As the son of a financial aid administrator, Tonio grew up in a household learning about the financial barriers to obtaining a college education. Tonio’s interest in reducing the upfront costs of college continued as he began working on student financing projects as a lawyer. Now as CEO and Co-Founder of Vemo Education, Tonio helps colleges demonstrate commitment to students’ outcomes using income share agreements. When not in the office, Tonio is found spending time with his family.
Favorite college class: History of Joint Operations
As a young consultant for a financial aid group working with community colleges, Katie quickly understood how being able to afford higher education impacted people’s lives. Drawn to the mission-based nature of educational institutions, Katie has spent over 25 years working in education with recent positions as Chief Information Officer at the US Department of Education and Chief Strategy Officer at Blackboard. As Chief Operating Officer, Katie collaborates with the Vemo Education team, clients, and the edtech industry to drive positive change in educational access and affordability.
Favorite College Class: Game Theory
Renée’s passion for helping students understand the impact of their early education and financial decisions began in high school when she counseled students at a local bank about their student loan obligations. After more than 20 years of service in the education finance industry at Sallie Mae, Renée now serves as Vemo Education’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Originations and Servicing. Renée manages the originations and servicing division for Vemo Education’s income-based finance products and oversees all customer service operations, leads on school implementations, student counseling, back office operations and school relationship management. In her spare time, Renee enjoys volunteering with animals, children, and the elderly in her community.
Favorite college class: Medical Terminology
Bill has been a higher education professional for more than 20 years. He co-founded Vemo Education to bring a new access and affordability tool to colleges and universities across the country. He leads the business development unit at Vemo Education and can be found either on a plane or a college campus most days. Bill started his career at Georgetown University’s Office of Student Financial Services and has spent time at both Sallie Mae and Blackboard before starting Vemo Education. As the dad of 9 kids, Bill has a “small” personal interest in increasing college affordability.
Favorite college class: Philosophy 201
Born to a psychology professor and preschool director, education was an integral part of Jeff’s upbringing. Throughout the course of his own educational journey, Jeff was the recipient of Pell and merit grants, federal and private loans, and work-study aid. This inspired his PhD in Economics and subsequent work experience focused on the connections between education and labor force participation along with how college, educational choices, and early career decisions affect young adults over their lifetime. As Co-Founder of Vemo Education, Jeff leads the program design process and guides school clients on how to address both institutional and student needs with different types of ISA programs.
Favorite college class: Oceanography
While pursuing his master’s degree, Bliksem became fascinated by innovation as an economic driver. Today, Bliksem continues to study the connections between innovation and economic mobility by helping create a financial alternative for students to help pay for their education. As VP of Technology at Vemo Education, you can find Bliksem leading the design, development, and operations of the company’s technology platform.
Favorite college class: Impact of Innovation
George brings nearly two decades of experience building and managing corporate finance functions at Fortune 500 companies. As the son of public school educators from southwest Virginia and husband of a fifth-grade teacher, George is personally invested in helping make education more affordable and accessible to students of all backgrounds. When he’s not leading the company’s finance and accounting activities he enjoys fly fishing and traveling with his family.
Favorite college class: Economics
Andrew is a first-generation college graduate and Pell Grant recipient. As Vice President of Policy and Social Impact, Andrew works with stakeholders and organizations to highlight how Vemo Education partners with schools to increase educational access, opportunity, and attainment. A former staffer for a House Democratic Leadership Office on Capitol Hill, Andrew is a firm believer that quality higher education can help increase economic mobility and alleviate inequality.
Favorite college class: Introduction to Political Economy
Shanaz firmly believes that education is the most powerful vehicle of economic mobility. Shanaz experienced firsthand the transformative power of education as she was the first in her entire family to attend college. After graduating, Shanaz became a Teach For America corps member and taught 5th and 7th grade math in Ward 8 of Washington, DC. From 2015 to 2018, Shanaz served as the Regional Director for General Assembly in Washington, DC, empowering thousands of students to pursue the work they love through practical skills-based education. As General Manager, Alternative Education, Shanaz works with non-traditional education institutions to develop and oversee ISA programs that help increase enrollment, equalize access to education, and align incentives between schools and students.
Favorite college class: Theory and Practice of Negotiations