September 12 - 14, 2023 | NEW YORK CITY

15th Independent Sponsors Summit & Golf Outing

June 9, 2024 |

September 12th - Golf Outing

Register for Golf Outing

10:30 am - BRUNCH & NETWORKING

12:15 pm - RULES & SHOTGUN START

icon connections

Followed by the Cocktail hour, Reception & Awards.

June 9, 2024 |

September 13 - Day 1 Agenda

Register for Conference

8:00 am - REGISTRATION & NETWORKING BREAKFAST

9:00 am - CHAIRPERSON WELCOME & OPENING REMARKS

Claudine Cohen

Managing Principal

CohnReznick

Claudine oversees an integrated team of transaction, valuation, restructuring, project finance, and dispute resolution professionals serving clients throughout the lifecycles of their businesses. With specific expertise in managing opportunities and roadblocks that can impact a business moving forward, Claudine and her team help clients achieve optimal outcomes in protecting and growing stakeholder value.

Claudine serves as an adviser to public and private companies, both domestically and internationally. Her clients comprise the full gamut of financial sponsors including private equity investors, independent sponsors, family offices, alternative investment funds, lenders, and strategic investors. Her areas of knowledge include strategic advisory, quality of earnings analyses, identifying revenue sources and profitability drivers, examining operating cost structure and sustainability factors, investigating business models including cash flow and financial projections, reviewing quality and realization of assets and liabilities, identifying working capital requirements and negotiating positions, post-close working capital verification, and adjustment mechanisms.  

Claudine was named to Mergers and Acquisitions 2019 list of the most influential women in mid-market M&A, and Crain’s NY 2018 most notable women in consulting.

9:15 am - ROUNDTABLES / THINK TANKS

Get to know your peers - join us for interactive smaller targeted discussions and be part of the conversation.

Roundtable 1: Why Pay Now, When You Can Pay Later: Earnouts, Seller Notes and Rollover Equity

  • Market trends
  • Optimal structuring
  • Alignment of interest
  • Tax implications

John Koeppel

Partner and Private Equity / Independent Sponsor Leader

Lippes Mathias

Mr. Koeppel is a Partner and the Team Leader of the firm’s Private Equity Practice. He is a corporate lawyer who has successfully structured, negotiated and closed over 250 transactions in the past two decades, which typically involve mergers and acquisitions, fund formations and investments, and various private equity transactions (including co-investments, venture financings and cross-border deals). He also works with clients on reviewing / structuring their Qualified Opportunity Zone and Qualified Small Business Stock investments. 

Mr. Koeppel acts as counsel to a number of leading funds, independent sponsors, middle market companies, institutional investors, and high net worth investors focused on buy-out, growth, venture, real estate, intellectual property, fund-of-funds, co-investments, secondaries and other strategies. He also often acts as US counsel to non-US clients on their US private equity and investment fund transactions. He also serves as a director for several private equity-backed companies. 

On the M&A / private equity transactions side, Mr. Koeppel has advised on deals from $5 million to $250 million+ in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, technology, consumer goods, food, distribution, business services, cleantech and medical / health care.

He is a frequent speaker at a number of leading private equity and M&A events. Mr. Koeppel and his team take a pro-active and practical approach to helping clients make connections and successfully navigating the various legal challenges in any private equity transaction. Prior to joining Lippes, he was a partner in the private equity and investment funds group of an AmLaw 100 firm.

Roundtable 2: Navigating Human Capital Challenges in M&A Transactions

  • Employee Communication
  • Turnover Reduction
  • Transferring Benefits
  • Quieting the Noise

Emily Hak

Managing Director Private Capital Markets

Insperity

Read Profile

Roundtable 3: Exit Strategies for Independent Sponsors

  • Preparing for the exit from the beginning
  • Key considerations when issuing equity to management
  • What legal concepts should be in your definitive documents?
  • How to consider roll-ups in connection with the exit

Chase Stuart

Managing Partner

Ice Miller

Chase Stuart is a partner in Ice Miller's Business Group.  He represents a variety of private equity funds, family offices, independent sponsors, mezzanine funds, and privately held businesses.  He provides strategic and legal advice in their investment and general corporate strategies, including leveraged buyouts, mezzanine financings, growth capital transactions, early and late state private equity investments and secondary transactions.  He represents family, founder, and entrepreneur-owned businesses as general corporate counsel and as a sell-side advisor.  He has represented a variety of companies in sectors such as technology, manufacturing, health care aerospace and defense, gaming, and business services.
 

Roundtable 4: Due Diligence for Independent Sponsors

  • Best practices for conducting due diligence on target companies

  • Identifying potential risks and red flags in deal structures

  • How to negotiate and mitigate risks

  • Due diligence on your Capital Partner

Bryan Natale

Partner

Burns & Levinson

Roundtable 5: How to Unlock Value & Liquidity in Your Portfolio 

  • Identifying opportunities to extract value through the real estate exposure of your underlying portfolio companies
  • Sale Leaseback of company-owned real estate
  • Best Practices for assessing opportunities with leased real estate for synthetic sale-leaseback, Landlord capital contributions, or occupancy cost reductions

 

Matt Anuszkiewicz

Managing Director and Co-Head of the Institutional Coverage Group

STNL Advisors

Matt Anuszkiewicz is a Managing Director and Co-Head of the Institutional Coverage Group (“ICG”) with STNL Advisors, one of the top performing sale-leaseback, lease advisory, and net lease real estate development firms in the country. Matt is responsible for the creation and execution of sale-leasebacks programs, credit underwriting, large scale asset disposition programs, as well as lease restructures for private equity firms, multi-unit franchisees, and business owners nationally.

Since joining STNL Advisors in 2015, Matt has developed an in-depth understanding of capital markets as well as unique and creative transaction structures. During his tenure with STNL Advisors, Matt has been directly involved in the sale of over 800 properties totaling over $2.5 billion in transaction volume.

Prior to working with the STNL Advisors, Matt worked at J.P. Morgan and graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business. Matt lives in Westchester County, New York with his wife and two daughters.

Roundtable 6: Recruiting Star CFOS for PE-Backed Companies

  • Qualities to look for when hiring a great CFO
  • Assessing talent
  • Recruiting for potential

Burton Francis

Managing Director

ECA Partners

Burt Francis is a Managing Director of Business Development at ECA. He works with clients to fill permanent and project based roles. Burt has wide-ranging experience in engineering, business leadership and management consulting in various industries including aerospace, software, financial services, and manufacturing. This includes notable tenure with Oliver Wyman, The Boeing Company, General Dynamics and Starbase Technologies Inc.


Burt graduated summa cum laude, with a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

11:00 am - MORNING NETWORKING BREAK

11:30 am - INDEPENDENT SPONSOR ACTIVITY AMID RECESSION RUMORS AND REALITY IN 2023

Independent sponsors are currently facing a multitude of challenges, including rising interest rates, a difficult fundraising environment, financial market turmoil due to recent isolated bank issues, persistent inflation, and labor issues. However, leading dealmakers have successfully navigated these challenges and continue to get deals done.  Gain insights from these experts on how they are managing to navigate the current economic climate and maintain a strong deal flow.

 

Claudine Cohen

Moderator

Managing Principal

CohnReznick

Claudine oversees an integrated team of transaction, valuation, restructuring, project finance, and dispute resolution professionals serving clients throughout the lifecycles of their businesses. With specific expertise in managing opportunities and roadblocks that can impact a business moving forward, Claudine and her team help clients achieve optimal outcomes in protecting and growing stakeholder value.

Claudine serves as an adviser to public and private companies, both domestically and internationally. Her clients comprise the full gamut of financial sponsors including private equity investors, independent sponsors, family offices, alternative investment funds, lenders, and strategic investors. Her areas of knowledge include strategic advisory, quality of earnings analyses, identifying revenue sources and profitability drivers, examining operating cost structure and sustainability factors, investigating business models including cash flow and financial projections, reviewing quality and realization of assets and liabilities, identifying working capital requirements and negotiating positions, post-close working capital verification, and adjustment mechanisms.  

Claudine was named to Mergers and Acquisitions 2019 list of the most influential women in mid-market M&A, and Crain’s NY 2018 most notable women in consulting.

Matthew Cohen

Principal

Prodos Capital Management LLC

Matthew R. Cohen is a Principal at Prodos Capital LLC (“PC”), a private investment firm based in Nashville, TN and West Palm Beach, FL.  Matthew leads the West Palm Beach office for the firm.  At PC, Mr. Cohen is responsible for sourcing, evaluating, underwriting, and financing investments across industry sectors.  He is also involved in the overall management of portfolio companies and execution of the investment thesis, from acquisition through exit.  He serves as a director of Sail Energy, New England Applied Products, Unified Logistics, Century Box Inc., and Cord King International, Ltd.


Having spent seven years in Washington, DC, Mr. Cohen has been actively engaged in Republican political activity for over a decade. He is a commentator, speaker and campaign operative, having served as an integral part of three Presidential Campaigns. In 2016, he was under final consideration for a senior role at The United States Department of the Treasury.


Prior to joining PC, Mr. Cohen led the acquisitions team at AlphaTerra Partners, an affiliate of KAR Properties, pursuing a multi-asset class real estate investment strategy in U.S. gateway cities.  He began his career as an analyst in the mergers & acquisitions group at UBS Investment Bank based in New York City.  


 Mr. Cohen earned an MBA with honors and a BBA from The George Washington University.   He maintains Emeritus status as the youngest member of the Board of Directors of The George Washington University School of Business, is a trustee Emeritus of the Cape Eleuthera Foundation and is a volunteer pilot for Mercy Flight Southeast (an organization that leverages pilots and their aircraft to transport patients from rural areas to leading medical centers for treatment) among other organizations.  **


In his spare time, he is an avid outdoorsman, slalom course water-skier, tennis player and boater. He loves to cook and ride his motorcycle but above all enjoys his passion for aviation. Matt is a Federal Aviation Administration certificated Private Pilot with an Instrument Rating.  He is currently working toward his Commercial Pilot license. 

Bob Shettle

Managing Director

Star Mountain Capital

Mr. Shettle is a senior investment professional with approximately 30 years of
experience investing senior debt, junior debt, private equity and making lower
middle-market fund investments.
Mr. Shettle had a highly successful 22-year career at Barings, the $325 billion
AUM investment manager owned by MassMutual Financial Group. At Barings
he was promoted to Co-Head of North American Private Finance Group co-
managing a team of 35 investment professionals across 3 U.S. offices and
overseeing an approximately $10 billion private credit investment portfolio. He
was also Chairman of both the North American Mezzanine and the North
American Private Finance investment committees.
Mr. Shettle was also President of two Barings branded publicly traded New
York Stock Exchange (NYSE) closed-end funds focused on private debt
securities.
Prior to Barings, Mr. Shettle was a Vice President in commercial lending at
Fleet Bank (now part of Bank of America).
Mr. Shettle started his career in management consulting at Andersen
Consulting (now Accenture) in the late 1980s.
Mr. Shettle is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and has an MBA
from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Mr. Shettle also holds the Chartered
Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Paul Marino

Partner

Sadis & Goldberg LLP

Paul Marino is a partner in the Financial Services and Corporate Groups. Paul focuses his practice in matters concerning financial services, corporate law and corporate finance. Paul provides counsel in the areas of private equity funds and mergers and acquisitions for private equity firms and public and private companies and private equity fund and hedge fund formation.

Paul works on a variety of M&A transactions, including leveraged acquisitions, divestitures of business divisions, going-private transactions, and other strategic acquisitions and dispositions, in the following industries: manufacturing, telecommunications, consumer products, hospitality, healthcare, and technology, among others. His practice also includes joint ventures and general company representation matters.

Paul has represented national and multinational corporations, ranging from telecoms to tech companies, as well as real estate syndication and financial investors and investment advisors. He has also negotiated and structured a number of U.S. domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures.

Eric Taylor

Founder, CEO & CIO

Trident

Eric Taylor is the Founder, CEO and CIO of Trident and oversees all day to day operations. He also leads the firm’s Investment Committee and makes final decisions on all additions to the portfolio. Mr. Taylor began his career at Goldman Sachs, where he spent four years in the Special Situations Group, focused primarily on lower and middle market companies. After Goldman and prior to Trident, Mr. Taylor was a Portfolio Manager (credit) and Originator (equity) at Brightwood Capital, a lower-middle market asset manager that invests debt and equity primarily in companies with $5 million to $75 million of EBITDA. Mr. Taylor holds an AB from Harvard University with Honors and is a CFA Charterholder.

Bruce Lipian

Managing Director/Co-Founder

Stonecreek Capital

Bruce N. Lipian is a founding principal and Managing Director of StoneCreek Capital. Founded in 1992, StoneCreek is an independent private equity sponsor focused on investing directly in growth-oriented management buyouts and targets transactions ranging from $10 million to $100 million. 

Prior to StoneCreek, Bruce was a Vice President at Kelso & Co., one of the nation’s leading buyout investment firms. Bruce received his BA (Economics) from the University of Washington and his MBA (Finance) from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Bruce is an active member of ACG,  a founding member of both the Orange County Private Equity Connection and the Orange County Transaction Network, and has served as an adjunct professor at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics (California State University Fullerton) and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Kids Connected.

12:15 pm - NAVIGATING THE CURRENT CREDIT TIGHTENING IN SPONSOR FINANCE AND PRIVATE CREDIT MARKETS

  • Learn about the challenges non-bank/private credit providers are facing in raising capital
  • Discover potential future credit capacity limitations and how they may impact deal flow
  • Discuss the differences between the current credit tightening and the severe impact of the 2008 recession
  • How conditions have changed and a macro-view of financing
  • Explore strategies for navigating the current credit tightening and maintaining strong financial partnerships

Andrew Suh

Moderator

Partner

PKF O'Connor Davies

Andrew Suh is responsible for leading buy-side and sell-side transaction advisory services including due diligence assistance (accounting, financial, tax), purchase agreement vetting, closing and post-deal assistance to corporations, private equity investors and their portfolio companies.

With over 14 years of international experience, Andrew had been part of the transaction advisory services practices of two “Big 4” international accounting firms. Previously, he was the CFO of a private equity backed technology company which he guided through multiple acquisitions and ultimately a successful exit for the private equity sponsor and management shareholders.

Andrew has provided clients with assistance in over 150 transactions including significant software and technology experience where he advised on critical metrics such as recurring revenue streams, customer and user churn, bookings momentum, and customer acquisition costs. He has also worked on deals ranging in value from $5 million to $2 billion in other industries including: media/entertainment, telecommunications, life sciences, healthcare, business services and consumer products. In addition, he has advised on a number of cross-border transactions involving, Canadian, Australian, South American, European and Asian entities.

Meredith Carter

President & CEO

Edge Capital Lending

Meredith Carter is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Edge Capital Lending, LLC (“Edge”).  Meredith leads the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of the business.  She is also a member of the firm’s Credit Committee.  Edge is a family-office backed specialty finance company, free from the layers of approvals, one-size-fits-all-approach, inventory caps, industry prohibitions, and regulations of other commercial lending institutions.  Edge seeks to be at the forefront of modernizing asset-based lending through building technology-driven efficiencies, data-driven decision-making tools, and more comprehensive systematic risk mitigation measures.  The Firm’s mission is to question and improve long-held industry practices, maximize flexibility for the companies they work with and partner with their borrowers through transitions, both expected and unexpected.  Under Meredith’s leadership over the past 5 years, Edge grew from a portfolio of two loans to a portfolio nearing $1/2 Billion in Commitments.

Edge has been recognized by the ABF Journal as one of the Most Innovative Companies in Commercial Finance for the last two consecutive years and last year was highlighted as one of the Best Places to Work by The Secured Lender Magazine.  Meredith is a past recipient of SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Award, was recently awarded the WE Hatch Kathleen Siegfried Leadership Award at the University of Delaware and was recognized by Villanova Law as part of their Leaders of the Law Initiative, which recognizes distinguished alumni who are accomplished leaders in their respective fields. 

Prior to joining Edge, Meredith was Managing Director of Business Development for a family office-backed committed capital fund focused on financing high-stakes patent and commercial litigation.  In that role, she helped grow the litigation funding business from inception, originating the majority of the fund’s investment opportunities and evaluating the merits of various legal claims for potential investment.  Meredith played a lead role in helping to sell that business to a UK based litigation funder looking to expand to the US market.

Meredith began her career as a corporate litigator at a Wilmington, DE based firm and then spent the majority of her years in private practice as a corporate transactional lawyer representing growth companies and investors.  She also spent three years leading the firm’s Business Development and Marketing group, creating strategic business development plans for the firm and all practice groups and overseeing a national team of people.

Meredith is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Overbrook School for the Blind and a Barrister of the Villanova Law J. Willard O’Brien American Inn of Court. She previously was a member of the finance committee of The Gladwyne Montessori School and has held multiple Board and Management positions for the Junior League of Philadelphia. While Meredith was in private practice, for seven and a half years, Meredith served as a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of children in proceedings in the Delaware Family Court.  Meredith is an alumna of Villanova University School of Law and the University of Delaware.  

Stephen Shelton

Managing Director of Originations

Great Rock Capital

Stephen joined Great Rock Capital in 2022 and is responsible for building lender and sponsor relationships to source new investment opportunities across the New York metropolitan area, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.

Stephen has been in middle market lending for over 30 years.  For much of his career, he held senior-origination and portfolio management positions with commercial lenders including PNC Business Credit, UMB Bank, BBVA Compass, and Bank of America.   Most recently, as a Managing Director at B. Riley Advisory Services, Stephen was responsible for business development across the New York Metro and Mid-Atlantic regions. He earned his B.B.A. in Accounting from Baylor University and is an active member of the Secured Finance Network, the Association for Corporate Growth, and Turnaround Management Association.

Ryan Ochs

Managing Director

Lafayette Square

Ryan Ochs leads all underwriting and origination activities for Lafayette Square’s credit products and sits on the investment committee for its investment advisor. Ryan has over a decade of experience in credit markets and principal investing across the capital structure, working on deal teams that have directly invested in and/or raised capital for approximately 50 companies totaling over $5B. Prior to joining Lafayette, Ryan held investment professional roles at Brightwood Capital Advisors, Star Mountain Capital, and American Capital. He started his career at RBC Capital Markets in its investment banking division.  

Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Ryan holds a BSc from Georgetown University.

Brian Yoon

Principal

Corbel Capital Partners

Brian joined Corbel Capital Partners in 2017 and is a Managing Director on the investment team. Prior to Corbel, Brian was a Managing Director at Deerpath Capital Management in Los Angeles. While at Deerpath, Brian led the firm’s West Coast origination and underwriting efforts of lower middle-market direct lending transactions. During his tenure, Brian successfully established the West Coast office for Deerpath and led the investment of over $250 million of debt and equity securities across a variety of industries. Brian began his career as an investment banker having worked for Goldman Sachs, UBS and Bank of America. Brian earned his B.S. in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, going on to earn an M.B.A. from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California at Los Angeles.

David Kirchblum

Member

Cozen O’Connor’s Corporate Practice

David Kirchblum is a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Corporate Practice and has experience with matters involving commercial finance, private equity, and mergers and acquisitions. David’s principal focus is the representation of public and private companies, private investment funds, credit providers and financial institutions in a wide range of corporate transactions, including leveraged, asset-based and structured financings, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity and venture capital transactions. He has advised clients on a broad array of complex debt and equity financing transactions with a particular focus on middle-market and upper-middle-market transactions. David also regularly advises clients on general corporate formation, governance, and compliance matters. Prior to joining Cozen O’Connor, David led domestic and international project financing transactions across multiple jurisdictions, including the United States, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America.

 
networking lunch

1:00pm - 2:00pm NETWORKING LUNCHEON

Designed to foster meaningful connections. Strike up a conversation with someone new, and make the most of this fantastic opportunity to expand your network and forge lasting connections.

1:15 pm –  LUNCHEON WORKSHOP: From ESG to E+SG: Understanding Future Environmental Risks To ESG Ratings and How To Integrate Future Risk Assessment Into Your Process (by invitation)

Today’s ESG assessments and ratings focus heavily on current environmental issues for companies. But what of future environmental risks to companies from ever-changing regulatory and litigation-driven factors? While these factors may not impact the “ESG now” ratings and risk analysis, looking to “future E” risks is the best way to ensure strong long-term ESG portfolios and investments. Key topics of this discussion will include:

  • Examples of how the lack of forward-looking “E” risks has impacted portfolios and investments
  • Examples of environmental risks that are looming on the horizon that will impact future investments
  • How to better predict the next future “E” risks in your diligence process

John Gardella

Moderator

Shareholder

CMBG3 Law

John Gardella is a Shareholder and recognized thought leader on PFAS issues.  He is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and Tennessee.

A seasoned trial attorney with over 75 verdicts, John is the Chair of the firm’s PFAS, Environmental, Risk Management & Consulting, and ESG practice groups. His thought leadership and predictive risk abilities with respect to PFAS earned him the honor of being the only person in the country that was recognized as a thought leader on PFAS in 2020 and 2021 by the esteemed National Law Review. John is regularly interviewed by media on the subject of PFAS and other emerging chemicals of concern, and he consistently publishes his own thought leadership in several nationally syndicated resources, including Bloomberg Law, AM Best, and National Law Review. Private equity firms, the financial world, insurance companies, and corporations regularly seek John’s opinions on forward-looking environmental and chemical substances risk issues.

In his environmental and toxic torts practice, John represents companies ranging in size from small mom-and-pop businesses to Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. Companies seek John’s expertise on matters ranging from compliance planning and audits to litigation of pending cases.

John also Chairs the firm’s CMBG3 Cares charitable program; is a member of the Association for Corporate Growth and sits on its Industrials and Manufacturing Committee, ASTM’s PFAS committees, the USA 500 Clubs, and the Personal Care Products Council; and actively participates in and supports the firm’s DEI initiatives.

Outside of work, John is committed to supporting various charitable organizations, specifically through raising money for them through marathon and triathlon participation. Through these efforts, John has raised over $30,000 for the Martin Richard Foundation and Autism Speaks.

Meetings

NETWORKING MEETINGS

2:00pm - 5:00pm BUSINESS BUILDING 1X1 NETWORKING MEETINGS

  • 1x1 meetings dedicated to developing valuable partnerships for your business model. This unique addition to the program will provide you with the opportunity to meet exclusively with those independent sponsors or capital providers specializing in investments in the industry sectors and markets you are focused on. We will provide you with a full list of participating capital providers and independent sponsors, and offer an hour of free-flowing networking to meet with the most relevant contacts. You will then have the chance to evaluate the potential for future business opportunities and make the most of your time. These meetings will conclude with our cocktail hour that will afford additional unstructured networking time with any independent sponsors or capital providers you may not yet have met.
Reception

5:00pm - 6:00pm WELCOME COCKTAIL RECEPTION

Sponsored by
 
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Dinner

6:30pm - 8:30pm INVITATION ONLY POST-CONFERENCE DINNER

Sponsored by

citrin_logo_no_services_registered_CMYK

 

June 9, 2024 |

September 14 - Day 2 Agenda

Register for Conference

8:00 am - NETWORKING BREAKFAST

9:00 am - DAY 1 RECAP AND WELCOME REMARKS

9:15 am - NON-TRADITIONAL CAPITAL SOURCES: SECONDARY MARKET OPTIONS AND STRATEGIES

Learn about and deep dive into a discussion about the non-traditional sources of capital through secondary market options and debt financing.

 

Thomas Kesoglou

Moderator

Partner

Ice Miller

Thomas Kesoglou is the Office Managing Partner of Ice Miller's New York office, where he leads the Firm’s Private Equity Practice. He is also a member of the Firm's Board of Directors. Mr. Kesoglou represents private equity funds, mezzanine funds, SBICs, BDCs, family offices and independent sponsors providing strategic and legal advice in their investment strategies, including leveraged buyouts, mezzanine financings, growth capital transactions, early and late stage private equity investments and secondary transactions. Mr. Kesoglou also advises these investors in connection with the management of their portfolio companies, including acquisitions, dispositions, follow-on debt or equity investments, bridge loans, restructurings, recapitalizations, employment matters, stock plans and other general corporate matters.

Mr. Kesoglou serves as outside general corporate counsel to a number of privately held and emerging growth companies in connection with growth capital transactions, acquisitions and other general corporate matters. Mr. Kesoglou represents privately held companies in connection with the sale of their business to strategic or financial investors. He also represents large U.S. and foreign corporations in connection with their investment and M&A activities in the United States.

In addition to advising his clients, Mr. Kesoglou actively seeks transaction opportunities to refer to financial investors in order to facilitate introductions and transaction opportunities.

Mr. Kesoglou is a frequent public speaker on corporate legal matters and has authored several articles published in leading magazines, including Buyouts, Financier Worldwide, and The Deal. He was named 2014 AM&AA Conference Chair of the Year and AM&AA Chapter Leader of the Year in January 2013 by the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors and was appointed as Chairman of its 2013 summer conference and 2014 winter conference.

Prior to joining Ice Miller, Mr. Kesoglou practiced in the private equity group at McCarter & English LLP and Goodwin Procter LLP in New York. Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Kesoglou worked as an investment banker in the Real Estate Finance and Securitization Group of CIBC World Markets in New York.

Paul Cohn

Managing Partner

Tail End Capital

Paul is a successful private equity professional with over thirty  years of experience.  Paul has worked in all facets of private equity and venture capital as a secondary investor, limited partnership investor, co-investor, direct investor and leveraged buyout lender.

Prior to founding Tail End Capital Partners, was a Managing Director and a member of the Investment Committee of Fort Washington Capital Partners (“FWCP”).  FWCP manages more than $3.8 billion in private equity commitments across more than a dozen funds with three exclusively focused on secondary investing. 

Prior to leaving FWCP in 2018, Paul led all efforts focused on investments in GP-led Secondaries, including deal sourcing, deal execution and post investment management.  Paul was on the boards or advisory boards of nine Secondary related investments.  Additionally, while at FWCP, Paul served on the board of advisors of eleven additional private equity limited partnerships.

Previously, Paul founded and managed a boutique investment consulting organization called Navigation Capital Partners.  Earlier in his career, Paul was a Partner with Mellon Ventures, Mellon Bank’s private equity affiliate.  Paul was a founding team member and by the time he left, Mellon Ventures had $1.3 billion invested and committed to over 100 portfolio companies and over 70 funds.  Paul started his career and was an Investment Manager at Westinghouse Credit Corporation acting as a lender into leveraged buyouts.

Matthew Hagen

Founder & Managing Partner

Leeward Capital Mgmt

Read Profile

John Darguzas

Principal

Merit Capital Partners

John Darguzas, Principal, joined Merit in 2018.  From 2011 to 2018, John was a Vice President at Antares Capital Sponsor Finance Group in Chicago.  At Antares John worked on the Underwriting Team evaluating senior debt investment opportunities across a broad range of industries, on the Originations Team reviewing new investment opportunities and on the Credit Advisory Team working on troubled loans all while maintaining an active role in helping establish Antares as a standalone company after it was spun out of GE Capital.  While attending Kellogg part time from 2012 to 2014, John founded MyMenu, an app based platform that helps people with food allergies find restaurants that meet their dining requirements.  From 2005 to 2011, John was a Director in KPMG’s Transaction Service Group, overseeing financial buy-side due diligence of middle market acquisitions for private equity clients.

John Received an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2012 with concentrations in Marketing and Entrepreneurship.  In 2005, he received a B.S. from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business with concentrations in Accounting and Finance.  John is a registered CPA.

John currently serves on the Board of Directors of Engendren Corporation, Glenn Rieder, MicroPrecision, LLC, Revision Military, LTD, Urban Surfaces, and U.S. Minerals, Inc.

Matt Anuszkiewicz

Managing Director and Co-Head of the Institutional Coverage Group

STNL Advisors

Matt Anuszkiewicz is a Managing Director and Co-Head of the Institutional Coverage Group (“ICG”) with STNL Advisors, one of the top performing sale-leaseback, lease advisory, and net lease real estate development firms in the country. Matt is responsible for the creation and execution of sale-leasebacks programs, credit underwriting, large scale asset disposition programs, as well as lease restructures for private equity firms, multi-unit franchisees, and business owners nationally.

 

Since joining STNL Advisors in 2015, Matt has developed an in-depth understanding of capital markets as well as unique and creative transaction structures. During his tenure with STNL Advisors, Matt has been directly involved in the sale of over 800 properties totaling over $2.5 billion in transaction volume.

 

Prior to working with the STNL Advisors, Matt worked at J.P. Morgan and graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business. Matt lives in Westchester County, New York with his wife and two daughters.

Raffi Azadian

CEO

Change Capital

With over 20 years of experience in technology, venture capital, investment banking and commercial finance, Raffi Azadian is a seasoned investor and entrepreneur who is passionate about creating positive social change through business. He is the Founder and CEO of Change Capital, an investor and capital provider that focuses on businesses that offer innovative, sustainable, and socially responsible products and services.

Raffi is also the Founder and Board Chair of the Make Change Foundation, a charitable organization that applies rigorous analysis and high ROI expectations to its giving decisions. The Foundation supports institutions and initiatives that can demonstrate high social impact and efficient use of capital resources. Additionally, Raffi is an active investor and board member of several companies in the fintech, logistics, and e-commerce sectors, such as Xen, QX Logistix, and Azadian Group.

10:00 am - BUILDING THE DESIRED INFRASTRUCTURE FOR AN INDEPENDENT SPONSOR FIRM

  • Establishing the right tools, systems, and processes to create a structure for an independent sponsor firm to operate efficiently and effectively
  • Effective deal sourcing and execution processes to help the firm identify and capitalize on opportunities
  • Adopting the right technology and software to support day-to-day operations and improves overall efficiency

 

Sylvie Gadant

Moderator

Partner and Practice Leader

Citrin Cooperman

Sylvie Gadant is a partner with Citrin Cooperman’s Private Equity and Capital Markets Practice and is the Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) practice leader. She leads buy-side and sell-side due diligence engagements for private equity firms, independent sponsors, family offices, and strategic buyers.

Prior to joining Citrin Cooperman, Sylvie was the principal-in-charge of the TAS practice at a top-20 national accounting firm, where she also spent more than 10 years with its audit and advisory practices. Previously, she served middle-market private companies across several industries for another public accounting firm.

Sylvie has advised clients on over 300 transactions valued between $5 million and $300 million, including platform investments, add-on acquisitions, leveraged recapitalizations, carve-outs, and minority investments. Her areas of expertise include analyzing an acquisition target’s quality of earnings, understanding key performance indicators, assessing working capital requirements, and identifying key deal issues and risk areas. She also provides her clients with guidance on accounting for mergers and acquisitions.

Sylvie is a frequent speaker, panelist, and moderator for various industry forums including the Kayo Private Equity Conference, the iGlobal Forum, the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), the Exit Planning Exchange (XPX), and Expert Webcasts. She has been featured in business and industry publications, including Inc. Magazine, Forbes, PE Hub, Buyouts Magazine, Crain’s New York Business, and Accounting Today.

Sylvie is the recipient of several prestigious industry awards, including the "2020 Crain's Notable Women in Accounting" (Crain's New York Business) and the "2019 USA Women Dealmakers" (Global M&A Network), which singularly honors and spotlights an A-List of the most accomplished and respected women dealmakers from the private equity, lending, restructuring, M&A financial advisory and legal transactional communities, especially from the middle-market segments. She is also a 2017 "Top 25 Leading Women Intrapreneur" (Leading Women Entrepreneurs) award recipient.

Brad Deghand

Sr. Risk Consultant

Virtus

Brad is a Senior Risk Consultant at Virtus where he works with private equity firms in a consultative capacity focusing on business insurance and the procurement of representation and warranties policies. Brad is responsible for overseeing due diligence opportunities and helping transition target companies to Virtus clients on an ongoing basis.

Prior to joining Virtus in December of 2021, Brad was a member of the private equity team at Lockton for several years focused on producing property and casualty due diligence reports. Thereafter, he switched roles to become a Client Advocate for one of the top performing producers in the private equity realm at the firm. Brad facilitated all new deals while overseeing all scopes of work and helped maintain relationships for the current book of business.

Brad attended Rockhurst University where he received his undergraduate degree in Accounting as well as his MBA.

Jonathan Saltzman

Managing Partner

Torque Capital Group

Jonathan Saltzman is the Managing Partner of Torque Capital Group.  At Torque, Mr. Saltzman takes a lead role in the sourcing, structuring, and financing of investments and the management, strategy, and growth of its portfolio companies, all in niche manufacturing in and around automotive and transportation related markets.  Together with the firm’s investment team and operating partners, Mr. Saltzman takes a hands-on, operational approach to building value in Torque’s portfolio companies.

Before co-founding Torque, Mr. Saltzman was a senior investment professional focused on manufacturing investments at The Cypress Group, a New York-based private equity firm. 

Prior to The Cypress Group, Mr. Saltzman sourced and led transactions at BG Strategic Advisors, a boutique investment bank focused on the supply chain sector, leveraging the supply chain and operations experience and network he developed while working as the corporate finance manager of the Amsterdam-based transportation, logistics, and shipping multinational TNT NV (“TNT”).

Before TNT, Mr. Saltzman worked in the financial institutions group in Salomon Brothers’ investment bank, where he advised on a broad array of capital markets and M&A transactions for banks, specialty lenders, asset managers, and insurers.  Mr. Saltzman began his career as a public auditor in Ernst & Young’s financial services group.

Mr. Saltzman is currently a director of Cablecraft Motion Controls (transportation related actuation devices), Netform (automotive powertrain components), Maval Industries (automotive steering remanufacturing), Spektrum (automotive braking products), and XLD (automotive braking components) and was a director of various Torque and Cypress Group portfolio companies, including in the aerospace, building products, and logistics sectors.  

Mr. Saltzman is a CPA and earned an MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA and a BBA with highest distinction from Emory University.  Mr. Saltzman is active in a variety of industry organizations as well as local charitable organizations in Fairfield County, Connecticut where he resides with his wife and three children and enjoys tennis, mountain biking and travel.

Timothy Laczkowski

Partner

Altacrest Capital

Tim founded Altacrest Capital to focus on investing and growing lower middle market companies in branded consumer products.  At Altacrest, he is responsible for deal origination, operations and fund-raising activities. Prior to Altacrest, Tim spent 15 years at Prudential Private Capital, the private investment arm of Prudential Financial, investing private debt and equity across various industries.  Prior to Prudential, Tim was a management consultant for PwC. He began his career in the audit practice of EY.

Tim holds a BSBA in Accounting and an MBA in Finance both from Washington University in St. Louis.

Tim has been married for over 20 years and has three boys. In his spare time, Tim watches his son’s athletic events and enjoys playing golf and tennis. He is active in the community, including work with the Exchange Club of East Dallas and various Washington University alumni groups.

Jessica Kates

Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Rellevant Partners

Jessica co-founded Rellevant Partners with Janice Meyer in 2019. Jessica has a unique hybrid background that combines over 10 years of private equity experience with 8 years of C-level operating and management experience. Prior to co-founding Rellevant, Jessica was a Partner in TriSpan’s Rising Stars fund, a dedicated restaurant private equity fund. Earlier in her career, Jessica was the CEO of Eddie Borgo, a luxury accessories brand, and CFO of Folica, an online-consumer products retailer. Jessica began her private equity career at Catterton Partners, where she worked before business school. Jessica is from Montreal originally, and moved to New York in 2000 to work as an investment banking analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (later Credit Suisse First Boston).

Jessica holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a BCom with Great Distinction/Dean’s Honor List from McGill University. Jessica serves on the Board of the Harvard Business School Women’s Association of New York, and she is a past Board Member of Rosa Mexicano, Yardbird, and Stacked.

10:45 am - MORNING NETWORKING BREAK

Pick the sessions most relevant for you.

Session

TRACK A

11:15am - 12:00pm SYNDICATING VS A SINGLE CAPITAL PARTNER - PROS AND CONS

  • Discussing the goal of Independent Sponsor and the role they want to play
  • Board control and partnership 
  • Managing passive vs. active investors 
  • Efficiency, timing & risk - turning documents, managing investors etc. 

Kevin Christmas

Moderator

Partner

Holland & Knight

Kevin Christmas is a corporate partner in Holland & Knight's Charlotte office, where he focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, financing matters, search fund transactions and general corporate advisory work. Mr. Christmas leads Holland & Knight's Search Funds practice and has substantial experience representing domestic and international search funds in connection with capital raising, acquisition transactions and related matters. 

Mr. Christmas has more than 15 years of experience advising clients on the full life cycle of business issues, from company formation and capital raising to exit strategies. He serves a portfolio of clients across various industry sectors, including healthcare, life sciences, financial services, distribution, software, retail, manufacturing, and mining and minerals. Mr. Christmas' practice includes representation of private equity funds, family offices, search funds, independent sponsors, entrepreneurs, family-owned businesses, and public and private companies.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Christmas was a corporate partner at an international law firm based in Charlotte, N.C.

John Kim

Partner

New State Capital Partners

John co-founded New State Capital Partners in 2013. Prior to joining, John spent over 14 years in investment banking. Most recently, John was an Executive Director in the Financial Sponsors & Leveraged Finance Group at UBS Investment Bank, where he was responsible for originating and executing leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and refinancings as well as co-covering middle market private equity firms. Prior to UBS, John was at Credit Suisse First Boston (previously Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette) in the Private Placements Group, where he helped raise over $2 billion for growth companies in a variety of industries. John began his career at Deutsche Bank in the Commercial Real Estate Finance Group.

John graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.

Paul Shufro

Managing Director

Greyrock Capital Group

Paul has over thirteen years of leveraged finance and private equity investing experience.  A member of Greyrock’s investment committee, he joined the firm in 2015 and is responsible for sourcing and executing transactions as well as portfolio management.  Prior to joining Greyrock, Paul spent three years at Prostar Capital, an energy-focused private equity firm.  He began his career as a member of GE Capital’s Energy Finance Division.

Mark Tedford

Managing Director

Valley Ridge Investment Partners


Mark Tedford is Co-Founder and Managing Director at Valley Ridge Investment Partners, an independent sponsor private equity firm.  He is responsible for all phases of deal origination, due diligence, financing, closing and portfolio company performance management.   Mark has twenty-five years of experience developing and implementing strategic growth initiatives for lower middle market, mid-market and large (F500) corporations as an internal executive and external consultant.  Prior to founding Valley Ridge, Mark served in senior executive corporate strategy roles in large global financial services firms including Prudential, TIAA, Citibank and Fidelity Investments.  Prior to that, he led strategy engagements for The Boston Consulting Group for industrial products, telecommunications, data storage and retail apparel clients.  Prior to BCG, Mark led operations improvement engagements for lower middle market manufacturing clients at Coopers & Lybrand Consulting. Mark is a military veteran, having served two tours as a Naval officer, managing industrial operations for the Marine Corps on bases in Japan and Quantico, VA.  He has been a principal investor for years and has experience serving on and supporting corporate and non-profit boards of directors.  ​

Mark holds an MBA from The Fuqua School at Duke University where he was a Fuqua Fellow.  He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Industrial Management from Tufts University, while on a Navy R.O.T.C. scholarship at M.I.T.​

David Fang

Managing Director

Unity Hunt

Read Profile
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TRACK B

11:15am - 12:00pm INDEPENDENT SPONSORS TRANSITIONING TO RAISING FUNDS

  • Building a team with the necessary expertise before raising funds
  • Compliance with regulations and legal requirements, such as SEC registration and reporting obligations 
  • Learn about how to overcome challenges of raising funds such as increased administrative and regulatory burdens, higher costs, and balancing the interests of multiple limited partners

Peter Shelton

Moderator

Partner

Corporate & Securities Practice Group, Benesch Law

Peter focuses his practice on transactional and corporate work.

Peter has significant experience in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, as well as private debt and equity financings.  In addition, he counsels clients with respect to general contract drafting and negotiation matters, joint ventures, partnership agreements, shareholder agreements and other day-to-day corporate matters.

Christian MacCarron

Managing Director

Taubman Capital

Christian MacCarron is a Co-Founder/Managing Director at Taubman Capital Management (“TC”), a private equity investment firm for the Taubman family. 

Over the last 73 years, the Taubman family has built Taubman Centers into a leading global owner and operator of regional and super-regional malls (Taubman Centers was acquired by Simon Property Group in December 2020).  Through TC, the family is building an investment portfolio of world-class businesses led by exceptional management teams outside of its core real estate holdings.  The firm’s flexible, long-term capital base offers sellers closing certainty, while also providing management teams with the ability to focus on building larger, more valuable enterprises without time constraints or exit pressures.  TC focuses on making control/minority equity investments as generalists in companies with $1-15m EBITDA on a national basis (including independent sponsor transactions).

Since 2015, TC has led/invested in 25+ lower middle market platforms across industrial, SaaS/software, consumer, healthcare services and business services end markets.

Prior to co-founding TC, Christian MacCarron worked in private equity and private credit investing at Capitala Group, Windjammer Capital Investors and Platinum Equity.  Christian started his career at Merrill Lynch in their global investment banking group.

Christian graduated from UCLA with a BA in Economics and is a member of the UCLA Economics Department Board of Visitors.

Nathan Chandrasekaran

Partner

Columbia River Partners

Nathan has been in private equity/finance for over 15 years. Nathan holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) and a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Bowdoin College. 

Prior to starting CRP, Nathan spent over ten years at a NY-based middle market private equity firm with $2.0 billion of assets under management. Nathan was a board member of numerous companies, including Lift Brands, The Dwyer Group (now called Neighborly), DLT Solutions, and BQ Resorts. Earlier in his career, Nathan spent several years at Merrill Lynch in the media and telecom investment banking division, as a telecom strategy consultant at inCode Wireless (now a subsidiary of Ericsson) and started his career as a business analyst at Deloitte Consulting.

Mark Fornasiero

Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Clarendon Capital

Mark co-founded Clarendon in 1998. He has over 30 years’ experience as a principal investor, board member, C-level executive, and management consultant focused exclusively on the Transportation, Logistics and Distribution sectors. Mark proprietarily sourced seven Clarendon investments and has served as Chairman and a Director on the boards of several companies in the Transportation, Logistics and Distribution sectors.

In 1998, Mark conceived RoadLink (now RoadOne), an intermodal logistics consolidation vehicle, as Clarendon’s first investment and worked with his Clarendon partners to organize and co-found the company in 2000. Following RoadLink’s formation, he guided the investment as a RoadLink board member and shareholder representative and served as CFO/SVP Finance & Acquisitions, Secretary/Treasurer and Chief Strategy Officer. Following a sale to a leading private equity firm in 2006, Mark continued in senior finance, M&A and strategic development roles, helping grow RoadLink to over $400 million in revenue. Over the course of his decade of RoadLink involvement, Mark executed over 25 acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and debt/equity financings comprising over $350 million of transaction value.

Before launching Clarendon, Mark was a senior manager in the Transportation/Logistics Management Consulting Practice of A.T. Kearney, where he led engagements in strategic development, M&A and profit improvement for transportation and private equity clients. Prior to A.T. Kearney, Mark was part of the team that launched Princeton Transportation Group (later sold to Manhattan Associates), where he led engagements applying university research from Princeton and M.I.T. to improve the profitability of transportation clients.

Mark received an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar. He received a BS in Operations Research and BA in Economics from Cornell University where he graduated with highest honors. Mark serves on the national board of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, which empowers children of low-income communities across the U.S. to achieve a college education.



Mark Hauser

Founding Partner

Tamarix

Founded the Tamarix Group in 1993. Over 30 years experience in private equity, private credit, asset management and investment banking. Previously Senior Managing Director of OFS Capital Management, Global Head of Private Equity at Sandell Asset Management and Managing Director at FdG Associates. Served on numerous private and public boards of directors and philanthropic organizations. Member of the Economic Club of NY and YPO/WPO. Master of Laws from London School of Economics and Bachelor of Economics and Laws from Sydney University.

Joncarlo Mark

Founder & Managing Member

Upwelling Capital Group

Read Profile

12:00pm - TRACK A : MANAGING AND GROWING PORTFOLIO COMPANIES

  • Best practices for value creation and operational improvement
  • Strategies for navigating management and personnel challenges
  • How to prepare for an eventual exit
  • Methods for building and scaling the management team
  • Tips for effective communication with portfolio company management teams and board members
  • Best practices  for setting and measuring performance metrics

David Abner

Moderator

Partner

DMA Law

David M. Abner is a practicing attorney with over 20 years of experience representing Fortune 500 and emerging companies in mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions and business litigation matters. Mr. Abner is currently based in Los Angeles, California, and his practice focuses on helping clients manage risks associated with a variety of private equity transactions, as well as commercial and complex litigation matters. Mr. Abner has considerable experience dealing with matters involving ownership and valuation of shares in privately owned companies. As in-house counsel for Ashland Inc., Mr. Abner worked daily with business leaders to assess, manage and prevent a variety of legal risks that threatened the viability and profitability of products, services and customer relationships. His efforts produced results that included settling a $700M anti-trust class action lawsuit for less than $7M; assisting in closing the sale of the company’s joint venture interests in an oil and gas subsidiary; assessing and quantifying the liabilities associated with the acquisition of other businesses; and supervising Ashland’s responses to DOJ, FBI and EPA investigations. In addition, he has tried nearly a dozen cases in private practice, including cases involving breach of contract, products liability, fraud, and personal injury issues. Mr. Abner has been licensed to practice law in Texas since 1993, and in California since 2012. Mr. Abner obtained his Juris Doctorate from the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University in 1993, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina in 1990.

Raji Singh

President

Broadgate Capital LLC

Raji is the Founder & President of Broadgate Capital based in Dallas, TX.  Prior to Broadgate, Raji was the CEO & President of Impex, a private-label & branded manufacturer with offices and joint-venture factories throughout North America and Asia.  Raji is deeply involved in the global economy, and is experienced in all facets of management, including accounting & finance, marketing, manufacturing, negotiation, and strategy.  Raji earned his BA from Pepperdine University and is a graduate of the Owner, President Management Program (OPM) at the Harvard Business School.

Rob Bauer

Managing Partner

Bassett Creek Capital

Rob Bauer is the Founder and Managing Member of Bassett Creek Capital.  Bassett Creek makes equity investments in lower-middle market companies, typically at a critical inflection point in the business.  Bassett Creek has completed seven acquisitions since its founding in 2016.  

We are a private capital partner for business owners who want to harness the power of cultural connectivity and entrepreneurial grit to reach the next level of growth. We are a trusted partner, ally and advisor for management teams who are passionate about meaningful growth achieved through low-ego collaboration.

Franklin Foster

Founder

Essex Bay Capital

Franklin has led direct investments into private companies for the last 18 years, and has been in the finance industry for over 25 years. Prior to founding Essex Bay, Franklin was a Managing Director at Audax Private Equity, a leading middle market investment firm with over $9 billion of capital under management. At Audax, he led investments in the industrial, business services, healthcare and technology markets, among others, completing over 60 acquisitions. Representative investments include Aavid Thermalloy (sold to Boyd), Astrodyne TDI (sold to Tinicum), Gabriel Performance Products (sold to Huntsman), Northern Digital (sold to Roper) and Winchester Electronics (sold to Snow Phipps). In addition to leading investments for the bulk of his career at Audax, Franklin also was a member of the Business Development team, maintaining relationships with a variety of deal intermediaries.

Prior to Audax, Franklin was Interim CFO and VP of Corporate Development at Coast Crane Company, then an Audax portfolio company. Earlier, Franklin worked in investment banking in New York, London and Providence.

 

Azhar Quader

Managing Partner

Queens Court Capital

Azhar is a successful entrepreneur, operator and investor with over 20 years of experience investing and building businesses. Azhar has a track record of success in private equity and special situations investing and his experience spans the gamut from sourcing, transaction execution, value creation and exit. Prior to founding Queens Court, Azhar worked at firms such as Advent Capital, Perry Capital, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley. Throughout his career Azhar has been a successful private markets investor across a variety of industries. Azhar served as Chairman of the HairCuttery Family of Brands, VCG Holdings, and is currently the Chairman of Pet Resort Hospitality Group. Azhar was also part of the founding team of Convene, an Inc 500 real estate services business.

Azhar is a graduate of Columbia University where he received a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics as well as Columbia Business School where he received his M.B.A.

 

Christopher Sheeren

Partner

Longhouse Partners, LLC

​Chris has over 28 years of business experience in M&A, turnaround consulting, public accounting, and sales. He has worked with Huron Capital, Conway McKenzie, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Revlon. He has a B.A. in English and Speech Communications from the University of Nebraska, and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, and is a former CPA.

12:00pm - TRACK B : TALENT MANAGEMENT AND CHALLENGES IN A TIGHT LABOR MARKET

  • How to overcome challenges in talent management due to tight labor market, burnout, and talent retention
  • Overcoming difficulty in finding mid-level financial professionals such as controllers and accountants
  • Working with recruiters
  • Remote working: There are advantages.  As a leader, what tips can be shared?
  • DEI as a driver for hiring

Doug Lancey

Moderator

Director

Tamarix Capital Partners

Doug Lancey is a Director at Tamarix Capital Partners (TCP) where he focuses on deal origination, execution and portfolio management.  TCP is a lower middle market focused SBIC fund that provides debt and minority equity investments in support of growing U.S. businesses that generate between $3 - $15 million of EBITDA. TCP supports private equity firms, family offices, independent sponsors, owners and management teams with a variety of transaction types including recapitalizations, leverage buyouts, growth capital financings and acquisitions.

 

Doug has over 15 years of experience in commercial and investment banking, private credit, and private equity. Most recently he served as a Vice President in TD Bank’s middle market group focused on sponsor and direct lending. Prior to that he worked at Harvest Capital Credit, a lower middle market-focused Business Development Company (BDC) providing cash flow loans and minority equity investments to companies nationwide. He previously spent time working at Evolution Media Capital, an investment banking firm providing M&A advisory services to the professional sports, media, and entertainment industries. Earlier in his career Doug worked at Boston-based lower middle market focused credit funds HighPoint Capital (d/b/a Crescent Direct Lending) and NewStar Financial. He is a CFA Charterholder.

 

Jennifer Stewart

Managing Partner

JStar Holdings

Jennifer Stewart is Managing Partner of JSTAR Holdings, a private investment firm focused on combining capital, talent and insights to buy and build great middle market companies.
Jennifer has a two decade track record in private equity, including closing dozens of acquisitions and serving on nine boards, including public FGX International.
JSTAR’s platform investments have emanated from many transactional situations, including public to private, entrepreneur/family-owned purchase, carve-out from public company, and distressed. Portfolio company revenue size has ranged up to $350 million in diverse industries including consumer, industrial, healthcare and financial.
Jennifer previously served as CEO of The Mexmil Company and understands firsthand the rewards and challenges of leading operating companies.
Jennifer was also previously Managing Director at Berggruen Holdings and began her private equity career at Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, including being a fundraising team member for its inaugural $1.5B institutional private equity fund.
Jennifer earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS Chemical Engineering,
Magna Cum Laude and with Honors, from The Pennsylvania State University. She also currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Math, Engineering, And Science Academy, a Charter School in Brooklyn, NY.

Lenora Robinson

COO

IMB Partners

Lenora joined IMB in 2022 as the Chief Operating Officer, leading strategy, operations and community impact work for the firm and its portfolio companies. She brings 16 years of diverse experience from prior roles in operations, private equity, and investment banking.

Prior to joining IMB Partners, Lenora was the Chief Operating Officer at the DC Public Charter School Board (DC PCSB) for seven years. There, she managed DC PCSB’s internal operations, finance, talent, organizational development and culture, data/IT systems, and strategic initiatives. Mrs. Mills also served as the Chief Operating Officer at Harlem Village Academies, a network of five public charter schools in New York City, where she led all operations, including data and technology, facilities, budgeting, HR, legal / compliance, strategic planning, and organizational culture. Mrs. Mills began her career in investment banking, at UBS Investment Bank, and private equity, at ICV Partners, in New York.

Lenora has a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business/Finance from Howard University and her MBA and Master of Education from Stanford University. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for The Equity Lab and E. L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.

 

 

Megan Horvath

Partner

Steinbeck Investment Company

Megan Horvath has nearly 20 years of experience in private equity, investment banking, and consulting. Her responsibilities at Steinbeck Investment Company include investment thesis creation, deal sourcing, investment evaluation, due diligence, deal execution, financing and portfolio oversight.

​Megan previously was a Principal on the investment team at Resilience Capital Partners, which manages in excess of $600 million for a global base of institutional investors. Megan closed numerous deals in the capital equipment, aerospace, plastics, consumer goods, building products, minerals, business services and industrial manufacturing industries. Megan led the transaction of Diversified Global Graphics, the Industrials Deal of the Year at the M&A Advisor Annual Turnaround Awards in 2016. Megan served on several boards of directors of Resilience’s portfolio companies.

​Megan also was a Director of Business Development at INSIGHT2PROFIT, an analytics, technology, and strategic advisory firm focused on pricing and commercial excellence. Megan fostered relationships with private equity firms and their portfolio companies to identify value creation initiatives.

Megan began her career in corporate and investment banking at KeyBanc Capital Markets. 

Neel Bhargava

Founding Partner

NB Group Investors

Neel is an experienced investor, operator, and advisor. Prior to NB Group, he was a member of the investment team at Berkshire Partners, a corporate development manager at The New York Times, a co-founder of Foodpanda India, and a management consultant at Bain & Company. He is also the founder of NB Advisory, an advisory and consulting firm working with growth stage technology businesses on corporate development, strategy, and finance.

At Berkshire Partners, a leading growth-oriented private equity fund, Neel evaluated new investments in the tech/telecom and consumer/retail industries. He also worked closely with the executive teams of several portfolio companies including retailers Aritzia and Party City, where he was a Board Observer. At the New York Times, Neel evaluated investments in ad tech, business intelligence, and mobile. At Bain, Neel advised clients across industries and worked with several large private equity funds on strategic diligence.

Neel is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Harvard Business School.

12:30 pm - NETWORKING LUNCH

Designed to foster meaningful connections. Strike up a conversation with someone new, and make the most of this fantastic opportunity to expand your network and forge lasting connections.

 

12:45 pm - LUNCHEON WORKSHOP: Deal Flow Decoded: Unlocking Efficiency in Capital Raising and Deal Management (by invitation)

  • Strategic Insights: Gain a deep understanding of the strategic principles behind efficient deal management and successful capital raising.
  • Optimizing Processes: Discover proven strategies for streamlining deal management processes, from due diligence to finalization, resulting in improved efficiency and reduced turnaround times.
  • Building Investor Relationships: Explore how cultivating strong relationships with investors, partners, and stakeholders can lead to consistent and high-quality deal management.
  • Technology and Tools: Learn about the latest technological advancements and digital tools that can revolutionize deal management, enhance collaboration, and provide data-driven insights for better decision-making and deal closings.

Rodney Reisdorf

CEO & Co-Founder

Verivend

Rodney founded Verivend to change the status quo of investment transactions by building the
Venmo of Private Capital. Verivend is the market-leading fintech platform that eliminates the effort, pain, and friction for investment sponsors and their LPs during the entire lifecycle of the deal process.

Rodney is an experienced, results-driven leader of SaaS and enterprise software solutions and has served in senior-level roles focusing on technological innovation, client delivery, and operational strategies.
Prior to founding Verivend, Rodney served in leadership roles at several early-stage technology companies that transformed industries resulting in successful exits. Rodney has extensive expertise in architecting client service strategies from concept to completion, software platform and product development, operational process design, and building successful cross-functional
teams. 
Rodney received his MBA and undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

Andrew Hennessy

Managing Partner

Ilion Capital Partners

Andrew is passionate about B2B-focused small businesses and joined Ilion Capital Partners to provide hands-on support to companies through their next horizon of growth. 
Prior to Ilion, Andrew spent four years at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on growth and operational transformations for industrial clients. His broad functional experience includes pricing, marketing, sales performance management, service operations, and manufacturing.
Prior to McKinsey, Andrew worked in education as both a teacher and fundraiser with Teach For America in New York and Philadelphia. This non-profit experience laid the groundwork for a thoughtful and human-centered approach to business transformation and performance improvement. 
Andrew grew up in Alaska and Massachusetts and earned an MBA from the Tuck School of
Business at Dartmouth, a Master in Education from Hunter College, and a BA in History and International Relations from Tulane University. He now lives in New York with his wife and three kids and enjoys fishing, skiing, cooking, and spending time with his family.

Jonathan Slonim

Managing Partner

Ilion Capital Partners

Jonathan founded Ilion Capital Partners with the goal of providing capital and expertise to companies that need it. It takes an investor with strong operating capabilities to partner with companies in the lower middle market, and that is exactly what Jonathan brings.​
Prior to founding Ilion, Jonathan spent nearly seven years at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on finance, investing, and operational transformations. In addition to strategy and investment decision-making, he has experience leading Lean operating transformations, training sales teams to accelerate growth, and digitizing back-office processes.​
Jonathan grew up in Indiana and received his BA in Economics and History from Hillsdale
College in Michigan. He now lives in New York City with his wife and two young daughters, who are active members of their church. When not investing or supervising playground time, Jonathan likes to read fiction, philosophy, and biographies.

Meetings

1:30pm - 3:30pm BUSINESS BUILDING 1X1 NETWORKING MEETINGS

Sector-specific 1x1 networking meetings (10 meetings, 15 minutes each) between senior-level capital providers and independent sponsor executives. These meetings will be dedicated to developing partnerships unique to your business model and will provide you with the opportunity to meet exclusively with those independent sponsors or capital providers specializing in investments in the same sector and market as you are. We will provide you with a full list of participating capital providers and independent sponsors before the event - you will have the chance then to evaluate the potential for future business opportunities and make the most of your time. Join today to meet and network directly with leading industry professionals and decision-makers all under one roof such as Independent Sponsors (Fundless Sponsors), Private Equity Firms, Family Offices, Mezzanine Lenders, Hedge Funds, Institutional Investors, HNWIs (High Net Worth Individuals) and M&A Intermediaries/Advisors.

Register Today