Our Story

Student loan debt is a problem affecting over 40 million people in the United States. It has a dramatic impact on people’s lives with many feeling the burden of a monthly payment exceeding $500 - $1,000 per month. In 2014, Gradifi’s founder, Tim DeMello, came up with a solution to the problem. Employers can make contributions to their employees’ student loans, helping them get out of debt up to 25 percent faster.


Gradifi has quickly become the industry-leading student loan repayment solution for employers looking to offer meaningful benefits for an engaged and empowered workforce. In December of 2016, Gradifi was acquired by First Republic Bank, one of Gradifi’s first clients. Together we continue to achieve our mission and work with companies that believe in the timeless truth: Take care of your people and they will take care of you.

Our Leadership

Tim DeMelloFounder & Chief Executive Officer

As the founder, CEO and chairman of Gradifi, Tim leads the vision for Gradifi and finding the solution to paying down student loans. He has over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience and has founded 7 start-ups including Replica, Streamline.com, Ziggs.com and Spotlight Media. Many of Tim's ventures have gone public or been acquired by companies like Peapod, Reputation.com and Mattel. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Tim began his career as a stockbroker in Boston.

Tim was also a long-serving member of the Board of Trustees at Babson College, where he earned his B.S. in Finance. Tim initiated important philanthropic programs at Babson including the Founder's Fund, which has generated over $3 million in cash proceeds for the college. He has spoken at numerous Inc. Magazine and Fast Company conferences and was selected by Inc. Magazine as a top entrepreneur in the “Birthing of Giants” program.

He is an active competitor in open water swim races, road races and the sport of triathlon. He and his wife Lauri Pearson DeMello split their time between Austin and Boston and have three children.

Doug LowensteinChief Operating Officer

Doug brings 25 years of experience to Gradifi which spans across consumer financial services and strategy. Doug brings a valuable combination of success as a senior strategy executive in a corporate environment with extensive entrepreneurial experience. He spent 11+ years as a senior strategy executive at Capital One where he led the strategy development of many initiatives to diversify the company outside of its core credit card business.

Prior to joining Gradifi, Doug spent four years at Simple Tuition where he built from scratch and launched SmarterBucks, a consumer rewards and financial products program acquired by Gradifi in 2015. Doug has a B.A. from Brown University where he double majored in Business Economics and Computer Science, and an MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management where he received an Academic Achievement Award for graduating with a perfect 4.0.

Doug lives in Walpole, MA with his wife and two children. He is actively involved in youth sports and has coached youth baseball, basketball, tennis, and flag football.

Kathy BorowyChief Financial Officer

Kathy brings over 20 years of financial management experience to Gradifi. She has held financial leadership roles throughout her career with rapidly growing financial services, technology and professional service companies. Most recently Kathy spent five years at Upromise by Sallie Mae, where she was the Chief Financial Officer, growing their market leading college-savings loyalty and 529 plan programs.

Kathy has extensive experience as a senior finance executive at leading financial institutions. She spent three years at JPMorgan Chase growing and eventually selling their on-line discount brokerage business and leading strategic initiatives for its large-market 401(k) recordkeeping business. Prior to that, she held a series of financial positions of increasing responsibility over a 10-year period with Fidelity Investments. While at Fidelity, Kathy led planning, pricing, analysis and strategic decision support functions for its U.S. and Canadian Institutional business lines during periods of significant business growth and market volatility and led financial planning and analysis for a significant portion of its outsourced 401(k) and benefits administration business at the height of “total benefits outsourcing” market growth. She holds a B.S. in Accounting from Oakland University in Michigan and an MBA in Finance from Bentley University. She is a certified CPA and is a FINRA licensed Securities Broker/Dealer Financial Principal.

Kathy is an avid golfer, a volunteer for a few of her favorite causes and enjoys traveling.

Joe FinsterwaldChief Technology Officer

Joe has over 20 years of experience in the software industry and has a demonstrated expertise in building scalable and compliant B2B and B2C software. He has a solid track record in building and managing engineering teams and he has successfully delivered on a number of large multi-million dollar projects.

Most recently, Joe led a multi-year project to re-architect and completely rebuild Vistaprint's aging B2C product customization platform. The result was a new product customization platform delivered on-time and on budget that is widely considered to be best in class in the industry and resulted in a substantial lift in Vistaprint's annual revenue. Prior to Vistaprint, Joe was the CTO of Karmaloop—a late stage start-up ecommerce retailer. He helped to grow Karmaloop from 40 million to 130 million in revenue which represented 80% year over year growth during his tenure. Joe received an M.S. in Software Engineering from Brandeis University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to his software experience Joe has lived and worked in Italy as an economics teacher.

Joe is a veteran of the US Navy and currently lives in Somerville, MA with his family. He enjoys travel, non-fiction and running along the Charles River.

Meera OlivaChief Marketing Officer

Meera joins Gradifi with over 15 years of B2C and B2B marketing experience. She has had her hand in everything from email marketing and online acquisition to brand strategy, PR and traditional direct mail. She has a history of testing creative ideas, driving results, and developing high-functioning teams for a number of brands from major media organizations to small start-ups, particularly focused on the education finance space.

Most recently, Meera spent over 5 years at Valore (formerly SimpleTuition) as VP of Marketing, where she led a team responsible for a number of education brands including SimpleTuition, ValoreBooks, and Boundless . At SimpleTuition, she was also part of the team that helped build and launch SmarterBucks, a student loan rewards program acquired by Gradifi in 2015. Prior to Valore, Meera worked in consumer marketing roles with increasing responsibility at major consumer brands including Sports Illustrated and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where she learned to make the world’s best macaroni and cheese. Meera has a B.A. in Psychology from Brown University and an MBA with a specialization in marketing from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Meera lives in Newton, MA with her husband and three sons. She enjoys cooking, writing, and paying down her student loans with the help of her Gradifi account.

Craig CharlwoodDirector of Operations

Craig has over 15 years of experience managing customer and data operations in the loyalty marketing and financial services industries. Craig started his career in the affiliate marketing industry managing customer support and integration teams. Prior to joining Gradifi, Craig spent the previous 9 years directing production operations for Upromise. Craig has a B.S. in Business Administration from North Adams State College.

In his spare time, Craig loves to travel with his wife and two daughters. He considers Venice and Hawaii his two favorite travel destinations.

Rick CiminoVice President of Risk and Compliance

Rick's more than 30 years of experience ranges from operations to client service, sales, project and vendor management. He has spent 18 years in student loan origination, servicer and payments management which makes him uniquely qualified for his role at Gradifi. He previously worked as the Vice President of Operations for SimpleTuition/ ValoreBooks where he was responsible for the implementation of SmarterBucks. Rick was also the Vice President of Originations and Operations for Key Education Resources, managing the origination of 1.8 billion dollars of private and federal student loans. He holds a B.A. from the Boston Conservatory of Music.

Rick lives on the North Shore of Massachusetts and loves to travel, especially to St. Croix.

Dean DeLilloDirector of Quality

Dean is Director of Quality at Gradifi. With over 25 years of experience in information technology, Dean has held positions from developer to program manager and has managed Quality teams for the past 12 years. Before Gradifi, Dean was a Quality Manager at Vistaprint on the Product Design team. Dean has a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University.

Outside of work, Dean enjoys traveling, dining out and continually working on his 121-year-old house.

Sarith DemuniDirector of Creative & UX

Sarith is a lifelong autodidact who has accumulated an array of industry-tested skills in creative and technical production which make him the right mix for his role as Director of Creative and UX at Gradifi. He brings years of experience from his previous roles as CCO of brand strategy firm KNOWUSE, Creative Director of production company Kloud Media and Executive Creative Director of Null & Void, a digital creative studio he founded in New York City. Sarith graduated with a B.F.A. from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Sarith has an ever-growing collection of board games and has exhibited interactive digital installation work at events like Art Basel in Miami.

Matt GittlitzDirector of Product

Matt is Director of Product and has been creating digital experiences for over 15 years. He is responsible for product strategy, ensuring members an easy and enjoyable customer experience. Matt's expertise comes from his roles as Senior Manager at Vistaprint on their eCommerce technology team and at EMC Corporation. Matt holds an MBA from Babson College, and a B.A. in Computer Science and Economics from Brandeis University.

Matt is a big fan of the Dave Matthews Band and has seen them over 40 times live in concert.

Melissa KingDirector of Marketing

Melissa's experience in digital marketing serves Gradifi's members so they are aware of the best ways to pay down their student loans. Prior to Gradifi, Melissa led the marketing team at CollegeWeekLive, focused on driving engagement with students and colleges online. She earned an MBA and a B.S. in Marketing from Providence College.

Melissa is an avid sports fan and can often be found at a Red Sox or Bruins game.

Lauri PearsonDirector of Media & Communications

Lauri Pearson has made a career of Media & Communications, having spent time in radio as a DJ, TV as a spokesperson, and the music business in Marketing and PR. For Gradifi, she handles interview scheduling, and she assists our clients with media launch, announcements, and strategy.

Lauri likes to work on illustrating at least one doodle a day, and is an avid music lover.

David ToddDirector of Architecture

David brings years of software engineering experience to his role as the Principal Engineer at Gradifi. He worked at Vistaprint for over 5 years where his technical leadership as Senior Lead Engineer drove quality software architecture. David earned his B.S. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

David spends his free time running down mountains, particularly ones in New Hampshire.

Our Team

Andrew Bessette
Account Manager
Chris Bessette
Account Manager
Jacqueline Diamond
Office Manager
Max Gillett
Software Engineer
Andrew Gray
DevOps Engineer
Nick Pirollo
Principal Architect
Sergey Styskin
Senior Developer
Dorothy Tai
Senior Accountant
Winston Wan
Software Engineer