These experienced professionals with diverse backgrounds are elected to two-year terms of office as members of the InCharge Debt Solutions Board of Trustees.
Dr. Chavez has served as a trustee since February of 2012. Dr. Chavez holds a Doctor of Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University, a Master of Urban Affairs from Boston University and a Graduate Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management, Harvard University.
Dr. Chavez has been teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Public administration, Public Policy, Business Communication, Strategic Management and Economics since 2002 for Nova Southeastern University. He has taught for Post University in the Public Administration arena since 2011.
Dr. Chavez is the President and owner of the National Housing Advisory Group, LLC, a consulting firm providing advice and training nation-wide in Real Estate Development, Housing Policy, Lending, Credit, Property Acquisition, Foreclosure Intervention and Property Management. He is also an instructor for NeighborWorks, an organization out of Washington, D.C. created by congress to help educate non-profit groups in housing and community development issues across America.
Jim Harris has spent 30 years in the financial services industry. As a former Vice President at a prominent credit card company, Harris gives back to the community by sharing his expertise and passion for personal finance by teaching free financial literacy seminars for those in need of credit education, first-time homebuyer help and reverse mortgage education. Harris also works as a real estate agent.
Harris serves on two nonprofit boards and is a proud Vietnam veteran, having served in Naval Intelligence.
Robert J. Ruiz, Esquire has served as a Trustee since February 2012.
Mr. Ruiz is an attorney with over 35 years of experience in government and public interest law. His career includes service as Solicitor General for the State of Illinois, National President of the Hispanic National Bar Association as well as being a founding member and officer of the National Hispanic Prosecutors Association and the Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees.
In education, Robert serves as a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He has served on the Council on Legal Education Opportunity(CLEO), Chairman of the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities, Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine and the Foundation for Podiatric Education. He has served on the University of Illinois Alumni Board, the DePaul College of Law Visiting Committee and the Committee on Continuing Education for the Law Institute of the American Bar Association, the Chicago Metro History Education Center and the USO of Illinois.
Ruiz is an alumni of the prestigious Leadership Greater Chicago Program. He is a graduate of the DePaul Law School and the University of Illinois Chicago.
Kristen Soles has served as a Trustee since February 2013.
Kristen Soles, CPA, is a partner in the Firm’s Government Contracting Industry Practice. She provides an extensive range of advisory services for government contractors, including FAR/CAS compliance, indirect cost rate structuring, cost reporting, and final incurred cost proposal compliance. Through her prior experience as a management-level contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Kristen acquired working knowledge of DoD compliance, allocability and allowability issues, disclosure statement requirements, GSA schedules, and DCAA audits.
Kristen works with government contractors to develop business systems, identify and correct system deficiencies, and prepare for business system and other government audits. She is an expert in Deltek GCS Premier and is well versed in Costpoint. Kristen frequently works with the Firm’s Construction Industry Practice and Not-for-Profit and Education Industry Practice on government contracting issues related to grants, A-133 audits, and U.S. Department of Energy 316 audits. Additionally, the Firm was awarded blanket purchase agreements to perform incurred cost audits and business system audits for a number of civilian agencies. Kristen is one of two partners in our Firm who is responsible for performing these audits. Her duties include communicating with the contracting officer, ensuring the audits are performed in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS) and that they are based on the Defense Contract Audit Agency’s (DCAA) audit program, and issuing audit reports. She advises the government on cost allowability, allocability, reasonableness, and compliance with the applicable standards.
Internally, Kristen supervises and trains staff on audit and review engagements, as well as on various government contracting issues. She also presents monthly “lunch-and-learn” sessions and developed GovCon360.com to provide resources, templates, and updates to government contractors that reflect the
ever-changing regulatory environment. She has been repeatedly honored as a “Super CPA” in the field of small business consulting and government contracting by Virginia Business magazine.
Education: Mary Washington University: Bachelor of Science, Accounting
Professional Affiliations: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants
Carey Tarbell has served as a Trustee since February of 2014.
Carey, managing director of VOX Global, leads the firm’s financial services and crisis practice groups. She has more than 20 years’ experience as an issue-advocacy communications strategist and coalition manager for large corporations, associations, small businesses, community groups and non-profits. Carey’s unique expertise has helped various industries achieve their most important public policy objectives.
Carey has extensive experience in crisis communications. In recent years she has worked with a global corporate client on a highly publicized OIG investigation and assisted a major firearm manufacturer in its communications during a national recall. She has also worked for several years with a global auto manufacturer on contentious labor issues. Carey has extensive expertise in the related areas of litigation communications, stakeholder engagement and reputation management, including providing strategic communications counsel to Pokémon toys and Vinson & Elkins, Enron’s principal law firm.
On the financial front, Carey works with a variety of our largest financial services clients and leads communications strategy for a large, multi-year coalition of financial services companies focused on interchange regulation. She has also worked closely with these entities on a multitude of data security and reputation management issues.
Prior to joining VOX, Carey served as executive director of The National Journal’s Policy Council, an issue advocacy membership of nearly 100 leading organizations including corporations, trade associations, think tanks and nonprofits.
Earlier in her career, Carey served as executive vice president in the Washington, DC office of Powell Tate|Weber Shandwick. Over the span of her 13 year tenure with the firm she managed many of the firm’s largest and most complex clients. Highlights include launching and managing multi-year reputation management campaigns for two separate coalitions of financial services providers.
She managed a comprehensive issue advocacy campaign for a coalition of financial services companies seeking permanent reauthorization of federal preemption provisions in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Favorable legislation was enacted at the completion of the campaign.
Additionally, Carey coordinated a multi-year public affairs campaign for a large financial services coalition seeking reform of federal personal bankruptcy laws. A survey of congressional staff at the time named the reform effort one of the year’s most effective campaigns.
Carey began her public affairs career in the Public Law Policy division of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld. A Washington, D.C. native, she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from George Mason University.
In 2004, Jeffrey A. Tassey formed the government relations firm of ‘Tassey & Associates’ which specializes in issue, coalition and legislative risk management involving complex, unpopular issues, with a concentration on financial services, bankruptcy and legal reform issues.
Prior to the establishment of Tassey & Associates, Mr. Tassey served as a partner at Williams & Jensen where he led the firm’s Practice Group for Financial and Judicial Reform Issues. Previously, Mr. Tassey held the position of Executive Vice President for Legal and Government Affairs for the American Financial Services Association.
Mr. Tassey spent nine years as a senior Congressional staffer, serving as Counsel to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Consumer and Monetary Affairs of House Committee on Government Operations, and as Banking Counsel to the Honorable Doug Barnard, Jr. Leading up to his Congressional career, Mr. Tassey received a Public Affairs Fellowship from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, was a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and completed his fellowship at the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress.
In January, 2001, Mr. Tassey was named to the Bush Administration transition team to provide advice to the Treasury Department on financial issues and appointments. In 2004, the Hill newspaper named him as one of the top financial services lobbyists.
Mr. Tassey received a BA in History from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio and a JD from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He was awarded a Public Affairs Fellowship at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Patricia Wexler has served as a Trustee since February 2011, and is currently serving as the Board of Trustees Chairman.
Trish Wexler is Chief Communications Officer for Chase Consumer & Community Banking. Trish and her team protect and enhance the reputation of Chase and its leaders, ensure its employees are informed and inspired, and bring the Chase brand to life internally and externally. In this role, Trish oversees media relations, public affairs, internal communications, and social media, and serves as the primary media spokesperson for the business.
Trish, who joined the firm in August 2013, has worked in crisis communications and public affairs for nearly 20 years specializing in financial services legislative and regulatory. Most recently, Trish was a Senior Partner at VOX Global, a public affairs firm she helped to build.
Trish graduated from the University of Richmond where she studied International Studies, Japanese and Mathematics. She lives in Rye, New York with her husband and two sons.
Veronica Whitelaw enjoyed a 37-year career in the consumer credit industry. Upon graduating from college, she joined the Credit Group of Sears, Roebuck and Co., and in 18 years with the company, progressed through numerous management assignments. These roles covered all areas of consumer credit from marketing and new account promotion to collection and recovery, culminating in her assignment as National Manager, Credit Operating and Collections at Sears headquarters in Chicago.
Ms. Whitelaw moved to Tokyo, Japan, with her husband at the beginning of 1988, and joined American Express International as Director of Quality Service, responsible for Quality Engineering, Customer Satisfaction Research, Employee Training, and Risk Management. After returning to the United States in 1993, she was recruited by AT&T Credit Corporation to head consumer financing for consumer telecommunications equipment and home security systems until AT&T exited the financing business.
In 1999, Ms. Whitelaw joined InCharge Institute of America, Inc., as Director of Creditor Relations, where she acted as liaison between operations and the credit granting community until her retirement in 2006. In addition, she has assisted the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) in its relationships with credit grantors, and has served on a cross-industry committee of AICCCA and National Foundation for Credit Counseling member agencies and major creditors to improve cooperative programs and processes.
Ms. Whitelaw earned a B.S. in Economics from Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia.