Danielle McLean | Director, Accounting
Danielle serves as the accounting director to the association and the staff liaison to the Audit, Investment, and Independents Accounting Committees.
She manages the accounting functions for the association, the Education Foundation, and AFSA’s Political Action Committee. Danielle has more than 20 years accounting experience, having worked in private companies and the not-for-profit sector. Prior to joining AFSA, Danielle was a Staff Accountant at Paradigm Companies, Inc., a development, construction and management company in Washington, D.C.
Danielle received her Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) and Bachelor’s in Accounting from Trinity Washington University. Danielle has also earned an executive certificate in Forensic Accounting from Georgetown University. And the designations of Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), from Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and Certified Association Executive (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).
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.
Ruija Yang | Staff Accountant & Data Analyst
Ruijia Yang joined AFSA in February 2021 as the staff accountant & data analyst. She is responsible for processing payments, verifying invoices, and reconciling expenses to ensure the accuracy of financial records throughout the fiscal year. Ruijia also performs budgeting analyses, preparing all financial statements for AFSA Education Foundation, and generating monthly FEC 3X campaign reports for AFSA PAC. She also works closely with AFSA’s research department to conduct economic & credit analyses.
Ruijia holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Master of Science in Data Analytics Engineering from George Mason University.
Ed McFadden | Senior Vice President, Communications
Ed serves as AFSA’s senior vice president for communications, leading the association’s internal and external communications efforts and coordinating with the association’s membership, government relations, compliance, meetings and conferences, and educational foundation teams. Ed joined AFSA in June 2019 after serving for more than 15 years in communications and public affairs leadership roles in both the corporate and nonprofit worlds of Washington DC. Prior to his private sector roles, he served as a speechwriter and special assistant in the administration of George W. Bush. The earlier stage of his career was in journalism, including stints with The Wall Street Journal editorial page in Europe, Dow Jones in Washington, and as a senior editor with Reader’s Digest.Ed is a graduate of the University of San Francisco and its Great Books program, the Saint Ignatius Institute.
Dan Bucherer | Director, Communications
Dan joined AFSA in January 2013 and serves as the association’s Communications Director. Dan is responsible for developing and implementing AFSA’s overall strategic communications plan. He produces and edits Capital Notes, AFSA’s weekly newsletter, responds to breaking news, assists in the development of AFSA publications, and determines the association’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.
CONFERENCES & MEETINGS
Michele Battaline | Senior 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.
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.
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 one million students have completed the on-line curriculum comprised of 37 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.
Olivia DiBiase | Director of Financial Education & Outreach
As the Director of Financial Education and Outreach for the AFSA Education Foundation, Olivia manages the implementation of the MoneySKILL® curriculum, which provides free financial education to primarily middle school, high school, and college students in the U.S. and internationally. She works closely with educators, administrators, education officials, and AFSA members to raise awareness about and expand enrollment in the online curriculum.
Before joining the AFSA Education Foundation, Olivia spent six years at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the leading association for nonprofit financial counseling organizations. She held leadership roles focusing on the delivery of innovative, consumer-focused programs and resources to improve consumer financial health. Prior to her work at the NFCC, Olivia served as a Youth Educator with the Peace Corps in Morocco.
Olivia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis. She and her family live in Washington, DC.
Bill Himpler | President & Chief Executive Officer
Bill was elected President of AFSA in October of 2018. In his tenure at AFSA, 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.
Perla Manuel | Corporate Secretary & Office Manager
Perla serves as the corporate secretary to the association and the staff liaison to the AFSA Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and Nominating Committee. She works closely with the Chairman of the Board during his/her tenure on speaking engagements, visits to AFSA and coordinates the Board, Executive and Nominating Committee meetings. She provides support to the President & CEO of AFSA and serves as the office manager, overseeing the day to day operations.
Perla oversees the association’s annual spring recognition program known as the Outstanding Employee Awards Program held during the Independents Conference & Exposition. 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 as corporate secretary. 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.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
Celia Winslow | Senior Vice President
Celia is a Senior Vice President and has been with the association since 2006. She leads AFSA’s federal government affairs department, which promotes AFSA’s mission of expanding and protecting access to consumer credit with policymakers on Capitol Hill, the administration, and federal regulators. In addition, she oversees AFSA’s legal efforts. Her expertise covers a wide range of regulatory, legislative, and legal issues associated with consumer credit and she is a frequent speaker on those topics. She serves as the liaison to AFSA’s Law Committee and Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.
Before joining AFSA, Celia worked in the Development Office at the Pontifical North American College. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from The Catholic University of America.
Ann Harter | Vice President, Congressional Affairs
Ann joined AFSA in 2017 as the Vice President, Congressional Affairs. Ann is responsible for developing and delivering to lawmakers and policymakers AFSA’s message of protecting access to safe, responsible consumer credit.
She most recently served as the Associate Director of Advocacy and Counsel at the Credit Union National Association, and previously, was Legislative Counsel in Governmental Affairs at the American Bar Association.
Ann also worked for President George W. Bush as a Presidential Writer in the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence and was then promoted to Director of Legislative Correspondence for the White House Office of Legislative Affairs.
Michael Grimes | Director, Congressional Affairs
Michael joined AFSA in March of 2020 as the Director of Congressional Affairs. In this role he is responsible for managing policy and political issues that affect the consumer credit industry. A veteran of Washington, DC’s public and private sectors, Michael has worked with a range of clients in emerging and specialty industries, and managed political fundraising efforts at the American Council of Engineering Companies.
Prior to entering the private sector, Michael worked to organize and administer constituent services for several Members of the Ohio Congressional delegation. Michael graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.A. in Business Management and now lives in Arlington, VA.
Philip P. Bohi | Vice President, Compliance Education
Philip joined AFSA in 2017 as Vice President, Compliance Education. Philip is responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership for the Association’s compliance activities, including AFSA University. Philip is the staff liaison to the Operations and Regulatory Compliance Committee and Technology Task Forces that are launching in 2018.
Philip brings significant consumer finance legal and compliance experience to AFSA, having served as in-house counsel at Toyota Motor Credit Corporation and Fannie Mae. At those companies, Philip worked closely with compliance staff supporting technology projects, legislative tracking, and vendor management. Philip’s private practice included work on manufactured housing, residential mortgage compliance, and consumer finance matters at McGlinchey Stafford, PLLC and Lotstein Buckman, LLP.
Philip is a member of the Virginia State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar. He was awarded his J.D. from the College of William and Mary School of Law in Williamsburg, Virginia, and earned a B.A. in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.
Toni Lewis-Bennett | Vice President, Member Services & Engagement
Toni joined AFSA in 2019 and serves as the association’s Vice President, Member Services & Engagement. Toni is responsible for the strategic direction of the association’s member services and membership engagement by expanding AFSA’s visibility, membership growth and delivering added value to members. Toni has over 20 years of association management experience and served as the Associate Vice President of Membership at the Mortgage Bankers Association prior to joining AFSA. Toni holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland. Toni also received her Certified Association Executive certificate in 2016.
Jenny Bengtson | Director, Business Partner Memberships
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 Resource Directory.
Jenny has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Sociology and a Master’s of Science in Communications from Boston University.
Marilyn McKinnis | Senior Marketing Manager
Marilyn works in the Membership/Marketing department. She manages advertising for the AFSA Daily Connect and AFSA Newsbriefs, AFSA’s daily and weekly electronic newsletters. In addition, she manages website and print advertising for the Vehicle Finance, Independents, and Annual Meeting conferences; and manages exhibitor listings for the Vehicle Finance and Independents conferences.
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 degree in Education from Oklahoma State University.
STATE GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
Danielle Fagre Arlowe | Senior Vice President
Danielle is Senior Vice President at AFSA and has been with the association since 2003. She oversees all aspects of AFSA’s extensive state government affairs activities and is counsel to the association. She works with her federal counterpart on various law committee efforts, and serves as the lead liaison to AFSA’s Women’s Leadership Council and Women’s Forum.
Before joining AFSA, Danielle led government affairs for a large U.S. credit card company where she oversaw their state and federal lobbying efforts, their political action committee, and their new law compliance program. Prior to that, she worked for DC law firms Venable and O’Connor & Hannan, advising major U.S. financial institutions on privacy, credit reporting, political law, and many other issues.
She earned her J.D. cum laude from American University in DC, where she worked all three year as Dean’s Fellow for Professor Jamie Raskin. She earned a BA in Politics & Government from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.
She lives near Minneapolis with her husband, two daughters, and their dog, Gary. In her free time she co-hosts a pop-culture podcast.
Matt Kownacki | Director, 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.
Edwin Portugal | Manager, State Policy & Regulatory Affairs
Edwin joined AFSA in May 2018 as the association’s State Government Affairs Analyst. Edwin helps the State Government Affairs team produce research for AFSA members. He drafts and edits weekly legislative reports and tracking charts, 50 state surveys, and white papers. He also updates AFSA’s interactive state map with relevant enforcement actions, regulations, and regulatory guidelines. Prior to joining AFSA, Edwin interned on Capitol Hill.
Edwin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy & Slavic Studies from Brown University.