2023 VBA Annual Convention: Speaker Bios

Internal Links Chandler Owdom Monica McDearmon Amy Binns

We are thrilled to welcome you to The Breakers for our event! This year’s Convention will combine a great lineup of speakers on timely topics and networking with bankers and industry providers. We are excited to come together, enjoy each other’s company and educate ourselves on industry topics together.

Please bookmark this page for easy access during the event!

Thank you to our portal sponsor, Global Payments

VBA Endorsed Provider Global Payments is one of the nation’s leading providers of payment processing services. Committed to providing state-of-the-art payment technology and data security, Global Payments offers innovative solutions to satisfy the needs and demands of your business clients. With an infrastructure designed to support financial institutions of all sizes, Global Payments offers specialized tools and services to help you maximize merchant acquisition and retention. Their dedicated business development support team and customized sales programs will help drive your institution’s non-interest income growth.

Joanne Tyrrell
Vice President, Financial Institutions
(813) 853-3593 

About Our Keynote Speakers

Chris Bergstrom
President & CEO, JOhn Marshall Bank
2022-2023 VBA Chairman

Chris Bergstrom is the president and CEO of John Marshall Bank, headquartered in Reston, Virginia with eight full-service branches in Northern Virginia.

Chris has 40 years of experience in banking, previously holding a variety of executive positions during his 19 years with Cardinal Financial and Cardinal Bank, most recently as president and CEO before United Bank’s acquisition of Cardinal Bank in April 2017. Bergstrom was United Bank’s president before joining John Marshall Bank in 2018. 

Chris has a B.A. in Business Administration from James Madison University and an M.S. in Finance from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Mike Holt
Partner, Profit Resources, Inc.

Mike’s banking and consulting experience has established him as a lead revenue enhancement and EFT/interchange expert.  As partner, Mike works diligently to keep PRI grounded in roots of helping community banks function more efficiently and effectively, while continuing to look toward the future at industry evolution for those same clients.  As a consultant, Mike delivers the firm’s Non-Interest Income work, implements and maintains the EFT profitability and performance model he built, negotiates system contracts, and manages projects of all shapes and sizes.  As a speaker, Mike simply attempts to improve at avoiding projectile tomatoes and the ever-growing indoor cricket population.

Dave Koch
Director of Advisory Services, Abrigo

Dave Koch is Director of Advisory Services with Abrigo and a lead faculty member of the Graduate School of Banking – Madison. Dave works with financial institutions on their capital planning, strategy development, loan & deposit pricing, and overall Asset/Liability management to meet the earnings and growth needs while managing regulatory concerns for his clients.


Chris Kochard
Director, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc., a Stifel Company

Chris Kochard joined KBW in 2012 and serves as a Director in the firm’s depository investment banking group. He is based in KBW’s Richmond, VA office and is responsible for merger & acquisitions, strategic advisory and private and public capital markets transactions for financial services businesses based in the Southeast. He has advised on more than 80 M&A and capital transactions with an aggregate transaction value in excess of $15 billion. Chris graduated from the University of Virginia with a BS in Systems Engineering and a BA in Economics with a concentration in finance.

Chaunte Lowe
TEDx Speaker, 4-Time Olympian, Medalist, American Record Holder, Breast Cancer Thriver

Chaunte Lowe doesn’t strive to just break the mold; she vaults over it leaving it far behind her in the dust. This four-time Olympian’s impressive rise started while she was just a sophomore at Georgia Tech when she made her first Olympic appearance. Her ambitions on the field and in the classroom showed an unparalleled drive even among the Institute’s top student-athletes. Chaunte is a world champion and has broken the American Record three times and is the current American record holder in indoor and outdoor high jump. She’s competed in four Olympic Games and aspired to add a fifth.

In addition to her athleticism, she has used her personal experiences to raise awareness of breast cancer research, early detection, and eradication. In 2019, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Despite the diagnosis, she continued to train through surgeries and chemotherapy to stay competitive for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. With the games postponed, she’s maintained her training determined to continue to use her voice to bring awareness to breast cancer. “The best gift I can give with my life is helping others find beauty in their own lives,” she says.

Bob Newman
Managing Director, Chatham Financial

Bob Newman is a Managing Director in Chatham’s financial institutions business which specializes in interest rate risk management for regional and community banks. He is a frequent speaker at industry events and serves on the faculty of the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking. Prior to joining Chatham in 2003, most of Bob’s 20 years in commercial banking were focused on bringing “swaps to Main Street”, helping to start the derivatives operation at Maryland National Bank and expand the derivatives effort at SunTrust Bank. He graduated from the College of William and Mary with a BA in Economics and has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Nela Richardson
Chief Economist, ADP

Dr. Nela Richardson joined ADP as Chief Economist in November 2020. Nela is the co-head of the ADP Research Institute and leads economic research for ADP. Previously she was Principal and Investment Strategist at Edward Jones, a financial services firm. Nela is also the former chief economist at Redfin Corp. Nela regularly provides insight on the economy, real estate trends and capital markets to policymakers, consumers, and media.

Nela earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Maryland College Park with concentrations in financial economics, international finance, and economic development. She is a member of the Bureau of Economic Analysis Advisory Committee and sits on the Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Business Economists foundation boards.

Alyson Van Hooser
Keynote Speaker, Leadership Trainer & Consultant, 2x Author

Leaders and business professionals need help reframing and redefining leadership in today’s diverse, multi-generation workforce. Alyson Van Hooser is on a sold-out mission to show them the way.

Tough beginnings taught Alyson the radical power of an ownership mindset – one that transforms the trajectory of personal lives and leadership careers.

Earning rapid success in the food, retail, finance industries, and as a City Councilwoman — all by the age of 30 — helped her discover the immense power that comes when leaders own the responsibility of truly understanding and intentionally connecting with the people they serve.

Her books Level Up and Accelerate Your Success unveil powerful stories of lessons learned through struggles and practical strategies needed to be successful at home and at work. With these strategies in tow, individuals and teams everywhere discover the way to successfully work better together.

Alyson’s audiences return to work inspired to take ownership of their success and equipped with future-proof practical, tactical strategies to level up the way they lead themselves, their team, and their entire organization!

Alex Vogel
CEO, Vogel Group

Alex Vogel is a lawyer and nationally recognized policy expert on federal regulatory and legislative strategy, risk management, political strategy, crisis management, and strategic communications. Throughout his career, he has been a senior policy negotiator in the most significant matters before Congress, including serving as a top leadership staffer in the Senate. Alex is respected by Fortune 500 companies, private equity firms, trade associations, and national coalitions as the architect of winning strategies and execution in their most high-stakes policy and regulatory challenges. Alex has been recognized for his work in The Hill’s Top Lobbyists list more than ten times in his career, including in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Prior to founding two influential government affairs firms, Alex served as Chief Counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., where he was responsible for political and legislative strategy and oversight on a range of business and policy areas, including tort reform, technology and telecommunications, judicial nominations, entertainment industry issues, health care, campaign finance, and privacy. Alex directly managed the passage of the Can-Spam Act and the Class Action Fairness Act. He also managed the multi-industry negotiations related to the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act.

Additionally, Alex served as the Majority Leader’s liaison to the Senate Republican High Tech Task Force, the 9/11 Commission, the NASA Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB), and was responsible for issues relating to continuity of government for the legislative branch. In this role, Alex served as the “designated survivor” during the 2004 State of the Union Address.

Alex previously served as General Counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Deputy Counsel to the Republican National Committee, Counsel to the Republican Attorneys General Association, and worked in the election law and telecommunications regulatory practices at one of the top-rated law firms in Washington, D.C.

Alex holds an active security clearance and currently serves as a Plus One to the Board of Directors at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. He appears regularly on Fox News, Fox Business Network, and other media outlets to provide insight on the policy, legal, and political issues of the day.

Alex received his B.S. in History from the University of California at San Diego and J.D. from The George Washington University Law School.

Bruce Whitehurst
President & CEO, Virginia Bankers Association

Following a 10-year career in retail and commercial banking, Bruce joined the Virginia Bankers Association in 1993, its 100th anniversary year. He has served as president and chief executive officer of the association since 2007 and was previously executive vice president.

While at the VBA, Bruce has worked with member banks in a variety of areas, including government relations, education and training, financial literacy, and partnering with banks in a number of innovative ways to help them enter new lines of business. He also speaks about and on behalf of the industry on a regular basis. 

As a banking industry advocate, Bruce is active at the national level. He served on the American Bankers Association’s Regulatory Reform Task Force during the 2008-2009 financial crisis and served as an ABA Board member and chairman of the Alliance of State Bankers Associations in 2012-2013. He has also served on the ABA Community Bankers Council and the ABA Government Relations Council.

Committed to serving his community, Bruce is a director of and has chaired United Methodist Family Services in Richmond, VA and the Virginia Council on Economic Education. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at Ferrum College.

Bruce received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William & Mary, his MBA from the University of Richmond and is a graduate of the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management.