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Team Bio

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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Team Bio

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.

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Team Bio

David Reiss

David Reiss

Principal, Manager Diligence & Execution

David manages transactions through due diligence and execution. He initiates the diligence process with a deep review of the team’s history, firm formation, portfolio management process, and track record. He brings broad knowledge of the capital markets with deep expertise in credit and opportunistic strategies.

Prior to joining Steward, David was Principal, Credit-Distressed investing at Brookville Advisory. Previously, he was a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at Morgan Stanley following their acquisition of Brookville Capital Management, an opportunistic credit manager which he co-founded. Previously, he was a Managing Director of Bankers Trust Company, with responsibility for both credit and equity portfolios; during his tenure, he was awarded a 5-star rating by Morningstar.  Earlier roles include Portfolio Manager at Kidder Peabody, Associate in the mortgage-backed securities division of Goldman Sachs, and Analyst at Salomon Brothers.

He holds a B.A. in Mathematics and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, both from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to Steward, he is also an auxiliary professor of finance at Molloy College and is an avid athlete having completed more than forty triathlons including “Escape from Alcatraz.”

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Team Bio

Sheryl Mejia

Sheryl Mejía, CFA, CPA CA

Managing Partner, Investment Committee Chair

Sheryl leads sourcing, diligence, execution, and monitoring of anchor investments targeting newly forming private equity and opportunistic strategies. She maintains a focus on strategies of growing interest to Institutional Limited Partners, ultimately seeking to steward the next generation of alternative asset management leaders.

Most recently, she was the Director of Emerging Managers at the New York State Common Retirement Fund, overseeing over $7 billion in commitments to more than 120 smaller and emerging firms.  She is passionate about supporting the incubation of owner-manager entrepreneurs, those with a strong record of allocating to small buyout, growth equity, and other private fund strategies.

Previously, she was the Managing Partner of Decagon Advisors, focused on the due diligence of smaller private funds as well as supporting the launch advisory practice for newly forming firms.  Decagon was formed as a direct result of the evolving needs in her previous role as Macroeconomic and Due Diligence Analyst at KCS Funds, a Fund of Funds. Prior to that, she served in asset management and client-facing roles as a Director at Deutsche Bank (formerly Bankers Trust Asset Management) after beginning her career at KPMG in the Financial Services practice.

She holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Honors, from Queen’s University in Canada and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a CFA charterholder and a Canadian Chartered Accountant. In addition, she serves as Director of the Levy vonWald Foundation, which primarily focuses on literacy initiatives in New York State.

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Team Bio

Leroy Cody

Leroy Cody

Head of Business Development

Leroy leads business development with a focus on meeting the needs of the firm’s institutional limited partners. He brings decades of industry experience in product strategy and delivery across a range of private fund strategies.

His previous roles include long tenures as a Director of Alternative Investment Marketing at Lazard Asset Management and Managing Director of Alternative Investment Marketing for American Express Asset Management. He has also held leadership positions at NexTier Companies, Loomis Sayles, Shearson Lehman Hutton, among others.

Leroy has served on the Board of Trustees of Colgate University, his alma mater, and is one of the founders of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Memorial Conference at the Wharton School, an annual event designed to inform, empower, and support Black business professionals and students.

He holds a BA from Colgate University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.