John has over 30 years of experience as a securities lawyer and entrepreneur. He was General Counsel at the Pacific Stock Exchange and the Boston Stock Exchange and the Chief Regulator Officer for the NASDAQ subsidiary that regulates options trading. He also served as General Counsel for two technology startups where he participated in both public and private financings. He has represented and dealt with major securities regulators and governmental entities, including, among others, the SEC, FINRA, state regulators, congressional banking and finance subcommittees, the CFTC, and emerging/developing country governments as an advisor and consultant in capital market development. He was part of the team that designed and introduced the iShares ETF product to Barclays Bank. Check out John’s blog on Huffington Post.
Kim specializes in developing community capital raising strategies for social enterprises, cooperatives and nonprofits. She works primarily on investment offerings that can be publicly offered and that are open broadly to community members. Kim has assisted a wide range of enterprises in successfully raising capital; from a worker-owned green waste recycling company to an organic farm, from a rural community development fund to an urban food coop. Kim has been with Cutting Edge for 5 years and has been practicing law for 20 years. She has her Juris Doctorate from Hastings College of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the Women’s Law Journal. Kim lives, works, and plays in Oakland.
Brian is an attorney with over twenty-five years of experience working for nonprofits, start-ups, and publicly-traded companies. As a principal of both Cutting Edge Capital and Cutting Edge Counsel, Brian’s work is now focused on direct public offerings, corporate structuring, and strategies for community capital to help build a more equitable economy. Brian has served as General Counsel for RSF Social Finance, Clean Power Finance, and LendZoan; and before that as Corporate Counsel for Sybase and Catellus Development Corporation. He earned his J.D. from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and started his legal career with the North Bay law firm of Gaw Van Male. Brian is a member of the California Bar and serves on the boards of the Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation and the Neto Community Network.
Communications & Partnerships Manager
Kassandra is driven by empowering and engaging communities and crafting compelling narratives. Her fervor for writing, social change, and politics has led her from composing voter guides to writing talking points for elected officials on both the West and East Coasts. Prior to moving back to her hometown, Oakland, she was Director of Communications and Press Secretary to a New York State Senator. Previous to Cutting Edge Capital, she consulted local and national organizations and businesses as an independent consultant with various Bay Area public relations firms. Her strategies have led to stories in local and national publications and broadcast media outlets. Kassandra holds a B.A. in Media Studies from the City College of New York (CUNY).
Bookkeeper & Operations Manager
Christina is a proud native of the San Francisco Bay Area with over 15 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations in a variety of positions — ranging from receptionist to VP of finance. In 2011, she created Essential Admin and Consulting to provide individuals and businesses with financial and administrative services. Raised in Oakland, Christina graduated from Oakland Technical High School and attended Albany State University on a volleyball athletic scholarship. In addition to her work with Cutting Edge Capital, she is a volleyball coach at her alma mater, Oakland Technical High School, and volunteers with a variety of organizations in her free time.
Sarah’s mission as a lawyer is to support local economies that are equitable and ecologically sustainable. Since 2012 she has served numerous cooperatives, including consumer, worker, producer, and platform cooperatives. She has handled formations, equity and debt financing, and contract issues for these cooperatives. Sarah enjoys drafting creative organizational documents that implement cooperatives principles and cooperative tax advantages. Sarah also focuses on services for capital-raising. She has supported both cooperative and privately owned businesses in “family-and-friends,” registered public, and exempt public offerings.
Sarah previously served as an Assistant Illinois Attorney General, handling hundreds of complaints from citizens seeking to hold their governments accountable under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act. Sarah graduated magna cum laude from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2010.
After living in Chicago for 12 years and the Bay Area for three years, Sarah moved with her spouse and two kids to the St. Louis, Missouri area, where she is renovating a home, growing a garden, and getting involved in local solidarity economy efforts. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and California.
Daniel is a Bay Area native who specializes in providing corporate and business legal services to small and mid-size businesses, tech startups, and legal cannabis businesses in California. During law school, he was a judicial extern to the Honorable Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of the Supreme Court of California. He also served as a comments editor for Volume 50 of the University of San Francisco Law Review. He enjoys golfing, fishing, cooking, and spending time with his family.
Nicole Motter is one of the country’s leading experts on program-related investments (PRIs) and innovative finance for foundations. A lifelong change maker, Nicole spent nearly a decade working directly with underserved youth and communities before going to law school to pursue social impact on a larger scale. There she discovered the concepts of social enterprise, which tremendously influenced her journey. She has since cultivated a career that combines her wide-ranging knowledge and expertise in ground level program development and implementation, research and education, and corporate and impact investing law. She has worked for youth development nonprofits, international human rights organizations, and major law firms alike.
With an eye toward scalable, sustainable change, Nicole loves nothing more than helping foundations design exciting new ways to use their grant money. She specializes in working with private foundations to mobilize PRI capital, providing all legal and integrative services to make the process as easy and accessible as possible. She has worked with a number of foundations to facilitate PRI transactions, design PRI funds, create internal PRI policies and procedures, and assist boards and staff in integrating PRIs and other innovative financial vehicles into their existing framework. With a thorough understanding of the complex and diverse needs and interests of private foundations, Nicole is equipped to tailor innovative finance strategies for each individual grantmaker, no matter how big or small. She also works with social enterprises on business model design, entity choice and formation, and funding strategy.
She has been incredibly fortunate to speak regularly at events, publish to platforms such as Forbes, Family Foundation Advisor, and Conscious Company on social finance and social enterprise-related topics, and to work with some of the most high-impact, nationally-acclaimed social enterprises and foundations in recent years.
Dara Westling is committed to working on impact capital projects that offer a return for both investors and communities. As principal of Do Well Consulting, Dara has worked with a number of enterprises including Cutting Edge Capital, Ecotrust, a crowd-investing low income housing project developed by Guerrilla Development and XXcelerate Fund, a new investment fund focused on supporting women owned businesses that are post revenue and ready to scale. She also recently participated in a working committee at Oregon’s Division of Financial Regulation to explore the evolution of financial regulation in support of small businesses in the state. Dara is also a small business owner focused on expanding Bishops in to Southwest Washington.
Dara previously focused on the intersection of technology and impact as a vice president at international enterprise, TechSoup.
Dara has a masters of business administration, a masters in public and international affairs, and a certificate in impact investing. She also sits on the fundraising board of Transitions Project Inc. and Cutting Edge Institute.
Nicole’s diverse experience includes management, communications, and environmental consulting. Prior to joining Cutting Edge Capital, Nicole had previously worked as an environmental consultant for Roux Associates Inc. As a staff geologist, she supervised construction development on multiple brownfield real estate sites across the Bay Area. Nicole’s additional experience includes the management of two adjoining businesses, Thrive Acupuncture and Marquette Perk & Pantry, where she created financial & operational systems, developed marketing strategies, and specialized in client relations. Nicole graduated with a BS in Geology and a Communications Minor from Indiana University.
Director, Energy & Economic Development
Seth has over 30 years of experience in energy risk and commodity portfolio management, market design, utility delivery, renewables, and demand-side management services. He was the chief risk officer of an electricity clearinghouse he helped found in 2005 that was acquired by NASDAQ OMX in 2010. He has been an energy consultant to businesses, utilities, and government agencies and has served in a variety of management roles at both investor-owned and municipal utilities. He is currently assisting a number of startup energy and environmental technology companies with business and market development and helping the Near North Community in Chicago, IL with a community needs assessment for program outreach. Seth holds an MS in Decision Sciences from the University of Memphis and is a registered Energy Risk Professional by the Global Association of Risk Professionals.
Managing Director, Financial Strategies
Over the last 25 years, Walt has acquired a uniquely broad experience in corporate finance, treasury, private equity, investment and commercial banking. He has successfully participated in a leadership position, as either issuer or underwriter, in all phases of the capital fund raising process from venture equity, subordinated debt to senior secured credit facilities. Prior to founding Turnstone Securities, he served as Managing Partner for Rezzer Capital Partners, a Southeastern-based private hedge fund. Walt also served as the Commercial Banking Executive for Regions Financial (East Tennessee market). There he coordinated all commercial and investment banking (Morgan Keegan) activities within the bank’s largest geographic region.
Walt began his career in New York City with General Motors Global Treasurer’s office and later with Toronto-Dominion (TD) Securities within their Investment Banking Division. Walt later served as a senior banker with SunTrust, Crédit Lyonnais and CFO of an international telecommunications company focused on the sub-sea fiber optic cable investment space.
A native of Chattanooga, Walt attended The McCallie School and later received his B.A. in Mathematics and Chemistry from Vanderbilt University and a M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. In addition to holding FINRA Series 7, 63 and 65 licenses, he is registered as a Series 79 Investment Banking Representative and Series 24 General Securities Principal.
A former banker, Rupert was the CFO at RSF Social Finance and is now the CFO of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. As RSF’s first CFO, he was responsible for all financial and administrative functions of the charity and supporting organizations, including investment strategy design, implementation and portfolio management. As CFO of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, he is responsible for creating and overseeing all financial and administrative functions of the foundation and providing strategic counsel to the president, finance committee, and board. Rupert has been a Consulting CFO to Movilix Financial Corporation, where he built and implemented the financial management infrastructure for a private, cross-border, bilingual electronic payments platform. Rupert holds an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BA in accounting from California State University-Northridge.
Michael H. Shuman
Michael H. Shuman is an economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, and one of the world’s leading experts on community economics. He has authored, coauthored, or edited eight books. His most recent book, published by Chelsea Green, is Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Move Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity. His previous book, The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006), received a bronze prize from the Independent Publishers Association for best business book of 2006. He helped co-found Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), which represents 30,000 local businesses in North America in 80 communities, and is now a Fellow there. A prolific speaker, Shuman has given an average of more than one invited talk per week, mostly to local governments and universities, for the past 30 years. He has lectured in almost every U.S. state and eight countries. Read more about Michael Shuman on his website.
344 Thomas L Berkley Way
Oakland, CA 94612