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Adriana Kassel-Hoffman

Adriana Kassel-Hoffman

Adriana Kassel-Hoffman

Director

Adriana contributes to Steward’s investment process, primarily during sourcing and diligence. 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. Adriana is experienced at building businesses by supporting the potential of founders’ cross-functional leadership and client-centered approach.

Previous positions include operating roles at J.P. Morgan’s Global Wealth Management and TealMD, where she helped found a healthcare industry start up. Her professional background is enriched with executive roles that addressed the challenges of entrepreneurship, organizational development and growth strategies.

Adriana is an SEO scholar.  In addition to her role at Steward, she volunteers actively at the Jewish Federation of North America, Global Safety Net Committee and Nexus Global.  She holds a BBA from Emory University, an MS in Real Estate Development from Columbia University and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.

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Amir Rafizadeh

Amir Rafizadeh

Amir Rafizadeh

Operating Partner

Amir provides value-added support to portfolio investments as they leverage their outreach efforts and build strong relationships across the industry.  Additionally, Amir advises the Steward team across key initiatives. Since 1986, he has built successful strategic partnerships and a large network of like-minded family offices by helping them to expand both their private businesses as well as their collaboration globally with other successful family business founders.

Amir is the founder of 678 Partners, an advisory network and community of over 600 family offices and institutional allocators. His sales and business consulting accelerates growth, product fit and customer acquisition strategies for privately held companies.  He has held prior roles at GlaxoSmithkline and Morgan Stanley, and has additionally consulted to TriState Capital Bank and Charles Schwab Institutional.  In addition to his role at Steward, he is an advisor to notable firms such as Shearman & Sterling, Lw3 and Sutton Capital.

Amir is an active volunteer to several nonprofits including The Boys and Girls Club, Alzheimer’s Association, Athletes Against Drugs, Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, Charity Water and Future Founders.  Amir earned a BSc in computer science from University College London and an MBA in international business from the University of Bristol.

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Chris Hayes

Christ Hayes

Chris Hayes

Advisory Board Member

Chris advises the Steward team across key initiatives as well as areas opportune for deployment of the firm’s strategy. Chris is an influential force in the private equity industry, most notably having led the Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA)’s efforts on regulatory policy and fund terms, including spearheading the project to create the ILPA Model LPA, and building a network of LP legal professionals.

Chris is the President of RedLine Policy Strategies, a DC-based global regulatory advisory firm helping GPs and LPs navigate global growth and policy changes. He also serves as an Advisor to Aumni, an investment legal analytics platform for private capital markets investors.

His legal career spans the intersection of financial regulation, digital assets and private funds. At the Small Business Investor Alliance (SBIA), a trade association representing U.S. lower middle market private equity GPs, SBICs, and BDCs, Chris served as General Counsel and co-led government affairs. Previously, as Regulatory Counsel at the Financial Services Institute he represented broker-dealers and retail investment advisers. While at FINRA he led insider trading investigations and market surveillance for U.S. stock exchanges. In 2009, Chris also served as a legal fellow on the Senate Banking Committee during the writing of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation.

Chris holds a Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law, and a B.A. in political science and legal studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is a member of the Law Alumni Board of the University of San Diego and is admitted to practice law in California and the District of Columbia.

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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. 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. While at Goldman, Melanie represented the firm at various trade associations and worked on a number of Goldman’s pre-IPO business initiatives.

Melanie speaks and moderates panels on diversity of perspective, risk management and entrepreneurship. In 2017, she 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. 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 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 institutional investor community. He has been a senior executive for the past 40 years in investment banking, asset management and alternative investments. In addition to his role at Steward, Steve is one of the founding Partners of WHATiF88, LLC, a group of Wharton MBA classmates advising on social and economic impact. As well, Steve works at Klitzberg Associates and Klitzberg Fund Solutions which focuses on raising capital for alternative investment strategies and creating mutual fund sub-advisory relationships.  Steve also serves as a Venture Partner of Beta Ventures, an early stage VC investing in Africa’s leading technology entrepreneurs.

Previously, Steve has worked in investment banking at Nomura Securities, Merrill Lynch and UBS.  Additionally, he had leadership positions internationally with Eaton Vance, Keystone Investments and Prudential Financial.

Steve graduated with Honors from Brown University and received his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a certificate in Japanese studies at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan and speaks Japanese.

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Vera Joffe Shapiro

Vera Joffe Shapiro

Operating Partner

Vera provides value-added support to portfolio investments 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

Investment Committee, Strategy Execution, Operating Partner, Decagon Advisors

Wayne brings both investing and management expertise to the Steward investment process particularly during the review and assessment of private equity funds and co-investment opportunities focused on middle market buyout, growth equity and venture capital strategies. As an Operating Partner, he primarily engages after the initial transaction to help portfolio investments execute with speed and agility.

Previous roles include 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. He also served on the boards of LeftHand Networks and CyOptics, among others. In addition to his role with the Steward team, he is the founder of Pelap Group and Venture Advisor to CloudScale Capital Partners.

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