Speaker Bios:

Melisa Silverman, JD, CEPA, CVA, SBA, CMEA, is a Partner in The Founders Group, a Business Transitions firm, and President of Avenue M® Advisors, Inc., a national and international, boutique financial valuation, exit planning and consulting services firm. With more than twenty years of industry, valuation and consulting experience, Ms. Silverman is a dedicated and impartial valuator and consultant who analyzes the numbers, uncovers the truth behind the numbers and tells the financial results of the business so that business owners can decide whether to grow their business or exit from the business. Ms. Silverman has prepared hundreds of complex business valuations on companies in every industry. She works with startup, growth and mature, well-established privately held companies. The valuations vary from investment purposes, such as sale of a business, partner buyout; to tax related purposes, such as a company structure conversion, potential capital gains tax, estate and gift tax compliance, IRC §409A compliance, purchase price allocations; to litigation support purposes, such as a shareholder dispute, bankruptcy, lost profits determination or intellectual properties.

Joe Strazzeri, Esq. is a Counselor and Attorney for Successful Families and Business Owners. Educator for Wealth Advisors. Speaker and Author.As a former general contractor, land developer, and business owner, Joe combines these skills along with more than 20 years of experience as an attorney to counsel families and business owners. Through 4 unique brands and with his partners, Joe educates wealth advisors, assists business owners to find “what’s next”, as well as protects families and their assets.

  • The Southern California Institute is a Thought Leader Community providing resources, education, and advice via collaborative think tanks, events, programs, online content, and introductions.
  • The Laureate Center for Wealth Advisors provides advanced training and support for wealth advisors, such as: Attorney’s, Accountants, Fiduciaries, Bankers, Financial Advisors, Insurance Professionals, and other wealth advisors. Learn how to attract, engage, and work with your perfect client and their trusted advisors.
  • Strazzeri Mancini LLP helps affluent families get to the heart of highly relevant matters and resolve messes in the areas of integrated tax and estate planning, business succession, and family governance counseling.
  • The Founders Group leads business owners through all phases of transition where increased clarity, net cash flow, and market value expands and solidifies choices for business transition: if, when, how, how much, and to whom.

Shelley Lightfoot is the Executive Director for Strazzeri Mancini LLP, The Founders Group, and Southern California Institute. Shelley has been engaged in the financial services industry since 1986; having held various executive management positions including Vice President of Investments, Compliance Officer, Operations Manager, Sr. Management Consultant, and Business Development Manager. Born and raised in Kansas City, MO (most recently Overland Park KS), Shelley moved to the San Diego area in 2007 while employed with Banc of America, Inc. During her 5-year tenure with BofA, Shelley was second in command of 80 branch locations with 112 employees; extending her industry experience to virtually all areas of financial services, including branch management, regulatory compliance audits, sales supervision, business plan coaching, operational efficiency and national policy review. In addition, Shelley has also successfully provided independent compliance and management consulting for financial advisors and broker dealers. 
As a life-long financial and legal services professional, Shelley’s unique combination of experience, passion, and creativity are an excellent contribution for her objective of helping wealth advisors attract and engage clients through collaborative efforts with other advisors.

Joe Sands is a Managing Director of Corporate Finance Associates (CFA), a 60+ year old global investment bank. Joe advises business owners and boards on buy-side and sell-side mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financings, valuation, exit/succession planning as well as restructurings and lender workouts for financially distressed companies. Joe has over 25 years of experience with clients in consumer products and services, manufacturing, multi-unit retail, transportation/logistics, distribution, technology, healthcare and business services. Clients have run the gamut between start-ups and multi-billion dollar public companies, but are generally private companies with revenues between $25-300 million that are owned by private equity groups, multi-generational family businesses or founder-run businesses.

Caroline Banzali is a Tax Partner in Sqaur Milner’s Los Angeles office and leads the Merger & Acquisition Services Practice. She has over 20 years of experience serving strategic and private equity clients on both buy‐ and sell‐side transactions ranging between $5 million and $15 billion, including pre‐transaction readiness, global financial and tax due diligence, transaction tax structuring, spin‐offs, reorganizations, debt and equity financing, initial public offerings, and other capital events as well as tax remediation and post transaction integration services. Caroline’s experience spans all business life‐cycle stages and industries,with particular focus on private equity, start‐ups, automotive, technology, licensing & merchandising, media & entertainment, telecommunications, real estate & hospitality, and financial institutions.