Bella Loykhter Allaire

Executive Vice President of Technology and Operations, Raymond James & Associates

As executive vice president of technology and operations for Raymond James Financial, Bella Loykhter Allaire oversees the firm’s technology and operations functions, including client service and the technology platforms for our advisors and capital markets professionals.

Previously, she was managing director and chief information officer of UBS Wealth Management Americas, where she developed and executed the strategic road map to transform legacy Paine Webber technology into a differentiating wealth management platform.

She began her career at Prudential Securities, where she worked for 26 years in a variety of capacities in its technology area before being promoted to executive vice president and chief information officer in 2000.

During her tenure as CIO, managing a team of more than 2,000 professionals with a budget of more than $500 million, she was recognized for her leadership in establishing the firm’s technology platform as a model for best practices in supporting financial advisors and their clients.

After Wachovia’s acquisition of Prudential Securities in 2003, Ms. Allaire became a technology strategy consultant to Morgan Stanley and served as CEO of Wealthigen, initiating a securities line of business for Exigen Group, a software development firm.

Her professional affiliations include Fortune magazine’s 500 Most Powerful Women in Business, Wall Street Technologists Board of Directors and the NASDAQ Technology Group.

Born and educated in Ukraine, earning her bachelor’s degree from Lviv University, she immigrated to the United States in 1977.


Jennifer Bacarella

Director of Firm Development, Sigma Financial Corp.

Jenny is an Executive Manager for the group of affiliated firms consisting of Sigma Financial Corporation, Parkland Securities, LLC, and Sigma Planning Corporation. As a member of the firms’ Executive Committee, Jenny provides leadership and vision in their overall management and operations. Jenny is also Director, Firm Development, responsible for expanding and maintaining the firms’ relationships with independent registered representatives and financial advisors, and ensuring they are properly licensed. She began working for Sigma Financial Corporation in 1994, and since that time has taken a proactive relationship manager role with representatives, allowing her to interact with the firms’ most successful advisors in their businesses and in their lives. Over the years, her high-touch approach has created firms with some of the lowest turnover ratios in the industry. Jenny’s personal interaction and attention to detail confirms for representatives that they have direct access to a member of the Executive Committee at their broker-dealer and/or registered investment advisor. Her efforts and daily leadership are carried throughout the firms, by all of the management team and staff. In 2001, she assisted in the creation of what is now Parkland Securities, LLC. Jenny earned her undergraduate degree from Siena Heights University and received Executive Management training through Wharton School. She has earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) and Certified Wealth Strategist (CWS) designations.


Colleen Bell

First Vice President Fiduciary Services, Cambridge Investment Research, Inc.

Colleen Bell joined Cambridge in 2006 following her experience as a securities examiner for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bell is responsible for leading Cambridge’s Fiduciary Services Department, which focuses on providing service support for Cambridge’s fee-based programs, retirement plan platforms, and compliance solutions. She dedicates her time to developing and executing innovative strategies that assist Cambridge’s retirement and wealth advisors in achieving their business objectives. Additionally, she focuses on expanding Cambridge’s Retirement Center, WealthPort®, and related consulting, education, and technology resources for Cambridge advisors. In 2016 she was selected as a member of the IA 25 by Investment Advisor magazine. Bell earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and holds FINRA Series 7, 24, and 66 licenses, along with the AIF® (Accredited Investment Fiduciary®) designation.


Colleen Bell

Vice President, Fiduciary Services and Chief Fiduciary Service Officer, Cambridge Investment Group

Colleen Bell joined Cambridge in 2006 following her experience as a securities examiner for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bell is responsible for the executive oversight for the service, solutions, and support delivered by Cambridge’s Operations Team while overseeing the Fiduciary Services Department. Additionally, she focuses on expanding Cambridge’s Retirement Center, WealthPort®, and related consulting, education, and technology resources for Cambridge advisors. In 2016 she was selected as a member of the IA 25 by Investment Advisor magazine. Bell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in management information systems from the University of Illinois College of Business. She holds the FINRA Series 7, 24, and 66 licenses, along with the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation.


Becky Bell, CFP®

Vice President, Alternative Channels, Longbridge Financial

Becky Bell, CFP®, MBA is Vice President of Alternative Channels for Longbridge Financial, LLC, a reverse mortgage firm that specializes in working with financial advisors. As a Certified Financial Planner® with a unique perspective on the role of home equity in financial planning, Becky has spent the last 10 years delivering focused training to advisors on how and when to compliantly use reverse mortgage strategies in retirement income and longevity planning. Becky also has over 20 years of financial product experience and has held executive roles with Fortune 50 companies including GE and Metlife.


Wendy Benson

Head of Wealth Management, MassMutual Financial Advisors

Wendy joined MassMutual in October of 2009 as the Assistant VicePresident of Infrastructure and Architecture for MassMutual’sBroker Dealer.

In April of 2011 Wendy was promoted to Vice President and ChiefOperating Officer of Sales and Distribution Operations. In this role, Wendy is responsible for Sales Operations, Field Compensation, Field Technology and other distribution related functions.

In May of 2016 Wendy assumed the role of Head of Wealth Management for MassMutual Financial Advisors, which includes oversight of MassMutual’s Broker Dealer and Trust Company.

Prior to joining MassMutual, Wendy was with John Hancock Financial Services. She began her career there in 1991 and held various positions in the Mutual Fund, Annuity, Life Insurance, and Broker Dealer areas. Her most recent position there was President and Chief Operating Officer for Signator Investors, Inc., John Hancock's career agency Broker Dealer. Prior to joining John Hancock, Wendy worked for six years at Boston Financial as a Call Center Manager.

Wendy is originally from Upstate NY and earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Brockport. She currently lives in Braintree, MA.


Eleanor Blayney

Consumer Advocate, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards

Eleanor Blayney, CFP® is the Consumer Advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, reaching out to consumers to help them understand how financial planning and CFP® professionals can improve their lives.

The author of Women’s Worth, a book about how women can make the most of their financial lives, Eleanor worked with individual clients for more than twenty years to help them articulate and plan for their financial goals. As the only woman partner in a four-partner firm, Eleanor drew upon her female intuition, communication strengths, and facility for sustaining relationships to help build a wealth management firm that has served hundreds of clients in the Washington, D.C. metro area and around the country.

Passionate about finding ways to foster gender parity in the financial planning profession, Eleanor helped to spearhead CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative (WIN) to address the industry’s “feminine famine.” On behalf of the WIN Advisory Panel – comprising leaders in the area of women in financial services – Eleanor authored Making More Room for Women in the Financial Planning Profession, a 2014 white paper which presents the findings of a comprehensive research study on why there aren’t more women CFP® professionals and offers the WIN Advisory Panel’s recommendations to help attract more women to the profession.

Eleanor holds a number of degrees and designations. She earned an MA in English Literature from the University of Cambridge UK and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.

Well-known as a conference speaker and frequently quoted in the news media, Eleanor has played a pioneering role in building and shaping the financial planning profession. She has taught for the College of Financial Planning, and has helped to develop practice standards and ethical requirements for CFP® professionals in the U.S.

Visit Eleanor on CFP Board’s website at or follow her on Twitter at @EleanorBlayney.


Erin Botsford

Founder of Botsford Financial and Author of "The Seven Figure Firm"

Erin Botsford of Seven Figure Firm teaches financial advisors what she did to 10X her business and create a self-managing company. Her vast experience and authentic personality allows her to relate to advisors at all levels. She struggled for the first 7 years without taking a day off but then she learned the 5 Keys of Business Success that catapulted her into becoming a Barron’s Top 100 Independent and Barron’s Top 100 Women Advisor.

Having been raised in poverty, Erin rose to the top of her industry, building her business from zero in 1989 to a $5 million/year+ self-managing business with offices in Frisco, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. Erin’s personal rags to riches story has been featured in numerous articles and publications, including the cover story of Financial Advisor magazine’s January 2010 issue, Investment News, Kiplinger magazine, the Dallas Morning News and The Dallas Business Journal. Her business success has resulted in her appearing numerous times in Barron’s magazine’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisers and Barron’s Top 100 Independent Financial Advisers lists. Her television appearances include being a guest on “Wealth Track with Consuelo Mack,’ CBC’s “Power Lunch” and “Squawk on the Street.” Erin is the author of two books; recently published Seven Figure Firm: How to Build a Financial Services Business that Grows Itself and best-selling book: The Big Retirement Risk: Running out of Money Before You Run out of Time.

Erin’s abilities to teach, train and motivate other producers are well known in the industry. She has given key notes and breakout sessions every year for the past twenty-five years at various industry conferences, including the prestigious Barron’s conference for Top Female Producers. She has been hired by broker/dealer and insurance companies to train their top producers. As an example, Erin was asked to train the twenty-five top producers of a major insurance broker/dealer. They documented the sales production of all twenty-five. In the following year, the average production was up more than twenty-five percent. Her speeches are not only informative and entertaining; they get results!

In addition to speaking at industry conferences on the topics of practice management, business leadership and building a self-managing company, Erin shares her business building acumen with advisors all over the country by inviting them into her office for her “Spend the Day with My Team” program.

Erin is married to Bob Botsford, an American Airlines pilot. She has one son, Kevin who is married to Kristin. She has three grandsons, Cooper, Carson and Christian. Erin loves reading, dancing, Zumba and snow skiing. Her two greatest passions are supporting our military veterans and her orphans in Africa.


Tonia Bottoms

Managing Director and Managing Counsel, BNY Mellon’s Pershing

Tonia Bottoms is a Managing Director and Managing Counsel for BNY Mellon’s Pershing, in the Legal Department. Tonia specializes in the areas of retirement plans and financial products. In this role, she provides advice and guidance regarding the compliance and oversight of retirement and education savings products, including traditional and Roth individual retirement accounts (IRAs), savings incentive match plan for employees (SIMPLE) IRAs, simplified employee pension plan (SEP) IRAs, qualified retirement plans and 529 college savings plans. She advises all aspects of Pershing’s retirement business which spans individual and plan markets.

Prior to joining Pershing in May 2010, Tonia was a director and senior counsel at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She was previously a vice president and assistant general counsel for Prudential Securities Incorporated. Tonia also worked as an assistant district attorney for the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. Tonia is a member of the Global Governance Committee of IMPACT, a global resource for BNY Mellon and its employees, with a specific emphasis on the recruitment, retention, professional development and advancement of multicultural employees. Previously, she was the co-chair for the Jersey City chapter of the firm’s Women’s Initiative Network.

Tonia is a member of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s Retirement and Education Savings Committee and currently serves as its co-chair. She also is a member of the Insured Retirement Institute and SPARK’s Government Relations Committee. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Maryland.


Bradley Camden, CFA

Director, Fixed Income Strategy Northern Trust Asset Management

Brad Camden, CFA is the director of fixed income strategy for Northern Trust Asset Management. Brad's main responsibility is to head the taxable active long duration strategy team. He has oversight and portfolio management responsibilities across a variety of both active and passive strategies.

He is chair of the Fixed Income Credit Strategy Committee and a member of the firm's Tactical Asset Allocation and Investment Policy Committees.

Prior to joining Northern Trust Asset Management in 2005, Brad was a member of Northern Trust's Global Opportunities in Leadership Development (GOLD) program where he completed rotations in Tax Advantage Equity, Equity Research, and Fixed Income. Brad began his career with Northern Trust in 2002.

Brad received a B.A. in Economics from DePauw University. He is an active CFA Charterholder and a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society Chicago.


Jason Carroll

Managing Director, Live Oak Bank

Jason Carroll launched the Investment Advisory Lending team when he joined Live Oak Bank in 2012. As the former manager of a multi-million-dollar loan portfolio at a major custodian, he is a seasoned lender in this industry. As of April 2017, the Investment Advisory lending team has financed more than $450 million in loans to Independent Investment Advisors. The Live Oak Bank team has received several industry awards, including the Wealth Management Industry Awards in 2015 (Industry Innovation) and 2016 (Succession). Jason has also been listed among Investment Advisor Top 25 Most Influential People, Wealth Management Magazine’s Top 10 People to Watch in Financial Services Industry, Cover Story “Angel Investors” in Investment Advisor Magazine and Wall Street Top 50 in Irish America Magazine.

Jason started his career with First Union National Bank (Wells Fargo) in 1996. He has held several strategic roles within large banking and financial institutions designing, developing and executing lending programs and products. Jason has a Bachelor of Arts from Clemson University, as well as Series 7 and 63 licenses.


Marie Chandoha

President and Chief Executive Officer, Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc.

Marie A. Chandoha is president and CEO of Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. (CSIM), the investment advisor to Schwab Funds, Laudus Funds and Schwab ETFs and one of the largest money market and index fund providers in the industry.

Chandoha has more than 30 years of investment experience. Prior to joining Schwab in 2010, she spent three years as the global head of the fixed-income business at BlackRock (formerly Barclays Global Investors). She previously served as co-head and senior portfolio manager in charge of the Montgomery fixed-income division at Wells Capital Management; a senior bond strategist at Goldman Sachs; and managing director responsible for the global fixed-income research and economics department at Credit Suisse First Boston. Earlier in her career, Chandoha held research positions at Morgan Stanley and The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Chandoha earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Harvard University. She serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Governors of Investment Company Institute, is a trustee of the Schwab Funds, Laudus Funds and Schwab ETFs and a Director of the Charles Schwab Worldwide Funds. She is also a trustee of the California chapter of The Nature Conservancy.


Marie Chandoha

President and Chief Executive Officer

Marie Chandoha is President and CEO of Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. (CSIM), the investment advisor to Schwab Funds®, Laudus Funds® and Schwab ETFs™ and one of the largest money market and index fund providers in the industry.

Ms. Chandoha has more than 30 years of investment industry experience. Prior to joining CSIM, she spent three years as head of the global fixed-income business at BlackRock (formerly Barclays Global Investors). She previously served as co-head and senior portfolio manager in charge of the Montgomery fixed-income division at Wells Capital Management, senior bond strategist at Goldman Sachs, and managing director responsible for the global fixed-income research and economics department at Credit Suisse First Boston. Earlier in her career, Ms. Chandoha held research positions at Morgan Stanley and The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Ms. Chandoha earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harvard University. She serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Governors for the Investment Company Institute is a Trustee of the Schwab Funds, Laudus Funds and Schwab ETFs, and a Director of the Charles Schwab Worldwide Funds. She is also a trustee of the California chapter of The Nature Conservancy.


Robert Cirrotti

Managing Director, BNY Mellon’s Pershing

Robert Cirrotti is a Managing Director for BNY Mellon’s Pershing, and head of Retirement and Investment Solutions. In this role, he oversees all aspects of Pershing’s retirement business as well the development and enhancement of investment offerings and platforms for broker-dealer and registered investment advisor clients. Pershing’s retirement offering spans individual and plan markets and includes insured solutions. The investment offering includes FundVest®, Pershing’s no-transaction fee (NTF) mutual fund platform, FundVest 200®, a research-driven list of NTF mutual funds, the Alternative Investment Network, 529 College Savings platform and Exchange-Traded Funds Center.

He is a board member of the SPARK Institute and a member of several trade associations and committees including the SIFMA Retirement Committee, American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, Insured Retirement Institute and the SPARK Institute Advisor Committee.

Robert is an active member on numerous firm committees including Pricing, Asset Based Pricing, Mutual Fund Steering and Mutual Fund Strategy. He recently jointly established a BNY Mellon Retirement Steering Committee intended to guide enterprise retirement strategy and currently chairs the firm’s DOL Steering Committee.

Robert has over 20 years of industry experience including prior roles as head of Product Management and chief operating officer for Prudential Retirement. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Administration from Rutgers College and completed the Securities Industry Institute® program, sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Sarah Deasy

Loan Officer, Live Oak Bank

Sarah joined Live Oak Bank in 2011 as a Credit Administration Analyst, eventually transitioning into roles with both our Special Assets group and the Investment Advisory team. Sarah has underwritten over $131 million in loans in the investment advisory industry and as a Loan Officer she now specializes in inside sales. Prior to working at Live Oak Bank, Sarah worked with lobbying firms in Washington DC and a well-respected bank. Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from the College of William and Mary, a Master of Business Administration in Finance from George Washington University, as well as Series 7, Series 66 and life and health insurance licenses.


Robert DeChellis

President and Chief Strategist, Allianz Exchange, and Chairman of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) Board of Directors

As president and chief strategist for the Allianz Exchange, a division of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®), Robert DeChellis is responsible for uniting strategic relationships, technology, and intellectual capital to identify uncommon financial solutions and thought leadership. In this role, DeChellis collaborates with the global family of Allianz companies as well as outside partners to address the growing demand for holistic financial advice.

Most recently, DeChellis was president and CEO of Allianz Life Financial Services, LLC. Prior to joining Allianz Life in 2006, DeChellis was EVP of Travelers Life & Annuity's retail annuities division. Before that, he served as EVP and national sales manager for Jackson National LIfe DIstributors Inc., managed sales for a broad range of product lines and distribution channels at Goldman Sachs, and was a regional manager for Lord Abbett & Co.

DeChellis earned a BS in finance from the University of Colorado Boulder and holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. He is also serving as Chairman of the Insured Retirement Institute.


Glenn A. Dial

Managing Director and Head of Retirement Strategy, Allianz Global Investors

Mr. Dial is a managing director with Allianz Global Investors, which he joined in 2011 as Head of Retirement Strategy. Mr. Dial has 22 years of retirement-industry experience. He previously held senior-management positions with JPMorgan and Ceridian. Mr. Dial is a co-inventor of the “method and system for evaluating target-date funds” and is also credited with developing the target-date fund category system commonly referred to as “To versus Through.” He is the author of a monthly newsletter titled, “Dialed In to Retirement.”

Glenn is one of the 40 Most Influential People in the Defined Contribution industry according to the survey in 2015, 2014, 2013. He has a B.S./B.A. in finance from the University of Central Florida and an M.B.A. from Rollins College.


Jan Dik

Financial Advisor, Edward Jones Investments

Jan Dik, CFA® joined Edward Jones as a Financial Advisor in 2004. Her branch is located in Topsfield, MA.

In her time at the firm she became a member of the Grassroots Task Force, which is the securities industry’s only volunteer advocacy organization on Capitol Hill. Established in 1985, this task force has been dedicated to remain informed on legislative and regulatory issues impacting individual investors.

In 2018, Jan qualified to attend the Edward Jones Women’s Conference, an honor reserved for the firm’s top 250 female financial advisors.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Grinnell College while also taking courses at the London School of Economics. She also attended the University of Chicago where she received an MBA in finance and statistics.


Chuck DiVencenzo

Vice President, Advanced Markets, Allianz Life Insurance of North America

As vice president of Advanced Markets for Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®), Chuck DiVencenzo helps financial professionals and their clients with the complexities of retirement, estate planning, business continuation, and developing possible solutions to tax issues. In this role, he works extensively with financial products, including annuities and life insurance.

Prior to joining Allianz Life in 2013, DiVencenzo led the advanced market team at Hartford Life. Before that, he was a practicing tax attorney, a tax consultant at Ernst & Young, and chief operating officer at Paradigm Capital Management, Inc.

DiVencenzo earned his BS from Canisius College in New York and JD from the University of Pittsburg School of Law in Pennsylvania. He holds a CPRC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) designation and FINRA Series 7 and 66 securities registrations. In addition, DiVencenzo is a member of the American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, Investment Company Institute, and Securities Industry Association.


Lisa Dolly

Chief Executive Officer, Pershing, a BNY Mellon company

Lisa Dolly is the Chief Executive Officer for Pershing, a BNY Mellon company, providing leadership for the Pershing family of companies in 23 locations worldwide. Pershing provides global financial business solutions to advisors, broker-dealers, family offices, hedge fund and ’40 Act fund managers, registered investment advisor firms, and wealth managers, helping them to run their business efficiently and serve their clients effectively. Lisa is the chair of Pershing’s Executive Committee and a member BNY Mellon’s Senior Leadership Team. She is a passionate advocate for developing talent and bringing diversity and multiple voices to build the best teams.

Lisa has been with Pershing for over 25 years and brings rich experience to this role. She was most recently the chief operating officer of the firm, sharing leadership for all Pershing affiliates. As COO, she was responsible for ensuring that the firm has the operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and people and systems in place to effectively grow and maintain financial strength and operating efficiency.

Previously, Lisa was responsible for the firm’s managed investment business and Lockwood Advisors, Inc. and has held leadership positions in nearly every area of the firm, from Account Management and Client Service to Global Operations. She was also the firm’s chief administrative officer with leadership responsibility for Legal, Compliance, and People Services. She began her career in the Corporate Trainee program.

Lisa has served as chairperson of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Operations and Technology Steering Committee and has served on cross-industry committees with DTCC. In addition, she volunteers her time with the 30% Club mentoring aspiring professional women. In 2016, Lisa was named to the “Women to Watch” list by InvestmentNews and the “50 Most Influential Women in Private Wealth” list by Private Asset Management magazine.

Lisa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Rutgers University and completed the Securities Industry Institute® program, sponsored by SIFMA, at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Marie E. Dzanis, CIMA®

Head of Intermediary and Wealth Distribution Northern Trust Asset Management

Marie is Head of Intermediary and Wealth Distribution. She is responsible for establishing Northern Trust’s presence in the intermediary market, recruiting and retaining talented sales professionals, as well as developing significant relationships across important industry channels including FlexShares which is currently ranked as the 11th Top ETF Sponsor.

Recognized with a “Top Women in Asset Management” award by Money Management Executive in May 2015, and voted “Top Women to Watch” by InvestmentNews in 2017, Marie has more than 25 years of industry experience. Prior to joining Northern Trust in June 2011, she held executive and leadership positions at iShares/Blackrock, JPMorgan Asset Management, and Smith Barney. She has managed multiple channels and has grown several lines of businessin the institutional and intermediary space including securities lending and trading, product development, product sales, sales management and branch management. Marie started in the industry as a nancial advisor.

Marie is a graduate of The Catholic University of America (B.A. in Political Theory), the Stanford University Executive Education Program, and the Chicago Booth School of Business Executive Education Program. Holds her CIMA®, is a member and was Chairwoman of the Specialty Conference Committees for IMCA®. She also is on committees for Money Management Institute, Womenin ETFs and currently holds her FINRA Series 7, 24 & 66 Licenses. She serves on the Women’s Board of the University of Chicago Cancer Foundation, and isthe Founder of the Emergency Champagne Women’s Leadership Group. She is a member of Northern Trust’s Business Leadership Committee, serves on the Northern Trust Asset Management Operating Committee, Is an officer for FlexShares Exchange Traded Funds Trust and is on the Northern Trust Securities, Inc. Board of Directors.


Heather Ettinger

Founder, Luma Wealth Advisors

Heather Ettinger has devoted more than 25 years to the financial services industry. She specializes in helping clients and their families create strategic financial plans to guide them through life transitions, such as the loss of a spouse, divorce and job changes. She is widely recognized for her unwavering dedication to helping other women build their financial acumen and philanthropic legacy.

Heather co-authored two studies about women and their unique needs entitled “Women of Wealth: Why Does the Financial Services Industry Still Not Hear Them?” and “Women of Wealth: What Do Breadwinner Women Want?” Heather has been featured in many publications including The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Bloomberg and is a frequently-requested speaker for both industry associations and company women’s initiatives. For her impact on the financial industry and demonstrated willingness to share her experiences, she was honored on InvestmentNews’ inaugural “Woman to Watch” list in 2015.

Heather remains an ardent supporter of her alma maters including Dartmouth College, where she earned a B.A., and Laurel School for girls, where she now serves as an Emeritus Trustee. She is active with In Counsel with Women and the nationally recognized wealth management study group, Family Wealth Advisors Council. Currently, Heather serves on the Board of Directors of University Hospitals Health System and The Private Trust Company.

Heather lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio, with her husband, Jeff, and considers raising her three kids as her greatest accomplishment. In her free time, she can be found playing ice hockey, snow skiing and hiking.

An authentic change-maker and advocate, Heather’s theme song is "You Will (The OWN Song)” by Jennifer Hudson and Jennifer Nettles.


Amy Florian

CEO, Corgenius

Amy Florian is the CEO of Corgenius, and she combines the best of neuroscience and psychology with a good dose of humor in training professionals to build strong relationships with clients through all the losses and transitions of life.

An acclaimed speaker and expert, she is author of over 100 articles and the book “No Longer Awkward: Communicating with Clients through the Toughest Times of Life”. She was recently named one of the 20 Most Creative People in Insurance and Financial Services for her groundbreaking work, and she also was honored as an “Influential Woman in Business” from the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Amy is a former columnist for the Journal of Financial Planning who has been quoted or featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, MSN Money, Barron’s, On Wall Street, ThinkAdvisor, InvestmentNews, Wealth Management, Financial Planning, and Huffington Post.

Amy holds a Master’s Degree and is a Fellow in Thanatology (the highest level of certification in the field of grief studies).

She taught a graduate class at Loyola University of Chicago for almost 10 years, she has worked with over 2,000 grieving people, and she consults with firms, corporations, and individuals nationwide.


Amy Florian

CEO, Corgenius

Amy Florian is the CEO of Corgenius, and she combines the best of neuroscience and psychology with a good dose of humor in training professionals to build strong relationships with clients through all the losses and transitions of life.

An acclaimed speaker and expert, she is author of over 100 articles and the book “No Longer Awkward: Communicating with Clients through the Toughest Times of Life”. She was recently named one of the 20 Most Creative People in Insurance and Financial Services for her groundbreaking work, and she also was honored as an “Influential Woman in Business” from the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Amy is a former columnist for the Journal of Financial Planning who has been quoted or featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, MSN Money, Barron’s, On Wall Street, ThinkAdvisor, Investment News, Wealth Management, Financial Planning, and Huffington Post.

Amy holds a Master’s Degree and is a Fellow in Thanatology (the highest level of certification in the field of grief studies).

She taught a graduate class at Loyola University of Chicago for almost 10 years, she has worked with over 2,000 grieving people, and she consults with firms, corporations, and individuals nationwide.


Sasha Franger

Head of Content, Great-West Financial®

Sasha Franger is the Head of Content for Great-West Financial where she leads the strategy and execution of marketing programs that help build demand for retirement income from both advisors and their clients. Sasha believes that we do not just want to live longer but that we want to live well longer, and an important aspect of this is to have a plan for financial stability in retirement. Seizing the opportunity to build a thought leadership content program from the ground up, Sasha moved to Great-West Financial in April 2016.

With over 10 years of experience, Sasha started her career as an analyst with Lipper, a subsidiary of Thomson Reuters, where she created reports for Mutual Fund Company Boards. Just prior to joining Great-West, Sasha was a Marketing Manager at Jackson National Life Distributors. Sasha got her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University. She also has a Master’s degree in Political Science from Michigan State University. She holds a Series 7* and Series 63 licenses.

When she isn’t building new content for Financial Advisors, Sasha is a busy mom of two who enjoys going on family hikes. She is also known for constantly recruiting members of her team to join her at Toastmasters meetings.


Mary Beth Franklin, CFP®

Contributing Editor, InvestmentNews

Mary Beth Franklin is a contributing editor at InvestmentNews, writing a column for the print edition and a blog for the website. Relying on more than decade of experience as a senior editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and editor of the Kiplinger's annual Retirement Planning Guide, Ms. Franklin aims to bridge the gap between what consumers want and what financial advisers can provide. An award-winning journalist, Ms. Franklin covers retirement planning and distributions, tax planning, Social Security issues and the health-care aspects of retirement planning. She is a frequent public speaker, addressing both financial industry and consumer groups, and she has appeared on numerous national and local television and radio programs including NBC's Today show and Meet the Press, the CBS Early Show, CNN and PBS's Wealthtrack program.


Gabriel Garcia

Managing Director, Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon company

Gabriel Garcia is a Managing Director for Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon company. He is head of the Relationship Management and Consulting group. Gabriel and his team engage with registered investment advisors (RIAs) to grow their businesses and make informed decisions regarding how to evolve their firms to serve their clients more efficiently and manage their business more effectively. His team consults with advisory firms to maximize Pershing’s resources to become more scalable, profitable and productive.

Prior to joining Pershing Advisor Solutions in 2010, Gabriel was with Charles Schwab & Co., where he held several leadership positions in sales, training and consulting, including working directly with RIAs. Gabriel has consulted with hundreds of firms with assets under management ranging from $50 million to $8 billion. He is a frequent speaker at industry and national conferences. Gabriel has 24 years’ experience in financial services.

Gabriel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Business Administration from Radford University.


Amir Ghannad

Leadership Development Specialist and Culture Transformation Catalyst, The Ghannad Group, LLC

Amir Ghannad is a widely recognized authority in the field of Organizational Development, a frequent and highly sought after keynote speaker at leadership summits in the US and abroad, and the founder of The Ghannad Group, which offers speaking, training, and consulting services in the area of leadership development and culture transformation.

For over 31 years, Amir has held leadership positions of increasing responsibility and scope in multiple locations in the US, Southeast Asia, and Europe with Procter and Gamble (19 years), Sunny Delight Beverages (8 years), and Campbell Soup Company (4 years). Amir has consistently demonstrated his mastery in leading the process of designing and implementing High Performance Organizations (HPO) and transforming groups of talented people into effective teams that deliver breakthrough results. He has effectively led multi-national and multi-functional teams in transforming their workplace culture and delivering superior results.

Amir has had the good fortune of having traveled extensively around the world and having lived in four countries. He has conducted training sessions and facilitated workshops in various locations in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. As a professional facilitator, Registered Corporate Coach, and an accomplished trainer of courses such as Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, The Speed of Trust, The Mind Gym, and many others, Amir has successfully led the development and implementation of organizational design in a variety of business situations, including start-ups, JV partnerships, acquisitions, divestitures and ERP system implementation.

Amir is proficient in using an array of tools and methodologies to facilitate teams through the process of strategy development and deployment, organizational assessment and design, high performance organization development, transition management, and leadership development.

In October 2015, Amir Published his first book titled The Transformative Leader, which has received rave reviews from award winning authors and leading experts in the field of Operational Excellence and leadership development. His book, which has been shipped to over 18 countries, is available on Amazon and at, where his weekly blog posts on leadership and culture transformation can also be found.

Amir holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA with emphasis on Organizational Behavior from Wilmington University. He and his wife of 35 years, Connie, live in Atlanta, Georgia.


Shelley Giordano

Chair, Funding Longevity Taskforce

Shelley Giordano earned a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Old Dominion University. In a 15 year career in HECM lending, Shelley has participated as a panelist in the White House Conference on Aging, and served as a speaker for the ABA, NAHB, CNN financial, and numerous other financial groups. She writes regularly for the industry and participates as a subject matter panelist for housing wealth in retirement.

She is an instructor with the American CE Institute. She founded the Funding Longevity Task Force and serves as Chair. Shelley leads the Home Equity Retirement Specialist program at Security 1 Lending and has developed a series of calculators to help planners assess housing suitability in retirement.Shelley lives in Washington, DC and advocates there for financial literacy with Women in Housing and Finance.


Yonhee C. Gordon, CFP®

Principal and Chief Operating Officer, JMG Financial Group, Ltd.

As Chief Operating Officer, Yonhee is responsible for employee development and the day-to-day operations of the firm.  She focuses her efforts on organizational development to ensure the sustainability of JMG's long-term operations.  Since starting at JMG in 1986, Yonhee has presented at various industry conferences on topics ranging from career development to business management strategies, in addition to being featured in numerous leading industry publications.  Prior to her current role, she served as financial advisor and focused on cash flow management, retirement planning, investment strategies, and income and estate tax minimization.  Yonhee is a Principal of the firm, a member of the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and spearheads JMG's involvement in community service.  She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional, a member of NAPFA and Financial Planning Association, and a board member of both the Youth Symphony of DuPage and Almost Home Kids.  She holds a BA in Communication from Dominican University.  


Rosemary Gray

Director, TPD Retail Annuities, New York Life

Rosemary joined New York Life MainStay Investments in 2009. She is currently the head of the Retail Annuities Sales Desk and the Retirement Income Wholesalers. Rosemary and her team are responsible for promoting annuity products with advisors at broker dealers, banks and independents and sharing New York Life’s thought leadership in the retirement income space. Previously, Rosemary was a Senior Sales Consultant with New York Life MainStay Investments, where she was responsible for promoting the New York Life suite of products such as Deferred Fixed Annuity, Immediate Annuities, and MainStay Mutual Funds. Prior to that, Rosemary was an Internal Wholesaler with AIG SunAmerica Mutual Funds where she focused on domestic and international equity and fixed income markets. Before that, she was an Internal Retirement Specialist with AllianceBernstein providing consultative retirement solutions to financial advisors and outside and inside wholesalers.

Rosemary graduated with a degree in Marketing from William Paterson University. She holds her Series 6, 26, and 63 registrations, and New Jersey Life Insurance license. She currently resides in Glen Ridge, New Jersey with her husband, Caley and daughter Simona.


Michelle Brennan Hall

Founder & Wealth Advisor, Brennan Wealth Advisors

Michelle Brennan Hall is a veteran wealth advisor and a top producer with FSC Securities Corporation, which is part of the Advisor Group broker-dealer network. Her specialty is in personal wealth strategies for executives, physicians, business owners and retirees. Known for creating the Financial Life Map Strategy™ that fosters investor financial strength and well-being, Michelle understands the importance of clarity about the road ahead. Dedicated to her clients’ success, constant attention and deep expertise are hallmark characteristics of her approach. The Brennan Hall team has a strong commitment to responsiveness, innovative thinking and expert guidance.

Recognizing the uniqueness of each investor, Michelle delivers specifically designed strategies to achieve individual life dreams. Hundreds of families look to Michelle to navigate their financial future, care for the many aspects of wealth and to anticipate the very unpredictable and complex capital markets.

Noted for her dedication to women’s financial independence, her most recent endeavor is to improve the financial confidence of women. She authored the pivotal “Women and Money” report in 2016 after sponsoring a national survey on the modern female’s experience with finances. The objective is to promote a generational shift in women’s attitude with money by encouraging their participation in long-term financial planning.

As a recognized financial advisor and featured speaker, Michelle frequently shares her expertise in the media. She has contributed to local ABC affiliate WFAA-TV, The Wall Street Journal, Investment News, The New York Times, New York Newsday, The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Business Journal,, Next Avenue and

Giving to others through local community involvement is another of Michelle’s passions.Serving alongside her sons at local charities and supporting many national causes with her husband is an annual family commitment. She is involved in multiple professional organizations including the Financial Planning Association, Financial Services Institute and Executive Women of Dallas. She serves on the Advisor Group Tech Council and the Women’s Advisory Board.


Renee Hamlen

Vice President, Retail Annuity Marketing, New York Life

As Vice President and Head of Marketing for Retail Annuities, Renee oversees marketing for one of the largest and most diversified annuity businesses in the industry. In this capacity, she also manages the Advanced Income Solutions team, which provides competitive intelligence and case design for New York Life’s Agents and distribution partners.

Passionate about enabling employees, consumers, and friends and family to make the most of their life choices, Renee’s version of #livemybestlife isn’t about having it all, but about having the ability to pursue the things in life that are most important to you.

Renee holds a BA and MBA and has served a member of the IRI editorial board, VISION meeting planning committee and LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute Women’s Business Resource Roundtable. Together with her husband and their two children, Renee manages work, school, and family adventures from the ski slopes of Vermont to a roadtrip through the UK in pursuit of #livemybestlife.


Kyle Hiatt

EVP Institutional Business Development, Orion Advisor Services, LLC

Kyle Hiatt has been an integral part of the Orion team since joining the firm 20 years ago. His experience at Orion - Accounts Receivable, Inside Sales, Team Management, Vice President of Operations, Key Accounts Manager, and Business Development - has provided Kyle with a wealth of knowledge that he utilizes to help advisors transition to Orion’s back-office service. Kyle also spent time as an advisor and knows first-hand the tools that advisors need to run a more efficient, client-centered practice. Kyle now oversees the Orion Sales and Technology Consulting teams. Kyle’s diligence, focus, tenacity, and consistency provide those who work with him an example as they serve our advisors.

Kyle’s passion is working closely with Orion’s partners to create and strengthen efficiencies for our advisors, and delivering these solutions to them.

Mr. Hiatt holds a Bachelor of Science Business Administration from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and a Master of Business Administration from the Bellevue University. He currently holds NASD Series 6, NASAA Series 66, and NASAA Series 26 securities registrations.

When he is not working, Mr. Hiatt enjoys running, golfing and spending time with his family.


Allei Holway

Financial Adviser

Allei Holway joined AXA Advisors as a Financial Professional in 2015. As a member of AXA’s Retirement Benefits Group, Allei works closely with local school districts, municipalities and nonprofit organizations to help their employees work towards their retirement goals. In addition, she has many individual and business clients whom she assists with college planning, risk management, retirement and estate planning. In 2016 Allei was recognized as the AXA Advisors Boston Branch New Agent of the Year, as well as being nationally recognized as a Top 10 New Advisor in the Retirement Benefits Group.

Allei holds a Bachelors of Science in Marketing and Global Perspective and Management from Bentley University. While attending college she was active in the community all four years a volunteer at the Dana Court After School Program. She was also a Certified Bentley Leader and contributing member of the Center for Women and Business Leadership Program. Allei is currently working towards her Masters in Financial Planning at Bentley University, and her office is located in Wellesley, Massachusetts.


Katie Horton

Financial Planner at HC Financial Advisors

Katie Horton is a Financial Planner at HC Financial Advisors, a Fee-Only Investment Advisory firm, in Lafayette, California. Katie has been working in the financial planning profession for the last 6 years. She began her career as a tax accountant at Ernst & Young in San Jose. It didn’t take long to realize that she did not love corporate taxes, but that she was passionate about making a real difference in the lives of others. With financial planning she found the perfect blend of her interest in finances and her desire to help others. Katie enjoys being involved in developing the profession and is currently serving on the NAPFA West Region board. She has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University. She is a CFP and a CPA.

Katie has an adventurous spirit. When she isn’t making plans for other people’s money, she loves to be active outdoors. She enjoys going for a run after work, and escapes to the mountains for a backpacking trip whenever she can.


Maz Kamaruddin, MBA

Head of Diversity Markets, AXA

Based in New York City and with over 20 years’ experience in financial services industry, Maz Kamaruddin is the Head of Diversity Markets for AXA Advisors. Maz’s AXA Advisors career began in 2004 when she joined the Sales Implementation and Support team as its Chief of Staff. Since then Maz holds several positions working closely with AXA field force providing support and guidance for their practices.

Prior to joining AXA Maz spent five years at the MONY Group as the Marketing Manager and Director of Business Operations. In her current role Maz is responsible for the development and implementation of diversity strategies to penetrate and establish AXA as a key financial protection and wealth management provider in diverse markets. Maz also plays an important role in the retention of AXA advisors through diversity and inclusion (D&I) educational programs.

Maz is a member of AXA Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council (DIAC) which guides the D&I strategy and drives the agenda for change. DIAC supports the strategic alignment of D&I to talent, culture, and marketplace. Maz is a member of various AXA Employee Resource Groups (ERG) such as the PARC ERG (Pan Asian Resource Council Employee Resource Group), HERO (Hispanic Employees Resource Organization), BLACC (Building Leadership And Cultural Connections), PRIDE (a LGBT resource group), CARES (Veterans resource group), AXA ABLE (group supporting employees/caregivers to individuals with disabilities/special needs), WOW (Women’s Outreach at Work), DPN (Developing Professionals Network) and AXA Family.

Maz is a member of the InvestmentNews Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board whose mission includes a commitment to creating awareness around the importance of D&I in four key areas: recruiting, training, culture and communication. Maz is also an active member of LIMRA’s Diversity Marketing Committee and held the Chair position of the Committee in 2016.

Maz holds an MBA from University of New Haven, CT and a Bachelor of Science in Management Science from SUNY Binghamton, NY.

On a personal note Maz enjoys gourmet cooking and crafting. She, her husband Abdul, and daughter Liyana travel outside of continental United States every year to experience other cultures. As a family, they volunteer at the local soup kitchen and support the local small businesses.


Maureen Kerrigan

Senior Vice President, Financial Adviser, RBC Wealth Management

Maureen graduated from the University of Hartford with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and later obtained an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

She began her career as an SEC Analyst for Northeast Utilities in CT, and spent time as a small business owner before joining Tucker Anthony (now RBC Wealth Management) in January of 2002.

Maureen is an Accredited Wealth Manager. The AWM designation recognizes an advanced knowledge of the wealth management process, concentrating in the areas of business and retirement planning, and estate planning strategies for high net-worth clients.

She and her husband live in Narragansett, RI and are the parents of four grown daughters. Her eldest daughter, Courtney Mahoney, joined her mother’s team at RBC in 2014. Maureen enjoys time with her family, playing golf and entertaining.

She currently serves as the President of RBC Wealth Management’s Women’s Association of Financial Advisors (WAFA), serves on the Executive and Finance committees of the StarKids Scholarship Program in Newport, RI, is an Emeritus Trustee of the Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools (FACS) board in the Archdiocese of Hartford, and has served as a member of the East Regional board for the RBC Foundation. She also enjoys participating as a judge for the SIFMA Student Essay Contests.


Jeffrey Kleintop, CFA

Senior Vice President, Chief Global Investment Strategist, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

Jeffrey Kleintop analyzes and discusses international markets, trends and events to help U.S. investors understand their significance and financial implications. In this role, Kleintop provides research, commentary and actionable insights to Schwab’s client-facing teams and the firm’s Investor Services and Advisor Services clients through written reports, video content, conference calls, webcasts and in-person events.

Kleintop is frequently cited in a range of national media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Barron’s and Financial Times, and he is a regular guest on high profile news networks including CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business News, PBS and ABC News. Kleintop has been cited in The Wall Street Journal as one of “Wall Street’s best and brightest,” and he has been a featured or keynote speaker at dozens of industry events annually including the Barron’s Top Financial Advisor Summit and the Financial Planning Association annual conference.

Prior to joining Schwab, Kleintop served as chief market strategist at LPL Financial. Earlier in his career he was chief investment strategist at PNC Wealth Management and senior investment strategist at ARIS Corporation of America. Kleintop is the author of Market Evolution: How to Profit in Today’s Changing Financial Markets, which was published in 2006.

Kleintop earned his B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of Delaware and received his M.B.A. degree from Pennsylvania State University. He also studied at the London School of Economics and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).


Maribeth Kuzmeski

President, Red Zone Marketing

Dr. Maribeth Kuzmeski is President of the consulting firm, Red Zone Marketing founded in 1994. Maribeth and her firm personally consult with some of the nation’s top financial professionals managing from $300 million to over $1 billion in client assets. Maribeth got her start in the financial services industry as the 5th client in her firm happened to be a financial advisor. This advisor had only $10 million in money under management that Maribeth helped grow into $200 million in under 5 years through niche-based marketing strategies. Today the firm is fully focused on the financial services industry.

Maribeth has written 7 books including the bestseller The Connectors. She is an international keynote speaker rated as a Top 25 C-Suite Speaker by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, has spoken at The Million Dollar Round Table, and is a regular presenter at Barron’s Top Producer conferences.

Maribeth in an instructor on marketing at Columbia University, is a media contributor appearing on Fox News, USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and hosts a popular podcast featuring inspiring businesswomen. Maribeth also has her own charitable foundation supporting women in business, The Red Zone Leadership Foundation.

Maribeth has a bachelor’s degree from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, an MBA from The George Washington University, and a PhD in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. Maribeth and her husband live in the Chicago, IL area and have two children threatening to be adults.


Phil Lubinski, CFP®

Partner, First Financial Strategies LLC and Strategic Distribution Institute, LLC

Phil began his financial planning career nearly 40 years ago. He has been called the "father of buckets" dating back to 1984 when he developed his first segmented retirement income strategy. As an advisor, he built both a successful personal practice and a large OSJ in Denver specializing in retirement income planning. He has been a contributing editor to Investment News, Kiplinger Magazine, the Retirement Income Journal, Bottom Line and has appeared on CBS Nightly Business Report. In 2014 he sold his practice and OSJ to his transition partner. Since then, Phil has co-developed the 3rd version of his signature segmented strategy, called IncomeConductor. Several large independent B/Ds have approved its use. Last year, the IncomeConductor technology underwent a due diligence review by Jason Roberts and was deemed "DOL compliant". Phil's message to advisors and clients has consistently been to bring value with "plan management", not "asset management". In a time of fee compression and "robo" competition, his message couldn't be more timely.


Michelle Lynch

Vice President, Raymond James Network for Women Advisors

As vice president of the Network for Women Advisors, Michelle is responsible for helping to retain the nearly 1,000 existing Raymond James women advisors through education, practice management and coaching initiatives. In addition, she works with regional directors, branch managers and recruiters to help attract experienced women advisors to Raymond James. One of her primary objectives is to increase the number of women advisors in the industry.

She’s developed several programs to attract women to the profession and works closely with the firm’s training program to help ensure the success of the new women advisors.

Prior to this role, Michelle served as a marketing director, overseeing all marketing initiatives for the firm’s Private Client Group (PCG). She joined the Raymond James marketing department in 2004 and then went on to be vice president and director of marketing & communications for Eagle Asset Management in 2006. At Eagle, she was responsible for overseeing all functions of marketing, public relations and internal communications, but was also involved in business acquisition strategy and new product development.

Prior to joining Raymond James, Michelle was a marketing and public relations manager at AAA Auto Club South working with their retail, insurance and financial services business units. She’s also held marketing and public relations roles at Busch Gardens and United Landmark advertising agency.

Michelle is a cum laude graduate of the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a master of business administration (MBA) degree, with honors, from Emory University, Goizueta Business School. She sits on the Raymond James Charitable Endowment Fund board, the Raymond James Diversity Council and was a member of the Financial Services Institute’s (FSI) Marketing, Growth and Development Council. She is also a graduate of the Wharton Executive Education Securities Industry Institute program.


Kathleen McQuiggan

President, Catalina Leadership LLC

Kathleen McQuiggan is Founder and President of Catalina Leadership a Boston based consulting firm focused on Investing in Women. Prior to this role, Kathleen was Sr. Vice President, Global Women’s Strategies at Pax World Management and Managing Director, Pax Ellevate Management. In these senior management roles, she was responsible for their Invest in Women platform: including sales, marketing and product management of the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s index Fund, and managing and running the Women & Wealth practice management program, which was a value add offering for advisor on how to better engage and serve their female clients. In 2015, Kathleen was named to InvestmentNews’ inaugural Women to Watch list, which honors female financial advisors and industry executives who are distinguished leaders at their firms. Kathleen has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, having spent her entire career in a producing sales role, including 13 years at Goldman Sachs. She resides in Boston and Dartmouth MA and is an active member of the CFP WIN advisory board, SheGives and Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust.


Melinda S. Mecca

Senior Vice President, Director of Investment Solutions Northern Trust Asset Management

Melinda Mecca is Director of Investment Solutions at Northern Trust Asset Management, a leading global investment manager with more than $1 trillion in assets under management. The firm serves some of the world’s most-sophisticated investing clients – from sovereign wealth funds, pension plan sponsors and financial intermediaries – to wealthy families and individuals, and the advisors who serve them.

Ms. Mecca leads the firm’s investment solutions activities, including the design and delivery of research-driven, risk-managed, multi-asset class model and custom portfolios. Her team employs a consultative approach to portfolio construction and fulfillment, supporting the development of holistic, outcome-oriented solutions that are tailored to meet diverse client needs. Previously, Ms. Mecca served as Head of Managed Accounts where she was responsible for the delivery of investment solutions and portfolio construction expertise to wealth management and financial intermediary clients.

Ms. Mecca began her career at an independent asset management firm where she served in multiple capacities over the course of several years, including Director of Marketing and Chief Operating Officer. She joined Northern Trust in 2000 when the firm acquired the assets of Carl Domino Associates, LP, where she served as a partner and member of the senior leadership team. Ms. Mecca is a member of the Northern Trust Asset Management Operating Group and serves on the Board of Managers for 50 South Capital, LLC.


Michael Natale

Head of Intermediary Distribution, FlexShares Exchange Traded Funds

Michael Natale is head of Intermediary Distribution. He is responsible for establishing Northern Trust Asset Management’s presence in the intermediary market and driving the adoption of our investment expertise and strategies across North America.

An experienced investment industry professional, Michael has successfully built, developed and managed sales teams for more than a decade, focusing on diversity, process and qualitative results. He has experience across channels and products, including ETFs, mutual funds and managed solutions.

Prior to joining Northern Trust, Michael spent seven years with Deutsche Bank and five years with Morgan Li where he managed and developed internal sales teams with more than 50 professionals.

Michael earned his BBA and MBA from Stetson University (Deland, FL). He is a former professional golfer and a four-time Chicago City Amateur Champion. Michael holds the FINRA series 7, 24, and 63 securities licenses.


Nag Odekar

Vice President, Marketing – Individual Markets, Great-West Financial

Nag Odekar is Vice President and Head of Marketing for individual markets for Great-West Financial®. Nag began his financial services career at Fidelity Investments in 1999. From there, he held leadership roles in brand management, market research, advertising and marketing strategy at The Hartford and Northwestern Mutual. Nag also has prior experience as the cofounder and COO at, an online retailer that enabled consumers to purchase and finance automobile warranties. Prior to ForeverCar, Nag was Vice President of Consumer Marketing at Aviva (now Athene), a leader in indexed life and annuities, where he led the company’s innovation pipeline and brand strategy.

Nag holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Oberlin Conservatory and an advanced certificate from the Juilliard School. He also earned a double master’s in composition and conducting at the University of Michigan.


Debra Ohstrom

Senior National Account Manager and Director, Allianz Global Investors

Debra Ohstrom is senior national account manager and a director with Allianz Global Investors, which she joined in 2008. As a member of the RIA & Private Bank Advisory Sales team, her area of coverage includes private banks and the retail bank channel. Ms. Ohstrom has 24 years of investment-industry experience. Before joining the firm, she had third-party manager research and asset allocation responsibilities at Citigroup Trust and Citi Private Bank. Ms. Ohstrom has a B.A. in accounting and an M.B.A. in banking and finance from Hofstra University. She is a CFA charterholder and a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts.


Philip Palaveev

Chief Executive Officer, The Ensemble Practice LLC

Philip Palaveev is an industry expert and highly sought-after consultant focused on creating team-based financial advisory businesses aimed for sustained growth, profitability and value.

Philip is the owner and CEO of The Ensemble Practice LLC, a business management consulting firm that defines the evolution of growing a multi-professional advisory practice. He specializes in helping independent financial advisors grow their business from a solo practice into a thriving and profitable ensemble firm. Palaveev also works with broker-dealers and custodians on creating impactful practice management services for their advisors.

Prior to launching The Ensemble Practice, Philip served as president of Fusion Advisor Network, a network of independent advisors that changed the way broker-dealers deliver business management and camaraderie to their clients. As president, Palaveev was responsible for the strategy of the firm and led its growth from a fast-growing start-up to one of the industry’s most innovative and successful firms. He helped increase the firm’s revenue by 50% in three years. From 2003 to 2008, Philip was a principal at Moss Adams LLP, an accounting and consulting firm with industry-leading expertise in practice management. Philip led the market research for Moss Adams and consulted with hundreds of advisors and several top broker-dealers.

Philip recently authored The Ensemble Practice, a book dedicated to the process of building a multi-professional enterprise. He is also known for his industry research papers and articles, is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and contributes regularly to industry blogs.


Craig D. Pfeiffer

President & CEO, Money Management Institute

Craig Pfeiffer is the President & CEO of the Money Management Institute. MMI is the leading voice for the global financial services organizations that provide advice and professionally-managed investment solutions to individual and institutional investors.

In 2012, Craig founded and continues today as Chairman of Advisors Ahead llc. pursuing a passion to continuously elevate the professionalism of the investment advice industry and the successful development of Financial Advisors.

Additionally, Craig is engaged as the Executive Chairman of the Board at Inlet llc, a joint venture between Broadridge (NYSE:BR) and Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI), and a Board Director for Westfield Group’s Ohio Farmers Insurance Company. Previously, Craig was an Advisory Board member at Snowden Lane Partners and served as a Board Director for PriceMetrix.

Craig is a proven senior financial services executive, following 29 years with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and predecessor firms. He transitioned from MSSB in 2012 where he was Vice Chairman and a member of the Executive Committee. From 2003 to 2011, he held a progression of senior leadership positions at MSSB, including the National Sales Group and responsibility for marketing strategy and client communications, desktop technology solutions, and brokerage-based banking. From 1982 to 2003, Craig advanced through field management roles, starting as a Financial Advisor and transitioning into field management at all levels.

Active with industry and community organizations, Craig is a member of the Board and the Executive Committee of Citymeals-On-Wheels serving New York City and President of Bright Seed Foundation. He serves on the Dean’s Council for Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.


Rita Robbins

President, Affiliated Advisors

Since founding Affiliated Advisors in 1994, Rita Robbins’ focus has been helping advisors grow strong, effective and efficient businesses. Rita has broken barriers for women in the financial services industry and is a constant force for innovation. She combines extensive industry experience with a proactive, personalized approach toward working with independent financial advisors.


Affiliated Advisors is the among the largest advisor networks at Royal Alliance, a subsidiary of Advisor Group,  with more than 110 advisors in 15 branch offices nationwide, managing over $2 Billion in assets. Affiliated Advisors offers creative ways for advisors to expand their services, with extensive solutions in wealth transfer and intergenerational planning.


In private life, Rita is highly engaged with her community. She currently serves as a Board Trustee for New York City’s Town Hall, an important cultural center and historic landmark. She is an avid New York City Ballet fan as well as a proud proprietor of Lavender Hill Farm in Boyne City, MI.


Tiana Ronstadt

Financial Advisor, Power Women Investing

Tiana Ronstadt is a vibrant lecturer, workshop facilitator, and educator with over 25 years of financial planning experience. Her mission is to empower individuals to gain financial independence and help them reach their most ambitious dreams. Tiana is a top producer at Woodbury Financial, which is part of the Advisor Group broker-dealer network.

Through One-on-One Consulting, as well as speaking engagements, Tiana has earned the respect of thousands who have benefited from her services. Ms. Ronstadt has expertise on serving her clients through times of serious change in their lives, including pre- and post-retirement strategizing, pre- and post-divorce financial counseling, income planning, and estate planning.


E. Jeffrey Roof

President, Roof Advisory Group

Jeff Roof is president of Roof Advisory Group, a fee-only investment management and financial advisory firm he founded in 1998 to meet the needs of high net worth clientele. In his current executive role, Jeff provides strategic leadership for the firm, guides the firm’s Senior Management team and helps direct Roof Advisory Group’s comprehensive and disciplined investment management process.

Since the firm’s de novo start, Roof Advisory Group has been regularly recognized as a top performer among registered investment advisory firm peers in terms of growth in assets under management and revenue, firm profitability and overall management excellence.

He has worked with a diverse range of clients nationwide providing investment management and financial advisory services since 1982. Immediately prior to originating the firm, Jeff was Executive Vice President at Fulton Bank, heading that organization’s Investment Management and Trust Services division. As a member of the bank’s Senior Management team, departments under his direction included Portfolio Management, Retirement Plan Management, Foundation/Endowments, Corporate Trust, Personal Trust, and Private Banking.

Previously, he spent nearly a decade in various management positions with Mellon Bank’s Institutional Trust group, primarily focusing on providing investment management and retirement plan solutions for a diverse group of national organizations.

Jeff has a BA from Rutgers University and an MA from Lehigh University. He is an active contributor with several large community not-for-profit organizations in his Harrisburg, PA area home.


Shannon Rosic

Multimedia Manager, InvestmentNews

Shannon Rosic is the Multimedia Manager at InvestmentNews. She serves as a specialist who helps drive the development and implementation of integrated content projects. She assists in creating content, both internally and externally, such as interviews, Q&As, event programming, supplements, whitepapers, scripts, and webcast descriptions that helps to extend and expand multimedia and integrated content programs. You will often find her dressed in a purple trench coat and fedora interviewing financial technology firms as her alter ego: Gadget Girl.

Prior to joining InvestmentNews, she was an Account Coordinator at Return Path, an industry-leading email intelligence solutions platform.

Shannon holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from Miami University of Ohio (never to be confused with Florida). She recently relocated to Denver, Colorado from Connecticut, with her husband and miniature Australian Shepherd. All three of them enjoy horseback riding, hiking, and all the outdoor activities the west has to offer.


Barry Sacks, J.D., Ph.D.

Longevity Funding Task Force

Barry Sacks, J.D., Ph.D., is a practicing tax attorney in San Francisco, California. He has specialized in pension-related legal matters since 1973 and has published numerous articles in legal journals.

Barry Sacks, Ph.D. has also published his retirement analysis research in the Journal of Financial Planning. Barry earned his bachelors in Electrical Engineering and Political Science from M.I.T. in 1961. Then he went on to earn his Ph.D. in Physics from M.I.T., thus establishing that he's got mad skills when it comes to math. He worked as a professor for a number of years, teaching at U.C. Berkeley during the late 1960s. In 1973, Barry earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, he's been a member of the California Bar since 1973, and since 1980, he's also held the designation, Certified Specialist, Taxation Law, from the California Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, he's been selected by professional peers for listing in "Best Lawyers in America," and "Super Lawyers of Northern California," 2004 to present.


Abby Salameh

Chief Marketing Officer, Private Advisor Group

Abby Salameh joined Private Advisor Group in August 2013 as chief marketing officer. Abby has spent over 20 years building top-line solutions for independent advisors, starting her career at Sanford C. Bernstein and moving on to become a founding member of the team that launched InvestmentNews, the weekly newspaper for financial advisors.

In 2001, Abby joined TD Waterhouse as head of marketing for institutional services, where she was responsible for running all marketing, advertising, conferences, events, practice management and client communications. She continued in this capacity through the merger of TD Waterhouse and Ameritrade, resigning in 2007 to have more time at home with her small children.

Abby spent the next five years conducting both strategic and tactical consulting for large broker-dealers, custodians and financial publications, including Pershing, InvestmentNews and Fusion Advisor Network. In 2011, she joined Fusion Advisor Network as chief marketing officer. After successfully selling Fusion to NFP, Abby stayed on as SVP of NFP Advisor Services Group and managing director of Fusion Advisor Network.

An active member of her children’s school in the PTA and a regular volunteer in the local animal shelter, Abby leads a very full and busy life. She resides in Scotch Plains, NJ with her husband, three children and her dog.

Education: BA in finance and economics, Hofstra University; MBA, NYU Stern School of Business


Mark Schoeff, Jr.

Reporter, InvestmentNews

Mark Schoeff Jr. is a senior reporter for InvestmentNews, a business magazine published by Crain Communications. He covers legislation and regulations affecting retail investment advisers and brokers.

Prior to joining InvestmentNews in April 2010, Schoeff served for nearly five years as the Washington correspondent for Workforce Management, a former Crain publication, writing about employment and labor law. He has contributed regularly to Howey Politics Indiana, a weekly political newsletter based in Indianapolis, since 1997.

Schoeff came to Workforce Management in June 2005 from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank where he was director of external relations for eight years.

A native of Ft. Wayne, Ind., Schoeff also worked on Capitol Hill for Sen. Richard Lugar. He was Lugar’s press secretary from 1995-97 and deputy press secretary from 1992-1994. During that time, Lugar was chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a presidential candidate.

Schoeff began his career in New York City, where he was managing editor of community paper in Manhattan and an assistant project director for Brecker & Merryman, a human resources consulting firm. He also wrote for the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel during high school and college.

Active in the National Press Club, Schoeff is currently co-chair of the Publications Committee, an editor of the Wire, the Club’s daily electronic newsletter, and a member of the Headliners Committee. He also has served as chairman of the Newsmakers and Awards committees.

In college, Schoeff was an editor and reporter at his daily campus newspaper, The Purdue Exponent, an independently owned publication. He was named outstanding student in Purdue's Krannert School of Management and at the Institute for Political Journalism, a program at the Fund for American Studies.

Schoeff earned an undergraduate degree in management, with a minor in English, from Purdue University. He has a master's degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. As part of the ICP program, he studied at Oxford University in England during the summer of 2002.


Clara Shih

CEO and Founder, Hearsay Systems

Clara Shih is CEO and founder of Hearsay Systems, whose predictive analytics technology helps salespeople reach out to clients at the right time with the right message while staying in compliance with industry regulations. A pioneer in the social media industry, Clara developed the first social business application in 2007 and subsequently authored the New York Times-featured best-seller, The Facebook Era. Her latest book, The Social Business Imperative: Adapting Your Business Model to the Always-Connected Customer, was released in April 2016.

Clara has been named one of Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs,” Fast Company’s “Most Influential People in Technology,” BusinessWeek’s “Top Young Entrepreneurs,” and both Fortune’s and Ad Age’s “40 Under 40.” She was also named a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum, InvestmentNews’ “40 under 40,” and “5 to Watch” in ThinkAdvisor’s 2015 IA 35 for 35.

Clara is a member of the Starbucks board of directors and previously served in a variety of technical, product, and marketing roles at Google, Microsoft, and She graduated #1 in computer science at Stanford University, where she also received an MS in computer science. She also holds an MS in internet studies from Oxford University, where she studied as a U.S. Marshall Scholar.


Marlo Stil

Managing Partner, Personal CFO The Wealth Consulting Group

Marlo began her financial services career in 1984. As an investment advisor/branch manager for a Fortune 500 company, she was their first and only female top securities producer. Marlo strives to make a life-changing difference for her clients, helping empower them through education, planning, coaching, strategy implementation and review. She is a frequent contributor for industry publications, seminars and panel discussions around ESG Investing, Business Development and Practice Management best practices.

As a Managing Partner for The Wealth Consulting Group, she is one of the firms many female top producers, assists with Advisor Development and sits on the Investment Strategy Committee which manages models for over 1 Billion in portfolio assets. Marlo’s progressive thinking and commitment to excellence has recently led her to design, build and manage the WCG High Impact Portfolios focused on Sustainable Investing for the future.


Ryan Sullivan

VP, Head of Investor Education

As Head of Investor Education, Ryan is responsible for content development and delivery for myMoneyGuide®. A 20-year veteran of the financial services industry, he draws on his experience of having presented to groups of investors, advisors, attorneys, and accountants in 46 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. Topics have included investments and insurance, income and estate planning, retirement plans, college savings, charitable giving, and financial planning issues for women.

As a former Vice President of Advanced Markets at a major financial services company, Ryan specializes in translating complex tax and financial planning concepts into simple, actionable ideas. He also previously led marketing teams who created print, web, and continuing education content for financial advisors, as well as client-focused material on a variety of financial subjects.

Ryan has earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM (CFP®), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®), CRPC®, and CMFC® designations; he is also a Fellow of LOMA®’s Life Management Institute.

He lives in Charlotte, NC, where he holds volunteer leadership roles with the American Cancer Society and Hands On Charlotte. Ryan is a graduate of Bucknell University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.


Leslie Yambao Tabor

Managing Director – Advisor Services Business Consulting & Education, Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.

Leslie Y. Tabor is a Managing Director with the Charles Schwab Advisor Services organization where she oversees the strategic direction of key programs for delivering value and high impact client experience for advisors who custody with Schwab, including the Executive Leadership Program, RIA Talent Advantage Program, RIA Intern Program, and Cybersecurity Resource Program.

Through the content, tools and action-oriented resources developed by her team these programs have provided advisors with the insights and capabilities for evolving and growing their firms - cultivating next generation leaders, attracting diverse talent and strengthening awareness of the financial planning profession across dozens of colleges and universities throughout the country.

Leslie is highly passionate about diversity at Schwab and across the financial services industry. She currently sits on the CFP Board’s Diversity Advisory Group, providing guidance and expertise in the development of diversity and inclusion initiatives that will increase the racial and ethnic diversity within the financial planning profession. She also serves as the co-chair for the San Francisco Women’s Interactive Network at Schwab (WINS) and the business advisor for all Charles Schwab San Francisco employee resource groups. She believes in the value that diversity brings to the workplace, is enthusiastic about helping people reach their leadership potential and passionate about bringing important issues to the forefront. Leslie also works with numerous organizations including the Professional Business Women of California (PBWC), Financial Women of San Francisco, and the CFP Board to support furthering the message on the value of diversity.

Leslie earned her Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Phoenix. She’s been recognized as one of the Top 100 Filipina Women in 2015 by the Filipina Women’s Network and was a recipient of the 2016 Industry Leader award by the Professional Business Women of California for her work in the area of diversity and inclusion. She is a Bay Area native and an avid San Francisco Forty-Niners, Giants and Golden State Warriors fan. She enjoys traveling with her family and dancing around the house with her 3-year old daughter.


Michelle Thetford

Vice President Client Strategic Solutions, Charles Schwab

Michelle Thetford is Vice President Client Strategic Solutions for Schwab’s Advisor Services business which provides custody, practice management and consulting services to nearly 7,000 independent investment advisory firms with $1.26* trillion under management. *As of Q2-2015

In this role, Michelle is responsible for client support and managing complex issues while considering risk implications for Schwab and our clients.

Michelle and her team also lead the Complex Account Solutions Team, the Business Acceptance Team, the Premier Consultant team and Advisor Enrollment along with Alternative Investments and the internal supervision and risk management functions.

Michelle began her financial services career after graduating from Michigan State University when she moved to Minneapolis to join a regional brokerage firm.

During her time with this group of independent advisors, Michelle learned every facet of wealth management including corporate finance and hedge fund administration, along with the intricacies of a custodian platform. Most importantly, she learned the nuances of serving high net worth clients in a multi-family office.

Michelle joined SunAmerica Securities Inc., an AIG Financial broker dealer, in Phoenix in 1999 as Managing Director of Operations. She was promoted to Vice President of Operations in 2002 where she served three AIG broker dealers and had responsibility for operations while providing leadership to both the service and trading teams.

Michelle joined Charles Schwab in 2003 as Senior Manager of Compliance for Advisor Services. Michelle was promoted to Vice President, Compliance to lead the Advisor Services Compliance team in 2012. While leading the Compliance team she focused on fundamental compliance program elements, surveillance and fraud investigations related to advisors for the Advisor Services enterprise. Michelle joined the Advisors Services enterprise in May 2015 to assume her current role.

A problem solver by nature, Michelle credits much of her success with spending the first half of her career working directly with advisors. Having invested time early on working within a client-facing business gives her a unique perspective and guides much of how she leads today. Known for her ability to simplify complex issues, Michelle focuses on finding ways to serve clients in a world of increasing complexity and risk management.

Michelle’s credibility stems from her vast knowledge and experience, but what is most important to her is the fact that people trust her to always do what is right for the client. Michelle is proud to serve at Charles Schwab, where she finds it easy to surround herself with great people.

Michelle has a B.A. in Advertising from Michigan State University and holds the Series 24, 7 and 63 licenses. Michelle lives in Phoenix, Arizona.


William Thomas, Jr.

National sales manager for mutual funds and separately managed accounts, Northern Trust Asset Management

Bill Thomas is the national sales manager for mutual funds and separately managed accounts. He is responsible for growing Northern Trust’s presence in the intermediary market. He does this by developing the sales team through motivation, mentoring and product knowledge and skills development.

Prior to joining Northern Trust in 2014, Bill was the head of distribution for DSC Quantitative Group over seeing all sales and marketing related activities of the firm’s operations. From November 2011 to July 2013 he was CEO, head of sales for SIP America, a distributor of structured investments to the retail and institutional markets. At SIP America he was responsible for all aspects of the firm including sales, marketing, product build out and development. Before joining SIP America, Bill was managing director, national sales manager at Allianz Global Investors and in addition, served on the executive committee and global product committee responsible for firm strategy and product development. at Allianz, he oversaw the internal and external sales efforts that lead to increases in annualized sales from $9 billion to more than $60 billion in sales. Bill also worked as a divisional sales manager for Allianz Global investors and PIMCO Funds. Bill began his career at Thomson McKinnon securities as a financial advisor.

Mr. Thomas graduated with a B.S. degree from Michigan State University and served on the Board of Governors of the Money Management institute. Bill currently holds the FiNRA series 7, 63, 65, and 24 securities licenses.


Maureen Thompson

Vice President of Public Policy, CFP Board

As Vice President of Public Policy, Maureen Thompson works to advance the mission of CFP Board by advocating its public policy positions before Congress, the executive branch of the federal government, state legislatures and other state governmental offices.

Prior to coming to CFP Board in 2017, Thompson was known around Washington, D.C. and nationally as a champion for consumers and investors. She was often cited by policymakers and the media as a highly-regarded advocate for working families, the elderly and other groups that do not often have a voice on Capitol Hill or in the White House.

Previously, Thompson was a senior principal in The Hastings Group for over 26 years. There she built a highly successful government relations and coalition building practice and was involved with a wide-variety of high profile public policy issues including the Dodd-Frank Act and bankruptcy reform. She also led and managed the Save Our Retirement coalition of 75 organizations in support of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule to protect American retirement savers from conflicts of interest.

Prior to founding The Hastings Group, Thompson served as a legislative and policy adviser to the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), working on a variety of financial services reforms to benefit the American public.

Thompson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Skidmore College, earning Bachelor’s degrees in history and government.


Lori Vinciguerra

Director and Senior Managing Counsel Pershing, a BNY Mellon company

Lori Vinciguerra is a Director and Senior Managing Counsel for Pershing, a BNY Mellon company. As senior regulatory counsel, Lori handles all regulatory examinations and assists in responding to significant regulatory inquiries. She also provides advice and counsel concerning regulatory and business initiatives and their impact on Pershing and its clients. Lori acts as legal advisor to a number of firm committees that identify and mitigate risk.

Prior to joining Pershing in September 2015, Lori was a partner with a boutique law firm focusing on the defense of financial services firms and individuals in connection with regulatory matters, litigation and arbitration. She was previously a senior vice president and regional counsel for Wells Fargo Advisors, Wachovia Securities and Prudential Securities Incorporated. Prior to that, Lori was an associate with Rosenman & Colin (now Katten Muchin Rosenman) in its litigation department, specializing in financial services litigation and regulatory defense.

Lori earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Juris Doctorate degree from Hofstra University School of Law.


Timothy Welsh

President, CEO and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC

Timothy D. Welsh, CFP® is President, CEO and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry. Nexus Strategy’s primary focus is working with leading organizations to best market their products and services to the independent advisor community.

Prior to founding Nexus Strategy, Tim was Director of Business Consulting Services for Schwab Advisor Services where he led the development and marketing of practice management resources for independent advisors. While at Schwab, Tim also held senior roles in Strategy, Marketing, Advertising, PR and Industry Content development.

Prior to joining Schwab, Tim was vice president at Merrill Lynch where he was responsible for marketing, product development and financial advisor training for the financial planning group.

Tim is frequently quoted in the wealth management media on a wide range of business management and industry topics. He is the author of a number of industry white papers, a regular columnist for RIABiz, ThinkAdvisor, Investment News and, and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events. Tim earned a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA in Finance from the University of Colorado.

Tim holds the Certified Financial Planner, CFP® designation and is an active member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), serving in a leadership role on a number of task forces, committees and as a past elected member of the National Board of Directors.


Brie Williams

Head of Practice Management, State Street Global Advisors

Brie is a Vice President of State Street Global Advisors and the Head of Practice Management. She is responsible for developing SSGA's comprehensive practice management platform, which provides a forum for financial advisors to exchange ideas and access SSGA’s industry-leading intellectual capital.

Prior to joining SSGA, Brie was a Senior Vice President at Putnam Investments responsible for marketing communications excellence in support of Putnam's global brand and retail mutual fund product line. She was a member of the senior global marketing team and served as a strategic partner across all global distribution divisions, including investment product and portfolio management teams, and channel sales professionals.

Brie's professional background includes a career in advertising that began in 1994, where she managed accounts in the retail, packaged goods, and health-care industries for valued brands, including Frito-Lay, McDonald's, Time Inc., Target, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In 2006, her work on Vonage earned her a Bronze Effie for advertising effectiveness.

Brie received her MA in Integrated Marketing Communications from Emerson College, and has a BA in Journalism with a minor in International Political Science from Southern Methodist University. Brie holds the FINRA Series 7 and 63 licenses.


Jocelyn D. Wright

Founder and Managing Partner, The Ascension Group

Jocelyn D. Wright is the Founder and Managing Partner of The Ascension Group (“Ascension”). As an advisor, she partners with her clients to design a personalized holistic strategy to help them reach their financial goals. With over twenty years of financial services experience, Jocelyn has been working with individuals since 2002.

From 2014-2018, Jocelyn served as the Chair & Director of The American College State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services. In these dual roles, she functioned as the Center’s chief ambassador in promoting broad awareness of the challenges and opportunities that pertain to women in financial services. She remains an advocate for creating opportunities for women and people of color in the financial planning profession.

Jocelyn received a BS in Business Administration (Finance) from the University of Delaware and earned her MBA in Finance at Howard University, graduating with Beta Gamma Sigma honors. Some of her memberships include Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Financial Planning Association (FPA) and Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS). Jocelyn serves on the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning Diversity Advisory Group and Envestnet Institute of Campus Women in Wealth Management Advisory Board. In 2016, InvestmentNews Magazine recognized her as one of the 20 most influential Women to Watch.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Jocelyn quite naturally is a huge sports fan (go EAGLES!!). She is an avid runner and is currently completing the 50 States Challenge where she intends to run a half-marathon in each state. One of her favorite mottos is life is short so RuN HaPpY!!


Joni Youngwirth

Managing Principal, Practice Management, Commonwealth Financial Network

As managing principal of practice management at Commonwealth, Joni Youngwirth is a recognized expert in the financial services industry for helping advisors adopt the best practices, and develop the mindset and systems, to grow their businesses to the next level.

Prior to joining Commonwealth in 1998, Joni was vice president of corporate development for Private Healthcare Systems, Inc., where she spearheaded the company’s improvement initiative while providing executive coaching and business advice. She also spent 10 years as a director at Organizational Dynamics, a consulting firm, where she was a key driver of business development in the areas of customized consulting and training services. Joni began her career as a registered dietitian and nutritionist.

Joni holds FINRA Series 7, 24, and 66 securities licenses. She attained the rank of first lieutenant in the United States Air Force. She earned her MBA and MS degrees from Boston University, as well as a BS degree from South Dakota State University.



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