Our Valor Leaders

Andy Zolper

Andy Zolper (USMC)

Executive Sponsor

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

Steven LaBarbera (USMC)

National Co-Chair
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.
Ed Sudzina

Edward Sudzina (USAR)

National Co-Chair
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. In 2019, Ed was elevated to the role of Market Executive for the Eastern Michigan Complex, and in 2023 was promoted to Regional Director of the Western Gulf Region of Raymond James. 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 Aston

Mercy Ameyaw Aston (USAR)

National Co-Chair

Mercy joined Raymond James in 2016 and currently serves as an Institutional Trader/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 was the winner of the 2024 Tampa Bay Business & Wealth Magazine Women Who Win Awards in the “Young,” an honoree of the 2021 Tampa Bay Business Journal 40 under 40, as well as the 2022 InvestmentNews Rising Star awardee. Mercy is a member of the Orlando Health Bayfront Hospital Philanthropy Council, member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay Advisory Board, serves on the Board of Directors of the Florida Municipal Bond Club, and serves on the Quantum Leap Farm Board of Directors. Mercy speaks five languages, holds a Masters in intelligence studies and operations, and a double Bachelors in political science and international affairs. Mercy currently resides in Southern Pines, NC with her husband and two Basenji dogs.

AnnMarie Hensler Davis

AnnMarie Hensler Davis (USN)

Liaison: Legal
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. ​
Rebecca Mohan-Gonzalez

Rebecca Mohan-Gonzalez

Operations: Military Recruiting & Retention Chair
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.”
Austin Storck

Austin Storck (USN)

Operations: Military Recruiting & Retention Vice-Chair
Austin is an AMP- Financial Advisor who currently resides in Virginia Beach with his wife. Austin was born and raised in Kansas. Prior to becoming a financial professional, Austin embarked on a remarkable journey that led him to enlist in the Navy. Austin served as an Assault troop Radio Operator for SEAL Team 6, where he delivered tactical communication during combat missions while working with Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG). Austin was part of two amazing Military transition courses, The Honor Foundation and ViableEdu Armed for Finance, which ignited his fire to help more military professionals transition into the financial profession. Austin earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Financial Planning Services and is currently pursuing an MBA from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary.
Courtney Wallen

Courtney Wallen (USMC Spouse)

Operations: Military Spouse Network Chair
Courtney joined Raymond James in 2018 and currently serves as the Head of FinOp/Custody Compliance. As the spouse of a Marine Colonel, she is also a passionate advocate for military families, understanding first-hand the challenges of building a career in the financial services industry while being the spouse of an active-duty service member. She continues to fulfil her mission to help military spouses succeed in the workforce as the Chair for the Raymond James Military Spouse Network, which she helped establish in 2021. Courtney earned a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and holds Series 7, 24, 63 and 65 licenses. She currently resides in Alexandria, VA with her husband, daughter, and their Sokoke forest cat, adopted during the family’s posting to Kenya.
Patty Wilson

Patty Wilson (USN Spouse)

Operations: Military Spouse Network Vice-Chair

Patty Wilson is married to a retired 20-year Navy veteran. She is passionate about supporting women in their careers, especially military spouses. When she was a military spouse, throughout the 80’s and 90’s, Patty experienced first-hand that it was challenging to truly immerse in a career. In 1998, just two years prior to her husband’s retirement, she was finally able to start her own career in the Financial Services industry. Patty has been affiliated with Raymond James since 2011, serving in various roles in both branch locations and the home office. Patty is currently the Complex Operations Manager for the RJA Minnesota/Dakotas Complex. She has a BS in Business Administration from the University of Southern Maine and holds Series 7,63, 66, 9, and 10 licenses. She currently lives in her home state of Minnesota with her husband, where they can be near their children and grandchildren.

Beth Jackson

Beth Jackson (USAF)

Operations: Finance & Fundraising Chair
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, 24 and 9/10 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 is currently a member of the Supervision Council. 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.
Justin Maynard

Justin Maynard

Operations: Finance & Fundraising Vice-Chair
Justin Maynard is a Business Support Analyst in Recruiting at Raymond James. He recently graduated from Florida State University, where he was involved in finance clubs and his fraternity.

Justin has a deep connection to the armed forces through his two brothers. One of his brothers is joining the Army on May 5th, while the other is returning home after six years with the Navy in December. He loves meeting new people, working on cars, exercising, and wrestling. He is ecstatic about the opportunity to join Valor and help the organization expand.

Bill Cosper

Bill Cosper (USAR)

Local Co-Chair: St. Petersburg, FL
Bill Cosper, a former financial advisor, joined Raymond James in 2000, working in what is now known as Equity Capital Markets. Mr. Cosper draws on his retail experience to market new issues to Raymond James’ Financial Advisors. Prior to his career in financial services, Mr. Cosper, a Gulf War veteran, served in the U.S. Army, Army Reserve, and Florida National Guard, and also worked for the State Attorney’s Office in Tampa, Florida. Mr. Cosper graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Florida, earning a B.S. in Finance.
My Newsome

My Newsome

Local Co-Chair: St. Petersburg, FL
My Newsome has been with Raymond James for over five years and is part of the Compliance Branch Exams team. She is passionate about being an ally and advocate for others, and is currently the Communications Co-Chair for the Pride Inclusion Network and is very excited to also be the St. Pete Co-Chair for Valor. Supporting the military and veterans is very important to My as she has family members that are current and former military (U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corp, and U.S. Air Force). She resides in the Tampa area with her husband, son, and dog.
Troy Simmons

Troy Simmons (LEO)

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.
Amanda Jones

Amanda Jones

Local Co-Chair: Memphis
Amanda Jones is a Risk Analyst in the Corporate Actions Department. Prior to Raymond James, Amanda was with Morgan Keegan and has been here a total of 24 years. Amanda is a lifelong Memphis resident, and is married to a Memphis Police Officer. They have one son, who is a Sergeant in the United States Army and is currently stationed at Ft Campbell. Amanda is an avid animal lover and has one cat and two dogs, one of which is a retired Memphis Police K9. She has multiple fundraisers each year to raise money for Tails of Hope Animal Rescue. In her free time, Amanda refinishes and custom paints furniture for clients. She also mentors numerous people who are interested in learning to refinish furniture.
Keith Norton

Keith Norton (USMC)

Local Co-Chair: Southfield
​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

Bill Naylor (USAF)

Local Co-Chair: Southfield
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​.
Jelani Gandy

Jelani Gandy

Local Co-Chair: New York
Jelani Gandy serves as a wealth management associate for Raymond James at the Manhattan Park Avenue branch in New York City. Jelani was born and raised in Linwood, New Jersey. Jelani got his love for finance from his late father, who was the founder and owner of Aidme Motor Club. Jelani graduated from Stockton University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2021. During his time in college, Jelani held a variety of leadership roles in student government and his fraternity, which led him to receive recognition as the “Stockton University 2021 Fraternity Man of the Year” award. After graduating, Jelani received a call to action from his community to run for County Commissioner of Atlantic County and although the numbers were not in his favor, he was able to make a meaningful impact in his community in other ways. This prompted him to be featured in the “Front Runner New Jersey 30 under 35 Top Young African American Leaders of South Jersey”. Jelani’s attraction to serving his community stems from his family’s history of service in the military and their active involvement within their faith. Prior to joining Raymond James, Jelani was a training financial advisor with UBS in Philadelphia. Outside of work Jelani enjoys spending time with his family and friends, boxing, and exploring the city’s various restaurants, parks, and other attractions.
Nicole Kelly

Nicole Kelly

Co-Chair: Events Marketing & Community Outreach (Internal Events)
Nicole Hewitt is an Anti-Bribery and Anti-corruption Sr. Manager within 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

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

Tyler Platanella (USAR)

Co-Chair: Events Marketing & Community Outreach (Marketing)
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.
Matt Giacobbe

Matt Giacobbe

Vice-Chair: Events Marketing & Community Outreach
Matt Giacobbe is a member of the 2023 ADP Cohort on the Risk Management Track. He recently graduated from Pace University with his bachelor’s degree in business economics. After 21 years of living in the NYC area he is excited to begin his career at Raymond James in St. Petersburg. During his college tenure, Matt served many positions for his Kappa Sigma chapter’s executive board, including president and risk management chair. He also spearheaded his chapter’s military heroes month philanthropy initiatives during the month of November. In his free time, he enjoys watching and discussing sports as well as networking. Though new to the area he enjoys exploring and looks forward to building long-lasting relationships in St. Pete. He is thrilled to be joining the Valor Family as EMCO Vice-Chair!
Cierra Howard

Cierra Howard

Vice-Chair: Events Marketing & Community Outreach
Cierra Howard is a Florida native from Miami. She graduated from the University of South Florida with her Bachelors in Mass Communications in Journalism and Media Studies. While attending college she has volunteered for several initiatives she cares about such as the YMCA of Greater St. Peterburg. She uses her background in Communications to focus on community collaboration and outreach. After graduation, Cierra joined the Raymond James company and has been here for almost two years. Cierra’s current role is Sr. Services Representative within the Client Services Department at RJ. Outside of the work Cierra enjoys photography, golfing, painting, and trying to keep her two plants alive.