YOUR SUPPORT TEAM
RANDY SCHMIDT | SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Randy has over 24 years of experience with the last 18 years being in the education finance industry. He has led legal and compliance departments, created and managed sales organizations and managed client relations for national servicing firms like AES/PHEAA and secondary market clients. He is responsible for the business development and marketing activities of Ascent Student Loans focusing on school, bank and other third-party client relationships. Prior to working in student loans, Randy handled commercial real estate transactions in private law practice with an emphasis on municipal ordinance compliance and financing of municipal improvements. Randy graduated from Juniata College and then received his J.D. from Widener University.
TRIXIE BALESTRI | CLIENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGER
Trixie joined the team in 2010 bringing her vast experience in customer relationship management. Trixie’s broad experience includes managing existing relationships and assisting in the cultivating of new customer relationships. Additionally, Trixie has over 10 years of experience in the student loan industry. As an integral member of Ascent Student Loans team, she is responsible for creating and maintaining relationships with schools and service providers, as well as internal departments. Prior to joining Ascent, Trixie led school account manager teams as well as providing sales support functionality to national sales teams. She has experience in sales and marketing, customer service, training and translating including serving as liaison with staff from the African field offices at the World Bank in Washington D.C., as well as running a music label and managing bands in the U.K. Trixie received her BA in Foreign Languages from the University of Maryland, College Park.
LAUREN THAYER | DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
Lauren Thayer is a brand strategist and growth hacker with over 15 years of expertise leading teams and driving integrated marketing plans that build inspiring brands and change lives. Throughout her career, Lauren has launched national, synergistic multi-channel campaigns that enrich the customer experience, build loyalty, and drive profits.
Most recently, Lauren joined the Goal Structured Solutions, Inc. (GS2) team in April 2016 to launch the Ascent Student Loan Program. Lauren and her team are on a mission to revolutionize the way students and families pay for college. Her core focus is to empower and inspire college students to achieve their educational goals without burdening them and their families with excessive debt.
Lauren’s passion for marketing and education began while she attended college at San Diego State University and served as Marketing Lead Supervisor for the SDSU Aztec Recreation Center. After graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Marketing, she became the Online Marketing Manager for Road Runner Sports and then went on to lead Digital Marketing teams at ACTIVE Network and Tony Robbins. Lauren and her team at ACTIVE worked on groundbreaking launches such as the Couch-to-5K app, which received the m.WebAward for “Outstanding Achievement in Mobile: Best Mobile Application.” While working for Tony Robbins, Lauren learned how to take her skills to new heights. She established cross-functional teams with marketing, sales, and coaching to hit record numbers. Lauren was honored to receive Tony’s “Platinum Player” award after just 8 months of being with the company. Prior to joining GS2, Lauren was the Director of Marketing at Heritage Golf Group where she developed and executed sustainable, profitable strategic marketing plans for 9 brand divisions to increase leads and sales across multiple channels.
As a San Diego resident for over 18 years, it is important for Lauren to support programs that immediately and positively impact the local community. Lauren has volunteered to help feed those in her community through Neighbors in Need, as well as Mama’s Kitchen. She served as Co-Chair on the 21st Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser benefiting Mama’s Kitchen. As part of her mission to connect, empower, and inspire college students with bright futures, Lauren joined the Aztec Mentor Program (AMP) at San Diego State University (SDSU) in February 2018.