President and CEO
In 2010, Gary Lindner became President & CEO. Since then, PeopleFund, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) has grown from a 5 county central Texas service area to a statewide lender (254 counties) with enormous social and economic impact. He hired a high energy staff, and successfully opened seven PeopleFund offices across the state, and tripled outstanding loans. From 2004-2015, Mr. Lindner has been responsible for 6,000 Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) loans to Texas small businesses. Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer at ACCION Texas from 2004-2010 where he quadrupled the outstanding loan portfolio to over $30 million. Mr. Lindner also was SVP of a private insurance company and set profitability records. During his distinguished 29 year military career, he flew intensive air combat missions in Southeast Asia, followed by a series of increasingly challenging flying, staff, and three CEO assignments. He achieved the rank of Colonel and Command Pilot status. An Air Force Academy graduate, Mr. Lindner earned a master’s degree from Auburn University. He has served on numerous local, regional, state and national non-profit boards.
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.
Director of Lending
As Director of Lending, Jemerell is responsible for statewide loan production and creation of responsive loan products that meet client need. Jemerell focuses on our mission to create access to capital to underserved Texas entrepreneurs, leveraging partnerships and community engagement to help small businesses thrive. Jemerell supervises PeopleFund’s lending and loan administration team throughout the state to advance economic opportunity in rural and urban communities. As a member of Austin’s financial industry for over 11 years and operating his own business for 4 years, Jemerell is in tune with the obstacles faced by many PeopleFund clients. With a keen understanding of the traditional financial mainstream, Jemerell looks forward to creating opportunities to help small businesses thrive. Originally hired as a loan officer, Jemerell was promoted to a Senior Loan Officer and Director of Lending, a showcase of his commitment to PeopleFund and the underserved entrepreneurs we elevate.
Director of Advancement & Education
In her role as Director of Advancement & Education, 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. To ensure quality educational support for prospective entrepreneurs and PeopleFund clients, Amber leads educational programming and technical assistance, including the organization’s volunteer program, workshops, curriculums, and online resources. 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 and she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Corporate Communications and Public Relations from Georgetown University. Prior to joining PeopleFund in 2012, Amber served as the founding Director of the Texas Stars Foundation, as well as managed volunteer and youth services for the American Red Cross. Early in her public sector career, Amber worked with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to advocate for equity and opportunity for all.
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.
Director of Operations
Shay joined the PeopleFund staff in April 2010 and has over 14 years of administrative and managerial experience. In her role, Shay oversees our facilities, strategic partnerships, and vendor management statewide. She also coordinates human resources, information technology, special projects, and administration. Originally from Chicago, 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. Prior to PeopleFund, Shay honed her operational skills in the healthcare industry, working at several area medical practices. Throughout her career she has volunteered with several non-profit organizations and therapy practices. Outside of the office, Shay enjoys spending time with her two young sons and shelter dog, Olive.
Bloom Lab Manager & Advancement Specialist
In her dual role, Meghan oversees PeopleFund’s digital marketing strategy, community outreach, and women-focused educational programs while also managing the Bloom Lab, PeopleFund’s business center and co-working facility in Austin. Her work focuses on empowering entrepreneurs to make a sustainable economic impact in their communities and is actively involved in local and state public policy. She was recently selected by the U.S. Department of State and the German Marshall Fund of the United States as a Young Transatlantic Innovation Leader, and will represent America at a convening in Berlin and Kyiv. Meghan served as the Chair of Marketing and Outreach Sub-Committee and the Creative Economy Committee with the Greater Austin Asian Chamber. She is a member of the Travis County Food Policy Healthy Food Access Working Group, Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Opportunity Finance Network, Texas Association of Community Development Corporations, Austin Alliance for Economic Inclusion, and Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. Meghan graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, studying Modern History and International Relations.
As the manager of the Women’s Business Assistance Center, Tass provides individualized business advising and group instruction to aspiring women entrepreneurs and spearheads women-focused programming throughout North Texas. She oversees a budding business facility to advance women in entrepreneurship and creates innovative programming to spur economic opportunity for women as they compete in a changing economy. Tass recently returned to PeopleFund after leading an expansion and training team for a Dallas-based technology company and serving as PeopleFund’s education and training specialist, where she oversaw curriculums and mentorship programs. With a passion for social and economic justice and experience in program development, Tass equips women with the tools to succeed. Under her leadership, PeopleFund’s women clients have created jobs, provided valuable community services, and gained national attention – including invitations to speak at the White House. In her spare time, she volunteers with homeless shelters, loves to take spontaneous road trips, and visit local art exhibits and museums. Tass enjoys getting her hands dirty, equipping people to be successful, and seeing women grow.
Collections & Asset Quality Manager
In her role as Collection & Asset Quality Manager, Stacy is responsible for line modifications, restructured payment arrangements, asset liquidation and repossession, and portfolio management. Originally from Speedway, Indiana, she attended the University of Indianapolis and relocated to Texas for career opportunities and the warmer weather. Her background is diverse in sales, collections, and asset management, having worked in the automotive industry. Stacy is passionate about veteran affairs, women’s empowerment, and supporting small business. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her husband and two babies watching football and hiking.
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.
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.
Project Manager, CDFI Veteran Collaborative
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.
Senior Loan Officer, Greater Dallas
As a senior loan officer, Felicia oversees multiple PeopleFund loan programs specific to the city of Dallas. In her role, she works directly with underserved entrepreneurs as well as strategic partners across North Texas to spur economic development and job creation. Felicia has two decades of experience in credit risk and portfolio management in addition to expertise in community development and neighborhood revitalization. Prior to PeopleFund, Felicia served as a senior lending specialist for Business and Community Lenders of Texas, a Texas CDFI, and Main Street Launch, most recently as the Senior Vice President for the Oakland market. She previously held roles as a corporate banking and credit risk manager for several global financial institutions. Passionate about economic justice, Felicia has served as a New Markets Tax Credit reviewer, Co-Chairwoman of community advocacy groups, and loan committee member. An award-winning, certified economic development finance professional, Felicia has been building economic mobility for others since the very start of her career as a Peace Corps instructor in Cameroon. She holds an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
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.
Senior Loan Officer - Fort Worth
Originally from Oklahoma, where she attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Erika relocated to Texas for new career opportunities. Her diverse background includes experience in lending, grant writing, community outreach, and business assistance & education.. She joined the PeopleFund team in 2012 and serves as the Fort Worth Area Loan Officer. She is responsible for guiding new clients through the loan process and developing partnerships throughout the Fort Worth footprint. Erika is an officer in the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Cowtown Leads Exchange. She is also a member of the Burleson Chamber of Commerce Power of Heels committee and she currently serves as the Head Judge for the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center Business Plan Competition. Erika has a passion for helping new entrepreneurs realize their potential. Her vitality, skills and compassion translates to her desire to see small businesses succeed.
Senior Loan Officer - Rio Grande Valley and Chief Training Officer
Bill joined the PeopleFund team in November 2016. As a loan officer for the Rio Grande Valley, he is responsible for identifying and supporting the financial needs of local businesses and working with them throughout the loan process. Bill has over 33 years of banking experience, which includes business lending, retail lending, mortgages and customer service. Bill is fully bilingual and is ready to assist Spanish-speaking clients.
Loan Officer- San Antonio
Oscar is a Loan Officer for People Fund. Oscar has had over 25 years in the community development and real estate finance experience. As a loan officer, Oscar is responsible in assisting small business entrepreneurs with small business finance and act as an advocate for small companies with limited resources and getting a small business loan easier. Oscar has extensive community development lending and most recent a mortgage loan officer. Oscar has held a job with the Corpus Christi Minority Business Development Center providing technical assistance to small business’ in the greater Corpus Christi areas and surrounding counties. Oscar is a HUD Certified Housing Counselor and worked with the Austin Habitat for Humanity.
Oscar graduated in 1981 from Texas A&M – Kingsville Texas and is a Texas Real Estate Agent, Mortgage Loan Originator, and Certified as a Texas Affordable Housing Specialist with Texas Association of Realtors.
Oscar graduated in 1981 from Texas A&M – Kingsville Texas and is a Texas Real Estate Agent, Mortgage Loan Originator, and Certified as a Texas Affordable Housing Specialist with Texas Association of Realtors.
Loan Officer - Greater Austin
In her role as Customer Service Representative, Sheyenne works with the Senior Loan Officer help educate start-ups, established businesses, and nonprofit clients about the loan process and to keep accurate records and ensure the necessary documentation is in place to help the loan process go as smoothly as possible. Witnessing firsthand the individual, familial, and societal benefits that come about when underserved people are given access to education and financial resources stoked a passion in Sheyenne to get involved.
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.
Loan Officer - Laredo
Victoria joined the PeopleFund team in November 2017 as a Loan Officer serving the Laredo market. A native to Laredo, Victoria has over 4 years of experience in the nonprofit lending industry as a Sr. Lending Assistant with LiftFund, Inc. She is currently pursuing her bachelors in History with a concentration in Colonial America and minoring in business administration at Texas A&M Intl University. Victoria comes from a line of entrepreneurs and is committed to help fellow Texans pursue the American Dream in the border town of Laredo. You can find her spending time with friends and family on weekends. Victoria enjoys attending local artists’ events where fellow Laredoans display handmade goods. With joy in her heart, Victoria looks forward to help small businesses thrive in her community.
Education Specialist-Curriculums & Mentorship
Katherine joined the PeopleFund family in June of 2016 as the Education Specialist, focusing on expanding the organization’s mentor program and extended curriculums. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from Texas State, and is now working on her Master’s degree in Community Improvement through Texas Tech. In her role, Katherine focuses on the sustainability of PeopleFund clients through education, training, and outreach. Some of her responsibilities include matching clients with volunteers that may help them with an aspect of their business, administering and tracking pre- and post-loan education, and coordinating educational events such as PeopleVET and Emprende. Katherine is passionate about economic opportunity for all and committed to serving underserved populations. She believes that through education, anything is possible. In her spare time, Katherine can be found reading, cooking, or taking a class.
Education Specialist-Program & Impact Measurement
Angela joined the PeopleFund team in January of 2017. In her role as an Education Specialist she ensures loan readiness by providing support to the programs and curriculums for the Education department. As someone passionate about impact she also manages the tracking and evaluation functions for the education department. Angela brings over 5 years of experience to PeopleFund, previously providing operational and program support at a best practices nonprofit. She is a proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie class of 2008 and also holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Bush School of Government and Public Service. When she’s not empowering small business owners, you can find Angela exploring the many coffee shops in her hometown of Austin, playing Ultimate Frisbee, or enjoying a good book in her Kammok.
Education Specialist, Workshops & Financial Counseling
In December 2017, DeVante’ joined the PeopleFund team as an education specialist responsible for coordinating workshops across all markets, providing support for different programs in the education department, and works hand-in-hand with clients to improve financial literacy. As a financial counselor, he will be teaching clients about credit improvement, financial statements, and offer one on one business guidance. DeVante’ graduated from Texas State University with degree in Accounting and is an active member of the National Association of Black Accountants. He played two years of college football at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Devante’ is passionate about supporting underserved entrepreneurs achieve their dreams and is eager to help business owners thrive.
Jackie Ramos first joined the PeopleFund team in May 2015 to support lending and education programs in the greater San Antonio region. After a short time overseeing the opening of the Bloom Lab coworking and resource center for women, Jackie was promoted to accounting assistant in the winter of 2016. In her role as Staff Accountant, Jackie advances the finance department’s recording and reporting of information while also providing financial guidance and accounting assistance to PeopleFund clients. Jackie graduated from Texas State University with a degree in accounting and graduated with an MBA in May 2017 from Texas A&M. She is currently working towards completing a CPA license. Armed with a passion for advancing women in entrepreneurship and accounting/finance/audit experience, Jackie is committed to 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.
Originally from Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, Fernando Aaron Fernandez Legarda graduated from UT Austin with a Bachelors of Arts in Economics and minors in Finance and Italian. He is a positive, high-achiever, and hard-working person who is eager to learn new things and passionate about helping others. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs and small business owners, he understands the complications and struggles small businesses face day to day. Fernando is passionate about helping entrepreneurs achieve financial stability for themselves and their families.
As an Underwriter, Krysta structures, underwrites and approves small business loans as well as monitor the financial health of PeopleFund clients. Krysta is a proud Texas native, born and raised in Houston. She graduated from the University of Texas-Austin in May 2010 with a BBA in Finance and minor in Psychology and was a member of the Women in Business Association. She has over three years of experience underwriting small business loans in the online lending field while living in New York City. Krysta comes from a family of entrepreneurs and is deeply committed to helping fellow Texans pursue the American Dream. When she is not in office, Krysta loves to be outdoors- hiking, kayaking, camping and loves a good puzzle.
Loan Closing Officer
Dalia joined the PeopleFund team in January 2018 as Loan Closing Officer. In her role, she supports the lending team to ensure effective client assistance and comprehensive mission delivery. Dalia prepares loan closing documents, loan modification agreements, and verifies accurate records are maintained in customer files. She has over five years of bilingual business development and customer service experience. Dalia is passionate about entrepreneurship in Texas and is excited to further the PeopleFund mission of economic opportunity.
Lending Support Officer
Jessica joined the PeopleFund team in the summer of 2016, and comes to San Antonio by way of Southern California and El Paso, Texas. A finance graduate from the UTEP, Jessica has extensive experience in sales, administration, education, and the public sector. Empowered with a passion for helping others achieve their personal and professional goals, Jessica helps underserved entrepreneurs across South Central Texas reach the American Dream. Outside of the office, Jessica enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Lending Support Specialist
Vicki started with the Southern Dallas Development Corporation in 1998, and over the past two decades, has provided exceptional customer service, clerical support, and loan administration assistance to the PeopleFund lending team. Vicki supports the administration of the City of Dallas Loan Program, leveraging her experience in office administration, client support, and customer service. Vicki displays her confident and professional disposition as she assists clients, guests, board members, and staff in support of PeopleFund’s mission of economic opportunity.
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.
Loan Administrator, City of Dallas Loan Program
Carlotta joined Southern Dallas Development Corporation, now PeopleFund, as a Loan Administrator in January 1991. Ms. Wheeler’s responsibilities include maintenance of the loan ledger system, loan status reporting, loan document administration and review. Ms. Wheeler has helped to manage over 500 business relationships and loan programs totaling in excess of $200 million. Prior to joining SDDC, Ms. Wheeler was an Administrative Assistant at First National Bank of Chicago, Dallas Regional Office to five Vice Presidents and later promoted to Client Services Representative in the Cash Management Department serving national accounts for the Fortune 1000 clients located in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and Louisiana. Ms. Wheeler has a B.S. in Education from Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma. She has served on several non-profit organizations as a member and board member.
Assistant Loan Adminstrator
Tierney joined the PeopleFund team as a Finance intern in January 2017 while finishing a Business Administration degree at Austin Community College. She was hired full time as Assistant Loan Administrator and assists with loan fundings and payments working directly with clients. A native Austinite, Tierney grew up in a family of small-business owners and the resilience and passion of the entrepreneurs around her inspired to help others in her community.
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.
SBA Loan Servicing Specialist
Shane joined PeopleFund in late 2016 with a mission to heal the world one business at a time. As an SBA Loan Servicing Specialist, Shane is helping to nurture the SBA Community Advantage clients by coaching via site visits, and aligning them with the proper resources to assist in their advancement and success. Shane has 15+ years’ experience with businesses of varying size and mission, focusing on the customer’s goals and missions. Specifically, his experience entails Account Management, Customer Success Management, Tech and Small Business Consulting, Coaching, Leadership and Marketing. He received his Bachelor’s Business Admin from Lamar University and is certified in Coaching, Gallup Strengths Training and is a Certified Scrum Master. Outside of Shane’s professional experience, he volunteers as a Mentor for Everwise, a Reading Buddy for Andrews Elementary 4th graders and, as of recently, volunteered as a Community Ambassador with Urban Co-Lab. Shane’s mission in life is to assist other with their inherent abilities and guide them to their next step.
SBA Loan Specialist
In her role as SBA Lending Specialist, Narda assists the lending team and PeopleFund clients throughout the loan process. Narda has over 20 years of experience in customer service and 8 years lending experience. She began her lending career at Accion Texas (now LiftFund) as a Loan Processor before being promoted as a Contract Manger. Narda is a passionate supporter of small business and works tirelessly to positively impact the community through access to capital. She is currently enrolled at Concordia University and is set to graduate in December 2017 with a BBA in Management.
Customer Service Representative- Rio Grande Valley
Linda joined the PeopleFund team as a customer service representative supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Rio Grande Valley. With nearly 32 years of experience in the financial and banking industry, she strives to make a difference by being a positive influence. She has an extensive education background in commercial lending, mortgage, and financials. Linda has is proud to be an integral part of a group of individuals who are dedicated to helping others with their financial needs.
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.
SBA 504 Specialist
Gabrielle Arboleda, better known as Gaby, recently joined PeopleFund as a SBA 504 Specialist to promote and package loans under the SBA 504 program. Gaby's lending career started in banking where she was always involved with the different SBA programs. However, 10 years ago her focus changed to the SBA 504 program when she became a BDO and packager for a large CDC. Besides her lending career Gaby enjoys songwriting, playing guitar and ukulele. She has 6 years of musical studies including voice. She is a devoted teacher and coach of Spanish and English as a second language to students of all ages. Gaby is also involved in giving presentations to small business owners and lenders something she enjoys very much and plans to continue doing.
Operations & Advancement Assistant
Allie joined the PeopleFund team in the Fall of 2017 as the Operations and Advancement Assistant, lending support through development, administration, digital marketing, and event planning. Allie graduated from the University of Texas in May 2016 with a degree in Corporate Communications and brings a background in quality customer service, social content, and editorial writing. She has a heart for the underserved communities of Austin and is excited to be connecting small businesses with PeopleFund. When she’s not at her desk, you can find Allie solving crossword puzzles, reading a new book, or brewing the perfect cup of coffee.