John has over 30 years of experience as a securities lawyer and entrepreneur. John was General Counsel at the Pacific Stock Exchange and Boston Stock Exchange and was the Chief Regulator Officer for the NASDAQ subsidiary regulating options. 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.
Brian is an attorney with over twenty-five years of experience working for nonprofits, start-ups, and publicly-traded companies. As a principal of Cutting Edge Counsel, Brian’s work is now focused on direct public offerings, entity structuring, and community capital strategies that help build a more equitable economy. Brian previously served as General Counsel for RSF Social Finance and Clean Power Finance; 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 National Coalition for Community Capital, Neto Community Network, and his local HOA.
Kim specializes in developing community capital raising strategies for impact funds, social enterprises, cooperatives and nonprofits. She works primarily on investment offerings that can be publicly offered and that are open broadly to her client’s community members and supporters. Kim has assisted a wide range of enterprises in successfully raising capital including offerings from professional sports teams, worker- and consumer-owned businesses, farms and food producers, impact investment funds and nonprofit loan funds, among others. Kim has served on the advisory boards of a variety of enterprises including a renewable energy financing company, a local business development coalition and a socially responsible ecommerce marketplace. She has served on various nonprofit boards including as chair of AIDS Legal Referral Panel of San Francisco and as a member of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. She earned 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, and is committed to helping her community be vibrant, socially responsible, and inclusive.
Christina Burden, Bookkeeper
Christina is a proud native of the San Francisco Bay Area with over 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations in a variety of positions — ranging from receptionist to VP of finance. In 2011, she established Essential Admin and Consulting to provide local individuals and businesses with accounting and administrative services. Over the years, she has expanded the services provided by Essential Admin & Consulting and is now supporting clients nation-wide. 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.
Erinn Brooks, Marketing and Communications Associate
For the past decade, Erinn has worked in the communications and marketing field in an array of industries spanning fashion and education, but has a special admiration and passion for organizations with a mission for implementing positive change. Erinn’s interest in communications and marketing stems from her love for storytelling and writing. As a Bay Area native, Erinn aims to support and uplift local entrepreneurs and small business owners from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds while utilizing her professional background as a communicator and educator.
She is a proud alumna of San Francisco State University, where she earned her Master of Arts degree in Broadcast & Electronic Communication. In her free time, Erinn enjoys working her way through cookbooks, playing tennis, traveling and spending quality time with her family.
Sarah Kaplan, Attorney
Sarah is an attorney with eight years of experience serving cooperatives, including worker, consumer, agricultural, and platform co-ops. Sarah also focuses on securities law, helping clients raise capital from their private networks, their stakeholders, or the public. Sarah also regularly handles legal structuring issues for businesses, general small business matters, and trademarks. 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. Sarah has her A.B. from Princeton University and completed her degree in Bungee Science while bike commuting year-round for 13 years in Chicago. 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.
Nicole Motter, Attorney
Nicole Motter is one of the country’s leading experts on program-related investments (PRIs), innovative finance for foundations, and capital raising strategies for social enterprises. 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. 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.
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. She also works with social enterprises on business model design, entity choice and formation, and funding strategy.
Elizabeth Carter, Attorney
Elizabeth is a social enterprise and securities attorney licensed in the States of Illinois, New Jersey, and New York where she helps democratize business capital and the securities legal space through accessible legal services to underrepresented issuers. Prior to her recent work, Elizabeth provided legal representation to individuals, nonprofits, small businesses and government agencies in various community economic development initiatives, including serving as General Counsel to a Black-owned limited-equity housing cooperative with over two hundred affordable housing units for seniors, and persons of low income; and acting as Special Counsel within the Department of Economic and Housing Development of the City of Newark where she provided lead counsel of a $8.1 mill affordable housing cooperative project and authored the City’s amended tax abatement ordinance which provides tax incentives for inclusionary development by women, racial minorities, and cooperatives. Elizabeth also founded and served as Lead Counsel & Executive Director of the Urban Cooperative Enterprise Legal Center, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to create and support cooperative enterprises within marginalized communities in order to promote local sustainability.
Randy Nye, Of Counsel
Randy’s law practice is focused on matters relating to executive compensation and employee benefits with a special emphasis on alternative asset investing within self-directed retirement accounts and (k) plans. Randy originally cultivated this expertise while practicing at a large Cleveland, Ohio based law firm with a national reputation for its executive compensation and ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) practice group. Subsequent to this large law firm practice experience, Randy was a principal in his family’s financial services business where he engineered new concepts and created the compliant financial infrastructure to distribute them. Also during this time Randy maintained a boutique law practice focusing on “private client” issues. In addition to his “of counsel” relationship with Cutting Edge Counsel, Randy is shifting more of his professional attention to the highly complementary (to his role at Cutting Edge Counsel) consumer and producer focused cooperative design center he founded. The center seeks to promote cooperative entrepreneurship via co-op enterprises affiliated with a new platform/network Randy is designing of cooperative common bond (i.e., community) foundations.
Randy lives in the Cleveland, Ohio area with his wife, Karen, who is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Randy assists Karen with the business aspects of her independent anesthesia practice focusing on ophthalmic anesthesia. Randy and Karen have four adult sons who are spread between California, Ohio and Germany. They are doting grandparents to their first grandchild, Luke, who lives in the gateway to the Black Forest, Freiburg ii Bresigau, Germany.