Mark D. Walker

Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman

Mr. Walker became our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer on August 23, 2021 and, from 2018 until the completion of the Organizational Transactions, served in the role of Managing Partner of the Company. Prior to founding Direct Digital Holdings with Mr. Smith, Mr. Walker worked at CVG Group, LLC, (“CVG Group”) a private equity firm, from October 2016 to May 2019 as the Chief Operating Officer responsible for the operations of the portfolio companies within CVG Group’s holdings. In this role, he was the Acting COO for Ebony Media Operations, (“Ebony Media”) where he was responsible for initiating and overseeing the digital transformation of Ebony Media from a print publication to a digital-first organization. Prior to CVG Group and Ebony Media, he worked for the largest retail electricity provider within the United States, NRG Energy, from 2005 to 2016, in positions of progressively increasing scope and responsibility. While at NRG Energy, he built multiple revenue streams through digital, retail and business development activities while increasing overall revenue to NRG Energy, where he represented approximately 40% of new revenue of NRG Energy Home division. Mr. Walker brings nearly 20 years of experience building relationships and revenue generating operations for Fortune 500 corporations, working in business development and marketing for Deloitte, and startup organizations. Throughout his career, Mr. Walker has sat on multiple advisory boards within the industry, such as Hitwise and Dentsu Aegis, and has written multiple articles and case studies that have been showcased in Jupiter Research and Search Engine Watch. Mr. Walker holds a B.A. in Economics from The University of Texas and was a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Texas Alumni Association.

Keith Smith

President and Director

Mr. Smith is a co-founder of the Company and became our President on August 23, 2021 and, from 2018 until the completion of the Organizational Transactions, served in the role of Managing Partner of the Company. Prior to founding Direct Digital Holdings, Mr. Smith was a Managing Partner at Parkview Advisors, LLC, and President and CEO of Parkview Capital Credit, Inc., from November 2014 to April 2020, where he invested and managed more than $75 million with small-and mid-sized businesses to provide acquisition and growth capital. Prior to Parkview, Mr. Smith served as Managing Director for a private equity, direct lending platform, Capital Point Partners, where he invested and managed more than $150 million in direct lending first lien, second lien and mezzanine investments, as well as complimentary minority equity investments. Prior to Capital Point Partners, he worked for Rabobank International (“RI”) from 2006 to 2009, where he was a Vice President and Portfolio Manager of more than $2 billion in direct lending and structured credit bank assets for one of the company’s special investment vehicles. He played a key role in originating new client transactions as well as managing a book of existing bank clients. Prior to RI, he was an Associate Director in the Structured Finance Group of Standard & Poor’s from 2003 to 2006, where he analyzed and rated transactions across a broad spectrum of asset types. In addition to his investment banking background, Mr. Smith also has over six years of legal experience as an attorney and has served on the boards of numerous portfolio companies. Mr. Smith holds a B.A. in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin; a J.D. from Southern Methodist University; and an M.B.A. from The Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis.

Diana P. Diaz

Chief Financial Officer

Ms. Diaz joins the Company from Sharps Compliance Corp. (previously Nasdaq listed (SMED) until its acquisition), a leading national healthcare waste management provider to customers in multiple healthcare-related markets, specializing in regulated waste streams including medical, pharmaceutical and hazardous, where she served for a total of 13 years, including as Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer from February 2022 to February 2023 and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from June 2010 to February 2022. Ms. Diaz’s prior positions include Chief Financial Officer of University General Hospital in Houston, Texas from September 2006 to May 2009, Controller at Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Texas Medical Center from September 2002 to August 2006 and Controller of the wholesale group at Reliant Energy from July 1998 to May 2002. She started her career at Deloitte & Touche LLP, where she worked from July 1985 to June 1998, ending her tenure at that firm as Audit Senior Manager. Ms. Diaz received her BBA in Accounting from The University of Texas at Austin and her MBA from Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management.

Anu Pillai

Chief Technology Officer

Anu Pillai was named Chief Technology Officer of Direct Digital Holdings in March 2021. Ms. Pillai brings extensive experience in defining and executing new product development solutions as well as large enterprise IT implementations and has successfully led global projects with complete responsibility for cross-functional teams in program management, product design, software development, system architecture, integration and implementation. Prior to serving at Digital Direct Holdings, Ms. Pillai held executive positions and led digital transformations at several companies, including BLK/OPL, a direct-to-consumer e-commerce cosmetic brand, from 2019 to 2021, where she served as SVP, Digital Technology & Ecommerce, and Ebony Media, publisher of the iconic EBONY magazine, from 2011 to 2019, where she served as SVP, Digital Technology & Monetization. She was responsible at both of these companies for the execution of all technology and digital initiatives including system design and architecture, development, project management, resource planning of onsite/offshore resources and monetization across all digital properties with specific emphasis on increasing revenues through various programmatic channels. Prior to that, Ms. Pillai held leadership roles with leading Fortune 50 technology and infrastructure companies, such as General Electric, from 2005 to 2007, where she served as an IT leaser; Intel Corporation, from 2000 to 2003, where she served as a Senior Software Engineer; and Motorola, from 1996 to 1998, where she served as an analyst, and we believe she has proven experience in managing and leading small and large global development teams with technology resources spread across the U.S., China, Mexico and India. Ms. Pillai holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from Bharathiar in India.

Maria Vilchez Lowrey

Chief Growth Officer

Vilchez Lowrey comes to Direct Digital Holdings from Just Energy, where she served as Senior Vice President of Direct Sales and Partnerships for Just Energy, Amigo Energy, Tara Energy, and Terrapass, its affiliate brands. There, she was responsible for diversifying the company's direct sales channels by launching its first national retail partnership with one of the largest retailers in the world. Prior to that, she served in various key management positions across sales leadership, business development, operations, and project management at NRG Energy, Inc., primarily responsible for building new go-to-market sales channels and developing strategic partnerships with the most well-known brands in the country. Prior to NRG, Maria started her career in the steel industry as global supply chain transportation and procurement manager serving large multi-national consumer companies. Vilchez Lowrey holds a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University. An active member of the non-profit community, Lowrey serves as a board member for Homemade Hope and is an advisory council member for Houston Arts Alliance and Dress for Success Houston. Maria has been honored as Top 100 Diversity Leaders in Energy by the National Diversity Council in Feb 2021.