Speakers

Jennifer Kenning

CEO and Co-founder, Align Impact

Jennifer Kenning is the co-founder and CEO of Align Impact, where she leads client relationships and the strategic direction of the advisory firm. She is committed to building the impact investing ecosystem while leading Align. Prior to co-founding Align, she was the director of wealth management and a member of the board of directors at Aspiriant, one of the largest family-office style RIAs in the country. Jennifer is also the senior investment advisor for ImpactAsset’s Annual IA 50 Impact Investing Fund Review Committee and sits on the industry advisory board of a joint project on investing in women, organized by the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, and the Tara Health Foundation. Ms. Kenning was named a “40 Under 40” by InvestmentNews in 2014, selected for Private Asset Management’s “50 Most Influential Women in Private Wealth” in 2016, and named a 2017 InvestmentNews Innovator.

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Jon Hale

Head of Sustainability Research, Morningstar Inc.

Jon Hale, Ph.D., CFA, is head of sustainability research for Morningstar. He directs the company’s research initiatives on sustainable investing, beginning with the launch of the Morningstar Sustainability Ratings for funds in 2016, and is one of the most prolific writers in the ESG and impact investing space. He joined Morningstar in 1995 as a mutual fund analyst and helped to launch the institutional investment consulting business for Morningstar in 1998. He left the company in 1999 to work for Domini Social Investments, before rejoining Morningstar as a senior investment consultant and portfolio manager in 2001. He became managing consultant in 2009 and head of the investment advisory unit in 2014. Mr. Hale holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate in political science from Indiana University.

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Steve Distante

CEO, Vanderbilt Financial Group

Stephen Distante is the CEO of Vanderbilt Financial Group, an independent broker-dealer and RIA founded in 1965. The firm is focused on impact investing and a commitment to environmental and social sustainability. As the leader of Vanderbilt, Mr. Distante serves advisors and clients by responsibly managing the firm and by instilling a culture of compliance, kindness, and helpfulness. His most impactful purpose is to ensure that all facets of the company are working effectively and efficiently while always looking for the next, smarter, and better way to do things. After graduating from St. John’s University with a degree in accounting, Steve went to work for the prestigious CPA firm Deloitte Haskins and Sells. His background in accounting and auditing brings great depth to his understanding of business, in a different way than most CEOs. Mr. Distante went on to open an OSJ office, which eventually grew to be a financial powerhouse with 33 tax offices, serving 37,000 income tax clients before acquiring Vanderbilt Financial Group.

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Matt Ackerman

Director of Multimedia

Matt Ackermann is an award-winning journalist and director of multimedia at InvestmentNews, where he manages video and creative projects. Since joining InvestmentNews in August 2013 as its digital editor, Matt has told everyone that he has the “fun job” at InvestmentNews. He produces video programs, including Practice Makeover and Gadget Girl, and multimedia for IN’s award-winning series, GameChangers. Matt is the host of InvestmentNews’ Game Day, which travels to events interviewing executives and thought leaders. Through the show, Matt has played chess with Garry Kasparov, interviewed Mark Cuban, and toured lower Manhattan with Tony Robbins. Previously, Matt was online editor-in-chief for SourceMedia’s investment advisor group, where he launched its video channel, AdvisorTV. From 2011 to 2012, he was an executive vice president at Jennifer Connelly Interactive Productions, where he produced multimedia for financial companies. Matt is a graduate of Seton Hall and won the New Jersey Press Association Rookie of the Year Award in 1997. He is a member of Seton Hall’s Presidential Advisory Group. A semi-pro baseball coach since 1994, he and his wife Marisa are the parents of a five-year-old son, C.J., who has an encyclopedic knowledge of Pokemon and Harry Potter, and a newborn, Ryan, who someday will play for the Baltimore Orioles.

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Robert G. Smith

President & Chief Investment Officer, Principal

Bob co-founded Sage in 1996 with Mark MacQueen, and serves as the firm’s President and Chief Investment Officer and leads the Investment Committee. He began his career in 1970 at Moody's Investors Services as a member of the Corporate Bond Rating Committee; he then went on to Loeb, Rhodes & Co. to cover the insurance industry in the Institutional Equity Research department. He later worked at Merrill Lynch & Co. for 13 years in a variety of institutional research, trading and portfolio management roles in New York and London. During this period, he was assigned to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency as a Resident Financial Advisor in Riyadh responsible for managing the foreign reserves of the Central Bank. Bob Smith received his M.B.A. in Finance from New York University Stern School of Business, is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) and Certified Investment Management Consultant (CIMC).

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Andrew Lee

Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing Americas, UBS Global Wealth Management

Andrew Lee joined UBS Global Wealth Management's Chief Investment Office in July 2012 and currently serves as head of sustainable and impact investing, supporting clients with investment advice, strategy and thought leadership in these areas. Prior to this, he was deputy global head of the CIO Ultra High Net Worth / Alternatives / Sustainable and Impact Investing group, with specific responsibility for the impact investing and private markets teams. Mr. Lee is a managing director based in New York. He was also previously managing director for a private New York-based single-family office overseeing investments. In that role, he was responsible for managing asset allocation, theme development, due diligence and execution of all direct and indirect investments for family investment vehicles. Previously, Mr. Lee was part of a long-short equity hedge fund team at Deutsche Asset Management. Before this, he worked at Lazard in the banking (M&A) and real estate private-equity groups. He has an MBA from the Wharton School and a B.A. from Harvard University.

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Frederick P. Gabriel Jr.

Editorial Director

Back in the days when InvestmentNews’ reporters still had to explain what the paper was all about, Fred Gabriel was toiling away in IN’s Boston office as a mutual fund reporter. After covering mutual funds for about seven years, he relocated his family to the back woods of Connecticut and began commuting (more than 2 hours each way!) into New York City every day to work in various editor positions at the publication. In 2012, he was named editor and is now responsible for IN’s editorial direction. When not commuting, Fred is the consummate family man... and spends most of his time refereeing arguments between his four teenage sons.

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