Investment Adviser Association Staff

Karen L. Barr, President & CEO


Karen is a native Washingtonian. She received her B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985 and her law degree, cum laude, from the University of Michigan in 1988, where she was an editor on the Journal of Law Reform. After law school, Karen served as law clerk to the Honorable Walter E. Black, Jr., a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. From 1989 until March 1997, when she joined the IAA, Karen was in private practice at the Washington, D.C. law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, where she represented clients with respect to SEC investigations, securities class action litigation, administrative proceedings, internal corporate investigations, and securities regulatory matters. Karen is a member of the District of Columbia Bar. Email Karen.

Gail C. Bernstein, General Counsel

Gail Bernstein is General Counsel at the Investment Adviser Association. She joined the IAA in 2017 from the law firm of WilmerHale in Washington, DC, where she had been both a special counsel and a partner in the Securities Department. While in private practice, Gail counseled clients on all aspects of financial and securities regulation, with a focus on the Dodd-Frank Act and securities and derivatives law and compliance. Gail grew up in South Africa and earned her B.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1982 and her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. After law school, Gail clerked for the Honorable Douglas P. Woodlock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Email Gail.

Monique S. Botkin, Associate General Counsel

Monique.jpgMonique joined the IAA in February 2004. Previously, she was an associate attorney in the financial services groups of Dechert LLP in Orange County, California and Alston & Bird LLP in Washington, DC. While in private practice, Monique represented investment advisers, registered investment companies, private funds, and broker-dealers in corporate, securities, and investment management matters. Monique also served as an attorney in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management disclosure review office from 2013 to 2014. She earned her B.A. in government and politics from the University of Maryland at College Park and her J.D., cum laude, from Southwestern School of Law in Los Angeles, where she was an editor of the Law Review. Monique is a member of the State Bar of California. E-mail Monique.

Chris Brownlowe, Accounting Coordinator


Chris grew up in Delaware, where he majored in Sociology and Economics at the University of Delaware. He later relocated to New England, where he studied public administration at  the University of Vermont earned his masters of public policy and management [PPM] at the University of Southern Maine. Chris served over 15 years in the fields of emergency response and management before moving to Washington DC in 2017. He volunteers with many arts and community organizations, including the H Street NE Festival and the Mayor’s Art All Night Arts Festival. Chris currently serves as Treasurer of Artomatic, one of DC’s largest and longest-running arts events. Email Chris.

Sarah Buescher, Associate General Counsel

Sarah joined the IAA in October 2017. She is responsible for core Investment Advisers Act issues as well as ERISA and pension issues. Before joining the IAA, Sarah served as a Branch Chief in the Investment Adviser Regulation Office in the SEC's Division of Investment Management. She also worked in the SEC's Office of the General Counsel and started her legal career in the SEC's Division of Investment Management. Sarah also has industry experience. Between 1999 and 2009, she worked at Vanguard, first in the Legal Department as Associate Counsel and Senior Counsel, and later as Manager of International Compliance in Vanguard's Compliance Department. Sarah earned her B.S. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University in 1989, and her J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1994. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar. E-mail Sarah.

Lisa Gillette, CMM, Director, Meetings & Events

Lisa has been with the IAA since 2005 as Director of Meeting and Events. Her duties include planning and execution of all IAA conferences and board meetings, topical workshops, webinars, and other events. Additionally, she is responsible for trade show exhibitors and sponsorships for IAA’s larger meetings. Previously, while working in the luxury hotel sector, her duties included sales, business development, marketing, corporate and social event management, and staff training. Before that, she held various management positions in a number of Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons Hotels. Lisa holds a B.A. in Psychology from Trinity College, Hartford CT. She holds a Certificate in Meeting Management and is a member of Meeting Professionals International. Email Lisa.

Laura L. Grossman, Associate General Counsel

Laura is a native of the State of New Jersey. Prior to joining the IAA, Laura was in private practice for over 10 years in the New York office of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. (now Norton Rose Fulbright), where she advised registered investment adviser, mutual fund and private fund clients on matters arising under the Investment Advisers Act, the Investment Company Act and other federal securities laws, the Commodity Exchange Act and associated regulations, and a wide range of compliance issues. She received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a senior editor on the Journal of International Economic Law, and her B.A. degree, summa cum laude, from Rutgers College where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Laura is a member of the bar in New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. Email Laura.

Nancy Hancock, Vice President, Business Practices

Nancy joined IAA in 2020 from the asset management industry, where she spent over 20 years in marketing communications, most recently in the institutional channel at T. Rowe Price. Prior to her time there, Nancy worked at Putnam Investments, aligned with the institutional, RIA, and 529 businesses, following eight years at State Street, where she supported the custody units serving the firm’s institutional, mutual fund, and insurance services client bases. A native Midwesterner, Nancy holds a B. A., cum laude, in French with a minor in German from the University of Illinois. She earned her M. B. A. with a dual concentration in marketing and finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Nancy holds a FINRA Series 7 license. Email Nancy.

Garrett Honea, Manager, IT & Operations

Originally from the Sequatchie Valley of East Tennessee, Garrett now lives in the Washington D.C. area. He graduated from Rhodes College in 2006 with a B.A. in International Studies. Garrett has substantial experience in the non-profit sector contributing hundreds of hours of service to the Memphis community. Email Garrett.

Alex Ioannidis, Manager, Marketing & Partnerships

Alex grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland. A graduate of Virginia Tech, Alex earned his B.A. degree in Economics in 2011. Afterward, he moved back to the Washington, D.C. area, where he gained experience in technology consulting and environmental sustainability research before joining the IAA. Alex has been active in his community volunteering at several local schools and other organizations such as the Smithsonian National Zoo. A long time bass player, Alex enjoys creating, teaching, and performing music in his spare time. Email Alex.

Nelea Johnson, Executive Assistant to the President & CEO

Nelea joined the IAA in the summer of 2021 to provide administrative and logistical support to IAA President & CEO Karen Barr. She brings more than two decades of experience in administration – most recently as Executive Assistant to the City Manager and Mayor of Glenarden, MD. Earlier, Nelea performed a similar role for the Town of Capitol Heights, MD and served in administrative positions at USAA, the American Chemical Society, and the American Psychiatric Association and Foundation. Email Nelea.

Teresa Kona, Administrative & Technical Assistant

Kona_Teresa_002.jpegTeresa joined the IAA as Administrative and Technical Assistant to the IAA’s Legal Team in November, 2017. Teresa provides critical support in research, website updates, policy committee communications, website updates and more.

Teresa came to the IAA from the United States Peace Corps, where she served as a program support assistant. Previously, she served as marketing and meetings assistant for the American Land Title Association and provided technical and other support for the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the law firm Clifford Chance. Email Teresa.

Emily Lamb, Membership Coordinator

Emily Lamb

Emily grew up in Florida and moved to Washington, DC when she was in high school. She is a 2017 graduate of West Virginia University where she majored in Communication and Media Studies, with an emphasis in Social Media and Technology. While in college, Emily gained experience as a Research Assistant for the Communication Department, studied abroad, and spent her free time volunteering with student organizations. Emily moved back to Washington, D.C. after college and worked in client relations and marketing for various companies before joining the IAA. Email Emily.

Sanjay Lamba, Associate General Counsel

Sanjay is a native Washingtonian. He has over 15 years of experience regarding all aspects of investment management law and regulation. Prior to joining the IAA in 2013, Sanjay worked at the SEC for 10 years, beginning his service in the rulemaking office of the Division of Investment Management before transferring to the Office of Chief Counsel (Legal Branch) in the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations in 2010. Prior to the SEC, Sanjay was an associate in the investment management practice groups at Morrison & Foerster LLP and Dechert LLP. He received his B.S. degree in Finance from George Mason University in 1994 and his law degree from Boston University in 1997. He is a member of the bar in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia. Email Sanjay.

Linda Mackey, Vice President, Finance & Operations

Linda is a native of Wyoming who moved to northern Virginia with her family as a young child. Linda attended George Mason University, where she majored in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Accounting. From 1998-2007, Linda served as Vice President of Operations for NAVA (National Association for Variable Annuities), a non-profit trade association headquartered in Reston, Virginia. Prior to that, she served for four years as Director of Accounting for Telogy Networks, a high-tech start-up company that was sold to Texas Instruments; and for seven years before that as Controller for Government Technology Services, Inc., a systems integrator and GSA re-seller that Linda helped take through its successful IPO in 1991. Email Linda.


Megan Olson, Manager, Meetings & Events

Megan joined the IAA in 2008 after graduating from James Madison University in 2007 with a B.S. in History. While in college, Megan gained substantial experience in real estate law research and personal injury case preparation. She is a member of AAUW and actively serves on many boards for Delta Gamma. Email Megan.




Herb Perone, Vice President, Communications & Marketing

Herb is a native Washingtonian. A veteran communications professional, he served for six years as Associate Vice President for Media Relations at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), where he focused on enforcement and investor education issues and coordinated communications around the Madoff and Stanford Group scandals. Prior to that, he served for two years as Acting Director of the SEC’s Office of Public Affairs, handling media for the Global Settlement of Analyst Conflicts, Enron, WorldCom and a series of mutual fund scandals. As Communications Director for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), he acted as one of that industry’s chief spokespersons in the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Immediately prior to joining the IAA, Herb headed an independent communications practice that served clients in trade association, defense and business tech industries. He came to the communications/public affairs field after working as a producer and writer for CNN and ABC News and as a reporter for several daily and weekly newspapers. Email Herb.

Neil Simon, Vice President, Government Relations

Neil is a native New Yorker who moved to Washington, D.C. in 1976. For 3 years before joining the IAA in early 2007, he served as Director of Government Relations for the Financial Planning Association. From 1998 to 2003, he was Executive Director of the National Franchise Council where he lead an innovative partnership between industry and federal regulators. Prior to that, he served as a legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives and, subsequently, was counsel to the Washington, D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson LLP (now known as Hogan Lovells). Neil received his B.A. Magna Cum Laude in government and international relations from Clark University in Worcester, Mass. He received his Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Email Neil.

Dawn Smith, Manager, Member Engagement

Dawn Smith is a Virginia native who has an extensive background in budgeting, events management and database management. She worked for several event management organizations and trade associations prior to joining the IAA. Dawn is also a classically trained vocalist who performs original material with various Washington, D.C.-based music groups. Email Dawn.

Alain Taylor, Vice President, Membership

Alain is a native South Floridian who moved to Washington, D.C. in 2000. Alain holds a bachelor's degree in political science and psychology from the University of Rochester and has done graduate work in the MBA program at George Washington University. As IAA’s Vice President, Membership, Alain is responsible for developing and implementing membership recruitment and retention strategies, policies and processes. Most recently Alain spearheaded the Security Industry Association’s industry events and engagement initiatives. Prior to joining SIA, Alain worked as the director of membership and grassroots affairs with the American Financial Services Association, where he was responsible for the recruitment and retention  of mortgage lenders, industrial banks and diversified financial services companies and for developing and implementing the association's grassroots program. He has also worked as the director of corporate relations for the American Council of Life Insurers. Email Alain.

Hasika Wijegunawardana, Marketing & Membership Coordinator

Hasika was born in Silver Spring and grew up in Clarksburg, Maryland. A graduate of Davis and Elkins College where he played soccer and received his B.S. Degree in Marketing in 2015. After college, Hasika moved back to the Washington, D.C. area and gained experience as an CE Administrator with the CFP Board before joining the IAA. Hasika handles scheduling, sending and analytics of IAA’s marketing emails as well as CRM/website maintenance. Email Hasika.

Meredith Wise, Manager, Communications & Marketing

Meredith joined IAA in 2021. She holds a bachelor's degree in public relations from Georgia Southern University with minors in marketing and theatre, and she is an NTEN-certified nonprofit technology professional. Her career has primarily focused on traditional and digital communications strategy and execution for nonprofits and associations, including the Physician Assistant Education Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Meredith plays a major role in developing and executing the IAA’s communications, marketing and web strategies. Email Meredith.