The Perfect Team 


Loretta Sophocleous | President

Loretta Sophocleous has been working at the C-Suite level for over 20 years. Currently, she is the Director of Executive Office Operations at TIAA where she reports to the CEO, Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.  In this capacity, she provides strategic direction to the Office of the CEO.  Loretta heads the C-Suite team of executive assistants to whom she provides mentoring and guidance.  She is a frequent speaker at administrative support events both within and outside of the United States.  She is a member of The Seraphic Society and a founding member of C-SESP.  Prior to TIAA, she worked for the CEO of Deloitte Consulting in a similar role.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from City University of New York at Queens College and is a certified Insights Discovery facilitator.

Carmela Crawford | Vice President, Chair, Events

Carmela Crawford has more than 30 years of experience in human resources, consulting, finance and technology. She is currently a Leadership Development Executive at ADP Total Source, where she is responsible for 1000+ associates. Previously she worked at TIAA as an internal consultant, Marketing Strategist and the Director, Talent Management and most recently as the Head of Organizational Development. Prior to TIAA Ms. Crawford was a Managing Consultant at Coopers & Lybrand, where she worked with corporate clients in the higher education, financial services, pharmaceutical, retail and mining industries. Carmela is an active member of her community having held leadership positions with Financial Women’s Association, NYU Stern Alumni Council, and Scarsdale-Edgemont Girl Scouts. She has received several national awards from the Girls Scouts USA for her volunteer work. 

Ms. Crawford holds a bachelor’s degree from City University of New York at Queens College and an MBA from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University. She holds several Human Resources/Payroll certifications (HSC, PH, CPP) and is a frequent speaker at regional professional meetings, most recently at the NY Metro American Payroll Association meeting in NYC.

Melba Duncan | Vice President

Melba J. Duncan is the Founder and President of The Duncan Group Inc., a retained search and consulting firm.  Since 1985, the firm has been advising CEOs and other corporate leaders regarding specialized senior management support resources.  The firm operates internationally and offers expertise in four practice areas:  recruitment, organizational consulting, coaching and “executive level” training for administrative staff, with focus on C-Suite Strategic Assistants.   Ms. Duncan is Founder and CEO of the Duncan Leadership Institute, which offers a targeted curriculum solution for multiple tiers of administrative support staff. Institute faculty is headed by pioneers in executive education, Drs. Norman Toy and Tom Ference, Professors at Columbia University.

In March 2013, Ms. Duncan announced the launch of “On Point”, a Network Web Radio talk show that addresses workplace complexity, and assists in redefining the role of the New Executive Assistant and their business partnership relationships.  The overall intention of our conversations with diverse business leaders, executive assistants, authors, educators, human resource professionals and religious leaders is to create a global view of the workplace, supported by the vitality and indispensable nature of the role of the executive assistant as a strategic business partner and contributor to corporate productivity.

Ms. Duncan is an experienced public speaker, with a focus on assistants’ transformed role as business partners, with  management, leadership and strategic support skills as the foundation for this evolved role.  She conducts extensive workshops worldwide on leadership and management for the professional assistant.   

Ms. Duncan is the author of How to Succeed in Business as an Executive Assistant (Macmillan), and The New Executive Assistant:  Advice for Succeeding as an Executive or Administrative Assistant (McGraw-Hill). Ms. Duncan’s most recent book projects are three: An Expanding Universe, Understanding the Emerging Role of the New Executive Assistant,  Indispensability, an overview of career survival strategies in the new economy, and The Handbook of Assistants’ Best Practices, all scheduled for release in 2015.  She has also authored numerous articles, including The Case for Executive Assistants, featured in the May 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review.  She was also featured in the December 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review, Managing Up, Best Practices for Interacting With Your Boss.

Cindi Romano | Treasurer

Cindi Romano has been working at the C-Suite level for over 6 years. Her current title is Manager, Administration at TIAA where she reports to the CEO, Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.  In this capacity, she provides executive support to the Office of the CEO.  Cindi provides mentoring and guidance to various assistants throughout the organization.  She is a founding member of C-SESP.

Karen Lewis | Co-Chair, Admissions

Karen Lewis has been working at the C-Suite level for over 18 years, currently working as Executive Administrator to Anthony DiSilvestro, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer as well as assisting the Vice President, Corporate Development and David Stangis, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Chief Sustainability Officer.  Karen's career spans 30 years with Campbell's and during this time Karen has provided mentoring and guidance to various assistants throughout the company as well as externally.  Karen has also served as Chairman of the CAP's (Campbell's Administrative Assistant Network).  Karen is also very passionate about volunteering and served as a Trustee on the Campbell Soup Foundation Board for 16 years and still actively works as an advisory member for the board, which provides grants to various non-profits where Campbell employees work and live.  Karen also serves on the local United Way Board, also as a Trustee and a liaison between United Way and Campbell's.

tara kaufman 2 pic.jpg

Tara M. Kaufman | Chair, Communications &Marketing

Tara Kaufman is the Executive Assistant to Steve McClatchy, Keynote Speaker, NY Times Bestselling Author and President of Alleer Training & Consulting. She has been in a C-Suite level support role more than 25 years. In her current role, Tara coordinates sold-out workshop events locally each year, as well as being the primary client liaison. Her daily activities include Sales, HR, travel and logistics planning, Marketing, client support, and researching new trends in learning and development. Her daily goal is to exceed expectations at every opportunity. She is a voracious reader and continuous learner. Tara holds a Management Certificate from the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business, and is currently working toward an HR Certification from Villanova University. She is happily married to her best friend of 27 years, enjoys golf, reading and vacationing with her husband and two grown sons.

Kellie E. Rigby | Secretary

Kellie Rigby has been in a C-Suite level role for over 15 years.  She currently works for ADP as the Senior Executive Administrator for Dermot O’Brien, Chief Transformation Officer, and Sreeni Kutam, Chief Human Resources Officer.  

In her current role Kellie provides senior level support for both Executives as well as taking on special projects as needed. 
During her time at ADP she has also supported the company’s Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Vice President of   
Client Experience and Continuous Improvement. 

    Prior to ADP, Kellie worked for Formica Corporation as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer and Chief 
    Financial Officer.   In her spare time Kellie enjoys camping, hiking and spending time with family.

Ed Gordils | Chair, Website Committee

Ed Gordils is currently a Senior Consultant for Continuous Improvement and Advance Learning of Peak Performance Methodologies for Finance and Actuarial Services at TIAA. Prior to this he was head of Infrastructure Technology Back Office Operations and lead executive support at TIAA. Ed Gordils holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a Master in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University.