Gary Lindner

President and CEO
Gary Lindner has achieved exceptional results in military, corporate, and non-profit senior leadership roles. Under his leadership, PeopleFund made systematic improvements and evolved into a statewide business lending organization with great positive social and economic impact. Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer at ACCION Texas for six years where he quadrupled the outstanding loan portfolio to over $30 million. Over the past decade, he has been directly responsible for over 5,500 loans. Gary also headed a major division of a private company and set profitability records. A retired Air Force Colonel and Command Pilot, he has extensive air combat, staff and CEO experience. Gary Lindner graduated from the Air Force Academy and earned a master’s degree from Auburn University. He has served on numerous local, regional and national non-profit boards.

Rocio Vallejo

Director of Lending, Education & Training
As Director of Lending, Education & Training Rocio is passionate about entrepreneurship; for the last 10 years she has devoted her time to assisting small business owners with access to capital and business development. She also held management roles in national banks with Texas locations. Before joining PeopleFund, Rocio was responsible for central Texas loan production and portfolio management for Accion Texas, Inc. Rocio holds an MBA in Business Management from Texas A&M–Commerce. In 2011, Rocio, her husband, and her two small children moved from their hometown, El Paso, to the Austin area and have enjoyed every minute of what the Greater Austin community has to offer their family. Rocio is responsible for statewide loan production and ensure we have loan products responsive to the need of our clients.

Julia Dunn

Chief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer, Julia is responsible for monitoring all internal financial and accounting controls, provides financial modeling and analysis experience to the Executive Team and program staff. Julia has twenty years of non-profit accounting and finance experience. She began her career at KPMG in Dallas and worked as an Audit Manager for non-profit engagements. Additionally, she has served as Director of Finance for several non-profit agencies. Julia received her Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and an MBA (Accounting Emphasis) from Texas Tech University.

Amber Cooney

Director of Development & Communications
In her role as Director of Development and Communications, Amber is responsible for PeopleFund’s comprehensive development strategy, including managing donor relations, community investment, fundraising, and grant writing. She also oversees the organization’s external messaging, special events, community programs, public relations, and online presence. Amber also advocates for policy action and legislation that supports economic development and community growth. Originally from Pennsylvania, Amber relocated to Austin to complete her degrees in History and Government from the University of Texas. Prior to joining PeopleFund in 2012, Amber created and directed the Texas Stars Foundation, as well as managed volunteer and youth services for the American Red Cross.

Laura Shock

Director of Underwriting & Risk Management
In her role as Director of Underwriting and Risk Management, Laura is responsible for analyzing each loan request for associated risk and compliance with internal credit policy and alignment to PeopleFund’s mission to create economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved populations. She believes that small businesses are the key to local economic development and sustainability. Prior to joining PeopleFund, Laura worked as a Credit Products Officer in the Austin Business Banking group at Bank of America. She has held commercial underwriting positions with KeyBank in Seattle and GE Capital in Chicago. Laura received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is a registered yoga teacher and active mentor through Africa Yoga Project in addition to volunteering with several local non-profit organizations.

Shay Erickson

Director of Operations
Shay joined the PeopleFund staff in April 2010 and has over 14 years of administrative and managerial experience. Shay earned a Bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. Throughout her career she has volunteered with several non-profit organizations, and currently divides her time between her budding psychotherapy practice and providing support to PeopleFund’s growing programs and services.

Ardina Washington

Loan Administration Manager
As Loan Administration Manager, Ardina supports the lending team in assessing best practices and products for PeopleFund's clients. Previously, Ardina held the title of the Economic Development Manager for the City of Fort Worth’s Housing and Economic Development Department where she oversaw the City’s incentive programs, including tax abatement, economic development program grants, enterprise zones, public improvement districts, and tax increment financing. She was with the City of Fort Worth for more than twelve years and contributed to the creation of eight of the City’s 11 active tax increment financing districts and negotiated several tax abatement and economic development program agreements. Ardina graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor's degree and an MBA from Tarleton State University, a part of the Texas A&M University System. She is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) through the National Development Council. She has served in many non-profit organizations as a member or Board member.

Bridget Uribe

Assistant Loan Administrator
Bridget joined the PeopleFund team in 2014 as a finance intern and following her graduation from St. Edward’s University with a degree in Finance, she was promoted to Assistant Loan Administrator. In her role, Bridget supports our loan operations and finance/accounting teams with processing, loan administration, and client assistance. With extensive experience in customer service, accounting, and operations, Bridget is eager to support our budding small business clients. Outside of the office, Bridget enjoys traveling, spending time with her family (who are local to the Austin area), and attending country concerts.

Patricia Colomo Baray

Senior Underwriter & Portfolio Manager
Patricia joined Peoplefund as a Development and Finance intern and was quickly promoted because of her experience and work ethic. She graduated in December 2012 from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in Business Administration. Prior to joining Peoplefund, she assisted a UT professor with her research about the socioeconomic returns in education in developing countries and volunteered in other organizations, such as Latinitas, Candlelighters, and the American Cancer Society.

Ava Villegas

In her role as Underwriter, Ava structures and underwrites loans that have a community impact in Texas communities, and analyzes each loan request for associated risks and compliance with internal credit policy. Prior to joining PeopleFund, Ava worked as a Business Finance Analyst. She assisted with financial systems and management of her client’s financials and growth. She consulted with clients one-to-one in building their financials to help them better understand the use of financial tools for their strategic use in accessing capital. Ava earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin, with an Honors Business Foundations Certificate, and is currently pursuing her Actuarial Certification (CERA). Ava is passionate about leadership and promotes small business development, entrepreneurship, and finance among woman, minorities, and low-income communities. She founded JetsetHer, a magazine for woman entrepreneurs; working for PeopleFund has empowered Ava to share and assists other aspiring entrepreneurs to find capital and education to build successful businesses. She is an avid reader, enjoys building, coding websites and algorithms, and shares healthy fitness goals with her family.

Grant Bennett

Grant joined the PeopleFund team as intern in August of 2014. Grant was hired full time as the Lending Support Officer in October 2014 after showing tremendous aptitude and a desire to further PeopleFund’s mission. He was hired as an Underwriter in March 2016 and is looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities of working with the underwriting and risk management team. Grant grew up in Jackson, Ohio and joined the Army out of high school. He served two combat deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Grant currently serves in the Texas National Guard as a Non-Commissioned Officer of the Airborne Infantry. He is pursuing a BBA in Management at St. Edward’s University.

Marisol Montoya

Senior Loan Officer - Dallas
Mari joined the PeopleFund in April 2012. As Loan Officer, she is responsible for introducing new clients to PeopleFund and working with them throughout the loan process. Mari’s addition to the PeopleFund team is helping grow new client relationships in the newly acquired Dallas-Ft. Worth office. Mari has over 10 years of nonprofit experience in areas such as management, grantmaking, microlending, education & prevention initiatives, and consulting.

Nini Diana Gutierrez

Senior Loan Officer - Houston
Nini joined the PeopleFund team as a loan officer in November 2014. Nini brings over 8 years of experience in banking and customer service. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Houston-Downtown in Communication Studies and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Non-profit Management. Nini uses her passion for small businesses and economic growth in Houston to guide new clients through the loan process and stands by them as they head towards success.

Beatriz Pappas

Senior Loan Officer - South Austin and San Antonio
As a Loan Officer, Beatriz brings 25 years of experience in Business Banking in the greater Austin community. Her vitality, skills, and compassion for the small business community translates to her desire to see small businesses succeed. Beatriz believes small businesses are the foundation of a strong community. Prior to joining PeopleFund, Beatriz worked as a business banker for a national bank as well as a banking center manager for a Texas-based publically traded bank. She received her BBA/Finance from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and currently serves on the board of the Texas Certified Development Corporation and is an active volunteer for Foundation Communities.

Erika Hersh

Loan Officer - Fort Worth
Erika joined the PeopleFund team in October 2012 and serves as the Fort Worth Loan Officer. She is responsible for guiding new clients through the loan process and developing partnerships throughout the Fort Worth footprint. Originally from Oklahoma, Erika relocated to Texas for new career opportunities. Before her arrival at PeopleFund, she worked for Reconciliation Outreach, a non-profit organization in East Dallas. Her diverse background includes experience in lending administration, community outreach, and business assistance & education. She attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University and has a passion for helping the underserved realize their potential.

Marco Melendez

Loan Officer - North Austin/Waco
Marco joined the PeopleFund team in June 2014. As a loan officer for the north Austin and greater Waco areas, he is responsible for introducing clients to PeopleFund’s mission and working with them throughout the loan process. He brings over 7 years of experience in banking, business lending, mortgages, counseling, and customer service. Fully bilingual, Marco is ready to assist PeopleFund’s Spanish speaking clients as well. He is very involved in the community and has a commitment to helping small business owners find the capital they need to be successful.

Esther Lopez

Loan Officer - El Paso
Esther joined the PeopleFund team in early 2016 as a loan officer serving greater El Paso/West Texas. A native of El Paso, Esther has over 29 years of experience in banking, where she worked in several departments to grow her skills in finance, lending, and small business banking. Bilingual in English and Spanish, Esther has a strong commitment to our mission and professionalism to drive success. Active in the community. Esther volunteers her time for CASA of El Paso. She has been married for over 30 years, and has two children and one grandchild.

Jesse Sanchez

Loan Officer - Rio Grande Valley
Jesse joined the PeopleFund team September 2014 as the Loan Officer for the South Texas Region. His responsibilities include helping aspiring entrepreneurs get access to capital in addition to helping them grow through comprehensive technical support. In previous role, Jesse was the Business Advisor for the South Texas Region for Accion Texas. Before moving to Accion, Jesse worked on government contracting and also nurtured numerous successful entrepreneurial ventures. He is very excited to bring new energy to the fast developing South Texas market. Jesse currently serves as the Chair for the South Texas College Accounting Advisory Committee. He is a product of public schools in South Texas and received his BBA in Finance at The University of Texas at Austin.

Jennifer DuBose

SBA Loan Specialist
As SBA Loan Specialist, Jennifer assists the lending team and clients throughout the loan process. Her primary responsibilities include supporting the Director of Lending, loan administration and portfolio risk management. Jennifer has over 28 years of experience in banking and loan operations and holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration-Finance from Texas A&I University which is now known as Texas A&M at Kingsville.

Julie Goodson

SBA Loan Specialist
Julie brings years of experience to her role as SBA Loan Specialist, as well as expertise in commercial lending operations, SBA products, and construction loans. Originally from the Dallas area, Julie now lives in Austin and understands the needs small business owners face across Texas. She holds a degree from the University of North Texas and prior to PeopleFund she worked with mainstream banks and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Outside of the office, Julie is an active member of her community, volunteering with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, painting, and practicing yoga.

Jackie Ramos

Bloom Lab Manager
Jackie Ramos first joined the PeopleFund team in May 2015 to support lending and education programs in the greater San Antonio region. She was promoted to Bloom Lab Manager in Spring 2016 to oversee daily operations of the women’s coworking and education space, as well as provide financial guidance to PeopleFund clients. Jackie graduated from Texas State University with a degree in accounting and is currently pursuing her MBA from Texas A&M. Armed with a passion for advancing women in entrepreneurship and accounting/finance/audit experience, Jackie works to advance PeopleFund’s mission of creating economic opportunity for all. Outside of the office, Jackie is a member of the National Association for Black Accountants and enjoys fitness, music, and football.

Emily Neie

Development & Communications Specialist
Emily joined the PeopleFund team as a Development and Communications intern, and was promoted to Development Specialist in December 2014. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in English and Rhetoric and Writing, as well as a Business Foundations certificate. Prior to her experience at PeopleFund, Emily worked as an administrative intern at the Harry Ransom Center where she was delighted to be surrounded by archives of her favorite authors and artists. She believes PeopleFund’s mission is a vital part of creating stable, educated, diverse communities that create opportunity for all, not just a limited few.

Jadeline Cao

Communications & Operations Specialist
A passion for empowering underserved populations is what brings Jadeline to PeopleFund. A former Development and Communications Intern in 2013, she returns to the organization in February 2016 to serve as the Communications and Operations Specialist. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Urban Studies from the University of Texas, where she cultivated her passion for social services and non-profit work. Prior to (re)joining the PeopleFund team, Jadeline explored Austin’s social service landscape as Projects Coordinator at a boutique non-profit consulting firm, and honed her development and communications skills at a start-up international development nonprofit.

Tassjania Lozano

Education & Training Specialist
With a motto to live happy by helping others, Tassjania found a perfect fit with PeopleFund. Tass has worked in a variety of positions in corporate responsibility, non-profit religious groups and her favorite, grassroots political organizing for the past 8 years. Before PeopleFund, she was in charge of Community Outreach in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for Apple Inc. By partnering with organizations such as the North Texas Food Bank and Austin Street Shelter, she was able to increase community development through employee involvement. Tass also has her own small project dedicated to serving the homeless, in which she creates and distributes care packages. Last year alone her team helped over 500 people. Her role as Education and Training Coordinator includes post loan support for clients through the mentorship program, building curriculum, and nurturing relationships with community partners to further develop small businesses and non-profits.

Lisa Terrazas

SBA Client Liaison
Lisa joined PeopleFund in 2014 as a contractor responsible for nurturing relationships with People Fund’s 50+ SBA Microloan clients, performing site visits, and connecting them with resources to ensure their success. Her diverse experience includes over ten years of various roles in finance, accounting, project management and professional development. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Southern Methodist University and a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling from Texas State University. In addition to helping our small business clients, Lisa also provides counseling for personal growth to individuals and couples in her psychotherapy practice.

Jalkeetna Brady

Customer Service Representative - Houston
Jalkeetna Brady joined PeopleFund in March 2015 as a Customer Service Representative at our Houston office. She graduated from Jackson State University with a BA in Business Management, and has worked in customer service for 16 years across several states before joining the PeopleFund team. Jalkeetna assists the Houston loan officer with preparing loan packages and maintaining a high standard of client communications and relationship-building.

Carlos Garcia

Customer Service Rep - SA
Carlos Garcia joined PeopleFund in February 2016 as a Customer Service Representative in our San Antonio office. He attended the Art Institute of Dallas and the University of Texas Pan American studying commercial art and design. He has an eclectic and broad professional background, at one point serving as a Deputy Sheriff, an academic admissions and career officer, and most recently working as a loan officer. He has been involved in several nonprofit organizations across Texas and Florida, and continues to direct, produce, and write music in the Miami music and film industry.

Diana Meneses

Customer Service Representative - DFW
Diana joined the PeopleFund team in September 2015 as a customer service representative supporting the greater Dallas/Fort Worth region. Fully bilingual in English and Spanish, Diana brings years of experience in customer service. In addition to her work supporting our North Texas lending team, Diana is pursuing her degree in business management. Prior to PeopleFund, Diana worked as a loan processor for a national consumer lender. In her role, Diana will support our lending team in loan processing, customer service, and office administration, bringing her positive attitude and commitment to small business success.

Dan Yahiel

Lending Assistant
Dan joined the PeopleFund team in 2015 to help enter data into our loan portfolio management system. He comes to PeopleFund with many years of experience in developing software for various organizations.
Dan has experience building databases, applications and IT infrastructure. He holds a bachelor’s degree from UTSA and a master’s degree from George Mason University.

Marcia Lepore

Office Assistant
In April 2016 Marcia joined PeopleFund as an office assistant. Most recently she has been a concierge at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa and the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel where she served as President of the Austin Concierge and Guest Services Association. She spent 15 years in the real estate industry representing new home builders. She served as the marketing director of several years orchestrating grand openings for multi-million dollar developments such as Belterra for Morrison Homes and River Oaks at Westlake for Toll Brothers. She sold and communicated the home purchase and design process, facilitating interaction between all parties involved. Marcia is working with PeopleFund in conjunction with AARP and is excited to be a part of the team.

Julie Ahmadi

Office Assistant
Julie joined the PeopleFund team in December 2015 as an office assistant. In her role, Julie is the smiling face that greets PeopleFund clients, partners, and guests from the front desk. Julie also supports operations and communications initiatives, providing the administrative support that keeps our organization running. Outside of the office, Julie enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, taking walks with her cockapoo, crafts, reading and traveling. Julie is working for PeopleFund in partnership with AARP.