Shaza Andersen / Organizer, Director, and Chief Executive Officer
Shaza L. Andersen recently served as Vice Chair of the Board of Sandy Spring Bank. Prior to joining the Board, Ms. Andersen founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of WashingtonFirst Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of WashingtonFirst Bankshares, Inc. Ms. Andersen’s leadership grew the Bank from a single De Novo branch to over $2 billion in assets, with 19 branches in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Ms. Andersen completed the sale WFBI to Sandy Spring Bancorp (NASDQ: SASR) for $489M in stock, which equates to 256% of its tangible book value. By dollar value, it is the largest banking deal in the Mid-Atlantic region and ranks among the 10 largest deals in the country.
Ms. Andersen is also a member of the Board of Directors of Amalgamated Casualty Insurance Company and a past member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, where she was the Vice Chair of the Corporate Governance Committee and a member of the Housing Committee and also served on the Treasury Board of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Ms. Andersen founded the WashingtonFirst Youth Foundation (WFYF), a local not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching the physical, social, and mental well-being of children in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan area. In addition, Ms. Andersen donates her time and talent to organizations that focus on children, entrepreneurship and education including: the Washington Redskins Leadership Council, the INOVA Foundation Health Board, the National Association of Women Business Owners Leadership Circle, the Executive Board of the Blitz for the Better Foundation, the Board of Directors of the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation, the George Mason University Dean’s Advisory Council, the International Women’s Forum of Washington, DC, and the Global Good Fund Advisory Board. She previously served on the Board of Trustees for Youth For Tomorrow, the Board of Directors of the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, and was a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).
Recognized by American Banker as one ofthe Top 25 Women to Watch and named a Top Banker by SmartCEO Magazine (twice), Ms. Andersen has also been honored with an ABC7 WJLA-TV & Toyota Dealers’ Tribute to Working Women award. She has been named one of the Top 100 Powerful Women by Washingtonian Magazine and designated by the Washington Business Journal as one of their Power 100, 50 Fastest Growing Companies (twice), Women Who Mean Business, and Most Admired CEO. Capitol File Magazine recently selected Ms. Andersen for “The List” of prominent business and community leaders in the Washington, DC area. A favored and sought-after authority on banking and capital market issues, Ms. Andersen has appeared on CNBC and Fox News, and been featured in Forbes Magazine, the Washington Business Journal and Washingtonian Magazine.
George W. Connors / Director, President, and Chief Credit Officer
Mr. Connors most recently served as EVP and Division Head of the Virginia and Washington D.C. commercial markets for Sandy Spring Bank. Prior to this position, Mr. Connors was a founding director and served as President and Chief Credit Officer of WashingtonFirst Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of WashingtonFirst Bankshares, Inc. Under Mr. Connors’ leadership, the loan portfolio grew to $1.8 billion in the 14 year history from its start with a lending limit growing from $1.6 million at inception to $40 million in its 14 year history. The loan quality was held to a high standard with NPA’s consistently kept well under 1%, including during the times of acquisitions of other banks.
Mr. Connors serves as Chairman of United Cerebral Palsy of Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia (serving on Board since 2002). He is currently a member of the faculty of the National Commercial Lending School under the Center for Financial Training (faculty member since 2001), where he also serves on the Board (since 2004). He is active in his community serving as the Treasurer of The Falls Church Anglican as well as the Treasurer of 6565 Arlington Boulevard, LLC, the real estate entity that manages the Church, a 144,000 SF office building and a 560 parking space garage (since 2013). He was active in the scouting community in Arlington, VA serving as Pack Master and Life to Eagle Coordinator for Pack 641 and Troop 106, respectively.
Since 2016, Mr. Connors has served as a US Trustee to the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, an organization that raises funds and develops sustainable projects in
Mr. Connors graduated from Centre College with a BS in Economics and holds an MBA from George Mason University.
Matthew Johnson / Organizer, Director, Executive Vice President, and Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Johnson recently served as the Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Access National Bank and Access National Corporation. He was recruited by Access’s CEO to join the team to assist with integrating a recently acquired bank, address some accounting projects, and help position the bank for sale, which was announced in October 2018. Mr. Johnson previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of WashingtonFirst and WashingtonFirst Bankshares, serving in that role since the Bank was organized in 2004. In early 2018, WashingtonFirst was acquired by Sandy Spring Bank. He has extensive financial institution planning and development as well as acquisition experience. Prior to WashingtonFirst, Mr. Johnson served as the Chief Financial Officer of Capital Bank, NA in Rockville, and also held management positions with Olson Research Associates, Caledonian Venture Partners and Chesapeake Ventures.
In 2013, he was selected as a winner of the Washington SmartCEO’s Executive Management Award in the category of CFO. He was recently asked to serve on the American Bankers Association’s Federal Home Loan Bank Advisory Committee. Mr. Johnson has also served on the parish council for the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George and as a director of the Metropolitan Washington Orthodox Senior Housing Project (MWOSH), a non-profit organization focused on providing assisted living housing for seniors within the Greek Orthodox diocese of Washington, DC. He graduated from Auburn University in 1986 with a B.A. in finance, and from American University in 1992 with an MBA.
Michael Amin / SVP – Operations
Mr. Amin has over 30 years of retail bank experience with extensive background in managing deposit operations, and branch administration for community banks. Mr. Amin most recently served as Senior Vice President of Operations at WashingtonFirst Bank and was a member of the Executive Management Team. Prior to WashingtonFirst Bank, Mr. Amin held officer positions with The Business Bank, in Vienna, VA, Century National Bank in Washington, DC, Citibank FSB in Reston, Virginia, and Perpetual Savings Bank in Alexandria, VA.
Mr. Amin has strong experience in online banking applications, EFT operations, wire transfer management, exceptions item processing, card services, compliance, risk management, policies and procedures, and core systems management and conversion. Mr. Amin also has demonstrated ability to research, analyze and recommend business products and solutions. Mr. Amin has strong leadership, communication administrative and organization skills.
Mr. Amin has a bachelor’s degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs Political Science from Occidental College, in Los Angeles, California, and also holds a Graduate Diploma from the Consumer Bankers Association’s Graduate School of Retail Bank Management through the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. In Addition, Mr. Amin holds certificates of completion from the American Bankers Association, and the Central Atlantic School of Banking through the Pennsylvania Bankers Association at Bucknell University, Pennsylvania.
Karen Laughlin / SVP – Human Resources
Ms. Laughlin has over 35 years’ experience as a Human Resources executive, working with companies ranging from community banks to a Fortune 500 Healthcare company. Ms. Laughlin most recently served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at WashingtonFirst Bank from 2011 until it was acquired in 2018. She was a member of the Executive Management Team. Prior to WashingtonFirst Bank, Ms. Laughlin held officer positions at The Business Bank in Vienna, Virginia and Alliance Bank in Chantilly, Virginia. Since 1983, Ms. Laughlin’s areas of expertise in banking has included Recruiting/Onboarding, Mergers and Acquisitions, RIF/Reorganization and Executive Compensation. Ms. Laughlin is valued for her ability to establish rapport and credibility with diverse groups ranging from staff to board members. Ms. Laughlin received her Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She is an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and a member of Deloitte’s Greater Washington Women in Financial Services Member.
Clare B. Schmitt / SVP – Legal/Compliance
Ms. Schmitt recently served as Counsel at WashingtonFirst Bank from 2010 until it was acquired in 2018. At WashingtonFirst, she was responsible for advising executive management and the board of directors on a variety of regulatory, corporate governance, and legal matters. In particular, Ms. Schmitt provided advice on compliance, shareholder relations, and public company reporting matters. She also reviewed and negotiated strategic agreements such as leases and service provider agreements and negotiated and prepared loan documentation on commercial lending transactions.
Before joining WashingtonFirst, Ms. Schmitt was an attorney with the law firm WilmerHale LLP in the financial institutions group for over seven years. While at WilmerHale, she represented financial institutions, advising them on a variety of regulatory and compliance matters before federal and state regulators.
Ms. Schmitt received her B.A. from Rice University and her Juris Doctorate, Order of the Coif, from the University of Maryland.
Rusty Golden / SVP – Loan Administration
Ms. Golden has over 30 years of community bank experience, with extensive experience in consumer and commercial loan operations and loan administration. Most recently, Ms. Golden served as Senior Vice President of Loan Administration & Credit Administration at WashingtonFirst Bank. Prior to WashingtonFirst Bank, Ms. Golden held officer positions at Virginia Commerce Bank in Chantilly, Virginia, BB&T in Falls Church, Virginia and First Virginia Bank in Falls Church, Virginia.
Ms. Golden has a broad-based background in banking policies, procedures, compliance and project management. She is valued as an effective leader with the ability to develop and motivate teams. She draws on a broad base of experience and knowledge to provide creative solutions to complex problems. Ms. Golden received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia.