Executive Committee

Our Executive Committee calls on the insights and analysis of experienced investment professionals. Our Members have over 150 years combined experience in corporate finance and business operations in private and public companies. Our specific expertise includes corporate finance, M&A, commercial real estate, strategic planning, product sourcing, project finance, sales and marketing, corporate reorganizations and divestitures.

James Wang
Mr. James Wang is a Partner at Ajia Group, a family office overseeing private investment of select individuals and families from the United States, Asia and the Middle East. Mr. Wang began his career in pension investments at New York Life Insurance Company in New York and later worked at Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital’s Hong Kong offices, where he championed market reforms across Asia and transacted proprietary cross-border deals for institutional and private clients in the Pacific and Gulf countries.  Mr. Wang holds a BS degree from SUNY Binghamton, an MS degree from George Mason University, and an MBA degree from Duke University, where he serves on the Advisory Board of the Fuqua School of Business covering East Asian countries.

Brian Mathis
Brian Mathis has 10 years of alternative asset investment experience, including fund of hedge fund, hedge fund and private equity experience, globally.  He is a Managing Partner of Pine Street Asset Management, LLC.  Prior to joining Pine Street, Mr. Mathis was a Managing Director at Advent Capital Management, LLC and a Director at Pacific Alternative Asset Management Company, LLC and Vice President at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.  Mr. Mathis served on the Board of Directors/Advisors for PlusFunds (observer), Eastport Operating Partners LP, ICV Capital Partners, Edison Schools, LinksCorp, and Bell Sports.  Mr. Mathis began his career as a political appointee of President Clinton at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Geoffrey Hawkins
Geoffrey Hawkins has been a professional investor for over 30 years. He started as an accountant/programmer for a family office specializing in commercial real estate, and shifted to residential housing when he was a portfolio manager and trader for the Freddie Mac proprietary CMO desk. From there he worked as a mutual fund analyst and portfolio manager at the Capital Group Companies in Los Angeles, covering a wide spectrum of sectors, including the global structured product markets (ABS, CMBS, RMBS, CLO’s and CDS), REITs, banks, and specialty finance companies. Mr. Hawkins shifted into the world of private equity and hedge fund investing shortly after the 2008 recession, where he bought and managed commercial real estate properties for the KBS Opportunistic REITs.  Mr. Hawkins currently invests in opportunistic real estate and CRE Tech initiatives, including seeding a residential loan platform, and an affordable housing renovation and construction fund. Mr. Hawkins has undergraduate degrees in finance and accounting from the University of Iowa, and an MBA in Finance from DePaul University.

Henry Kang
Henry Kang has decades of experience in Private Equity and Venture Capital investing and has acted as both principal and minority investor in transactions across various industries.  In addition, he advises clients in cross border transactions and oversees investments in Asia.  An advocate of building long-term relationships he believes in building a culture of international inclusion which ultimately leads to better trade and commerce. He is currently managing Stone Paper, US a joint-venture with Taiwan Lung Meng to produce stone paper, an environmentally friendly paper and plastic substitute, in the United States.  Henry Kang began his career at JP Morgan Chase Capital and Veronis, Suhler Stevens & Associates in New York City.  He has an MBA from Duke University and a BA from Indiana University.

Oliver Elkareh
"Ollie" was born in Germany, but grew up in the U.S. Undergraduate studies were at the University of Vermont, balancing schoolwork with a variety of winter sports. A subsequent MBA from Duke University in 1994 set the stage for him to meet and work with many of the great people who are now involved with Ajia Holdings. After 3 years in New York and London post-graduation, Ollie's initial "2-year assignment" in Tokyo is inexplicably coming up on 13 years, which has opened up an exciting world of Asian work and travel from Nepal to Fiji. He's held a variety of fixed-income derivatives risk and marketing roles over the years at Wall Street firms, including managing a desk and being tasked with translating for Japanese colleagues. Married with two small children, Ollie can usually be found kicking the soccer ball around with them in his free time, when not chasing the perfect untouched powder run up in the mountains of Hokkaido.

Christine Villaluz
Christine Villaluz is currently a research analyst for Franklin Templeton Investments, a global investment manager that provides advisory services to mutual fund, retirement, and institutional investors. As a sector analyst for Franklin, Christine follows the cable, satellite, telecommunications, homebuilding, building materials and product sectors worldwide. Her recommendations support investments in high yield, global credit, emerging markets, convertible and other income strategies.  Christine received a B.S. degree in economics from the University of California, at Berkeley and an M.B.A. from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

Charles Sheffield
Mr. Sheffield has been a principal investor for over 15 years. Mr. Sheffield co-founded Carthage Capital Group, a New York-based private investment company. Mr. Sheffield was an Associate at Chase Manhattan Bank in its Structured Finance Group. Mr. Sheffield also worked as a Senior Consultant with Mitchell & Titus, LLP and Andersen Consulting (Accenture). Mr. Sheffield received an M.B.A. in Finance and International Business from New York University’s Stern School of Business (1994) and earned a B.S. in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1989). Mr. Sheffield is a founder and former board member of the Council of Urban Professionals and is the Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Twenty First Century Foundation and founder and former Treasurer of Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School.

Tony Hsieh (Posthumous)
Tony Hsieh was CEO and early investor in the online shoe and clothing company Zappos.  Tony was an on-line pioneer in the creation of a business focused on customer service via the internet.  In addition to Zappos, he grew his customer service philosophy into a life philosophy by creating Downtown Project, an effort to renew and rejuvenate his home in Downtown Las Vegas.  An avid poker player and inspirational leader, Tony believes in making the world a better place through collaboration and hard work.  Prior to joining Zappos, he co-founded the Internet advertising network LinkExchange and he was also co-founder of Venture Frogs, an incubator and investment firm. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in computer science.