Karen Kassouf

Managing Member and Founder of Cedar Ventures

Municipal Advisor Representative and

Municipal Advisor Principal

Ms. Kassouf has over 30 years of experience in the  commercial real estate, health care, insurance and financial service sectors, serving in different capacities including that of a financial advisor, securities lawyer, investment banker, business development officer at an operating company and investor. Ms. Kassouf, working with Mr. Jackson,  has spearheaded the sourcing of capital raises for over $150 mm of ground up construction developments on which Cedar has worked during the past ten (10) years. In prior years, Cedar has also been active in the areas of business development, mergers and acquisitions and assisting with capital raises for growing companies. From 1993-2001 Ms. Kassouf initiated and ran Cedar Equities, the venture capital subsidiary of Western Indemnity Insurance Company, an insurance entity in Houston, Texas and attended the board meetings of its portfolio companies. Working with and through its team of brokers while at Western Indemnity/Healthcare Insurance Services (affiliates of The Galtney Group) , Ms. Kassouf also generated 45+ new accounts, including 7 of the top 70 accounts, $33 Million in Premiums (Approximate), $3.3 Million in Commissions (approximate) for this provider of medical malpractice insurance. As a member of The Galtney Group’s Senior Management Team, she attended its board meetings.

Prior to that, Ms. Kassouf initiated and spearheaded the healthcare investment banking unit in the Southwest for Chemical Banking Corporation and its subsidiary, Texas Commerce Bank, (now owned by JP Morgan Chase) and recruited team members and built up the unit to where it ranked 3rd among investment banks in state of Texas for hospital bond/debt financings (1989-1990) generating $4-$5 million in fee income with 20+ new accounts. She was a significant deal team member on two health care leveraged buyouts while at Chemical Banking Corporation, including 1989 AMI buyout using $1.6 billion financing.

Before joining Chemical Banking Corporation and Texas Commerce Bank, she served as a securities lawyer for Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon, New York, New York where she worked on financings for electrical utilities, public power and power cooperatives, water districts and hospitals and where she generated two clients for the firm.

Ms. Kassouf has been a member of the New York Bar and is a member of the Texas Bar Association, is a current member of Women in Public Finance, and was a founding advisory board member for and is a current member of Women Business Leaders, US Healthcare Industry Foundation, a Washington, D.C. based group comprised of senior healthcare executives across the country and overseas. She is also a past Research Advisory board member for one of the Cancer Research projects at Emory University, Winship Cancer Center (2009-2020).

Ms. Kassouf has the following securities licenses: Series 24 – General Securities Principal Examination, Series 63 Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination and Series 62 Corporate Securities Limited Representative Examination, Series 50 Municipal Advisor Representative and Series 54 Municipal Advisor Principal and is grandfathered for the Series 79. Ms. Kassouf is also an independent arbitrator for FINRA and is certified as an arbitrator and mediator in the state of Georgia.

Ms. Kassouf has served as a board member for Create Your Dreams, a program for at risk youth in Atlanta (2005-2008) and for the Lion’s Eye Bank Foundation, Houston, Texas (1992-1999).  For about 16 years, (2003-2019) Ms. Kassouf has been a  board member of an international organization, ATFL, www.atfl.org and has traveled to the Middle East and met with governmental officials there.

Ms. Kassouf has a B.A., Economics and Political Science, Cum Laude, Bucknell University, is a graduate of Villanova University School of Law, Juris Doctor, where she was a Law Review Associate Editor and studied finance at New York University Graduate School of Business Administration. Languages studied include Arabic and French. Ms. Kassouf enjoys playing competitive tennis, swimming, hiking and golf and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jim Jackson

Principal or Owner

Municipal Advisor Representative 

Mr. Jackson, principal of Cedar Ventures, he  has been working with Cedar Ventures in reviewing projections and market studies of Senior Housing Facilities and Health Care Facilities since 2015. He has an extensive background in this sector. As an investment banker with a prior firm, Mr. Jackson has executed senior housing financings using tax exempt bonds, HUD loans, conventional mortgages, account receivable financings, mergers and acquisition financing. He has had operating experience in the Senior Housing sector having served as Interim CFO and Financial Consultant to Wesley Woods Senior Living, Inc. from February 2005 to November 2007 where he led the efforts to refinance the 25+ year old ILF communities using  HUD financing and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, prepared operating budgets, capital needs assessments, and presented and reviewed acquisition and development opportunities.

Prior to his position at Wesley Woods, Mr. Jackson worked for a  company that owned and managed nursing homes and Senior Living communities. He also served as an underwriter at some niche investment banking firms in Atlanta that focused on raising capital for nursing homes. Mr. Jackson has served on the board of a bank holding company that owned (4) four commercial banks in Illinois. Mr. Jackson was also a controller  and budget director at The Robinson – Humphrey Co., Inc. He started his career working for Arthur Anderson, Audit staff and also as the CFO of a mortgage banking firm that owned, developed and managed real estate assets in Florida and Georgia.

Mr. Jackson has a BSBA degree in Finance and Transportation from Northwestern University and a Masters in Business Administration from Emory University, Goizueta Business School. Mr. Jackson has passed the SIE exam as well as the Series 50 Municipal Advisor Representative exam, both of which are  administered by FINRA. (Mr. Jackson is not a Series 54 Municipal Advisor Principal.) 

Mr. Jackson is based in Atlanta where he lives with his wife, a former public and private school teacher. He enjoys watching their grandsons play sports and follows their academic interests. He also roots for the University of Georgia Bulldogs!

Harry Joseph

Financial Analysis and Capital Formation

Harry Joseph is a consultant to Cedar assisting with financial modeling and projections for various projects.

Harry Joseph is a nationally recognized leader in commercial real estate who has advised a broad array of Fortune 500 companies and other outstanding organizations across the United States. Harry has advised or represented clients in corporate commercial real estate transactions exceeding $800 million in value.

In addition, since 2002, Harry has organized several investment partnerships to acquire income-producing office and commercial properties across the Southeastern United States and is currently engaged in an infill residential development in Roswell, Georgia.

Harry gained extensive real estate experience as Controller-Corporate Real Estate with RJR Nabisco. He was responsible for designing and implementing a global program to identify, evaluate, and manage RJR Nabisco’s $4 billion global real estate asset portfolio.

As Senior Regional Controller with the Trammell Crow Co., Harry was responsible for building and managing an accounting, tax, and information technology team of 40 professionals to manage Trammell Crow’s $1.2 billion southeast region commercial real estate portfolio. Harry served Trammell Crow both in Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia.

Prior to joining Trammell Crow Co., Harry worked as audit manager and CPA auditor with Arthur Andersen & Co. in Dallas, Texas, primarily serving real estate and banking clients.

Harry graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BBA in Accounting and participated in university bands throughout his college career.

Harry currently resides in Marietta, Georgia and is a licensed real estate broker in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.

David Gaither


David Gaither first began doing some consulting work for Cedar Ventures in 2009. David is interested in assisting Cedar Ventures with general infrastructure projects and Charter School consulting including capital formation for Charter Schools. He has had a ten (10+) year career in providing companies with strategic planning, funding strategies, acquisition, joint ventures, capital raising, acquisitions. His industry experience includes food service and manufacturing, energy, utility and urban farming.  He has also advised a real estate development firm on obtaining public financing for structuring Infrastructure and Manufactured Housing Funds; performed due diligence on prospective investment and acquisition opportunities. His prior experience includes employment at North Highland, Accenture , Brook Venture Partners, iiQuest Consulting, JP Morgan Chase (internship) .

Mr. Gaither earned his MBA, 2009 from Dartmouth College (Tuck School Of Business), Hanover, NH where he graduated as a Tuck Merit Scholar; received additional honors for performing extensive strategic studies for one of the world’s top strategists (Professor Richard D’Aveni);  He was also a Member of Tuck African American Business Association (“TAABA”); Private Equity Club; Private Equity Trek (1st & 2nd year); Annual Energy Strategic Case Competition (1st year); Diversity Conference; and Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management (“CGSM”).

Mr. Gaither’s BA, 1999 is from Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA where he graduated with highest distinctions; Presidential Scholar; Chase Scholar; Dansby Scholar; 4-year Dean’s List; Golden Key Honor Society; Beta Gamma Sigma (graduated in the top 5% of the Business department); Morehouse Business Association; Morehouse College Spring Tour Recipient (San Francisco, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Auckland, New Zealand, Sydney, Australia, Melbourne, Australia, etc.); Hands-On Atlanta; and National Society of Black Engineers.


Cedar began hiring interns through the Join Handshake site in 2020. We are proud of our interns and wish them much success in their careers:

Nathan Burger, Candidate for Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance, Real Estate, Emory University; a charter school graduate, interning with Cedar February 2022- May 2022.

Matthew Pinho, BSBA Accounting and Financial Management, Bucknell 2022, interned with Cedar during the summer of 2020, interned with Raymond James during the summer of 2021, and has accepted a full time position at a national accounting firm.

Huijii Tao, B.A. Economics and French, Bucknell University, 2021. Ms. Tao interned with Cedar during the summer of 2020. She is now a risk management intern with Deloitte in China.

David Gibbons, Emory University, Goizueta Business School, interned with Cedar from 12/2020 until Spring of 2021. Mr. Gibbons most recently interned at Houlihan Lockey.

Bryan Scutari, BSBA Finance candidate, Bucknell University, interned with Cedar during the summer of 2021 and is completing his studies at Bucknell while also starting and participating in a local real estate investment vehicle.

Seth Adams, Bachelor of Business Administration Candidate, Morehouse College. Mr. Adams interned with Cedar during the summer of 2021. Mr. Adams has also been interning for a municipal entity in the MidAtlantic region.

Nick Kolb, Wake Forest University Finance student, interned with Cedar Ventures during the summer of 2021. Mr. Kolb has accepted an internship with a national financial institution for the summer of 2022.


Ms. Marie Newton manages Cedar’s payroll reporting and is a CPA with over 40 years of experience, which includes having worked at Arthur Andersen & Co. and several local firms prior to beginning her own practice in 1992.  She received her MBA in Accounting from the University of Mississippi and her B.A. in History and Elementary Education from Agnes Scott College. She has memberships with the AICPA, the Texas Society of CPAs, and the Houston Chapter of the TXCPA.  She also holds CPA licenses in Texas and Mississippi.  Ms. Newton resides in Houston, TX.

Cedar employs a CPA firm in Georgia to perform its internal accounting functions.

HLB Gross Collins has been Cedar’s tax firm since 2000 filing its annual taxes.


Cedar works with and consults with a variety of law firms that advise it on various transactional matters. Some of those law firms include:

Tanner Guin, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Parker Hudson, Atlanta, GA

Nelson Mullins, Atlanta, GA

Brown Law Group LLC, Charleston, South Carolina

Hunton Andrews Kurth, LLP, Atlanta, GA  

Cedar Ventures

An Innovative Firm

We are not siloed to a specific product as is the case with larger firms. The number of years that we have worked on financings, over 30, provides us a framework to be creative as we have ‘seen a thing or two’.