Leadership Team Biographies
George R. Gay CFP, AIF is Chief Executive Officer of First Affirmative Financial Network and chairs the First Affirmative Investment Committee. George served on the board of directors of the Social Investment Forum for more than a dozen years, and has produced and hosted the annual SRI in the Rockies Conference since 1990. He was the recipient of the industry's 1997 "SRI Service Award."
George earned his Certified Financial Planner designation in June 1984 and completed a range of securities examinations covering the practice and supervision of securities business. He has held Series 24 (Registered Principal), 7 (Registered Representative), 65 (Uniform Investment Advisor), 53 (Municipal Bond Principal) and 63 (Uniform Securities Agent) licenses. He earned his AIF designation (Accredited Investment Fiduciary) in November 2003.
George joined the company that was to become First Affirmative Financial Network as a financial planner in November 1986. He assumed the position of Chief Operating Officer of First Affirmative in 1989 and managed the sale of the company to Walnut Street Securities, Inc., in 1995. George served as President of the First Affirmative division of Walnut Street Advisers and as Vice President of Walnut Street Advisers (May 1995-June 1999). He became CEO of the newly independent First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC on July 1, 1999.
Born in 1952 in Monroe, Michigan, Mr. Gay is a 1974 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point; he served on active duty for nine years in various command, staff and faculty assignments as an Armor officer. His final assignment on active duty, and then for three years as a civilian, was in the Resource Management Division, Directorate of Personnel and Community Activities at Fort Carson, Colorado. As division chief, George was responsible for the financial management of most business operations on the installation, ranging from the Golf Course and Bowling Center, to the Club Systems and Child Care operations. Upon his departure, he was awarded the Department of the Army "Commander's Award for Civilian Service."
Steven J. Schueth is President and Chief Marketing Officer of First Affirmative Financial Network. He served as a Director of the Social Investment Forum from 1992 to 2003, and as Chair and President of the organization from 1993 to 2002. He currently serves as a director of the Denver-based nonprofit Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado. He received the social investment industry's "SRI Service Award" in 1998, and has produced and hosted the annual SRI in the Rockies Conference since 1999.
Steve worked from 1989 to 1997 for Calvert where he specialized in promoting the concept and practice of socially responsible investing with the public and press. His efforts significantly enhanced Calvert's reputation as a leader in the field, while the firm's socially screened mutual fund assets more than tripled. He led a product development group that created the first global socially screened mutual fund in the U.S. and was directly involved in launching four other new Calvert funds designed for socially conscious investors. Steve managed Calvert's national sales organization from 1994 to 1997. As President of Calvert Distributors, Inc., he oversaw the company's relationships with over 2,000 broker-dealer firms and grew the assets of Calvert's 35 money market, bond, and equity mutual funds.
Born August 27, 1954 and raised in New Hampton, Iowa, his father owned a hardware store where Steve worked, meeting the needs of retail customers, from the age of ten. He graduated from Marquette University in 1976 with a BA degree in Journalism/Communications. He has held NASD Series 24 (Registered Principal), 7 (Registered Representative) and 63 (Uniform Securities Agent) licenses. Prior to his association with Calvert, he served for three years as a major gifts officer and Director of Development at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Kathleen J. Lewis is Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer, and Director of Operations for First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC. She has held Series 7 (Registered Representative) and 24 (Registered Principal) licenses.
Kathy joined First Affirmative Financial Network in 1990 as an administrative assistant. Combining administrative skills and knowledge of the business, she quickly assumed a much larger role and broader responsibilities, first as Operations Manager and then Assistant Branch Manager of the Walnut Street Securities, Inc. branch office. These duties included the conversion of client accounts to the First Affirmative division of Walnut Street Advisers, Inc. following the sale of First Affirmative. As Assistant Branch Manager, Kathy assumed a majority of the compliance supervision responsibilities for the First Affirmative field force while the company operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Walnut Street (1995-1999).
Born June 24, 1963 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, her father is a retired United Methodist Minister and her mother is a psychologist. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, specializing in Medieval Literature. Kathy was named Chief Compliance Officer in March 2004.
R. Kevin O'Keefe, CIMA, AIF is the Company's Chief Investment Officer, is a member of First Affirmative's Investment Committee, and is responsible for due diligence for all mutual funds and third-party managers used by First Affirmative. He has held Series 7 (Registered Representative), 63 (Uniform Securities Agent) and 65 (Uniform Investment Advisor) licenses and is a member of the Investment Management Consultants Association.
Kevin has been an investment advisory representative with First Affirmative since 1991. From 1996 to 1999 he was with Reber/Russell Company (concurrent with his First Affirmative responsibilities), a firm affiliated with Frank Russell Investment Management Company and highly regarded for its expertise in asset allocation, rigorous manager evaluation, and providing consulting services to some of the world's largest pools of investment capital. Kevin was responsible for serving several dozen clients whose aggregate assets exceeded $100 million.
Upon leaving Reber/Russell Company in early 1999, he expanded his role at First Affirmative. In collaboration with George Gay, he developed an approach to managing strategically allocated broadly diversified portfolios of mutual funds for socially conscious investors based on the investment management principles used by Russell.
Kevin was born May 7, 1952 in Chicago Illinois. He graduated from Chicago's Loyola University in 1974 with a degree in psychology and went on to complete his master's degree in counseling psychology at Loyola in 1976. He worked for EF Hutton, specializing in retirement planning, throughout the 1980s. He earned his AIF (Accredited Investment Fiduciary) designation in November 2003.
Danielle M. Burns, MBA, AIF is the Vice President of Advisor Relations serving as the primary contact for existing and prospective network advisors. Danielle joined First Affirmative in 2004 and currently manages the Network Member Services program and the GreenVestment Resource Center. Danielle is responsible for assisting affiliated and new advisors in understanding and maximizing the value of working with First Affirmative, providing advisor transition and training support as well as business development initiatives nationwide. Additionally, Danielle coordinates and plans the BaseCamp SRI series of regional meetings for financial professionals.
Previously, Danielle worked as a key member of a premier community bank, Old Harbor Bank, in Clearwater, Florida where she provided marketing, sales and service support. Danielle gained the majority of her investment industry experience with Wachovia Corporation from 1994-2003, where she worked for both Wachovia Bank and Wachovia Securities performing a variety of management duties. Her background emphasizes technology training and development for financial advisers and administrative associates, as well as licensing and compensation.
In addition to her professional duties, Danielle worked with her mother to develop a non-profit youth services organization called Think Big Productions, Inc., located in Clearwater, Florida. The primary mission of Think Big is to develop and channel young artistic talent in the community. Danielle provided motivational support and ongoing training to help young adults hone their craft.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Danielle has a passion for the culinary arts. She has an undergraduate degree in Business and a MBA with an emphasis in Marketing. She and her husband, and their son live in Aurora, Colorado.
Julie McNamara is the Vice President of Account Services. Julie joined First Affirmative in 1993 as a Sales Assistant and quickly moved on to lead the Client Services team in managing performance reporting, reconciliation of accounts, and billing. Recently added to those duties are managing the processing of new accounts, transfers, and cashiering. Before working at First Affirmative, Julie worked for 12 years in Milwaukee, WI at area brokerage firms, including Blunt Ellis & Loewi, Brokerage Clearance Services and Kemper Clearing Corp. Her positions there included Supervisor of the IRA Department and Manager of the Mutual Fund/UIT Department.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Julie has lived in Colorado since May of 1992. Julie spends her free time walking her dogs and hiking in the mountains with her husband Christopher.
Debbie S. Gaffney is Controller for First Affirmative Financial Network and is responsible for financial and accounting aspects of the organization. From 2003 to 2011 Debbie was Chief Financial Officer for The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County where she designed and managed the Foundation's financial and accounting functions. During her tenure, the Foundation's assets under management tripled. Debbie worked with donors, investment managers, community leaders and non-profits. The Community Foundation's mission is to promote philanthropy and improve the quality of life in Boulder County. Debbie brings that passion for the community to First Affirmative Financial Network.
In 2007, Debbie was instrumental in establishing the structure for the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado. This program provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs with start-up companies to contribute to the long term health and sustainability of Colorado. Debbie also volunteers with numerous other non-profit organizations.
Born in Rockford, Illinois, Debbie graduated from University of Colorado in 1983 with a B.S. in marketing with an emphasis in accounting and has held a Series 7 (Registered Representative) license. Debbie lives in Boulder where she spends her free time with her husband and three children.
Betsy M. Markus is the Vice President of Business Development for First Affirmative Financial Network. She is responsible for building First Affirmative's third-party platform business, as well as servicing select high net worth and institutional clients.
She has fifteen years of investment industry experience and was most recently the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of TAMRO Capital Partners LLC. Having joined TAMRO in 2004 when the firm managed $200 million, Betsy participated in all aspects of the firm's growth to $2 billion. While at TAMRO, the business grew to include five mutual funds, a collective investment trust fund (CIT), institutional accounts, and separate accounts for high net worth clients, as well as separately managed wrap accounts and UMA programs where TAMRO is an asset manager. Prior to TAMRO, she was a Senior Portfolio Administrator for Harbor Capital Management in Boston.
Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Betsy earned a B.S. from the University of Oregon's Charles H. Lundquist College of Business. She received her MBA from The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia through the MBA for Executives program, working full-time while completing the two-year advanced degree. She is a member of Darden's Alumni Board of Directors.
Mel Miller, CFA is Chief Economist of First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC and serves as an adjunct member of the First Affirmative Investment Committee. Prior to joining First Affirmative in August of 2012 Mr. Miller was the Chief Investment Officer for Heartland Financial USA, Inc. where he had been employed for 28 years. He began his career at Heartland in 1984 as the Chief Investment Officer for Dubuque Bank & Trust, a Heartland Financial USA subsidiary. Shortly thereafter, he initiated the establishment of social responsibility investment services within the Trust Department. In 2004, Mr. Miller assumed the role of Chief Investment Officer for the parent company where, for the next eight years, he was responsible for the investment portfolios of the holding company and all nine member banks. He was also responsible for asset/liability management of the organization which included risk modeling and derivative strategy.
Prior to joining Heartland, Mr. Miller was a professor and chair of the department of Accounting and Business at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa where he taught full-time for twelve years. He also served as adjunct professor in the MBA programs at both the University of Dubuque and Clarke University. Born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Mr. Miller earned his undergraduate business degree from Indiana University and his MBA from Ball State University. He earned his CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) credentials in 1988. He is also a certified FINRA arbitrator, and has an attorney consulting practice where he has served as an "expert witness" in over 200 cases in the areas of estate valuations in wrongful deaths, injury, and retirement valuations. He and his wife live in East Dubuque, Illinois. They have two grown children.
Mr. Miller has been providing the Economic and Market Forecast for The SRI Conference since 1991. First Affirmative produces The SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing-the premier gathering of the responsible investment industry in North America. The 24th annual SRI Conference will be October 28-30, 2013 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
CFP® is a certification mark owned by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. This mark is awarded to individuals who successfully complete the CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements. AIF® Designation marks owned by the Center for Fiduciary Studies (Center). These marks are awarded to individuals who successfully complete the Center's initial and ongoing accreditation requirements.