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Staff Bios

Danielle Fagre Arlowe
Senior Vice President

Danielle is in charge of the American Financial Services Association’s State Government Affairs Department, which manages state legislative and regulatory issues for members across a broad spectrum of the consumer credit industry, including payment cards, vehicle finance, traditional installment loans and mortgage lending / servicing. State Government Affairs is in constant development of talking points, briefing materials, white papers, a multitude of 50-state surveys, municipal tracking and other issues management materials. The Department also provides Activist Watch, a monthly snapshot of financial services-related activities of prominent activist groups. AFSA engages in direct advocacy at the state level, as directed by its membership. AFSA State Government Affairs provides its members with regular ongoing reporting on new and moving legislation through direct intelligence and AFSA*track, the Association’s legislative tracking system. State Government Affairs also facilitates ongoing subcommittee discussion on priority industry issues.
 
Danielle acts along with her federal colleague as counsel to the Association, and is responsible for the Payment Card and Vehicle Finance sections of the Law Committee.
 
Prior to joining AFSA in 2003, Danielle was Director of Government Affairs and Legislative Counsel for credit card issuer Metris, where she headed up all political affairs for the company, quadrupled PAC participation, and created the Company’s new law compliance program. Prior to Metris, she was associate with two Washington, D.C. law firms – Venable LLP and O’Connor & Hannan LLP, where she represented banks and major U.S. financial institutions, lobbying on their behalf in Congress on consumer privacy, credit reporting, bankruptcy, telemarketing, antitrust, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and other legislative initiatives. She also assisted Fortune 500 corporations in various industries with government ethics compliance.
 
Danielle holds a B.A. in Politics and Government from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., and earned a J.D cum laude from American University in Washington, D.C. She is admitted to the bar in Maryland (inactive), Washington, D.C. and Minnesota. She is based in Minneapolis.
 
 
Michele Battaline, CMP
Director of Conferences & Special Events
 
Michele manages the logistics for AFSA’s six annual meetings as well as all of the association’s committee meetings and special events. Michele has extensive experience producing domestic and international conferences, as well as special events. Prior to joining AFSA in 2007, she worked for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) for five years as Director of Meetings and Special Events.
 
Prior to NAB, Michele worked for a government contractor, where she served as Project Leader for more than a dozen government contracts primarily for the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education. 

Before moving to Washington, Michele worked as the Assistant to the Director of Communications, Culture & Tourism, for the city of Pittsburgh, where she assisted in the coordination of citywide special events, including the 1994 Major League Baseball All-Star Week festivities. She also wrote speeches, organized press conferences, and responded to media requests.
 
Michele is a graduate of the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, where she majored in Political Communications. 
 
 
Jenny Bengtson
Director, Membership and Marketing
 
Jenny is oversees AFSA's Premier Partnership Program and overall marketing programs related to the Business Partner membership.  This includes the marketing and sales of advertising, sponsorships and expositions as well as the online and print Industry Buyer's Guide.
 
Jenny has served in several capacities with AFSA, to include; membership and database management and most recently as a meetings administrator and registrar.  
 
Jenny has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Sociology and a Master’s of Science in Communications from Boston University.
 
 
Dan Bucherer
State Government Affairs & Communications Specialist
 
Dan joined AFSA in January 2013 and serves a dual role in both communications and state government affairs. Within SGA, he is charged with assisting the department in drafting comment letters, tracking legislation and working closely with members to coordinate legislative strategy. His specific areas of responsibility include personal loans, payment cards and maintaining AFSA’s comprehensive databases on zoning and vacant property ordinances. In his communications role, Dan is responsible for producing Newsbriefs, AFSA’s weekly newsletter, responding to breaking news, assisting in the development of the Annual Report and other publications, and providing social media content for Twitter and Facebook.

Before joining AFSA, Dan worked as the Political Competitive Specialist for the E. W. Scripps Company, tracking political television ad data in the Political & Advocacy Media Sales department.

Dan holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts in Political Science, with an emphasis in congressional & presidential studies; both degrees are from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Phi Gamma Mu National Honor Society and was Catholic University’s 2010 nominee for the Presidential Management Fellowship.
 
 
Justin G. Friedman
Director, Federal Government Affairs
 
Justin advocates on behalf of AFSA’s membership before Congress and federal agencies and monitors legislation, rulemaking and congressional oversight. He also advises the association’s leadership on emerging public policy matters that impact the consumer credit industry, and represents AFSA in joint industry initiatives on cross-cutting issues.
 
Justin joined AFSA in early 2011 after serving for more than four years as an aide in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, where he advised Members of Congress on economic policy, financial services and housing matters. Most recently, he staffed a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee throughout consideration of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
 
Prior to his service on Capitol Hill, Justin worked for a consulting firm and a trade association representing the fixed-income securities industry. He has participated in local, statewide, congressional and presidential campaigns in the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia. He was a founding officer of the National Housing Conference's Young Leaders in Affordable Housing.
 
Justin earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Maryland.
 
 
Tracy Grierson
Executive Assistant/Office Manager
 
Tracy performs a variety of administrative duties in her primary role as the assistant to AFSA’s Executive Vice President. She also serves as the association’s office manager and is an AFSAPAC liaison. 
 
Before joining AFSA in 2005, Tracy was an executive assistant for engineering consulting firm Greenhorne & O’Mara, Inc.
  
 
Sheilah J. Harrison, CAE
Vice President of Member Services
 
Sheilah has been involved in association management for 29 years. She joined AFSA in 1983 as the Director of Programs and Conferences. In 1999, she was promoted to her current position, where she is responsible for planning and directing the activities of the Member Services Department, including recruitment and retention of AFSA’s Active, Commercial, Business Partners, Affiliate and Foreign Members. Sheilah also serves as the staff liaison to the Vehicle Finance Division Advisory Board, as well as the  Human Resources Committee.
 
Sheilah works closely with members of the AFSA Independents Section Advisory Board, training directors from AFSA member companies and Universal Training, an AFSA Business Partner, to delvelop web-based training on Branch Operations Basics for employees in the consumer finance industry.
 
In 1996, Sheilah earned recognition from the American Society of Association Executives by being designated Certified Association Executive (CAE). In 1997, she was selected as the Meeting Partner of the Year by the National Speakers Association.
 
Prior to joining AFSA, Sheilah was a program director for Executive Enterprise Institute, a New York City-based private seminar company providing professional education in the accounting, banking and financial services compliance areas. Sheilah began her professional career as a teacher of special education in Alexandria, Va. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Kent State University.
 
 
Bill Himpler
Executive Vice President
 
Bill and his government relations team have enhanced AFSA’s presence in the political debate affecting a number of issues that impact member companies’ ability to offer affordable credit options to American consumers. He has been called on to sit in the hot seat at the witness table in congressional hearings and has served as an industry spokesman on a number of pressing topics.
 
Bill came to AFSA in 2004 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he headed the congressional relations office. Prior to joining HUD, Bill was director of legislative affairs for BGR Holding, LLC, where he worked as a lobbyist for Haley Barbour, who went on to become governor of Mississippi. While on Capitol Hill, he served as tax counsel and legislative director for Rep. Jerry Weller of Illinois, as well as a senior legislative assistant with Rep. Charles Canady from Florida. 
 
Bill holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Steubenville, a master’s degree from Dominican House of Studies, and a law degree from The Catholic University of America.
 
 
Susie Irvine
President and CEO, AFSA Education Foundation
 
Susie oversees the foundation’s initiatives to help consumers understand responsible money management and wise credit use. AFSAEF’s primary initiative is MoneySKILL®, a free online comprehensive personal finance course that educates high school students on money management fundamentals. She travels nationwide providing teacher training to promote the use of the curriculum. Susie received the 2005 Jump$tart Coalition’s William E. Odom Visionary Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who provide outstanding service in the personal finance education arena.
 
She also coordinates the management development opportunities for the future leaders of AFSA member companies at THE EDGE at Mercer University and the Leadership Development Program at the University of North Carolina. Susie serves on the AFSA Education Foundation Board of Directors, the AFSA Professional Development Committee, and THE EDGE Board of Governors.  
 
Susie joined the AFSA Education Foundation in 1995 as the first full-time Executive Director and was elected President and CEO of the foundation in 1998. Prior to joining AFSAEF, Irvine was director of the Consumer Credit Counseling Agency in Columbia, S.C.
 
Susie holds a B.S. in Consumer and Family Economics from Kansas State University and additional hours of graduate credit from the University of South Carolina. She attended AFSA’s Executive Leadership Program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2004 and 2007.
 
 
Karen Klugh
Director of Communications
 
Karen manages the association’s external and member communications functions and provides communications support for government affairs initiatives, while serving as an AFSA spokesperson and staff liaison to the association’s Communications and Marketing Committees. She oversees the annual report, website, and other member communications, and also serves as the editor of the association’s twice weekly e-newsletter, AFSA Newsbriefs.
 
After serving associations on the agency side, Karen joined AFSA in 2007. Previously, she was an account executive for Communications Marketing Group, a subsidiary of association management company AMG.
 
Karen has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Media Studies from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s in Corporate Communication from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa.
 
 
Alejandra Siles Krasnow
Director, Operations Compliance

Alejandra is the staff liaison to AFSA’s recently established Operations and Regulatory Compliance Committee (ORCC). In this capacity, Alejandra coordinates information-sharing between AFSA members to address regulations and guidance issued by federal government agencies (e.g., the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Alejandra also develops educational materials and resources to complement member company policies and procedures as members continue to adjust to the current regulatory climate.

Alejandra previously served as State Government Affairs Associate in AFSA’s State Government Affairs Department, where she updated members on state legislative and regulatory issues. Before joining AFSA, Alejandra worked in the General Counsel’s office of the Organization of American States while obtaining her Master of Laws (LL.M.).
 
 
Perla Manuel
Corporate Secretary
 
Perla serves as the corporate secretary to the association and the staff liaison to the AFSA Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Operations Committee. She works closely with the Chairman of the Board during his/her tenure and plans the Board and Executive Committee meetings. She oversees the Chairman’s quarterly visits to Washington, D.C., and also serves as the executive assistant to the president & CEO of AFSA.
 
Perla joined AFSA in 1987 and served as the AFSAPAC manager and legal assistant in the government affairs department before moving into her present position in 1997. Previously, she was a database administrator for Data Resource Management in Rosslyn, Va.
 
Perla has a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from George Mason University.
 
 
Danielle McLean, CFE
Director of Accounting

Danielle manages day-to-day accounting functions for AFSA, its Education Foundation; and its Political Action Committee. She joined AFSA in 1997. Prior to joining AFSA, Danielle was a Staff Accountant at Paradigm Companies, Inc., a development, construction and management company in Washington, D.C.
 
Danielle has more than 20 years experience in the accounting field, working in private companies and the not-for-profit arena. She has more than 10 years of experience directing all accounting functions.
 
Danielle graduated from Strayer University with a degree in Accounting. In fall 2012, Danielle earned recognition from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners by passing the Certified Fraud Examiner exam and being approved by the certification committee to become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
 
 
Tom Morano
Vice President, Meetings & Conferences
 
Tom oversees all aspects of the association’s six annual conferences and expositions as well as the board and committee meetings. He works with the advisory boards responsible for developing the content, programming and marketing of each conference. In addition, Tom manages the meetings department staff, negotiates vendor contracts with speakers and hotels, and manages the department’s budget.
 
Tom has more than 25 years experience in the association industry, having worked at the National Automobile Dealers Association, United Ski Industries Association, American Osteopathic Healthcare Association, and the Snack Food Association. Tom began his career doing political advance work for the White House during the 1980s. He joined AFSA in 1998.
 
Tom has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
 
 
Alexa Newell
Membership and Meetings Manager

Alexa's key responsibilities at AFSA include maintaining the membership database as well as meetings setup and registrations. Alexa's background includes membership and meetings support with several associations in the DC area. Before joining AFSA, she served as the Education and Publications Coordinator at ACEC. 

 
 
Tony Pelegrin
Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
 
Tony oversees all financial and budgeting activities for AFSA, its Education Foundation, its Political Action Committee & AFSA’s other entities.
 
Before joining AFSA in 2006, Tony was Director of Finance and Information Technology for the National Fisheries Institute (NFI). Prior to joining NFI, he was Director of Finance and Administration for Heritage Preservation, Inc. Before moving to the Washington D.C. area, Tony worked in various accounting and finance position in the manufacturing sector of Ontario, Canada.  
 
Tony holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, a Master of Science of Technology and Management from American University, and a Master in Business Administration from Auburn University. In Canada, Tony studied industrial & manufacturing accounting with the Society of Industrial Accountants of Ontario.
 
 
Chris Stinebert
President and Chief Executive Officer
 
Chris is president and chief executive officer of the American Financial Services Association (AFSA), a national, Washington, D.C.– based trade association for the consumer credit industry, protecting access to credit and consumer choice. Founded in 1916, AFSA has 375 members that include consumer and commercial finance companies and banks involved in auto finance and leasing, mortgage loans, personal loans, payment cards, industrial banks and industry suppliers. Although diverse, AFSA’s membership is united by its goal of serving the credit needs of consumers and businesses. Government affairs and advocacy are major association activities. AFSA also focuses on financial literacy and professional development. 
 
Before assuming the helm at AFSA in 2006, Chris served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Prior to joining MHI in 1998, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Concrete Masonry Association. 
 
Chris has more than 30 years experience in managing national trade associations with key highlights in government affairs and advocacy, strategic planning and implementation, technical standards and regulations, and economic and statistical data collection. 
 
A graduate of Randolph-Macon College, Chris currently is the chairman of Americans Well-informed on Automobile Retailing Economics (AWARE), whose missions is to educate consumers on vehicle financing. He also serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100, which is comprised of 100 CEOs of leading trade associations, and the Key Industry Association Committee at the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).
 
 
Susan J. Sullivan
Manager, State Government Affairs
 
Susan regularly communicates with members on state and local priority issues and regulatory and legislative trends. Susan assists in the drafting of comment letters and manages the development of SGA Department resources including white papers, talking points, issue briefs and 50-state surveys on behalf of AFSA's members. Susan works closely with all the State Government Affairs subcommittees and the Ancillary Product Working Group. Susan also manages AFSA*Track, the association’s state legislative and regulatory tracking service.
 
Susan joined AFSA in May 2010. Prior to her current position, Susan held a dual role, assisting AFSA’s State Government Affairs and Communications Departments.
 
Susan received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Political Science from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. She is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).   
 
 
Celia Winslow
Manager, Legal & Regulatory Affairs
 
Celia helps develop comment letters to federal regulators, organize AFSA amicus efforts, draft congressional testimony, and monitor federal legislation and regulation. She provides member companies with timely and important information. Additionally, Celia assists with the Law Committee and Mortgage Division Advisory Board.
 
Before joining AFSA, Celia worked in the Development Office at the Pontifical North American College, America’s seminary in Rome. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from The Catholic University of America.
 
 
Mark Zalewski
Director of eBusiness Solutions
 
Mark has held various executive positions in product, software development, telecommunications systems and global business development during his 25-plus years experience in the financial retail services industry. He has a solid track record of being on the leading edge of product innovation for new market penetration and expansion for start-up and mature organizations. He has been an officer at HSBC, Goldome Bank, Global Payments Inc., GTE Spacenet, CyberCash Inc. and Longitude Systems.
 
He was past chairman of ISO TC68 – Financial Services – for nine years. This group had the responsibility for the development of international standards for banking, securities and related financial services for use in the financial services and securities industries. Mark is also past chairman of X9C, the American National Standard subcommittee responsible for consumer credit. 
 
Mark received a Bachelor of Science from State University College at Buffalo and an MBA in Finance and Marketing at Canisius College. He also graduated from the Graduate School of Retail Bank Management at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.
 
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