TMA NOW Co-Founders Reflecting On 10 Years of Impact

A decade ago, two like-minded women from the TMA New York City and TMA Philadelphia/Wilmington Chapters took the lead. They saw an opportunity to expand the private women groups within the TMA community and decided to take it global. With the backing of former TMA CEO Gregory Fine, they laid the foundation for a platform that would amplify the voice and presence of women, establishing what we all know today as TMA Network of Women (NOW).

In 2014, TMA very much mirrored the community it served, being heavily male dominated, but the organization saw a significant shift with the emergence of TMA NOW. In the words of TMA NOW co-founder Teresa Kohl, the culture of TMA “lacked the vibrancy of representative belonging.”

“It’s not a secret that restructuring was and is a very male-dominated area of practice,” said co-founder Robyn Pollack. “TMA was typically white men in brown, navy, black, and gray suits networking and giving business to each other.”

Teresa Kohl, SSG Capital Advisors LLC, and Robyn Pollack, Loutel, together were the force behind the initiative to diversify the turnaround industry. They both boast remarkable accomplishments both within and outside of TMA NOW.

With her extensive experience handling over 200 restructuring matters, Teresa has been a key player in refinancing and sale transactions for middle-market companies in bankruptcy proceedings and out-of-court workouts. Her leadership roles in TMA, including being the first woman president to lead TMA New York City, the association’s largest global chapter, and co-founding TMA Global’s NOW, further highlight her influence in the industry.

Robyn enjoyed a successful career in turnaround and restructuring, with a 20-year career as an attorney at Saul Ewing. She then combined her business, legal, financial, and human capital experience with her passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and created a DEI business strategy firm.  Robyn currently co-owns Loutel, a company that is the combination of an employment law firm and a workplace culture/DEI consulting company. Loutel offers employment law and culture performance solutions to organizations nationwide.

On the TMA front, Robyn started a Philadelphia-chapter-version of TMANOW that predated the global work after recognizing the absence of women and a women’s initiative in her chapter. “We wanted to bring women in the Philadelphia restructuring space together to connect and network, ensuring they wouldn’t feel like the lone woman at larger TMA events,” Robyn said. “The idea was that seeing a familiar face, a friend, would provide a sense of community."

Events like wine tastings, museum visits, and spa events were just the beginning. The focus of Global TMA NOW shifted from softer events to providing tools for women to achieve sustained success in their careers. “We sought out recognized women professionals, those one-name wonders like Sheila, Holly, Bettina, and Corinne, to draw from their life lessons and share with the rest of us,” Teresa said. “Their engagement with this platform and desire for its success were a testament to its credibility. Several of these women became our advisory board.”

TMA NOW is woven into the fabric of TMA by ensuring women have a place at global events, from speaking on panels to involvement in education and programming TMA NOW progressed with the support of male counterparts in leadership, such as Rob Katz, Scott Victor, Judge Kevin Carey, Jeffrey Hampton, Allen Kadish, Tom Kim, and David Cohen. Their influential presence showed that TMA NOW was needed and important.

Although intimate, the first TMA NOW event was groundbreaking, hosting a panel of women who spoke about their professional journeys and were seen for what they did well and accomplished. “If you set aside gender, you would just think that these are amazing restructuring professionals,” Teresa said. “There is no difference between what they did and what some of their male colleagues did—they just had the additional challenges of being female professionals. I am one of the senior women in the industry and it only gets easier because you’re senior and you’ve done a lot of work. We wanted to give the women of TMA NOW the opportunity to meet with those who were in a position to refer business because, at the end of the day, it’s the quality of your work that matters. If you’re a good professional, people want to work with you, and clients want to use your services.”

“What is interesting about TMA, TMA NOW, and the work we were doing is you could give women as many tools in the toolkit as humanly possible, but until the culture of the organizations in which they operated actually changed—the law firms, consulting firms, financial advisory firms, banks, etc.—it was almost like women were birds flying into the glass window,” Robyn said. “You can only go so far when the culture doesn’t support what you’re doing.”

“We created TMA NOW so it would stand on its own,” Teresa added. “We knew we had become successful when we didn’t have to ask men to attend TMA NOW events, but they were asking us how they could attend. We highlighted TMA NOW as a group of people you should get to know because TMA NOW was full of impressive professionals.”

TMA NOW started with a focus on women who were established in their careers and has developed into a resource for all women professionals, regardless of their career level. It has been a bridge between generations and has allowed shared experiences to be the common ground.

“TMA NOW cannot be static and must continue to evolve to meet the needs of the women in the profession,” Teresa said. “Current co-chairs Rakhee Patel and Michelle Salazar-Rosenbloom have been in TMA NOW for years and they respect the mission and understand where it needs to go and what the women who are participating need to get from it. TMA NOW continues to be in very good hands.”

“We have to keep going—we have come a long way but there is definitely work to be done,” Robyn added. “Teresa and I wanted to help create substantial, meaningful, and measurable change for women in the industry—and TMA NOW has stayed true to these goals over the past 10 years. We wanted to not be about the fluff, but to really allow women to have a voice, lead matters, develop business, and be a force in the industry. That is what TMA NOW is about. Our goal was to be the preeminent women’s leadership and development platform in the restructuring industry,” said Robyn.

TMA NOW is well on its way to being just that. Congratulations to a decade of TMA NOW and cheers to many more years of advancing women in the turnaround and restructuring industry.

ConferenceAgenda

2025 TMA NOW SUMMIT
May 7-8, 2025
Westin Nashville
Nashville, TN

Schedule is subject to change.