The Black Swan Partners
Risk, Compliance & Resilience


The 2008 Global Financial Crisis was a Black Swan event that brought new attention to the importance of risk, compliance and resilience. Our Black Swan Partners played significant roles helping their organizations respond to crisis during this period. Together, the Black Swan Partners bring many decades of relevant professional experience helping organizations and their investors increase their enterprise resilience  by optimizing their risk decision-making capacity.

Bill has decades of senior level experience providing compliance, tax, risk and ethics advice to a variety of entities, including Fortune 50 companies, a leading research university, and insurers and government organizations. He understands the diverse range of questions that challenge organizations in highly regulated industries. Bill brings energy, vitality, creativity and an important ability to see the larger picture. Bill has created practical solutions to problems and has proven himself to be a strong leader with a time-tested ability to motivate people and meet aggressive goals.

He has held senior roles in risk management and compliance and has had significant interaction with executives and public and corporate boards. He helped create and implement a risk framework for a global professional services firm and was appointed as the first Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) for a US healthcare consultancy. Bill worked for two decades as a consultant assisting organizations with their regulatory and compliance risks.  Bill’s work during this period included a technical focus on fiduciary, tax, HIPAA, FERPA, ERISA, ADA, FMLA, COBRA and other regulatory requirements governing healthcare and HR program design and administration. Bill developed a comprehensive risk management program for managed care organizations; and assisted numerous health care organizations in obtaining new product licensure, including preparation and filing of applications with state and federal regulators.

Bill is trained as a tax lawyer (JD and LL.M) and has continued his education in compliance, risk and ethics throughout his career. He is a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP) and he completed a Masters of Science in Risk Management (MSc) at the Leonard NYU Stern School of Business in New York City, which broadened his global skills as a strategic risk practitioner. 

Brett Horton is a senior consultant with deep expertise in operational risk due diligence. He led Mercer’s Operations & Controls Assessment service where he was responsible for business development, strategy, positioning, and execution of investment operational risk due diligence consulting solutions throughout the U.S.  Throughout his 30-year career, his clients have included, among others; pension funds, investment managers, insurance companies, institutional investors, RIA’s, commodity trading advisors, and global corporations.

Brett is an accomplished forensic economist with extensive experience selling and managing operational due diligence projects for institutional investors and other fund managers. His undergraduate concentration was in economics at Brigham Young University where he was also a distinguished member of Omicron Delta Epsilon (National Economics Honors Society).

Cynthia has had a 20-year career in Consumer Lending, Retail Banking and Offshoring industries, servicing clients in Asia, North America and Europe. During her career, she held leadership roles with top multinational financial firms in the areas of Credit Operations, Risk Management, Operations Management, Project Management and Business & Data Analytics. Her synthesized knowledge of these disciplines brings forth her unique ability to operationalize numbers and quantify operations.

She extends her expertise to the Financial Technology (Fintech) industry given her current capacity as Country Credit Risk Manager in the Digital Lending space.

She earned her Master of Science in Risk Management (MSc) at New York University’s Leonard Stern School of Business. She also obtained her Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

Jim Blair is a senior risk and compliance executive who assists organizations in developing earnings-based, high-performing risk frameworks. During his career, he developed analytic, governance and prevention tools and best practices to help organizations improve cultures and proactively manage enterprise risks.

Jim's unique diplomatic skills have helped organizations and their leaders deploy long-term planning/strategy assessments and effect change management. He is an industry leader with deep cyber risk experience serving as a delegate of the United States industry group to the G-8 International Assembly on Cyber-Terrorism and served as president of the entertainment industry's Broadband and Internet Services Theft Task Force.

Jim graduated from the Oregon Institute of Technology with Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineer. He serves as an advisor to the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center Board of Directors, and serves on Boards of the United Way Bridging the Gap program and the Oregon Institute of Technology Foundation.

Hazel has more than three decades of experience preventing and investigating fraud, and helping organizations improve their culture by addressing corruption, compliance and other operational risks. 

Hazel adds meaningful value by:

  • Developing and building strong compliance and governance processes.

  • Leading, developing and coaching high-performing cross-functional teams to identify and implement best practices for effective compliance and risk management programs.

As a former forensic accountant and independent monitor, Hazel’s compliance consulting work began in the early 2000s when she oversaw the reforms required by the Los Angeles Police Department. Her career then took her into the highly regulated financial services industry where she had a lead role in inspiring a culture of transparency and accountability in a 55,000-person public company that was the subject of a regulatory settlement agreement.  She’s also performed services for a multi-national telecommunications company to help them reform their compliance practices as required by a regulatory settlement agreement.  Hazel is an outside- -the-box thinker with strong problem-solving, project management and organizational skills. She has led projects for companies ranging from multi-national public companies to small not-for-profit organizations, including many procurement fraud and other investigations during her tenure as a forensic accountant which spanned over 20 years.

Hazel is a CPA from Canada with a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo. She also obtained accreditation as a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional, a CA-Designated Specialist in Investigative & Forensic Accounting and a Certified Fraud Examiner. Hazel was selected by the Canadian Board Diversity Council as one of the top 50 “board-ready” candidates in 2014. Since then, she was accredited as a Fellow in Board Governance.  She’s currently serving as the Chair of the Risk & Compliance Committee of Blue Cross Life Insurance, and as a member of the Board of Outward Bound Canada.  Previously, she’s chaired the Risk Oversight Committee, Audit Committee and Investment Committee of two not-for-profit boards.

Tracy is a successful business professional and leader in the fields of reputational risk, crisis management, strategic and enterprise risk management, and organizational resiliency, with nearly 30 years of experience helping organizations of all sizes and across industries to effectively prepare for and manage significant risks.

She has expertise in helping organizations identify and assess risk, develop management systems, tools and resiliency programs, efficiently prepare for adverse events, and respond effectively during actual crisis situations. Tracy has worked with client organizations to develop the necessary level of response capabilities, including how they will address the essential strategic, operational and policy issues during a crisis.

Her work also includes helping develop related program design, governance, and aligned enterprise risk management, compliance, cyber response, business continuity and incident management/response capabilities.

Tracy has her MBA from The George Washington University, School of Business, with a focus on international business and strategy, and earned a cum laude BS degree from Ohio University.

Melodie has diverse experience in managing financial and other risks across highly regulated sectors that include air transportation and health care. She began her career in the treasury department of a flag-ship airline based in Asia where she established a financial risk division. Melodie used her extensive training in Manila, Singapore, Hong Kong and New York to create and implement new systems, policies and procedures that helped the airline identify, analyze and manage its key enterprise risks, including foreign exchange and fuel hedging risks. Her efforts helped the airline optimize the company’s financial investments and played a major role in helping the airline exit from receivership, eventually being named as the “Airline Turnaround of the Year” by the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation.

Melodie further honed her experience by completing a Masters of Science in Risk Management (MSc) at New York University’s Leonard Stern School of Business.  She later held a leadership role helping a financially struggling private health care practice increase its revenue by 100% year-over-year and expand by opening a second Manhattan location.  Melodie is also is advising a wholesale fine jewelry company in Asia as they expand into the highly competitive retail jewelry industry in New York City, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco.

Mark Major is a senior employee benefits attorney based in Denver, Colorado. His experience over the past 30 years encompasses the full range of compliance and design activity for employee and executive benefit plans. 

Mark’s extensive experience with employee benefit plan legal compliance includes 14 years as in-house ERISA counsel for three large corporations (oil & gas, cable and telecommunications industries) and 10 years as a lead U.S. compliance attorney for Mercer, a worldwide human resources consulting firm.  In these positions, Mark worked on a wide variety of issues involving health and welfare benefits as well as qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, including IRS and DOL audits, major corporate spin-offs and acquisitions, collective bargaining contracts, VEBA trusts, severance plans, vendor negotiations, and prohibited transactions, as well as plan drafting, annual reporting, communications, and claim and appeal review. Prior to his in-house experience, he was in private practice handling tax, estate planning and benefits matters.

Mark received his BA summa cum laude, from Creighton University, and his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the Creighton University School of Law.  He is a member of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations, and has previously served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Colorado Business Health Forum, a volunteer attorney for the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center, and a member of the Board of Directors for Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado.

Paula is an expert in healthcare enterprise risk management and strategy, regulatory affairs, and compliance.  She is a leader with a proven track record in providing strategic direction and successfully implementing operational processes across large and complex organizations.

Paula held senior leadership roles at Kaiser Permanente where she oversaw the development, implementation, and execution of its compliance program. Prior to Kaiser, she served as the Senior Director of Health and Wellness Quality and Compliance for Walmart. Paula has also held senior leadership roles at two major healthcare systems in the areas of clinical quality, pharmacy operations, and clinical informatics. As a practicing clinician, Paula specialized in neonatal and pediatric pharmacy and pharmacokinetics. She also started the first full service pediatric emergency department pharmacy program in the United States.

Paula holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Saint Louis College of Pharmacy, and a Juris Doctor with an emphasis in health law.  She is also certified in healthcare compliance and healthcare privacy compliance.

Paula is active in many organizations, including the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE), the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA), the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), and the American Society of Pharmacy Law (ASPL). She volunteers on the Board of Directors of several veteran-owned small businesses, and spends much of her free time supporting active United States service men and women and military veterans.  Paula currently serves as Senior Lecturer and Program Director for the University of Wyoming Pharmacy School’s Master of Science in Health Services Administration, and she is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board.