Officers & Directors

Officers & Directors

Management Team

Kenneth Earl Rees
Chief Executive Officer
Kenneth E. Rees has served as our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of our Board of Directors since 2014. He joined Think Finance, Inc., or “TFI,” our predecessor company, as President in 2004, and held the position of Chief Executive Officer from his appointment in November 2004 until April 30, 2014, the day before the Spin-Off. Mr. Rees served on TFI’s board of directors as its Chairman from 2014 through May 15, 2015. Prior to joining TFI, from 2001 to 2004, Mr. Rees was the founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of CashWorks, Inc., a provider of non-bank financial services that was purchased by GE Money in 2004. He holds a BA in Mathematics from Reed College and an MBA in Finance and Statistics from the University of Chicago. Mr. Rees was named the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southwest Area North region in 2012. We believe Mr. Rees is qualified to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors because of his over 20 years of experience, including over 15 years leading technology-enabled financial services companies including Elevate, TFI, and CashWorks.
Christopher T. Lutes
Chief Financial Officer
Christopher Lutes has served as our Chief Financial Officer since January 2015, and served as the Chief Financial Officer of TFI from 2007 to 2014. Prior to joining TFI, Mr. Lutes was the Chief Financial Officer for Silicon Valley Bank from 1998 to 2001, as well as several other companies. Mr. Lutes began his career in public accounting with Coopers & Lybrand. He has a BS in Accounting from Arizona State University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Arizona. Mr. Lutes is on the boards of directors of Central Pacific Bank and its parent corporation Central Pacific Financial Corporation.
Jason Harvison
Chief Operating Officer
Jason Harvison has served as our Chief Operating Officer since 2014. He was a member of our Board of Directors from 2014 to January 2018. Mr. Harvison served as our Chief Financial Officer from May 2014 to December 2014, as well as Chief Product Officer from May 2014 to October 2014. Mr. Harvison served on the board of directors of TFI from 2003 to 2015. Mr. Harvison joined TFI as Senior Vice President in 2003, and in 2011, he was promoted to Executive Vice President. In 2013, he was further promoted to Chief Product Officer of TFI, which position he held until 2014. Prior to joining TFI, Mr. Harvison served as Assistant Vice President at Guaranty Bank. He has a BBA in Finance from Texas A&M University.
Chad Bradford
Chief Accounting Officer
Chad Bradford has served as our Chief Accounting Officer since February 2017 and has served as our Senior Vice President of Finance since 2015. Mr. Bradford previously served as our Chief Accounting Officer from 2014 to 2015. He has held the position of Chief Accounting Officer at various companies — from 2012 to 2014 at TFI and from 2010 to 2012 at Homeward Residential Holdings, Inc., one of the largest non-bank mortgage servicers in the US. Prior to that, Mr. Bradford worked at KPMG, LLP from 1998 to 2010 with a specialization in financial services and served an international rotation where he worked as a member of the US GAAP Advisory Services team. Mr. Bradford is a Certified Public Accountant. He has a BBA in Accounting from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the University of Texas-Dallas.
Sharon Clarey
Chief Human Resources Officer
Sharon Clarey has served as our Chief Human Resources Officer since June 2016. She served as our Senior Vice President of Human Resources from 2014 to 2016. She served as the Vice President of Human Resources at TFI from 2011 to 2014 and served as Director of Human Resources at TFI from 2009 to 2011. Prior to joining TFI, Ms. Clarey was the Director of Human Resources at Mannatech, incorporated from 2004 to 2009 and held various leadership roles at American Airlines and American Trans Air. She has a BA in Advertising from Drake University.
Sarah Fagin Cutrona
Chief Counsel
Sarah Fagin Cutrona has served as our Chief Counsel since 2014. She was General Counsel at TFI from 2006 to 2014. Prior to that, she was Associate Counsel at AmeriCredit Corp. from 2001 to 2006 and served as Vice President of Government Affairs at NationsCredit Financial Services Corp. from 1997 to 1998. She is a member of the State Regulatory Registry (SRR) Industry Advisory Council, a subsidiary of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. Ms. Cutrona graduated from Texas Tech University with degrees in Finance and Petroleum Land Management and received her JD from Southern Methodist University.
Scott Greever
Managing Director, UK
Scott Greever has served as Managing Director of our UK business unit since February 2016, and served as the Chief Information Officer of the UK business from 2015 to 2016. Mr. Greever held multiple roles with TFI from 2009 to 2014 including Chief Information Officer—UK, interim Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Application Development in the United States. Prior to joining TFI, Mr. Greever was the Vice President of North America IT for Brink’s Inc. from 2003 to 2009. Mr. Greever began his career as an internal consultant with NCNB (a predecessor of Bank of America). He holds a BS in Marketing from Texas Tech University.
Joan C. Kuehl
Chief Information Officer
Joan Kuehl has served as Chief Information Officer since she joined Elevate in 2016. Prior to joining Elevate, Ms. Kuehl served as Senior Vice President and eBusiness CIO at The Travelers Companies beginning in 2012. Prior to her tenure at The Travelers Companies, she served as Senior Vice President of Technology at Bank of America from 2006 to 2012, where she was responsible for running Online Banking and Mobile Banking for the consumer bank. Additionally, from 1984 to 2006, Ms. Kuehl held various technology leadership positions at Sabre, Inc., including Senior Vice President of Application Development. Ms. Kuehl holds a BS in Computer Science from West Virginia University.
David Curry Peterson
Chief Credit Officer
David Peterson has served as our Chief Credit Officer since November 2018. Previously, Mr. Peterson served as Elevate’s Senior Vice President of Risk Management. Mr. Peterson worked in the risk management department at TFI from 2010 to 2014, including as Director. Previously, Mr. Peterson held various leadership roles at Americredit Financial and Washington Mutual. Mr. Peterson has a BBA in Finance and an MBA from the M.J. Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University.
Kathleen Vanderkolk
Chief Risk Officer
Kathleen Vanderkolk has served as our Chief Risk Officer since October 2018. Prior to her current role, Ms. Vanderkolk worked in Elevate’s legal department as General Counsel. Ms. Vanderkolk first joined Elevate in 2014, previously holding the role of Senior Regulatory Attorney at TFI, and Associate at Dreher Tomkies LLP. Ms. Vanderkolk holds a BS from Duquesne and a JD from Capital University Law School.

Board of Directors

John C. Dean Jr.
Lead Director
John C. Dean is our Lead Director and has been a member of our Board of Directors since May 2014. Mr. Dean is a member of the Compensation and Audit Committees. Mr. Dean previously served as a member of the board of directors of TFI from 2005 to 2014. Mr. Dean has spent more than 35 years as an executive in the financial services industry, serving as Chief Executive Officer of five financial institutions throughout the country including Silicon Valley Bank. He has been with Central Pacific Bank since 2010, serving as Chairman of the Board of Central Pacific Bank from March 2010 until April 2011, when he became Chief Executive Officer, which position he held until July 2015, when he became Executive Chairman of the Board. Effective October 2018, Mr. Dean is the Chairman Emeritus and Director of the Board. Mr. Dean is also the founder and managing partner of Startup Capital Ventures LP. In 2001, Mr. Dean was recognized by Forbes as one of the “50 most powerful dealmakers.” More recently, he was recognized as Hawaii Business Magazine’s 2012 CEO of the Year; Sales and Marketing Executives International Honolulu’s 2012 Salesperson of the Year; 2012 Pacific Business News’ Business Leader of the Year; and 2012 Pacific Buddhist Academy Inspirational Leader. He is a graduate of Holy Cross College, a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Western Samoa and a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with an MBA in Finance. We believe Mr. Dean is uniquely qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to his 35-year history as a respected financial services executive.
Stephen B. Galasso
Stephen B. Galasso has been a member of our Board of Directors since May 2014 and is a member of the Audit Committee and the Chairperson of the Risk Committee. Mr. Galasso previously served on the board of directors of TFI from 2012 to 2014. He has been President of SBG Resources, LLC since 2005. Prior to SBG Resources, Mr. Galasso was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NetSpend from 2001 to 2004, President and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Value Network from 1998 to 2000 and President and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of America Credit Cards from 1995 to 1998. He has been an independent director and strategic advisor to several companies including TFI since 2012 (where he ceased serving as a director in May 2014), Axeso Payment Solutions in Brazil from 2011 to 2012, AccountNow, Inc. from 2007 to 2011, and Advanced Payment Solutions in the UK from 2005 to 2011. Mr. Galasso was also an Entrepreneur in Residence for Payments and Financial Technology at Trident Capital from 2005 to 2011. He has a BS and MBA from Fordham University. We believe Mr. Galasso is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors because of his experience with multiple payment and credit financial products, for both large and small institutions in the US as well as abroad.
Tyler W. K. Head
Tyler Head has been a member of our Board of Directors since July 2014 and is Chairperson of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. He is the President and founder of Corbett Capital, LLC, a closely held investment company focusing on growth capital investments in early-stage and lower middle market companies. Prior to founding Corbett Capital, LLC, in 2011, Mr. Head served as an officer and F/A-18 pilot in the US Marine Corps from 1998 through 2009, attaining the rank of Major prior to transitioning to the private sector. He is a founding member of Cowtown Angels, an Angel Investor group in Fort Worth, Texas and serves on the group’s steering council. Mr. Head serves on the board of directors of Little Passports, Inc., and served on the board of directors of TFI until August 21, 2015. He also serves on the board of directors of TECH Fort Worth, a business incubator and accelerator. Mr. Head has a BS in Political Science with a minor in Spanish from the US Naval Academy and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. We believe Mr. Head is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors because of his experience funding and advising early stage growth companies, his experience in corporate governance, and his extensive organizational and leadership experience in the Marine Corps.
Robert Louis Johnson
Robert L. Johnson has served on our Board of Directors since May 2014, and previously served on the board of directors of TFI from August 2012 to 2014. He is a member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Mr. Johnson is the founder and Chairman of The RLJ Companies, an innovative business network that owns or holds interests in a diverse portfolio of companies in the consumer financial services, private equity, real estate, hospitality, film production, gaming and automobile dealership industries. Prior to forming The RLJ Companies, in 1980 Mr. Johnson founded Black Entertainment Television (BET) where he served as chief executive officer. In 2001, BET was acquired by Viacom Inc. and Mr. Johnson continued to serve as chief executive officer until 2006. In July 2007, Mr. Johnson was named by USA Today as one of the “25 most influential business leaders of the past 25 years.” Mr. Johnson currently serves on the compensation committee and the nomination and governance committee of KB Home (NYSE: KBH), as well as on the board of directors or trustees of RLJ Lodging Trust (NYSE: RLJ). Mr. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Illinois and holds a master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. We believe Mr. Johnson is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to his experience as a successful chief executive officer of BET and The RLJ Companies as well as his experience in finance, banking and brand-building enterprises. In addition, he brings experience from serving on more than seven publicly-traded companies and participating in board committees including audit, governance and compensation and has a proven commitment to serving minority and underserved consumers.
Kenneth Earl Rees
Chairman
Kenneth E. Rees has served as our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of our Board of Directors since 2014. He joined Think Finance, Inc., or “TFI,” our predecessor company, as President in 2004, and held the position of Chief Executive Officer from his appointment in November 2004 until April 30, 2014, the day before the Spin-Off. Mr. Rees served on TFI’s board of directors as its Chairman from 2014 through May 15, 2015. Prior to joining TFI, from 2001 to 2004, Mr. Rees was the founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of CashWorks, Inc., a provider of non-bank financial services that was purchased by GE Money in 2004. He holds a BA in Mathematics from Reed College and an MBA in Finance and Statistics from the University of Chicago. Mr. Rees was named the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southwest Area North region in 2012. We believe Mr. Rees is qualified to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors because of his over 20 years of experience, including over 15 years leading technology-enabled financial services companies including Elevate, TFI, and CashWorks.
Saundra D. Schrock
Saundra D. Schrock has been a member of our Board of Directors since May 2016 and is the Chairperson of our Compensation Committee and a member of our Risk Committee. Ms. Schrock currently serves as the CEO and founder of Mindful Planet, LLC, a mobile learning company that focuses on leadership content development for individuals and companies. Ms. Schrock brings to Elevate more than 35 years of experience in consumer financial services. Prior to her current position, from 2014 to 2016, she was a Managing Partner at Equanimity Leadership Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm that trains leaders on effective management communications strategies, and from 2011 to 2014, she worked as an executive coaching consultant. Before that, she spent over twenty years at JPMorgan Chase where she successfully managed over 3,000 bank branches and 30,000 employees, as well as their Consumer Lending Division. Ms. Schrock is also the Treasurer of St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation Board. She earned a BA in Psychology from Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis), an MBA from Arizona State University where she serves as an Executive in Residence, and she is a PhD candidate at Grand Canyon University. We believe that she is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors because she brings a wealth of expertise in banking and consumer lending.
Stephen J. Shaper
Stephen J. Shaper has been a member of our Board of Directors since May 2014 and is the Chairperson of the Audit Committee and a member of the Risk Committee. Mr. Shaper has been the Chief Executive Officer of Middlemarch Capital Corporation, a consulting organization for the payments industry encompassing credit and debit transactions, internet payments, checks and loans, since 2010. Mr. Shaper previously served as Executive Vice President, Sales for PreCash Corporation from 2007 to 2010 and before that was the Chairman of Optimal Payments PLC (London: OPAY). He also served as President of Sales and Marketing for First Data Corporation and as Chief Executive Officer of TeleCheck Services, Inc., or “TeleCheck.” Prior to TeleCheck, Mr. Shaper owned or was a partner in more than thirty manufacturing, importing and distribution companies. He is currently a board member of Mickie Services Company.. Mr. Shaper received a BA degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University and an MBA from Harvard Business School and served in the US Army Corps of Engineers. He was a member of Young Presidents’ Organization and is currently an active member of YPO Gold. We believe Mr. Shaper is uniquely qualified to serve on our Board of Directors from having been involved in the payments industry continuously since 1977 as an investor, board member and executive.
Bradley R. Strock
Bradley Strock has been a member of our Board of Directors since January 2018 and is a member of our Compensation Committee and our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Mr. Strock has served as Chief Information Officer at PayPal from 2014 to 2018 and from 2011 to 2014 he served as PayPal’s VP of Global Operations Technology. Prior to joining PayPal in 2011, Mr. Strock held several senior executive roles at Bank of America and at JP Morgan Chase. Mr. Strock also serves on the board of Hiigna, Inc., a non-profit organization providing micro-finance loans in Africa. He received his MSM (MBA) from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, along with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue. We believe Mr. Strock is uniquely qualified to serve on our Board of Directors because of his experience in transformative technology and advanced analytics as a senior executive.