ELFA: Jester to Receive Distinguished Service Award

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) selected Valerie Hayes Jester, president of Brandywine Capital Associates to receive its 2015 David H. Fenig Distinguished Service in Advocacy Award. The award, named for ELFA’s former vice president of Federal Government Relations, honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the association’s advocacy efforts to promote sound public policies for the equipment finance industry. Jester will be formally recognized during a ceremony at ELFA’s Capitol Connections event on Wednesday, May 13, in Washington, D.C.

“We are delighted to present this honor to Valerie in acknowledgment and appreciation of her outstanding advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels,” said ELFA President and CEO William G. Sutton, CAE. “Advocacy is a cornerstone of ELFA’s mission and Valerie’s leadership in this area has helped increase volunteer participation and raised awareness of the value of equipment finance as an engine for U.S. prosperity and growth.”

“I am honored to receive this award given in memory and honor of David Fenig, a close friend and ardent advocate of the equipment leasing and finance industry,” said Jester. “David helped to place our association ‘front and center’ during public policy debates on issues and legislation that had and continue to have significant impact on our business. I have always held ELFA’s work in high esteem and appreciate the development of Capitol Connections as a venue to involve our membership in the association’s work in Washington. The education of our legislators regarding the value equipment leasing and finance provide to our economy continues to be one of the most important missions of ELFA.”

Jester has been an active participant in ELFA for more than two decades. During this time, she has supported the industry’s policy objectives in a number of ways. She served as chairman of LeasePAC, ELFA’s nonpartisan federal political action committee, working tirelessly to increase awareness of and member contributions to the PAC. She also has been a regular attendee and steadfast promoter of ELFA’s annual Capitol Connections event. She has met with members of Congress and executive branch agencies, highlighting the value of equipment finance to the U.S. economy and the impact of legislative and regulatory proposals on the industry.

Jester also has advocated for the equipment finance industry at the state level, educating members of the Pennsylvania state legislature about critical ELFA issues. She was instrumental in developing the key relationship in Pennsylvania that helped the industry effectively advocate for critical provisions of automatic-renewal legislation that later paved the way for national model legislative language for auto-renewals.

Jester was the first woman to serve as Chairman of ELFA, a position she held in 2007. She has also served as the association’s treasurer and as an active member of the Small Ticket Business Council. In addition, she has contributed to ELFA’s research affiliate, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation. She currently serves on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and Chairs the National Development Committee. Her fundraising efforts helped the Foundation to achieve a record-breaking fundraising year in 2014 in support of future-focused information and research for the industry.

Before joining Brandywine Capital Associates, Jester served as senior vice president of First Sierra Financial. Previously, she was president and owner of Corporate Capital Leasing Group, a small-ticket lessor specializing in the arbor-care market. Corporate Capital was sold to First Sierra Financial in 1996 and became a publicly traded company in 1997. Prior to founding Corporate Capital’s predecessor company in 1988, Jester was a regional manager for GE Credit in the company’s Commercial Asset Finance Department.

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