Board of Directors


Ellen Ciompi

After years of donating medical supplies, hosting children’s parties, and patronizing the market, Ellen Ciompi finally joined the board of The Scrap Exchange in 2013. She’s a native New Yorker but has lived in Durham since 1982 with her clarinet-playing, wine-critiquing husband, Arturo, and their two daughters. Ellen holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music, plus an RN, and recently retired after working for 25 years as a certified Operating Room nurse. This leaves her with more free time to pursue her musical passion: creating and performing cabaret shows. Over the past couple of years, Ellen has released a CD (“Taking a Chance on Love”, available from her and on iTunes), appeared on the NPR/APM radio show “Piano Puzzler”, written articles for “Durham Magazine”, and been a contestant on “Jeopardy!”. You can follow her exploits at her website,

Vice President

Cathy Kielar

Cathy loves art, percussion and kids. She is living her passion in this fabulous city by owning and operating Music Explorium and playing bass drum for the Bulltown Strutters, a community band started by Cathy and her clarinet-playing husband, Blaise. From time to time Cathy creates new instruments for her Rockin’ Reuse Percussion program. Cooking creatively without gluten or eggs has become a recent endeavor, and she is proudly growing more and more of her own food.


Adam Rust

Adam Rust has been Director of Research at Reinvestment Partners since 2005. He writes about alternative financial services in his blog Bank Talk. In 2012, he testified at the CFPB’s field hearing on prepaid cards. He regularly speaks at conferences about how advocates should divine a path to reforming the prepaid card.

He has master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Missouri and in City and Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Finance at Indiana University in his spare time.

In 2006, Carolina Academic Press published his book “This is My Home: The Challenges and Opportunities of Manufactured Housing.” In 2009, FHA Secretary David Stevens nominated him to represent consumers on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee. He testified on the need to reform manufactured housing finance before a Congressional subcommittee in 2012.

Rust is the co-trustee of the Harry L. and Helen M. Rust Foundation. The Rust Foundation operates from Kansas City, Missouri but has supported groups in six states. It makes grants to non-profits working in the fields of education, social services, and health care.


Richard McCleery

Richard has had a long and varied career, including stints as a Methodist minister, in corporate logistics, and as a hospice chaplain.

He and his wife Carole met while they were both at Duke University — he as a Divinity School graduate student and she as a professor in the business school. They lived in Western New York and in Flagler County, Florida, among other locations, before relocating to Durham in March 2015 to be closer to family.

Richard holds a B.A. from The School of International Service at The American University in Washington, D.C.; a M. Div. and Th. M. from Duke University Divinity School; and an M.B.A. in transportation management from Syracuse University.

He is a lover of thrift stores and yard sales, and creator of the Thrift Shoppe Trail.

Board Members

Ethel Simonetti

Ethel Simonetti is an energetic, inquisitive, generalist. Now retired, Ethel currently enjoys dance classes; public school tutoring; advocacy for a living wage; and contributing to philanthropies that promote diversity, creativity, and access to artistic disciplines.

Ethel has been a neighborhood activist in Southwest Central Durham for 30 years — organizing and serving neighborhood causes with dependability and resourcefulness.

As co-owner of The Tuba Exchange (with musician, entrepreneur and husband Vincent Simonetti) Ethel served for 20 years as CFO and office manager. She earlier worked in state, county, and ecclesiastical bureaucracies, as employment technician, teacher, social worker, and as an ordained pastor.

An active volunteer, Ethel has nurtured such Durham initiatives as Partners Against Crime, The Religious Coalition for A Non-Violent Durham, Women-in-Action’s Dispute Resolution Center, and The Pauli Murray Project. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Georgia; and received the M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Duke University, magna cum laude.

Jason Nelson

Jason works in executive operations managing the Office of the CEO for Dude Solutions, Inc., a cloud-based facilities enterprise and asset management software company. Prior to joining Dude Solutions Jason led statewide economic development and public policy initiatives with the NC Biotechnology Center, UNC’s School of Government, and the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI).

Jason’s work has largely focused on industry development in biotechnology, agriculture, and manufacturing resulting in implementation of North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership, launching of the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, creation of 30 in 10: Growing North Carolina’s AgBiotech Landscape, and development of NC’s Manufacturing Community Toolkit.

A native of Roxboro, Jason is a graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, holds degrees from American University and North Carolina A&T State University, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana.

Karen Stinehelfer

Karen retired in 2011 from a 45-year career in non-profit finance in New York City and Durham. She worked as a Grants Accountant for UNC-Chapel Hill and was Business & Facilities Manager for two non-profit schools: Duke School for Children and Central Park School.

Karen has also been volunteering at The Scrap Exchange on a weekly basis for a number of years. She finds that volunteering feeds her creativity and she loves to turn the stuff she sees into a new piece of art.

Katy Clune

Katy is engaged in cultural communications—writing, design, and multimedia storytelling—to build meaningful bridges between diverse audiences and institutions. She has a BA in art history (UC Berkeley, 2008) and a MA in folklore (UNC Chapel Hill, 2015). Find her writing in Our State, the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Gravy, and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Southern Cultures. Growing up abroad in the Foreign Service meant Katy was surrounded by the arts of the world as a child, and she has since applied this passion in a variety of communications and documentary work for museums and non-profits. In 2016, she developed her master’s thesis, Home in a New Place: Making Laos in Morganton, North Carolina into a photo exhibit for the Center for the Study of the American South (UNC-Chapel Hill) and the History Museum of Burke County (Morganton, NC). She is now proud to call Durham, North Carolina, home. See her work on her website and follow her on twitter.

Patricia Harris

<Bio Pending>

Taylor Mingos 

Taylor Mingos is the founder and CEO of Shoeboxed, a cloud-based service that streamlines expense tracking and bookkeeping for over 500,000 users worldwide.

Shoeboxed’s mission is to create more entrepreneurs. Our goal is to make starting and running a business so easy and approachable (starting with expense tracking and bookkeeping!) that we empower individuals to turn their passion or hobby into a venture or side-business.

Shoeboxed currently employs 45 individuals at its headquarters in Durham, NC; 6 programmers in its European office; and 10 in Sydney, Australia, through a joint venture with an Australian financing group.

A native of Kansas City, Taylor graduated from Duke University in 2007 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and German Studies.

While at Duke he spent several semesters living in Berlin and working in the founding team of startup, which was later acquired by a German media conglomerate Holtzbrinck after a bidding war with Facebook, Inc.

Prior to Duke, Taylor owned a LLC in high school that offered freelance video services and web design. His experience running an LLC for the first time generated the ideas that led to starting Shoeboxed.

Outside of Shoeboxed, Taylor is active in the Durham startup scene as a mentor and seed-stage angel investor. He is a hobbyist electronics geek and recently began volunteering with a few initiatives to enhance access to quality technical education in Durham Public Schools.

2016-2017 FUQUA on Board

Lauren Niculescu

Lauren is currently pursuing her MBA at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Prior to attending Duke University, she worked at Citigroup as part of a management training program, rotating through market, network and product management, conducting competitor analyses, country risk assessments and client targeting reviews in securities services. At Fuqua, Lauren is a CASE i3 Associate and serves on the Corporate Education cabinet for the Marketing Club and the Leadership cabinet for the Association of Women in Business. Lauren has a BA in Psychology and Italian from Duke University. In her free time, Lauren enjoys baking, reading historical fiction and playing with her Yorkie, Milly.

Jacob Porter

Jake is currently a First Year MBA student at the Fuqua School of Business. Prior to Fuqua, Jake worked for Cerner in the Healthcare IT industry where he began in their consulting organization. He then transitioned into Cerner’s strategy and development organization where he led Cerner’s pediatric strategy and managed key client relationships. Before joining Cerner, Jake received a BS in Finance at the University of Nebraska. At Fuqua, Jake serves as his section academic representative, is an Admissions Ambassador, and is an active member of Fuqua’s Consulting Club. Outside of school, Jake moved to Durham with his fiancé Kristen and their dog Dudley. He enjoys anything sports related, traveling, trying local cuisine, and reading autobiographies.

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