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Our leadership team.

There's not much in this industry we haven't seen. We can help you and your brand think differently.

April Rudin

CEO and Founder

April Rudin has built a long career by thinking differently and taking advantage of periods of change.

Whether it was in her first career as the original “millennial girl” who helped lead the effort to automate Kelly Services' branch offices globally in the late 80's or her ability to see around corners by launching the Rudin Group in 2008 during what might be termed as the lowest point in financial services, April is a seeker of the white space and the new opportunities it brings.

April has had a varied career in marketing, and technology but has always been known to be a disruptor, innovator and sometimes just a pain in the ass as she questioned conventional wisdom at an early age. About fifteen years ago, in her return to the workforce after being exhausted by raising her children, she chose financial services over the garment industry since she lived in New York City. Note: she has an affection for shoes.

April sensed that the intersection of old, musty brands and new, forward-thinking millennials along with evolving wealthtech/fintech firms would create a seismic marketing opportunity for wealth management and asset management firms. Always an early adopter of technology, April was a pioneer in #WFH when the Rudin Group was launched thereby recognizing the advantage of accessing a global workforce for global clients. Her kids called her “the first woman on Skype” which is now Microsoft Teams.

Amazed by the lack of differentiation and sea of sameness in wealth management/financial services brands, but certain that next-geners would NOT want to engage with brands that used dated, stock iconography like a lighthouse, chess piece, yacht or compass, she downloaded Yahoo tools and designed her own website. That was the birth of the Rudin Group (literally her third child.)

Born in Chicago, raised in Detroit, and, now living, in metro New York City, April does not like to be thought of as a “Jersey girl.” She much prefers old Motown tunes, and Bob Seger to Bruce “you know who.” Proud mother of two sons who only follow New York sports teams instead of Detroit much to April's chagrin.

April Rudin as child and current
Cate Sanders current

Cate Sanders

Managing Director – Marketing Strategy HNW, Retirement and Institutional

Don't expect to hear Cate ever deliver a comment like, “This is the template that we know works.” Cate knows that every client requires a unique approach that can be only arrived at by carefully listening to their story and helping them discover what will make their brand stand out in a crowded marketplace. With those jointly reached insights, Cate draws on her experience to develop marketing strategies that can deliver optimal engagement with our client's customers and their prospects.

The positive energy Cate brings to her work comes from the enthusiasm she has for helping clients develop the right marketing strategies to solve their most pressing business needs. She is also one of those rare always-upbeat people who jumps right in with clients to sort through their thorniest challenges. (I agree with this statement says April Rudin.)

With more than 20 years of experience at some of the best-known brands in the financial service industry – like Equitable, Alliance Bernstein, OppenheimerFunds and Invesco – Cate has developed particular expertise in helping firms across the full range of the institutional universe, including retirement plan sponsors, investment consultants, endowments and foundations, and sovereign wealth funds, as well as the family offices and private banks that serve ultra-high-net-worth investors. Cate has won multiple industry awards for content strategy and integrated marketing campaigns. She has helped build brands, engaging digital experiences, attention-getting social media, advertising that breaks through the noise, and differentiated thought leadership.

Cate is the mom of two large fur babies (Spense and Finn who are both German Shorthaired Pointers) and lives on the Jersey shore (yes, Bruce Springsteen country!) with her husband. They love to travel and are always on the hunt for the most idyllic beaches and surf spots. In her “spare time”, she really loves learning and is enrolled in the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) program.

Dana Stone

Managing Director - Media and Communications

Dana Stone brings creativity, humor and award-winning talents to The Rudin Group as the team's public relations and communications specialist. With more than 20 years of experience helping global brands including Fiserv and US Bank tell their stories from the inside out, Dana has been successful in leading media relations strategies, product launches, crisis and issues management planning, thought leadership initiatives, executive messaging, and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for a variety of financial services companies.

Storytelling has been in Dana's blood since she was very young. Maybe it's because of the extraordinary sights and sounds she experienced as an OG “Disney baby (babies born to Disney World creators in the 1970s)”, or her many family adventures traveling throughout the Southeast United States after living in the happiest place on Earth. By the time her family settled in Jacksonville, Fla., Dana had mastered her interviewing, writing and relationship-building skills, preparing her for an extensive career in communications.

Don't let Dana's under-five-foot stature fool you. She's not afraid of a challenge unless it involves Sumo wrestling or swimming in a pool with snakes. You can, however, leave her in a room full of top global executives to provide top-notch, strategic counseling that aligns with an organization's mission and values.

Dana is no stranger to conflict. She received a master's degree in Mass Communications from the University of Florida and a bachelor's degree in Advertising from UF's rival Florida State University. Or, perhaps she's just a glutton for punishment. She now calls Colorado home with her husband, two children and two dogs. When Dana is not at her desk, you can find her cheering on our kids at sporting events, exploring the Colorado outdoors, and spending time with her family and friends.

Dana Stone as child and current
Kara Valentine as child and current

Kara Valentine

Managing Director - Marketing Strategy HNW/RIA

With a name like Valentine, you'd expect Kara to have a big heart. Not to mention that she was born on Valentine's Day. It's her heart (and creative mind) that keeps Kara going with almost three decades of strategic marketing experience in the financial services. From wirehouse to RIA, and from organic to inorganic growth, it's hard to beat her vast experience. Kara spent the first 20 years of her career at Morgan Stanley and Bank of America's Global Wealth and Investment Management Division, working at both Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust. Following the market into RIA land, she has also held marketing leadership roles at Dynasty Financial Partners, Rockefeller Capital Management and Cary Street Partners.

Ironically for a New Yorker, it was a move to California that prompted Kara to explore a career in financial services. She began as a client associate in Carlsbad, California. It was in this role that Kara developed a passion for the industry and an understanding of the complexities in capturing the attention of advisors and clients. After a year in California, she relocated and transferred into a marketing role in New York City.

Kara's number one fan is her son along with many of her clients. She loves to play golf and is an avid sports fan which may or may not be mutually exclusive.

John Wilkens

Managing Director, Strategy and Content

John has more than 25 years of experience delivering marketing strategy and results for some of the world's most successful asset managers, private banks and wealth management firms. Before success at J.P. Morgan and Citigroup Private Bank, he invented email marketing for financial services and has been innovating lead gen, product marketing and the role of content ever since.

By combining the art and science of marketing with deep industry and product knowledge, John's marketing philosophy rests on three pillars. One, when blending understanding with creativity, it's important to get the order right. Two, complexity can actually be an experienced marketer's best friend. How it's handled is what matters. And three, everyone's most precious resource is time. We should act – and create content - accordingly.

Born and raised in England, John's first job in America was herding ostriches at a safari park. Acting on the advice of a friend's father, he invested the few bucks that was left each month after tuition and rent in a “mutual fund” and made $74 that first year. The ability to make more money without having to chase more ostriches gave rise to a lifelong passion for investing.

An avid (and occasionally exhibited) photographer, John has a degree in graphic design and an MBA in marketing. Today he and his family call Brooklyn home.

John Wilkens as child and current
Alexandra Zendrian as child and current

Alexandra Zendrian

Director of Public Relations

Alexandra Zendrian has always relished that her initials are the beginning and the end of the alphabet. She attempts to take that approach in her work and life, being comprehensive and thinking through situations from their start to their end.

The start to Allie's financial services career was quite by accident. While getting her master's degree at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, an article about haunted houses' business practices demonstrated her business reporting prowess. That snowballed into internships at New York Daily News' business desk and Inc. and then full-time reporting positions at Institutional Investor's Wall Street Letter, Forbes' Intelligent Investing division and TheStreet.

Allie then had her journalism/public relations crisis (which many in the field face at some point) and spent nine years doing public relations for the largest health system in New York, culminating in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She returned to her financial services roots for three years as Vice President at StreetCred, serving as many as 14 fintech and registered investment advisor clients at a time alongside her team. As a financial services PR practitioner, Allie brings her reporter instincts to her work for the benefit of her clients.

A lifelong Long Islander -- apart from obtaining her bachelor's degree at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia where “The Hawk Will Never Die” -- Allie loves spending whatever spare time she has with two beautiful, smart, loving children – Matteo and Cecilia – and her partner, Joe.


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