Meet Our Contributors
Roger Pondel, Chief Executive Officer
Roger Pondel’s professional expertise focuses on developing communications strategies and tactics for publicly owned and privately held companies in various industries, including professional and financial services firms. He has been the architect of programs involving sensitive corporate issues, including mergers and acquisitions, crises, litigation support and labor matters, as well as serving as day-to-day corporate public relations and investor relations counsel.
A Chicago native, Pondel has been president since 1986. His previous experience includes serving as communications and investor relations director of several large publicly traded corporations, where responsibilities included both corporate/financial communications and investor relations. Pondel also was a reporter with the San Jose Mercury News.
Pondel is currently a member of the CFA Institute, the National Investor Relations Institute and the Public Relations Society of America. He also was a national board member of the Association
for Corporate Growth.
Pondel earned a bachelor’s degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, California State University, San Jose. He is a frequent guest speaker on investor relations and strategic public relations issues.
Evan Pondel, President
Evan Pondel joined PondelWilkinson in 2006 after a decade-long business journalism career in New York and Los Angeles with the Wall Street Journal Online and The Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered publicly traded companies in a wide range of industries and wrote a personal finance column that appeared in newspapers throughout the United States.
He also has written for Los Angeles Magazine, The New York Times on the Web, Business 2.0 and The Christian Science Monitor.
Pondel brings to the firm and its clients a core understanding of the financial media, helping companies better communicate with their Wall Street constituencies. He advises clients on communications regarding highly sensitive matters, as well as day-to-day reporting and presentations to investor audiences.
Pondel earned a master’s degree in specialized journalism with honors from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Laurie Berman, Managing Director
Laurie Berman has counseled executive management teams on positioning their companies to Wall Street for the past 15 years. She also has been actively involved in related corporate communications and internal communications matters.
Berman has represented an extensive array of businesses, from pre-IPO to blue-chip, on investor relations and corporate communications strategies, including financial reporting, investor perceptions and expectations, valuation, disclosure, crisis and employee communications, media strategy and mergers and acquisitions.
Having joined PondelWilkinson in 2006, Berman’s experience includes eight years in New York and Los Angeles with Financial Relations Board and serving as investor relations director of Overture, a high-profile publicly traded technology company that was subsequently acquired by Yahoo!, where she was responsible for managing all of the company’s investor relations activities. She previously served in a variety of management positions with Institutional Investor magazine.
Berman earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She is a practicing member of the National Investor Relations Institute.
Dennis I. Forst, CFA, Senior Advisor
Dennis I. Forst, CFA, senior advisor with PondelWilkinson, brings to the firm and its clients a tenured career as an equity research analyst, specializing in gaming, lodging and hospitality industries. Most recently, Forst was an analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets, where he had been for 15 years.
Prior to KeyBanc, Forst held senior positions with Security Pacific Merchant’s Bank, Caesars World, Merrill Lynch and Sutro & Co.
He holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles. A Chartered Financial Analyst, Forst is a member of the International Federation of Chartered Financial Analysts and Los Angeles Society of Financial Analysts.
He has been ranked by The Wall Street Journal as a top gaming analyst in the United States in 12 of the last 20 years, earning him a position in the newspaper’s Analyst Hall of Fame. He was also named by Institutional Investor magazine as a top boutique/regional analyst in the United States and by Forbes magazine as the No. 1 restaurant analyst.
Mark Lamb, Senior Advisor
Mark Lamb has advanced the investment profiles of public corporations in multi sectors for nearly two decades, advising management teams and boards on best practice investor relations and corporate communications strategies.
During his career, he has been an investor relations officer for three publicly traded companies and has served in counseling capacities with two New York-based investor relations advisory firms. He also advised institutional investors while at investment bank Wedbush Morgan Securities.
Lamb has developed successful plans for communicating acquisitions, restructurings, key executive transitions and strategic transformations, as well as serving as day-to-day liaison with the investment community.
Most recently, Lamb was director of investor relations at Market Leader, Inc., a Seattle-based PondelWilkinson client in the SaaS software sector, where he contributed to a strategic re-positioning campaign that resulted in meaningful new sell-side analyst coverage and institutional ownership, along with significant increases in valuation and trading volume.
Lamb earned an MBA degree from the University of Connecticut and a post-graduate certificate in the Advanced Study of Finance from the Graduate School of Finance at Fairfield University. He holds bachelor’s degree in communications management from Ithaca College.
George Medici, Senior Vice President
George Medici brings 20 years of media relations and strategic public relations experience to PondelWilkinson. His work reaches across industry disciplines and practice areas, including consumer products, technology and healthcare, as well as corporate/financial, public affairs and issues management.
Medici is an expert strategist and publicist on the changing media landscape, particularly the dynamic fusion of traditional and social media. He is adept at helping organizations from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies create or reposition their profiles within the top-tier U.S. business media.
Prior to joining the firm in 2010, Medici served as director and vice president of national media business strategies at Porter Novelli in New York. At this global public relations firm, he provided strategic business and financial media counsel for Amgen, British Airways, Hewlett-Packard, Proctor & Gamble, QUALCOMM, and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals among others.
A savvy crisis communications counselor and excellent oral and written communicator, Medici is a seasoned media trainer of CEOs, senior executives and TV personalities. He also specializes in message development to help individuals and organizations articulate their key messages and influence core audiences.
Medici earned a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from St.John’s University, with minors in journalism and television studies.
Judy Lin Sfetcu, Vice President
A member of the PondelWilkinson team since 1997, Sfetcu oversees the investor relations activities for a number of the firm’s long-time clients. She also serves in a managerial role, overseeing PondelWilkinson’s financial operations and human resources.
Sfetcu leverages her extensive skill set in the areas of research and targeting, as well as liaison with the investment community, including sell-side analysts, portfolio managers and individual investors. Sfetcu also is active with the firm’s China-based clients. She is fluent in Mandarin.
Prior to joining PondelWilkinson,Sfetcu was with Tarrant Apparel Group, a publicly traded company, where she worked closely in administrative capacities with the finance and investor relations departments. Prior to that, she held similar positions in the office of the president with Sharp Industries and Deerport, Inc., subsidiaries of Chinatrust Financial Holdings Co.
Sfetcu earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic arts from New York City Technical College, with an emphasis in accounting, statistics and economics.
Matt Sheldon, Vice President
Matt Sheldon joined PondelWilkinson in 2010 and is responsible for developing and implementing strategic investor relations programs for public and pre-IPO clients. He is also part of PondelWilkinson’s growing new media practice, developing video and other digital strategies to achieve client objectives.
Prior to joining PondelWilkinson, Matt was a media relations specialist for an investor relations firm, where he handled publicity and issues management for clients across various sectors, including healthcare, technology, clean energy, financial services, among others.
Matt began his career as a news producer for Tokyo Broadcasting System where he traveled the United States covering news stories for network broadcast in Japan. He graduated from San Diego State University, with a degree in International Business, with a specialization in Japanese and Finance. He also completed a certificate program in public relations at UCLA Extension.
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