Who We Are
Meet The Team
Dena Jalbert, Founder and CEO
CPA, MBA, M&A Expert, and a Mom of 2 Beautiful Girls
Dena began her career in “big 4” public accounting and consulting, specializing in forensic accounting, internal audit, and transaction advisory services at firms such as Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young. A Chicago native, Dena escaped the cold winters of the Windy City and moved to Florida, switching sides of the desk and beginning her career as a corporate finance senior executive. Dena served as Corporate Controller, Senior Vice President of Operations, and Chief Financial Officer for several ventures and Private Equity-backed startups and middle market companies that were exited to Fortune 100 companies and strategic investors. During her tenure, Dena became an expert in mergers and acquisitions, facilitating nearly $1B of buy and sell-side transactions.
Dena’s experience spans several industries, including technology, financial services, professional services, media/communications, manufacturing, and logistics. Her depth of strategic, technical, and industry expertise ensures she can provide the right services to Align clients to meet their ever-changing business needs and align them with successful transactions that maximize enterprise value.
A CPA and MBA, Dena has been recognized by various professional organizations for her contributions and successes. Among others, she was named as a 35 under 35 Women in Housing by MReport Magazine as well as a nominee for the Orlando Business Journal’s 16th Annual Women Who Mean Business award. She is a graduate of Leadership Orlando Class 87, and is sought out as an industry thought leader both locally and nationally.
Outside of the office, Dena is very involved in local philanthropy. She serves on the board of Florida Hospital Foundation’s Cardiovascular Institute and is a member of the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red. As a mother of two daughters, she is passionate about supporting and mentoring women and young girls in our community. She volunteers her time with many events that advance educational and professional opportunities for women throughout Central Florida. Dena and her family also spend time being of service to the homeless in our community, providing meals, clothing, and shelter to those in need through their church and several other local charitable organizations.
Managing Director, M&A Advisory Services
Sandra Richardson is recognized as one of the leading women in technology, business, and mentorship. Sandra joins Align as the Managing Director of M&A Advisory Services bringing her years of experience in entrepreneurship, business leadership, and technology to serve Align clients nationwide.
Prior to Align, Sandra was a software entrepreneur, owning a SaaS enterprise work management company. Sandra served as the Chief Marketing Officer, as well as on the board of directors, of her software company. The company experience rapid growth and was awarded the prestigious INC 500/5000 five times. Sandra, along with her former business partner, also opened Take 2, a consulting firm providing strategy, marketing, financing and talent management advisement to startups and technology companies. Sandra shares her business knowledge by providing online courses in business and marketing strategy.
Sandra has received numerous third-party awards, including Mentor of the Year from the American Business Awards for a continuous coaching program established by her and her partner. Sandra has been profiled as a ‘Top Techie to Watch’; winner of the Emerging Business Forum by Fairfax County Economic Development Authority; nominated for the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Working Woman magazine; named as one of the Great Bosses by Washington Techway; winner of the Rising Star Award from the Small Business Administration; and External Role Model for the Deloitte and Touche Women’s Initiative.
Sandra received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from New England College and living abroad for several years. Sandra started her career at Price Waterhouse and two national law firms in human resources.
Sandra has a passionate creative outlet with her food blog, Constrained Gourmet. She is also a hobby winemaker, gardening fanatic and a dog lover.
Director, M&A Services
Jeff Piersall joins Align as a Director of M&A Services for Align Business Advisory Services, with a focus on various industries throughout the Southeast region.
Jeff Piersall’s seasoned professional past of leading over 100,000 individuals to success has resulted in over $100MM in top line revenue. As an award winning basketball coach and proven CEO, he has become a master at turning chaos into productivity and profitability, thus earning him the recognition of Chaos Coach. His simple business building fundamentals from his book Dogs Don’t Bark at Parked Cars, has made him a sought-after speaker and Chaos Coach to fellow entrepreneurs.
Jeff is known for his strategic vision and how to manage chaos for the successful obtainment of business goals. He can take the complex and break it down to the simple fundamentals thus through his career he has orchestrated and led over a $100MM in M&A. He is a sales savant and trailblazer with a diverse background in business making him the quintessential advisor for mergers and acquisitions.
Jeff received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from Troy State University and earned a Masters degree in Athletic Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He lives in Cookeville, TN with his wife Judy, of 36 years.
Director, M&A Services
Natalie joins Align as Director of M&A Services. As a Global Senior IT Executive she is known for her Operations & Strategy Technology Leadership . She was awarded the prestigious “Global IT Thought Leadership” award in Cannes, France. With over 20 years of experience in the top 4 Accounting/Consulting firms she helped many Fortune 100 and industry-leading companies redefine enterprise strategies, growth and transform business performance all while running internal global operations.
Natalie has also led many successful M&A transactions with several of the top Fortune 50, with deals up to $13.9B in value. In addition, she was responsible for the effective integration strategy and then managed it from beginning to end. As a successful entrepreneur with her first business in consumer products she was awarded the “40 under 40 changing how businesses work” in Colorado. She is extremely passionate about coaching executive leadership to truly lead by example of integrity and define the culture they want in a company then guide the organizational behavior needed to achieve the desired outcomes.
Natalie is an extremely proud grandmother of 3 exceptional children and grateful for her supportive family. She loves to cook, travel (never misses an opportunity to learn new cultures) and is bilingual. She is a big-sister mentor and donates time to help young entrepreneurs learn how to manage a successful business.
Ryan Litherland, MBA, J.D.
Director, M&A Services
Ryan joins Align as a Director of M&A Services, working with businesses in a variety of industries with a geographical focus on the Midwest region.
Before joining Align, Ryan held an investment banking position with Triton Capital Partners. He also served as a business development analyst with E&A Companies, a lower middle market investment firm. Ryan holds a Juris Doctorate degree and a Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana University, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in management from Purdue University.
Bruce Walk, MBA
Director, M&A Services
Bruce Walk joins Align as a Director of M&A Services, with a focus on Healthcare and Life-Sciences industries in the Northeast, and Washington DC area. Bruce brings more than 25 years of experience in financial and businesses services to the Align team.
Before joining Align, he served as a management consultant, where he focused on strategic planning, market development and acquisitions for corporate businesses. Bruce also worked as a group manager for global business development for DePuy Synthes Spine, where he helped organize more than 20 M&A transactions, including a $75 million acquisition and a $17 billion merger with Johnson & Johnson. Bruce holds a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in accounting from Emory University.
Tony Benedict, MBA
Managing Director, M&A Integration Services
Tony joins Align as a Managing Director, bringing many years of experience as an Operations and IT Senior Executive. His impressive record of growth and profitability has generated savings in excess of $200MM for the enterprises he lead and managed. In his role, Tony will assist Align clients in their preparation for acquisition as well as for integrating the combined entity post-close.
Tony is an executive who finds step-change results by visioning major change initiatives, including complex mergers and turnarounds. His industry experience spans multiple industries, including High-Tech, Pharmaceutical/Life Sciences, Healthcare, Semiconductor, Manufacturing, and Distribution.
Some of Tony’s impressive accomplishments include:
•Executed $200M post-merger integration of two pharma companies, and started up a pharma distribution center. Developed people and process blueprint and consolidated 3 ERP systems into one in six months.
• Restructured two health system operations following a $350MM merger, consolidating two ERP systems while concurrently implementing $60MM in cost reductions.
• Led turnaround of a bankrupt hospital that achieved profitability by improving margin in <1yr.
• Partnered with CIO of a large regional bank to rationalize the IT portfolio, generating savings of $40MM annually.
Tony is an MBA and holds CPIM, CBPL, and CBPP certifications in Business Process, Production, and Inventory Management.