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Meet the 2021-2022 MACPA Board of Directors

MACPA Officers

Chair: Lexy Kessler, CPA

Aronson LLC
Lead partner, Government Contract
Services Group
Notable: An MACPA member since 1987. Has more than 30 years of experience in assurance, tax, and consulting. Named one of the 20 most powerful women in accounting for 2020 by the AICPA and CPA Practice Advisor. As a leader in her practice area and a former member of Aronson’s Board of Directors, she also helps drive Aronson’s strategic direction and growth objectives. Currently serving as chair of the AICPA’s PCPS Executive Committee. Her reputation as an expert in her field is part of the personal brand that makes her a sought-after speaker, and she has provided interviews and expert commentary to such media outlets as The Wall Street Journal, Federal News Radio, Law360, and Federal Times. As the first female chair of Aronson’s Board of Directors, she advocates for women to pursue leadership roles. Named by The Daily Record as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women for 2018 and 2020. Recipient of the MACPA’s “Women to Watch” award in 2014 and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman’s Award in 2013.

Vice Chair: Herbert J. Geary III, CPA, CGMA

Managing partner

Notable: An MACPA member since 1988. Has more than 30 years of accounting and auditing experience, specializing in areas that include closely held businesses, manufacturing, wholesalers, distributors, construction contractors, local governments, and non-profits. Has served on the MACPA’s Board of Directors and as a past president of the Eastern Shore Chapter of the MACPA. Currently, the past chairman of the Peninsula Regional Health System and a member of the Greater Salisbury Committee.

Secretary / Treasurer: Christine Aspell, CPA

KPMG LLP, Baltimore
Managing partner / audit partner

Notable: An MACPA member since 1991. Has more than 25 years experience in providing assurance services to clients in the financial services industry and specializes in serving clients in banking, investment services, insurance, and real estate. Partner-in-charge of the Baltimore chapter of KPMG’s Network of Women, where she established the chapter in 2004. A member of KPMG’s Women’s Advisory Board, which helps oversee the advancement of women. Chair of the Loyola Accounting Advisory Board. A member of the Greater Baltimore Committee Board of Directors, the Downtown Partnership Board of Directors, the Center Club Board of Governors, the My Sister’s Place Leadership Council, the Maryland Zoo, the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, the New America (Better Life Lab), and the St. Ursula School Finance Committee. A “Maryland Top 100 Women” winner in 2012, 2015 and 2018.

Avonette Blanding

Past Chair: Avonette Blanding, CPA

Maritime Applied Physics Corporation
Chief Financial Officer and Vice President
Notable: An MACPA member since 1999. Has more than 20 years of accounting, finance, and internal audit experience in various industries including defense contracting, education, and insurance. An active member of the MACPA’s Government Contractors Committee. In addition to her volunteer work with the MACPA, Avonette is a board member of Wide Angle Youth Media and Transcendence Incorporated. Passionate about inspiring future generations of accountants and serves as an accounting career awareness volunteer speaker, a financial literacy instructor, and mentor. Recognized by the Metropolitan Washington D.C. Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants as a 2021 Outstanding Accounting Leader. A recipient of the Baltimore Business Journal’s Maryland Best in Finance: CFO award for 2019. A recipient of The Daily Record Leading Women award in 2014.

MACPA Directors

Maxene M. Bardwell, CPA, CIGA, CIA, CFE, CISA, CITP, CRMA

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission
Assistant Inspector General for Audit, Office of the Inspector General

Notable: A well-credentialed executive with more than 20 years of experience leading internal audit establishments in the financial services and water utility industries. Earned her master’s degree from Notre Dame of Maryland University and a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University. A member of several professional organizations. In addition to her exemplary career and professional achievements, she holds several board and committee positions. Currently serves as a member of the AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board, vice chairman for the City of Laurel Ethics Commission, Board Secretary for the Central Maryland Chapter of ISACA, and member of the Association of Inspectors General Board of Directors. A volunteer instructor for the Association of Inspectors General Institute and Mentor for the MACPA’s Mentor Program.

Elise Brouillette, CPA

Senior Manager

Notable: An MACPA member since 2010. Has extensive experience in providing external audit, internal audit, and data transformation services to a diverse portfolio of clients. Currently resides within the Independence office at PwC, where she is responsible for the global deployment of various independence initiatives. Recognized as an “Emerging Leader” as part of the MACPA’s 2014 Women to Watch program.

Leon Katsnelson

Director and CTO, IBM Skills Network

Notable: Joined the MACPA’s Board of Directors in June 2018 as a public (non-CPA) member. Award-winning international speaker and a published author who is always up on the cutting edge of technology trends. As director and CTO of IBM Strategic Partnerships for Data Science, leads a team of data scientists focused on artificial intelligence, machine learning, Big Data, and other applications of cognitive technologies in all areas of human endeavor. A strategic adviser to a number of startups, helping disrupt technology laggards with new business models based on blockchain, the Internet of Things, and A.I.

Kimberly Mustard, CPA, CGMA


Notable: An MACPA member for more than 20 years. Leads her firm as quality control advisor. Has more than 25 years of audit and accounting experience, including extensive experience with her favorite industry, not-for-profit organizations. Conducts peer reviews and serves on the MACPA’s Peer Review Committee (Coastal Peer Review, Inc.). Has participated and continues to participate on various NFP boards as treasurer, as well as other board positions.

Dave Ryan, Esq., CPA (retired)

Managing Director

Notable: An MACPA member since 2011. Has more than 30 years of in-depth consulting and corporate leadership experience in the design and implementation of executive and employee compensation programs for a wide range of for profit and not-for-profit U.S. and global companies across many industries. Since founding his firm in 2010, has served as an expert compensation advisor for Maryland attorneys, CPAs, and their clients. His special expertise is in assisting boards and senior management in the governance, design, and development of impactful total executive reward programs. Prior to founding CompensationGPS, led executive and global compensation and advised the Board Compensation Committees at Black & Decker and Pitney Bowes, and had area leadership responsibility for compensation and benefits consulting services in the Connecticut offices of Ernst & Young, LLP. Currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Community Law Center, and has written and presented for the MACPA on compensation matters.

Tim Samuel, CPA

Bridgeway Community Church

Notable: An MACPA member since 2012 and a graduate of the MACPA’s Leadership Academy. Has more than 10 years of not-for-profit experience, including leading people from all walks of life through various platforms to feel connected to their purpose and motivated throughout the week. By celebrating the diversity of colors, classes, and cultures, Bridgeway Community Church has become an international model for multicultural ministry, attracting more than 4,000 people weekly from more than 50 nations. An advisor-at-large of Christianity Today’s Church Law and Tax. Has served on the MACPA’s Task Force for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. Has served as treasurer for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center in Howard County.

Thomas White, CPA, CGMA

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
Director, Operational and Management Accounting

Notable: An MACPA member since 2010. Has more than a decade of accounting and audit experience in various industries, currently focusing on health care. Has extensive knowledge of health care finance, internal audit, and compliance. Started his career in public accounting with large firms, focusing on international, public, and non-profit clients. Transitioned into industry at CareFirst. An active MACPA volunteer, including involvement with the association’s mentor program, Scholarship Committee, and Champions Program.


The W2 Group, LLC

Notable: An MACPA member since 2013. A graduate of the AICPA’s Leadership Academy and a recipient of the Black Enterprise Financial Fitness Award. Has been published and quoted in numerous publications and is a frequent contributor to industry events. Author of The Lies Our Parents Were Sold And Told Us: The New Rules Of Money Management. Selected in 2015 as one of Intuit’s National Trainer Writer Network For Quickbooks consultants, and a member of the Intuit Accountants Council. An active member of the AICPA and a participant with the MACPA’s Task Force for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. A proud graduate of Bowie State University who serves as secretary of the BSU College of Business Alumni Advisory Council. Enjoys teaching financial literacy and money management at local nonprofits and churches in Clinton, Md.

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