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 the Ascent Program for Funding Education 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 the Ascent Program for Funding Education 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 joined the Ascent team in April 2016 to launch the Ascent Program for Funding Education, elevate marketing strategies and spearhead consumer campaigns. Lauren possesses over a decade of expertise in integrated marketing and niche branding strategy within the sports, education, and self-development industries. Lauren’s passion for marketing 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 Communications, she became the Online Marketing Manager for Road Runner Sports and then went one to lead the Digital Marketing teams at ACTIVE Network and Tony Robbins. Prior to joining GS2, Lauren was the Director of Marketing at Heritage Golf Group where she developed and executed sustainable, niche marketing and advertising plans for 9 brand divisions to increase leads and sales across multiple channels (social, partner sites, PPC, email, online, print, etc.). Lauren is a Certified eMarketing Associate (CeMA) and received the “Outstanding Achievement in Mobile: Best Mobile Application m.WebAward” for launching the ACTIVE.com Couch-to-5K app.