Dante AllenExecutive Director, California ABLE Act Board
Dante Allen is responsible for directing the launch and operations of CalABLE. Prior to joining CalABLE, Mr. Allen had a leadership role with the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity where he developed communications strategies to promote the concepts related to the social determinants of health. He also served as a key advisor to the Deputy Director of the Office of Health Equity, the State’s senior executive addressing disparities and health inequities. Mr. Allen also served in senior communications roles at the Chevron Corporation, the St. Joseph Health System, and Kaiser Permanente, where he served as the President of the Kaiser Permanente Association for Employees with Disabilities Business Resource Group. This group served as a networking, mentoring and advisory group for Kaiser’s 150,000 national employees.
A lifelong Californian, Mr. Allen received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Davis and a Master’s degree at The University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication.
Derek AshworthAssociate Director-Advertising Regulation, FINRA
Derek Ashworth is Associate Director in FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Department. The department protects investors by ensuring broker-dealer members of FINRA use communications that are fair, balanced and not misleading. Mr. Ashworth’s primary responsibility is managing staff members dedicated to the routine review of member firm communications. Mr. Ashworth also participates in the Department’s outreach efforts including serving as a panelist in prior FINRA conferences and presenting during selected FINRA Compliance Boot Camps. He has been with the Advertising Regulation Department for 20 years. Prior to joining FINRA, Mr. Ashworth was a program manager for a business and education partnership at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Previous to this role, he was a specialty banker and registered representative with First Union in West Palm Beach, FL. Mr. Ashworth received his bachelor’s degree from Stetson University and completed his M.B.A. at Johns Hopkins University.
James BalsanChief Operating Officer, Director, Sumday Administration, BNY Mellon
With over 30 years of securities processing experience Jim brings a wealth of detailed operational knowledge to Sumday, BNY Mellon’s savings plan solution. His experience in front, middle and back-office roles coupled with his ever inquisitive nature allowed him to help “connect the financial dots” that created the Sumday infrastructure and user experience. This is not the first time Jim has re-purposed core financial services to meet new needs. Jim previously worked to develop a framework that delivers financial services to the global environmental markets including carbon credits and renewable energy credits.
Jim’s desire to achieve win-win outcomes for his projects and the larger community extends to his volunteer work. He speaks at local high schools, explaining the interconnectedness of banking and the environment. The goal is to have students more intelligently connect the academic, political, environmental and financial dots for themselves so that they can make informed decisions in the future.
Jim earned a B.S. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin. In addition, Jim received his MBA in Finance and International Business, with honors, from NYU.
Rachel BiarAssistant State Treasurer, Nebraska College Savings Program | ABLE Savings Program
Rachel Biar joined the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office in January 2005 and serves as the Assistant State Treasurer for the Nebraska College Savings Program and the ABLE Savings Program. Prior to her current position, she worked in the Director’s Office of the Nebraska Health and Human Services System and as a speechwriter in the Mayor’s Office of the City of Lincoln, Nebraska. As Assistant State Treasurer, Rachel is responsible for the administration, marketing and oversight of the state’s NEST 529 College Savings Plans. Her knowledge and experience with 529 plans provide Nebraskans with a unique perspective on topics such as; determining the best college savings vehicle for parents and grandparents, marketing 529 plans, federal and state tax benefits, gift-tax benefits, estate planning advantages, and strategies of 529 plans. Her expertise in college savings plans is a benefit to Nebraska residents who are ready to begin saving for their loved one’s higher education. Rachel serves as Vice Chair of the College Savings Plans Network Executive Board, Chair of the Member Engagement Committee, and is on the College Savings Foundation Membership Committee. Rachel is also responsible for the Nebraska Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program. Nebraska’s Enable Savings Plan allows people with disabilities to create tax-advantaged savings accounts. Rachel works closely with Program Manager First National Bank of Omaha to administer the savings program to address the unique needs of account owners, keeping in mind convenience, ease of use, and cost. Rachel was instrumental in developing the Enable Savings Plan Alabama through a partnership agreement with the Alabama State Treasurer’s Office and Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office. Rachel has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Business Administration from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She serves as a mentor to the Nebraska Wesleyan University Advancement and Alumni Departments and as a Career Center Student Advisor. Rachel enjoys spending time with family, traveling the country in her classic Mustang, reading and gardening.
David BellDeputy Director, Oregon Treasury Savings Network
David Bell is the Deputy Director of the Oregon Savings Network, a division of the Oregon State Treasury. He joined the Network in 2015 to help develop and launch the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan for people with disabilities. The Oregon Savings Network also oversees the Oregon College Savings Plan and the new state retirement program, OregonSaves. In addition to working for the Oregon Savings Network, David is an adjunct professor at Portland State University in the School of Business Administration.
Before joining the Oregon Savings Network, David was the Director of Operations for the Global Youth Empowerment division of Operation HOPE, an international nonprofit focused on financial empowerment and capacity building. David received his bachelor’s degree in Business Communications at Point Loma University in San Diego and his MBA from Concordia University in Portland.
David is the chair of the Oregon Jump$tart Coalition and a founding board member of Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network. David has lived and worked in Africa, Asia and Europe, but calls Oregon home with his wife and two daughters.
Paul CurleyDirector of Savings Research 529 & ABLE Solutions, ISS Market Intelligence
Paul Curley, CFA, joined ISS Market Intelligence (formerly Strategic Insight and Financial Research Corporation) as a research analyst in 2008 and currently oversees 529 and ABLE market data, research, events and digital products and services for institutional clients. He is the primary contact for proprietary data aggregation and analysis of 529 savings plans, 529 prepaid plans and ABLE accounts, and authors ISS MI’s weekly, quarterly and annual business intelligence publications on the college savings market. He is also the editor-in-chief of the 529 Dash e-newsletter and the 529 Insiders website for institutions, financial advisers, and the media; the website also provides marketing services for program managers. Before joining ISS Market Intelligence, Paul was at Loomis, Sayles & Company, L.P. as a fixed income operations analyst for retail, institutional and high-net-worth investment products. He has also worked in the global treasury and custody fund accounting departments of Investors Bank & Trust. Paul received a MBA from Boston College, where he was awarded the Anne Murphy Award for outstanding contribution to the program and was accepted into the Beta Gamma Sigma honorary society. He also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science from Emory University.
Kay CeseraniManaging Principal, Meketa Investment
Ms. Ceserani is a consultant at Meketa Investment Group and has 26 years’ of investment consulting industry experience. Ms. Ceserani joined the firm in 2019 as part of the merger between Meketa and Pension Consulting Alliance (PCA) and is the lead consultant on several 529 college savings plans. She has extensive experience in the development, execution, and monitoring of investment programs for institutional clients as well as expertise in performing due diligence on money management firms and their products. In addition to her consulting responsibilities, Ms. Ceserani is co-chair of the firm’s Defined Contribution Committee and a member of the firm’s Human Resources Committee. Prior to joining PCA, Ms. Ceserani was a Consulting Project Manager at Yanni Partners in Pittsburgh, PA for six years. Her responsibilities included quarterly analysis of client portfolios, asset allocation studies, asset transitions, manager selection and monitoring, and special research projects. Ms. Ceserani has also served as the Director of Operations at Greycourt & Co., Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA and the Director of U.S. Equity Research and Consulting Manager at Ennis Knupp & Associates in Chicago, IL. She also spent six years at R.V. Kuhns in Portland, OR. Ms. Ceserani earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Oregon
Mark ChapleauFounding Member, Chapleau Law Group LLC
Mr. Chapleau, a member of the Bar in both Massachusetts and Connecticut, is a recognized expert in the field of Section 529 college savings plans and 529A disability savings plans. He has advised clients for more than seventeen (17) years in connection with fifty (50) state-run investment plans across twenty-seven (27) states. Mark is an active member of the Legal and Regulatory Affairs Committees of the College Savings Foundation and the College Savings Plan Network, which both educate the public on college savings plans and ABLE Plans. In addition, Mark is a frequent speaker on, and moderator of, panel discussions at college savings and disability savings plan conferences. Mark provides consulting, counseling, representation, and training services to 529 and 529A program managers, state agencies, non-profits, law firms, and individuals on a wide range of matters. His goal is to make the laws and regulations surrounding tax-advantaged college savings and disability plans understandable so that stakeholders may take full advantage of these powerful financial tools. Mark leverages more than twenty-nine years of experience in the financial services industry to (i) navigate Plan clients through applicable tax, securities regulatory, and other legal issues; (ii) draft and negotiate required contracts; and (iii) prepare program offering documents and other marketing disclosures. Mark is a former member of Weston Patrick, PA, and the former President and General Counsel of Upromise Investments, one of the nation’s leading Section 529 college savings and ABLE program managers. Upromise Investments was subsequently sold to Ascensus. Mark is a former FINRA-licensed General Securities Representative (Series 7) and General Securities Principal (Series 24). Prior to Upromise Investments, Mark was a Senior Legal Counsel at Fidelity Investments.
Chris CyrVice President of Business Development, Ascensus
Chris is currently responsible for all aspects of 529 plan business development from proposal generation through new client onboarding. Before his current role Chris managed the client relationships for a number of 529 programs and oversaw complex plan conversions. Chris also managed a team of seventeen field representatives responsible for community outreach and plan growth. Chris has 25 years of financial services experience. Chris holds a B.S. in Business from the University of Maine and is Series 7 & 63 licensed.
Derek DeLorenzoSenior Director, Upromise 529 Programs, Prodege, LLC
Derek is the Sr. Director of Upromise 529 Programs at Prodege, LLC. In this role, he is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with 529 plan providers. Derek’s objective is to demonstrate the benefits of the Upromise service as a complement to all college savers.
Derek is also the President of DeLorenzo Consulting Group, LLC. He created the firm in 2016 and has over 20 years of experience building, administering and distributing financial service products.
Prior to starting his own company, Derek was Senior Vice President, Client Relationship Management at Ascensus College Savings. In that role, he provided oversight of all client-facing activities. Derek’s responsibilities included management of the Relationship Management team, Advisor Sales team, Investment Management team and Marketing team. Ascensus College Savings is part of Ascensus, the largest independent retirement and college savings service provider in the United States.
Prior to joining Ascensus College Savings, Derek held several positions supporting intermediary sold products at John Hancock Financial Services (a division of Manulife Financial). As Director of Operations for the John Hancock Freedom 529, he designed and implemented the operations platform for the advisor-sold, multi-manager 529 plan.
Derek is a graduate of Fairfield University. He is an SEC- and MSRB-registered Municipal Advisor Representative and has previously held FINRA Series 7 and 24 licenses.
Scott De VaronaDivision Director MiABLE, Michicgan Department of Treasury
Scott is the Director of the MiABLE Disability Savings Program. He has been with MiABLE since its creation in November of 2016. In this capacity, Scott is responsible for the MiABLE program’s day to day operations, strategic planning, outreach, marketing, and administration. Furthermore, Scott directs a division within the Office of Post-Secondary Financial Planning, assisting borrowers, students, and their families finance post high school education. Scott has worked for the State for 20 years in various positions within the Departments of Treasury & Health & Human Services. Scott holds a BA in Business Administration from Northwood University and an MBA from the De Vos Graduate School of Management. Scott lives in Grand Ledge, Michigan with his wife and 2 children.
Richard EllisExecutive Director, my529
Mr. Ellis is the Executive Director at my529. He joined my529 in November 2015 as a senior director for compliance, finance and investments. Prior to that, he served two term as Utah State Treasurer. Other professional experience includes serving as Chief Deputy State Treasurer, Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, and Executive Director of the Department of Administrative Services for the state of Utah. Mr. Ellis currently serves on the Utah Retirement Systems board of directors and served on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board from 2012-2019. He was an adjunct faculty member at the Marriott School of Business, Brigham Young University where he taught investments and cash management. Mr. Ellis is a member of the College Savings Plan Network Executive Committee. As state treasurer he was actively involved with the National Association of State Treasurers having served as the association’s president in 2014. He received the NAST Harlan Boyles/Edward T. Alter Distinguished Service Award in 2011, the Jesse M. Unruh Award in 2015 and the Lucille Maurer Award in 2018. He received his MBA from the University of Utah and a Bachelor of Science in Business from Brigham Young University.
Jillian EnochVice President, SIFMA
Jillian Enoch is Vice President in Government Affairs at SIFMA. Ms. Enoch is responsible for managing retirement, savings, and tax compliance issues. She engages in active dialogue with government regulators and members of Congress to ensure the perspectives of SIFMA’s members are heard. Currently, her focus is on legislative and regulatory initiatives impacting fiduciary standards, information reporting and withholding, and tax incentives for saving. She has worked at SIFMA since June 2007. Ms. Enoch holds a Master of Public Policy from George Mason University and earned her Bachelor of Science in International Business from the University of Maryland. She also holds a certificate from the Securities Industry Institute, an executive education program at The Wharton School.
Todd ErskineVice President, Dimensional Fund Advisors
As a Vice President and Regional Director in Retirement Distribution, Todd Erskine coordinates Dimensional’s relationships with defined contribution service providers, consultants, and plan sponsors. Todd joined Dimensional from The 401(k) Company, where as a senior vice president he spent eight years helping midsize and large companies design the selection of investment managers and serviced their defined contribution retirement plans. He was previously a manager of financial planning for Farm Credit Bank of Texas and a financial analyst for Texas Commerce Bank as well as companies in the software and health care industries and for the state of Texas.Todd holds an MBA in finance and a BBA in finance and marketing from Texas State University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst® and a Certified Public Accountant.
Andrea FeirsteinManaging Director, AKF Consulting Group
Andrea Feirstein is a Managing Director with AKF Consulting Group, which she formed in March 2002. Over the last seventeen-plus years, Ms. Feirstein has advised forty-one public administrators of consumer-facing, state-run investment plans, including 529, ABLE and Secure Choice Programs. In all, Ms. Feirstein has over 34 years’ experience in the municipal finance industry. From 1999 to 2002, she managed the proprietary 529 business for Citigroup Asset Management, with overall responsibility for engagements with the States of Colorado and Illinois. Previously she was an investment banker with Salomon Smith Barney’s Municipal Securities Division (1987 to 1999, now Citigroup), and she was a bond lawyer with Brown & Wood (1984 to 1987, now Sidley Austin LLP). Ms. Feirstein is active in the National Association of State Treasurers (“NAST”), where she currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Public Finance, a joint venture between the NAST Foundation and Pepperdine University. Ms. Feirstein is also a member of the Boards of Directors of the New York City Industrial Development Agency (the “IDA”), Build New York City (“BNYC”), and the Randalls Island Park Alliance (“RIPA”). She chairs the Finance Committees of the IDA and BNYC, and she serves as Treasurer of RIPA, where she also chairs the Finance Committee and previously chaired the Audit Committee. Ms. Feirstein graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and the University of Virginia School of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Tax Review. She is an SEC-registered, MSRB-licensed Municipal Advisor (Series 50), and was previously a FINRA-licensed Registered Representative (Series 7), Municipal Principal (Series 53) and Uniform Securities Agent (Series 63). She is a retired member of the New York Bar Association.
Alisa FergusonAssociate General Counsel, Virginia529 | ABLEnow
Alisa Ferguson serves as Virginia529’s Associate General Counsel. In that role, she provides legal support to the Plan’s Board of Directors, CEO, General Counsel and the Plan’s staff for all Virginia529 college savings programs as well as the Plan’s ABLE savings program. She joined Virginia529 in 2011.
Prior to joining Virginia529, Alisa worked in private practice for 3 years as a trusts and estate attorney. She focused her practice in the areas of estate planning, special needs planning, and estate and trust administration.
Alisa graduated with honors from the University of Richmond School of Law. Alisa received her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from James Madison University. She is a member of the Virginia Bar Association, the Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Estate Planning Council of Richmond. Alisa also serves on the Board of Directors for Medical Home Plus and the Women for Madison Executive Advisory Council for James Madison University.
Michael FitzgeraldState Treasurer, State of Iowa
Michael Fitzgerald, Treasurer of State, earned his BS degree in business administration from the University of Iowa in 1974 and was first elected treasurer in 1982. He is serving his tenth term, making him the longest serving treasurer in the country. Treasurer Fitzgerald has a proven record of providing sound financial management to the citizens of Iowa. He serves as trustee and custodian of Iowa’s three state pension funds and invests over $4 billion of state operating funds. Treasurer Fitzgerald is the administrator of Iowa’s 529 Plans, which offer families an easy, tax-advantaged way to prepare for future college tuitions and expenses. The programs currently have over $5.7 billion in college savings. When Treasurer Fitzgerald took office in 1983, unclaimed property was a little known program. In his first year as treasurer, he made it a priority and established the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt. This program has returned over $287 million to more than 546,000 past and present Iowans since 1983. The treasurer is also active in national organizations that have an impact on issues in Iowa, including College Savings Plans Network (past chair), National Association of State Treasurers (past president), National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers (past president), and National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (past president).
Michael FrerichsIllinois State Treasurer, Chair, State of Illinois, College Savings Plan Network (CSPN)
Michael Frerichs was elected Illinois State Treasurer in November 2014. In Illinois, the Treasurer is the state’s Chief Investment Officer and Frerichs is a Certified Public Finance Officer. The office invests money on behalf of the state and local units of government. Mike also believes in providing individuals with the tools so that they can invest in themselves. He does this by encouraging savings plans for college and trade school, increasing financial education among all ages, removing barriers to a secure retirement, and protecting residents from predatory companies. The Treasurer’s Office actively manages approximately $25 billion. The investment approach is cautious to ensure the preservation of principal. The investment returns are significant: For every $1 spent to run the office, Mike nets $28 for the state’s residents. In Illinois, the Treasurer’s office predates the state’s incorporation in 1818. Voters in 1848 chose to make it an elected office. Frerichs is the 74th person to serve in this role. After less than a year in office, Frerichs was elected by his peers across the country to be on the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers’ Executive Committee. Frerichs also serves as Vice Chairman of National Association of State Treasurer’s Legislative Committee. Mike was born in the Downstate farming community of Gifford, Illinois. He graduated from Yale University and spent two years in Taiwan where he taught English to young students and learned to speak Chinese. He returned to Champaign County and launched his own technology business. He was elected to the Champaign County Board and elected Champaign County Auditor. He also served as a volunteer firefighter. In 2006, Mike was elected Illinois State Senator representing East Central Illinois. As chairman of the Higher Education Committee, Mike championed efforts to make college more affordable. He also served as chairman of the Agriculture and Conservation Committee. Mike lives in Champaign with his young daughter, Ella.
JJ HanleyDirector of Illinois ABLE , Illinois State Treasurer’s office
JJ Hanley is Director of Illinois ABLE for the Illinois State Treasurer’s office, which offers “A Better Life Experience” ABLE accounts to people with disabilities in Illinois and across the country.
Her career evolved from financial securities trader to disability parent advocate when an individual in her family was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
JJ produced Refrigerator Mothers, a national PBS documentary on autism and founded a jjslist.com, a yelp.com style, disability consumer review website with a top-ranking disability blog. She launched a Disability Etiquette Training program for corporations that has trained more than 7,000 employees and a public transportation skills program that has trained more than 5,000 high school and transition students with disabilities in the Chicago area.
JJ co-chairs the Banking Committee of the Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Financial Advisory Council for the Empowerment of People with Disabilities. She serves on the steering committee for Equip for Equality’s Illinois ADA Project and is a member of the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities.
Brennan HannonBusiness Development Manager, CollegeInvest
Brennan Hannon has worked in financial services for over 20 years with a focus on sales, relationships, and client service. He is a seasoned professional with a background in public speaking and group facilitation/education.
Brennan entered the financial services field with Ameriprise where he worked with advisors as a liaison to the home office and studied for his financial licensing. He then worked for Wells Fargo as a Vice President and Relationship Manager where he worked with large corporate and government clients. He helped lead the largest merger in banking history as a project manager and client advocate. Brennan has also served on the Board of Directors for several nonprofit organizations and regularly volunteers his time in his community.
In his current role Brennan works to educate the financial community about the importance of saving for college through 529 plans and helps families create an educational legacy for their children and grandchildren.
Brennan received his bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership & Management from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN. He lives in Denver with his family and spends most of his free time enjoying Colorado’s outdoor playground.
Zach HaughawoutDirector of STABLE Account, Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague
Zach Haughawout is the Director of the STABLE Account program in the office of Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague. Zach is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities. Prior to joining the Treasurer’s Office, he served as Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs and Communications at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, where he oversaw the implementation of the largest increase of funds in the history of the department. An attorney by trade, Zach’s practice areas include; Administrative Law, Trust and Estates, and Domestic Relations. He lives in Plain City, with his wife and three kids.
Madeline HumeAnalyst, Manager Research, Morningstar
Madeline Hume is a manager research analyst for Morningstar Research Services LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc. She assists with coverage of multi-asset and alternative fund strategies. As part of that coverage, she leads the manager research group’s 529 plan research efforts and oversees its annual 529 plan ratings calendar. Before assuming her current role in 2018, Hume was a client services representative for the Morningstar Office and Morningstar Direct platforms. Hume holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business.
Bri JoinerDirector of Professional Qualifications, Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB)
Bri Joiner is the Director of Professional Qualifications at the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), where she leads strategic policy, rulemaking initiatives and regulatory planning for the MSRB’s Professional Qualifications program. Prior to assuming her current role, Ms. Joiner managed the MSRB’s educational initiatives relating to the development and delivery of regulatory content for regulated entities and market stakeholders in support of a fair and efficient municipal securities market.
Prior to joining the MSRB, Ms. Joiner spent ten years at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). She served as Senior Regulatory Policy Analyst in FINRA’s Office of General Counsel, where she worked on rulemaking initiatives and researched complex legal and compliance matters. She also held the position of Senior Manager / Associate Director in FINRA’s Member Education and Training department, where she advised on initiatives having a market impact and served as a subject matter expert on various topics. Ms. Joiner began her career at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ms. Joiner earned a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Spelman College and a juris doctor from the Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity.
Stacey MacPhetresSenior Director, College Finance, Bright Horizons College Coach
Stacey MacPhetres Senior Director, College Finance, Bright Horizons College Coach Stacey MacPhetres has devoted 28+ year career to higher education finance, student loan repayment and financial literacy. Stacey has been with Bright Horizons College Coach for over 6 years and regularly presents on a range of education finance related topics including; Saving for College, Paying for College, Education Loan Repayment Strategies, Money Management for Young Professionals and more. With extensive experience as an education finance and student loan expert at Bright Horizons College Coach and in financial aid administration at Emerson College and Elms College, Ms. MacPhetres has counseled thousands of students and families through the college saving, college finance and education loan repayment process. In addition, she spent more than a decade working as a vice president in education finance at JPMorgan Chase, where she was responsible for managing federal and private loan portfolios and financial literacy programs. Ms. MacPhetres also served as a consultant in financial aid for Mount Holyoke College. Stacey holds a B.A. in Political Science from Marist College and a M.A. in Political Communication / Marketing from Emerson College. She is a member of the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education.
Chris McGeeGeneral Counsel, Virginia529 | ABLEnow
Chris McGee serves as Virginia529 General Counsel and head of its Policy Division. Chris joined Virginia529 in July 2008 as Deputy General Counsel. Prior to joining Virginia 529, Chris was in private practice for 14 years with a focus on commercial litigation and commercial transactions and served in the Office of the Attorney General. He is a graduate of the University of Richmond School of Law where he was the Executive Editor of the University of Richmond Law Review. Before attending law school, Chris was an Associate Vice President at Sovran Investment Corporation. He was also selected for and completed Sovran Bank’s commercial lending program, a full-time, year long program with an emphasis on quantitative analysis, credit policies, and loan structuring. He regularly serves as a speaker, moderator, and panelist at national legal, 529, and ABLE industry conferences and has co-authored articles on both 529 and ABLE issues. Chris currently serves as the vice-chair of the College Savings Foundation.
Paul MusanteGroup Manager, College Savings Plan Marketing, T. Rowe Price
Paul Musante is the group manager of college savings marketing in the Individual Investor Division. Previously, he was head of client and market insights in the enterprise marketing services organization. He is also a vice president of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc. Before joining T. Rowe Price in 2002, he was a program officer with World Education managing economic development projects in Southeast Asia; prior to that, he was a biologist with Alza Corporation. Paul earned an A.B. in human biology from Stanford University and an M.B.A. in marketing and strategy from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Kandi PickardPresident & CEO, National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)
Kandi Pickard is the President & CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) where she provides vision and leadership, working collaboratively with individuals and organizations to support the entire Down syndrome community. Kandi holds a degree in business administration and brings two decades of experience in operations and effective administration management to her role at NDSS. Kandi’s involvement in the Down syndrome community first began as a local volunteer and advocate after her youngest son, Mason was born with Down syndrome. Eight years later, she leads NDSS with a focus on building community and keeping people with Down syndrome at the center of everything the organization does. Kandi’s vision for the future of NDSS includes resources, programs and support for individuals with Down syndrome and their families from birth to adulthood, with a special focus on caregiving, public health and supporting aging adults.
Richard PolimeniHead of Education Savings Programs, Past Chair, Bank of America Merrill, College Savings Foundation
Richard Polimeni is Head of Education Savings Programs for Bank of America. In this role, Richard is responsible for managing Bank of America’s $15 billion 529 College Savings business. Bank of America is one of the largest distributors of 529 plans to consumers and is the program manager for one of the country’s largest 529 plans, Maine’s NextGen Plan, as well as the distributor of 18 other state 529 programs.
Richard is also the former Chair of the College Savings Foundation (CSF), a leading nonprofit helping American families save for higher education. Previously, he served in other leadership roles on the CSF Executive Committee as both Vice Chair and Secretary. Additionally, Richard has contributed to the organization over the years as Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, the Conference Committee, and the Media Committee.
Richard is frequently quoted in articles related to education savings and legislative issues. He has also appeared on various TV and radio programs, including such programs as Fox Business Radio (Saving Your Money), Money Sense Radio, Business for Breakfast, Real Wealth Radio, and CBS (Mottek on Money), among others.
During his more than 30 years of financial services industry experience, Richard has held various sales, marketing, operational, and management positions supporting retirement and education savings products.
Prior to joining Bank of America in 2002, Richard spent 15 years with Smith Barney/Citigroup where he helped launch two of the country’s first 529 college savings programs for the states of Colorado (Scholars Choice in 1999) and Illinois (Bright Start in 2000).
Richard is Series 7, 63, 66 and 53 registered (Municipal Securities Principal) and earned a degree in Business Management from Brookdale College.
Rachel RamosSenior Product Manager, North American Client Group, Capital Group | American Funds
Rachel Ramos is a product manager for American Funds, part of Capital Group, responsible for the product development and management of American Funds’ education savings product suite, including CollegeAmerica® and ABLEAmerica®. She has 19 years of industry experience, all with Capital Group. Earlier in her career at Capital, she contributed to the firms’ marketing, conference and overall independent broker-dealer strategy, and distribution and service center efforts. Rachel is based in Los Angeles.
William ReillyDirector, Product Management –529, DAF & Offshore Mutual Funds, UBS Financial Services, Inc.
Current Role(s) Head of Offshore Mutual Funds, 529 and Donor-Advised Fund Product Manager
Previous Role(s) IRA Associate Product Manager, Mutual Funds Product Specialist
Joined UBS in June 2009
Professional History & Education
FINRA Series 7, 66, and 24 licensed
Former Smith Barney Registered Client Service Associate
University of Pennsylvania: Investment Management
New York University: Financial Planning
Seton Hall University: Economics
Amy C. SochardVice President-Advertising Regulation, FINRA
Amy C. Sochard is the Vice President of FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Department. The department helps protect investors by ensuring members of FINRA use advertisements, social media posts, and other communications that are fair, balanced, and not misleading. Ms. Sochard oversees the department’s regulatory review programs and business operations, including the development of technology to facilitate the review of communications. Ms. Sochard provides expertise and policy guidance to other FINRA departments concerning FINRA, SEC, MSRB and SIPC rules pertaining to communications with the public. She also oversees the development of new rules, published guidance, and interpretations regarding communications, and she routinely speaks at industry events on these topics. Prior to joining FINRA, Ms. Sochard worked with a real estate syndication firm in Washington, DC. She received a bachelor’s degree with distinction in English from the University of Virginia and studied poetry writing at Columbia University.
Stuart SpielmanSenior Vice President, Advocacy, Autism Speaks
Stuart Spielman is senior vice president of advocacy for Autism Speaks. He joined Autism Speaks in 2008 as senior policy advisor and counsel after a long legal career and years of advocacy as a volunteer. Stuart advocates on Capitol Hill and before federal agencies for research and services that can improve the lives of children and adults on the autism spectrum. He has worked on the passage and the implementation of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) for the past decade. Stuart holds a juris doctor from the University of Wisconsin School of Law and a master in laws in taxation from the New York University School of Law. He and his wife Mona are the parents of two sons, one of whom is on the autism spectrum.
Chris StackManaging Consultant, Savingforcollege.com
Chris Stack, Esq. Managing Consultant, Savingforcollege.com, is a nationally recognized 529 authority and experienced in educational finance. An attorney for over 25 years, licensed in New York & Pennsylvania, Chris has experience in finance, investments and law relating to tax-advantaged products, including Section 529, since it became federal law in 1996. As a partner at a major New York law firm, he advocated to his state clients the benefits of 529 programs and beginning in 1997 served as the principal or participating author for a number of states’ legislation establishing 529 programs. He assisted several states implement their 529 saving programs which now service over $15B in assets. He has been leading Savingforcollege.com LLC consulting and educational services since 2001. He is intimately familiar with the provisions of Section 529 itself, as well as the various state programs. Currently, Chris advises and consults with states and investment companies, and presents nationally to employers, financial advisors, accountants, attorneys and actual investors on 529 plans. Chris is a graduate of Fordham College and Fordham University School of Law, located in New York City. He has participated in 529 programs for his two boys since 1997
Tamara K. SalmonAssociate General Counsel, Investment Company Institute (ICI)
Tamara K. Salmon is Senior Associate Counsel of the Investment Company Institute. She has been with the Institute since 1993. Her work at the Institute involves responsibility for a variety of legal and regulatory issues relating to mutual funds, broker-dealers, and investment advisers, including issues relating to 529 plans. Prior to joining the Institute, she served as Assistant Director of the Florida Division of Securities. In her eight years with the Division, she oversaw the Division’s registration and examination functions, filed and settled enforcement proceedings, testified frequently as an expert witness, drafted and analyzed statutory and rule changes, and handled various cabinet issues for Florida’s Comptroller. Prior to joining the Florida Division, she was an attorney with the Commerce Committee of the Florida House of Representatives, where her duties included drafting and analyzing legislation relating to the financial services industry. She graduated magna cum laude from Salem Women’s College and magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from Florida State University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association as well as the bar associations of the State of Florida, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Brea N. TabernikProduct Manager, Managed Investments, Edward Jones
Brea Tabernik is a Product Manager within the Managed Investments Group. In this role, Brea has relationship management responsibilities for several key product partners and holds product management responsibilities, including managing prod-uct supply, driving innovation and conducting ongoing risk analysis efforts. Brea is also the 529 Plans stakeholder, leading efforts to support and evolve the current offerings at Edward Jones. Brea is an active participant in the Women’s Business Resource Group as well as the “Let’s Do Lunch” Broadcast Planning Committee, focused on supporting team members in development and career interests.
Brea began her financial services career in 2006 at Stifel Nicolaus, where she worked in their Consulting Services Group as an Advisory Product Analyst, focused on due diligence and program management in relation to separately managed ac-counts. She joined Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA) in 2012, where she most recently served as Vice President of Product Marketing. In this role, Brea lead a team charged with oversight of value add materials creation, compliance approvals and ongoing strategy to support firm objectives. Prior to this role, she worked as a Sen-ior Relationship Manager for WFA, with oversight of over 40 asset management firms as it related to day to day business development, contract negotiation, follow-ing protocol and understanding organizational structure and products.
Brea is an active volunteer with St. Paul Catholic Church and School in Fenton, MO, and she is also engaged in Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition of St. Louis, where she served as an Auxiliary Board Member from 2016 to 2019. Brea earned a BBA in Marketing from McKendree University in 2005, and she also holds her FINRA Series 7, 66 and 24 licenses.
Brea lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband Paul and their two children, Nora (4) and Liam (1).
Jennifer TierneyExecutive Director, Product Development Manager, Morgan Stanley
Jennifer Tierney joined Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in November 2013 as a 529 Product Manager. In her current role, she is responsible for product and platform development for the 529 college savings business. Previously, Jennifer was with AllianceBernstein Investments for 8 years. From July 2010 to November 2013, Jennifer was a 529 Product Manager responsible for management of projects relating to the promotion, support and maintenance of the firm’s $7+ billion 529 college savings business.
Vivian M. TsaiHead of Relationship Management, Chair, TIAA, College Savings Foundation (CSF)
A senior leader in TIAA’s dedicated Education Savings business, Vivian leads the unit’s Relationship Management and Field Consulting teams and is responsible for State relationship management, including contractual compliance oversight, ensuring client satisfaction, and driving plan growth and strategy across eight State-sponsored 529 college savings plans representing more than $30 billion in college savings. Prior to joining TIAA in 2014, Vivian spent nine years with BlackRock in sales and product management roles. Vivian began her career in financial services in the wealth management businesses of Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, and has worked in San Francisco, Hong Kong, Taipei, Los Angeles and New York.
Vivian has been involved in the education savings industry since 2007 and is currently the Chair of Board of the College Savings Foundation. She is a Certified Investment Management Analyst and a Certified Private Wealth Advisor and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Vivian holds FINRA Series 7, 66, 24, 31, 51 registrations.
Scott YasharianDirector, Invesco Advisory Solutions
Scott Yasharian is Director of Advisory Solutions and Client Portfolio Manager for Invesco’s Investment Solutions team. In this role, he works with financial advisors, institutions, and broker/dealer home offices with a focus on multi-asset portfolio construction research and guidance. Mr. Yasharian has been in the industry since 1993. Prior to joining Invesco in 2017, he spent 23 years with FactSet Research Systems, Inc. in various global leadership positions. He earned a BS degree in finance from Babson College and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Scott and his family reside in Los Angeles, CA