Initiative on Financial Security
Initiative on Financial Security
Aspen IFS Staff
Lisa Mensah, Executive Director
Lisa Mensah is an expert in using financial tools to improve the economic security of the working poor. At Aspen IFS, Ms. Mensah leads a team of financial security experts who study the financial products and public policy solutions that help build wealth from birth to retirement for America’s working families. Ms. Mensah began her career in commercial banking at Citibank prior to working 13 years with the Ford Foundation. Serving as Deputy Director of Economic Development for the organization, Ms. Mensah led the Foundation’s work in microfinance and women’s economic development. She became the leading national funder of individual development accounts (IDAs) – innovative savings accounts structured with matching incentives and personal financial training used to finance homeownership, entrepreneurship and education. Under Ms. Mensah’s leadership, IDAs grew from an experiment at a handful of sites to become a tool used by hundreds of community organizations in all 50 states. With a deep interest in solutions to the broad challenges to economic security and financial access, Lisa is the board chair of the National Academy of Social Insurance, a board member of the Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund, in Allston, MA and HOPE Enterprise Corporation, in Jackson, MS. Ms. Mensah holds an M.A. from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Harvard University.
Susan Ochs, Senior Fellow
Susan M. Ochs is an expert in financial services and economic policy. Her senior fellowship is focused on developing best practices in banking for the 21st century. In the public sector, Ms. Ochs has served at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in both the Clinton and Obama Administrations, most recently as Senior Advisor to the head of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). She has also served as the Economic Advisor to the Governor of New Jersey, as well as Director of Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Her financial industry experience includes Solera Capital, a private equity firm focused on later-stage growth and buyout opportunities, as well as J.P. Morgan Investment Management, where she worked on a global, multi-market portfolio. Ms. Ochs writes a column for American Banker on reform of the financial services industry and is a frequent TV commentator on business issues. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Duke University.
Colby Farber, Senior Associate
Colby Farber manages the day-to-day policy operation of Aspen IFS, with focus on strategic planning, policy analysis, and communications. Ms. Farber is crucial in the design and execution of Aspen IFS events and manages Aspen IFS' digital and print content. In addition, Ms. Farber works on the writing, editing, and publishing of Aspen IFS publications. Previously, Ms. Farber held internships with Citi Private Bank in New York City, and General Electric Finance in Sydney, Australia. Ms. Farber received her B.A. in History and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Pamela Horn Hall, Finance and Administrative Manager
Pamela Horn Hall serves as the administrative hub for Aspen IFS and is responsible for grants management and development, accounting and financial management, and human resources functions of the program. She also serves as Executive Assistant to the Executive Director. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Ms. Hall served as an independent consultant and provided a wide range of virtual and on-site administrative and operational management support services to start-up and non-profit organizations.
Robert Weinberger, Senior Fellow
Robert Weinberger specializes in tax and financial services policy. Mr. Weinberger is the former Vice President for Government Relations for H&R Block, Inc. His responsibilities included liaison with the White House, the Treasury Department, IRS, Congress and business, consumer and public policy groups. Earlier in his career, Mr. Weinberger served in federal and state government – at the White House and Department of Commerce and Transportation, and as General Counsel to the Illinois State Comptroller – before leading government relations and public policy as an executive at Continental Bank, Unilever United States, and finally H&R Block, from which he retired in 2009. Mr. Weinberger graduated from Oberlin College and the University of Illinois College of Law. In addition, he studied at the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs and at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Pamela Perun, Ph.D., Senior Policy Consultant
Pamela Perun is a lawyer and psychologist who consults on retirement income policy issues. She is currently the Senior Policy Consultant at the Initiative on Financial Security at the Aspen Institute and author of papers on lifetime income options in 401(k) plans, the demise of defined benefit plans, child accounts, reform of the private pension system, lifespan savings systems and Social Security. For the Urban Institute, she has written about phased retirement programs, personal accounts under Social Security, contribution limits to savings plans, trends in stock-based compensation, and universal savings accounts. She is the editor of the Employee Benefits, Compensation and Pension Journal for the Social Science Research Network. Ms. Perun practiced employee benefits law in Boston and Washington, D.C. and has held research appointments at Duke University, Wellesley College and Harvard University Medical School. She received a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, a Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Wellesley College. She is a member of the Massachusetts, District of Columbia and California Bar Associations.
Lewis Mandell, Ph.D., Senior Fellow
Dr. Lewis Mandell is a financial economist with a research specialization in financial literacy and a teaching specialization in investments and valuation at the graduate and undergraduate levels. He began his professional career at the University of Michigan where he directed the Surveys of Consumer Finances, now run by the US Federal Reserve Board. In his 42 year academic career, he held professorships at a number of leading universities, most recently the University of Washington where he held the Kermit Hanson Professorship in Finance and Business Economics. He has been Dean of Business at Marquette University and the State University of New York at Buffalo where he teaches in the Singapore Executive MBA program and holds the title of Professor Emeritus. Dr. Mandell is the author of 21 books and numerous articles, largely relating to the financial behavior and literacy of consumers. He speaks nationally and internationally on consumer and investor financial literacy and education, has hosted radio call-in programs on investments and entrepreneurship in two major radio markets and has served as an outside director of a publicly-traded corporation, a large privately-owned corporation and a large family of mutual funds and variable annuities.