Leadership Team

Consistent with our mission and vision, our leadership team reflects diversity, longevity, future-oriented thinking, investment acumen, and a commitment to helping advisors, institutions, and individuals invest for both purpose and profit.

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George R. Gay CFP®, AIF®

Chief Executive Officer

With First Affirmative since: 1986

George R. Gay CFP, AIF is chief executive officer of First Affirmative Financial Network and a member of the firm's investment committee.

Mr. Gay grew up on a family farm near what was then a heavily polluted Lake Erie. He recalls being admonished to “keep his head out of the water” when swimming to avoid getting sick. He credits that lasting memory as one of his inspirations for embarking on a career in SRI.

After graduating from West Point, and after handling the financial management of the “city part” of an army base for six years, he earned his Certified Financial Planner designation. Here his lifelong interest in environmental protection intersected with his passion for investing, and he became the portfolio manager of an environmentally-focused mutual fund in the early 1990s.

He has produced and hosted The SRI Conference since 1990, and has served on the board of directors of the Social Investment Forum for more than a dozen years. He was also the recipient of the industry's 1997 "SRI Service Award."

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.

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Amy Thacker

Chief Operating Officer

With First Affirmative since: 2018

Amy Thacker is the chief operating officer for First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC. Sustainable, responsible, and impact investing connects two areas Ms. Thacker is passionate about: helping investors — regardless of economic status—achieve their retirement goals, and creating clean, sustainable, living conditions for all.

Prior to joining First Affirmative, Ms. Thacker was most recently a vice president with T. Rowe Price’s retirement plan services division where she was responsible for directing a successful strategic project team focused on transforming the division’s business model, recordkeeping platform, and ancillary applications.

Ms. Thacker holds the FINRA Series 7, 6 and 63 licenses, and is a certified Six Sigma yellow belt. She earned her master’s degree in organizational leadership from Regis University, and a B.S. in nutrition from the University of Northern Colorado.

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Kathleen J. Lewis

Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer

With First Affirmative since: 1990

Kathleen Lewis is the chief compliance officer for First Affirmative Financial Network. She has compliance supervision responsibilities for the First Affirmative field force, and for marketing and sales communications. She was named chief compliance officer in 2004 after successful tenures in a number of administrative and operations roles within the firm.

Ms. Lewis is passionate about social justice issues such as civil rights, gender equality, and non-discrimination. She is also a dedicated animal advocate and votes for cruelty-free initiatives.

Ms. Lewis holds her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Colorado. She has held Series 7 (Registered Representative) and 24 (Registered Principal) licenses.

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Theresa Gusman, FSA

Chief Investment Officer

With First Affirmative since: 2018

Theresa Gusman is chief investment officer of First Affirmative Financial Network and chair of the firm’s investment committee. Ms. Gusman is passionate about enabling the firm’s clients to achieve their dreams by reaching both their financial and impact objectives.

Prior to joining First Affirmative, she founded ENDURANCE LLC to build and enhance the power of capital markets to accelerate the flow of money and ideas to investments for both purpose and profit. Before this, Ms. Gusman held a series of leadership positions at Deutsche Bank including senior portfolio manager, global head of equities, head of U.S. equity research, and global head of commodities. For more than 17 years, she led Deutsche Bank’s global proxy voting committee, where she set the firm’s corporate assessment and engagement strategy.

Ms. Gusman is also the co-founder of the RelateID Foundation, has taught an MBA course on sustainable finance, and served on the SIFMA Securities Industry Institute board, the Financial Women's Association’s directorships and corporate governance committee, and Après Group’s advisory board.

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Danielle M. Burns, AIF®

VP, Sales and Marketing

With First Affirmative since: 2004

Danielle M. Burns is vice president of sales and marketing for First Affirmative Financial Network. In this role, she works with a highly collaborative team that is responsible for the growth and profitability of the firm’s distribution channels.

Ms. Burns is an advocate for advancing women in leadership, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. In addition to her role at First Affirmative, Ms. Burns serves on the board of Green America, a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to harness economic power to create a just and environmentally sustainable society. She is also the co-founder of Think Big Productions, Inc., a non-profit youth services organization that works to develop and channel young artistic talent in underserved communities.

Ms. Burns holds an MBA with an emphasis in marketing.

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Julie McNamara

Senior Vice President, Advisor and Client Services

With First Affirmative since: 1993

Julie McNamara  leads the firm’s advisor and client services team in managing new accounts, cashiering, performance reporting, and salesforce admin. Before joining First Affirmative, she was with several Milwaukee-area brokerage firms, including Blunt Ellis & Loewi, Brokerage Clearance Services, and Kemper Clearing Corp. Her positions there included IRA department supervisor and manager of the mutual fund/UIT department.

Ms. McNamara is committed to the environment; she commutes on her electric bike and uses it wherever and whenever possible. She is also passionate about animal welfare; she has two rescue dogs and supports several animal rescue organizations.

She has held the Series 7 (Registered Representative) license.

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Mel Miller, CFA

Chief Economist

With First Affirmative since: 2012

Mel Miller, CFA is chief economist of First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC and a member of the firm’s investment committee. Prior to joining First Affirmative, Mr. Miller was the chief investment officer for Heartland Financial USA, Inc. During his tenure there he initiated the establishment of social responsible investment services within the bank’s trust department.

Prior to his tenure at Heartland, Mr. Miller was a professor and chair of the department of accounting and business at Loras College. He also served as adjunct professor in the MBA programs at both the University of Dubuque and Clarke University.

Mr. Miller has played a key role in The SRI Conference since 1991, providing economic commentary and outlook at this annual event. He is proud to be a member of a firm that is a leader in the field, and he’s particularly passionate about impact investing.

He earned his undergraduate business degree from Indiana University and his MBA from Ball State University. He earned his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credentials in 1988. He is also a certified FINRA arbitrator.