Meet Our Board
Melanie Cabot, Founder and CEO
Ms. Cabot brings her unique expertise and skills as a small business owner, entrepreneur and philanthropist to the foundation. Melanie was raised in a unique family with a long and rich legacy of philanthropy, and that spirit of generosity is evident in all her endeavors. She understands that life isn’t only about creating wealth but also about being of service to others and the importance of leading by example. Melanie is a strong advocate for women’s education. As the foundation’s intellectual and creative author and driving force, she is committed to the mission to enhance women’s understanding and appreciation for the critical role financial education plays in their over-all well-being. The foundation provides an ideal social forum for women to learn and share empowering financial knowledge, as well as enjoying our community’s rich cultural offerings. Melanie is a board member in leadership positions for several other non-profit organizations.
Anne Bedinger, Advisory Board Member
Anne Bedinger is the founder of Wealth Wellness Group of Raymond James, a wealth management and financial planning practice based in Boca Raton. Anne is a Wealth Management Specialist, a Certified Financial Transitionist™ (CeFT™) and in the financial services business for over 33 years. Anne believes that both the financial side and the human side need to be addressed in financial and life transitions planning. Anne is a strong advocate for women in the financial planning industry. She is a founding member of the Raymond James Women’s Leadership Alliance, which was created to attract, develop, and engage promising women leaders in the financial advisory profession. She is also a mentor in the Raymond James mentoring program and a member of the Retirement Solutions Advisory Board. Anne is active in professional and community organizations, including the Financial Planners Association, 100 + Women Who Care, and the Delray Beach Historical Society. In her spare time, she enjoys driving her antique car, traveling, the arts, cross-training, and Pilates.
Melissa Gannon, Advisory Board Member
Melissa Gannon’s career in finance has spanned nearly 25 years. She spent more than 20 of those years analyzing the banking and insurance industry as well as the U.S. equity and mutual fund markets for Weiss Ratings. She directed the design and development of quantitative financial models to assess the financial strength of insurance companies, banks and credit unions and the risk-adjusted performance of equities and mutual funds. She specialized in translating complex financial concepts into consumer-friendly explanations and created educational material on a variety of insurance products including annuities, life insurance, health insurance and Medicare. During her career, she has served as a source for hundreds of national, regional and local media outlets on the many topics of personal finance and the financial industry. Melissa is a financial planner with Castle Wealth Management, a 20-year old, woman-owned investment advisory firm in West Palm Beach. http://castlewm.com. Melissa has a Master of Business Administration (concentration in Finance) and is a Series 65 Fiduciary and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. Melissa’s support of the foundation is a natural progression of her desire to use her extensive financial knowledge to help women take control of their financial lives.
Andrea Claster Greenspan, Advisory Board Member
Andrea Claster Greenspan is a nationally known fashion and style expert who has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, CNN and CBS This Morning, and has been quoted in numerous periodicals. Since 1984, she has worked with over 75 corporate, association and professional clients including: American Express, MTV, Godiva, Esquire, MasterCard, American Floral Marketing Council, Northern Trust, and many more. In addition to presenting speeches to audiences, she conducts workshops and consults with corporate clients on cohesive and integrated branding and image presentation. Consulting extends to the individual level, too. Highly trained and experienced in fashion, style and etiquette, clients turn to her to define a uniquely comfortable, current and confident style. She consults on personal image, fit and color palette, performs closet and wardrobe edits and personal shopping. Andrea educates her clients about economics of fashion and how to dress appropriately for all occasions. Andrea is an active member of 100 Women and Impact the Palm Beaches, organizations that supply local, impactful and efficient philanthropy to innovative non-profits. Additionally, she’s an active member of The Commonwealth Institute, Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce, AICI, and FemCity. With her two boys now grown and, not quite, flown, she and her husband divide their time between New York City and South Florida. For more information, visit: http://www.andreaclastergreenspan.com/
Laura Opdenaker, Advisory Board Member
Laura Opdenaker is an accomplished event and meeting planning consultant with over 20 years of experience developing and executing special events, meetings , as well as destination and art & culture programs for financial service firms, corporations, non-profit organizations and cultural institutions, in the U.S. and abroad. Her past corporate experience includes serving as Manager of Events and Communication Department of the French-American Chamber of Commerce and Manager of Corporate Relations Department of Coca-Cola Mexico. She has also managed Client Entertainment, Investor Relations and Special projects for J.P. Morgan Private Bank, UBS Warburg Dillon Read, Citibank Global Wealth Management, and served on Smith Barney/Morgan Stanley Joint Venture Coordinating Team. Prior to her corporate career, she served on David Rockefeller’s staff, where she coordinated events and meetings with international government and business leaders, Heads of State and dignitaries, in the U.S. and abroad, Laura also served as liaison with organizations of which Mr. Rockefeller served as chairman, including the Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations and the Americas Society. Her commitment to community service and volunteerism was instilled in her from her family who were always involved in community service. Laura has served as a volunteer for a number of causes benefiting children, women and the homeless, including domestic violence agency, The Retreat, Catholic Charities, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Dress for Success, Opportunity Inc., The Lord’s Place, and is a Guardian Ad Litem volunteer. She is fluent in English, Spanish and French, with knowledge of Italian. Through her extensive experience and diverse background, she has developed strong relationships and maintains a high level of professionalism in her approach to client service.
Wendy Ann Payne, Advisory Board Member
Wendy Ann Payne is a Founding Partner of Centurion Wealth Management, an independent wealth management firm. Her desire to create Centurion Wealth came from her passion for helping clients gain financial independence and personal empowerment through insight, experience and education. She long dreamt of building a wealth management firm that provides holistic financial planning and investment guidance while striving to empower clients through financial education. Prior to Wendy’s 21-year tenure in the wealth management industry, she served as a caregiver to the elderly and to disabled adults. It was during this time that she witnessed the drastic difference that proper financial planning and preparation can often make. It was then too that she discovered how imperative it was to have a trusted advisor leading the way through the complexities of today’s financial world. Wendy takes genuine pleasure in simplifying the complicated financial industry and applying creative knowledge to each unique client situation. Empowering individuals and families, through education, with the clarity, confidence, and concrete steps to achieve their goals and dreams is what drives her wealth management philosophy. Wendy specializes in working with newly independent women; specifically widows, divorcees and other women who suddenly find themselves solely responsible for making financial decisions for the first time. In 2011 she co-authored her first book, “The Retirement Success Solution & Lessons I Learned from the Past Bear Market,” where she wrote a chapter about the importance of Financial Planning for Women. Wendy launched Life Stage Transitions™ , the innovative and comprehensive process, which revolutionizes the way her female clientele navigate their ever-changing financial landscape. Wendy is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®, Certified Estate Planner (CEP)®, Wealth Management Advisor and Life Stage Transition Specialist and currently holds her FINRA series 6, series 7, series 63, series 65, Life and Health insurance licenses.
Lydia Sudick, Advisory Board Member
Lydia Sudick, known as the “polo playing art appraiser”, is an appraiser of fine and decorative art, specializing in fine art advisory services with emphasis on connoisseurship, curatorial expertise and management of collections for an international client base. Lydia’s love of art led her to study Art History in Paris, France which birthed a passion for Old Master paintings. Academically, she holds a Certificate in Appraisal Studies from New York University, a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Hartford, in Paris, France and a Bachelors degree in Art History from the American University in Paris. Lydia resided in Europe for 15 years.
Her commitment to social issues and her love of animals was instilled in her from childhood as the daughter of a Russian Orthodox priest. She serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including Pegasus Foundation in Hobe Sound, Florida, and via her involvement in polo, the Unwanted Polo Pony Project under the U. S. Polo Association. Lydia learned to ride and play polo twenty years ago and has been a proponent of Women’s polo. She was co-owner of two polo clubs: Buckleigh Farms in New York State and Aiken, South Carolina, and has played polo in the United States, Europe and Argentina. She is Principal of Lydia Sudick Fine Art Limited, Montecito, California and Tuxedo Park, NY and most recently Hobe Sound, Florida. Lydia is also CEO of Professional Art Services Group, Palm Beach, Florida.