Karen L. Barr
President & CEO
Karen is president and chief executive officer of the IAA. Before assuming the role of president and CEO in 2014, she served as the IAA’s general counsel for 17 years, with responsibility for the wide range of legal and regulatory matters affecting the investment adviser industry. Prior to joining the IAA, Barr was in private practice at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale), where she represented clients in SEC investigations, securities class action litigation, internal corporate investigations, and securities regulatory matters. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
Executive Assistant to the President & CEO
Nelea joined the IAA in the summer of 2021 to provide administrative and logistical support to IAA President & CEO Karen Barr. She brings more than two decades of experience in administration – most recently as executive assistant to the city manager and mayor of Glenarden, MD. Earlier, Nelea performed a similar role for the Town of Capitol Heights, MD, and served in administrative positions at USAA, the American Chemical Society, and the American Psychiatric Association and Foundation.
Gail C. Bernstein
Gail is general counsel at the IAA. She joined the IAA in 2017 from the law firm of WilmerHale in Washington, D.C., where she had been both a special counsel and a partner in the Securities Department. While in private practice, Gail counseled clients on all aspects of financial and securities regulation, with a focus on the Dodd-Frank Act and securities and derivatives law and compliance. Gail grew up in South Africa and earned her B.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1982 and her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. After law school, Gail clerked for the Honorable Douglas P. Woodlock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Vice President, Finance & Operations
Brad serves as vice president, finance & operations for the IAA. Before starting with IAA, Brad served as president of association management company BLF Management, Ltd, where he ran the operations and finances for clients. Brad has also served on the executive management team of a statewide mental health association, as executive director of a statewide child advocacy association, and as a legislative aide for the Ohio legislature. In 2012, he founded a staffing company, Part Time Works, where he focused on placing individuals in long-term, part-time positions within nonprofits and small companies. Brad holds an M.P.A. from The Ohio State University, with a concentration in strategic and human resource management, and an undergraduate degree also in public administration from Miami University. He graduated from the four-year association management program offered by the Institute for Organizational Management, US Chamber of Commerce. Brad is also a Certified Association Executive through the American Society of Association Executives.
Director, Meetings & Events
Lisa has been with the IAA since 2005 as director of meeting and events. Her duties include planning and execution of all IAA conferences and board meetings, topical workshops, webinars, and other events. Additionally, she is responsible for trade show exhibitors and sponsorships for IAA’s larger meetings. Previously, while working in the luxury hotel sector, her duties included sales, business development, marketing, corporate and social event management, and staff training. Before that, she held various management positions in a number of Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons Hotels. Lisa holds a B.A. in Psychology from Trinity College, Hartford CT. She holds a Certificate in Meeting Management and is a member of Meeting Professionals International.
Vice President, Business Practices
Nancy joined the IAA in 2020 from the asset management industry, where she spent over 20 years in marketing communications, most recently in the institutional channel at T. Rowe Price. Prior to her time there, Nancy worked at Putnam Investments, aligned with the institutional, RIA, and 529 businesses, following eight years at State Street, where she supported the custody units serving the firm’s institutional, mutual fund, and insurance services client bases. A native Midwesterner, Nancy holds a B.A., cum laude, in French with a minor in German from the University of Illinois. She earned her M.B.A. with a dual concentration in marketing and finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Nancy holds a FINRA Series 7 license.
Vice President, Communications & Marketing
Janay serves as the IAA’s vice president of communications & marketing, bringing with her more than 25 years of association management experience. Prior to joining the IAA, she was the vice president of marketing and communications for the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance. She also served in a similar capacity with Brokerage Resources of America, which was an independent marketing group within the life insurance industry, as well as vice president of membership, marketing and communications for the National Pest Management Association and communications and public affairs director with the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies. Janay earned her bachelor’s degree from Millersville University.
Vice President, Government Relations
Neil is a native New Yorker who moved to Washington, D.C. in 1976. For 3 years before joining the IAA in early 2007, he served as director of government relations for the Financial Planning Association. From 1998 to 2003, he was executive director of the National Franchise Council where he lead an innovative partnership between industry and federal regulators. Prior to that, he served as a legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives and, subsequently, was counsel to the Washington, D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson LLP (now known as Hogan Lovells). Neil received his B.A. magna cum laude in government and international relations from Clark University in Worcester, Mass. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Vice President, Membership
Alain is a native South Floridian who moved to Washington, D.C. in 2000. Alain holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from the University of Rochester and has done graduate work in the MBA program at George Washington University. As IAA’s vice president, membership, Alain is responsible for developing and implementing membership recruitment and retention strategies, policies and processes. Most recently Alain spearheaded the Security Industry Association’s industry events and engagement initiatives. Prior to joining SIA, Alain worked as the director of membership and grassroots affairs with the American Financial Services Association, where he was responsible for the recruitment and retention of mortgage lenders, industrial banks and diversified financial services companies and for developing and implementing the association’s grassroots program. He has also worked as the director of corporate relations for the American Council of Life Insurers.
Meetings & Events Coordinator
Kaylyn is the IAA’s meetings and events coordinator. A graduate of Morgan State University, she swiftly entered the dynamic realm of event production. Demonstrating her proficiency, Kaylyn has successfully collaborated with numerous dance and cheer companies, orchestrating large-scale competitions and events. Her expertise extends to meticulous behind-the-scenes responsibilities, encompassing backstage management, sponsorship acquisition, and fundraising initiatives. Subsequently, Kaylyn transitioned to a prominent event production company, where she assumed a pivotal role in coordinating and orchestrating high-profile events of considerable magnitude, including weddings and bat mitzvahs before joining the IAA in 2023.
Monique S. Botkin
Associate General Counsel
Monique joined the IAA in February 2004. Previously, she was an associate attorney in the financial services groups of Dechert LLP in Orange County, California, and Alston & Bird LLP in Washington, D.C. While in private practice, Monique represented investment advisers, registered investment companies, private funds, and broker-dealers in corporate, securities, and investment management matters. Monique also served as an attorney in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management disclosure review office from 2013 to 2014. She earned her B.A. in government and politics from the University of Maryland at College Park and her J.D., cum laude, from Southwestern School of Law in Los Angeles, where she was an editor of the Law Review. Monique is a member of the State Bar of California.
Manager, Finance & Operations
Chris grew up in Delaware, where he majored in Sociology and Economics at the University of Delaware. He later relocated to New England, where he studied public administration at the University of Vermont earned his masters of public policy and management at the University of Southern Maine. Chris served over 15 years in the fields of emergency response and management before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2017. He volunteers with many arts and community organizations, including the H Street NE Festival and the Mayor’s Art All Night Arts Festival. Chris currently serves as treasurer of Artomatic, one of D.C.’s largest and longest-running arts events.
Anastasia joined the IAA in February 2023. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a degree in theater, and spent several years as a professional actor before deciding to pursue nonprofit work. Anastasia moved to Washington, D.C. and found her niche doing membership for the Fairfax Education Association. In her spare time, she enjoys performing, choreographing, and experimenting with new baking techniques.
Sarah joined the IAA in 2017 as associate general counsel and is currently serving as special counsel. Before joining the IAA, Buescher served as a branch chief in the Investment Adviser Regulation Office in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management. She also worked in the SEC’s Office of the General Counsel and started her legal career in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management. Between 1999 and 2009, Buescher worked at Vanguard, first in the legal department as associate counsel and senior counsel, and later as manager of international compliance in Vanguard’s compliance department. She earned her B.S. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University and her J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School.
Laura L. Grossman
Associate General Counsel
Laura is a native of the State of New Jersey. Prior to joining the IAA, Laura was in private practice for over 10 years in the New York office of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. (now Norton Rose Fulbright), where she advised registered investment adviser, mutual fund and private fund clients on matters arising under the Investment Advisers Act, the Investment Company Act and other federal securities laws, the Commodity Exchange Act and associated regulations, and a wide range of compliance issues. She received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a senior editor on the Journal of International Economic Law, and her B.A. degree, summa cum laude, from Rutgers College where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Laura is a member of the bar in New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.
Sr. Manager, IT & Operations
Originally from the Sequatchie Valley of East Tennessee, Garrett now lives in the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated from Rhodes College in 2006 with a B.A. in International Studies. Garrett has substantial experience in the non-profit sector contributing hundreds of hours of service to the Memphis community.
Manager, Marketing & Partnerships
Alex grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland. A graduate of Virginia Tech, Alex earned his B.A. degree in Economics in 2011. Afterward, he moved back to the Washington, D.C. area, where he gained experience in technology consulting and environmental sustainability research before joining the IAA. Alex has been active in his community volunteering at several local schools and other organizations such as the Smithsonian National Zoo. A long time bass player, Alex enjoys creating, teaching, and performing music in his spare time.
Nana is administrative coordinator at the IAA. Her career has focused on the nexus of law, youth and women’s empowerment, and business development with prior work experience in a variety of law offices and The United States Peace Corps. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Law from Tbilisi State University in The Republic of Georgia. Kharabadze has an affinity for languages and has participated in intensive language study programs at Johns Hopkins University in Italy and the University of La Coruña in Spain. She speaks five languages: English, Russian, Georgian, Spanish, and Italian. Kharabadze grew up in the Republic of Georgia and moved to the United States in 2021. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing digital artwork and learning online artwork programs.
Associate General Counsel
Sanjay is a native Washingtonian. He has over 15 years of experience in all aspects of investment management law and regulation. Prior to joining the IAA in 2013, Sanjay worked at the SEC for 10 years, beginning his service in the rulemaking office of the Division of Investment Management before transferring to the Office of Chief Counsel (Legal Branch) in the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations in 2010. Prior to the SEC, Sanjay was an associate in the investment management practice groups at Morrison & Foerster LLP and Dechert LLP. He received his B.S. degree in Finance from George Mason University and his law degree from Boston University. He is a member of the bar in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Associate General Counsel
William joined the IAA in 2021 after serving as assistant general counsel at CFP Board, where he was responsible for assisting with the development of their Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, Sanction Guidelines, Fitness Standards, and Procedural Rules.
Prior to joining CFP Board, William served as chief compliance officer for Mercer Advisors, where he redesigned the firm’s entire compliance program, served as legal advisor to Mercer Advisors’ Investment and ERISA Committees, was a subject matter expert on legal and regulatory compliance.
William previously served as the public policy counsel for CFP Board, where he drafted Amicus briefs in DOL fiduciary cases and regulatory comment letters in support of investor protection issues. He has also held multiple roles as an attorney with both the U.S. Departments of Justice and Veterans Affairs.
He has served as an adjunct professor at both the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and George Washington University Law School. He has been published in several scholarly law journals and his work has been cited in legal treatises and state and federal court decisions.
William received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tulsa, his J.D. with Honors from the University of Tulsa College of Law, and his LL.M. from the George Washington University Law School.
Sr. Manager, Membership
Dawn Smith is a Virginia native who has an extensive background in budgeting, events management and database management. She worked for several event management organizations and trade associations prior to joining the IAA. Dawn is also a classically trained vocalist who performs original material with various Washington, D.C.-based music groups.
Marketing & Membership Coordinator
Hasika was born in Silver Spring and grew up in Clarksburg, Maryland. A graduate of Davis and Elkins College where he played soccer and received his B.S. degree in Marketing in 2015. After college, Hasika moved back to the Washington, D.C. area and gained experience as a CE Administrator with the CFP Board before joining the IAA. Hasika handles scheduling, sending and analytics of the IAA’s marketing emails as well as CRM/website maintenance.
Sr. Manager, Communications & Marketing
Meredith joined the IAA in 2021. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Georgia Southern University with minors in marketing and theatre, and she is an NTEN-certified nonprofit technology professional. Her career has primarily focused on traditional and digital communications strategy and execution for nonprofits and associations, including the Physician Assistant Education Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Meredith plays a major role in developing and executing the IAA’s communications, marketing and web strategies.