2019 MASFAA Conference Speakers


Maura Thomas

Maura Thomas is an award-winning international speaker and trainer on productivity and work-life balance, and the most widely-cited expert on attention management. Her clients include the likes of Old Navy, the American Heart Association, L’Oreal, and the U.S. Army. She is a TEDx Speaker, founder of Regain Your Time (established 2003), author of three books, and a staple in business media including the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Fortune, and Harvard Business Review, and she was named a Top Speaker for 2018 in Inc. Magazine. Prior to founding her business, Maura got her start right out of college at a paper-based planner company, working her way up to Director of Marketing before leaving after almost a decade to start her business.

More: maurathomas.com/about 


Dr. Carlos E. Santiago

Dr. Carlos E. Santiago was appointed Commissioner of Higher Education on July 1, 2015 by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education during the administration of Governor Charlie Baker. The Commissioner leads the Department of Higher Education and serves the Board of Higher Education, reporting both to the Chairman of the Board Chris Gabrieli, and the Secretary of Education Jim Peyser. The Commissioner also works with the leadership of the three segments of public higher education in the Commonwealth: the community colleges, State Universities, and the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Santiago served two and a half years as Senior Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs leading the department’s efforts in a wide variety of academic policy areas including: college readiness, academic transfer, performance-based funding, incentive grants, online learning, student outcomes assessment, and the like.  Prior to coming to Massachusetts, he served as Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic College Fund, a Washington, DC, based non-profit scholarship granting organization. The first Puerto Rican president of a major U.S. research university, Dr. Santiago previously served as the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and brings over 30 years of experience in public higher education. Previously, Santiago served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY) and functioned as the chief operating officer of the campus.


Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson is the Director of Student Financial Services at the University of Vermont overseeing the bursar functions, financial aid, scholarship administration and student employment. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from UVM. She has worked in higher education finance for twenty-eight years, gaining extensive experience in student aid and receivables.  Marie is currently the President of the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (EASFAA). She has served EASFAA in various capacities, having chaired the Multicultural and Diversity Committee, Membership Committee, serving on the 2017 & 2018 Conference Committees.  She has served as Secretary for the Vermont Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (VASFAA) and is the listserv administrator. She served a four year term as a Steering Committee member for the Coalition of State University Aid Administrators (COSUAA) and was a member (NASFAA) 2017 Conference Task Force.


Betsy Mayotte

Betsy is the President and Founder of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors (TISLA). She has been working in the student loan industry doing compliance and advocacy work for over 20 years and has helped thousands of borrowers with their student loans. Most recently, she has spent the last 18 years working for American Student Assistance®, a Boston-based nonprofit organization with 60 years’ experience helping people make better decisions about financing their education and repaying student loans.  Betsy has served as a primary negotiator for several federal Title IV negotiated rulemaking sessions on topics such as the use of student loans at foreign schools, loan rehabilitation and borrower defense to repayment. In addition, Mayotte frequently conducts regulatory trainings for the higher education financing industry both in the United States and as far away as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. She is regularly quoted in the media on student loan issues and was a frequent contributor to U.S. News and World Report’s The Student Loan Ranger blog Betsy was born and raised in Lowell, MA and currently lives in Plymouth, MA.

More: freestudentloanadvice.org/