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Mary Ellen Curto

Operations, Talent, & Culture

Work experience


Financial Services and Change Management Consultant

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Companies (US) - Rockville, MD

Otsuka, headquartered in Japan, operates three pharmaceutical companies in the United States, dedicated to creating and promoting new products and innovative solutions for better health worldwide, with a focus on four specialty areas: neuroscience, oncology, cardio-renal, and medical devices. Otsuka also owns Nature Ways provided quality and affordable vitamin and supplements.

Finance Change Management consultant providing expertise to a high-level team responsible for the company’s change process implementation, encompassing finance/accounting, business operations, contracting, and strategic sourcing functions. Proficiently analyze critical business alignment; identify and maximize potential opportunities; and create the implementation solutions for cost reductions while assuring project remains on budget and on time. Works with three levels of independent auditors assessing and monitoring the transition for financial compliance related to the Affordable Care Act and J-Sox reporting requirements.

Jan 2012Nov 2013

Vice President of Operations

Corporation for Travel Promotion, Brand USA - Washington, DC

Brand USA, the United States Travel and Promotion Agency, the public-private partnership created by an Act of Congress to spearhead the nation’s first global marketing effort to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and to communicate U.S. entry/exit policies and procedures.

Position Summary: The first Vice President of Finance & Operation and member of the senior management team. Primary responsibility for ensuring that staff has the necessary resources conducive to a productive and highly rewarding work environment. Specific responsibilities include managing finances, investments, and audit procedures; supporting state-of-the-art human resource functions to foster recruitment and retention of high-quality staff; supporting the smooth operations of the activities of the Board of Directors; inside and outside legal, managing the organization's technology infrastructure; and ensuring the organization's compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Key Accomplishments:

  • Developed financial strategy, metrics, and analytical reports for all of Brand USA’s programs to quantify and substantiate the ROI related to the overall organize accurate reporting of in-kind goods and services to receive federal matching funds, generated from ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) by the Department of Commerce.
  • Lead & developed annual budget process across the organization and maintained overall financial accountability in compliance with all appropriate statutes and reporting requirements including: annual audit and GAAP reporting standards, A133 circulars, GAO (Government Accounting Office), Department of Commerce and OMB (Office of Management & Budget).
  • Developed and implemented the first financial reporting system for a $170 million organization (developed metric of less than 10% of the budget was for administrative expenses). Responsible for providing and directing procedures and software systems necessary to maintain proper records and to afford adequate accounting controls and reporting devices.
  • Developed a best in class Human Resources and Development program. Implemented automated payroll and payables system through ADP. Oversaw the hiring, training and development of an exceptional human resources team resulting in high performers with a recruitment strategy that built the Brand USA employment brand and a pipeline of talent at all levels of the organization. Personally hired 20 professionals in 60 days. Responsible for policies, systems and programs for on-boarding, benefits and compensation management, professional development, incentive compensation, EEOC compliance, HRIS system implementation, annual compensation budget and consulting resources.
  • Implemented state-of-art IT program to insure excellent operational efficiency , maintained the latest relevant research and market trends effecting digital media publishing, travel and hospitality industry and Brand USA’s target audiences in business-to-consumer and business-to-business markets.
  • Lead large, cross-functional teams within the organization for special projects. Oversaw the expansion and design of office working space to provide employees with a supportive and effective work space environment.
Jun 2009Dec 2011


American High Speed Rail Alliance (AHSRA) | Washington, DC

AHSRA focused entirely on advancing a state-of-the-art national high speed rail network across the country. An independent, nonprofit 501(c)(6) trade association chartered to organize and mobilize the industry with a shared vision for a 21st century, 17,000 mile national high speed rail system built in phases for completion by 2030. AHSRA was launched and funded by the Ownership and Executive Committee of GGA, LLC.

Key Accomplishments:

  • Recognized for the successful assembly of the broad-based Governing Board acting as a high-visibility spokesperson traveling extensively to meet and deliver presentations to high-level government, industry leaders and high-level Wall Street discussions on public-private partnerships and alternative financing models.
  • Developed a legislative agenda on Capitol Hill with key initiatives: networking to cultivate alliances with key government agency members, including the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT); expansion of brand awareness and public support; and development of positive reputation and solid membership base throughout the organization.
  • Established and spearheaded close collaboration with high-level individuals and partners to consistently grow public support at the state, national, and international levels. Built and maintained strategic partnerships with UNIFE (European CEOs), the Chinese Ministry of Railways (MOR), as well as with numerous cross-market organizations.
  • Provided oversight for branding and public relations campaign. Maintained direct involvement with top-tier public relations firms in creating and implementing media campaigns and educational outreach programs.
Sep 1999Dec 2011

Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer

GGA, LLC - Washington, DC

GGA, LLC is an internationally recognized multidisciplinary Planning, Engineering, Architectural and Interior Design firm headquartered in Washington, DC USA with offices in London, Bogota, and Beijing. 

Position Summary: Oversaw end-to-end business operations of an internationally recognized multidisciplinary professional services firm with full accountability in identifying the firm’s vision, establishing key goals, and creating strategies to meet and exceed targeted business and revenue objectives. Developed proper staffing levels, operational policies, internal systems and controls, and reporting procedures aligning human capital with business needs, and enforcing human resource best practices in key areas of human resources development, total rewards, workforce planning and employment, employee relations, and general management. Developed strategic alliances resulting in expansion and new business markets in Europe, South America, and China.

Key Accomplishments:

  • Managed all finance, administration, operations and technology staff, including working with staff to develop goals and objectives and conducting employee performance evaluation
  • Human Resources - Managed overarching strategic goals and business objectives, aligning human capital with business needs, fostering a culture of employee engagement and human resources best practices in the areas of Human Resources Development, Total Rewards, Workforce Planning and Employment, Employee Relations and Strategic Management. Oversee administrative and employment policies and procedures, ensuring that all activities conform to jurisdictional regulations and to organizational standard operating procedures, including annual review of employee benefits, annual performance reviews, vendor and customer management, and development of handbooks and manuals for designated constituencies
  • Operations Management - Spearheaded initiatives with senior managers to streamline operations, develop quality control procedures based on Six Sigma, develop procedures and systems and process design for optimizing and streamlining all finance and business process functions. Lead ERISA. FAR. SOX, EEOC compliance.
  • Financial Management - Oversaw cash flow planning, cash projections and utilization, investments, and asset management, financing strategies and activities, and banking relationships. Developed and utilized forward-looking, predictive models and activity-based financial analyses to provide insight into operations and business plans.

Early Career

  • IBIS, Inc. Principal; Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Greenwell Goetz Architects, PC | Washington, DC Director of Finance and Administration
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-Computer Society (IEEE) | Washington, DC Director of Finance and Administration
  • American Association of University Professors (AAUP) | Washington, DC  Director of Finance and Administration
  • National Public Radio (NPR) | Washington, DC Director of Business Affairs, Satellite Distribution Division


Master of Business Administration

University of Maryland

Bachelor of Arts Business Management

University of Maryland

Technical Acumen

  • Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook) | Microsoft Project
  • Adobe Creative Suite (Reader and Photoshop) | Operating Systems (Windows and Mac OS)
  • HRIS, CRM, and ERP Systems (Deltek, Oracle PeopleSoft,, and CRM4M)
  • Financial and Accounting Software (Great Plains, Microsoft FRx, and AcceLIM)
  • SAS | Concur | @Work | Digital Media Tools | Social Networking and Internet Applications