As published in The Secured Lender (PDF DOWNLOAD)
September 2021
Volume 77, Issue 66

In 2016, the Secured Finance Network launched the 40 Under 40 Awards, announcing it was looking for the best and brightest in our industry. This awards program was introduced to honor the achievements of young secured finance professionals and service providers from across the industry and the celebration quickly became the fall event in New York for our community.

While we haven’t been able to gather in-person to honor the classes of 2020 or 2021, we are excited to host a live-online awards celebration on September 9 as well as an in-person reception during the SFNet Annual Convention in Phoenix. We look forward to gathering again in June 2022 to celebrate the next class as the tradition continues.

The 40 rising stars featured on the following pages are representative of the way the secured finance industry weathered the challenges we’ve faced during the past 18 months. Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting your career, I think you will be inspired by their creativity, ingenuity, and determination, which allowed them to play a significant role in their organizations’ ability to overcome the obstacles we all faced since the pandemic began. After reading the profiles of these future leaders, my faith in our industry’s ability to not only persevere, but to thrive, has been renewed, and I was reminded of the theme of this year’s SFNet Annual Convention: Adapt. Renew. Grow. These young professionals clearly put these words into action.

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles are featured on Pages 19 – 91. 

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles


Assistant Vice President – Account Executive
SLR Business Credit

Stephanie Koveleski is an AVP at SLR Business Credit and lives in Bucks County, PA. Stephanie has a BFA from Tyler School of Art. While managing an art gallery in the Spring of 2016, she struck up a conversation with a visitor who offered her a data-entry position at MidCap Business Credit, LLC. Steph was surprised to find that something about ABL just made sense to her and she soon became an operations analyst.

When Steph decided to move back to PA to be with family, MBC introduced her to SLR Business Credit, which offered her the opportunity to become an account executive. Steph jumped at the chance and began her journey at SLR in November 2018, learning through continuing education courses and guidance provided by strong and empowered female mentorship. After a short year, Steph was managing a full portfolio of accounts and was promoted to assistant vice president. To this day, she is surprised and thrilled by her fulfilling ABL career, which started with a chance encounter.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it?

My mom once told me at the start of a new opportunity, “If you’re not asking, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ then you’re not growing.” That was a big eye-opener for me. Being in a career that I’d never dreamed of for myself and having learned almost everything I know about ABL on the job, this advice has enabled me to embrace many growth opportunities without fear. Even when I feel like I’m in over my head, I know that every challenge is a chance to learn. I give myself permission to ask too many questions, and I arm myself with the knowledge I gain from every project so I’m better prepared to step up to the plate for the next one. I continually surprise myself by what I can accomplish when I view new or increased responsibilities as a chance to grow and learn rather than a hurdle needing to be overcome. It’s a really good feeling to look back and realize I’ve accomplished (what I previously believed to be) impossible things by adopting this mindset. 

What is your definition of success?

Let me preface by first saying, I think everyone has their own definition of success and I think it depends on whether you’ve been able to achieve a feeling of accomplishment. I’m going to get very real with you all right now: I’ve struggled with ADHD my entire life. Have you ever heard of the term “adulting?” I pretty much feel accomplished anytime I think I’ve done “adulting” correctly. I’m immensely proud of myself for holding a steadily growing career and for being happily married (thanks to all the work we’ve put into it!) for six whole years. If I’m being honest though, what would make me feel truly successful is if someone, just one person who struggles like me, would read this and realize they are more than just a diagnosis…that they can be greater than what they have been told they can be. I would define success as paving the way for others, so they don’t have to face quite so many roadblocks as those before them.

Did you change the way you approach work while working remotely during the pandemic? Have these habits stayed with you as we emerge from the crisis?

As an adult with ADHD, I found working from home incredibly easy. I could use my superpower of “hyper-focus” without being interrupted. It was awesome! I suddenly found myself getting double the amount of work done in half the time! The downside was, I found myself working late into the night, so absorbed in my work that I didn’t realize 5 p.m. had come and gone. I learned a great deal during this time very quickly—but also found myself hitting that mysterious level of burnout that I’d heard about without even realizing it. So, I learned to make time for myself, whether it was setting aside “me” time in the evening and over the weekend or even taking a “staycation.” Have you ever used PTO to go to a spa, or a matinee, or play Nintendo for a few hours? It’s pretty relaxing. I plan on making a habit of it every once in a while, because I came back feeling recharged and ready to hit the ground running!

How do you define a good leader?

Leading by example and helping employees grow. I’ve experienced good leaders and bad. Right now, at SLR, I’m surrounded by great leaders. 

Please click on PDF at top of the page to download this profile as well as the following:

SLR Business Credit mentions

Page 68-69
Stephanie Koveleski

Page 98
Tessa Brend

Page 17 & 109
Betty Hernandez

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