Our Team

  • Bill Varettoni

    Community Founder, President, and Financial Planner

    At the tender age of 11, Bill was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug. Shopping around a liability release he obtained from his parents, he began a lawn and landscaping business that lasted through his first year of college. He employed both of his older siblings, eventually learning the tough business lesson of never hiring anyone who periodically gives you wedgies.

    After an eclectic triple major in Accounting, Computers, and Environmental Science, Bill joined the Peace Corps in Ukraine. There he served as an advisor to dozens of small and medium-sized businesses and NGOs. Following the Peace Corps Bill pursued an M.S. in Sustainable Development and is currently working on his PhD in Public Policy. He spent years working with, and for, the federal government. He evaluated business development projects in an active conflict zone in West Africa and performed financial audits of health NGOs in Tanzania. He lived three and a half years in Ukraine with the Peace Corps, State Department, and as a Fulbright Scholar. He has also worked with a number of environmental and business development NGOs in the U.S. and abroad. In late 2009, Bill left the State Department in order to more fully devote himself to creating Community Ladders.

    The idea for Community Ladders was conceived in 2008 while Bill was providing financial counseling and tax services in southern Texas on the Mexican border. From the working poor through middle-income professionals, Bill saw many people struggle to make sound financial decisions. That, coupled with the sight of payday loan shops every 2 blocks, provided the impetus for Community Ladders.

    Bill is a member of the Financial Planning Association®. He has passed the FINRA/NASAA Series 65 licensing exam for financial advisers.

    Outside of Community Ladders, Bill is a Mortgage Loan Originator with Eagle Creek Mortgage, an independent brokerage.

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    Alissa Hall Perine

    Consultant - Operations and Development

    Alissa Hall Perine is a Washington, DC-based, St. Louis-born, project manager, event planner and buttonmaker. She has planned and/or been involved in the planning of everything from weddings to nonprofit events to a two-week theatre festival. Event highlights include freak OUT, ZuriWorks Big Chop to Stop Cancer, National Cherry Blossom Festival and Greater DC Cares Servathon.

    When she's not obsessing over details or solving problems, you'll find her making buttons, hanging out with family and friends and trying to convince everyone that Sylvester is the greatest artist of all time. She received her BA from Duke University, her MBA from University of Texas at Austin and completed DJ 101 at Scratch DJ Academy.

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    Reece Chenault

    Community Outreach Advisor

    Reece Chenault is a union organizer with six years (and some number of months) of union and community organizing experience. Currently he is working on the Clean Up Sodexo campaign for SEIU Local 32BJ, an innovative and exciting international campaign that seeks to help Sodexo workers fight for better wages and respect on the job. Prior to that, Reece was a Member Strength Organizer for SEIU Local 500 where he worked with community allies and union members to create working relationships that could continue increasing the standard of living for Montgomery County Public Schools employees. As if all that weren’t enough, Reece is also in school to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Economy of Labor at the National Labor College.

    Reece became interested in Community Ladders through his lovely wife, Anice, who pointed out that they had been looking for some time for a process-based financial service that wasn’t evil. After reading about it (and Bill) Reece was convinced that he could help make this idea as big as it should be. He now talks about it all the time to every single person he thinks should hear it… which is what he loves to do anyway.

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    Kristin Miller

    Director of Marketing and Communications

    Kristin Miller is a marketing and communications professional and an excited new resident of Washington, DC. She began her career in marketing at Macy’s Merchandising Group in New York City, where she governed a budget of over seven million dollars and developed and executed a number of nationwide campaigns. She went on to manage communications and marketing initiatives for the Robertson Scholars Program at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a leadership development program and full tuition scholarship for students at both universities. Now, she works with Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit, developing large-scale cause marketing partnerships with corporations. She is a graduate of Duke, where she earned a degree in Psychology with Cum Laude honors, as well as a graduate of the Executive Development Program at Macy’s.

    Community Ladders caught her eye as a true social business, a concept introduced to her by Muhammad Yunus in his book Creating a World Without Poverty. Community Ladders’ mission to empower people in their own upward mobility jives with her own values and ideals, making her work for the organization all the more meaningful and energizing. In her personal time she is an avid runner, loves the outdoors, and is teaching herself how to cook (ideally with local produce!).

  • Anna Tulchinskaya

    Brand Director

    Anna is a graphic designer and marketing strategist based in Washington, DC. Motivated by helping small businesses articulate their personalities, Anna has provided solutions for a wide range of organizations, from social networking startups to academic conferences.

    Apart from being passionate about helping organizations find their voice and kick butt, Anna also cultivates a fiery interest in personal finance. She hopes to help people connect over finding ways to make their money support the lifestyles that will bring them the greatest amount of stability and satisfaction.

    Check out 2lch, her personal site.

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    Ted Whitehead

    Web and Digital Media Director

    Ted is a web developer Threespot, a digital agency in Columbia Heights, where’s he’s had the opportunity to work with The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Smithsonian Institution, Planned Parenthood, The Brookings Institution, The World Bank, Knight Foundation, and many others.

    A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ted graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Economics and BFA in Jazz Studies. In his free time, he enjoys playing the piano, cooking for his wife, and hanging out with his dog.

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    Alexandra Chaikin

    Asset Building and Community Development Advisor

    Alexandra Chaikin believes anyone can budget, save money and feel more in control of their finances. She's taught classes on personal finance at Capital Area Asset Builders in DC and she used to write a blog on asset building before she got busy with her awesome digital media job at NeighborWorks America. Alex holds a BA in international studies from Vassar College and an MBA from The George Washington University.

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    Katherine McKay

    Asset Building and Community Development Advisor

    Katherine McKay has worked in DC's nonprofit sector for almost 8 years, on issues ranging from community economic development, to affordable homeownership, to helping low- and moderate-income people start successful businesses. Currently, she is the Senior Policy Analyst at the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a nonprofit organization that helps lower-income people move up the economic ladder through saving for emergencies, homeownership, higher education, business ownership and retirement. She works with the government affairs team to promote effective public policies that expand economic opportunity for all people, particularly with regard to comprehensive financial education and capability, savings and wealth building, consumer protection, and small business development and lending. She's thrilled to join Community Ladders and support its work to deliver excellent financial planning, management and education services to individuals and families at all income levels. When she isn't asset building, Katherine can generally be found getting nerdy about science fiction, physical fitness, and healthy cooking. Katherine lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her wife.

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    Reid Henderson

    Director of Consumer Protection & Legal Advisor

    Reid is passionately devoted to protecting consumers from unfair business practices. As an associate at WilmerHale, LLP, he advised major financial institutions on compliance with consumer protection and privacy laws. After moving to a small firm in Chicago, he helped consumers fight abusive business practices and make smart plans for their future.

    He graduated summa cum laude from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago and is admitted to practice in Washington D.C. and Illinois. He is now the principal attorney at RDH Law, where he helps consumers and small business owners fight for justice and plan for their future.

    Reid was recently honored by the D.C. Bar as its 2012 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year for his work with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program’s Consumer Law Resource Center.

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    Scott Amling

    Financial Planning Consultant

    FINRA Series 65 and 66 licenses.

    Scott Amling is a seasoned investment management and client service professional who has served both individual and institutional accounts. His most recent experience has been with UBS Financial Services where he helped individual investors with portfolio management, asset allocation, financial planning and tax strategies. Scott’s investment skills and judgment have been tested in the most difficult financial markets, and was successful in helping clients navigate and recover from the financial collapse of 2008. He has a solid knowledge of the major asset classes and can help clients construct portfolios with a variety of investment objectives. Prior to UBS, Scott worked for many years at ASB Capital Management, an SEC registered investment advisor, serving pension and endowment type funds in the DC metropolitan area.

    Scott was attracted to Community Ladders because it endorses a philosophy where investment decisions are made in the best interest of member clients.

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    Mike Adams

    Budgeting and Financial Planning Consultant

    Mike is passionate about helping individuals understand the importance of budgeting, creating long-term financial goals, and becoming smart money managers in their own lives. Mike currently serves as a senior manager for The Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C., where he oversees consulting projects for hospitals across the country and maintains relationships with executive planning teams.

    Prior to working in healthcare consulting, Mike spent over three years as a financial advisor in Baltimore, MD for M&T Bank. In his role as a client relationship manager, Mike advised individuals on investments, insurance, and various business/personal loan products. His primary areas of focus were fixed annuities, mutual funds, and life insurance.

    During his time in Baltimore, Mike volunteered as a financial coach for the International Rescue Committee, assisting refugees with career development and leading workshops on financial literacy. In addition, he has contributed to the development and curriculum of a financial literacy program for middle school students at a charter school in Nashville, TN.

    Mike holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from Princeton University.

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    Insurance and Financial Planning Consultant

    Jen has worked in financial services for 20 years. She holds the FINRA series 7,63 and 65 licenses as well as being insurance licensed in Maryland, DC and Virginia. She also earned the Certified Financial Planner ® designation in 2002.

    Growing up in a low income family with disabled parents Jennifer developed a passion for helping others achieve financial security. The mission of Community Ladders resonates deeply with her.

    In her spare time she enjoys being outdoors with family and friends. She and her husband enjoy watching their son and daughter play soccer on the weekends and look forward to summer vacations on the beach.

    Jen's last name and picture have been withheld because her current employer does not allow her to be publically associated with another financial entity.

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    Adam Spiers

    Personal Finance Writer / Researcher

    Adam is currently a law student at the University of Maryland School of Law. He holds a Master in Public Policy from the University ofMaryland School of Public Policy, and as well as bachelor degrees inEconomics and History from the University of Maryland, College Park.

    Adam has been interested in personal finance from the age of seven,when his parents opened a bank account in his name. The 2008 financial crisis inspired Adam to research personal finance more thoroughly,during which time he discovered that even many well educated individuals did not have a solid foundation of personal finance knowledge. Adam believes that Community Ladders—an affordable financial planning and advisory service—is necessary to help many people properly manage their finances and avoid the vicious cycle of debt.

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    Tasha Prados

    Outreach and Newsletter Advisor

    Tasha Prados recently returned from 27 months of Peace Corps service in rural Peru. There she worked with local partners to cultivate and implement sustainable development projects that improved health, hygiene, access to potable water and sanitation. Prior to her time in the Peace Corps, Tasha worked in both public and nonprofit organizations such as Vietnam Veterans of America, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, and the Scholars’ Latino Initiative. In addition to Peru, she has worked in El Salvador, Honduras, and the Maldives.

    Tasha is a native of Takoma Park, Maryland, and holds a BA in Political Science and Latin American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tasha was drawn to Community Ladders as a true social enterprise with the potential for enabling upward mobility and putting the American Dream within reach.

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    Joe Grammer

    Consumer Psychology Writer

    Joe is a recent graduate of UMD, College Park, where he majored in Psychology and Russian Language. He is planning to continue his studies in graduate school, although he is still deciding between clinical and counseling psychology. He works with a graduate student in a UMD lab investigating the motives behind revenge, and will soon begin assisting research at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. He loves writing and is currently seeking publication of some original pieces, one of which will appear in Urbanite Magazine.

    Joe became interested in Community Ladders through his girlfriend, who has been a major factor in his personal finance education, and hopes to continue his education by working with C-L.

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    Erika Cabo


    Erika Cabo is passionate about social enterprise and using her skills to give back to the community and hopes to help people manage their finances and attain upward mobility through Community Ladders. Erika has experience advising financial institutions on regulatory issues, negotiating transactions, and drafting and reviewing financial documents.

    Erika graduated from Brooklyn Law School and Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, a Visual Arts minor, and a certificate in business. She currently lives in New York and in her free time enjoys traveling, yoga, scuba diving, wakeboarding, and recently has begun to take up surfing.

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    Caitlin Rosser

    Social Enterprise and Non-profit Outreach Advisor

    Caitlin is a Budget and Management Analyst at the U.S. Department of Justice. She is currently working towards a Master of Arts in Social Enterprise from American University's School of International Service. While at AU, Caitlin embraced the start-up mentality and consulted for a variety of enterprises, on projects ranging from fundraising to monitoring & evaluation.

    She is a recipient of the SIS Social Enterprise Merit Award, and has volunteered with the Social Enterprise Association and the Workers' Rights Clinic. Her professional interests include organizational financial management, impact investing, microfinance, and monitoring & evaluation. Caitlin is passionate about financial empowerment, which is why she believes in Community Ladders.

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    Dana Bernard

    Community and Government Outreach Advisor

    Dana is a native to the Washington, DC area and is passionate about increasing access to financial education to empower individuals and communities. Her background includes work with the Urban Redevelopment Authority in Pittsburgh, United Way of America, the Homewood Children's Village, and Capitol Hill. Currently, she works with the District's Department of Housing and Community Development as a project manager for community-based organizations that handle the agency's housing services and small business technical assistance.

    Dana is a graduate of University of Delaware and Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College. She is an avid soccer fan and excited to join Community Ladders.