About

History

Founded in 2010 by Elizabeth S. Courtney, William Decker and Michael Shmerling, LocalShares provides investment in and knowledge about local economies – such as cities – by providing investment services, information and products.

According to a study reported in the Journal of Finance – the average American investor holds 30% of his/her portfolio in companies located within 250 miles of his/her home. There is a strong, proven preference for local investing and a comparable interest in knowledge about locally-headquartered companies. Yet few if any companies provide direct access to these important economies via knowledge or investment vehicles.

Our leadership has spent 10 years researching and developing the platform for this new frontier.

Management

Margaret O. Dolan

President & CEO, LocalShares Knowledge, LLC

Margaret O. Dolan, president and CEO of LocalShares Knowledge, LLC, is a prominent Nashville business and community leader and formerly President and CEO of the Saint Thomas Health Foundations. Ms. Dolan, who also formerly served as the vice president of community relations for Ingram Industries Inc., brings a wealth of experience building and working in partnerships with organizations to capitalize on the interdependence of business and community improvement strategy. Ms. Dolan currently serves on the boards of Fifth Third Bank Tennessee, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Business Coalition, the Tennessee Business Roundtable, and is a previous chair and current director for both the Nashville Public Education Foundation and the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. Ms. Dolan, a Certified Public Accountant, is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and received her Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, where she received the Dean Martin S. Geisel Leadership Award. Ms. Dolan was recognized with the Nelson C. Andrews Distinguished Service Award and in 2015, she was inducted into the prestigious Academy for Women of Achievement by the YWCA of Middle Tennessee.

Matthew F. Hayes

President & CEO, LocalShares Investments

Matthew F. Hayes, a veteran interbank financial markets executive and formerly Senior Vice President of the Bank of Oklahoma, is the President of the LocalShares Investments, LLC. Hayes, who is based in Chicago, Illinois, is a foreign exchange expert who has assessed, evaluated and traded in global markets for more than 30 years. Previously, Hayes, an early investor in LocalShares, also served as Portfolio Manager for Citadel Investment Group in Chicago and was Managing Director and Global Head of Leverage Trading and Head of North American Foreign Exchange Trading for ABN AMRO, a global Dutch bank headquartered in Amsterdam. Matt is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Michael Schulz

Director of Marketing

Mr. Schulz is Director of Marketing for LocalShares. Prior to joining LocalShares in 2013, Mr. Schulz held positions for over 10 years in the office of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander. Most recently, he served as field director, managing 33 counties in the middle Tennessee area. Prior to that he was assistant press secretary and a legislative correspondent in Senator Alexander’s Washington D.C. office. Mr. Schulz is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.

Elizabeth (Beth) Seigenthaler Courtney

Founder

Elizabeth Seigenthaler Courtney serves as the president and managing partner of DVL/Seigenthaler, a Finn Partners Company. Ms. Seigenthaler Courtney is an award-winning communications specialist who has grown myriad businesses with effective marketing. Recognized for her leadership, in 2014, Ms. Seigenthaler Courtney received the Hercules Award from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Nashville. Additionally, she been inducted into the Academy for Women of Achievement by the Nashville YWCA; and named one of Nashville’s Most Admired CEOs and a Woman of Influence by Nashville Business Journal. Ms. Seigenthaler Courtney is a member of the Society of International Business Fellows; was selected as a Leadership Foundation Fellow by the International Women’s Forum and named a Protégé of the Committee of 200, a leading women’s organization. A graduate of Leadership Nashville, Ms. Seigenthaler Courtney has also been recognized as one of Nashville’s most powerful by Nashvillepost magazine and the top “40 Nashvillians Under 40” by Business Nashville magazine in 2000.

William S. (Bill) Decker

Founder

William S. (Bill) Decker is founder and managing member of Decker Wealth Management LLC. His primary responsibilities at the firm include the development and application of investment strategies for clients.

Mr. Decker’s career experience includes more than 11 years with Morgan Stanley where he served as Senior Vice President – Investments and more than five years with US Trust/Bank of America where he served as Senior Vice President & Private Client Advisor. At both firms, he focused on wealth management for high net worth individuals and families.

Mr. Decker completed his undergraduate studies at Baylor University, earning a bachelor’s degree with a public administration major. After applying this mix of economics and political science to his first job with the City of Los Angeles, he earned an MBA from Pepperdine University. Post-graduate studies have included a number of corporate-sponsored opportunities unique to the financial services industry, including an intensive program held onsite at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Mr. Decker is involved in a number of local community programs in Nashville and serves on the boards of his church, The Village Chapel, and End Slavery Tennessee.

Michael D. Shmerling

Chairman and Founder

Michael D. Shmerling, Chairman of the Board, is a veteran entrepreneur who has established and grown multiple profitable companies in a spectrum of industries.

Mr. Shmerling is the Chairman of XMi Holdings, Inc., a management and investment holding company with $50 million in revenues that is comprised of nine business lines. He is also the chairman of the XMi High Growth Development Fund, a TNInvestco fund in partnership with the state of Tennessee. In addition, he serves as the Chairman of Choice Food Group, Inc. and an affiliate, Chairman’s Foods, each a Tennessee-based food manufacturing, distribution and retail business with over $80 million in revenue and 350 employees.

Mr. Shmerling was a charter shareholder and Board Member of Tennessee-based Capital Bank and Trust and he continues to serve on the Board of its acquirer, Renasant Bank, N.A. (NASDAQ:RNST) He is also a Board Member of HealthStream, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSTM).

Mr. Shmerling began his career in 1977 as a certified public accountant (now inactive) with the Nashville office of Ernst & Ernst CPAs (now Ernst & Young). Companies that he previously founded or co-founded include Transcor America Inc., Corrections Partners, Inc., Amicus Legal Staffing and Background America, Inc., each sold to publicly traded NASD or NYSE entities.

Mr. Shmerling is the founder of Abe’s Garden, a nonprofit residential center that focuses on Alzheimer’s disease and memory care. He is an original co-founder of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and serves on the following boards of directors: Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee; United Way of Metropolitan Nashville; and Chairs the TPAC Foundation Board. He formerly served on the boards of Nashville Area Chamber Of Commerce, Fisk University; Tennessee Performing Arts Center; Monroe Carrell Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital; The Hermitage; Nashville Public Library Foundation; and Tennessee Society of CPAs.

Mr. Shmerling received a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1977 and has been a licensed CPA (now inactive) for 38 years.