AFSA Staff

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. 

Contact Danielle.

Rhonda Ashburn | Executive Director, AFSA Education Foundation

As Rhonda leads the American Financial Services Association Education Foundation (AFSAEF), she is focused on the mission of educating consumers of all ages on personal finance concepts and helping them realize the benefits of responsible money management through the free financial literacy education program MoneySKILL. To date, more than 700 thousand students have completed the on-line curriculum comprised of 36 modules.

Rhonda is also responsible for two continuing education programs for mid-level and senior employees at member companies. The EDGE management program is conducted annually at Mercer University in Atlanta and the second leadership development opportunity is held at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Rhonda Ashburn has had many years of experiences working in the nonprofit arena. Most recently she was with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), the largest and longest-serving national nonprofit financial counseling organization in the United States.

Prior to joining the NFCC, Rhonda spent nearly 24 years working for a career and technical student organization, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). During her tenure at FCCLA she oversaw, administered, and managed 13 major programs including Financial Fitness, which focused on helping individuals learn to make, save, and spend their money wisely.

She and her husband live in Alexandria, VA.

Contact Rhonda

Michele Battaline | Director, 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. 

Contact Michele.

Jenny Bengtson | Director, Membership & Marketing

Jenny oversees AFSA's Premier Partnership Program and overall Business Partner membership and marketing. This includes the marketing and sales of advertising, sponsorships, and expositions as well as the online Industry Buyer's Guide.

Jenny has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Sociology and a Master’s of Science in Communications from Boston University.

Contact Jenny.

Dan Bucherer | Manager, Communications

Dan joined AFSA in January 2013 and serves as the association's Communications Manager. Dan is responsible for producing and editing Newsbriefs, AFSA’s weekly newsletter, responding to breaking news, assisting in the development of the Annual Report and other publications, and determining AFSA's overall message to the public. Dan is also responsible for managing AFSA's digital properties, including websites and social media outlets.

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.

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David Casserly | Director, MoneySKILL, AFSA Education Foundation

David has a number of years of experience in the financial services industry. That includes more than five years in corporate communications with the NASDAQ Stock Market, where he was a speech writer for the Chairman. Other work experience includes fundraising—working with United Way (both in Indianapolis and the national association) and other not-for-profit organizations. Recently, he has worked with not-for-profit organizations in developing and promoting programs for financial literacy and is now the Director of MoneySKILL for the AFSA Education Foundation. In this position, David writes a quarterly online newsletter, conducts teacher trainings to introduce teachers nationwide to MoneySKILL, and promotes other foundation activities, including its management development courses.

David has a B.A. degree from Indiana University with a double major in English and Psychology.

Contact David.

John R. "Jack" Ferry | Vice President, Communications

Jack joined AFSA in September of 2015 bringing over 25 years experience in corporate communications, and media relations. Jack leverages his years of experience and extensive network of journalists and industry analysts to advance the association’s mission of protecting consumer access to safe, affordable credit. He is responsible for overseeing all communications to external audiences and association members and crafting the overall presence of the association.

From 2004 to 2013, Jack served as Manager of Media Relations with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, leading the company’s media relations activities. In 2005, he received the DaimlerChrysler Financial Services President’s Award, recognizing excellence in his role. Between 2001 and 2004, Ferry served as the Director of Corporate and Financial Communications with Kmart Corporation, as the company’s primary spokesperson during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the largest retail bankruptcy in U.S. history. From 1986 through 2001 he served with Chrysler Financial, Chrysler Corporation and DaimlerChrysler including an assignment at Daimler headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Prior to his corporate career, Ferry was a reporter in the Philadelphia and Allentown PA markets covering local government. 

Jack holds a bachelor's degree in English from Kutztown (PA) University and a master's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. 

Contact Jack.

Tiana Gaskins | Meetings Coordinator

Tiana joined AFSA in April 2015 and serves as the association’s Meetings Coordinator. Tiana is responsible for all major events and meetings registrations as well as smaller committee meetings and seminars. She also assists with all aspects of pre-meeting planning and logistics.

Prior to joining AFSA Tiana worked with the National Automobile Dealers Association, in the Membership and Marketing Department.

Contact Tiana.

Sheilah J. Harrison | Vice President, Member Services

Sheilah has been involved in association management for 31 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 International Members. Sheilah also serves as the staff liaison to the Vehicle Finance Division Advisory Board, the Vehicle Commercial Credit Committee, the Human Resources Committee, and the Women's Leadership Council.

Sheilah works closely with members of the AFSA Independents Section Board and training directors from AFSA member companies to provide web-based training on Branch Operations Basics (BOB) 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.

Contact Sheilah.

Bill Himpler | Executive Vice President

Bill and his federal 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.

Contact Bill.

James Hong | Manager, Creative & Digital

James joined AFSA in January 2016 as the association’s Website & Social Media Manager, later turned Manager, Creative & Digital. He is responsible for enhancing AFSA’s brand and digital presence, from developing content for its digital assets to strategizing its social media outreach.

Prior to joining AFSA, James was the Corporate Communications Specialist at MERSCORP Holdings, Inc., where he was the webmaster for the company’s websites, editor of the two monthly newsletters, logistics and marketing coordinator for the company’s conferences and events, and graphic designer for collateral pieces.

James attended James Madison University where he studied Media Arts & Design, with a concentration in Corporate Communications, and was a member of the University’s Public Affairs team and the Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity.

Contact James.

Tracy Katzenmaier | Executive Assistance & 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.

Prior to joining AFSA in 2005, Tracy was an executive assistant for engineering consulting firm Greenhorne & O’Mara, Inc.

Contact Tracy.

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.).

Contact Alejandra.

Matt Kownacki | Manager, State Research & Policy

Matt tracks and examines regulatory and legislative policy at the state and local levels and drafts comment letters to state legislators and agencies on issues affecting members. In addition, Matt drafts and edits resources available to AFSA members, including 50-state surveys, talking points, issue briefs, and white papers. Matt also provides regular updates to SGA Committee members on current state legislation. Prior to his current role at AFSA, Matt worked as a research associate at a government watchdog, focusing on financial regulatory agencies.

Matt holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, MI.

Contact Matt.

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, Independent Auto Finance Executive Group and co-staff liaison to the Vehicle Finance Division Board. She works closely with the Chairman of the Board during his/her tenure on speaking engagements and coordinates 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 also oversees some of the association’s annual recognition programs such as the Lifetime Achievement Awards and the Outstanding Employee Awards. 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.

Contact Perla.

Marilyn McKinnis | Senior Marketing Associate

Marilyn works for the Membership/Marketing department. She manages advertising for the AFSA Newsbriefs and Online Buyers Guide, and advertising for the Vehicle Finance, Independents, and Annual Meeting conferences. She manages and promotes the Branch Operations Basics (BOB) online training program. Marilyn also gathers demographics about AFSA Active (finance company) members that is useful to the AFSA government affairs department.

Marilyn has spent over 30 years in association management working for the National Agricultural Aviation Association and Helicopter Association International (HAI) with a broad range of experiences in publishing and communications, finance, government affairs, meetings and expositions, and membership. Marilyn began her professional career as a teacher, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Oklahoma State University.

Contact Marilyn.

Danielle McLean | Director, 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).

Contact Danielle.

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.

Contact Tom.

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.

Contact Tony.

Chris Stinebert | President & 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).

Contact Chris.

Susan J. Sullivan | Manager, Congressional Affairs

Susan assists with the implementation of the association's federal policy agenda. She advocates on behalf of AFSA before members of Congress and their staff on issues affecting the consumer credit industry; monitors and analyzes federal legislation and congressional activities that have an impact on AFSA members; develops advocacy materials and member communications; and represents AFSA at political events and coalition and external stakeholder meetings. Susan also serves as staff liaison to AFSA's Operations Committee, which provides a forum for consumer finance companies' operations executives to share information and exchange ideas related to operational challenges.

Susan has been with the association since 2010. In her previous role, she served as Manager of State Government Affairs, where she monitored, analyzed, and regularly communicated with members on state and local priority issues and regulatory and legislative trends; managed AFSA's legislative and regulatory tracking system; and assisted with the production of comment letters and issues management materials.

Susan received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Political Science from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.

Contact Susan.

Aaron Tompkins | Compliance Administrator

Aaron joined AFSA in May 2016 as the Compliance Administrator. In this role, he researches and monitors recent regulatory policies put forth by federal government agencies (CFPB, FTC, etc.), contributes to reports for the Operations and Regulatory Compliance Committee, and helps in the operation of AFSA University.

Prior to joining AFSA, Aaron worked at First Source Federal Credit Union in New York where he served as a Financial Service Representative, helping with account maintenance, loan processing, and garnering a deep knowledge of credit reports.

Aaron received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY.

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Celia Winslow | Director, Legal & Regulatory Affairs

Celia directs legal and regulatory issues for the association. In this capacity, she closely monitors a variety of federal agencies – tracking regulations, guidance, enforcement actions, reports, speeches, collection activities, and relevant news. She then provides member companies with timely and important information relating to legal and regulatory developments. Celia works with member companies to draft AFSA’s responses to proposed regulations, studies, and collection activities.

She also coordinates AFSA’s regulatory and legal efforts with other trade associations. On the legal side, Celia manages AFSA’s amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief efforts in district, state, and federal courts. Additionally, Celia assists with AFSA’s Law Committee.

Before joining AFSA in 2006, 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.

Contact Celia

Mark Zalewski | Director, eBusiness Solutions

Mark serves as the staff liaison to the National Title Solution Forum (NTSF) Committee and the Vehicle Credit Risk Management Committee. He 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.

Contact Mark.