Leadership

Allison

Olson

Executive Director, LIFT-Los Angeles

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Allie leads the team at LIFT-Los Angeles. In her role, she is responsible for developing the organization’s vision, and achieving its goals for continued financial stability, community engagement and enhancing the impact of its program.

Equity and access have always been at the heart of Allie’s work. She lifts because she has the same hopes for the families of LIFT that she has for her own family—that they too will get to live the life that they dream of and reach their full potential. Allie firmly believes that one’s zip code, the language that one speaks, one’s educational level, the color of one’s skin or the amount of money in one’s bank account should not determine the opportunities that one is afforded. She is inspired by how LIFT approaches its work—through relationships based in respect, human dignity, authenticity and trust. She believes that LIFT has the power to equalize the future for children and families—helping to be the support system that families need to provide bright futures for their children.

Allie brings more than a decade of nonprofit experience to her new role. She began her career working in NYC public schools developing academic, enrichment, after school & mentoring programs for middle and high school youth.

Most recently, Allie served as the National Director of Corporate Partnerships at Reading Partners. She played a key leadership role across all 14 regions in elevating the organization’s strategy and engagement with corporate partners. Prior to joining Reading Partners, Allie spent eight years at City Year. She last served as the National Director of Business Development for the organization. In this role, she raised millions of dollars for the organization’s local and national programs and engaged thousands of corporate volunteers in the schools and communities in which the organization served.

Allie attended Vassar College and majored in Latin American Studies, Spanish, and Education and received her New York State Teacher’s Certification in Adolescent Education, Spanish. She is the proud mama of two small children who inspire her daily, keep her on her toes and push her to dream a little bigger. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two children and their crazy terrier.

Michelle

Rhone-Collins

CEO

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Michelle’s career has been defined by standing up for equity and access for disenfranchised individuals and communities. Prior to joining LIFT, Michelle spent nearly 20 years leading youth and community development efforts in New York and Los Angeles. Michelle joined LIFT in 2012 as the Founding LIFT-Los Angeles Executive Director where she seeded many of the program innovations that are now core to LIFT’s nationwide program model, including the focus on an intergenerational approach to breaking the cycle of poverty, the integration of financial coaching into traditional supports, and giving cash directly to members. After serving as LIFT’s Chief Cities Officer overseeing all of LIFT’s regional operations, in 2019, Michelle was promoted to and now serves as LIFT’s Chief Executive Officer.

Michelle LIFTs because she believes in the transformative power of “hope, money and love” – her signature take on LIFT’s special sauce. Her own parents loved her fiercely and instilled in her the notion that she could do and be anything she wanted. She fully understands that this firm belief and investment in her possibility provided a buffer against socioeconomic inequity. It is an honor for her to pass on this transformative power of love, backed by rigor and dedication, to populations historically marginalized and unjustly overburdened by stigma, isolation, and disregard.

Michelle is a sought-after public speaker and thought leader whose has been featured in SSIR, Variety magazine, LA Magazine, NPR’s Marketplace, and the 2018 United State of Women Summit, amongst others. She is a Senior Fellow at both the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at the USC Marshall School of Business, a Promise Venture Fellow, and part of the inaugural class of ProInspire’s Catalyst Collective of BIPOC nonprofit executives across the country,

Michelle resides in Los Angeles and is the proud mother of two beautiful children who are her ultimate source of motivation and inspiration. She loves them fiercely!

Helah

Robinson

Chief Program and Strategy Officer

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At LIFT, Helah oversees new program design and implementation across the organization’s four regions. She works closely with the regional teams to use Member feedback, program evaluation data, and stakeholder input to improve LIFT’s services, design new program innovations, and maximize impact.

Helah LIFTs because she believes in every person’s potential to succeed when they are supported by their community and connected to the right opportunities and resources.

Before joining LIFT, Helah served as Program Manager-Africa at Vital Voices Global Partnership, a Washington, D.C.-based international development NGO that identifies and invests in emerging women leaders around the world. At Vital Voices, Helah designed and led a multi-million dollar, a multi-year international economic development program for women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa and served as the regional expert for Vital Voices’ human rights and political participation programs in the region. Helah also has experience in organizational capacity building, strategic planning, and stakeholder engagement, and research. Helah holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service and a Certificate in International Development from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School. While at the Kennedy School she received the Carr Center Prize for Human Rights and worked with a team of students to recommend improvements to Boston’s early education portfolio.

Xiomara

Romain

Executive Director, LIFT-New York & VP, Organizational Impact

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Xiomara is the proud Executive Director of LIFT-New York. Prior to joining LIFT, Xiomara served as the Director of Fund Development for Mentor New York, a local affiliate of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, an organization that recruits mentors for youth in high need communities. Xiomara led the organizations special event fundraising, board engagement strategies and individual and major gift programs. She worked as the Director of Resource Development at the Center for Community Alternatives, a nonprofit that serves people in trouble: youth at risk; families in crisis; and people struggling to address drug and alcohol problems and HIV and AIDS; and people who have been involved in the criminal justice system. In her role she oversaw all grant and fundraising functions.

Earlier in her career, she held senior leadership positions with the YMCA of Greater New York, The After-School Corporation, Children of Promise, NYC and worked for the Vera Institute of Justice where she developed new programs and conducted program evaluations for several juvenile justice reform demonstration projects after beginning her career as a New York City public school teacher in Brooklyn. Xiomara is also the founder of 4Impact, a change management, fundraising and leadership consulting collective that helps executives and boards raise more money.

Xiomara holds an MA from the CUNY Graduate Center at Brooklyn College, a BA from Morgan State University in Maryland and is all but dissertation towards her PhD in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in nonprofit management from the Chicago School.  Her dissertation is entitled “Intersectionality and Job Satisfaction of Women of Color in the Nonprofit Sector”.

Xiomara is an adjunct professor at Stony Brook in the Health and Sciences Department and a board member of Bridge Street Development Corporation. She is married and has two children.

Rebecca

Ross

Chief Operations and Finance Officer

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As Chief Operations and Finance Officer, Rebecca will lead our efforts to create a strong and sustainable organization that positions LIFT for even greater impact and sustainability. A member of LIFT’s Executive Team, Rebecca’s portfolio will include finance, operations, talent and culture, and technology, and she will contribute to our overall organizational development efforts.  

Rebecca’s work has crossed multiple fields, including education, workforce and community development, and most recently local news. The throughline of her career, regardless of the context, is a passion for using business and management skills to create strong and healthy organizations poised for sustainable growth, strong service delivery, and impact.  

In her most recent leadership role, Rebecca was COO of the education news organization, Chalkbeat, where she helped build a $2 million project into a $10 million, eight-city operation prepared for its next phase of growth. She helped the CEO put in place the capabilities the organization needed to thrive and has since been working with other news entrepreneurs around the country who need operations, finance, and planning support to achieve their strategic visions. 

Earlier in her career, she helped design anti-poverty solutions and strengthened the capacity of organizations that execute these strategies. As a VP at ideas42, she developed behavioral interventions aimed at promoting better economic mobility outcomes for students, workers, and families. As a VP at Seedco, she launched conditional cash transfer experiments that created an early evidence base for giving cash directly to families, and designed strategies that helped workers stretch their pay. 

She LIFTS because income inequality in this country continues to grow, and the work of addressing socioeconomic disparities could not be any more urgent.  

Rebecca holds a BA from Vassar College and an MPA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government. She resides in Maplewood, NJ, with her husband and her two kids. 

Gabe

Scheck

Chief Advancement & Cities Officer

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As Chief Advancement Officer, Gabe leads our development and communications teams to build philanthropic support for LIFT. As a key member of the executive team, Gabe is also instrumental in contributing to strategy, management, and culture to move LIFT’s work forward.

Gabe LIFTs to ensure every parent can create a strong foundation for their children. He joins LIFT from New Leaders, where he served as Chief Development Officer. Gabe managed a team of regional and national fundraising professionals to raise more than $15M annually, collaborated closely with colleagues to ensure funding supported key priorities, and shaped organizational strategy as a member of New Leaders’ executive team.

Before joining New Leaders, Gabe served in a variety of roles at Teach For America-New York. During his tenure, he doubled the incoming TFA corps from 200 to 400 members, negotiated a large district contract with increased general operating support, and launched an early childhood education program line. Prior to joining TFA staff, Gabe was an award winning middle school teacher in Harlem and Oakland, California. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Brown University, a Masters in Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University and was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs.

A resident of Brooklyn, NY, Gabe is the proud father of two young boys, Emory (7) and Andy (2).

Sarah

Spunt

Executive Director, LIFT-Chicago

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Sarah Spunt is a licensed clinical social worker and the Executive Director at LIFT-Chicago, a national nonprofit that empowers families to break the cycle of poverty. At LIFT, she is responsible for cultivating new key partnerships; building and sustaining relationships with new and existing donors and supporters; and leading the development of LIFT-Chicago’s strategic plan in concert with the Program Staff and the LIFT-Chicago Regional Advisory Board. Sarah is currently the Family Economic Mobility Partner Project Director for the National Center for Parent, Family, and Community Engagement and a member Behavior and Trauma Informed Care Workgroup within the Office of Head Start National Centers for Training and Technical Assistance. Additionally, Sarah is the Co-Chair for the IL Cash Coalition, part of the IL Economic Security Project which focuses on expanding direct cash assistance programs in the City of Chicago and the State if Illinois.

Prior to being the Executive Director, Sarah was LIFT-Chicago’s program lead. In this role, she was tasked with designing LIFT’s two-generational program model in Chicago. She used the Lean Design method and behavioral science to implement and evolve programmatic pilots to align with the strategic shift of LIFT’s mission to work with families with young children. Sarah works closely with LIFT’s National Program Team to create a program and evaluation framework to track progress against regional and national goals, targets, and milestones. She has created trainings for direct service staff and volunteers on topics including motivational interviewing, de-escalation, suicidality and best practice protocol, working with victims of domestic violence, and self-care.

Sarah has over 15 years of experience working in the public sector. She holds a professional educator license – school social worker endorsement and a certification in yoga-informed psychotherapy. Sarah served on Star Early’s Policy Council for three years as a community representative and volunteers her time with a Between Friends, a Chicago non-profit focused on breaking the cycle of violence in families and communities, to assist with fundraising and event planning.

Prior to LIFT, Sarah worked for Hanover Township Youth and Family Services in Bartlett, Illinois as a clinical interventionist. While there, Sarah created and implemented a school-based substance abuse education and prevention program and conducted family therapy. Additionally, Sarah was an AmeriCorps*VISTA with the International Book Project, a Lexington, Kentucky nonprofit that promotes literacy, education and global friendships by sending books throughout the developing world.

Sarah holds a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University Chicago and a bachelor’s in secondary social studies education from the University of Kentucky. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and is often training for a triathlon, or planning her next travel adventure.

Staff

Locations:

Alex

Arenz

Development Director, LIFT-Los Angeles

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Melissa Marcial

Benitez

Senior Program Coordinator, LIFT-Los Angeles

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Laura

Campbell

National Senior Program Director, Coaching & Technical Assistance, LIFT

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Lauren

Fox

Senior Director, Development & Operations, LIFT

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Anaé

Goodwin

Finance and Accounting Director, LIFT

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Alex

Graves

Technology Director, LIFT

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Michael

Greer

National Program Manager, Training and Technical Assistance, LIFT

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Izzie

Hunsberger

Program Coordinator, Training LIFT-DC

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Monique

Johnson

Program Coordinator Parent Engagement Specialist, LIFT-DC

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Casey

Kaldahl

Development Manager, LIFT-Chicago

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Jennifer

Lambert

Program Director, LIFT-Chicago

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Abril

Lopez

Operations Associate, LIFT-Los Angeles

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Michael

Lopez

Program Manager, Coaching LIFT-Los Angeles

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Araceli

Lopez-Andrade

Deputy Director, LIFT-Los Angeles & National Race, Equity & Inclusion (REI) Advisor

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Hina

Musa

Senior Program Director, Strategic Partnerships, LIFT-DC

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Maria

Paz

Program Associate, LIFT-Los Angeles

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Georgia

Petersen

Development and Operations Manager, LIFT-DC

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Elena

Pinzon O’Quinn

National Program Learning and Evaluation Director, LIFT

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Rachel

Ray

Senior Program Manager, Coaching, LIFT-Chicago

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Jaylene

Romero

Development Coordinator, LIFT-Los-Angeles

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Angela

Rubalcava

Program Manager, Coaching, LIFT-Los Angeles

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Naomi

Runder

Program Coordinator, Training, LIFT-Chicago

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Katy

Salce

Program Manager, LIFT-New York

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Abigail

Shirley

Communications Associate, LIFT

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Lucy

Smart

National Program Manager, Economic Mobility and Policy, LIFT

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Maronel

Stewart

Development Operations and Events Manager, LIFT

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Pedro

Suarez

Program Director, Strategic Partnerships, LIFT-New York

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Giselli

Veloz

Program Manager, Parent Engagement, LIFT-New York

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Cheryl

Wadhwa

Talent and Culture Director, LIFT

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Rolonda

Washington

Program Coordinator, LIFT-Chicago

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Tiersa

Winder

Talent & Culture Coordinator, LIFT

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Hannah

Wood

Development Coordinator, LIFT-New York

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Board Members

Locations:

Akin

Aliu

Agent, Creative Artists Agency

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David

Axelrod

Director, University of Chicago Institute of Politics

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Beki

Bahar-Engler

Chief Administrative Officer, Graduate Management Admission Council

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Diana

Banks

Vice President & Senior Counsel, American Bankers Association

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Jordan C.

Brown

Founder, One Blue Hill

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Jon

Budington

CEO, MoreVang

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Dannielle

Campos

SVP/Philanthropy Program Director, Bank of America

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Gina

Coburn

Senior Advisor, Global Philanthropy Group; LIFT National Board Chair

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Will

Darman

Managing Director, Eden Capital

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Laurie

Davis

Senior Vice President – Wealth Advisor, Neuberger Berman

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Caroline

Degenaars

Philanthropist

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Tamara

Dervin

Senior Auditor, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Founder/CEO of Money Basics

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Emilio

Diez Barroso

Chairman and Founder, NALA Investments, LLC

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Stephanie

Eidelman

Owner & CEO, The iA Institute

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Arlene

Ford

Founder & CEO, Equity Inquiry Project Inc.

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Bari

Goldmacher

VP Recruiter and Account Manager, Bloom Capital

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Billy

Hallock

Managing Director, ICM Speakers; DC Board Chair

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Adam

Halpern-Leistner

Principal, Hellman & Friedman

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Brendan

Hanley

Head of Emerging Growth and Regional Coverage, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

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Alison

Heyman

Philanthropist

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David

Heyman

Director, Foreign Exchange (FX) and Interest Rate Risk Management, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch; LIFT-Chicago Board Chair

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Susan

Hirsch

Hirsch Family Foundation

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S. Malik

Husser

Director of Communications, MGM National Harbor

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Carrie

Johnson

Founder, Twigtale; LIFT-Los Angeles Board Chair

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Elizabeth

Kendall

Philanthropist

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Brent

Kessel

CEO, Abacus Wealth Partners

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Erich

Klein

Senior Vice President, City National Bank

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Amy

Lenander

Head of Auto Buying Platform, EVP, CapitalOne

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Channing

Lenert

Program Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation

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Jose

Leon

Senior Relationships Associate, Capital Group Private Client Services

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Abby

Mead

Senior Vice President and Wealth Advisor, Chilton Trust

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Marne

Obernauer, Jr.

LIFT Board Emeritus

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Dele

Oladapo

VP & Chief Enterprise Architect and Technical Innovation Officer, Prudential

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Michael D.

Pinckney

Partner & Wealth Advisor, Cresset

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Ellen

Pinschmidt

Chief Operating Officer, DMGT US Group

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Bill

Richards, Jr.

Senior Vice President, Bank of America

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Dr. Peggy

Roberts

CEO, Trust Women's Healthcare

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Adam

Rodriguez

Actor

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Deanna

Singh, Esq.

Founder and Chief Change Agent, Flying Elephant

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Ty

Stiklorius

Founder & CEO, Friends At Work

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Vicky

Story

Co-Founder and CFO, The Story Company, Inc.

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Jordan

Tabach-Bank

Owner and CEO, Beverly Loan Company

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Mark

Uible

Vice President, Marketing, Threekit

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Adam

Verstandig

Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

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Rohit

Vishnoi

Board Member, Eitan Medical

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Charlotte

Waller

Regional Office Administrator, Hogan Lovells

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Alexandra

Walsh

Founder, Walsh Law PLLC

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Cash

Warren

Founder, Pair of Thieves

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Azlina

Wetmore

Head of Policy and Innovation, Capital One

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