Seth Frotman, Executive Director
Seth Frotman is the nation’s leading expert on the intersection between higher education finance, consumer protection, and public policy. Seth previously served as Assistant Director and Student Loan Ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he led a government-wide effort to develop consumer-driven policy reforms and protect millions of Americans with student debt.
Seth joined the CFPB as part of the Treasury Implementation Team as Senior Advisor to Holly Petraeus, Assistant Director for Servicemember Affairs. He has also worked on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA). Prior to his work on federal policy, Seth served as counsel for the New Jersey State Senate, where he worked on state-level consumer protection legislation.
Seth’s work on behalf of student loan borrowers has appeared in national print publications and broadcast media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and The Washington Post. Seth received his JD from Indiana University School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. Full bio.
Winston Berkman-Breen, Deputy Director of Advocacy & Policy Counsel
Winston Berkman-Breen is the Deputy Director of Advocacy & Policy Counsel at the Student Borrower Protection Center. Prior to joining the SBPC, Winston was the Director of Consumer Advocacy and Student Loan Advocate at the Department of Financial Services. In this role, he proposed and advanced consumer protection policies and advised on consumer matters across the agency’s business units, including regulatory action and enforcement investigations, with a particular focus on student loan and debt collection policy. He also served as a point of contact for individual consumers seeking assistance, and worked closely with advocacy organizations in New York and across the country.
Prior to joining DFS, Winston worked in legal services, with a focus on affirmative and defensive litigation related to debt collection, student loans, and foreclosure. He was a Justice Catalyst Fellow and Staff Attorney with the Consumer Protection Unit at the New York Legal Assistance Group, and was a Fellow with the Project on Predatory Student Lending at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School.
Ben Kaufman, Head of Investigations & Senior Policy Advisor
Ben Kaufman is the Head of Investigations and Senior Policy Advisor at the Student Borrower Protection Center. Prior to joining SBPC, Ben worked as a Director’s Financial Analyst at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and in investment banking at JPMorgan. At the Bureau, Ben focused much of his work on student loans, for-profit colleges, and income share agreements (ISAs). He also served on a cross-bureau working group on credit cards.
Ben earned his BA and MA in Public Policy at Stanford, writing undergraduate and graduate theses on issues in consumer finance. Ben’s masters thesis evaluated changes to the CFPB’s regulation of payday lending during the tenure of Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, and his undergraduate honors thesis analyzed the budgetary tradeoffs and life-cycle wealth generation effects associated with reverse mortgages. He has interned in the U.S. Senate, at Apple, and at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Mike Pierce, Director of Policy & Managing Counsel
Mike is the Policy Director and Managing Counsel at the Student Borrower Protection Center. He is an attorney, advocate, and former senior regulator who joined SBPC after more than a decade fighting for student loan borrowers’ rights on Capitol Hill and at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
For seven years, Mike was the Bureau’s lead subject-matter expert on higher education and consumer protection. He advised all aspects of the Bureau’s work related to student loan origination, servicing, debt collection, and oversight of for-profit colleges. From 2015 to 2017, Mike also served as a Deputy Assistant Director of the Bureau, leading the day-to-day operations of the Bureau’s Office for Students and Young Consumers.
Prior to joining the staff at CFPB, Mike served as a policy advisor to Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-03), where he assisted in the passage of legislation creating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and worked on the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from George Washington University, and a JD from the Marshall-Wythe Law School at the College of William and Mary. As a law student, Mike worked in the Office of Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education.
Walter Suskind, Deputy Director of Communications, Digital Strategy
Walter Suskind is the Deputy Communications Director in charge of social media and the SBPC’s digital presence. Prior to joining the SBPC, Walter worked at Edelman, a public relations firm, where he led client work for a wide array of companies and organizations, helping build and launch campaigns and support reputation management.
Before working at Edelman, Walter spent nearly five years working at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where he served as a spokesperson in the Bureau’s Office of Communications. At the Bureau Walter helped to support press and external engagement efforts for the Office for Students and Young Consumers. Walter worked with divisions across the Bureau, supporting major rulemaking and enforcement announcements, handling media outreach and stakeholder engagement. Outside of work, Walter is a leading disability advocate, having formed the organization SibStrong which works to empower and support siblings of people with disabilities across the age spectrum. Walter received a bachelor’s in international relations and Spanish from Pennsylvania State University.
Moira Vahey, Director of Communications
Moira Vahey is the Director of Communications at the Student Borrower Protection Center. She has served in a range of strategic communications leadership roles across government and mission-driven organizations, including the White House, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Pentagon.
Moira was a political appointee in the Obama Administration and served as communications director and policy advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, as well as press secretary for telecommunications and technology policy at the U.S. Department of Commerce. During her time at the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she served in public affairs and policy positions including acting communications director, senior spokesperson, community affairs lead, and senior advisor for the Bureau’s fintech program. She managed engagement with industry, consumer advocates, and reporters from top media and financial outlets, authored agency publications, and managed the rollout of many high-profile announcements, such as the agency’s first enforcement actions against financial institutions and the rollout of critical market-wide mortgage protections in the wake of the nation’s housing meltdown. She has been quoted on breaking news matters in outlets including The New York Times, PBS, NBC News, NPR, and the Wall Street Journal.
Most recently, she served as communications director at the Pentagon’s Digital Defense Unit where she oversaw media relations, intergovernmental communications, and digital engagement. Moira also served in media relations and policy roles at national nonprofits including the Progressive Policy Institute and Free Press.
Kat Welbeck, Director of Advocacy & Civil Rights Counsel
Kat Welbeck is the Director of Advocacy and the Civil Rights Counsel at the Student Borrower Protection Center. She was previously an Outreach and Engagement Specialist in the CFPB’s Office of Public Engagement and Community Liaison. Prior to her work at the Bureau, Kat taught fourth grade in Houston, TX as a Teach for America Corps Member.
Kat currently serves as a DC Program Director of Rising Leaders, Inc., a nonprofit mentoring program that empowers middle school students through high-quality mentorship and leadership development training. Kat is also the Director of Engagement on the Rising Leaders, Inc. Board of Directors. She holds a B.A. from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.