Staff

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 and Communications
Amber joined the Peoplefund Team in June 2012. In her role as Director of Development and Communications, Amber is responsible for PeopleFund’s comprehensive development strategy, including managing donor relations, governing community investment, fundraising and grant writing. She also oversees the organization’s external messaging, public relations, and online presence. Originally from Pennsylvania, Amber relocated to Austin to complete her degrees in History and Government from the University of Texas. Prior to joining the PeopleFund, 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

Office Manager
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.

Christine Flores

Underwriter
As an Underwriter, Christine assists the Underwriting group and her responsibilities include analyzing each loan request for associated risk and compliance with the internal credit policy. Prior to this Christine served in the role of SBA Lending Specialist where she helped to originate and service SBA loans for clients. She continues to assist with the SBA loan program and also supports the Director of Risk Management of PeopleFund. Christine is a native Austinite who graduated with honors from Park University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She has extensive banking experience, both on the Commercial and Retail side of Banking, this includes a tenure at Chase Bank and Comerica Bank. She is fluent in Spanish and continues to be involved in the community. Christine volunteers to help educate the Latino community in banking and finance to help them meet their financial needs and educate them about credit, buying a home and identity theft.

Patricia Colomo Baray

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Grant Bennett

Lending Support Officer
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. Grant is responsible for supporting the lending program and insuring data accuracy and high quality output. 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.

Erica Herbst

Operations Specialist
Erica came to PeopleFund to develop her skills in an environment focused on the greater good. Erica works with the Office Manager to provide support for PeopleFund's daily operations and programs. Erica believes financial success and economic opportunity should be available to everyone, especially when it comes to local business owners who Keep Austin Weird. Erica graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Business Foundations Program Certificate from UT’s McCombs School of Business.

Emily Neie

Development 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.

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.

Amanda Homesley

Assistant Loan Administrator
As Assistant Loan Administrator, Amanda supports the lending team in assessing best practices and products for PeopleFund’s clients. She also collaborates with the accounting and finance department to provide accurate reports and impact metrics. She comes to PeopleFund with extensive experience in accounting, nonprofit administration, program coordination, finance, and development. Prior to PeopleFund Amanda held multiple management roles with CASA of Bastrop County as well as worked with the University of Texas and private insurance agencies. Outside of the office, Amanda enjoys spending time with her family, including children Amethyst, Matt, Mason, and Kyleigh, and 2 grandchildren.

Yussef Habib

Business Development Officer - Dallas/Fort Worth
Yussef Habib joined PeopleFund in January 2015 as a Business Development Officer responsible for large loans, including loans from our Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business partnership that targets existing businesses looking to grow. He graduated from St. Edwards University with a B.A. in Business Administration and International Business. Yussef has over five years of experience in the banking industry, and started his own company investing in Austin real estate. Fully bilingual, he is ready to assist Spanish-speaking clients and expand our outreach in our Dallas office.

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.

Jackie Ramos

Customer Service Representative - SA
Jackie Ramos joined PeopleFund in May 2015 as a Customer Service Representative at our San Antonio office. She graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelors in Accounting, and is pursuing her MBA at Texas A&M - San Antonio. Shortly after graduating Jackie interned at a public accounting firm. Jackie assists the San Antonio loan officer with preparing loan packages and maintaining quality communications with clients, a fast response rate and accuracy in all she does.

Bridget Lee

Customer Service Representative - DFW
Bridget Craven Lee joined PeopleFund in March 2015 as a Customer Service Representative at our Dallas Fort Worth office. She has over 6 years customer service experience with various corporations. Bridget will assist the DFW loan officers with preparing loan packages and maintaining a high standard of client communications and relationship building. Bridget is a mother of four adult children, avid book worm and movie goer.