Board Members

Meet Sheretha Gordon, board member.

Sheretha is the President and CEO of Strategic Steps Consulting (SSC) an independent business consulting firm that believes in guiding entrepreneurs to achieve their goal. We believe in building a strong business foundation and making every step strategic.  We specialize in operations, organizational management, corporate training and strategy for small to mid-sized businesses.  Sheretha has guided entrepreneurs and businesses for nearly 20 years by providing business and administrative consulting, resources and information, corporate training and entrepreneur mentorship.  Sheretha has been a part of launching, managing and transitioning several local, regional, and international businesses for a variety of industries.  

Sheretha is a veteran of the United States Air Force and Navy serving for over 16 years as a Paralegal and Aviation Ordinanceman. 

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Meet David Bastiaans, board member.

David is a shareholder with Wolcott Rivers Gates with offices in Virginia Beach and Richmond, VA.  David started his professional career as a CPA in Boston, MA and Washington, DC and maintains his CPA license.  David focuses his practice as a business advisor and attorney.  David helps business owners look at their business differently with a focus on creating transferable value and creating an optimal business making the business owner less relevant with the day to day operations.  David believes that business owners need to create that optimal business now so when they are ready to exit, they are prepared to do so on their terms and time line. 

David married his wife Angela in 2001, and they have two teenage children – John and Chloe.  Angela is a teacher’s assistant with St. Gregory the Great School in Virginia Beach.  John plays baseball for his high school and showcase team.  Chloe competes at a high-level gymnast. Both kid’s sports take David and Angela all over the country with their tournaments and meet competitions. 

  • CollegeWestern New England College (BSBA ‘90  and JD ‘97) and the University of Alabama Law School (LL.M. Business Transactions ‘15). 

  • Certifications: Certified Exit Planning Advisor

  • Organizations:  Virginia Bar Association, Member of Attorneys for Family Held Enterprises, Member of Exit Planning Institute, Board Member of Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia, Finance Council Member of St. Gregory the Great Church.

CONNECT: Web | Online | LinkedIn | Facebook | Listing

Meet Fadi Debbas PE, board chair.

Fadi is a structural engineer and have been practicing structural engineering and construction management for 32 years in the Tidewater area. Fadi is the Vice President of ABC Consulting Inc. a structural engineering and a construction management firm located in Norfolk. Fadi is also the vice President of Power Catch Inc., an energy conservation company, converts regular lighting fixtures into LED lights as well as provide and install new parking lot LED fixtures.

Fadi married his wife Nayla in 1995, and they have 2 children in college.

  • Education: BS Civil Engineering ‘84 Purdue University, M.S. Civil Engineering ‘86 / Purdue University

  • Registrations: 1990 / Licensed Professional Engineer / VA – No. 021469, Class A General Contracting License / VA -No. 113065A Classification:  BLD

  • Memberships/Affiliations: American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE), Tau Beta Pi – National Honorary Engineering Society, Chi Epsilon - National Honorary Engineering Society, City of Norfolk Board of Building Code Appeals

  • Certifications: Post Tensioning Institute (PTI), for unbonded post-tensionin, OSHA 30 #600136091, Construction Safety & Health

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Meet Tom Powell, board member.

Tom is the President and Creative Director of The Addison Group, a full service marketing and advertising firm that focuses on the confusions and difficulties of marketing for small to mid-sized businesses through a proven process called Brandiscover™.  For nearly 25 years, Tom has been a part of launching many local and regional brands for a variety of companies using traditional mediums (TV, radio, outdoor, direct mail) and non-traditional mediums (websites, digital, social, smart phone apps).

Tom married his wife Wendy in 1996, and they have four teenage children.

  • College:  BS in Communications Pensacola Christian College ‘93

  • Organizations:  Downtown Suffolk Business Group, Rotary Club of North Suffolk, American Marketing Association, Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce, Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce

CONNECT: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn

Meet Chris Lyons, board member.

Chris is President and Owner of Adele Diamond LLC, the premier fine jewelry retailer in Coastal Virginia.  Adele Diamond specializes in design and creation of custom bridal jewelry, wedding rings, and a full line of fine jewelry. Services include appraisal and estate evaluation services, jewelry repair, estate jewelry purchasing, and industry specific educational services. 
Chris is a serial entrepreneur, operating seven retail and B2C businesses since 2007, ranging from clothing, to consignment, to residential construction. He resides inVirginia Beach with his wife and five children. He enjoys kayaking, backpacking, >traveling, and anything outdoors with his family in his free time.

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Meet Ian Holder, board member.

Since 2008, when Ian launched his Merrill Lynch career, he has been client focused and process driven. 

In addition to cultivating many of the close client relationships for which the team is known, a specific area of focus for Ian is company sponsored retirement plans – summoning his deep experience and knowledge to help business owners and executives make well-informed decisions. Ian also focuses on employees – helping to craft and deliver education programs. 

In all relationships, Ian believes that keeping clients informed and empowered are essential to providing superior wealth management.

 Ian holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. as well as the Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM (CRPC®) designation, offered by the College for Financial Planning. 

Ian holds a Bachelor's degree in French and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and formerly served as president of the UVA Club of Tidewater. Currently, he serves on the NORFOLK Academy Alumni Board, Ghent Business Association Board, Hermitage Museum and Gardens Board, and as a YMCA corporate board member, in addition to the Y on Granby. Ian and his wife, Natalie, reside in Norfolk where they enjoy traveling, playing tennis, and time with their dog. Ian also coaches soccer, plays tennis and is a “loud and proud” UVA soccer, basketball and football fan.


Meet Bernd Haase, board member.

Bernd is President & Owner of LeaderConnect Consulting and The Alternative Board – Hampton Roads. As an Executive Coach and Peer Board Facilitator he works with business owners and C-level executives to support the achievement of their visions and discover new potential in their skill sets. He helps advance their companies through Strategic Planning and implementation while ensuring improved work/life balance.

Bernd started his career in the technical department for a major Construction machinery manufacturer. After obtaining a graduate degree he transitioned into various advancing Sales and Marketing roles with increasing responsibilities. With a firm foothold in the international mining equipment industry, Bernd had the opportunity to reside in multiple countries while pursuing business opportunities on a global scale.

In 2001 Bernd and his family relocated to South Eastern Virginia when he joined a major heavy equipment manufacturer’s executive team with responsibilities for Sales, Marketing and After Sales Service. Since 2016 Bernd is applying his skill set to help Hampton Roads’ business leaders to be more successful.

Bernd graduated from Fachhochschule Dortmund/Germany (University of applied Science and Art) with a B.Sc. - Mechanical Engineering and a MBA. He is married and has two adult daughters.

CONNECT: Web | LinkedIn | Facebook

Meet Phil Pinto, board member.

Phil is an Executive Leadership Coach and the co-owner of Pinto Leadership Solutions. He specializes in working with entrepreneurs, executives seeking to enter the C-suite, and military leaders transitioning to civilian executive leadership roles.

Phil believes whole-heartedly in serving others; it is his personal mission to help his clients maximize their potential as leaders, in both their professional and personal lives. Having identified stress as the number one factor getting in the way of his clients’ success, Phil focuses on tackling “mindset.” Partnering with his clients, he helps them to identify and challenge limiting beliefs and to develop strategies to overcome those beliefs. His clients learn how to prioritize around what’s important “right now” and he provides the accountability needed for them to see their goals through.

Phil is a Certified Professional Coach (CPC), and is recognized as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF), as well as a COR.E Leadership Dynamics Specialist™. He is also a certified Leadership Challenge® Facilitator, and an authorized partner with Wiley Publishing as a Lead Trainer for Everything DiSC® and Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™.

 A retired Chief Warrant Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard, Phil was in command of the Yorktown branch of the Leadership and Development Center and facilitated training both domestically and internationally. This detachment alone delivered training to over 10,000 members of the military during the four years he was in charge, including 800 students he personally taught, primarily USCG members. He was also responsible for delivering leadership training for the International Maritime Officers Course, which trained 487 senior military officers from 51 allied countries.

Phil holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Thomas Edison State University.

In his free time Phil enjoys hunting, hiking, fishing, kayaking, competing in marathons and triathlons, reading, and spending time with his wife, Laura, and their three dogs.

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The Executive Club is a networking monthly luncheon, extended by private invitation, to decision makers and/or Business owners. It provides in-person high-level introductions with a vision to facilitate new long-term relationships that potentially yield business growth, mentorships, collaboration, resources, and economic strategic directions.
— Elizabeth Duncan-Hawker, Red Hawk Strategic Solutions

Execonnect is a high level professional group that allows exchange of business planning ideas, introduction of Hampton Roads business leaders, and trustworthy business referrals.
— Ellyn Bess, BDO

Execonnect consists of high-end business owners and decision makers with integrity and a common goal to support each other. It is a place where you can make quality introductions to successful business people in our community.
— Fadi Debbas, EXECONNECT Chairman