Around the Firm: Spring and Summer of 2018
July 26, 2018
Written by Kelly Inglhofer, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
MRA Associates (MRA) is excited to announce our newest team members!
New Team Members
J.T. Vandegriff is a Client Advisor with MRA. He joined the team in April and focuses on providing investment advisory, financial planning, and other wealth management services to our clients. Prior to settling down in Arizona, J.T. lived in Hungary for four months.
Tayde Saenz joined MRA in January of 2018 as a Client Associate. She works primarily in our tax practice, preparing tax returns and researching tax laws. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her grandkids.
Reid Torrens joined the MRA team in late February as a Client Associate. His responsibilities include compiling and synthesizing client data and supporting firm initiatives related to financial planning and investment solutions. To remain focused, he takes ten minutes a day to meditate.
Christopher Dawood joined as a Client Associate in May, after a yearlong internship in the MRA tax department. He focuses on tax compliance, tax law, and identifying tax saving opportunities. When he is not preparing tax returns, he enjoys skydiving and bungee jumping.
Anna Merlino is an Administrative Assistant and the most recent hire to the MRA team, starting in late May. She provides administrative support to the entire MRA team. She was born and raised in Boston and lived there for over 26 years.
To view full employee bios, visit our team page, here.
MRA is proud to introduce our seven summer interns!
Aleesa Sells is a Tax Associate Intern at MRA and a senior at Arizona State University (ASU) with a major in Accountancy. She is part of the SPARKS organization at ASU which teaches students in low-income areas the importance of college.
Fernando Mejia is a Tax Associate Intern at MRA and senior at ASU with a major in Accountancy. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar.
Ivan Lopez is an Investment Analyst Intern and a senior at ASU with a double major in Finance and Business Data Analytics. Prior to joining MRA, Ivan worked at J.P. MorganChase in the credit card collections department for almost two years.
Fernando Cortes is an Internal Accounting Intern and a senior at ASU with a major in Accountancy. In his free time, he enjoys taking candid, portraiture, and food photography.
Hannah Bartke is an Accounting and Projects Intern and a junior at ASU with a major in Accountancy. Her favorite movie is the Wizard of Oz, and she loves to go whitewater rafting.
Shqiprona Vojka is our Human Resources Intern and a senior at ASU with a double major in Business Communication and Business Administration. She is bilingual, fluent in both English and Albanian.
Sahil Kwatra is an Investment Analyst Intern at MRA. He recently graduated with an MBA and MS in Information Management from ASU. In his free time, he loves to read, travel, and make new friends.
At MRA, one of our firm’s most valued assets is the culture. To support the culture and encourage the teamwork and comradery that is so ingrained in who we are, MRA sponsors monthly events for team members. Here are a few of our most recent culture events:
MRA Teams Up with Valley of the Sun United Way (VSUW) to Make Owl Banks
On February 6th, the MRA team showed their philanthropic spirit at VSUW by creating owl banks for the Valley’s underprivileged youth. Prior to the event, employees collected bath tissue and paper towel rolls. The team then transformed the rolls into owl banks by covering the outside with colorful feathers and wings. The focus for the banks is to teach kids financial literacy and the importance of saving. Each child receives three banks; one bank for items or toys they want to buy, one for charitable giving, and one as an emergency fund.
Annual Spring Training Game
On March 1st, team members took a break to attend MRA’s annual spring training outing. It was a beautiful sunny day accompanied by hot dogs, baseball caps, and lemonade. MRA fans cheered on the Arizona Diamondbacks in a great game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.
Escape the Room
On May 18th, employees split into four teams and competed against each other in an attempt to break out of locked rooms at Epic Escape the Game in downtown Phoenix. Groups hunted for clues, solved puzzles, and tried to find the keys to escape their rooms. Two groups successfully escaped. The other two teams, while close to finding their ways out, did not escape within the set time limit of one hour.
On the afternoon of June 20th, staff gathered in the MRA breakroom to participate in a firmwide jigsaw puzzle competition. Each of the three teams was tasked with completing a 750-piece puzzle in a three-hour time frame. It was no surprise to see team members collaborate on strategies to locate specific pieces and to complete the puzzle quicker than their competition!
On July 18th, employees broke away from the heat to enjoy an indoor, private bowling party at Lucky Strike in downtown Phoenix. Team members enjoyed great food and friendly competition. While waiting for their turns to bowl, employees played on the pool table behind the lanes which provided no shortage of team building opportunities!