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Justine M. Petersen



The late Justine M. Petersen was a pioneer in implementing community reinvestment in St. Louis. As her legacy, Justine PETERSEN's products and services are modeled after the plan Ms. Petersen created with local banks and community development organizations.

Justine M. Petersen helped hundreds of low- to moderate-income families in the St. Louis area purchase their own homes. She worked with local banks to develop loan products for good homebuyers who had been shut out of the homeownership process because of income or location preference. She believed that owning a home promoted one’s building of assets and contributed to individual growth and, therefore, to community and neighborhood development and stabilization. For years she was influential with the mortgage industry as a pioneer in developing sound mortgage products and homebuyer programs through the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Ms. Petersen’s commitment to the economic advancement of low- and moderate-income people resulted in a permanent shift in community lending.

July 7, 1996
Tribute to A Woman Who Left a Legacy of City Homeowners, by Gregory Freeman

- St. Louis Post Dispatch

July 22, 1996
Two Missourians Who Made a Difference, by Michael Sherraden

- St. Louis Post Dispatch

Get to Know Us

Officers

Robert Boyle, MA, is a founder and Chief Executive Officer of Justine PETERSEN, a St. Louis-based company that assists low-income individuals and families to develop, maintain and increase financial assets. Rob is also a founder and a director of Great Rivers Community Capital. GRCC is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a lending organization wholly owned by Justine PETERSEN. Rob earned his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and his Master's Degree from Southern Illinois University. Rob’s background includes work in urban planning, property management for low-income tenants, single-family and multi-family housing development and construction management. He has also owned and operated two small businesses, a real estate services company and a contracting company. He is also member of the board of directors of Credit Builders Alliance, a national asset building organization. Rob is married to Barbara (Diekemper) and has two children, Margaret and Patrick.

Sheri Flanigan-Vazquez, MSW, is the Chief Operating Officer of Justine PETERSEN where she joined the staff in 1998. She was instrumental in the planning and implementation of Justine PETERSEN’s Individual Development Account Program and U.S. Small Business Administration Micro-Loan Intermediary Program. She is also a founder of Great Rivers Community Capital. GRCC is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a lending organization wholly owned by Justine PETERSEN. Sheri has a Master of Social Work from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts from Knox College in Galesburg, IL. She dedicated a year of service as a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) coordinating English as a Second Language classes. Prior to joining Justine PETERSEN staff, Sheri was the Executive Director of La Casa Latina, a grassroots organization that assists non-English speaking Latinos, for three years where she managed a staff of five and oversaw agency operations. She was a founding board member of Choices Federal Credit Union and is currently a member of the Community Advisory Board of the Illinois Facilities Fund (IFF). Sheri is married to Jesus Vazquez and has two children, Claudia and Gabriela. 

Galen Gondolfi, MA, Senior Loan Counselor/ Chief Communications Officer, came to Justine PETERSEN in 2003. In his time at Justine PETERSEN, he has held positions in the housing and microenterprise departments; and most currently, in communications and development. Galen routinely speaks at national events and conferences on issues of  microfinance, credit building, microenterprise and the plight of the underbanked. Prior to joining Justine PETERSEN, Galen worked for community development organizations in Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C.

Aida Richardson, MSW, Chief Lending Officer, came to Justine PETERSEN in September of 2005 to complete her graduate  level internship, and formally joined Justine PETERSEN staff in September of 2006. Aida oversees and underwrites financing for JP's business operations. Her lending activity and technical assistance has assisted thousands of small business owners throughout the St.  Louis Metropolitan area. Aida is a graduate of Washington University's George Warren Brown School of Social Work. She has extensive experience in international community development, including her work in Uzbekistan as a Program Development  Manager for Mercy Corps (an International NGO). 

Tamra Thetford, BA, Chief Program Officer, came toJustine PETERSEN in April of 2016 with over 17 years of experience in the micro-enterprise field. Tamra leads Justine PETERSEN’s credit building training expansion, ensures high-quality client outcomes data, and improves client services. Prior to joining Justine PETERSEN, she ran FIELD at the Aspen Institute’s microTracker program where she assisted microenterprise programs across the country to collect and use data to improve performance and better serve entrepreneurs. She also has extensive experience designing and leading online and in-person trainings, analyzing data and making it useful for broad audiences as well as conducting primary qualitative and quantitative research on emerging issues that affect low-income Americans.  Tamra graduated from American University in Washington D.C. with a Bachelors degree in International Studies. Tamra has never met a situation that couldn’t benefit from a spreadsheet. She considers Guam home and is married with two sons.

Our Staff

SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES

Jim Boyle, Small Business Counselor, is one of the founding members of Justine PETERSEN. During his time with Justine PETERSEN, he has assisted hundreds of St. Louis area families to purchase their first home. Currently, he focuses most of his time managing the ever-growing Kansas City Microloan Program. Jim enjoys writing, playing and listening to all types of music. Although he is not native to St. Louis, has been converted into a loyal Cardinals fan.

Shawna Collier, Small Business Counselor, came to Justine PETERSEN in January of 2015. Shawna's background includes working at a not-for-profit organization that provides services for low-income families in communities throughout the St. Louis and Kansas City regions. Shawna has an extensive banking background from spending over twenty years in the industry. One of Shawna's passions is volunteering her time and giving back as much as time allows.

Chonda DeBoise, Small Business Counselor, came to Justine PETERSEN in 1997 as a client and joined the staff the same year shortly thereafter as the receptionist. Chonda has worked in the credit building department and is now utilizing her skills in the small business department.

Danyel Pitts, Small Business Counselor, came to Justine PETERSEN in September of 2015 and is based in Springfield, IL. Danyel graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Family Services.  She has over 17 years of professional experience working in the social services field with disadvantaged and  low- to moderate-income children and families in the areas of behavioral health, youth development, and education.  She is also a high school track coach and mentor, and says she is  invested in building stronger communities by helping improve the quality of life in those she serves.  

Lisa Zimmerman, Small Business Counselor, came to Justine PETERSEN in October of 2011. Lisa has been a key player in growing Justine PETERSEN's Kansas City Microloan Program and is now assisting in the expansion of Justine PETERSEN's mission throughout the state of Missouri and Kansas. Prior to joining Justine PETERSEN, Lisa was the Chief Development Officer and a founding partner of Missouri Business Development Group. She worked with Community Action in Missouri for nearly ten years and served in various roles for the State of Missouri for almost fifteen years. During her time with the State of Missouri, she assisted with job creation, IDA programs, and entrepreneurial development. 

CREDIT BUILDING SERVICES

Kaie Kristensen, MSW, Credit Building Manager, came to Justine PETERSEN in April of 2016. Katie is an emerging MSW professional from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis with a passion for wealth and asset development of low-income families and communities. Prior to joining Justine PETERSEN, Katie worked in applied research pertaining to social inclusion, financial education, political campaign work, fundraising, and program evaluation in the Mid-west region.  Katie enjoys hiking, cooking, and community engagement in her free time. 

Rezhe Connelly, BSW, Credit Building Counselor, came to Justine PETERSEN in 2014 as a practicum student at the University of Missouri in Saint Louis. After graduation, Rezhe worked in property management for a non-profit organization. She is currently studying for a Masters in Nonprofit Administration at Lindenwood University and will graduate in May of 2017. Rezhe is passionate about personal finance and entrepreneurship, and finds joy in advising low-income individuals on asset development to become self-sustainable. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her three nieces and nephew.

HOUSING SERVICES

Jim Schebek, MSW, Housing Manager, came to Justine PETERSEN as a practicum student in 2011 and joined the staff full time in July of 2013. Jim began his work at Justine PETERSEN as a credit building associate but has now transitioned into working with individuals to obtain housing. Prior to his employment at Justine PETERSEN, Jim was a Youth Employment Counselor at Employment Connection. He is a graduate of Saint Louis University's School of Social Work. 

Fredrica Burnett (Graham), Foreclosure Intervention Counselor, came to Justine PETERSEN in April of 1999. Fredrica began as a volunteer and was quickly hired on permanently as the receptionist. She has worn many hats while here at JP. Her roles have included everything from home loan closer to foreclosure intake specialist. Fredrica is most known for her sweet and humble personality and also her dedication of being with the company for 17 years.

Karen Drayton-Fowlkes, Housing Counselor, is a certified Foreclosure Prevention Specialist who began providing foreclosure prevention counseling in 2008.  She holds a real estate license.  In 2001, she became the first African-American President of the St. Louis Metro Chapter of the Women's Council of REALTOR.  With her husband Ira Fowlkes, she has produced and co-hosted a talk show on Gospel 1600 for the past ten years.

Dr. Jerry Hoffee, PhD, Housing Counselor, has a PhD in Educational Leadership and Administration. He has held positions as project coordinator and adjunct faculty at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, SIU-Edwardsville and Kaskaskia College. At Justine PETERSEN, Jerry provides counseling for seniors considering reverse mortgages and for low-income homebuyers accessing down payment subsidy programs.

 

 

Deborah McClellan, BA, Housing Counselor, is a graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Business and a certified Foreclosure Prevention Specialist. Deborah has worked as a Realtor and Residential Mortgage loan officer since 1985. She is actively involved with various community organization in the Metro East area. Deborah and her husband have 2 children and 10 grandchildren.

Matthew Wunderlich, Licensed Real Estate Agent/Construction Management, came to Justine PETERSEN in July of 2015 from Coldwell Banker Gundaker. A St. Louis native, Matt attended St. Louis University High School and Saint Louis University where he studied PR and Marketing. He was also a member of SLU’s Division I baseball team. Licensed in Missouri, he is a member of the St. Louis Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. 

FINANCE

Linda Clark, CPA, Controller, oversees all financial aspects of Justine PETERSEN. Linda has a Bachelor of Science in Education and Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. Her MBA, with a concentration of Finance and International Business, is from American University in Washington D.C. During her time in Washington D.C., she worked at the World Bank. Linda has over 20 years of financial leadership experience in the not-for-profit arena. She has been recognized for her dedicated volunteer work at various not-for-profits in Chicago and St. Louis. Linda has a daughter, Willow, who attends college in Chicago. She enjoys reading and walking her lab.

Abiel Ogbe, BSBA, Compliance Manager, came to Justine PETERSEN in 2012. During his time at Justine PETERSEN, Abiel has worked in various areas of finance and compliance. Abiel graduated from University of Missouri St. Louis with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Finance. "I found a home at Justine PETERSEN because of our involvement in our community."

Ankica Vukomanovic, BA, Finance Manager, came to Justine PETERSEN in March of 1999. Ankica manages all of Justine PETERSEN's accounts receivables, payables, bank accounts, and loan payments. She is originally from Bosnia and is bilingual in Bosnian and English. She came to the U.S. in 1995 after the war in Bosnia where she worked for 17 years managing a staff of five in the finance department. Coming to the U.S. and joining the JP team, she found a new home and family. Ankica loves cooking, gardening, and spending time with her family. She and her husband have two sons. The biggest joys in her life are her grandchildren. 

Franchot Cunningham, Portfolio Management Associate, came to Justine PETERSEN in December of 2015. He has worked with Justine PETERSEN in the past as a realtor, helping low- to moderate-income families obtain the American Dream of homeownership.  He buys, rehabs, and sells homes and also has a background in construction.  He enjoys working at Justine PETERSEN because of a mutual commitment to educate his community on the importance of credit and asset building. He is the proud father of four daughters and his hobbies include traveling and coaching women’s kickball. 

Lavette Glover, Administrative Assistant, came to Justine PETERSEN in November of 2012. LaVette holds a Masters of Business Administration from Fontbonne University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Columbia College. When LaVette is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family.

Trina Roberson, Loan Fund Associate, states, “Growing with this company has given me the opportunity to help others in a way I never thought possible. Dreams can become a reality when you just stick with your plan of action. That’s what I’ve learned working at Justine PETERSEN.”

Ramona C. Scott a.k.a. “the Bike Lady,” Office Support, came to Justine PETERSEN in October of 2015. Ramona brings to Justine PETERSEN her love of community engagement and inclusion for all.  She loves the entrepreneurial community and all that it brings to North St. Louis and the region. Of course, she envisions a city where everyone rides their bike at least once a week. She strives to learn more about credit building, housing, and entrepreneurship. She hopes to add to the growth of Justine PETERSEN and become an active member of her society.

RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT 

Katie Arnold, BS, Grants Manager, came to Justine PETERSEN in July of 2013. Since Katie began working with Justine PETERSEN, she has worked as an intern and a Housing Associate. After she completed her undergraduate studies, she began her work in the position of Grants Manager.Katie earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Finance Specialization) from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). Currently, she is attending SIUE as she pursues her Master of Science in Economics and Finance.