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Melanie Santos Grant

Melanie Santos Grant

Melanie Santos Grant

Advisory Board Member

Melanie advises the Steward team across key initiatives as well as areas opportune for deployment of the firm’s strategy. Melanie speaks and moderates panels on diversity of perspective, risk management and entrepreneurship. In 2017, Melanie spoke at the Women’s Health Conference in Camden County and moderated a Diversity in the Boardroom panel for the Philadelphia chapter of the NACD. She is the Founder of 2ndGenPartners, a private equity independent sponsor focused on propelling sustainable growth in the agribusiness distribution, healthcare, education and health and wellness product sectors. Melanie is responsible for originating and evaluating investment opportunities as well as structuring and negotiating transactions.

Prior to 2ndGenPartners Melanie led the transaction teams for SK Capital Partners’ global carve-out acquisition that formed Archroma, a Swiss-based global specialty chemical manufacturer serving the branded consumer, textiles and sealants market. She also served as Chief Transformation Officer for Bain Capital owned Burlington Coat Factory as the previously family-owned retail business experienced strong growth that led to the IPO in 2013. Before that she served as Assistant General Counsel at ARAMARK, a global food services business and prior to that practiced corporate law at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Philadelphia advising mergers & acquisitions, venture capital fundings, private equity recapitalizations, Chapter 11 & 13 reorganizations and public capital raising. Melanie started her career at Goldman Sachs in New York in fixed income. While at Goldman, Melanie represented the firm at various trade associations and worked on a number of Goldman’s pre-IPO business initiatives.

Melanie serves as Trustee of the Virtua Health Foundation, South Jersey’s largest healthcare provider. She also currently serves on the Advisory Board of School Improvement Partnership, a data and research provider to municipal bond investors in charter schools, having recently served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. She was featured in Deloitte’s 2009 Women on Boards publication, having served as an advisor to many public and private corporate boards as well as serving as Governance Chair and as Secretary of the Executive Committee for the Board of the YMCA, Burlington & Camden Counties.

Melanie graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers College where she was President of the student body and earned her JD from the University of Virginia, School of Law.

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Brad Heinrichs

Brad Heinrichs

Brad Heinrichs

Advisory Board Member

Brad advises the Steward team across key initiatives as well as areas opportune for deployment of the firm’s strategy. Brad is President and CEO of Foster & Foster and has served actuarial clients there since 2005 while expanding and diversifying the business.

Foster & Foster’s initial client base began within the Florida public pension fund community, subsequently growing into an independent US national actuarial consulting business with offices from coast to coast providing consulting and actuarial services to over 1,000 clients representing over 1,000,000 participants. Since 2010, Foster & Foster has made many successful acquisitions including R.N. Blomquist & Company in Illinois, SJ Actuarial in Louisiana, Marsh Consulting Group in California and most recently Beyer Barber Company in Pennsylvania and Rodwan Company in Michigan. Brad began his career as an Actuary at AON, formerly Hewitt Associates.

Brad serves as a key resource for lawmakers regarding proposed bills that impact state and municipal pension plans and is a frequent speaker at retirement conferences across the country.

Brad is a member of the board of directors of Cogent Bank. He has a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Iowa and is a member of the Society of Actuaries. He is also a community contributor on the financial allocations team and leader of the United Way’s efforts in Lee County, Florida.

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Milton Irvin

Milton Irvin

Milton Irvin

Advisory Board Member

Milton advises the Steward team across key initiatives as well as areas opportune for deployment of the firm’s strategy. Milton retired in 2012 and currently serves as Chair of the Advisory Board for Castle Oak Securities, L.P. and as a Trustee/Director for the Liberty All Star Funds. Previously he was non-executive chairman at Nextier Companies, LLC, Managing Director at UBS Investment Bank, where he was also the America’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion, President and COO at Blaylock & Partners, L.P., Managing Director at Salomon Brothers, Inc. and Corporate Lending Officer at Chase Manhattan Bank.

Milton currently chairs the board for The Lead Program, a cross-sector collaborative focusing on developing high potential youth of diverse backgrounds. Previously he served on the Wharton Graduate and Undergraduate Advisory Boards, South Carolina State University Board and the Board of the Harlem School of the Arts. In 2012 President Obama appointed Milton to be a member of his Board of Advisors on HBCUs. In 1994 President Clinton appointed Mr. Irvin to the Advisory Committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for which he served as Chairman from 1995 to1997.

Milton earned his B.A. from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Alhadi Alwazir

Alhadi Alwazir

Alhadi Alwazir

Advisory Board Member

Alhadi advises the Steward team across key business initiatives and areas opportune for deployment of the firm’s strategy. He has been a strong source of emerging firms for the Steward pipeline. Currently, he is a Partner at Bio-nAbler, a life-science investment and advisory firm. He has spent the last twenty years focused on alternative investments in private equity with a focus on life sciences, infrastructure and real estate.

Alhadi is a member of the board of directors of Celon Laboratories Limited, an oncology and critical care drug manufacturer that focuses on novel drug delivery systems and is an advisor to the Board of Directors of Mango Sciences, a big data, advanced computational data platform that enables novel drug companies to access a larger pool of patients by providing outcomes-based costing solutions for life-saving therapeutics.

Prior to Bio-nAbler, Alhadi was a Partner in Eastgate Capital Group’s private equity and real estate practice, where he led initiatives in healthcare, infrastructure and real estate. Prior to the formation of Eastgate, Alhadi worked at NCB’s Capital Markets Group, where he was responsible for reviewing, negotiating and structuring select private equity investments. Before joining NCB, Alhadi was SVP and Director at Iron Gate Partners, a private investment group with offices in Washington and London, where he managed investments in private equity, fixed income securities, structured credit products and real estate.  Previously, Alhadi was a Financial Engineer at Société Générale with the Derivative and Financial Products Group in New York City. He began his career at STX Hughes working on the Solar Maximum Mission Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre.

Alhadi holds a B.Sc. degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business.

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Steve Marks

Steve Marks

Steve Marks

Advisory Board Member

Steve advises the Steward team on key business initiatives and current governance priorities across the global pension community. He is a founding Partner of WhatiF88, a group consisting of experienced Wharton alumni with a focus on social impact, corporate governance, due diligence and advisory services. He has been engaged in financial services for more than 30 years in management positions with leading investment banks and asset managers. He is active in social impact initiatives focused on sustainable economic development in urban communities undergoing transition.

Since 2003 he has been a Managing Director of Klitzberg Associates, Inc. and Klitzberg Fund Solutions, LLC. Previously Steve was Managing Director – Head of Global Market Development at Prudential Financial, Managing Director at Eaton Vance Corp., Vice President at Keystone Investments, Inc., First Vice President at UBS Paine Webber, Inc. and Assistant Vice President at Merrill Lynch & Co. Before business school, he worked as an Associate at Nomura Securities International, Inc. in New York and Tokyo.

Steve studied in Japan at Kansai Gaidai University. He received his B.A. with honors from Brown University and his M.B.A. in international finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee.

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Vera Joffe Shapiro

Vera Joffe Shapiro, CAIA

Advisor/Operating Partner, Marketing Strategy
Decagon Advisors

Vera provides value-added support to anchored teams as they leverage their outreach efforts and build a strong brand with a long-term view. As an Operating Partner, she supports teams as they build a dynamic communications program and a disciplined process. Since 2009, she has helped Decagon’s clients achieve tangible asset growth by enhancing their ability to build strong partnerships with investors through valuable information flow.

Previously she had a long tenure as a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank, formerly Bankers Trust, in marketing communications and product management during a period of rapid expansion of the private fund strategies platform. She led teams that supported hundreds of private fund vehicles with a global reach in multiple currencies. She began her career at Irving Bank Corporation as a Marketing Specialist in the Consumer Banking Group.

She graduated Cum Laude from Harvard University with an A.B. in Economics and holds an M.B.A. from New York University, where she was the valedictorian.

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Wayne Nemeth

Wayne Nemeth

Advisor/Operating Partner, Strategy Execution, Decagon Advisors

Wayne brings both investing and management expertise to the Steward investment process particularly during the review and assessment of small buyout and growth equity strategies. As an Operating Partner he is engaged post the initial transaction to help anchored firms execute with speed and agility particularly during the first iteration of the strategy on the newly anchored platform.

Previous roles include Founder, Pelap Group, a provider of interim C-level management, Partner at Credit Suisse’s Sprout Group, a late-stage venture capital platform, Senior Associate at Booz Allen and Engineering Supervisor and Aerodynamicist at The Boeing Company. He has led numerous investment transactions and has served as Chairman of the Board of DynamicOps, Internet Photonics and Optical Solutions and served on the boards of Konnect2, LeftHand Networks, FaceTime/Actiance, Scalent Systems, and CyOptics among others.

In addition to his role with the Steward team, he is the Founder of Pelap Group, a provider of interim C-level management and the Chief Executive Officer of Smart Retail Systems, a digitally-enabled technology solution for supply chain management. He also serves as a Venture Advisor to CloudScale Capital Partners.

He holds a B.Sc. in Engineering and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, both from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Christine Kwak

Christine Kwak

Advisor/Operating Partner, Strategy Execution, Decagon Advisors

Christine provides expertise to the Steward investment process particularly during the review of private credit, real asset and real estate-related strategies. As an Operating Partner she engages with anchored firms once the initial investment is closed and assists them in executing on their business plan with speed and agility, particularly during the first iteration of the strategy on the anchored platform.

Previously, Christine served as a Managing Director at the Shorenstein Company investing in Class A office properties and as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in New York in the Real Estate Investment Banking Group, specializing in loan originations and CMBS securitizations. Prior to that, she was an Associate at Boston Financial and a Senior Consultant with E&Y Kenneth Leventhal Real Estate Group, both based in New York. Her roles included sourcing, underwriting and executing across credit and direct real estate investments in a range of asset product types. She has led teams on due diligence and has deployed more than $4.0 billion of acquisition and disposition transactions and $2 billion of financings.

In addition to her role at Steward, she invests in partnership with Dr. Peter Linneman, retired Chairman of the Real Estate Department and Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Her roles on these platforms include President of KL Realty (KLR) and American Opportunity Zone Advisors (AOZA), and Senior Advisor to American Land Funds I and II (ALF), primarily focused on residential and industrial assets.

She holds a B.A. in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and is also a member of the Urban Land Institute.

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Christine Egan

Christine Egan

Advisor/Operating Partner, Strategy Execution, Decagon Advisors

Christine coordinates the ongoing value-add engagement with anchored firms via the Mentor-Anchor Program in Fund I, Fund II and beyond. As an Operating Partner, she supports the path to successful partnership engagement so that anchored firms reach their full potential as the next generation of alternative asset management leaders.

Previous roles include a senior role at Maritime Capital, where she was responsible for new partnerships and products. Prior to that, as a Partner at Kaufman Rossin Fund Services, she focused on business development with an eye toward the negotiation and onboarding of newly forming funds across the full breadth of private market strategies. She held business development and operating roles at HSBC, Morgan Stanley, and Wellington Management while starting her career at Coopers & Lybrand.

In addition to her role with the Steward team, she is currently Senior Vice President of Client Administration at Mittleman Brothers Investment Management.

She holds a B.A. in Accounting from Simmons College. Additionally, she is a Director of the Safe Center Long Island which focuses on assisting and sheltering victims of family violence.

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Erin Shippee, CAIA

Erin Shippee, CAIA

Chief Operating Officer

Erin leads the firm’s operations, accounting, reporting and execution. She works to maintain a sound control environment on the basis of strong fiduciary practices.

Most recently, she was a Managing Director in the Alternative Assets Group at RBC Capital Markets where she was responsible for the Counterparty Services Group. She also served on the U.S. Diversity Leadership Council at Royal Bank of Canada. During her long tenure at RBC, she was responsible for managing counterparty relationships and structuring complex transactions.

She received a B.A. from Boston College and holds the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation.