Ben Bell is the Managing Member and Co-Founder of William K. Woodruff & Company, LLC, a registered investment advisor which manages concentrated portfolios of public equity securities for high net worth individuals and family offices. Previously, Ben was CEO of Brazos Capital Management, L.P., a registered investment advisor that provided diversified equity portfolios for institutions including the Brazos Mutual Funds. While at Brazos, the funds earned a prestigious Lipper Award. Ben started his career in venture capital and merchant banking and has served as CEO, COO, and/or CFO of several closely-held firms, including family offices.
Ben received a B.S. in Engineering Science and Sociology from Vanderbilt University and an M.B.A. in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He previously held the Series 7 and 63 securities licenses and currently holds the 65 securities licenses.
Ben serves as a Trustee of The Ranger Funds, and has served previously on the boards of Trinity Christian Academy’s Booster Club, Providence Christian School of Texas, Camp John Marc, Highland Park Presbyterian Church and the Texas Presbyterian Foundation.
Peter A. Gudmundsson is the President & CEO RecruitMilitary, a sixteen year old company that helps organizations excel by leveraging the talent of our nation’s finest people, our veterans. The company helps companies attract, appreciate and retain high quality veteran employees and students. Prior to RecruitMilitary, Gudmundsson founded the Dropout & Truancy Prevention Network, a social enterprise that combined the use of location verification technology with phone-based personal mentor/coaches to keep kids in school and on track to graduate. Many of the mentor/coaches were physically disabled veterans or others with physical challenges that brought maturity, empathy and compassion to their roles.
Most of Gudmundsson’s career has been dedicated to leadership in media, education, information and intellectual property intensive businesses. Before DTPN, he was the founder of the Priceless Legacy Company, a direct selling custom publishing company that helped people preserve their life stories and lessons in print and electronic forms.
Prior to founding PLC, Peter served as CEO and President of Beckett Media LP, the world’s leading publisher of magazines, books and websites for sports collectors and gamers from 2005 to 2008. He joined the company when he teamed with Apprise Media and Spectrum Equity Investors to buy the company from its founder. At Beckett, Gudmundsson completely revamped the web business and launched new magazine titles dedicated to massive online gaming, high end sports memorabilia and various other collecting phenomena.
Before Beckett, Gudmundsson founded, operated and sold Design Guide Publishing Ltd, the publisher of the high-end interior design publications in three major Texas cities. Within the company, he also started Home Improvement – Dallas, a monthly magazine which he sold to Network Communications Inc in 2006. Gudmundsson realized a 5x ROE in selling the company four years after launch.
Prior to founding Design Guide Publishing, Gudmundsson was President and CEO of Jobs.com, an Internet employment media company. Before joining Jobs.com, he served successively as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer and President of Primedia Workplace Learning, a pioneer in the field of distance learning content and services delivered via satellite television, DVD and the Internet. Earlier, Gudmundsson served as Vice President of Corporate Development for Primedia Inc., KKR’s media company, in New York.
Before Primedia, Gudmundsson worked as the Assistant to the President of Tosco Corporation, a leading independent oil refining company headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. He has also worked as an investment banker in corporate finance, debt capital markets and mergers & acquisitions at Morgan Stanley & Co. in New York.
A former U.S. Marine field artillery and intelligence officer, Gudmundsson is a graduate of Harvard Business School (MBA) and Brown University (BA). Gudmundsson also serves as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Iceland in North Texas. He is an active Boy Scout leader and is married to the former Kathleen Vouté of Bronxville, New York. They reside in Dallas with their four children.
Bret leads Travelport’s teams responsible for designing, selling and delivering hosting and IT solutions to airlines around the world. He joined Travelport from Stratos Management Systems, a private equity-backed IT services firm that he co-founded and grew to over $130M.
Previously, Bret held a variety of executive positions at EDS/HP including leading industry verticals, managing strategic accounts and driving corporate development initiatives in the Travel & Transportation, Global Public Sector and Corporate Strategy and M&A groups. He also served as a Consultant at Spencer Stuart, the global executive recruiting firm, where he worked with clients in the professional services, travel and transportation sectors.
Prior to EDS/HP and Spencer Stuart, Bret served as a consultant to airlines and energy firms at Ernst & Young in its Strategic Advisory services practice. He began his career on Capitol Hill, serving as special assistant to U.S. Senator Phil Gramm, supporting the Senator in a variety of areas, including health care and fiscal/economic matters.
He graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Business Administration from Texas A&M University and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. In addition to his current role at Travelport, Bret serves on boards of start-up companies, community organizations and political groups. Bret and his family reside in Southlake, Texas where they are active in their church and Republican politics.
As a C-level executive with three decades of success in the business community, Rhonda Shasteen brings a well-rounded perspective to leaders and organizations looking for success in today’s dynamic and fast-changing environment.
Rhonda is known among her business colleagues as a visionary, able to clearly identify issues and craft strategies to solve the most complex of challenges. She is respected for her courage, authenticity and candor, and is proven at aligning constituents and gaining support for the vision. She strikes an ideal balance between driving toward the goals of the organization and nurturing the people along the way.
Having served in various capacities at Mary Kay Inc. over the past 26 years, Rhonda was able to fine-tune her business acumen and leadership skills working closely with Mary Kay Ash, one of the greatest American entrepreneurs of the 20th century. Prior to her retirement from Mary Kay in April, 2010, she served as Chief Marketing Officer, with responsibility for leading the company’s worldwide marketing and branding strategy, to continuously improve the strength and value of the Mary Kay brand and increase the retail earnings opportunities for the more than 2 million independent beauty consultants in 30+ countries.
Serving as the company-spokesperson for this $2-billion-plus global corporation, Rhonda is a polished professional speaker, with experience ranging from groups of more than 10,000 people to addressing members of Congress while lobbying on Capitol Hill. She is quite comfortable and accomplished at working with the media, handling interviews with local news stations, national broadcast programs such as Nightline, and documentary programs such as the feature on Mary Kay Ash for A&E’s Biography. Rhonda has also been the social media voice of the company through the “Reflections” blog.
In addition to her extensive marketing experience, Rhonda held numerous leadership positions in the sales division, working directly with the Mary Kay independent sales force in the United States for 10 years. Prior to joining Mary Kay in 1984, she worked for a small advertising agency. As a volunteer, Rhonda has served on the board of directors for non-profit organizations including the American Heart Association and Camp Fire USA Lone Star Council. She currently serves on the Marketing Advisory Board for the University of Texas at Dallas School of Management, is an advisory board member for Leapfrog HR Executives, a board member of The Red Umbrella non-profit, Board Manager for YOUnique Partners LLC, and a member of the board of Founders Forum.
Rhonda’s passions lie in helping others develop their leadership strengths, creating solutions to complex problems, learning new things, and keeping our nation focused on values that will help individuals and families achieve and keep their personal freedoms.
A long-time Dallas, Texas-area resident, Rhonda married her high school sweetheart, Van Shasteen, and they raised two children. Enjoying their time together now as empty nesters, and proud of their accomplishment of more than 30 years of marriage, the Shasteens live on a small farm in Lucas, Texas, where they enjoy gardening, raising registered purebred Dexter cattle and riding their horses.
Robin Wantland has been a Texas based banker for 33 years and is highly regarded as one of the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s top commercial banking experts due to his acute focus upon privately held businesses and their owners. Mr. Wantland has most recently served as President of Liberty Capital Bank and Highlands Bank. Both are local community banks focused on privately held companies. Prior to that he served as the national director of Commercial Banking for Compass Bank from 2002-2006, where he led a banking team covering six states that included 13 major metropolitan markets. Among his notable achievements at Compass was his leadership that led to recognition by Greenwich and Associates as a top performer among banks focused on privately held businesses.
Prior to Compass, Mr. Wantland served as a regional director of Business Banking for Bank One/JP Morgan Chase. Serving the banking institution for 18 years, he oversaw 200 bankers in 23 markets in six states. Mr. Wantland’s career began with First National Bank in Dallas in 1978, where he served for five years and last held the position of vice president of Commercial Banking.
Mr. Wantland earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing and a master’s degree in finance from Oklahoma State University. He also completed advanced studies in banking from the University of Virginia and from Louisiana State University. Mr. Wantland has served on the boards of the Southern Dallas Development Fund, The Family Place, Oklahoma State University Alumni Association, and the Cambridge School of Dallas. Additionally, he is a member of the Salesmanship Club of Dallas and serves as an elder at Northwest Bible Church in Dallas.