who we are

Our Team

Founder and co-chair

Ellen Brown, J.D., developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. She is the author of 12 books, including the groundbreaking Web of Debt and The Public Bank Solution. The latter traces the history and evolution of the current private banking system, showing how it usurped the power to create money from the public, and how the people can take that power back through public banks that operate in the public interest. Ellen’s 300+ articles are posted at EllenBrown.com. She also co-hosts the podcast “It’s Our Money” on PRN.FM and podbean. She is a Fellow of the Democracy Collaborative and has degrees from UC Berkeley and UCLA School of Law.

co-chair

Walt McRee has held leadership roles with PBI and the public banking movement since its earliest years. In addition to serving as Chair and President (2015-2017), Board Director, and Senior Advisor, Walt has been centrally involved as co-founder and director of other public banking initiatives including the Pennsylvania Project and Banking On New Jersey. Following an extensive national media career, Walt created, produced and co-hosted radio and TV programs for public banking including, “It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown” on the Progressive Radio Network as well as “Public Bank Solution” TV series. Following his initial period as PBI Chair, Walt founded Public Banking Associates, a national consultancy of public banking experts helping legislators and policy professionals address creation of their own public banks. Walt has also held founding leadership positions in other public interest issues including world hunger, the environment, public broadcasting and the arts. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Geography from Valparaiso University.

board member

Curtis is a 20-year banking veteran and served as Senior VP with four of the top 25 domestic banks overseeing management for multiple branches in distinctly different markets focused on small businesses, retail banking, institutional trusts and commercial banking. As Senior Director of a major American city’s Commerce Department, Curtis addresses capital funding challenges for regional business development with a deep understanding of municipal needs, resources and realities. He is a noted lecturer across the country on the structural impairments in access to capital for marginalized communities, and is an adjunct professor at Temple University. Named one of “Pittsburgh’s 50 Finest” and among the top 50 Black MBAs in the country, Dr. Gregory has served on the Board Directors at Leadership Philadelphia, The American Diabetes Association, and The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Small Business Advisory Board.

board member

Holding a PhD in Ancient History, Joshua comes to PBI with over a decade of experience in higher education, whose courses range from ancient Rome to modern American social history. Joshua will complete his law degree at Willamette University College of Law in 2024, where his studies have focused on environmental and government law and his research interests examine economic, environmental, and social justice policy. Joshua has done work on the constitutional position of state banks and continues to examine the potentially precarious question of what legally constituted a bank according to nineteenth-century state laws. Joshua lives in Salem, Oregon and is active with various non-profit organizations in the state.

Board Member

Madeline is a grassroots community organizer and former Field Organizer for Bernie Sanders in Los Angeles County and Queens, New York. Inspired to action by Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock, she became deeply involved in movement organizing in 2016 and hasn’t looked back. After returning from the frontlines in 2017, she was a core organizer for Divestment and Public Banking in Los Angeles. As Community Outreach Director for the Measure B campaign, she has utilized direct action, lobbying, and the legislative process to redirect banking power for the people. In addition to her work on behalf of public banking in California, she has been an organizer with many people-centered movements including Medicare For All and StandingRock. During the outbreak of Covid-19 she lived as a frontline volunteer with The Dandelion Collective. She is currently working in collaboration with the Governor’s Office and UCLA on Covid recovery in California’s most underserved communities and recently relocated to Portland, Oregon to be closer to family and nature.

Board Member

Peter Winslow holds diverse executive-level experience in financial and economic arenas as CEO, COO, CFO and as a consultant. A Deloitte alumnus, Peter conducted a private CPA practice in New York City, where he was also publisher of The M&A Journal, a columnist for The Journal of Medical Economics and an editorial consultant for The Journal of Strategic Planning. He has hands-on experience consulting both for-profit and non-profit, public and private businesses during startups, ramp-ups, bankruptcies, reorganizations, turnarounds, mergers, and acquisitions within multiple industries. As a leader of the Philadelphia Public Banking Coalition, Peter produces and co-hosts the online program “Financing Philadelphia’s Future” discussions. He received his BA in Economics and MBA in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania and he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance, Accounting, Taxation and Business at Cornell University, Hunter College, Rutgers University, and Temple University. Peter is president of A SMART Collaboration LLC (ASC).

Engagement & Support Director, Charitable Giving Coordinator

Cimbria has an MBA in Managing for Sustainability, and is a certified permaculture designer and trainer. Based in Central NY, Cimbria serves as a consultant and coach for individuals and companies who are interested in streamlining their systems, and creating pathways to thriving. Her model for life rests on the permaculture principles as a framework, and integrates financial permaculture, dynamic governance and the practice of Buddhism. Cimbria sees the Public Banking Institute as illustrating many aspects of financial permaculture. It is a grass-root organization helping to create a stakeholder-guided model of exchange which supports economic growth for all.

Communications Director

Suzanne came to PBI after many years as a public banking and homeowner advocate in Los Angeles following the financial crash. In 2017, Suzanne organized with Ellen Brown and Carlos Marroquin the Bring On the Power of a Public Bank town hall forum that significantly catalyzed Los Angeles’ public bank movement. Over her career, she has been Director of Marketing and Public Relations for non-profit arts organizations, an independent web developer, filmmaker, media consultant, and a core team member of influential grassroots organizations. She holds a masters in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon, a digital media certificate from Vancouver Film School, and BS in biology / psychology from Allegheny College.

senior advisor

An adoption social worker by profession, Nichoe has spent much of her life in environmental, civil rights and economic justice work. In 2011, she helped form WeArePeopleHere! whose mission was to seek an antidote to plutocracy. In 2012 Nichoe introduced public banking to New Mexico to regain dignity, hope, and economic democracy at the local level. She helped found Banking on New Mexico, which hosted an international public banking symposium in Santa Fe in September 2014. Nichoe served on the Executive committee of that BonNM, and coordinated the “Brass Tacks Team” which did technical research to ground public banking in facts and data. The efforts of Nichoe and others led the City of Santa Fe to commission a public bank feasibility study in 2015. She joined the Board of the Public Banking Institute in 2015.

senior advisor

Carlos is an accomplished community organizer, union leader, and postal worker. He is a founding team member of Public Bank LA, and PBLA’s Director of Community Organizing. In 2017, Carlos was central to organizing with Ellen Brown and Suzanne O’Keeffe the Bring On the Power of a Public Bank town hall forum in Los Angeles that significantly catalyzed Los Angeles’ public bank movement. In 2011, Carlos initiated Occupy Fights Foreclosures which led the fight for families working to save their homes from predatory banks. He currently serves as National Director of Food for Health Programs at AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

In Memoriam

board member

Dennis Ortblad served in the U.S. Foreign Service as a diplomat in overseas postings in Germany, Japan, Poland, the Philippines, and Switzerland for over 25 years before returning to his home in Seattle. Prior to the Foreign Service, he worked as a university instructor in Germany and North Africa. As an embassy counselor for Economic and Financial Affairs, he learned the importance of publicly owned banks in Germany and Japan for strengthening economic development. For this reason, after retirement, he engaged in promoting efforts to establish public banks back home in Washington state and Seattle city.

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