Our Valor Leaders

Andy Zolper

Executive Sponsor (USMC)

Andy is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He served for five years as a communications and signals intelligence officer. He managed the deployment of first-generation tactical telephony/computing capabilities and integrated secure mobile voice, data, satellite, and multichannel systems while working with allied forces across Asia and Australia. Andy also served as an instructor for newly commissioned second lieutenants at The Basic School. Before coming to Raymond James, Andy led teams in technology risk, cyber security, program management, and process reengineering at JPMorgan Chase, and was CISO of UBS Wealth Management Americas, and later global head of Technology Risk Management for UBS. At Raymond James, Andy Zolper is the Head of Enterprise Technology Solutions and leads a world-class team of experts who deliver high performance, highly secure technology solutions to our business enterprise and our clients. In 2018, Andy was named to Raymond James’ Operating Committee. He also chairs the firm’s Operating Risk Management Committee and is executive sponsor of Valor, the veteran’s inclusions network. In 2021, Andy also joined the Girls Inc of Pinellas Board of Directors which supports life-changing programs and experiences that equip girls to overcome serious barriers to grow up strong, smart, and bold.

Steven LaBarbera

National Co-Chair (USMC)

Steven LaBarbera was a non-commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, specializing in demolitions and anti-armor, with one combat tour in Iraq in 2003. Prior to working at Raymond James, Steven worked at both Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley’s Internal Audit departments covering asset and wealth management. Before transitioning to Internal Audit, he worked in operations at Merrill Lynch supporting both retirement plans and alternative investments. Steven went on to become a managing director and business control officer at JPMorgan Chase responsible for coverage over the retail wealth management business. He also held other various leadership roles at JPMorgan including chief risk officer and internal audit director over wealth management. Steven joined Raymond James Financial in April 2016 as chief audit executive. In January 2020, Steven became the chief risk officer over the Capital Markets division of Raymond James. In July 2021 he was appointed as the firm’s Chief Compliance Office (CCO). Steven earned his MBA from Northwestern – Kellogg School of Management.

Edward Sudzina

National Co- Chair (USAR)

Ed Sudzina is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served as an Airborne/Ranger qualified Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army where he primarily served overseas and deployed to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Ed began his career in the financial services industry in 1997 as a financial advisor with Prudential Securities in Birmingham, Michigan. After a successful start to his advisory career, Ed was selected to attend Prudential’s Branch Manager Leadership Program in New York City. In 2001, Ed was introduced to Raymond James and shortly thereafter chose to return to Michigan to assume leadership of Raymond James Auburn Hills. Ed was promoted to Complex Manager in 2005 where he steadily grew his complex’s footprint for over a decade. He was twice named Raymond James Manager of the Year in 2015 and 2019 and was recognized as one of OnWallStreet Magazine’s Top 10 Branch Managers in 2016. In 2019, Ed was elevated to the role of Metro Detroit Market Executive where he works with all of the talented Raymond James managers, staff, and advisors throughout metropolitan Detroit and eastern Michigan to create a financial services organization rivaled by none. Ed holds the Wealth Management Specialist designation, is a graduate of the Securities Industry Institute at The Wharton School in Philadelphia, and earned his MBA from The Broad School of Management at Michigan State University.

Mercy Ameyaw

Co- Chair (USAR)

Mercy joined Raymond James in 2016 and currently serves as a Director of Municipal Dealer Sales at Raymond James where she serves as a trade liaison between the firm’s Municipal department and other broker / dealers throughout the country. Mercy recently retired after serving almost 17 years as a highly decorated Senior NCO in the US Army where she specialized SOF intelligence targeting and signal network operations. During her military career, Mercy served in combat operations in Afghanistan and NATO missions in Germany and Bosnia. In her last duty position, she served as the Acting First Sergeant and Platoon Sergeant in an elite Airborne Unit working closely with the Special Operations and law-enforcement partners. Mercy speaks six languages, holds a masters in intelligence studies and operations, and a double bachelors in political science and international affairs. Mercy is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She was selected out of 500 nominees as a 2021 Tampa Bay Business Journal 40 under 40 honoree, as well as the 2022 InvestmentNews Rising Star DEI award based on her demonstrated business success, community involvement, and leadership. Mercy is currently the President of the Board of Directors of Girls Inc. of Pinellas (children and education), member of the Bayfront Health St. Pete Foundation (health and community), member of the 22Zero Board of Directors (veterans support), serves on the Board of Directors of the Florida Municipal Bond Club (professional/industry fellowship), and a member of the Legislative Committee of the St. Petersburg chapter of the Business and Professional Women (BPW) (advocacy and empowerment). Mercy currently resides in St. Petersburg, FL with her husband and two basenji dogs

Courtney Wallen

Co-Chair/ Military Spouse Network Lead  (USMC Spouse)

Courtney is married to a Marine LtCol, and has embraced the challenges of building a career in the financial services industry while being the spouse of an active duty service member. Her husband has had multiple combat deployments to Afghanistan and different assignments have taken their family across the U.S and overseas to Africa. She is also a passionate advocate for military families, and was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award by two administrations in recognition of her work providing financial counseling and education to Marines, Sailors, Veterans, and their families. She brings this passion to Valor, with a focus on supporting the hiring and retention of military spouses and Veterans. With over 15 years in the financial services industry, Courtney began her career as a Financial Advisor. She went on to lead teams and programs in supervision and compliance at Nationwide Securities, LLC, including serving 6 years as Director of Supervision. During her family’s posting to the US Embassy in Kenya, she worked with an American NGO to help East African regulators and businesses build anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing programming. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University, majoring in Political Science and German Literature, and holds Series 7, 24, 63 and 65 licenses. Courtney joined the Raymond James Compliance department in 2018. She serves as the Head of Raymond James’ Control Room and Compliance Officer for Raymond James Tax Credit Funds. With a current posting to Quantico, she and her husband live in Alexandria, Virginia with their Sokoke forest cat, adopted during their time in Kenya.

Adam Morris

Local Co-Chair: Memphis (USMC)

Adam’s primary responsibilities at Raymond James include whole loan portfolio valuation, market research, risk analysis, and transfer of loan data between buyers and sellers. Adam joined Raymond James in 2019 as part of the Operations Development Program, where he rotated between multiple departments. He then moved to the Purchase and Sales team, working with equity and fixed income trading to correct trade discrepancies across multiple product classes. He transitioned into an analyst position with the Whole Loan Trading group in 2021. Adam received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Mississippi. Prior to university enrollment, he served as an electrical engineer in the United States Marine Corps.

Troy Simmons

Local Co-Chair: Memphis

Troy Simmons currently serves as a Corporate Protection Officer with Raymond James in Memphis Tennessee. He is a native Memphian and served 33 years in Law Enforcement with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. Troy has worked in various capacities as a Deputy Sheriff; Narcotics, Fugitive, Gang investigator, S.W.A.T. Team, and assistant K9 Commander. During his time there he received a Purple Star award and Deputy Sheriff of the Year award. During his tenure in the K9 Unit he worked 2 German Shepherds, apprehended suspects, and seized numerous amounts of narcotics. Troy is married and has 5 children and 1 on the way. Troy is an active member at Bellevue Baptist Church and leads a men’s discipleship group. He and his family serve at Shepherd’s Haven, a ministry for adults with special needs. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and fitness training.

Keith Norton

Local Co-Chair: Southfield (USMC)

​Keith Norton served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve from 1987 – 1995. Keith was deployed with the 1/24th Marines in December 1990 to Okinawa Japan in support of Desert Shield / Storm . The unit was deployed until September 1991. While stationed in Okinawa, his unit took part in Operation Forest Light, which was a high profile bilateral exercise with the Japanese Self Defense Force that took place on mainland Japan. This exercise was the first time a U.S. military unit had cross trained with the Japanese Self Defense Force. In April 1991, the battalion was relocated to Subic Bay in the Philippines. While stationed in the Philippines, Mt. Pinatubo erupted for the first time in 600 years. 1/24th Marines played a vital role in the evacuation, rescue and security of Subic Bay during Operation Fiery Vigil following the eruption, earning the unit the following awards – the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award. During his time in the Marine Corps, Keith earned several awards including the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and the National Defense Service Medal. Keith began his career with Raymond James in 1998. His current role is IT-Service Continuity Analyst and he is located in the Southfield Operation Center.

Bill Naylor

Local Co-Chair: Southfield (USAF)

Bill Naylor was a noncommissioned officer in the United State Air Force, specializing in communications and computer systems. Bill served overseas tours in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and South Korea. During his eight years of service he earned numerous awards such as multiple Air Force Achievement and Commendation medals, Airman of the Year and NCO of the Year. Bill managed to earn his Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management from Wayland Baptist University and Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University while serving on active duty. After separating from the Air Force, Bill moved to Michigan and joined Raymond James in 2005. During his 16 years of service with Raymond James, he has worked with various technologies and was recently promoted to Linux Systems Engineer within the Distributed Computing Delivery organization​.

Rebecca Mohan-Gonzalez

Chair: Military Recruiting & Retention Program

Rebecca, a Pittsburgh native, was born into a military family. All of Rebecca’s maternal uncles were Veterans, and her grandfather was stationed in Hawaii during WWII. She has long been an advocate for transitioning Service Members. In her previous role at Chubb, she was awarded a Governor’s Citation by the State of Maryland for her “Outstanding Commitment to Veterans” during Operation Hire in 2014. She has brought that passion to Raymond James, acting as the Military Liaison for Human Resources to assist in attracting and retaining Veteran talent to the organization. Rebecca works with external partners to drive Veteran traffic into the Raymond James hiring process, and also manages the Military Spouse Employment Partnership through the Department of Defense. Rebecca joined the firm in 2019 after relocating to Florida’s Gulf Coast. She is a Senior Talent Advisor specializing in recruiting for the Advisor Mastery Program. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from Chatham University. Outside of Valor, and her day job, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her wife, 3 fur kids, and fishing.”

Stephanie Hugley

Vice-Chair: Military Spouse Network (USAF Spouse)

Stephanie is the wife of an Airman who recently retired after 23 years of service. She has supported her spouse and children through multiple deployments while assisting other military families. Stephanie has served as a Peer Mentor, Key Spouse, Key Spouse Mentor, Master Resiliency Trainer, an advocate for Suicide Prevention, and has held multiple positions within PTA, PTSA, and PTO Executive Boards. She is an advocate for military spouses and families. Stephanie was awarded volunteer of the year and Key Spouse of the Year for the Special Operations Group while living in Okinawa, Japan. She, her husband, and three children currently residing in their hometown, the Tampa Bay area. Stephanie joined Raymond James in 2020. She is currently working in the Home Office in Executive Compensation Services, a Department within Global Wealth Solutions.

AnnMarie Davis

Liaison: Legal (USN)

AnnMarie earned her J.D. from Florida State University College of Law and her BS in Multinational Business. She spent the first four years of her career in the U.S. Navy JAGC. She served in the US and overseas in Italy for 2 years. After the JAGC, AnnMarie worked in the Tampa office of Holland & Knight, LLP for four years in its Employment Law division. Ten years ago, she transitioned to the legal department at Raymond James and served as employment counsel for five years, spent the next five years in Human Resources leading the Employment Practices team and she is now reporting to the General Counsel and leads the Employment Law Group. The group endeavors to help the company predict, resolve and eliminate employment related issues. AnnMarie and her husband, Trevor, live in Tampa with their 6 year old daughter, Lily. ​

Nicole Hewitt

Co-Chair: Events Marketing & Community Outreach (Internal Events)

Nicole Hewitt is Senor Anti-Bribery and Anti-corruption Advisor within the Compliance Practice of Raymond James. Prior to her current role she was the Team Lead for the Enhanced Due Diligence AML Team, where she was recognized by her peers as Associate of the Quarter, and an emerging Leader. Nicole is passionate about helping her community and is actively involved in fundraising for Children’s Miracle Network (“CMN”). During her time at Florida State University, Nicole served as the Partnership Chair for CMN, and helped raise over $50,000 through partnership engagement in the local community.

Ashley Williams

Co-Chair: Events Marketing & Community Outreach (Outreach)

Ashley has been with Raymond James for 9 years. She started in the Memphis office under Morgan Keegan firm and relocated while working in Mutual Funds Ops and moved to a Marketing role in 2018. She actually knows Christen from her marketing day. The marketing role at RJ introduced her to many leaders in the company and led me to joining Emerge leadership in 2019. In marketing Ashley was able to expand on her project management and process improvement skills. This prepared her for her recent move to PCG in 2021. Ashley has always looked for ways to give back whether it be with RJ or on her own time. Since 2019 she has been heavily involved in what is now Reach St Pete. This organization focuses on assisting the houseless/ homeless in the area by designated outreach programs. Now sitting on a core team for the organization, Ashley is able to bring awareness and provide input to our program that partners with Feed St Pete to provide clothing and hygiene items to their clients. She has learned that just being there to listen can make an impact in the community.

Tyler Platanella

Co-Chair: Events Marketing & Community Outreach (Marketing) (USAR)

Tyler was born and raised in Mays Landing, NJ and at 17 years old enlisted into the United States Army as a Forward Observer. Tyler served for 4 years in the 10th Mountain Division where he would complete one combat deployment to Afghanistan in 2016. He would go on to achieve the rank of Sergeant and then was Honorably Discharged from the Army in 2018 so that he could pursue a college degree. He graduated from the University of Tampa in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. After graduation, Tyler was hired by Raymond James as a Marketing Coordinator and then eventual moved into an Account Manager role on the transitions team. In his spare time Tyler enjoys golfing, working out, sports and spending time with his family.

Anita Williams

Vice-Chair: Events Marketing & Community Outreach

Anita Williams grew up as a military child with her mother serving in the Navy. This has given Anita the experience of adapting to new environments, being independent, learning new information quickly, and dedicating her time serving the military community whether it be through her work experience or volunteering. Anita joined the financial services industry in 2020 while completing her undergraduate degree in Finance at the University of South Florida. During that time, Anita discovered her interest in Risk Management and joined Raymond James in June 2022 as a Risk Management Analyst in the Accelerated Development Program. Outside of work, Anita enjoys writing, traveling, and immersing herself in nature.

Beth Jackson

Chair: Finance (USAF)

Beth is a veteran of the US Air Force and a native of Akron, OH. She was assigned Airman-in-Charge of the pediatric clinic at Norton AFB, which treated 200 patients daily. Certified in CPR and an EMT, she was also assigned the duty of Aeromedical Staging Facility Technician while in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. After taking time off to start a family, she began her career in the financial field in 2001 at RBC Dain Rauscher in Texas. Her career has included stops at Brown Brothers Harriman in Dallas and Merrill Lynch in Ohio. To present, Beth has fulfilled many roles: from working in back-office operations to working as a client service associate in a branch to her current role, Division Supervision Manager at Raymond James. She holds Series 7, 63, 66 and 24 FINRA licenses as well as a Florida Life, Health and Annuity license. Since joining Raymond James in 2018, she has been a part of the RJ Lunch Pals program and has been promoted to senior advisor. Outside the office, she enjoys being on the water, live music (think Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam and Miranda Lambert) and waking up early to go to CrossFit.

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