Working Together for Women's Empowerment

Board Members

Christine Burns-Fazzi

Founder and Board Chair

Raised on the coast of NC, Chris spent her business career working in the area of benefits and insurance. Over the last 25 years she and her business partner, Rich Brock, developed a national business. They decided to “pay it forward” by forming the BFB Foundation dedicated to helping developing communities by educating girls and women. In addition to her committed involvement with the Foundation, Chris travels a great deal and has recently started a mushroom farm business, with a long time friend. Their intent is to provide locally sourced mushrooms to western NC with 50% of profits going to the Foundation.

Gerrianne “Winky” Burks

Board Member

Winky retired from Northwest Federal Credit Union (NWFCU) in January 2013 after serving 41 years with NWFCU, the last 5 years serving as President/CEO. During her tenure at NWFCU, Winky was a staunch advocate for promoting education, financial literacy and making a difference in the lives of the membership and the communities NWFCU serves. She was instrumental in the development and formation of the Northwest Federal Credit Union’s Foundation as well as the Virginia Leagues Credit Union Care Foundation. Winky’s areas of expertise include governance, executive leadership/team building, management issues and an in-depth financial background. Winky has served on many boards including: Northwest Financial LLC, Potomac Business Services, Credit Union Executive Society (CUES), Northwest Federal Credit Union Foundation and Credit Union Care Foundation. In April 2017, Winky joined the board of NWFCU where she currently serves as Secretary. Winky has also been serving for three years as a Guardian ad Litem in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where it advocates for neglected and abused children in foster care.

Thomas Farrell

Board Member

Tom is currently an international higher education consultant to universities and governments. In 2017, he retired from the position of Vice Provost for Global Engagement at the University of Nebraska where he was responsible for coordinating the international engagement strategy for the four university campuses. Prior to joining the University, he served in the U.S. Department of State for 7 years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Tom previously worked at the Institute of International Education, America’s oldest and largest private, not for profit international education exchange agency. Tom also served in the US diplomatic corps as a Foreign Service Officer following work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India. While a graduate student at the University of Michigan Tom was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Pakistan. He holds a BA from Providence College and an MA from Claremont Graduate University.

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Gary Lenz

Board Member

Gary is the founder of Streamline Data Solutions, an information technology firm specializing in custom business software for the financial services industry. He is an expert in database-driven systems to help people work together more efficiently, enable business growth, and improve customer service. Gary holds a Bachelor degree in Computer Science from Iowa State University.

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Pilar Fitzgerald

Board Member

Pilar is a co-founder of Pili and Talli Events, a full service event planning and management company located in Atlanta, Georgia. She holds a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Georgia as well as a Masters in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from Creighton University. Pilar has been involved with the BFB Foundation since 2011 and is passionate about our mission to educate and empower women and girls throughout the world.

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Jennifer Jackson

Board Member

Jennifer Jackson is a Vice President at Gallagher Benefit Services, a division of Arthur J Gallagher.  Her career has been focused on nonqualified executive benefits in the banking and credit union markets.  Jennifer’s expertise includes regulatory compliance, financial analysis, and retention strategies. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

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James Patterson

Board Member

Jim is a partner with Sher­man & Patterson, a law firm focusing in the areas of tax, nonqualified deferred com­pensation (e.g., 409A and 457(f)) and employee benefits. Most of his deferred compensation clients are healthcare systems and credit unions. Jim holds a BA in Economics and Italian from Brigham Young Uni­ver­sity, and a Juris Doc­tor from J. Reuben Clark Law School.

Marlene Schwartz

Board Member

Retired from the U.S. Department of State with more than 40 years of service. Served in a variety of leadership positions providing guidance to senior Department officials in support of foreign policy objectives. Areas of expertise include management issues and organization efficiencies with experience in both the public and private sectors. Currently serves as Chairman of the Board for both the State Department Federal Credit Union and the National Association of Credit Union Chairmen. Education includes a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University studies at Georgetown University School of International Studies.

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Paulina Torrebiarte

Board Member

Born and raised in Guatemala City, Torrebiarte studied 2 years in Vancouver, Canada and completed her undergraduate degree in Finance and International Business at The University of Tampa. Currently living in Charlotte, NC, she worked as an insurance underwriter before joining BFB Gallagher as a Client Service Manager.

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Jeff Ziliani

Board Member

Jeff is the Chief Financial Officer, Executive Benefits of BFB Gallagher. Before joining BFB Gallagher, Jeff spent over 12 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Assurance and Business Advisory Group. Jeff earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from The College of New Jersey and has been an active Certified Public Accountant since 2002. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants and the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants. Jeff, his wife, Regina, and son Evan live in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Elizabeth Love Maddrey

Executive Director, Charlotte, North Carolina​

With a background in nonprofit management and arts administration, Elizabeth has been working with BFB Foundation since Fall 2016. Most recently she worked in Charlotte as an art consultant with Hodges Taylor and a program manager at ArtsTeach, an education grants-making non profit. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with an Art History degree, and before moving back to Charlotte, she worked at Sotheby’s auction house in New York City. Elizabeth is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Mishelle Rodriguez

Mishelle Rodriguez

Academic Advisor, Guatemala

Mishelle served as the BFB Foundation scholarships coordinator in Guatemala for four years before becoming Academic Advisor. Currently in University herself, Mishelle serves as a peer mentor for navigating the public university system and helps students identify pathways to employment in their native Guatemala.