2017 Speakers

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 http://www.cfp.net/learn/advocate.asp or follow her on Twitter at @EleanorBlayney.


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, Huffingtonpost.com, Next Avenue and Forbes.com.

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.


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.


Heather Ettinger

Founder, Luma Wealth Advisor

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.


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.


Kate Healy

Managing Director, Generation Next, TD Ameritrade Institutional

Kate Healy is the managing director of marketing for TD Ameritrade Institutional. In this role, she is responsible for the development of marketing strategies and the execution of programs to help increase awareness and deepen relationships with more than 4,500 independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) who custody with TD Ameritrade Institutional. Healy will oversee the growth of the TD Ameritrade Institutional brand, including the division’s website, social media and advertising efforts. Healy will continue to lead the TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Women’s Leadership Initiative, which supports the professional development of women advisors and assists RIAs market to women investors.

Healy joined TD Ameritrade in 2008, most recently serving as a director of marketing responsible for promoting the firm’s technology and investment products offerings, as well as supporting the firm’s advocacy and client loyalty efforts. Prior to joining the firm, Kate served as vice president of IRA product strategy at Merrill Lynch. She has spent over 20 years in a variety of roles supporting the program development and marketing of financial and estate planning services in the financial planning industry.

Healy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Rutgers College and has completed the Securities Industry Institute program, sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) at the Wharton School of Business.


Susan Kay

Vice President and Director of Business Development, MFS Fund Distributors, Inc.

Susan Kay is a vice president and a director of business development at MFS Fund Distributors, Inc., a subsidiary of MFS Investment Management® (MFS®). She has been with MFS for more than 20 years. Susan has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. In her role as a director of business development at MFS, she has traveled extensively, meeting on a daily basis with top advisors from a wide array of firms. She has been invited into their practices and learned about what has led to their success. She has asked advisors about how they market themselves, how they maintain visibility, how they treat their clients to a consistent five-star experience, how they get referrals effortlessly and how they have created raving fans out of their clients.


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.


Maribeth Kuzmeski

President, Red Zone Marketing

Maribeth Kuzmeski, MBA, CSP, Ph.D. is president of the consulting firm, Red Zone Marketing, Inc, which was founded in 1994. Ms. Kuzmeski and her firm personally consult with some of the nation’s top financial professionals and advisors managing from $250 million to over $1 billion in client assets. She and her firm also work with entrepreneurial-minded corporations, and salespeople on unique marketing messages, strategic marketing planning, recruiting, and business growth.


Christine Nigro

Managing Director, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company

Christine Nigro is a Managing Director for AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY) and Vice Chairman of AXA Advisors, LLC, the broker/dealer for the retail distribution channel for the company. Ms. Nigro is responsible for managing all aspects of the distribution platforms (Broker-Dealer and Crump), digital strategy and adoption, practice management and field support for 5,200 AXA Advisors financial professionals nationwide.

Ms. Nigro has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, and joined AXA Advisors in February 2006 as chief operating officer (COO) of the broker/dealer. As COO, she played a major role in enhancing the operational efficiency of the broker/dealer and in providing strategic guidance to expand its service, technology and investment product offerings to support the wide range of needs of AXA Advisors financial professionals and clients.

Ms. Nigro has held numerous management roles for domestic and global organizations. Prior to joining AXA Advisors, she was vice president and director of Personal Financial Services, Investment Operations and Customer Service for JP Morgan Chase, where she was responsible for supporting telephone customer sales, service, and product administration. Previously, Ms. Nigro was vice president of the International Private Client Group for Merrill Lynch, where she was responsible for creating new products and developing local markets in the United Kingdom and Australia. Earlier, she spent eight years with Fidelity Investments: four in the United Kingdom where she was responsible for the execution, clearing and custody for the organization’s assets for more than 40,000 clients.

Ms. Nigro earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ithaca College. She holds the FINRA Series 7, Series 24, 51 and U63 registrations.


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.


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 Salesforce.com. 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.


Suzanne Siracuse

VP/Publisher, InvestmentNews

Suzanne Siracuse is a Vice President at Crain Communications and Publisher of InvestmentNews and Investmentnews.com where she oversees the business, editorial strategies, and operations for each brand. With a collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit, Siracuse has helped to make InvestmentNews the leading news source for financial advisers. Her leadership responsibilities include the newspaper, website, e-newsletters, webcasts, research, data, and conferences. Siracuse is also the publisher of Crain’s Wealth. In addition to these responsibilities, Siracuse helped to establish the Invest in Others Community Leadership Awards, which recognize financial advisers for giving back to their communities. She also serves on the board for the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation, is the current Retail Communications Award Chairperson of the RIIA, and is an active volunteer at the Animal Rescue Fund in East Hampton, NY.



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2017 Locations

San Francisco



JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square

515 Mason Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

Tel: (415) 771-8600

A dedicated room block has been reserved at the JW Marriott for our guests at a special negotiated rate of $309 for the night of Wednesday, November 8th and $279 for the nights of Thursday, November 9th and Friday, November 10th. This rate is available until October 2, 2017. Rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

***PLEASE NOTE that due to a citywide convention in San Francisco, hotel room availability in the city is extremely tight over our dates. You are encouraged to make your hotel reservations as soon as possible.

Please click HERE to make your hotel reservation.

If you should encounter any difficulty making a reservation at the Westin, please contact Charles Chan Massey at charles@synaxismeetings.com

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