Transactional Finance practice, resident in Houston and New York. She represents leading financial institutions and corporate borrowers in domestic and international commercial finance transactions. Her practice focuses on syndicated debt financings, asset-based financings, acquisition financings and multinational credit facilities, employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) loan transactions, mezzanine financings, and other strategic financings that span a number of industries and business sectors.  Elizabeth handles domestic and international loan workouts and restructurings, and she advises clients in general corporate and compliance matters. As hiring partner in Morgan Lewis’s Houston office, Elizabeth devotes much of her time to recruiting as well as mentoring and training junior associates.

ELIZABETH KHOURY ALI Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Elizabeth is active in various community and minority organizations. She is an elected member of the Texas Bar Foundation and serves at several pro bono clinics offering free legal advice for low-income individuals and veterans as well as women entrepreneurs looking to launch a business. Elizabeth has attained Massachusetts Super Lawyers “Rising Star” recognition from 2013 through 2017, and Texas Super Lawyers “Rising Star” recognition in 2019 and 2020. She was also named a Law360 “Rising Star” in Banking in 2018.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? Start building your network and relationships (both internally and externally) from the onset of your career and find a trusted mentor or sponsor within your organization who can advocate for you. I was involved early on at my firm and with external trade and community organizations like SFNet. By being involved, I was able to build relationships that have been valuable to both my personal and professional development as a corporate finance attorney. I was also fortunate to find a sponsor who has been crucial to my career trajectory and success. How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely?

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It is important to take a few moments out of your day to reflect broadly about how others might be faring in this remote environment. Everyone has their individual struggles, yet we are sharing as a whole in the experience of unprecedented uncertainty and isolation. Now more than ever in these challenging times, it is essential to maintain the connection (both personal and professional) with our clients and colleagues. I will typically set aside some time each week to check in on various clients directly to ask how they and their families are. I want each and every one of them to know that I am ready to listen, provide support and help find resolutions. Fortunately, my team keeps in regular close contact through the course of our daily workflow. We also engage in routine, virtual gatherings to check in with each other, which helps keep up spirit, morale and a sense of camaraderie. No agenda, just open dialogue.

Limiting the groups to a more intimate size has proven to be most conducive to inclusivity, and we have gotten to learn and appreciate more about each other on a personal level. It’s very positive and beneficial for the collective team, both on the junior and senior level. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? Strategic self-promotion at all stages of your career is important to your success. It is encouraged to express your career objectives to your mentor and supervisor from the very beginning to guide your trajectory. While pursuing your career goals, learn to embrace change and be flexible. Success in any endeavor requires persistence. How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life? Being involved in your community can help you (1) further shape your core values, (2) build on your leadership and innovative skills, (3) build on your personal and professional network, and (4) gain a sense of responsibility and empowerment. My pro bono and community work has helped me find connections and friends with common interests and values. It also helps me balance work with other activities that I am passionate about while making a tangible positive impact.


We congratulate our partner

ELIZABETH KHOURY ALI

for her recognition as one of the SECURED FINANCE NETWORK’S 40 UNDER 40 AWARD RECIPIENTS in the Legal Services category. We applaud her indelible impact on the secured finance industry.

www.morganlewis.com ©2020 Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

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ulia Gavrilov serves as counsel to Moritt Hock & Hamroff LLP (MHH) in its Secured Lending, Equipment & Transportation Finance Group, specializing in equipment leasing and finance, secured lending and all areas of complex commercial litigation. In her 13 years of practice, Julia has emerged as a recognized leader in the industry, both on the transactional and litigation side.

On the transactional side, Julia specializes in the drafting of loan and lease documents in various secured financing transactions on behalf of secured lenders, banks and lessors, and represents both buyers and sellers in syndication and capital market transactions. As a seasoned litigator, Julia regularly represents both institutional and individual clients in all areas of complex commercial litigation.

JULIA GAVRILOV Counsel, Moritt Hock & Hamroff LLP

Julia was recently appointed to the Service Providers Business Council Steering Committee of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) and also as the sole attorney to serve on the Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation’s Research Committee. Julia has been invited to speak on numerous industry panels, including ELFA’s Legal Forum and its Credit and Collections conference. Julia also chairs MHH’s Women’s Initiative program and was recently profiled in The Secured Lender’s Women in Secured Finance – April 2020 issue.

What is your definition of success? Success is unique to everyone, but the common thread is being satisfied with oneself. I define my own success when I can say with certainty that I am better today than I was yesterday, and continue to strive to be better tomorrow. So long as that fire remains ignited within me, I am happy with where I am and know that I am fostering my own personal and professional growth. What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life? The COVID-19 crisis has helped me forge a closer relationship with my clients. We were all simultaneously put in a position where we were bringing our professional lives into our homes, and before we knew it, it became common to hear lawn mowers, children screaming and dogs barking in the background on calls. We were checking in on one another, just to make sure that everyone was okay. Amidst the uncertainty and unknowns that entrenched us all, we recognized our own vulnerability in others, and could relate to one another in ways that transcend your typical business relationship. Experiencing a rarity like COVID-19 together has cultivated raw, deeper and more personal connections that are very real and never forgotten. How do you define a good leader?

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There are many good leaders, each one of whom embodies a unique combination of qualities. However, there are a few characteristics that distinguish the good from the great. I view a great leader as one who inspires great performance, pushes you outside of your comfort zone, encourages you to take on challenges that expand your skills and provides you with a platform to make a difference and gain visibility. Decisiveness, particularly in challenging times, is also a distinguishing factor. While it may not always be a popular decision, exercising good

judgment in making clear, timely decisions to difficult questions earns the respect of your team. A great leader is able to empathize. The ability to see and relate to another person’s perspective reflects a heightened emotional intelligence that helps better connect you with your clients, employees, colleagues and even your competitors. A certain degree of humility is often carried by a great leader, particularly when you can admit mistakes and embrace criticism as an opportunity for growth. In no way a compromise to confidence, being humble makes you approachable and gives credit where credit is due. You know a great leader when you see one. I am privileged to be led by the best, and am still taking notes. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? I am guided by three principles, which I often share with those I mentor. First, be your own advocate and create opportunities for yourself. Stay curious and continue to ask questions. The more you know, the more clients and colleagues will look to you as a valued resource and advisor. Second, I believe there is something to learn from everybody and every experience. Personalities, style and approaches may differ, but you can derive, learn and create from every interaction and adapt it to a style that is unique to your set of skills. Even negative experiences are, more often than not, a disguised opportunity for growth. Lastly, and perhaps the most important piece of advice, is committing oneself to excellence and, in doing so, staying focused and continuing to push the goal line. It is easy to settle. While that may work for some, I believe that when we do that, we deny ourselves the ability to maximize our full potential.


Great things happen when we put our heads together.

JULIA GAVRILOV Secured Lending & Litigation

We Proudly Join Together In Congratulating Our Colleague & Friend

JULIA GAVRILOV On Her Induction Into The Secured Finance Network’s 40 Under 40 Class Of 2020. Congratulations To All Of This Year’s Honorees.

Garden City | 516.873.2000 New York City | 212.239.2000 www.moritthock.com


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

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khwan Rafeek is a member in Otterbourg P.C.’s Banking and Finance Department. He has extensive experience representing institutional lenders, banks, commercial finance companies, and factors in connection with the documentation of secured lending arrangements, including asset-based, factoring, term loan, healthcare, real estate, middle-market, and first and second lien loan transactions. He also frequently represents secured lenders in workouts and restructurings and in portfolio acquisitions and dispositions. Ikhwan was named as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine in 2019. He is a member of the New York State Bar Association. He earned his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 2008 and his B.A. from City University of New York – Baruch College in 2005.

IKHWAN A. RAFEEK Member Otterbourg P.C.

What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life? The biggest impact that the COVID crisis has had is that a significant portion of the legal work has shifted from closing new deals to doing workouts for existing deals. With so many uncertainties surrounding COVID, lenders and borrowers have had to come to the table to address defaults that have arisen under their financing arrangements and restructure their deals for the next year. There has also been an uptick in bankruptcies or discussions for bankruptcies, so our firm has also been actively involved in advising our clients in various capacities related to bankruptcies, including DIP financings, creditors’ rights, and the new Subchapter V small business bankruptcy. Finally, the CARES Act financing programs, such as the PPP and Main Street Lending, have been a major part of the lending during COVID, and we have been actively involved in advising our clients in connection with their or their borrowers’ participation in these programs. How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely?

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I try to talk to the members of our team at the office at least once a day, and call clients a couple of times a week. While the calls mostly relate to work, I also make an effort to “catch up” and talk about our personal lives. I’ve found that most folks actually welcome the opportunity to catch up for a few minutes and break up the routine of their working from home. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? When I mentor young attorneys, I remind them to put themselves in the shoes of the businesspeople. This was something that I learned to do

early in my career, and it has helped me to always remain focused on finding solutions for our clients. The issues we come across as lawyers are often complex and can take multiple directions. By stepping back and reminding ourselves of what our clients’ goals are, we are able to be more effective advocates and advisors. I also advise young attorneys to think back to the “lemonade stand” when dealing with new and challenging issues. When young professionals are first starting out, the large dollar numbers can seem intimidating. In most cases, however, the fundamentals are actually the same for both large businesses and small businesses. The analysis is often as simple as a lemonade stand, where a business, at its core, is producing a product and selling it for a profit. I find that by viewing the issues in this light, it can be easier to conceptualize new and challenging issues in a way that is manageable. When interviewing newcomers to the industry, what do you say to pique their interest about why they should accept a position in this industry? When I speak to newcomers in the industry, I point out that the work we do in commercial finance is an important part of the economy. The financing transactions enable products and services to be delivered to customers and enable businesses to provide jobs to people across various sectors. In order to pique their interest further, I would usually pick a deal I’ve worked on for a consumer product that they may have seen in the stores, and then use that as a springboard to explain how commercial finance, and specifically what we do as lawyers, played a role in that product getting made and delivered to the consumers.


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SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

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elley Gass is an associate in the Commercial Finance practice group at Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP. She primarily represents national and regional banks and other financial institutions in a broad spectrum of secured lending transactions, with a particular emphasis on assetbased lending. Her practice also includes cross-border financings, syndicated credit facilities, healthcare financings, acquisition financings, and debtor-in-possession financings. Kelley earned her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2013 where she served as executive editor of the Wake Forest Law Review. Kelley received her B.A. from Emory University in 2009. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Matt, and their son, Noah.

KELLEY C. GASS Associate, Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life? My experience during the COVID crisis was unique because I was at the tail end of maternity leave when businesses and firms began closing their offices and implementing work-from-home policies. I returned to work in April from my home office—which, incidentally, doubles as my son’s playroom—and without childcare because our daycare had temporarily closed before my son had the opportunity to attend his first day. As a result, I navigated my first few months of being a new working parent with virtually no separation between my professional life and my personal life. I scheduled calls around naps and feedings, muted conference lines during teething meltdowns, and drafted documents in piecemeal fashion throughout the day as my husband and I tackled our workdays in shifts around our infant’s schedule. I think many working parents can relate to the struggle of operating a full-time daycare out of their home offices during the pandemic. For me, the result was a humbling and humanizing experience that allowed me to bond on a more personal level with clients and colleagues facing similar challenges. Maintaining those relationships and finding those commonalities gave me a renewed sense of purpose behind my work. It reminded me that, at the end of the day, we are all working toward the same goal: to do our very best under the circumstances while preserving as much of our sanity as possible!

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What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? I like to encourage junior talent to say “yes” to as many opportunities as possible (within reason!) early on in their career. As a finance attorney, there is so much to learn that law school does not even begin to cover. When I first began working at my firm, I recall adopting a “sponge-like” approach to learning by attempting to soak up information from as many new and diverse assignments as senior attorneys were willing to send my way. I can say from experience that

being open-minded and willing to tackle everything from the most menial grunt work to the most esoteric project can go a long way when familiarizing yourself with the industry, the documentation, and the people involved in the practice. In addition to the substantive knowledge you pick up along the way, developing a level of adaptability and a willingness to take on new challenges can help you immeasurably in your career. I also like to remind those I mentor to not be afraid to ask questions or admit when they do not know the answer to a problem. I think attorneys are used to projecting an image of unwavering confidence and that, unfortunately, junior attorneys can often equate a lack of knowledge about a particular topic with weakness or ignorance. On the contrary, I believe it shows much more wisdom and maturity when you can admit you do not know something but then devote the time to researching, asking questions, and doing the necessary work to find the solution. You can gain much more credibility in the long run with this approach than by making something up or blindly championing the wrong answer.


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

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havjyot Kaur Singh (Bhav) is a senior associate at Paul Hastings LLP. She has developed a reputation among her clients for her ability to navigate convoluted legal issues in a commercial manner and push even the most complex transactions across the finish line.

Bhav principally represents administrative agents and lenders providing several billions of dollars in credit, including numerous credit facilities extended by her clients to private equity sponsors to finance the acquisition of a wide variety of companies across industries and sectors, including in the software, hospitality, and healthcare spaces. Bhav also works on restructuring matters and borrower-side representations.

BHAVJYOT KAUR SINGH Senior Associate, Paul Hastings LLP

Bhav obtained her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and completed her undergraduate studies at Cornell University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa (in the top 10% of Cornell University’s College of Arts and Science). In March 2019 she served as moderator of the “How to Get Ahead” panel at the 2019 SFNet’s Women in Secured Finance Conference held in New York City. In April 2020, she was profiled in The Secured Lender magazine’s Women in Secured Finance Issue. Bhav is admitted to practice law in New York and Illinois.

What advice would you give to forthcoming generations of talent aspiring to win this award? Become a go-to person. Whether it is a work product or deliverable you are crafting, a panel you are speaking on, or an industry conference you are attending, view each opportunity as a building block so that one day you will be the first number others dial to discuss a specific topic or issue. Becoming a go-to person and building expertise doesn’t mean you have to know everything about a certain topic; it just means others recognize and commend you for your passion, enthusiasm, trustworthiness and judgment. They know to call you because you will get the job done and that you are someone they can count on no matter what. In addition, I would say pay forward all of your positive experiences. If someone has mentored you and greatly uplifted your career and potential, mentor someone else in return and do the same for them. If you were provided with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by someone during your career, provide someone else a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity too. I think there is so much joy and grace in this. How do you define a good leader?

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In my view, the best leaders have empathy and are in tune with the issues (professional, personal and societal) that their teams care about. There has been a real shift in the past few years in what talented people are looking for in terms of company and team culture. They want a fulfilling experience professionally that they can look back on in a few years and really be proud of. This means doing excellent, high quality work, mentoring others, and also putting forth resources and time to address the most pressing societal and social issues of our time. If the past few months have taught us anything, it is that each of us should really strive to invest in each other, our institutions, our communities, and our

society at large. The best leaders, in my opinion, allow their team members to really create an impactful professional legacy that they will be proud of for years to come. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? The advice that I always give to junior team members is to develop yourself into someone who others unconditionally trust and view as a distinctive asset in the workplace. That means, if you are assigned a task or responsibility, see it through to completion and be monitoring timelines, quality and expectations at every turn. If you are organizing a client event or social event, be fully invested in it and do your absolute best to make the event a success. No matter how large or small the task is that you are doing, immerse and invest yourself fully in it. Others will see that initiative immediately and become keen on aiding your development and advancement because they will cultivate respect for you on a personal and professional level. I also tell my junior team members to be communicative. Strong communication skills, more than anything else, often save the day when there is a difficult or highpressure situation at hand. Lastly, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. If you are passionate about a specific project or initiative, make that known. Let senior team members know how they can help you achieve your goals. The world belongs to those who ask.


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

T TABITHA HUMPHRIES Associate, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

abitha Humphries represents borrowers and lenders in connection with various types of financing transactions in a variety of industries, including investment-grade lending, acquisition financings, assetbased loan facilities, leveraged loans, cross-border secured credit facilities, secured note facilities, restructurings and workouts, debtorin-possession financings and exit financings. In her role on the Skadden Women Excelling in Law and Leadership (SWELL) steering committee, Tabitha develops programming aimed at helping young women attorneys develop networking skills, establish relationships in the community, and addresses women-specific work-related issues. Tabitha also maintains an active pro bono practice, with a particular focus on immigration work. She sits on the steering committee for the firm’s Immigration Impact Project and helps develop best practices, streamline case precedent, policy information, templates and other resources. She is also active in her local community, serving on the associate board of directors for Growing Home, an organization whose mission is to operate, promote and demonstrate the use of organic urban agriculture as a vehicle for job training, employment and community development.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? When I was a junior associate, I had the opportunity to work directly under a senior partner in an overseas office. Early in the deal, he called me to ask what a certain phrase meant in a contract that I had reviewed. I hadn’t edited the phrase from the original draft, and, to my chagrin, I didn’t really know what it meant. He quickly told me, “If you don’t understand it, no one else does either. Strike it out.” That simple direction cut through my imposter syndrome – a feeling of uncertainty that I’m sure many humanities majors have when starting out in the finance field. Even though the guidance came out of a mistake, it gave me a confidence boost. I thought, if this senior partner has confidence in my abilities, I surely should, too. Implementing this advice, by always asking questions or redrafting contracts when terms are unclear, and not assuming that everyone else knows what’s going on when I don’t, allowed me to take ownership of deals and made me a much better attorney. How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life? Now is a great time for young professionals to reflect upon our positions of privilege and recommit to making long-term, positive social impacts. While we’re living in the midst of an extraordinary civil rights movement, and opportunities to volunteer, protest and donate abound, it’s important to structure our lives so that involvement in the community is a constant element and not an occasional exception. There are several ways to do this, but there are four strategies that work for me. First, work for an organization that aligns with your values. Working for a firm that offers

opportunities for pro bono work and other volunteer activities allows busy young professionals to leverage that support, whether financial or organizational, to make a meaningful impact in their target community when their money and time may be limited. Second, join, or even launch, junior boards of your favorite nonprofit organizations. Junior boards often generate a substantial amount of funds for the organization. My membership on a junior board has introduced me to professionals across a range of industries and has helped me sharpen my networking skills. For me, fundraising has frankly never been something I find fun or easy – so committing to do it as a junior board member has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Third, volunteer regularly doing menial tasks – stuff envelopes, pull weeds, pack food boxes. This type of activity is much easier than pro bono or junior board work, but can be very rewarding for the “results-oriented” folks among us. The trick is to put these shifts on your calendar and prioritize them equally with your other obligations. Making time for my volunteer work has occasionally required that I balance work obligations with my volunteer commitments. This has typically worked out well for me because I work for an employer that values these activities. Further, when clients know that you are serving your community, they are usually more than willing to accommodate. The reality is, however, that a lot of young professionals in this industry often find themselves with more financial resources than time. If this is the case - and this is my fourth strategy - set up recurring donations to ensure you’re making a long-term impact on organizations that are doing work that you value.

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SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

J JUSTIN WOOD Partner, Troutman Pepper

ustin Wood is a partner at Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP, where he represents lenders and borrowers in all aspects of financing transactions, including structuring, documenting, negotiating, amending and working out term and revolving credit facilities, asset-based loans, recurring revenue lines of credit, and acquisition financing. Justin’s clients include public and privately-held companies across a range of industries, money-center and regional banks, private equity sponsors, and direct lenders. He also serves as a professional development partner for Troutman Pepper’s Finance and Restructuring practice group and is a member of the firm’s Associate Development Committee. In the community, Justin is a member of the board of directors of Communities in Schools of North Carolina and an active member of his local SFNet Chapter. Previously, Justin served on the board of directors of Refugee Family Services and New American Pathways, both in Atlanta, and completed a three-year term as a member of the Vanderbilt Alumni Association board of directors. Justin lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, Kelly, and their two daughters, Cannady and Wells.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it?

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One of my law professors, Randall Thomas, advised our securities law class to build a client base early to be in control of our careers. This advice inspired me to focus as much time and energy as I could muster on networking and business development activities early in my career. As a very junior associate, I joined great industry organizations such as ACG and SFNet (then CFA), served in leadership roles with my local alumni chapter, took contacts to MLB and NBA games as often as I could land the firm’s tickets, and scheduled as many coffee and lunch meetings as I could. These efforts taught me about the industry and business of each of the people I met, forced me to better define and articulate my practice as well as the capabilities of my colleagues, and resulted in numerous longtime client and referral relationships, as well as great friendships. Along the way, I realized how much the “people” aspect of being a lawyer drives me – meeting interesting, inspiring people and learning about their business, industry, background, family, and interests. I doubled down on these activities regularly as I progressed through the associate ranks. The more I did, the more support and encouragement I received from partners and colleagues. These efforts raised my profile and reputation within the firm as an entrepreneurial associate, and ultimately paved a path to partnership for me. While it takes years to cultivate a strong network and client base (and I am still working hard at this constantly moving target), it is never too early for a young professional to get out there and the journey can be as rewarding as the destination. How do you define a good leader? A good leader has a servant’s heart – approaching leadership as

serving their team and being a good steward of the institution they lead. This means someone who regularly asks questions such as “how can I help?” and “what do you need?” They lead by example, rolling up their sleeves, volunteering for tough tasks, and putting in the work needed to execute on strategic objectives. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? Invest in yourself by building your network, both inside and outside our organization. Internally, focus on building meaningful relationships by getting to know colleagues personally and professionally. When given an opportunity to work with someone new, knock it out of the park – it is a chance to cultivate a new passionate supporter to youracorner and a steady source of new opportunities. Externally, get out of the office (or these days, away from billable work at home) and engage with organizations such as SFNet. Get involved in your community or within your broader industry, which will lead to forming new relationships and growing existing ones. Focus more on the reps than the results, as these activities can take years to bear fruit. It is never too early to start. How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life? Follow your passion. Community engagement can be very personally and professionally rewarding – you will meet inspiring people from different walks of life and hone your skills by working alongside a diverse group of professionals. If you are passionate about the mission of the organization, your investment of time and energy will be more worthwhile and you will serve with greater energy and engagement.


A firm you can bank on. We congratulate Partner Justin Wood and all SFNet’s 2020 40 Under 40 award recipients for your excellence in secured finance. At Troutman Pepper, we’re known for our higher commitment to client care. We help clients navigate sophisticated financing matters and offer creative solutions to those in distressed situations. Our finance attorneys handle all aspects of commercial lending and execute transactions involving the full range of financing structures and funding models.

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SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LEGAL SERVICES

D

aniela Cohen is an English qualified solicitor and a finance associate in Winston & Strawn’s London office. Her practice focuses on cross-border corporate finance deals, including corporate lending transactions, leveraged acquisitions, and other debt investments. Daniela has extensive experience representing domestic and international bank and non-bank lenders, as well as private equity firms and corporate borrowers in a wide variety of sectors. Daniela also has experience advising on general corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions, and other equity investments. Daniela, originally from Slovakia, received her Master of Laws (Magister Iuris) degree from the University of Vienna in Austria in 2007. She received her Postgraduate Diploma in Law in 2008 from the BPP Law School in London, where she also completed the Legal Practice Course in 2009 (with Distinction).

DANIELA COHEN Associate, Winston & Strawn London

Daniela is rated as a ‘Key Lawyer’ in the category of Bank Lending: Investment Grade Debt and Syndicated Loans in the 2020 edition of The Legal 500 legal directory for the UK. She has also co-authored the UK chapter of the Chambers Global Practice Guide for Banking & Finance since the inception of the publication.

What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life? I feel very privileged to be able to say at this point that the pandemic has not impacted my professional life in any significant negative way (other than missing out on office chat of course!). What it has in fact shown is that, due to the services we provide being so versatile and so virtual in a way, the legal sector - and perhaps the financial sector as well – is uniquely well positioned not to suffer in a downturn in the same way as some others. This is particularly true for finance practices of law firms, which have seen an influx of financial restructuring work and work related to government-backed loan schemes introduced in response to the COVID crisis. In addition, working remotely from colleagues, clients and others involved on finance transactions has reinforced an awe in me for the work we do. Even in ‘normal’ times, the level of concerted effort and dedication of often dozens of people participating on any deal is remarkable. However, working on these complex, time-pressured, and dynamic transactions from the kitchen table or home office whilst delivering the highest standards of professional, service, is quite impressive to me. Being able to continue working alongside these driven and smart individuals is something that I value and that helps to keep the mind off the less healthy preoccupations.

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Lastly, I have been very pleased with how my firm, Winston & Strawn, has responded to the crisis and has been on point with communicating that the wellbeing of its employees is paramount to it. I am sure that, once the situation has improved, the flexibility and consideration for our personal circumstances we have benefitted from so far will continue and contribute to a better work-life balance in the long term. How do you define a good leader? As I see it, good leadership is a reflection of the inner quality of a

person combined with the ability to instill or encourage that quality in team members. To me that quality comprises a number of things such as integrity, a sense of fairness and, last but not least, professionalism in all dealings, whether with colleagues, clients or counterparties. Knowing what you don’t know and showing it, despite being on top of a hierarchy, is important also and helps in building a team with the right skills set that complement one’s own. In the context of legal services, the hours can be long and stressful and the demands on quality high, which makes it that much more important to have a shared sense of purpose and culture based on those qualities. Someone who is able to strike the right balance between hitting all these goals will, I think, be respected as a leader. I have been fortunate to have first observed great leadership skills initially from my parents as business owners. In my own career I have also been very lucky in coming under the mentorship or leadership of partners who have been as thoughtful about their own success as about mine.


The 2019 Secured Finance Market Sizing & Impact Study The Authoritative Tool for the Secured Finance Industry to Plan, Benchmark, & Raise Capital The Secured Finance Foundation, in conjunction with Ernst & Young, has conducted the first of its kind Secured Finance Industry Market Sizing and Impact Study for the purpose of benchmarking, strategic planning, attracting capital and assisting in advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry. Through primary and secondary research, the study dimensions the size and scope of the commercial marketplace for secured lending and its related products and services. Part primer, part data compilation and part analytical assessment, the study provides the reader with a detailed view into the highly interconnected segments of this network and their collective impact on capital deployment and economic development. The findings dimension an industry that is far-reaching, influential, thriving and presenting significant growth opportunities for its participants to expand their served and available markets.

VISIT WWW.SFNET.COM AND DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY TODAY!


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LIQUIDATION/APPRAISAL/AUCTIONEER

M

osana Khan leads business development initiatives for Gordon Brothers’ Canadian valuation practice based out of Toronto, Ontario. Mosana joined Gordon Brothers in 2014 as an inventory appraiser and worked on numerous industrial and consumer products valuations. After acquiring four years of professional appraisal experience, he took over business development responsibilities for the Canadian market in 2018 where he works with asset-based lenders, private equity groups and advisors on asset valuations. Prior to joining Gordon Brothers, Mosana worked as a licensed investment representative with a U.S. brokerage firm.

MOSANA KHAN Business Development Manager, Canada Gordon Brothers

Mosana holds a B.Sc. in economics from Trent University, as well as an M.A. in economics from the University of Waterloo. Additionally, he has completed level 1 of the CFA Exam and series 7 and 63 certifications. Mosana is an active member of the Secured Finance Network, Turnaround Management Association, and Association for Corporate Growth.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? Never stop learning – that’s the single most important piece of advice I was given which has helped me professionally and personally. I have found knowledge to be the biggest contributor to my growth over the years and it has enabled me to take on increasingly complex roles during my time with Gordon Brothers. I’m an avid consumer of finance and economic literature, and I usually find myself scouring through daily news, industry publications and various other sources in order to keep abreast of important trends and developments within the North American lending market. In addition, I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by a seasoned and highly intelligent group of professionals who continue to be a source of information and guidance. As a young professional, being able to leverage senior colleagues’ experience and knowledge, in addition to self-learning, has been instrumental in my development into a trusted advisor to our clients. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor?

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Being able to adapt and willing to embrace change is crucial for young professionals. As someone who has worked at companies that were acquired by larger entities, the extensive organizational change that followed provided opportunities for further development and, eventually, career advancement. Among other variables and characteristics, employers value resilience and tenacity immensely; working and thriving through change is a great way to build these attributes. For young professionals entering the workforce, it is more important now than ever to be open to and comfortable with

change as companies navigate through the age of “disruption” and rapid transformation. What effect has the COVID-19 crisis had on your professional life? The spread of COVID has resulted in a severe, yet unique, economic shock and, in uncertain times like these, lenders and advisors look for our advice and insight on asset values more than ever. The past few months have seen a significant increase in communication with clients in order to ensure they are kept informed of important developments within industries most impacted by COVID and how these events, along with health guidelines and regulatory measures put in place to mitigate the spread of virus, are expected to impact asset values. Being in a business development role, much of my interaction prior to COVID entailed in-person meetings, presentations and networking events. Due to social distancing measures discouraging physical gatherings, video-conferencing platforms are providing a great way to not only stay connected with clients and industry peers, but also share real-time market intelligence with a large audience quickly and effectively. In addition, we have continued to provide valuations on select recurring and new mandates to support our clients’ transactional needs. Again, video-conferencing has enabled our practitioners to effectively conduct their due diligence virtually while ensuring safety of all parties involved. COVID has certainly changed the way we have traditionally conducted business, but we remain committed to helping our clients make informed decisions.


Congratulations

Mosana Khan Business Development, Canada

Winner, SFNet 40 Under 40 We are proud to support talent and growth within the industry today and tomorrow.

VALUATIONS

DISPOSITIONS

GORDONBROTHERS.COM

OPERATIONS

INVESTMENTS


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles LIQUIDATION/APPRAISAL/AUCTIONEER

R

yan Davis is the managing director of Tiger Valuation Services, where he oversees approximately 50 people located across Tiger’s offices in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. Since Ryan took the helm of the Valuation Services division in 2013, the business has achieved more than 15 percent annual growth and the team has tripled in size. Ryan’s team is now responsible for the valuation of more than $25.0 billion of retail, wholesale, and industrial assets annually.

RYAN DAVIS Managing Director, Tiger Valuation Services, LLC

In addition to his role in the appraisal division, Ryan also participates in Tiger’s investments and liquidations. In February 2019, Tiger purchased Advanced Sports, Inc. (renamed BikeCo, LLC) as a turnaround; Ryan served as the interim CEO of the company, where he set a strategic vision and successfully led the efforts to streamline operations, preserve the customer base, and save 40-plus jobs. Tiger sold its stake in BikeCo in September 2019. Ryan has also spearheaded Tiger’s use of Amazon as a liquidation channel; the successful liquidation of Shoes.com is one example. Ryan graduated from the University of Vermont and joined Tiger in 2006.

How do you define a good leader? I believe that different situations call for different types of leadership; however, a good leader operates with a vision, empowers the team, and acts with integrity in all situations. The strongest leaders I’ve observed typically operate with a very clear vision – which could be defined as a goal or set of goals – and communicate that vision to the team. When the whole team takes ownership of the vision and is working towards an end goal, then the group can collectively come up with an execution plan. The benefit of the team being oriented to a goal rather than just following a stepby-step plan is that, when an issue arises, a goal-oriented team can dynamically work around it, whereas a team following a preset plan is likely to get stuck.

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Once a vision is set, empowering the team to execute on it can result in an virtuous cycle of growth on a product, team, and individual level. When a team is balanced and working together, it can achieve far more as a group than the members could have as individuals. Some of the most rewarding professional experiences I’ve had were when the team collectively overcame an obstacle that no individual could have solved. It has been my experience that, in order to achieve team success, the leader must assign individual responsibility, establish a system of accountability, and provide all team members with a support structure. At Tiger, we operate with an inverted org chart – wherein the managers sit below those that report to them – as a reminder that the managers’ role is to support and empower their colleagues. Aside from achieving operational excellence, good leaders also set the principles of the organization, which form the foundation of the relationships both within the team and with clients. In my opinion, integrity is one of the most critical principles; integrity means prioritizing the team and the business over one’s self and being direct and honest about one’s intentions. Although cliché, the saying “Trust is gained in

drops and lost in buckets” is a great reminder of how integrity in all decisions is absolutely essential. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? I have been fortunate to have some amazing teachers – both at Tiger and in my personal life – that have provided me a substantial amount of guidance. There are two simple pieces of advice that I’ve found extremely useful in my career. The first is that communication is critical, both professionally and personally. In my experience, strong communication is the backbone of team success; it can be the conduit to solving tough problems and it can even help to absolve mistakes. Poor communication, on the other hand, is such a strong force that it can negate incredible work and hamper relationships. The other advice we give all team members is to take pride in their work and to put their full energy into achieving their goals. I’ve seen both extremely talented individuals and well-positioned companies lose their edge by taking work quality for granted; in a competitive environment, one must always strive to execute at the highest possible level. Of those I’ve worked with, the most successful people have set their own standards considerably higher than those that were set for them.


See the unseen The most critical insights embedded in data are often hidden. Tiger’s proprietary Insight Analytics provide you ways to see your metrics through different lenses. Our engine rolls your daily data against our massive database of liquidation values at the most granular levels. The insights we discover help borrowers reduce working capital needs and better pinpoint asset performance. Lenders gain more precise appraisals and stronger collateral monitoring. What insights are your data hiding?

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SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles OPERATIONS

J

R Thompson is an assistant vice president, ABL operations team supervisor for Fifth Third Bank Business Capital. JR is responsible for managing a team of collateral analysts. He is also responsible for training new employees.

JR has over 17 years of experience in asset-based lending operations. He began his career in ABL as a loan analyst with LaSalle Business Credit in 2003. In 2008, LaSalle Business Credit was acquired by Bank of America Business Capital and JR was promoted to a team leader. After eight years at Bank of America, JR took a role as an operations manager with U.S. Bank Asset Based Finance Group. JR graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in economics/finance. He currently resides in northwest Indiana with his wife, Sara, and three children.

JR THOMPSON AVP, ABL Operations Team Supervisor Fifth Third Bank Business Capital What advice would you give to forthcoming generations of talent aspiring to win this aware? There are two pieces of advice I would give to somebody aspiring to win this award. The first one is hard work. Hard work is critical to succeeding in any job, but it is especially critical in winning this award. Success is not going to be handed to you; it is something that you must work for and earn. You must always be willing to give the extra effort to get the job done. It might mean spending extra time in the office working or spending time outside of work reading and studying, but it is a necessary step to success. Over time, others will see your hard work and it will lead you to opportunities that you might not otherwise get. The second piece of advice I would be is be willing to learn. It is easy for a young professional to think they know all the answers, but they still have so much to learn. You need to take any opportunity you can to learn. Even if you are in a position that you know is not a long-term position, learn as much as you can. Take the time to ask questions of those around you. Spend time job-shadowing for a position you desire. Seek help from those who have been doing the job a long time. Be willing to sit and listen. This doesn’t change even after you win an award like this. I still ask questions and seek out help from those who are more knowledgeable than I am. Industries and jobs are always changing and evolving and the only way to keep up is to be willing to learn daily.

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How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life? Volunteering has always been an important aspect of my life. Even at a young age, I always wanted to help where ever it was needed. As I got older and started my career, I started to realize even more how important it was to volunteer and give back to the community.

Volunteering can look different for each person. Some of the many ways I have volunteered is through coaching sports, teaching a finance class in an elementary school, mentoring young men and assisting in various school activities. One of the main ways I think volunteering has helped me in my professional life is it has given me an outlet. Early in my career I wanted to spend as much time as I could at work in order to learn and prove myself. However, it is necessary to have interest and hobbies outside of work. Volunteering helped give me this outlet. It allowed me down time away from work to refresh myself. Another way volunteering has helped me is that it taught me to work with others. In order to gain success in the workplace, you need to be willing to work with others. You will have the opportunity to work with many different people, including many who have different ideas or opinions that you have. However, it is critical to put these differences aside to get the job done. Finally, volunteering also gave me an opportunity to worked with youth and help shape them. It gave me an opportunity to share my experiences and help them and help them in their journey into adulthood and the workplace.


J.R. Thompson means business. Congratulations on your recognition as a leading “40 Under 40� professional in Secured Finance.

As Assistant Vice President of Asset-Based Lending Operations at Fifth Third Bank, you exemplify excellence in the industry. Your contributions are helping to lead the way in building a strong and diverse future for us all. For asset-based financing and capital solutions, turn to the experts at Fifth Third Business Capital. Call 877-265-3829 or visit 53.com/BusinessCapital to learn more.

Fifth Third Business Capital is a division of Fifth Third Bank, National Association. Credit products are subject to credit approval and mutually acceptable documentation. Deposit and credit products offered by Fifth Third Bank, National Association. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

BD5965283


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles OPERATIONS

A

gnes Falconer is the vice president of operations at Gibraltar Business Capital, an asset-based lender located in Northbrook, IL. Throughout her 11-year tenure with Gibraltar, Agnes has held several roles. She started as a collateral analyst, then became a department manager, an account executive, and in 2018 the vice president of operations. In her current role, Agnes is working to drive customer focus to ensure that the client’s onboarding process is seamless and her team provides exceptional customer service. She is passionate about helping her team reach their potential and has created training and development programs. She’s undertaken several projects, one of which is to leverage new technology to support business growth.

AGNES FALCONER Vice President of Operations, Gibraltar Business Capital

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? The best advice that I was given earlier on in my career as a manager was, “If you can sit back with your feet up and not have to worry if things are getting done right, then you did your job.” My takeaway from this advice was to invest time in each team member, specifically; training, motivating, and inspiring them so that they could be the best version of themselves at work. Motivated employees are more productive and independent. In my one-on-one check-ins, I make it a point to ask what motivates you, and are you challenged? These questions come up at least every review period, which is twice a year. I look back at my career with Gibraltar and the challenges and additional responsibilities that were given to me kept me motivated and excited to come to work every day. So this is the same opportunity that I want to give back to my team, whether that be through additional responsibility within the department or learning a new skill in another department; I want them to be excited as well. How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely?

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I stayed connected with the team by scheduling virtual check-ins. The first two months they were daily, and once, everyone was acclimated to the new norm, I scaled back to every other day. In addition to the team virtual meetings, I scheduled a weekly individual meeting. Staying connected personally and professionally was important because everyone’s experience working remotely was different due to personal circumstances (i.e., kids or spouse also working from home). Sharing our challenges, laughing, and showing that we were there for each other, helped us get through this time. More importantly, these meetings helped us keep the strong close-knit culture that we worked hard to build. As for staying connected with the clients, this was not as

challenging from the operations side because I generally do not meet with clients; all communication is on the phone or email. As we have been working remotely, Zoom and Teams have become a very useful and popular tool. Since I was using these tools for internal meetings, I decided to incorporated Zoom as a tool to communicate at the start of the onboarding process, which I’ve never done before. Using video for my calls helped me connect more with the clients. Overall, I leverage technology, whether that be video calls or sharing my screen; these tools help streamline the onboarding experience and make it personal. When interviewing newcomers to the industry, what do you say to pique their interest on why they should accept a position in this industry? When I’m interviewing, from time to time I get asked why I’ve been with the company for so long. My answer is that I learn something new from each client. Each client has their own unique way of conducting business, each loan is structured differently and there are different risk factors in each industry. And, due to all of these reasons, each loan is monitored differently. In addition to risk and client management, you have the opportunity to learn the business side. There are also certain experiences that you may learn through exposure that hopefully only occurs once or twice in your career; for example, a debtor-inpossession or a liquidation, maybe even a fraud situation. There is an endless opportunity to learn something new and this is why working in this industry is exciting.


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles OPERATIONS

K

atie Marrs, with more than 13 years of asset-based lending experience, is national business analyst manager for Wells Fargo Capital Finance Electronic Reporting Solutions, a group responsible for analyzing collateral and calculating ineligibles by running collateral through data mining software. She began her career with Wachovia as a collateral analyst and then transitioned to a field examiner before joining her current group. She quickly moved up the ranks to manage the group, focusing on designing new and innovative ways to manage electronic collateral. Katie has been instrumental in providing more efficient service, and she has pushed Wells Fargo forward with new digital initiatives in customer reporting. She has developed a strong team who praise her for her innovative thinking, hard work, and dedication to their shared success.

KATIE MARRS National Business Analyst Manager, Wells Fargo Capital Finance

Katie holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Illinois State University and resides in Lawrenceville, GA with her husband, JC, and two stepdaughters, Kiley and Ally.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? Early in my career, a manager and mentor stressed the importance of stepping outside my comfort zone and improving in areas of weakness. This advice stands out because it helped transform both my professional and personal life. I’m shy and introverted, so naturally, I spent my college years avoiding classes that involved presentations or public speaking. Through coaching, practice, and continued encouragement, I gained the confidence to successfully lead meetings and to train large groups of people. Turning a fear and weakness into one of my strengths was empowering, and it’s encouraged me to continually challenge myself. I’ve helped mentor others to overcome similar fears and it’s rewarding to watch people turn their weaknesses into strengths through hard work and practice. What is your definition of success? My father is a fourth-generation grain farmer in Northern Illinois. He worked extremely hard to carry on the family legacy and provide opportunities for his children. He didn’t envision me carrying on the family business, especially after seeing how I mowed the lawn, but he encouraged me to find an industry and career that I was passionate about and where I excelled. My definition of success is carrying on what I believe my family’s legacy is: being honored and respected by family, friends, and coworkers as someone who is passionate, hard-working, inspiring, and provides opportunities for others to grow and be successful. How do you define a good leader? A good leader demonstrates honesty, integrity, and empathy toward others. They are always learning and listening with the intent to understand, not just to provide a response. They set clear, but high

expectations of themselves and others. They embrace and encourage change. They commit to the team’s success by continually investing time and energy into developing others. These habits empower and inspire greatness. I have been lucky to work with several great leaders who regularly demonstrate these characteristics. Their guidance and support have been vital to my continued development and aspirations to provide similar leadership. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? Always give 100% to the role you’re in. Every role offers the opportunity to learn, make a difference, and have a positive impact on others and the organization. Don’t underestimate the importance of each role and the future opportunities it can lead to. Inspire and embrace change. Instead of complaining about something that isn’t efficient or isn’t working, take the initiative to develop solutions or offer constructive feedback. Be intellectually curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s better to ask the question than to guess at something you don’t understand. Questions are opportunities for development. Build a positive reputation with clients and coworkers. Once your reputation is established, it follows you and is difficult to change. What advice would you give to forthcoming generations of talent aspiring to win this award? My advice would be to take pride in your work, continually challenge yourself, and always have a positive attitude. Frequently seek feedback from others and apply suggestions for improvement. During a time of frustration, a mentor reminded me that hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed or unrewarded. Be patient and don’t be discouraged when recognition isn’t immediate.

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SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles OPERATIONS

H

ailey Benton-Thomas is chief operating officer and general counsel for Oklahoma City-based TBS Factoring Service. She oversees the people and processes that ensure this leading national provider of small business cash flow solutions is an employer of choice and a highly efficient business.

Hailey joined TBS Factoring in 2014, and quickly became an indispensable member of the senior management team, drawing on her experience as a lawyer. She was promoted to her current positions in 2016. While at TBS, she has implemented scalable processes to support the exponential portfolio growth. Prior to TBS, Hailey was an employment lawyer and assistant managing attorney in the flagship office of Floyd, Skeren and Kelly, representing clients such as Verizon, Sysco, and several NFL teams. Though a successful litigator, she found her true passion in training and developing others.

HAILEY BENTON-THOMAS Chief Operating Officer/ General Counsel TBS Factoring Service, LLC

In addition to her work at TBS, she serves on the board of the Oklahoma Human Society and the Capitol Hill High School Advisory Board. She holds a B.A. in industrialorganizational psychology and Juris Doctorate, both from Pepperdine University.

What is your definition of success? For me, success is meeting goals without compromising your principles. My father set out to accomplish great things and did, but not at the detriment of others, or by taking the easy path, even though that sometimes meant harder work. In my own career, I’ve strived to do the same. I haven’t always taken the jobs that offered the highest pay; I’ve taken the jobs that allowed me to feel fulfilled and to feel good about what I’m doing. How do you define a good leader? In my legal career I had the opportunity to meet with a lot of great leaders, and some awful ones, typically at tough points in their careers. Nobody likes to be sued and, if they were in the room with me, it was typically because they had been dragged there somehow. In those discussions you learn a lot about someone’s leadership style. The pretense is gone, and you get to see whether they hold to their principles, even in the worst of times. Great leaders, and I would include my current CEO, Jennifer Lickteig, are honest and fair in any circumstance. They have the ability to see a different future, and they are always open to feedback, not only from peers but also from their teams, clients and outside advisers.

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I’ve always believed in hiring smart people and making sure that they get the training and develop opportunities to grow — even into my role. When someone I hire can do what I do, that doesn’t replace me; it means that I can grow and move forward to take on new challenges. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? “Know yourself to lead yourself.” Self-awareness and emotional intelligence contribute more to the success of a leader than the ability to perform the tasks of the job alone. It is important to understand

where your shortfalls are, where your strengths are, and to surround yourself with people who balance out your areas of weakness. For example, I’m almost six feet tall, and I’m a lawyer. I speak with an intensity and formality in my voice and people can be intimidated when they first meet me. I know that, and I know I need to overcome that when I’m working with a team, or people who don’t know me. I’m not the kind of leader who can stand up in front of a room and whip them into a fever. I connect much better in small groups. This kind of self-awareness is important, and it is something I try to impart to anyone I have the privilege of mentoring. There’s no one who cannot lead if they can work with their own strengths and navigate their weaknesses.


TBS Factoring Service Congratulates

HAILEY BENTON-THOMAS and all of the other 2020 honorees on being selected to the SFNET 40 Under 40 Great leaders get great results. Exceptional leaders empower others to someday replace them, knowing that their greatest success lies in the next generation of leaders they inspire. Hailey Benton-Thomas is an exceptional leader. Her knowledge and dedicated focus to making our company better by making our people better, is a model to our community, our clients, and to our industry. Her confidence, integrity and relentless dedication to making the people around her better exemplifies the spirit of the SFNet 40 Under 40. TBS would not be the company it is today without her guidance and leadership example. We are proud to recognize her accomplishment, and wish her and all of the other honorees continued success in their careers.

800-207-7661 | tbsfactoring.com

The Money Behind Your Motion.


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles PORTFOLIO/RISK MANAGEMENT

E

rika Duran-Polite is a vice president at Merchant Financial Group. Erika is a key contributor to Merchant Financial’s success and is responsible for managing a diverse portfolio of high-profile accounts in the factoring group. Her expertise includes receivable, inventory, real estate and intellectual property lending. Erika began her career with Merchant Financial in 2005 and has held multiple positions of increasing responsibility, steadily rising within the company over the last 15 years. Erika makes it a priority to understand every client’s business and then structures the lending facility to best suit each client. Erika is a strong leader who takes pride in Merchant’s well-being.

ERIKA DURAN-POLITE Vice President, Merchant Financial Group

Prior to joining Merchant, Erika worked at North Fork Bank in the retail division for four years. While at North Fork Bank, she was assigned to the mergers and acquisitions team with integration responsibilities. Erika graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business with a concentration in accounting. She resides in Harriman, NY with her husband, Jason, and eight-year-old daughter, Madison. In her free time, Erika enjoys kickboxing and rollerblading with her family.

What is your definition of success? I define success in different ways. Success, for me, is achieving personal goals as well as those set for me by management, all while keeping true to my values. Success is always going above and beyond. I want to be recognized as someone who always perseveres and exceeds expectations in achieving her goals. Success is having my voice heard for change and playing a key role in incorporating new ideas and inspiring positive results, personally and professionally. How do you define a good leader? Leads by example! I believe a good leader takes initiative, possesses the ability to foster leadership qualities in others and encourages her peers to be the best versions of themselves; all this while maintaining integrity. A good leader recognizes areas that need improvement and takes the initiative to set forth change. I believe that an individual who possesses these qualities is able to empower her peers to grow, evolve and achieve success.

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In my time at Merchant, I have had the privilege to work with a group of individuals whom I deeply admire. These individuals have become my mentors over the last 15 years. I have been taught how to always strive for the best without limit from our president Adam Winters. I have been fortunate to have strong leaders at Merchant who have taught me risk management and analytics by inclusion and collaboration. Great leaders share their knowledge and I hope to serve as a mentor in the future. What effect has the COVID-19 crisis had on your professional life? The COVID crisis has brought about a new perspective on life, both on a personal and professional level. Although I have thoroughly enjoyed working remotely, since I am able to spend more time with my family

(and less time on public transportation), I truly miss the relationships shared in the workplace. The daily exchange with coworkers, who, over the years, have become family to me, was removed in a day’s notice. I miss face-to-face interactions with co-workers and the flexibility to pop into a co-worker’s office to problem solve or simply catch up on each other’s lives. This, for me, has been the greatest adjustment. However, this crisis has proved that our industry can be equally as effective whether in the office or working from home. If working remotely becomes the norm, I will find new ways to build on those close relationships with my fellow co-workers and management. What advice would you give to forthcoming generations of talent aspiring to win this award? Be bold! Take initiative! Go for It! I was 18-years-old when I started in retail banking, while also attending college. During the next four years I worked hard, and my commitment was recognized. It allowed me to move up within the retail branch and, by constantly taking the initiative along with my thirst to learn each position, I worked my way up into those positions. I started at Merchant Financial at the age of 22. In the past 15 years I have learned the roles and responsibilities of every department within my company. My advice to the forthcoming generations is to be bold by giving your input no matter who’s in the meeting. Take initiative and be the person who listens and learns from others, that will give you the tools to present new ideas and procedures to help improve productivity of your company. Lastly, set your personal goals no matter how small and go for it.


CONGRATULATIONS

Erika Duran-Polite For being a recipient of The Secured Finance Network 40 Under 40 Award For Portfolio/Risk Management

Merchant Financial Group is proud of Erika’s accomplishments and contributions to the future leadership of our Industry.

1441 Broadway, 22nd Floor New York, NY 10018 212-840-7575 Adam Winter, CEO awinters@merchantfinancial.com

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6750 North Andrews Ave Fort Lauderdale FL 33309 800 South Figueroa St., Suite 730 Los Angeles, CA 90017

m e r c h a n t f i n a n c i a l . c o m

K E E P I N G

Y O U

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C O U R S E


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles PORTFOLIO/RISK MANAGEMENT

T

essa Brend is a vice president at North Mill Capital LLC’s Minneapolis office. Tessa joined PrinSource Capital Companies in 2009 as a credit team coordinator. PrinSource was acquired by North Mill Capital in 2011 and she was promoted several times, most recently in 2019 to VP. In her current role she handles the financial needs of a portfolio of clients as well as developing and using risk management tools for the Invoice Based Financing division. She assists with the hiring and training of new credit staff. She is a board member with the local SFNet chapter. Tessa has organized the Minneapolis offices’ annual Toys for Tot or Adopt A Family and food shelf drive each year around the holidays. She also volunteers with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

TESSA BREND Vice President, North Mill Capital LLC

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? “Fake it ‘til you make it.” I spent years being insecure at networking events because I don’t have a finance background. I met someone at an event whose background mirrored mine. She had confidence and put herself out there, no matter the situation. I learned to give myself more credit and be more confident. What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life? I’ve had to take on a lot more. I’ve had to pick up some credit and operations roles. It’s essentially the first job I did back in 2009. I’ve had to prioritize my time as I continue to manage my portfolio and work on new business as well. How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely? Zoom has been very helpful. I am most thankful for our messaging system on our computers. It has always been a great tool, but now that we’re not in the office together, it gives us the chance to easily “chat” and stay connected daily.

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How do you define a good leader? For me, a good leader has always been someone who gives criticism and encouragement, both structured in a way that helps move you forward in your career. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? I tell them that there are no dumb questions. I want them to know they can come to me for help. I try to give them the same level of quality training that my teammates gave me when I started. I prefer they

ask how to do something or want to know why it’s done a specific way so I can teach them the most accurate and efficient way to do it and explain the reasoning behind the process. What advice would you give to forthcoming generations of talent aspiring to win this award? Be the person to put yourself out there and take on more. I have always offered to step up and take on a task or an assignment. Our team has always been busy and I want to do my part. Taking on more has given me new opportunities plus helped me learn how to manage my time and delegate when needed. When interviewing newcomers to the industry, what do you say to pique their interest about why they should accept a position in this industry? I tell them there is so much to learn and lots of room for growth. I started in finance with zero knowledge of the industry and have learned an immense amount from my colleagues and associations like the SFNet throughout the years. How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life? There is no better feeling than being able to help others and volunteering is a good way to learn how to work in a team and be a leader. Volunteers find out quickly how to organize, prioritize, and get the job done. You can make valuable connections with other volunteers and people in the organization. It’s also helped me be more efficient and speak up if I have ideas.


76th Annual Convention “This Way Forward” The largest gathering of secured finance professionals will be live online November 17-19, 2020

76 years of putting capital to work

30

Over sessions — more content than ever before

Daily internationalspecific content

3 high-profile keynote speakers

James Mattis, retired United States Marine Corps General and former US Secretary of Defense interviewed by Ayesha Rascoe, White House Reporter, NPR

Virtual exhibit hall

Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO & Chief Strategist for Quill Intelligence, LLC, and author of Fed Up: An Insider's Take on Why the Federal Reserve Is Bad for America

David A. Brandon, Chairman of the Board, Domino's Pizza, Inc.; former President & CEO, Domino's Pizza, Inc.; former CEO, Toys "R" Us, Inc.; Athletic Director at the University of Michigan

Charity auction benefitting the Secured Finance Foundation

Fun events offering new ways to connect

Plus cameo appearances and other surprises throughout the event. Visit SFNet.com for more information and registration


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles PORTFOLIO/RISK MANAGEMENT

L LAUREN WAGNER Vice President, Relationship Manager, PNC Business Credit

auren Wagner began her career at PNC Business Credit in 2011 as an operations analyst and has advanced rapidly within the organization over the ensuing nine years. Demonstrating exceptional performance, Lauren quickly advanced to a position as field examiner and, shortly thereafter, relocated and joined the underwriting team. As an underwriter, Lauren spent five years working on complex transactions that highlighted her strengths in financial analysis, effective communication and credit risk management. Most recently, Lauren accepted a position as relationship manager with the Portfolio group, managing as many as a dozen accounts, including a workout within her first few months in the new role. A graduate of Lafayette College with a dual major in economics and psychology, Lauren remains active in the secured lending community as a committee member in the Philadelphia chapters of SFNet, TMA NextGen and TMA NOW.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? “It’s okay to make mistakes.” Key elements of learning and professional growth are the mistakes that you make, especially in the early stages of your career. An important distinction is how you handle the mistake and the challenging situation that results. I have admired my mentors and peers who own up to their mistakes and work to correct their missteps. I have learned that self-confidence is equally as important as humility in the face of errors. Learning from past mistakes, applying the lessons learned to new situations, and continuing to collaborate with team members with different perspectives have been critically important to advancement in my career thus far. What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life?

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The current environment has provided many challenges and with those challenges, opportunities for professional growth. As a younger professional in the secured lending community, the current market dynamics provide a unique experience – managing a distressed portfolio. While personally managing nearly a dozen clients, each individual borrower has positively, or more often, negatively been impacted by the sudden halt and restart of businesses. Although not all conversations are comfortable, the pandemic has afforded me the opportunity to connect personally with management teams, while also mediating the challenges of borrowers’ financial outlooks paired with the bank’s credit risk. In addition, I find the pandemic has challenged me to further enhance the effectiveness of my communication. My responsibilities require continual communications amongst product partners, internal management teams, borrower contacts, external networking connections, etc. In a few short months, the value of virtual

communication has expanded exponentially. Although I find there is no replacement for a face-to-face personal meeting, ensuring continued productivity through conference calls, emails and video calls while working remotely has been critical to ensuring all of my clients’ needs are met. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? Typically, my advice focuses on two key items: (1) make connections, and (2) hard work pays off. Both internally and externally, the connections made in the early stages of your career provide the resources you need to propel development. These connections can provide valuable industry insights, business opportunities, and/or future career advancement, and for me, many of these connections also have turned into mentors. I find unofficial mentors and peers to be valuable resources for questions, concerns or engaging conversations. One of the most comforting parts of my job is knowing that I am supported and encouraged by peers, mentors and management. Plus, through relationships developed with connected individuals, I have also developed valued advocates who help position me for continued success. Although it may not be immediately apparent, hard work is recognized. My advice centers on challenging yourself whether that’s through a complex project, a meeting with a new acquaintance or leading research on a new topic. In my experience, I find the ability to rise to new challenges and persevere is not only a valued professional quality, but one that represents a learning opportunity for continued growth.


Recognizing your accomplishments. And all they’ve meant to the commercial finance community.

PNC Business Credit is proud to congratulate Lauren Wagner on her selection as a Secured Finance Network 40 Under 40 Award recipient. Your many achievements and contributions inspire us all. pnc.com/donedeal

Lauren Wagner

Š2020 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved. PNC Bank, National Association. Member FDIC SS CON PDF 0720-10-B v2


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles PORTFOLIO/RISK MANAGEMENT

J

P Nuzzo joined Santander Bank in 2015 as a portfolio manager within the ABL group. In his role at Santander, JP is responsible for all aspects of portfolio management as well as structuring and underwriting new ABL transactions. JP also manages a team of analysts, associates and portfolio managers, providing training and mentoring to junior team members. He has had an extensive career in Asset Based Lending spanning 16 years within several organizations. He started from the ground up at Wells Fargo Capital Finance where he held roles as a collateral analyst, field examiner and relationship manager. Following the completion of his MBA program, JP continued his career within ABL at a private finance company as a senior portfolio manager responsible for structuring and managing numerous credits predominately within the retail sector.

JOHNPAUL (JP) NUZZO SVP, ABL Portfolio Team Leader, Santander Bank N.A.

JP has been an active member of the SFNet and various other finance and banking associations throughout his career. In addition to his involvement in the ABL / Banking community, JohnPaul also assists in coaching youth hockey in Quincy, MA where he resides with his wife and two kids. He holds both a Bachelor of Science and an MBA from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.

What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? At Santander, I am the rotation manager for the Commercial Credit Training Program. One piece of advice that I give many of the analysts and associates is to take initiative and drive a process. Don’t wait to be told what to do, but rather raise your hand and ask questions along the way to complete the task at hand. Continually ask questions. It may seem as if you are becoming bothersome to your manager or peers but, if done appropriately, it shows them that you have a vested interest in business. I too often see younger analysts copying and pasting information from a CIM, or 10k into a write-up without truly understanding the meaning behind the request or analysis. Sit with your manager or a senior person in the group, understand what is going on, and frame your own thoughts and analysis. This will go a long way in your learning and development. What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life?

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This pandemic has surely impacted everyone’s lives both personally and professionally. At the onset, it was certainly a shock as the decision to work from home was made without any certainty around when we would return to the office. While the commute has been great, it was a challenge not seeing your team and colleagues on a regular basis. I do think people are getting somewhat used to this “new norm” and adapting to the situation at hand. I don’t feel as if it has caused any major disruptions in workflow, or managing client requests which is a testament to the great team we have at the bank. I also feel that we have done a good job staying connected with each other through routine calls, pipeline reviews and even Zoom happy hours. That being said, I do look forward to the day where I can grab a few drinks after work with folks from my team and other banks, as this was a common occurrence in the pre-COVID days.

When interviewing newcomers to the industry, what do you say to pique their interest on why they should accept a position in this industry? I have had numerous conversations with recent grads, or younger professionals already in the banking Industry about the many benefits of a career in ABL. First and foremost, it’s the variety of industries that this sector of lending spans. Over the course of my career, I have been involved with everything from leather tanneries to food distributors and even manufacturers of nuts and bolts. Aside from making decent conversations at cocktail parties, these experiences broadened my perspective on how the economy functions on a day-to-day basis. As a field examiner, one of my favorite parts of the job was taking a plant tour. Seeing raw materials come in, product being manufactured and finished goods being shipped out to their customers was one of the best experiences you can get. It was almost as if during every field exam, there was an episode of How It’s Made (or sometimes Dirty Jobs) that I was able to experience firsthand. I can’t stress the importance for younger professionals within this industry to get out of the office, meet with their clients, see the facilities where product is stored or manufactured, and ask the right questions. There is a lot behind the numbers on a balance sheet or P&L, and this industry affords you the opportunities to understand what those are.


Santander Bank Congratulates

JP Nuzzo

on being recognized by the Secured Finance Network’s Secured Lender “40 under 40” Award. All of us at Santander applaud JP Nuzzo’s achievement and commitment as an inspirational leader and mentor both at Santander and in his community. We are proud to support all the Awardees and the exceptional talent within the secured finance industry. Congratulations.

©2020 Santander Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Santander, Santander Bank and the Flame logo are trademarks of Banco Santander, S.A. or its subsidiaries in the United States or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 467601 07/2020


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles PORTFOLIO/RISK MANAGEMENT

E

dward Chang is a senior vice president for Wells Fargo Commercial Capital’s Lender Finance team. Based in Dallas, he leads a portfolio team that manages relationships with asset-based lenders, factors, equipment finance companies and other specialty finance customers.

Edward joined Wells Fargo Capital Finance in 2006, originally covering healthcare, restaurant and media companies. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Edward was with Citigroup’s London office, covering debt capital markets for financial institutions. Edward graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California, majoring in economics and minoring in business. While at USC, he was a walk-on for the varsity basketball team.

EDWARD CHANG Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Commercial Capital

Whenever away from work, Edward enjoys adventures with his wife, two daughters and dog.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with tremendous leaders – both through Wells Fargo and client relationships. I’ve considered so many of these folks mentors, and I’ve received invaluable advice from all of them. The advice that has shaped me the most was said to me in 2009 by a friend and manager. He encouraged me to always go to people with solutions, not problems. I really took that to heart. Any time we are working through projects or requests, I make sure we present thoughtful solutions and strategies. I try to make the decision process easy for our leaders and customers, so they know that if my team is presented with a problem, the best possible solution will follow shortly. What is your definition of success? For me, success is being content with where you are at any moment, because you know that you’ve given 100% to the task and achieved your full potential – whether it’s related to your own journey, family, career, customers or team members. Success also comes with not “leaving any breadcrumbs behind” and never having to look over your shoulder or question your actions. If I’ve done everything I possibly can to achieve results, and I’ve done it the right way, then I consider myself successful.

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How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely? Again, I am extremely fortunate. I absolutely love and respect all of my clients and my team. It’s impossible to connect with every single one as much as I would like. However, if I find that it has been too long, I make sure to pick up the phone, send a brief email/text message or setup a video conference. I care about all of these folks and their families, and I’m always happy when I hear from them.

How do you define a good leader? There are so many facets that contribute to being a good leader. My favorite qualities are (1) knowing where the team needs to go, aligning them with that vision and effectuating any changes needed, (2) being able to engage and inspire team members to achieve their full potential, and (3) embracing and encouraging diversity in all respects. I’ve worked for and am working for tremendous leaders at Wells Fargo. We also have great customer relationships with the strongest leaders in the specialty finance industry. Thankfully, I’d like to think some of their leadership has rubbed off on me. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? My advice is to never be shy about raising your hand, offering ideas, asking questions, challenging status quo and being bold. I love seeing our junior talent voice their opinions when they believe in something. We’ve had so many great outcomes because of their courage and willingness to speak up. If you don’t feel like you have a voice that is heard, then something is broken and needs fixing. I am blessed in that I’ve always been encouraged to share my thoughts openly with David Koshenina (head of Lender Finance), Stewart Hayes (managing director, Lender Finance) and any other leader at Wells Fargo or on my team. That has made a tremendous difference in my leadership journey, and I make sure to emphasize that openness within my own team.


SFNet Education Focus 20/20 Networking Industry data Education Advocacy

SFNet’s new education program provides a well-rounded foundation for a successful career in secured finance. We have partnered with industry professionals to create classes across multiple discipline tracks, each with an eye to real-world application.

Our program can be approached in one of two ways:

1

Widen your focus: take all the core classes to develop a complete understanding of a specific product discipline

2

Streamline your focus: then choose the track most relevant to your functional goals

Visit SFNet.com and explore the Education section to learn more. If you have questions about Education Focus 20/20, contact Nora Walls at nwalls@sfnet.com.

An association of professionals putting capital to work

370 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1801 New York, NY 10001 212.792.9390 www.SFNet.com


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles UNDERWRITING

S

arah is a vice president for Citizens Bank’s Asset Based Lending group working on the underwriting team in Boston. Sarah joined Citizens in 2012 as a member of the Commercial Banker Development Program. She has also held roles on the analyst, originations, and portfolio management teams for the Asset Based Lending group. Sarah has experience working on ABL loans for publicly and privately held companies in a diverse range of industries and capital structures. Sarah is also a leader for Citizens’ women’s network and the New England Chapter president for SFNet. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations – Economics from Wellesley College. She lives outside of Boston, MA, with her husband, Tyler, and their two young children, Avery and Jameson.

SARAH BECKER Vice President - Underwriting Citizens Asset Based Lending

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? If nothing else, be dependable. Be dependable in your work product, your time management and your reliability as a team member. Too many people over-extend themselves and over-commit. If you say yes to something, plan to show up, be prepared, and complete it to the best of your ability. Do not be afraid to say “no” if you cannot commit a reasonable amount of your time and talent to the project or team. Most people I have encountered would prefer you are upfront with them rather than relying on you and having your work fall short due to over-commitment. To implement this, every so often I re-evaluate my commitments. If necessary, I step away from organizations or projects where I have not been able to commit my time or with which my interests no longer align. I have also had to practice saying “no” when an opportunity arises for which I do not have the time to fully commit myself. Additionally, last year at a conference I heard a great piece of advice – actively plan out and manage your calendar by setting rules. For instance, book only one day of your weekend or one after-hours event during the week. I have tried to set rules for my schedule and stick to them so that I can dedicate myself to my work, family, and extracurricular organizations and projects without over-extending.

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What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life? During COVID, I was temporarily re-assigned to our portfolio team to assist with any and all modification requests. Our originations, underwriting, and portfolio teams work closely together, so shifting team members to help out was relatively seamless but still had a large impact on our day-to-day work. Fortunately, I generally work remotely a few times each week, so I have a dedicated workspace where I can step away to focus. I did, however, have to set up another temporary

workspace in our playroom so that I can work while keeping an eye on the kids! Managing this balance between two young kids and working at home has been the hardest aspect of this crisis. Most people have been very understanding and recognize that we are all facing challenges. My husband and I have tried to vary our schedules to keep the kids entertained while the other one works, so this has made us both much more efficient in using the limited time we have. How do you define a good leader? Good leaders coach their teams while simultaneously challenging them. They embrace change and “rally the troops” to maintain a positive environment. Leaders push team members to be their best through ongoing feedback – both positive and negative – and support. They actively seek opportunities for their team members that will challenge them and advance their skills. Additionally, good leaders embrace diversity, recognizing that a diverse group of people brings various viewpoints and solutions to the table. I have had the benefit of working with various leaders throughout my career. They have found opportunities for me to take on and, although I haven’t always felt ready, they pushed me to complete these tasks and helped me to succeed and grow. They’ve encouraged me to take on new and challenging transactions, keep an open mind to varied solutions, and push myself to learn and ask questions to truly understand each transaction. I also step up and ask for more responsibility to stay challenged and engaged. They’ve also encouraged me to speak up when I want more responsibility and stay curious to develop my skills and keep the day-to-day interesting.


CONGRATULATIONS SARAH BECKER

We are proud to have our very own, Sarah Becker, recognized as one of SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Award recipients. The hard work and dedication Sarah brings every day to help clients meet their challenges and seize opportunities is greatly appreciated. Her friends and colleagues at Citizens Bank, the Citizens Asset-Based Lending team and the community thank her for her contributions and celebrate her accomplishments.

Visit citizensbank.com/commercial to learn how we can help your business to be ready for whatever comes next.

Š2020 Citizens Financial Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Citizens Commercial Banking is brand name of Citizens Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles UNDERWRITING

D

aniel Goll is a senior underwriter for the Commercial Services business at CIT. Dan started his career in CIT’s analyst rotation program in 2012, then spent two years in the customer credit department analyzing financials on major retailers. In 2016, he joined the underwriting team where he structures factoring and asset-based facilities and underwrites acquisitions and mergers for CIT’s clients. Additionally, Dan played an important role in helping launch the Supply Chain Finance program at CIT, and he assists in managing CIT’s analyst rotation program.

DANIEL GOLL Vice President, Senior Underwriter CIT Group, Inc.

Dan graduated magna cum laude from Manhattan College with a bachelor’s degree in finance and global business studies and earned an MBA in accounting from Baruch College. Dan stays active by snowboarding in the winter and biking in the summer. He enjoys the outdoors and learning about other cultures, recently hiking Machu Picchu in Peru. He lives in Long Island with his wife Colleen and 6-month old daughter, Erin.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? Early in my career my mentor advised me to “listen and pay attention to details.” This advice was invaluable because I had recently graduated college where there were minimal classes geared towards this industry. Fortunately, when I started at CIT, I was surrounded by co-workers who had 20+ years of industry experience and were willing to share their time and expertise. Experience cannot be taught; it can only be gained. However, you can accelerate your learning by listening to co-workers who have handled difficult discussions with clients and experienced recessions, mergers and acquisitions, management/strategic changes and so on. No matter what profession you are in, it is important to focus on the details early on. If you can understand the details, it will help you build a strong foundation for your career. As an underwriter, paying attention to details is imperative. Understanding the details of the credit is essential to demonstrating to management that you have thoroughly reviewed the prospect/client. Whenever I learn something new about a prospect/client, I continually ask myself, “What else does this information affect and does it make sense?” What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor?

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Aside from telling junior talent to “listen and pay attention to details,” I encourage them to ask questions and be inquisitive. We all know that it can be intimidating starting your first job out of college and it’s often difficult for novices to grasp the understanding of certain terms/ topics. Asking questions in the beginning enables junior talent to accelerate their rise up the learning curve, which helps set them apart from others. Fostering this development requires an environment that welcomes and encourages inquiries from junior talent. CIT provided me with such

a culture, inviting questions and providing a rotational program that allowed me to discuss topics with colleagues that have expertise in those departments. I look forward to continuing to provide this same opportunity to junior colleagues at CIT. What is your definition of success? When you think of success, you probably think “sales goals, profit targets.” But the true meaning of success is much broader than just revenue goals. In many roles, achieving a sales target isn’t the primary function. I believe true success is setting goals, stepping outside your comfort zone and keeping track of your progress. Continuing to grow and learn is the key. Setting multiple goals, big and small and individual and company goals, will gear your path toward success. Stepping outside your comfort zone will help you develop new characteristics and help you learn outside the box. Keeping track of your progress will allow you to maintain focus, learn from your mistakes and create new goals so you never settle and always continue to grow.


Empowering clients. Achieving excellence. Congratulations, Daniel Goll, on being named to SFNet’s 2020 “40 Under 40” list. Thank you for your outstanding achievements and dedication to our clients.

cit.com

   @CITgroup

© 2020 CIT Group Inc. All rights reserved. CIT and the CIT logo are registered trademarks of CIT Group Inc. MM#8314


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles UNDERWRITING

J

ason is a first vice president and founding member of Leumi Business Credit, a division of Bank Leumi USA, with a focus on sustainably growing the credit portfolio. He began his career in commercial finance as an analyst for Keltic Financial Services in 2003 and holds a B.S. from Villanova University and an M.B.A. from Fordham University in finance.

JASON SCHUMACHER First Vice President, Leumi Business Credit, a division of Bank Leumi USA

Prior to Leumi Business Credit, Jason managed a portfolio of direct loan assets, workouts, and liquidations at Ares Commercial Finance as a vice president. He has also held previous roles at The Berkshire Bank, where he reported directly to the Office of the CEO on strategic matters and monitoring a broad range of assets, Laurus Capital Management, where he managed a portfolio of direct loan assets, and Morgan Stanley Businesscape, managing a portfolio of middle-market credits. Jason is a member of the Secured Finance Network and the Turnaround Management Association New York Chapters.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? In 2003, I received advice from Jack Reilly at Keltic Financial Services to “think of it as your money.” If your profession is lending money, you have an obligation to make good investment choices on behalf of investors or depositors. Holding myself accountable for these decisions motivates me to be diligent and persistent towards the allocation of capital procedure. Every lender manages the borrower’s need for capital with the preservation of investor’s principal and a 100% risk-adverse approach leading to low-yielding investments. Poor returns and loss of principal are a disservice to the institution that entrusts us to make an investment decision. Responsible lending permits more candid conversations with borrowers about the needs of all stakeholders and the proper fit of those needs with the institution’s credit framework. The mindset of personal responsibility starts with the perspective of “it’s your money” and leads to better institutional decisions. How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely?

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I try to communicate with some of my clients at least once per week if things are stable, and with others daily to maintain clear communication. The borrowers’ businesses are constantly encountering new cash challenges. I have ongoing discussions about government lending programs, amendments, waivers, and opportunities. Conversations with colleagues happen daily. The touch point is either a phone call or via one of the many video-conferencing services colleagues and clients utilize. I am looking forward to returning to a live interaction, as it is difficult to build strong relationships with new contacts while working remotely. How do you define a good leader? I believe good leadership entails good communication, humility, and hard work. The workforce is filled with different experiences and perspectives. A one-size-fits-all approach is likely to lead to

miscommunication. With a communication shortfall, you can only be effective if the audience changes to those receptive to the message. When a workforce must change to meet the communication style of its leader, you end up with a workforce that can miss outside cues because of a cultural groupthink. A good communicator allows different experiences and perspectives to flourish, increasing the likelihood of understanding change. If an industry is changing, a more dynamic workforce has a greater chance of adapting. A good leader should have the humility to know that good ideas come from all over an organization and is receptive to dissenting or differing opinions. Finally, a poor work ethic can lead to delays, demoralization, or even institutional failure. Hard work can make up for other shortfalls and is a trait largely in the individual’s control. While some fields require specialized intelligence, a good portion of corporate problems can be solved through persistence. When interviewing newcomers to the industry, what do you say to pique their interest about why they should accept a position in this industry? There is a pivotal opportunity to educate the “fence sitters” about a unique space in the lending business. Secured finance is a useful financing tool across strategy, institution and industry. A traditional college course spends little time explaining our product offering, and I believe there is an opportunity to recruit more young professionals. I try to share my own experiences from asset-based lending. An additional selling point is that the asset- based revolver has multiple corporate purposes including: funding working capital, acquisition financing, debtor-in-possession financing, bridge financing, and turnaround financing. Although we are generalists, newcomers to secured finance are surprised to hear about the large pool of industries we touch, from oil and gas, seafood, furniture, automotive – the list goes on. Most recruits I speak to are looking for work that is challenging, interesting and has a foreseeable relevance. Our industry can check all those boxes. Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the individual and not necessarily shared by the individual’s employer.


Leumi Business Credit Proudly Congratulates Jason Schumacher on his SFNET 40 Under 40 Award! Congratulations to Jason Schumacher for being recognized as one of the 2020 winners of SFNet’s bi-annual award program. We look forward to his continued contributions and success. We provide Asset Based Loans from $10,000,000 to $30,000,000 for Working Capital, Refinancing, Acquisitions, Mergers, Turnarounds and Growth that are tailored to your specific business needs. We specialize in quick responses and clear communication.

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SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles UNDERWRITING

L

auren is a senior underwriter on the Business Capital team at Bank of America, where she structures and underwrites assetbased financing solutions for midsize-to-large companies.

Lauren led the project team to create a resources website for the Business Capital team, contributed to digital enhancement and process improvement initiatives, and has created and presented various training materials. In 2019, Lauren won Bank of America’s Apex and Wholesale Credit All Star awards. Lauren lives in Dallas, Texas. She enjoys reading, cooking, walking her dogs and fitness pursuits.

LAUREN TRUSSELL Senior Vice President, Bank of America Business Capital How do you define a good leader? I am fortunate to work for a leadership team that encourages original thought and professional growth. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to experience management styles that brought out my best, as well as methods that challenged my confidence. These experiences have taught me about myself and the type of leader I hope to become. One of my current managers has taken the time to mentor me, understand my goals and provide opportunities for me to stretch my wings and fly. I know firsthand how much leadership matters, and so the question of how to define a leader is personal and meaningful to me. Leaders create an environment that encourages the team to succeed and also instill a sense of ownership within each individual. The best leaders do not demand excellence; they inspire it. Leaders cultivate awareness and practiced focus within themselves. They take the time to get into the right frame of mind prior to setting the tone for the team. They value introspection because they understand they will get back what they give. Lead from fear, and your team will give you avoidance and distrust. Lead from compassion, and both morale and productivity will surge.

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True leaders expect the best from themselves and their teams. They praise strengths and also communicate honest feedback when performance falls short. They understand every failure is a valuable learning experience and fresh starting point, and expecting perfection only leads to fear of mistakes and suppression of new ideas. Leaders listen with an open mind and fearlessly pursue change if it will lead to progress. They gladly play outside their comfort zone and provide opportunities for their teams to do the same since they know this is the way to expand skills and perspective.

I’m writing this in June 2020 when the world is experiencing various stages of lockdown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and confronting long unresolved questions around racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Strong emotions in response to the call to re-examine racial equality compound anxieties around health and economic uncertainty. In this environment, teams look to their leaders more than ever. Great leaders rise to the occasion by bringing their whole selves to the dialogue around tough issues. To illustrate this point, I’ll share an example. A senior leader at Bank of America recently addressed the issue of racial inequality highlighted by current events. He opened by saying that, as a person, he has more to learn. He confessed that difficult conversations sometimes make him feel awkward. He let us know that he may not fully identify and understand, but he wants to listen so he can try. He was authentic and human and shared his whole self. In addition to speaking about race, he mentioned equality for the LGBTQ community and women and pledged to do his part to foster a culture that welcomes and respects everyone. He did not talk AT us. He empathized WITH us and set a tone of unity. His comments are evidence that the best leaders are not those who have all the answers but those who admit more work lies ahead and inspire us to rise to the challenge alongside them. So, how do I define a leader? Someone who is present, focused, compassionate and honest. Someone who listens actively and openly, expects the best from themselves and others and stays curious and ready to learn, and who sets a tone that inspires individuals to take responsibility for adding value to the team as a whole.


76th Annual Convention “This Way Forward” 76 years of putting capital to work November 17-19, 2020

Discover SFNet’s Keynote Line Up at SFNet’s 76th Annual Convention “This Way Forward”

James Mattis, retired United States Marine Corps General and former U.S. Secretary of Defense. Gen. Mattis will be interviewed by Ayesha Rascoe, White House Report for NPR.

Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO & Chief Strategist for Quill Intelligence, LLC, and author of Fed Up: An Insider's Take on Why the Federal Reserve Is Bad for America

David A. Brandon, Chairman of the Board, Domino's Pizza, Inc.; former President & CEO, Domino's Pizza, Inc.; former CEO, Toys "R" Us, Inc.; Athletic Director at the University of Michigan

Join us live online November 17-19, 2020

For details and registration information visit SFNet.com/home/76th-annual-convention


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles UNDERWRITING

M

egan Flaherty, vice president of the purchase order finance division of Rosenthal & Rosenthal, Inc. (Rosenthal Trade Capital), has been with the firm for three years. Megan is responsible for handling all account management duties in her portfolio, underwriting new business, and structuring all international PO financing trade requirements. Megan has daily interaction both internally with Rosenthal’s factoring and asset-based lending divisions and externally with third-party banks, factors, finance companies and external legal counsel. Prior to joining Rosenthal, Megan was vice president of operations at Salus Capital Partners, LLC from 2012 through 2017.

MEGAN FLAHERTY Vice President, Rosenthal & Rosenthal, Inc.

Megan is active in the industry and supports new business development efforts through involvement in SFNet, the Turnaround Management Association, ACG, WHOW of NY and B.A.B.E. She also attends regional industry events, trade shows, and networking events with third-party lenders, CPAs, attorneys, investment bankers and private equity referral sources. Megan earned her bachelor degree in economics from Boston College.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it? I have been fortunate to meet and work with talented, driven and intelligent people throughout my career. My mentors have imparted wonderful advice over the years, and a few things in particular have stuck with me. Be self-motivated. Solicit regular feedback and consciously incorporate that feedback into personal goals. Your career will progress as quickly or as slowly as you allow, so maintain a sense of urgency in all that you do. Become an expert in your field. Read industry publications, stay current on market trends, and attend industry events and conferences. Knowledge makes you a valuable resource to your team and company. Be just as strong within a team as you are as an individual contributor. It’s crucial to develop an understanding of the big picture and recognize when to involve others in your work. Don’t hesitate to be a leader. Be fearless. Trust your own judgment to recognize necessary risks and always take responsibility for end results. Develop and nurture interests outside of your work. Become involved in the local community and volunteer. Getting involved is a great way to make an impact and engage with people who you may not have the opportunity to meet otherwise. Take a leading role in volunteer opportunities. Make health and happiness main priorities.

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How do you define a good leader? A good leader is someone who is always prepared, has sound judgment and elevates those around her. A good leader does not always succeed, but gives herself and her team the best chance of success. She uses her experience to provide good judgment in the toughest of circumstances, while always maintaining an ethical approach. She makes the people around her better by giving them all

of the information and resources they need to succeed. By providing unwavering support, focus and direction when needed, she can advocate for her team while still encouraging their independence. What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor? The advice I give to junior talent is to challenge yourself. Rather than wait for your career to unfold, you should always seek to enhance your capabilities and increase your responsibilities. The people who took an interest in my career early on encouraged me to take on more difficult assignments that were perhaps not in line with my junior title. Even if you feel that you are not ready or fully prepared, push yourself to deliver the best results possible. By challenging yourself, you will learn more and grow faster than you otherwise thought possible, and the people around you will recognize that and take notice. Network! Attend as many industry events as possible and build lasting relationships with your peer group. Always be professional in the way you act, the way you dress, and the way you form relationships. I have found that maturity and professionalism can set you apart from your peers and help offset potential preconceived notions of your relative inexperience and youth. Always maintain a positive attitude regardless of circumstance or audience.


Congratulations to our colleague

Megan Flaherty on being honored as one of 2020’s 40 Under 40 professionals in the Commercial Finance Industry And to all of the other honorees, well done!

VISIT THE DIFFERENCE AT ROSENTHALINC.COM ASSET BASED LENDING NEW YORK

FACTORING CALIFORNIA

PURCHASE ORDER FINANCING GEORGIA

NORTH CAROLINA


SFNet 2020 40/40

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles UNDERWRITING

M

ohammed Islam graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Science in finance in 2015. He began his career at Siena Lending Group in 2016 as a collateral analyst shorty after graduating undergrad. During his time as a collateral analyst, Mohammed was able to quickly learn the fundamentals of asset-based lending and was able to implement what he learned while also continuing his education by sitting for the Chartered Financial Analyst (“CFA”) program. In 2018, Mohammed was promoted as an associate in underwriting. During his first year in underwriting, Mohammed conducted on-site collateral audits of prospective borrowers in order to further educate himself in ABL. During the same year, Mohammed passed all levels of the CFA and is currently awaiting to earn the experience to be certified. By the end of 2019, Mohammed closed multiple transactions to date and has been promoted to AVP in underwriting.

MOHAMMED ISLAM Assistant Vice President Underwriting, Siena Lending Group

Mohammed grew up and continues to live in Connecticut. He is an active investor in real estate and is continuously looking for the next opportunity. He is an avid skier and aspires to travel to a new country every year.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it?

individual goal for their specific need, so their success is my success.

I have been very fortunate to have had various mentors throughout the years, which, combined with great colleagues in general, are the primary reasons I have been with Siena for my entire career. One piece of advice that I was given and that has always stuck with me was to be intellectually curious. An intellectually curious person has a deep and persistent desire to know and acquire knowledge. He or she asks and seeks answers to the “why” questions and doesn’t stop asking at the surface level, but instead asks probing questions in order to peel back layers of explanation to get at the foundational ideas concerning a particular issue. This method of peeling back the onion has helped me in underwriting to analyze credits and structure deals. I have also leveraged the intelligent individuals within my own organization to learn from them and to understand how they view the world. The process of deep understanding has been fundamental to my career and even personal life.

What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life?

What is your definition of success?

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Coming from immigrant parents and being a first-generation immigrant myself, has given me a different perspective on how I would define success. Success to them was to be able to provide a good education and more opportunities for their children. Everything they did was the result of them wanting me to succeed. Success for me is to be able to provide those same opportunities to my community and to people who have not had the same opportunities available to them. As an underwriter, success is being able to provide flexible financial solutions for our clients. Whether it is a distressed company trying to turn the business around or a company looking to finance further growth, providing a partnership, and seeing our clients succeed is how I define success in my role. My professional success is meeting each client’s

The COVID crisis has been a challenge for everyone and has been a disruption in my professional life. However, I can say that I have been able to take a positive away from this disruption. The crisis has taught me to be able to quickly adapt to the volatile environment. The current climate has been challenging, but utilizing the available resources such as the informative webinars provided by various appraisal firms, legal firms, etc. have been instrumental in navigating through these times. What advice would you give to forthcoming generations of talent aspiring to win this award? I would tell the forthcoming generations to keep pushing and that their efforts are not being unnoticed. I truly believe if you continue to work hard, then you will see results. I can personally say that the journey will not be easy, or stress free and it is not meant to be. We are meant to be pushed and continuously challenged throughout our careers. I can say that I am blessed to have the opportunities that were available to me such as amazing mentors and a great collaborative team. I would also tell the forthcoming generations to ensure that they leverage the brightest minds within their own organization by asking them questions or even shadowing them through their work. I am confident that there are many bright individuals within the forthcoming generations that will revolutionize the commercial finance industry.


Congratulations to Mohammed Islam SFNet’s 2020 40 Under 40 Award Recipient

Siena Lending Group is proud to announce that Mohammed Islam, Assistant Vice President – Underwriting, is one of this year’s recipient for SFNet’s 2020 40 Under 40 Award. This significant award demonstrates his achievements as well as his contribution to his community and dedication to the secured finance industry. “Mohammed has been a valued member of the Siena Lending Group since 2015, and we are proud of his accomplishments through the years,” said Dave Grende, CEO, Siena Lending. “We congratulate him and all the other recipients of this year’s 40 Under 40 Awards.”

READY, WILLING AND ABL™

For more information, visit sienalending.com or sienahealthcarefinance.com


FEATURE STORY

Interview with SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards Co-Chairs, Stewart Hayes and Kate Lepak BY MICHELE OCEJO

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The SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards wouldn’t be possible without the tireless efforts of those who step up to chair the Awards Committee. Here, co-chairs Kate Lepak, asset-based lending business director, People’s United Business Capital, and Stewart Hayes, senior vice president, Lender Finance, Wells Fargo Capital Finance, discuss the Awards and why they were compelled to get involved.


W

hy did you volunteer to co-chair the SFNet 40U40 Awards?

LEPAK: The most important aspect of our industry is human capital, and the future of the industry is in the hands of younger professionals. I am excited to participate on the 40U40 committee because I believe it is vital to our organization to highlight our brightest stars, to recognize and celebrate them, and to give them the visibility they deserve earlier in their careers across our industry. The 40U40 Awards, in elevating the winners, provides a remarkable opportunity for building relationships across the spectrum of secured lending professionals, from our newest members to seasoned senior executives. These connections will spur career development, will revitalize thought leadership in the industry, and will last a lifetime. HAYES: I am passionate about the importance of recognizing up-andcoming talent, and absolutely love this award. As an SFNET Executive Committee member, I have been actively involved in the 40 Under 40 program from the outset. We originally established this award in 2016 to recognize high-achieving individuals in our industry, elevate their profile and better position them for future leadership positions. To date, we have honored 160 deserving recipients. The 40 Under 40 program has been well received and has made a material positive impact on our organization. Tell us a bit about the judging process. What advice would you give to those who plan to nominate a team member in the future? HAYES: The judging process is far more comprehensive, challenging and time-consuming than I had expected, but for a positive reason. We are fortunate to have so many talented members eligible for nomination. For the 2020 process, we again received an overwhelming number of nominees, all of whom deserved to have a detailed and focused evaluation. I can honestly say that the judges provided that. My advice to nominators would be: (1) to provide as much detail as possible in all areas. Most nominations are very detailed regarding professional contributions, but many provide limited information on industry and community contributions; (2) if your nominee was not selected, please do not interpret this negatively and please do nominate them again next year. There are many qualified candidates, and multiple recipients who were not selected the first time. LEPAK: The judging process is a careful, rigorous review of all of our nominees by senior members of SFNet from diverse geographies, firm sizes and professions. Our judges are keenly aware of the importance of 40U40, and they invest a significant amount of time to get it right. There is great collaboration and a lot of discussion on the committee to deliver an Awards class that is worthy of the recognition. For those planning to nominate a team member in the future, I would agree with Stewart and also advise you to communicate the holistic accomplishments of your nominee – of course – industry accomplishments, education, life experience, time invested in SFNet or other like industry associations, but also their community involvement, how they give back to their communities. Take time to share a complete profile of your nominee as a professional and as a person. We’ll be celebrating the Class of 2020 a bit differently due to the pandemic. This issue highlights them and we will be publishing their

STEWART HAYES

KATE LEPAK

Wells Fargo Capital Finance

People’s United Business Capital

acceptance speeches virtually. What would you like to say to this year’s recipients? LEPAK: These are unprecedented times. I would say to the class of 2020 that you are amazing, and that we are fortunate that you all are a part of our industry, leading the way into an uncertain future. Your accomplishments are no less important than any other class, although we cannot celebrate you as we customarily would, together at our Gala. Perhaps 2020 will be more memorable in some ways – I encourage you to let the challenges empower you to continue to support companies of all sizes across the United States and the world. Your skills and talents are needed now more than ever, your contributions critical to the survival of the businesses we serve. HAYES: First, congratulations! It is an honor to celebrate this distinguished group of rising stars in the SFNET. You are the future and we look forward to watching you lead us. While we are certainly disappointed that we cannot celebrate you with an in-person event at this time, that in no way diminishes your accomplishment and contributions. How do you think this unique crisis will affect the industry’s up-andcoming leaders? How might it enrich their leadership abilities? HAYES: One of the lessons I have learned many times over is how fast circumstances can evolve. The 2020 pandemic is obviously an extreme and horrendous situation that has negatively impacted many people. Many of the ways we do business are permanently changed and the virtual/digital world represents our new reality. With any change comes opportunity. I encourage you to learn from this and embrace our new normal, but remember that it will also continually evolve. LEPAK: I know our up-and-coming leaders will rise to the challenge of continuing to provide financing to businesses that will ultimately power the economy. By taking on this charge, they will become seasoned leaders, working to stabilize commerce at a time of adversity. They will learn to respond to scenarios that are impossible to plan for with dynamism, hope, and a belief that we can make things better. Their successes, as well as the situations that don’t work out, will shape them, and give them confidence to lead the industry into the future. Michele Ocejo is director of communications for the Secured Finance Network and editor-in-chief of The Secured Lender.

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FEATURE STORY

Flexible Workplace Arrangements - Attracting and Retaining Talent in the Current Environment BY JASON HOEFLER

The secured finance industry, just like so many others, has demanded that remote work become the “norm.� Will this change better enable the industry to attract and retain top talent?

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I

In the June/July edition of The Secured Lender I participated in a roundtable discussion called “The New Normal.” I asked my boss, Mike Scolaro, to review my written responses and we had a discussion on the topic. For one of the JASON HOEFLER questions regarding the Managing Director outlook for ABL over the next ABL team leader, six months, Mike added his BMO Harris Bank own thought, which prompted this article; “How and where we work is evolving in the blink of an eye. The industry changed from a monolithic, stodgy workplace replete with age-old mores and customs to a bustling, fast-paced work-fromhome environment more typically associated with new-age companies. Suddenly, the industry can compete for employees demanding more flexibility.” For the last 14 years or so, my routine has been to leave my house at approximately 7:50 each day, drive to the Metra train station and walk in the downtown Chicago office at 9:05am (2.5 hours round trip each day!). I came in “late” to spend a little time with my kids before I left my house in the morning since a late night could mean missing bedtime, particularly when they were young. I remember discussing this adjustment with my manager as it was a little out of the norm at that time not to be at work by 8:30. Perhaps not an extreme example of a flexible workplace arrangement (FWA), but I was grateful for the accommodation and have been a champion of FWA since. Prior to the pandemic, a very experienced portfolio manager on my team worked half of the year from his second home in Florida and another taught yoga two days per week and worked from home on those days. The arrangement has worked very well, requiring a little different communication and planning, but now feels completely normal. Now having worked from home each day since early March, I have found that I still wake up at the same time as I used to no matter what time I set the alarm and therefore am able to start working much earlier than my standard 9:05 a.m. I even read the paper at night instead of during my morning commute¸ shifting even more of my workday. Now I try to replace some of the commute time walking the dog, hitting a bucket of balls, going out to breakfast with my wife or spending a little time with my now 16-year-old daughter, Courtney, or 15-year-old son, Andrew, once they finally emerge from their bedrooms sometime after noon. I have become such a huge fan of the fivesecond commute to my basement and having a little flexibility during the day that I see myself continuing this one or two days a week even when this is all behind us.

Clearly, this environment comes with challenges: lack of impromptu meetings and discussions, the missed learning opportunities sitting with your peers, the office camaraderie and culture that are missed in a pure work-from-home setting; onboarding and training a new employee, just to name a few. That is why the office setting will never die completely. However, the appeal of an FWA is obvious. Will employees now demand such flexibility? Will employers accommodate in order to attract and retain employees? Is it appealing enough to draw different backgrounds into our industry? Is this the New Normal? I discussed the topic with a handful of industry leaders, including Mike Scolaro, head of BMO ABL; Jason Riley, Central and West Region portfolio/underwriting manager from Bank of America Business Capital; David Grende, head of Siena Lending Group; and Tim Knight, vice president of ThinkingAhead Executive Search.

Flexible Workplace Arrangements No stranger to FWA, Jason Riley has worked in such a way for the past six years, commuting three days per week to Chicago from his home in Milwaukee. I was curious as to Jason’s experience now that his entire team is remote. “Overall, I believe our teams have adjusted very well to the new work-from-home environment. Technology allows our employees to be very productive working from home during these unprecedented times. Teams in our industry are certainly fortunate to have the ability to work at home compared to those in some other industries who don’t have that option.” At Siena Lending Group, Dave Grende is also experienced with FWA, noting that approximately 25% of his employees are located away from its Samford, CT headquarters. In addition to having business development officers local in its markets, Siena also has underwriters and portfolio managers located in Florida, New York and Delaware. “The individuals working away from the office are all experienced folks who do not require a lot of guidance. It is much more important for someone beginning their career to be in the office to learn from those around them.” Riley noted a similar sentiment, “This is much easier with a cohesive team. The challenges are greater when our teams experience turnover and add new employees.” Mike Scolaro added: “While I was an early supporter of FWA, my position was based upon what I perceived as a no-cost benefit we could offer our employees. Never in my wildest imagination could I have envisioned working from home for a protracted period. At this juncture, I cannot imagine commuting to the office five days a week.” Tim Knight, who has worked for 24 years recruiting within the ABL and banking industry, had this to say: “The prospective employer’s policy on flexible workplace arrangements and typical office attendance is routinely part of a candidates-screening questions, including both men and women, young and old, ranks near the top when it comes to criteria in making a new work or career decision. Younger employees, in particular, are accustomed to working how and when they want and employers requiring differently will have a hard time retaining such employees. Corporate cultures are being disrupted and so is the traditional office setting as part of that culture.” After hearing everyone’s experiences with the new environment,

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FEATURE STORY which was, overall, very positive in our conversations, I was curious on expectations for the future environment once all of this is behind us: Riley indicated this what he is hearing from his team: “Despite working well at home, several of my colleagues have recently indicated they prefer working in the office with their teammates over working from home. They learn from and enjoy interactions with teammates whom they don’t work on transactions with on a regular basis. The office environment helps our teams build relationships with others that may expose them to other future career opportunities within the bank. They also miss the social aspects of the office environment. I do believe that the current work environment has proven that our teams can be productive working from home, but I know many of our teammates are looking forward to returning to the office environment once it is deemed safe to do so.”

suit-and-tie regulars have relaxed their position.” Knight added, “As with most recessions, companies are reexamining how they do things. On the hiring front, there are lots of companies and candidates in ‘wait and see’ mode with most current hires being replacement in nature. And like most recessions, candidates are inherently cautious. That said, the industry is built for this kind of environment and the future is bright!”

Final Thoughts

Despite working well at home, several of my colleagues have recently indicated they prefer working in the office with their teammates over working from home. They learn from and enjoy interactions with teammates whom they don’t work on transactions with on a regular basis. The office environment helps our teams build relationships with others that may expose them to other future career opportunities within the bank. They also miss the social aspects of the office environment. I do believe that the current work environment has proven that our teams can be productive working from home, but I know many of our teammates are looking forward to returning to the office environment once it is deemed safe to do so.”

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I asked Dave Grende what he would think about this environment if it were permanent: “Our office is open, though limited to 50% capacity. Looking ahead, 100% virtual is not a great outcome. Unlike large tech companies that have made long-term announcements, I don’t think a permanent work-from-home environment works well for our business, especially for roles in operations, portfolio, treasury & finance and other projects such as software development. I do expect to see a more hybrid arrangement going forward depending on individual circumstances.”

Scolaro added that “Permanent changes are going to come in multiple shapes and sizes. First off, video technology has come by leaps and bounds. This changes how we interact not only amongst teammates, but also with customers, prospects and outside vendors. Second, I envision needing significantly less space for the team going forward, as I anticipate up to 40-50% of the team will ultimately take advantage of a flexible arrangement on a regular basis. Lastly, business attire is completely out of the picture as even the old guard

Employees are increasingly demanding a more flexible workplace than what many of us experienced earlier in our careers. It is clear to me that the overall positive experience shared by both employees and organizations with working remotely will result in more utilization and acceptance of FWA going forward. In turn, our industry can use this as a recruiting tool for campus hires and those new to our industry as well as for retaining the incredible talent that we all have today.

Since Scolaro’s quote started this article, it is was fitting to end it with another from him that summarizes our opportunity as an industry to attract and retain the very best¬ and diverse talent: “Gone are the days of bankers being limited to white, conservative men and not a moment too soon! With the adoption of a flexible workplace environment, casual attire, a collaborative work environment and technology advancements, suddenly, banking has become a very attractive workplace.” Jason Hoefler is a managing director and an ABL team leader at BMO Harris Bank. He joined BMO Harris in 2011 and now manages a team responsible for the origination, underwriting and ongoing relationship and credit management for assetbased lending customers. Hoefler graduated from the University of Illinois in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in accountancy and has his CPA designation.


@SFNet_National

@SFNet_National

An association of professionals putting capital to work

Secured Finance Network | National

Your essential professional resource — and community Networking Industry data Education Advocacy

Association membership is available to both lenders and service providers who enable secured financing. Membership is at the company level (employees of member companies are eligible for association benefits). Proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations and other business entities engaged in secured commercial lending, factoring, accounts receivable discounting or other forms of secured finance are eligible for membership.

Learn more about membership at SFNet.com

Contact James Kravitz, Business Development Director, at (646) 839-6080 or jkravitz@sfnet.com 370 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1801 New York, NY 10001


SFNET’S 40 UNDER 40 ALUMNI

SFNet’s 40 Under 40: Where are they now? BY EILEEN WUBBE

Members of the class of 2018 and 2017 share their accomplishments and career updates since receiving the Award, while giving advice to this year’s class. SFNet’s 2020 40 Under 40 Awards celebration will be held in person at a later date.

DAVID BARONI Winston & Strawn

DANIELLE LAPAGLIA ProfitStars® A Division of Jack Henry

JASON MILLER Otterbourg, P.C.

TANNER PUMP Bank of America Business Capital

DAVID BARONI, PARTNER, WINSTON & STRAWN Did receiving the SFNet 40 Under 40 Award help your career and visibility? If so, how? Going to the event itself was helpful for networking. Winston & Strawn marketed the award, promoted it on social media and reached out to clients with e-blasts. The award served as a great connection point with clients and I’m still in touch with certain people that I met that night or whom I did drinks with afterwards.

KAREN MARINO North Mill Capital

How can YoPros build their brand and recognition in this industry? It’s never too early to start making connections and networking. Meeting new people when you are young allows you to grow up together in the industry. I can’t stress enough that you are never too young to start networking and when you network at a young age many of those contacts will develop into true friendships, which is the best form of networking. As you network you will learn that this industry is not a huge world and you’ll start seeing the same people over and over again, which makes networking become easier as you progress. Always remember, just because you aren’t bringing in connections at that moment, building your relationships will pay off in the long run. It’s not only about bringing in new deals, but effective networking also leads to learning new information about the industry or meeting people that ultimately introduce you to additional contacts.

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What advice would you give on meeting people in the industry? How often should people touch base? I think quarterly checkins with people is a good way to go about it. I would recommend keeping a list of your contacts and keeping track of when you last spoke to each contact. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate method, but something simple will be a helpful reminder as we all get busy and time goes by fast, all of a sudden you will realize months have passed since connecting with your network. Planning a group

JAMES POSTON eCapital

JAN TAMMEN PNC Business Credit


happy hour is a good way to connect with a large number of people at the same time, but meeting with one or two people is often a better way to build the relationship and to truly get to know your clients. Remember, even if you only have four or five contacts when you’re young, it’s a good start. Did receiving the 40 Under 40 Award encourage you to become involved in additional professional or community organizations or volunteer work? When you receive the award, you become a name within SFNet and other members of the SFNet will reach out to you to assist with future programs. I have become involved in SFNet committees, locally and nationally, and helped with the SFNet Annual Convention, all as a direct result of winning this award. Our firm (Winston & Strawn) has great respect for the SFNet community and has nominated other attorneys at the firm congrats to Daniela Cohen for winning this year! How can YoPros stand out working from home in this new environment? With clients, and internally, make sure you’re very responsive, as that is one of the most important things a young person can do right now. Also, consider arranging Zoom happy hours with clients and colleagues. Relatedly, if you do set-up virtual networking events with clients or prospects, this is a perfect time to keep your bosses informed so they know what you are doing, even if it’s just sending an email saying, “Hey, by the way, I headed up a Zoom meeting with four clients and received the following industry updates.” This is an easy and helpful way to share information and to let you supervisors know that you are still networking despite working remotely. On the business development side, find a creative way to stay in touch. Send cards or gifts if you can (if permitted), such as a bottle of wine or a gift card for home food delivery. Or if trying to reach a large number of clients, there are other options out there; for example, Winston held a Zoom meeting with the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for a family night. So, try to think of creative ways to connect but take into consideration that your contacts may be home with their family, so thinking of family-friendly ideas is good in the current climate. This is a time where young people have a leg up as, generally speaking, the younger generation is better suited for working remotely and more attuned to options to stay in contact with people virtually or electronically. So use that knowledge to help your firm; even if the ideas don’t turn into an event, suggesting ideas to your supervisors and team is just another way to stay in touch during the pandemic and to show that you are thinking outside the box. What advice would you give to recent entrants into this industry? Work is so much more fun when you know the people you are working with and for. Networking has benefits outside of just getting additional work, it will make your existing work more enjoyable. Also, if you feel a little lost or out of place at an event with older people or if you don’t yet know the market well, just

remember that isn’t a unique experience, but is something all the younger folks are experiencing. Don’t get disheartened, just continue to get out there and you will quickly feel more comfortable. It takes a while to learn, especially the first year. It’s not you; it’s a difficult job and everyone is in the same boat. Also, attending “Young Professional” events is a great way to “practice” networking and to meet more similarly aged people.

DANIELLE LAPAGLIA ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE - LENDING SOLUTIONS, PROFITSTARS® A DIVISION OF JACK HENRY Did receiving the 40 Under 40 award help your career and visibility? If so, how? The nomination for the 40 Under 40 award was a humbling experience and truly an honor, especially as a woman in the male-dominated software category. There is no doubt that being a recipient helped my career and visibility, not only inside ENGS, but within the industry as well. Receiving the award gave me more confidence, which has positively impacted my career. What changed for you professionally after receiving the award? Since receiving the 40 Under 40 Award, I’ve made some significant career changes. After two great years with ENGS, I went back to work for Jack Henry & Associates. Not only did I change employers, but I also stepped out of my comfort zone, leaving direct work with the software to accept my first role in sales. I’m now an account executive for the CLMS/FactorSoft client base. My passion has always been supporting others. With my new role, I get to channel my passion into helping my clients’ businesses be more successful, which is something I love. How can YoPros build their brand and recognition in this industry? Throw a pandemic at today’s culture and the world has gone remote. An online presence is so vital for building your brand and recognition. Just a couple examples of how you can do that are to increase your social media presence professionally or write a blog sharing relevant industry data. These actions will organically build your network, which is also how you gain recognition. Most importantly, and this goes for any industry, always maintain a good reputation. How can YoPros stand out working from home during this new environment? While working remotely certainly has its perks, ensuring that you stand out from the rest requires discipline and takes initiative. Setting boundaries while working from home is extremely beneficial and can help you get your work done more efficiently. Taking the initiative to do whatever it takes to get the job done will show others you can be relied on. And lastly, communicate, communicate, communicate. Being remote takes away that face-to-face interaction, therefore, being vigilant about updates is important.

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SFNET’S 40 UNDER 40 ALUMNI What advice would you give to recent entrants into this industry? Change is inevitable, even more so post-COVID-19. The advice that I have is to embrace the change and be willing to learn new skills, even if they weren’t part of your five-year plan. There is so much to learn in this industry; never stop challenging yourself.

KAREN MARINO, VICE PRESIDENT, NORTH MILL CAPITAL Did receiving the 40 Under 40 award encourage you to become involved in additional professional or community organizations or volunteer work? Do you have any updates you’d like to share in your professional life outside of work? Winning the 40 Under 40 Award exposed me to people I may not have otherwise met. The group of professionals that won the award that year were wonderful, and I continue to connect with many of them professionally and personally. Having the award in common was a great icebreaker. The exposure to young professionals rolled into more involvement with the finance community. Since the Award, I joined the SFNet YoPro National Committee as well as the board of the SFNet New Jersey Chapter. It opened up many doors for volunteering, more so than any other networking event. Being recognized as a young professional is like an endorsement of someone who goes above and beyond, allowing people to take a chance.

How can YoPros stand out working from home in this new environment? An incredible way to stand out at home has been getting involved on projects. When everyone eventually settled into working from home, I offered to work on projects, things that were put on the back burner at one point or another. Taking an initiative to do things outside of your job description will really help you stand out. It proves you can step up to the plate and you’ll be called on for future projects. What advice would you give to recent entrants or grads into this industry?

Winning the 40 Under 40 Award exposed me to people I may not have otherwise met. The group of professionals that won the award that year were wonderful, and I continue to connect with many of them professionally and personally. Having the award in common was a great icebreaker. The exposure to young professionals rolled into more involvement with the finance community. Since the Award, I joined the SFNet YoPro National Committee as well as the board of the SFNet New Jersey Chapter.

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How can YoPros build their brand and recognition in this industry? Winning the award is a great way to get your name out there; start volunteering with SFNet or other organizations. Begin giving back to the community that has awarded your hard work, showing them what you bring to the table. Actions, commitment, and hard work build your brand and volunteering with different groups, helps show your brand to the world.

The ABL industry has so many rich and diverse options, so jump right in and learn as much as you can. Nobody expects you to know it all. Ask as much as you can. Dig deeper, question things, and understand the foundation of why you do what you do. I think that has advanced me the most in my career. I am not afraid to put myself out there and ask when I don’t know something. I would also say that finding a mentor at different levels of the organization gives you access to different perspectives. Step outside of what you’re doing and always submit your best product as that’s part of your brand.

JASON MILLER, PARTNER, OTTERBOURG, P.C. What changed for you professionally after receiving the award? Since having received the award, I was elected as a shareholder at Otterbourg and asked to take on additional responsibilities within the firm. I have grown my practice significantly and I have built so many strong relationships with clients and friends in our industry. How can YoPros build their brand and recognition in this industry? Having a brand is all about everyone knowing what you bring to the table. Ultimately, clients work with professionals who add value. Young professionals should think about what sets them apart


from their peers, especially as it pertains to how they add value. I encourage young professionals to become a respected and trusted member of their organization who does great work. That, coupled with defining their brand, will bring them recognition. Did receiving the 40 Under 40 Award encourage you to become involved in additional professional or community organizations or volunteer work? Do you have any updates you’d like to share in your professional life outside of work? While I have long been committed to being involved in the community by providing pro bono legal services, after receiving the award I also joined the SFNet Advocacy Committee and Data subcommittee. It has been terrific to be involved in advocating for important change on issues that affect the commercial finance industry. How can YoPros stand out working from home in this new environment? I think the primary goal has and should always be to do excellent work. That said, working from home has been challenging for much of the industry and it is affecting different organizations and different individuals in unique ways. I would encourage young professionals to look at what they are doing from a process perspective and crank it up another few notches. Push yourself hard to anticipate client and internal needs. Re-double your efforts to be hyper responsive. Jump at the chance to be the one to set up a needed conference/video call. At a time when just executing our regular day-to-day is more challenging, being recognized as a reliable, resourceful team member who makes execution easier/ smoother, will go a long way towards helping young professionals stand out right now. What advice would you give to recent entrants or grads into this industry? To new young professionals in the industry, I would say: be patient, this will pass. Not being able to collaborate in person or learn from mentors face to face is less than ideal, at least based on historical practices. That said, ours is an industry of innovation and flexibility. So, what better time to learn that than now. For example, while many law firms cancelled or limited their summer associate programs, this summer, at Otterbourg, we devised and held a successful full-length summer associate program that was entirely remote. So, go with the flow and do your best – there are a lot of great people in this industry who understand the challenges and who are working to make this unique time as easy and successful as possible for their clients and everyone in their organization.

JAMES POSTON, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIPS, ECAPITAL Did receiving the 40 Under 40 Award help your career and visibility? If so, how? Yes. As the only Canadian to win the award in my year (2017), it

provided me with much greater visibility locally here in Canada at a senior level, but also throughout the lending community in North America. The comradery between all the winners was truly amazing as previous recipients reached out to connect and broaden our networks. What changed for you professionally after receiving the award? Personally, there wasn’t a major change; but it certainly has been a reminder to keep persevering to continue to strive for excellence and lead by example in all things you pursue; both professionally and personally. How can YoPros build their brand and recognition in this industry? Get out there! The current world has changed. Due to the global pandemic, traditional routes to markets like networking and conferences have been suspended for the time being. However, YoPros need to lead the charge into new ways of connecting and engaging with both networks and clients. They have the opportunity to be the leading example into the future as our industry, economies and worlds push forward into the “New Normal”. Now, more than ever, resilience and perseverance is required to continue to grow and develop personal brands. Start with something you are passionate about and look to find opportunities to have your passion intertwine with your professional lives. If you love what you do, it will shine through and will get you recognized. Did receiving the 40 Under 40 Award encourage you to become involved in additional professional or community organizations or volunteer work? Do you have any updates you’d like to share in your professional life outside of work? I have always tried to be an active member of my community in the days since the award. Through all of this, I have had the pleasure of watching my children grow. I’ve taken on leadership roles by coaching rugby and have been an active member of this club by organizing social and sporting events. We have always had a love of animals and over the last few summers we have fostered everything from baby cats, dogs and, this year, ducks. There is never a dull moment in my life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way! How can YoPros stand out working from home in this new environment? In this current environment everything is new, so try everything! One thing I believe is, if someone has something relevant and interesting to say or share, people will find it and promote it. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what the world will look like after this pandemic. I am willing to listen to, read, or watch anyone’s thoughts and opinions on what the future may hold, and sometimes this means looking at the past. YoPros have a unique perspective to offer on this as their generation(s) have been more digital from the very start, as such I value the insight they provide.

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SFNET’S 40 UNDER 40 ALUMNI So, if you are reading this and have an idea or something to share, please look me up as I am always willing to listen. What advice would you give to recent entrants into this industry? Find a group of mentors whom you trust and can relate to. My mentors still form a key part of my network and they are all very different. This allows for different perspectives, allowing me to see things from multiple points of view prior to making a decision. Though once the decision is made, it is a one-in, all-in mentality with a relentless focus on execution and accountability.

TANNER PUMP, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, BANK OF AMERICA BUSINESS CAPITAL

What advice would you give to recent entrants or grads into this industry?

What changed for you professionally after receiving the award? I’ve been much more cognizant of being both a mentor and still being a mentee. I still seek out mentors to continue to learn and develop, but have been much more mindful of also paying it forward and serving the mentor role for younger and/ or less experienced colleagues. How can YoPros build their brand and recognition in this industry?

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In a traditional work environment, some of the most beneficial training is done at the water cooler or conversations in the office after a call with the client. In the current environment, those conversations are not taking place unless someone schedules the time or picks up the phone. For example, if you’re on a deal team call with a client, take the initiative to set up a quick debrief call with the deal team after the client call, or call a more senior colleague to discuss. Don’t wait for more senior colleagues to invite you to calls or assign work – proactively reach out and try to anticipate what needs to be done. These types of actions will continue YoPros’ development while adding value to their teams.

Focus on the benefits of coming into the job market at this time. Many credit professionals with anything less than 10 years’ experience are going through their first real “crisis.” Getting into the industry right now will give you crisis experience right out of the gate. So while there are certainly challenges in not being able to see clients face to face or having to be trained remotely, take advantage of learning as much as you can from the current credit environment and you’ll be much further ahead once we return to a more normal office and client-visit environment.

Every professional, YoPro or not, has a personal brand that’s built and developed with every interaction whether it’s a phone call, client meeting, networking event or virtual/video meeting. I would encourage younger professionals to take the time in those interactions to get to know new people especially when there may not be an obvious immediate benefit.

Every professional, YoPro or not, has a personal brand that’s built and developed with every interaction whether it’s a phone call, client meeting, networking event or virtual/video meeting. I would encourage younger professionals to take the time in those interactions to get to know new people especially when there may not be an obvious immediate benefit. It’s amazing how those connections will come around, sometimes years later, and help define your “brand” when you least expect it. How can YoPros stand out working from home in this new environment? As most of our industry is working from home, being assertive and taking initiative are two things YoPros can do to stand out.

JAN TAMMEN, SVP - NATIONAL RECURRING FIELD EXAM MANAGER, PNC BUSINESS CREDIT Did receiving the SFNet 40 Under 40 award help your career and visibility? I would say it definitely did. It didn’t manifest immediately, but it gave me more recognition within the industry and the organization. It allowed me to have some face-to-face contact with our senior executives, and it allowed me to have the confidence to pursue my course, voice my ideas, and speak up a little bit more about the ideas I had for the department. This ultimately helped me obtain the promotion to national recurring field exam manager.


What changed for you professionally after receiving the award? About a year after the award, PNC established the new role of national recurring field exam manager, and I received a call to inform me that I was under consideration for the position. I accepted that position in September 2019 and have been the national manager ever since, in charge of all recurring field exams across the PNC Business Credit footprint. The last few months have been challenging and they’ve definitely tested my creativity, and our creativity as an organization, as we’ve adjusted to working remotely and doing field exams in ways that had been considered in the past, but which were thought of as a supplement or a replacement for only certain borrowers. How can YoPros build their brand and recognition in this industry? A combination of good old-fashioned hard work, willingness to learn, but also willingness to contribute ideas and creativity is the best way to build the brand and the recognition. A lot of young professionals these days, be they Millennials or Gen Z, come into the work force under a cloud of suspicion. The perception is one of entitlement, impatience, and unwillingness to sit still for very long. I think the best way to get around that, and this is coming from a Millennial, is to really work hard and build your brand through your work, but also your willingness to listen and learn from those who offer you help and counsel. At the same time though, you should make sure to share what you know, or what interests you. This must be done respectfully, of course, but we are in a changing environment, not just for ABL but for the world economy as a whole. Technology and demographic change are having a big impact on our world, and the rising YoPros, who were born into this world of rapid change, can make a significant contribution to the way organizations adapt and function. Just don’t try to change everything at once, that just gets you into trouble.

is now the go-to expert for all of their remote working technology. She has been teaching her bosses and senior management how to set up meetings, and generally helped troubleshoot a number of issues around her department. While it may seem like an ancillary thing, having that type of ability, not just to work with technology, but also to effectively teach it, is a great way to stand out. The other thing is to stay focused. There are a lot of distractions working from home and a lot of people will drift towards the TV, their phone, or their home projects. The temptation is real and constant, but I would counsel setting a routine, getting your work done, and putting in that same 110 percent effort you normally would at the office. Show that you are responsible, reliable and committed to the organization. The sour dough can wait a few hours. What advice would you give to recent entrants into this industry? Be humble and take a lot of notes. Once again, you are fighting a stereotype and, as my generation gets more established, new entrants will have to fight new stereotypes within this group. It’s wrong, of course, but the classic wisdom always holds: Prove the stereotype wrong. Be humble, show up on time, do the job, learn what you can, and add value. And make sure you write everything down as it is shown to you. Remote working makes it harder to learn and to share notes, but the work does not stop just because we need more time to talk about something again. Keep a pen and paper handy and write down what you are being taught. Ask questions as you’re writing and, when it comes time to practice it the first time, make sure you use your notes. This will increase your chances of retention and, most importantly, help you become someone who adds value to the team more quickly, thus setting you up for success. Eileen Wubbe is senior editor of The Secured Lender and TSL Express.

Did receiving the award encourage you to become involved in additional professional or community organizations, or any volunteer work outside of work? It has, actually. I’ve become a lot more involved in the SFNet. I just recently taught a field exam class for SFNet and I’ve written an article, Field Exam in a Post-COVID-19 World. Beyond that, we recently moved into a new community and I’m looking at community organizations here to join. Sadly, the current year has not been the most amenable to volunteering, but I am looking forward to resuming this practice next year. What advice would you give for young professionals looking to stand out while working from home in this new environment? Two things, actually. The first mostly comes from listening to my wife on her calls. The agency she works for tends to be a bit technologically challenged, and the remote process has been tough for them. But, because she’s been working remotely for most of her time there, while everyone else has been in the office, she

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FEATURE STORY

Leading Different Generations in Post COVID-19 Workplaces BY DR. ARIN REEVES

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Takeaways

T

he name of the virus is SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes is “coronavirus disease 2019” or COVID-19, but the virus and the resulting disease aren’t just public health/medical phenomenon. They are DR. ARIN REEVES the cause of a socially president, Nextions disruptive event in human interactions in every part of the world that warrants a marker in our historical timeline. There is a pre-COVID-19 world, and there is a post-COVID-19 world. Disruptive events like this usher in unimaginable change into how we live every aspect of our daily lives, including how we conceptualize the concept of work and the notion of working with and around other people. Our post-COVID-19 realities come with new vocabulary like physical distancing and Zooming and they make our pre-COVID-19 lives feel like distant memories that are fading quickly into irrelevance. That said, even just a few weeks into this new normal, we saw several demographic differences in how people are responding to post-COVID-19 realities that are important for leaders to start contemplating as they imagine the ways in which their post-COVID-19 workplaces will change. Generational differences in responses are especially pronounced, because different generations are in different stages of their personal and professional lives as the social disruption sweeps through our world and our workplaces.1 Moreover, almost all generational differences are caused by significantly disruptive social events like wars, economic depressions/recessions, national movements like the Civil Rights Movement, historic events like the attacks at Pearl Harbor and on 9/11, technological advances, etc. The changes that have shaped the generations currently in workplaces have led to differences in how people differ in their use of technology in communications (in-person vs. phone vs. email vs. text vs. chat vs. whatever comes next), in how and when they want to connect with colleagues/clients, and in their different definitions of ambitions and work-life balance. COVID-19 has caused such a disruption to the ways in which we work that every generation is rethinking and shifting how they feel about all of the above. As leaders in legal workplaces begin to process the changes in their post-COVID-19 practices, it will be critical to remember that, while every generation is 1

1

The key leadership strategy to manage the different generations will be to let go of the default of “face time,” treat in-person and remote working as equally viable, and create opportunities for candid conversations involving all the generations on what should be done remotely and what should be done in-person to maximize productivity and necessary relationship building.

2

The key leadership strategy to manage the different generations will be to closely scrutinize work-related social activities and assess their value for delivering something that virtual interactions cannot deliver. Every workplace will be different, but all leaders will need to check in with all the generations in their workplaces to see how changing preferences will shift the traditional social gatherings that the organization may have had consistently in the pre-COVID-19 world.

3

The key leadership strategy to manage the changing expectations of work-life balance will be to be open to the fact that everything can and will change in regard to how people view balance in their lives. Take the time to talk with people about what balance means to them now, and give people time to figure it out and perhaps even change their minds a couple of times.

going to be changed, different generations will be looking for different things in post-COVID-19 workplaces, and leaders need to keep generational differences in mind as they conceptualize and communicate the new normal. From what the data has revealed thus far, the three primary areas in which generations vary in their responses fall in line with the major categories of differences that existed prior to COVID-19: ■ changing relationships with technology in how people work and communicate, ■ changing perspectives about interacting/networking with colleagues and clients/customers, and ■ changing expectations on work-life balance.

Changing Relationship with Technology Gen X and Gen Y have been pushing for more remote working opportunities for years, with Gen Y’s frustration with “face time” expectations at work growing especially intense in the past few years. Although many Boomers have embraced technological advances to expedite their abilities to get things done faster and better, Boomers have expressed the greatest resistance to remote working opportunities for people who wanted to work from home more frequently. The primary reasons for the Boomer resistance was that workplace relationships, team processes, and client service would suffer if people were not physically present in a space where they could stop by each other’s offices to ask questions, collaborate with each other, and connect on an interpersonal level. COVID-19 has caused all generations to quickly develop a more intimate relationship with technology in relation to all aspects of their lives. From Zooming to connect with family and friends, to online schooling, to working remotely, every generation has had to rethink the role that technology plays in their lives. The open question now is whether our changing

Boomers 1946-1964, Gen X 1965-1980, Millennials/Gen Y 1981-1996, Gen Z 1997-2012

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FEATURE STORY relationship with technology is a placeholder until COVID-19 is behind us or is a permanent shift in how we live our lives. Current polling research may not tell us where we will end up for sure, but the data indicates that Boomers’ relationship with technology is shifting from expedience to necessity in a way that suggests that they won’t go back to not using all the technology with which they have become comfortable.3 The mandates of sheltering at home also caused many organizations to deploy their informational technology resources to ensure that all employees who could work from home had the full capacity to do so. Workplaces have also drafted policies and have had the tough conversations of when to videoconference and when to stick to audio alone. The infrastructure to expand remote working is now in place, and the ongoing crisis will only make us more comfortable with this new dependence on technology.

the generations as to their ability and desire to work from home. All the generations will be more likely to want training programs delivered digitally as well because they have been getting used to them and seem to prefer them to in-person training. As Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare, noted: “The pandemic has resulted in what is effectively the largest ‘work-fromhome’ experiment ever conducted in human history . . . People are accessing more educational resources online for their kids; finding unconventional ways to connect with coworkers, friends, and family; and employers are being more flexible in how they respond to employee needs through more dynamic, cloudbased technology. I think we’ll see these shifts last well beyond the immediate fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak.”4

As Jeff Richards, partner at the venture capital firm GGV Capital, commented: “I travel over 200,000 miles per year for work. Now that doing board meetings, interviews, and other mission-critical meetings via video chat has been normalized, will I reduce my travel? I don’t know, but I definitely think it’s a behavior shift that will stick. …Net/net, I still think we’ll see corporate travel [come back], as nothing is better than an in-person meeting with a customer or exec hire candidate.

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Ironically, a work-from-home mandate without much opportunity for escape has resulted in an uptick of Gen X and Gen Y populations (especially parents) who see the opportunity to work away from their homes more positively. “One of the biggest surprises of the study is how the youngest and most digitally-savvy American adults, known as Gen Z, initially had great difficulty adjusting to remote work. Nearly one-third say they are easily distracted working from home, and they have a harder time than Millennials and Gen X counterparts dealing with the lack of in-person collaboration.”3 From a leadership perspective, post-COVID-19 workplaces will feature more personnel who have the appropriate infrastructure to work from home and more agreement between 2 3 4 5

The key leadership strategy to manage the different generations will be to let go of the default of “face time,” treat in-person and remote working as equally viable, and create opportunities for candid conversations involving all the generations on what should be done remotely and what should be done in-person to maximize productivity and necessary relationship building.

Changing Perspectives on Professional Interactions/Networking Humans are changing the ways in which we interact with other humans. Sixty-seven percent of Americans are now more likely to have a virtual happy hour instead of meeting for drinks in person; even though 46% of Americans miss attending sporting events, 73% would pick streaming sporting events instead of attending them in-person; 37% of Americans miss going to the gym, but 85% say that they will prefer to work out at home even when gyms open back up. The only things that Americans are itching to do in-person again are visits to doctors and going grocery shopping.5

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglaze...es-how/#c55d259493b7 https://www.fastcompany.com/90493261/survey-9-in-10-americans-have-better-appreciation-for-tech-during-crisis https://www.fastcompany.com/90486053/all-the-things-covid-19-will-change-forever-according-to-30-top-experts https://mailchi.mp/6e5728390cec/the-insi...e-harris-poll-303278


As Jeff Richards, partner at the venture capital firm GGV Capital, commented: “I travel over 200,000 miles per year for work. Now that doing board meetings, interviews, and other mission-critical meetings via video chat has been normalized, will I reduce my travel? I don’t know, but I definitely think it’s a behavior shift that will stick. …Net/net, I still think we’ll see corporate travel [come back], as nothing is better than an inperson meeting with a customer or exec-hire candidate. But for routine meetings, I think we are going to see a lot more video.”

changes in work-life balance and flexibility for every generation, and some of these changes may be counterintuitive. For example, Boomers may be more open to flexibility because they have become used to it, and Gen Z and younger people in Gen Y may want less flexibility because they don’t want to work from home as much as they used to. And, each generation is going to think about work from the perspective of financial stability in an economic environment that is volatile and difficult to navigate.

The greatest shifts in preference from social gathering activities in professional settings to social distancing activities has occurred in the Boomer population followed by the Gen X population. Millennials and Gen Z miss connecting with friends in social gathering situations, but their preferences for professional interactions have always trended toward what we now call social distancing. A significant percentage of Gen X and most Millennials and Gen Z were never fans of social-gathering for professional interaction and networking purposes, but they tolerated it because the Boomers valued it. Now that the Boomers aren’t as interested in these gatherings as they were in the pre-COVID-19 days, workplaces will need to reevaluate work-related dinners, happy hours, retreats, and other professional activities that have social interactions baked into the structure.

The key leadership strategy to manage the changing expectations of work-life balance will be to be open to the fact that everything can and will change in regard to how people view balance in their lives. Take the time to talk with people about what balance means to them now, and give people time to figure it out and perhaps even change their minds a couple of times.

The key leadership strategy to manage the different generations will be to closely scrutinize work-related social activities and assess their value for delivering something that virtual interactions cannot deliver. Every workplace will be different, but all leaders will need to check in with all the generations in their workplaces to see how changing preferences will shift the traditional social gatherings that the organization may have consistently in the pre-COVID-19 world.

Changing Expectations on Work-Life Balance Gen X was the first generation in the workplace to raise concerns of work-life balance (being able to balance the responsibilities of work and family). Gen Y advanced this conversation by raising issues of flexibility (when and where work is done regardless of family responsibilities) alongside work-life balance concerns. Gen Z (the oldest of whom just recently graduated from college) see financial stability as a key work-life concern. Sampriti Ganguli, CEO of the social venture firm Arabella Advisors, comments on the blurring of the work-life lines: “We are . . . all becoming ‘BBC Man,’ meaning our kids and dogs routinely rush our meetings. We’ve probably crossed the chasm between what is acceptable in the office and what is acceptable at home, and in many ways, these more intimate moments allow us to have deeper and more meaningful connections as humans. I don’t think we’re going back to a world of working mostly from offices anytime soon and, as such, there are new business norms that work for home and work.” Post-COVID-19 workplaces are going to be comprised of

Just as COVID-19 has upended most of what we thought of as workplace norms, it has caused disruptions in how we think about generational differences as well. Every generation is already indelibly changed by the social disruptions we are experiencing, but every generation is experiencing the change in a slightly different way. The more leaders pay attention to these differences, the more they will be able to shape their post-COVID-19 workplaces to be as productive and successful as their pre-COVID-19 versions, if not even better. A leading researcher, author, and advisor in the fields of leadership and inclusion, Dr. Arin N. Reeves studied business at DePaul University’s College of Commerce, attended law school at University of Southern California and received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University. Arin is a best-selling author of three books – “The Next IQ”, “One Size Never Fits All’, and “Smarter Than A Lie” – and she is the Managing Director of the research and advisory firm, Nextions, a new way of doing leadership and inclusion. Arin has designed and led several comprehensive research projects on leadership and inclusion in topics ranging from gender equity, generational diversity, LGBTQI diversity, racial/ ethnic, diversity, cultural integration and implicit bias to transformational leadership and working through generational differences.

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PUTTING CAPITAL TO WORK

Financial Heroes, Community and Awesome People: Always a Formula for Success The secured finance industry has always had more than its share of generous “difference makers.” These men and women are shining examples of how asset-based lending and asset-based lenders provide the foundation for success and growth to many companies. The COVID-19 crisis has certainly allowed for many opportunities for us to “step up” and help fuel businesses in need. 104 THE BY ROBERT D. KATZ SECURED LENDER SEPT. 2020

ROBERT D. KATZ Managing Director, EisnerAmper LLP Thomas Ennis, SVP/senior credit officer, Atlantic Union Bank, and Mark Buren, managing director, CIBC Business Credit, came together to fulfill the needs of the Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM.org), a 100-year-old organization serving the community. They and their actions present a stark contrast to those of the large companies and organizations that had been hijacking Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans intended for small businesses.

Hope & 0pportunity – It’s out there Blind Industries & Services of Maryland (BISM) is a 100-year old organization that works with people who are visually impaired or blind. They train them to reintegrate into the community and workforce. BISM, among other services, produces apparel and uniforms for all branches of the Armed Forces and serves and supplies the base stores throughout the United States. BISM applied for a PPP loan from its “Money Center Lending relationship,” but BISM did not receive a response. Meanwhile, Mark Buren and I had arranged a marketing call over the now standard, Zoom platform. We were discussing the PPP loan program in general and I had mentioned the quandary that BISM faced. Mark suggested I reach


out to Tom Ennis, director of Asset-Based Lending at Atlantic Union Bank. Mark had said that Tom and Atlantic Union were very successful in administering the PPP Loan Program, especially for local businesses within their market and community. I reached out to Tom, whom I had worked with over the last two decades. Tom, as most people in the Maryland area are, was familiar with BISM and, in short order and with tremendous diligence, set the process in motion for BISM to apply for a PPP loan through Atlantic Union Bank. Even as the world continues to transition more and more to a digital and online platform, there is no question that there will always be a place in the world for customer service and building relationships. And Atlantic Union Bank is representative of that and continues to give us hope. Tom, his credit and service team and Atlantic Union Bank, along with BISM’s management, successfully navigated through the platform and BISM received its PPP loan. Tom and Atlantic Union Bank became a difference maker. Without them, COVID-19 potentially could have crippled a critically important and missiondriven, community-focused organization. According to Fredrick Puente, president of BISM: “The PPP allowed BISM to continue to employ our associates without any interruption of their lives. The PPP insured our customers received their goods and services on time and complete. Without the PPP, our supply chain may have been disrupted. We do not know what might have been if not for the PPP.”

companies receiving anywhere from $25,000 up to the $10 million maximum. A great number of these have involved SFNet member institutions. They have been supportive, diligent, creative and expeditious. Time is of the essence when the first call is received.

Compassion & empathy In the last six months, we have probably experienced more humility than we have in the last decade. Our professional lives are normally defined by increasing cash flow, multiples of EBITDA and reaching performance goals and targets. “Normal” has certainly been redefined. Compassion, empathy and selfawareness have taken on central roles. At the core, there have been very few who haven’t been directly or indirectly affected and impacted by the wide-ranging turbulence and trauma of COVID-19. Businesses that were successful in early February 2020 recoiled three months later, concerned about their existence, let alone their prosperity. Planning and thoroughness have reached new levels and one of the newest catch phrases is “the pivot to virtual.” Clearly, we are redlining adaptability through all our quadrants.

At its core, the PPP loan was designed for situations similar to BISM’s, where smaller entities, “relatively speaking” companies and organizations were affected by the pandemic through no fault of their own. Planning is so critical, but life’s success is far more than having a good plan.

At its core, the PPP loan was designed for situations similar to BISM’s, where smaller entities, “relatively speaking” companies and organizations were affected by the pandemic through no fault of their own. Planning is so critical, but life’s success is far more than having a good plan. Underlying the success is execution and adaptability. But if it weren’t for the support of financial intermediaries like Tom, Mark and Atlantic Union, who knows where struggling middle market entities might be? As I have been part of EisnerAmper’s PPP resource center, I have advised in countless other situations/examples assisting

Robert D. Katz, CTP, CPA, MBA is a managing director of EisnerAmper LLP’s Financial Advisory Services group and an expert in lender relations and increasing cash flow. He is one of the Founders of TMA’s most successful conferences, The Distressed Investing Conference. Rob is a Member of CFA’s Education Foundation. He is an adjunct professor in strategic management and corporate finance at Temple University. He can be reached at Robert.Katz@ eisneramper.com or (215) 881-8828 for additional insight. Andrew J. Katz is a contributor. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maryland with degrees in finance and English. He can be reached at Andrewjkatz@outlook.com.

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SFNET MEMBER PROFILE

Wolters Kluwer Lien Solutions SFNet Member Profile Wolters Kluwer Lien Solutions supports the top U.S. banks and lenders with their lien filings across UCC, vehicle titles and real property. BY EILEEN WUBBE

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SUZANNE KONSTANCE Vice President, Wolters Kluwer Lien Solutions It helps lenders manage their loan interests throughout the lending cycle, from due diligence searches to filings to ongoing lien management. Providing one-stop access to more than 3,000 U.S. jurisdictions at the state and county level, Lien Solutions is the #1 UCC provider with more liens filed and clients served than any other provider. In the last few years, Lien Solutions has changed its focus to not just transactions, but on more- holistic management solutions to help make sure the lender is protected over the course of the loan. “Liens are not set-and-forget-it transactions,” explained Suzanne Konstance, vice president of product management and marketing at Lien Solutions. “From our analysis of lenders’ portfolios, it’s not uncommon for 30 percent of liens to have issues that could impact their actionability. We’re really focused on helping lenders avoid these issues.” “The best practice is to take all of your liens in stock and have them in one place to view. That’s more complicated than it seems because lenders may use law firms to do some of their lien work, and they may have acquired different entities. We often find organizations don’t have a view into all of their liens.” During the lien-filing process, lenders need to be wary of filing in the wrong jurisdiction or a debtor name mismatch,


while after a filing, being aware that business entities can change, and liens can expire. In response to this, Lien Solutions has created solutions that offer transparency to automate and continuously help ensure liens are maintained. Portfolio Sync, part of Lien Solutions’ (https:// www.liensolutions.com/solutions/lien-management) UCC Manage suite of products, brings all liens into one view, while Lien Analytics software runs liens through different logic to see if jurisdiction or name mismatch issues are in effect, helping lenders resolve these issues. “It seems like just an operational process, but it can make the difference between recovering 65 percent or so of the value of a loan if someone’s not paying you, versus nothing. The devil is in the details,” Konstance said, adding that, in the U.S., borrowers often allow different lenders to put liens on the same assets. Those who are first in line and have the first lien will have priority in most cases. “You might recover 65 percent of your losses on the first lien, but only 23 percent on a second, but many lenders can’t easily see where their lien is in priority. So, we provide them with a view into their lien placement and what other lenders have liens on the same assets and the same borrower.” Lien Solutions co-creates its software with the help of an active and engaged client advisory board, broken out into subgroups based on interests. Products are a direct result from this experience. “At one of our advisory board meetings, a document services VP at a large bank once said, ‘I know that my team does the right thing, and we do our due diligence and look at the information when we’re finalizing and filing the lien, but I don’t really understand the health of my liens going forward.’ That’s when we started to work with our lenders on creating a holistic view, providing a dashboard of all the liens, analyzing, and helping to correct and automate processes so lenders don’t have to delve through paperwork,” Konstance said. Another customer collaboration outcome is iLien Motor Vehicle, an award-winning SaaS platform that transforms vehicle and equipment titling work that helps lenders maintain loan perfection, monitor and manage vehicle liens efficiently, and release titles effortlessly. Like all businesses, Lien Solutions has had to adjust quickly to the new environment during COVID-19. Lien Solutions had already invested in significant risk management software, even when the credit environment had fewer defaults, making the company well positioned for this critical time. “The modeling that lenders had for assessing borrower risk has been turned upside down,” Konstance said. “Lenders today need to ask new questions, like whether a borrower is e-enabled and providing delivery services. There’s more risk, and borrowers are more highly leveraged with the PPP and the Main Street Lending programs. The good news is the liens that lenders are filing or have filed can protect their interests, and they do hold.” During 2020 first quarter, Konstance added that banks brought

their provision for loan losses up by 280 percent because of the rapidly changing environment. At the same time, lenders were highly disrupted because of stay-at-home work orders. “Many lenders weren’t geared to work remotely, so that was challenging,” Konstance said. “We saw where lenders didn’t have the bandwidth for all their employees to get onto their servers at the same time, so they had to create schedules and connect via new phone numbers. States and other jurisdictions also had the same challenges. “We are extremely remote-enabled and always have been, and we have redundancies in our support and technology operations, so it was not as much of a challenge for us,” Konstance said. “We provided information consistently to our lenders and managed much of the work digitally. Wherever lenders could use an electronic means of communication with a jurisdiction or to do any of their activities, if they weren’t already doing that, we set them up. “When the stimulus programs came out, I think lenders were getting all-hands-on-deck. We helped make sure they had a good due-diligence process and could provide all the information they needed at scale. Our Business Entity Search solution arose from some of those PPP conversations. And now with iLien for Main Street, we are providing a solution that makes it consistent for lenders to perform the due diligence on any of those loans, and makes it easy for them to show the reporting of the due diligence and the lien work they did on those loans, as well as manage the liens over time. They feel that that’s something that they’re going to be accountable for and need to be able to easily show and manage.” iLien for Main Street launched in July 2020, based on conversations with lenders and other subject matter experts acknowledging that transparency into how loans are handled over time is important. The solution is devoted to helping lenders optimize their due diligence and lien management efforts when securing loans for small and medium-sized businesses under the Main Street Lending Program. “It reduces the manual burden of compliance,” Konstance added. “Lenders are responsible for conducting solid due diligence and normal lien activities. This web-based solution allows them to conduct the public record searches they need. Lenders can create packages of those searches so they show consistency in the work they were doing around due diligence. They also can easily do the filing and then maintain those liens using the same kind of analytics to help ensure the liens stay actionable, thereby helping to protect the bank and the interests of the government lender.” “Looking forward, there are so many issues and challenges going on, but I think by collaborating together and supporting each other we’ll get through them—and the industry will be stronger on the other side. We are here to help,” Konstance added. Eileen Wubbe is senior editor of The Secured Lender and TSL Express.

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COMMITTEE SPOTLIGHT

YoPro Committee 2020 This column highlights the hard work and dedication of SFNet committee volunteers. Here we speak with William Bence, the chair of SFNet’s Young Professionals (YoPro) Committee and principal, Wingspire Capital. BY EILEEN WUBBE

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WILLIAM BENCE Principal, Wingspire Capital

What would you say has been the best part of chairing the YoPro Committee? The most challenging? The best part, by a wide margin, has been working with the incredible volunteers at the SFNet, both at the Executive Committee level and at the YoPro Committee level. It is great to get differing perspectives and learn from this group. Chairing the YoPro Committee has provided me unique access to work and interact with the leaders in our industry. As for the YoPro Committee, we have been spending much of this year planning the first-ever virtual YoPro Leadership Summit (August 26-27). We have a fantastic group of volunteers, led by Kat Parker of HYPERAMS and Karen Marino of North Mill Capital. Both Kat and Karen have been instrumental in planning and leading the Summit this year. The most challenging part has been finding the time, but our YoPro Committee consists of passionate and dedicated volunteers who help ease the workload. We have also had to navigate around the “new normal.” The pivot to a virtual conference has not been easy, but we worked diligently to ensure it remained an incredible and valuable conference for the YoPro community.

How did you get involved in the YoPro Committee? What made you decide to take on the chair role? I was introduced to the YoPro Committee by Rob Meyers of Republic Business Credit. Rob had worked with the SFNet to create the YoPro Committee and was seeking additional support. It was an exciting opportunity to help build this group. I had previously


served on the Education Committee, which helped ease the transition into this role. I was able to work with and learn from Rob as he led the YoPro group over the last few years. The chair role was an attractive opportunity not only to give back to SFNet, but also help build on what Rob had created in the national YoPro platform for SFNet. This was a group and committee that did not exist four years ago, but in a short time we have hosted two successful YoPro Leadership Summits in Chicago in 2018 and 2019 and hosted the third annual Summit this year virtually. It has also been a wonderful way to grow existing relationships in our industry and create new ones as well.

How do you manage to juggle your full-time “day job” along with the required time for involvement in a Committee? Finding time is always a struggle. I will say the Committee has the full support of the SFNet team in New York as well as a wonderful group of members that graciously volunteer their time. These are both a giant help. Everyone in the group brings specific strengths to the team which have collectively helped to drive a fun and successful YoPro Committee. This is certainly not a role I could do alone. Also, daycare reopening for our one-year-old son has helped tremendously.

What are your goals for the YoPro Committee in 2021? Goal number one, two, and three is to get back to an in-person YoPro Leadership Summit in 2021. We hosted two outstanding in-person events in Chicago the last two years. Last year’s event featured over 150 YoPros from around the country. I am optimistic this will happen. This year was a bit of a curveball, given the virtual format, but we still feel it provided a great experience to the attendees. We also have a focus on building YoPro participation at the national level overall. This includes driving attendance and participation at the major SFNet events, including the ABCC in Las Vegas and Annual Convention. These are marquee events and should include the next generation of industry leaders. We are working on creative ways to help drive this and encourage more YoPro participation. Stay tuned.

Goal number one, two, and three is to get back to an in-person YoPro Leadership Summit in 2021. We hosted two outstanding in-person events in Chicago the last two years. Last year’s event featured over 150 YoPros from around the country. I am optimistic this will happen. This year was a bit of a curveball, given the virtual format, but we still feel it provided a great experience to the attendees.

What advice would you give to those who may be a member of an SFNet committee, but want to become more involved in a chair or sub-committee chair role? Speak up. Raise your hand to volunteer and ask for the opportunity. SFNet is always looking for motivated members within the industry to step up and help lead the way moving forward. SFNet offers a variety of committees to best fit one’s interest, from Education, Women in Secured Finance, YoPro, among many others. Decide what you are passionate about and get more involved in a leadership capacity. I have found the role to be fulfilling both personally and professionally and I know others have had the same positive experience.

Lastly, we hope to build on the success of the quarterly e-newsletter that Will Kemp from Republic Business Credit helped to create. This is a great way to provide valuable content to the YoPro community while also highlighting YoPro members.

When you are not busy at Wingspire Capital or with SFNet, what can you be found doing?

Our son, Warren, turned one in early August, and he accounts for the majority of our free time. He is fully running around now so we have to keep a close eye on him. One major positive on the cutdown of travel has been being able to spend more time with my son than I would have been able to pre-COVID. He is at a fun age and discovering something new every day. I also try to stay active by playing in weekly basketball and softball leagues. Golf has become less frequent, but I try to get out when time permits. Eileen Wubbe is senior editor of The Secured Lender magazine and TSL Express daily e-newsletter.

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SFNET MEMBERS GIVE BACK

SFNet Members Respond to those in Need During COVID-19

Brian Resutek of Rosenthal & Rosenthal spoke to several SFNet members to highlight how they have stepped up to assist during this time of crisis. BY BRIAN RESUTEK

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BRIAN RESUTEK Senior Vice President, Rosenthal & Rosenthal SFNet members have always been active in charitable efforts; however, as the coronavirus pandemic began sweeping across the globe, the traditional charitable playbook required a crisis section. NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson once said, “When you face a crisis, you know who your true friends are.” This quote resonates with many as cities, states and countries shut down almost overnight, resulting in a massive call for assistance across the globe, with little historical equivalents. Many SFNet members quickly recognized this atypical situation and promptly stepped up to assist those in need, efforts that have only continued to strengthen during the pandemic. Commitment to charitable efforts has been in the DNA of Gerber Finance from the start. These efforts were further cemented a few years ago when founder Gerald Joseph and CEO Jennifer Palmer established the Gerber Finance Foundation to work towards ending childhood food insecurity, and Gerber Gives Back (Gerber’s employee volunteer program). When COVID-19 hit the New York City area in March, it had an immediate impact on both the HOPE-Full Kids program of New Rochelle and North Shore Holiday House of Long Island that the Gerber Finance Foundation supports. Gussie Melendez, director of development at Gerber Finance, noted that, “With HOPE-Full Kids, we aim to ease the financial and emotional concern of school breaks by ensuring children have access to food.” When COVID struck, access to food became difficult and need exponentially increased. Thanks to the coordination of Gerber,


its donors and HOPE Community Services of New Rochelle, the HOPE- Full Kids Program held a distribution to provide breakfast and lunch for five additional days to support the community during the pandemic. Over 9,000 meals in April and May were provided to area students through the program.

Axiom’s efforts have provided hundreds of meals to families

Additionally, the North Shore Holiday House was unable run its yearly summer camp program for girls due to Covid-19. The Gerber Finance Foundation supported their initiative to send care packages of food to campers. When asked if the volunteer efforts of Gerber Gives Back had any unexpected impact, Melendez added, “Our volunteer initiatives have increased our already strong bonds between employees, which furthers our commitment to giving back. We are grateful to spend time together making an impact in our communities.”

Fortunately, through Braj Bhumi Group, an affiliated nonprofit organization that US Capital Global supports and advises, there is direct engagement with local grassroots organizations in India, which has allowed for meals and services to flow into these areas during the lockdown

and pandemic period. One example is the work Braj Bhumi Group has undertaken in the rural town of Vrindavan, India by safely delivering daily meals during the pandemic, a life-saving service that might otherwise have gone neglected. Vrindavan is an ancient pilgrimage site that typically attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors and pilgrims each year; however, with India’s sudden, draconian lockdown measures, the local economy has all but collapsed. This left the town’s most vulnerable residents, some 20,000 elderly widows, hungry and perhaps forgotten. Through its financial and frontline efforts, Braj Bhumi Group continues to feed tens of thousands of villagers, informal workers, families and mendicants in rural India with no plans of slowing down.

The CIT Acts of Caring Program benefited frontline workers and nonprofits across the U.S.

Charitable impact has global reach for US Capital Global. Managing partner of US Capital Global, Charles Towle, explained that charity efforts have always been fundamental to him. In fact, Charles and US Capital Global’s CEO, Jeffrey Sweeney, met in India through charity work over 15 years ago, just prior to Charles joining the company. While based in San Francisco, US Capital Global has deep roots in India from a charitable standpoint, along with an office location. This has been helpful in navigating the Indian government’s stringent lockdown regulations due to Covid-19.

Towle explained some key lockdown differences between the US and India: “The lockdown in India is very different to that in the U.S. The movement of citizens is strictly limited and closely policed in certain zones, which means you need expertise with your local ground team for your effort to work. Additionally, the only way to get resources to the villages and temples is to understand the government regulations and protocols.”

The speed in which the coronavirus moved into Florida accelerated Axiom Bank’s pace with charitable efforts. Axiom quickly stepped up and donated $10,000 towards two nonprofits committed to fighting hunger in Central Florida and Tampa Bay, a continuation of the bank’s efforts that started two years ago. As marketing manager, Lindsay Detwiler, explained, “Axiom’s efforts involve a three-part, phased approach that encompasses not only a financial contribution, but also incorporation with our retail and business client base with continued efforts throughout the year by our employees.”

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Axiom’s work has helped deliver healthy, wholesome meals directly to the doorsteps of families through coordination with the nonprofit, Feeding the Children Everywhere. The nonprofit packages delivery-ready meals in boxes from their warehouse for overnight shipment via FedEx. This has been greatly beneficial with the importance of contact-free sourcing during the pandemic. Market executive Susan Maurer added that Axiom’s participation in these programs is “more than just writing a check and walking away.” Both Maurer and Detwiler agreed that, unlike previous market downturns that develop over time, COVID-19 happened extremely fast and needed urgent attention. Maurer noted, “Our management team immediately asked us where Axiom could help as the state began to shut down. We had already been committed to these two wonderful programs, so it was very beneficial for everyone to know that we are making an immediate impact.” While the bank’s efforts have provided hundreds of nutritious meals to families, especially to at-risk seniors confined to their homes during COVID-19, Axiom employees are most excited when the second and third phases are fully incorporated.

open to the public for a two-week period in July.

The Gerber Finance Foundation works towards ending childhood food insecurity.

US Capital Global has deep roots in India and has worked to deliver meals there during the pandemic.

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CIT adjusted its annual CIT Cares Month in June as a result of COVID-19 with a program called Acts of Caring, where employees completed over 5,000 volunteer hours benefitting frontline workers and numerous nonprofit organizations across the country. Through its Acts of Caring program, CIT invited customers to share the needs in their communities, and CIT is supporting ten customer-nominated projects with grants to local nonprofit organizations. CIT is also doubling its support towards one organization based on the results of an online poll

“Each summer the CIT team turns its time and talents to giving back, and we know the needs are even greater this year,” said CIT chief marketing and communications officer Gina Proia. “The Acts of Caring program started as a way to simply and safely mobilize our team to do something good, from wherever they were.” While COVID-19 projects such as mask-making, frontline support, food packaging and assistance for seniors in isolation were top of mind for many of the employees completing Acts of Caring this year, non-COVID efforts continued from prior years. These included advancing financial education and cleaning up parks and beaches, to name a few.

While the pandemic does not appear to be short-lived, the efforts of SFNet members have a much longer lifespan. The continued support of SFNet members to these charitable organizations illustrates how important these true friendships have become as we move forward in defeating this pandemic. Brian Resutek is an account executive and SVP at Rosenthal & Rosenthal in Atlanta, GA. He can be reached at bresutek@rosenthalinc.com.


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