Kelsey Brown is a Senior Director in Walmart Global Audit where she is responsible for Audit Committee and executive reporting, audit methodology, training and recruiting. Kelsey started her career with Walmart as an intern and has been with the company for 13 years. For the first seven years of her career, she supported the implementation of SAP in various capacities in Audit, Finance and Technology. She then transitioned to Global Controllership where she was responsible for supporting the transformation of people, processes, and technology within the Controllership function. In 2020, she returned to Global Audit with responsibility for finance and accounting audits primarily focused on Omni and SOX. She has a passion for innovation and enjoys mentoring and helping develop future leaders.
Chris Chunn is the vice president and practice director of the permanent placement services for Robert Half Finance & Accounting in Little Rock. He is approaching his 9th year with Robert Half and manages a team in the Little Rock Office. Chris enjoys working with an array of clients from startups to Fortune 500 companies in the state of Arkansas to help them find the top talent in the market. He also enjoys working with candidates to help advance their career and provide hands on coaching.
Chris is a native of Arkansas and grew up in North Little Rock and graduated from the University of Arkansas with his Bachelor’s in Finance. Chris is in Rotaract where her served on the board for 4 years as Treasurer and the Golf Tournament Chair. Chris has also served as a member of Hat Club for the last 6 years. Chris has been recognized as a Reach for The Stars top performer the last three years at Robert Half and is a 3 Million Dollar Milestone Achiever.
Stephanie Shine is vice president and director of permanent placement services in Arkansas for Robert Half Finance & Accounting for the Little Rock and Fayetteville offices. She manages a team of recruiting professionals and also provides strategic staffing advice to clients and job seekers regarding hiring and compensation trends in the market. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Business Administration in Management from Missouri State University.
Stephanie holds board seats on the Rotary Club of Little Rock Afterhours and is the Charter President of the Club, Accounting & Finance Women’s Alliance and IMA. She has been recognized in Arkansas Business’ 20 in 20s, Leadership Little Rock Alum-Class XXX, Soiree Woman to Watch, as well as featured in the Executive Spotlight in Arkansas Business. She has been recognized as a top performer at Robert Half for 8 consecutive years and is a 7 Million Dollar Milestone Achiever.
Melania joined HoganTaylor in 2008 and has over 12 years of experience in public accounting. She has tax experience in a variety of industries including engineering and architecture firms, manufacturing, construction and real estate, retail and restaurants.
She enjoys serving clients by developing tax strategies and advising on business transactions. Melania graduated Magna Cum Laude from Missouri Southern State University with her Bachelor degree in Psychology and with a Master of Accountancy degree from the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. She is a member of the AICPA and both the ASCPA and OSCPA. Melania currently serves on the board for the Ozark Literacy Council and is a graduate of Leadership Fayetteville.
Gary F. Peters is the Chair of the William Dillard Department of Accounting in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. He holds the S. Robson Walton Endowed Professorship of Accounting. He received a Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Oregon. Prior Degrees include MACC from the University of Missouri-Columba and BSBA from Arkansas Tech University. Gary joined the University of Arkansas in 2003 after previously serving on faculty at the University of Georgia. He served as the Director of the Masters of Accounting Program from 2006-2016. He teaches a Walton College Accounting Colloquium focusing on Ethics and Corporate Governance within the Accounting Profession. He previously received the 2018 Honors College Distinguished Faculty Award and the 2016 Outstanding All-Around Faculty Member Award from the Walton College.
Mr. Anoop N. Mehta, CPA, CGMA, is the Vice Chair of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).
Over his 40-year career, Mehta has served in several volunteer roles: the AICPA Board of Directors, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (Association) Board of Directors, the AICPA Business and Industry Executive Committee, the AICPA Political Action Committee and AICPA Council.
Currently he is the Chief Strategist for Analytical Mechanical Associates, Inc. (AMA). AMA has worked with government and commercial organizations solving the toughest engineering, science and business problems. Mehta, with over 40 years of experience will provide expertise in key areas of business development, strategic planning, and operational improvements across AMA.
Former President, Science Systems and Applications, Inc. Lanham, MD Mehta stepped down as the president of Science Systems and Applications, Inc. (SSAI) in June 2021. In his role, he led the executive management team and oversaw the overall performance of the company. He had the day-to-day responsibility for managing, planning, and implementing strategic goals of the company. With more than 40 years of experience in government contracting, he actively supported NASA and NOAA programs in an executive management capacity for SSAI.
Mehta joined SSAI in 1980 and has helped the company to grow from a two-person company to more than 1,000. The company has also achieved profitability above target levels for the past 40 years. The company has also received numerous “Best Places to Work” recognitions in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan and Hampton Roads, Va. areas.
Mehta was the Chair (2012-2013) of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA). He serves on the Government Contractors Committee for the MACPA and chaired the committee for two years (2001-2003).
Mehta is a former board member and past president of the Maryland Space Business Roundtable. He is also a seventh-degree Master Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and has been teaching martial arts and operating a karate school for the past 35 years.
Mehta has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Roby Brock is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Talk Business & Politics, a 22-year old multi-media news organization reporting on business and politics in Arkansas.
Under Brock's direction, content is driven through Talk Business & Politics' TV shows, which air Sunday mornings at 9:30 am on KATV Channel 7 in central and south Arkansas, 9:30 am on KAIT Channel 8 in Northeast Arkansas, and 10:30 am on KFSM Channel 5 in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.
Brock also moderates radio programs on NPR affiliates statewide and reports through a subscription magazine, daily e-newsletters and web reports featuring state business profiles, industry developments and current political discussions. The company has news bureaus in Little Rock, Jonesboro, Fort Smith and Springdale, home to its Northwest Arkansas Business Journal publication.
LaToya Lacey is a results-driven leader with experience in achieving progressive and sustainable results in highly competitive and complex international markets. LaToya has 20 years of experience in global audit, internal controls, risk management, compliance and corporate investigations. Some of her most notable achievements have been: Leading the development of an effective control environment in developing markets, newly acquired businesses and newly formed joint ventures, Redesigning an ineffective control framework within established businesses by creating the right governance structure and focusing on sustainable, practical and fit-for-purpose controls, Driving multi-market cultural shifts that led to more a compliant environment, which reduced financial losses previously incurred due to fraud and failed controls, Proactively identifying fraud risks and leading major investigations – one in particular involved financial misconduct resulting in $11.5 million P&L loss and the termination of several implicated senior leaders and business partnerships, Partnering with cross-functional, country, regional and global leaders to change the corporate culture and champion a more ethical environment, Developing her team to build competencies that aligned with the business strategy and were critical to their career advancement. LaToya has a Bachelors degree in Accounting from DePaul University in Chicago. She is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner.
Tim Montgomery, CPA, CISA, is an investigator with the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy. He graduated from the University of Houston – Downtown with a BBA in Accounting in 1992 and passed the CPA exam in 1993. Throughout his career, Tim has been the Internal Auditor for USAble Life in Little Rock, Accounting Manager for Airborne Nacelle Services in Hot Springs and Comptroller for a supply company in Pencil Bluff. He has also spent time as an Internal Audit and SOX Compliance Consultant. Before moving back to Arkansas in 2013, Tim was the Internal Audit Director for Dyersburg State Community College in Dyersburg, Tennessee. He lives in Cabot, AR with his wife Charlotte and they have four children, ages 24, 22, 18, and 8.
Randy is one of the original founding partners of DD&F. He has been involved in all phases of bank consulting since 1978 and under his guidance, DD&F has been annually ranked among the top financial advisors for M&A in the United States. In his career, Randy has functioned as Principal or Senior Consultant for hundreds of bank and thrift mergers, including traditional holding company and subsidiary acquisitions, branch and whole bank transactions. He is actively engaged in FDIC-assisted acquisitions for clients around the country, providing strategic services for boards and shareholders, assisting clients with early loss-share buyouts with the FDIC and providing insight to bankers around the country. He has also served on the faculty of Barret School of Banking in Memphis, TN since 1998. In his spare time, Randy loves nothing more than to drive his John Deere tractor around his farm in Monticello, Arkansas, frequently giving rides to his 20+ grandchildren. He can also be spotted at Razorback football games around the South with his wife, Donna.
Edward Haddock is the District Director for the Arkansas District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. As District Director, he is responsible for the delivery of all SBA programs and services as well as coordination between the SBA, the district’s Small Business Development Centers, SCORE chapters, and the Women’s Business Center throughout the state. Programs and services delivered by the SBA include the loan guaranty program, which is delivered through more than 50 eligible lenders, assistance in government contracting, export development and entrepreneurship training. He brings with him a diverse business background in both non- and for-profit businesses with a concentration in finance.
Edward started his SBA career in 2011 as an Economic Development Specialist in SBA’s Newark, New Jersey Office where he led the delivery of Veteran Business Development programs throughout New Jersey. While there he created the export outreach team and instituted a multifaceted program called Grow NJ Strong, a targeted recovery effort for small businesses impact during Hurricane Sandy. Edward has led projects in roles as the Women’s Business Center grant technical representative and International Trade Representative.
In 2013, he was promoted to serve as the Senior Area Manager in Fayetteville Arkansas where his efforts led SBA development with partners across the northwest Arkansas community and was appoint to serve as a regional representative to the White House Initiative Asian and Pacific Islanders. In May of 2015, Edward was appointed as the SBA’s Arkansas deputy district director. In that position he directed the agency’s operations of its programs and services through the state where he oversaw program development and rollout of programs like Boots to Business and SBA Emerging Leaders.
Prior to the SBA, Edward served on active duty with the U.S. Air Force. In his last assignment, Edward was instrumental in the development and implementation of several international aircraft maintenance training programs. Edward’s 12 years of active duty service included several deployments spanning the globe supporting both humanitarian and combat operations.
Mr. Haddock holds a MBA from Rutgers University and Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from John Brown University. He is married and lives in the Little Rock area.
Jody Padar, CPA, is Vice President of Strategy at Botkeeper.com. She has been on the Accounting Today Top 100 Most Influential People List for the last nine years. Her latest just released book is Botkeeper For Dummies. She is the author of From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide and The Radical CPA: New Rules for the Future-Ready Firm. After venturing out of a traditional firm, and achieving 13 years of successful growth as CEO of New Vision CPA Group, her new challenge is leading Botkeeper as Vice President of Strategy, helping to evolve, support, and promote our CPA and accounting partner firms, now and in the future.
Jeffrey Abramczyk is Exemplar’s Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Advisor where he is currently focused on supporting the operational, risk management and compliance requirements of financial services institutions. He also provides advice to FinTechs, companies undergoing digital transformation, and impact businesses.
Jeffrey is an experienced leader of compliance, risk management, financial accounting and internal audit programs for banks, institutional & retail broker-dealers, investment advisers, transfer agents, funds, futures commission merchants, swap dealers, and real estate investment trusts. He has served as Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Controller and General Auditor. Prior to Exemplar, Jeffrey had a successful financial services industry career in executive roles at U.S. central counterparties (Depository Trust and Clearing Corp.) and global financial services firms (HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, BNY Mellon Pershing, Investec Group, Nikko Securities and Goldman Sachs).
Jeffrey received his BBA and MBA from Baruch College, CUNY. He is also a CPA in New York State and he holds the FINRA Series 7, 24, 27 and 99 registrations. Jeffrey is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and New York State Society of CPAs, where he participates on the Banking and Stock Brokerage Committees.
Jeremy leads the financial institutions practice in BKD’s New York office. His career has focused exclusively on the financial services industry, and he has spent over 18 years serving public and private banks, credit unions, financial technology, specialty finance, private equity, real estate investment trusts and investment companies. He is well-versed in financial statement audits, internal audit (including SOX 404, FDICIA and operational audits), CECL implementation, mergers and acquisitions, credit risk evaluations, and other accounting and regulatory compliance requirements within the financial services industry.
In the digital assets space, Jeremy has led teams in financial statement audits, technical accounting advisory, development of internal control over financial reporting and back-office accounting services for lending, trading and asset management firms with billions in assets under management.
Jeremy is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, where he is a member of the Digital Assets Working Group, and the New York State Society of CPAs where he was the Banking Committee Chair from 2018-2020.
LaJeana Franklin, Information Security Officer, AVP - First Security Bank. LeJeana has worked for First Security Bank for 6 years. She specializes in Identity Theft, Fraud and Vendor Due Diligence. LaJeana has two teenage daughters that are competitive athletes.
Daniel Schutte continues his steady rise in the Arkansas tech scene. As The Venture Center’s managing director of accelerator programs, Schutte has brought a breadth of experience to his role in connecting fintech startups with heavy hitters in the financial services industry.
He was the COO of a commercial printing operation for more than a decade before founding his first companies, the most successful in the music/entertainment space. He scaled an online music streaming platform to several million users. He most recently exited a boutique live-music booking agency out of Nashville, Tenn., before meeting his wife, moving to Little Rock and joining The Venture Center.
Long before COVID-19 pushed meetings to the Zoom platform, Schutte spent his days online, meeting fintech companies founders from around the world to connect the most promising technologies with The Venture Center’s financial services clients. As those clients look to serve their customers better by integrating cutting-edge technologies, Schutte’s dedication and industry expertise have made him a trusted voice.
Christine DeAngelis is a licensed CPA and CEO of the Department.Tax, using her skills to help businesses grow and achieve their fullest potential. Christine has a Master’s degree in accounting from Southern New Hampshire University in addition to holding her CPA license for over a decade. Notably, Christine is a nationally recognized speaker providing education to other CPAs on how to best serve clients as well as instruction on a wide variety of topics for business owners on how to maximize success. When not behind her desk, you can find Christine spending quality time with her daughter and stepson or walking the family’s excessively loved French bulldogs.
CFO Network is led by Allen Engstrom, Managing Director. Allen has an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and previously worked for Motorola Semiconductor as well as Intel Corporation in a variety of roles within Finance, Strategy and Business Development.
For years prior to joining CFO Allen has been involved in small business development and mentoring, serving on the Planning Committees of both the Arizona Venture Capital Conference and the Arkansas Venture Forum. Allen has also been involved in working with universities such as Arizona State on developing technology into growing companies. Allen’s last role at Intel was an Alliance Manager where he worked directly with small companies to form partnerships with Intel. Prior to that, Allen spent 2.5 years working for Intel Capital executing mergers and acquisitions for Intel’s Communications Group.