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Focused on the Future: JC Abusaid: Being Fearless and Defining your NorthStar

Focused on the Future: JC Abusaid: Being Fearless and Defining your NorthStar

In the latest episode of the new podcast series, Focused on the Future, veteran industry leader Suzanne Siracuse talks with JC Abusaid, CEO of Halbert Hargrove, on the importance of purposeful collaboration, being fearless on culture, clients and teams,  and capturing a client’s loyalty for the long term.

Specifically, JC discusses:

  • How fate and persistence landed his dream job
  • How his “no fences” approach led him to building successful teams
  • Handling conflict through consistent communication and role clarity
  • The importance of documenting your firm’s culture strategy
  • His firm’s unique approach to working with clients. 

Resources:

Connect With Suzanne Siracuse:

Connect With JC Abusaid:

About Our Guest: 

As CEO and President of Halbert Hargrove, JC is guiding the firm confidently into the future. Execution and operational excellence are his bywords; we consider him our glue. He formally took the helm of CEO in December 2021. For many years, working alongside Chairman and HH founder Russ Hill, JC has had the privilege to be involved in most facets of the firm, and has enjoyed being part of HH’s growth and success.

JC enjoys the dynamic nature of his role: “I like solving big challenges,” he says. He joined HH as Operations Manager in 1996 and was named President and Chief Operating Officer in 2010.

JC earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Finance emphasis from the Colegio de Estudios Superiores de Administracion in Bogota, Colombia, and his MBA from University of Redlands School of Business. He was awarded the ACCREDITED INVESTMENT FIDUCIARY™ designation by the University of Pittsburgh-affiliated Center for Fiduciary Studies.

In 2016, JC was part of Stanford University’s pioneer cohort in earning a LEAD Certificate in Corporate Innovation from Stanford Graduate School of Business. In 2021, he was again part of an inaugural class, this time in taking part in BlackRock’s first Emerging Leader Lab.

Married to Ruth for more than 30 years, JC is dad to Nico and Isabella – and a Boston Terrier named Lola. After a decade-long odyssey of breaking ground and overcoming an absurd number of obstacles, JC is happy to report that the Abusaid family finally took up residence in their Laguna Beach home in 2021. JC’s commitment to exercising and eating healthy is legendary; call him a health freak, and he’ll take it as a compliment. Outside of the office, you’ll find him running, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and snowboarding.



Focused on the Future: Lazetta Braxton: Her Advice on Making an Impact by Doing the Work

Focused on the Future: Lazetta Braxton: Her Advice on Making an Impact by Doing the Work

In the latest episode of the new podcast series, Focused on the Future, veteran industry leader Suzanne Siracuse talks with Lazetta Braxton, Co-CEO of 2050 Wealth Partners, about how she is structuring her firm to serve the investor of the future, why she doesn’t like the term “mentor”, and why we all need to pay attention to Gen Z.

Specifically, Lazetta discusses:

  • Her firm’s business model and how it is allowing people who are income rich and building assets to have access to financial planning and a partner with them on the journey
  • The one important conversation that led her to become one of the leading voices in our industry
  • Why she is leaning into being a “friend-tor” vs a mentor
  • Her advice on working with the media 
  • Why firms need to be paying attention to what Gen Z is saying 

Resources:

Connect With Suzanne Siracuse:

Connect With Lazetta Braxton:

About Our Guest:

For Lazetta Rainey Braxton, MBA, CFP®, it’s all about doing the work. 

She is passionate about amplifying diversity, inclusion, equality and belonging in the financial planning profession, and does so through financial planning, public speaking, writing, consulting, and coaching. 

Lazetta serves as co-CEO of 2050 Wealth Partners, where she provides access to financial planning to individuals and families who desire financial freedom to influence, experience, give and make a difference for their family and future generations.

Through Lazetta’s business consulting practice, Lazetta & Associates, she employs a “no fear, no shame zone” to help financial services firms nurture culturally aware and hospitable workplace environments that ignite innovation and allocate equity amongst their employees.

A sought-after financial expert, Lazetta delivers keynote presentations and workshops with both care and urgency that invite attendees to nurture and advance human capital.

Recognized for her leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication, Lazetta was named as a Crain’s New York Business Notable Black Leader and Executive, as well as one of the top 10 of Investopedia’s 100 Top Financial Advisors for three consecutive years. Investment News’ honored her as one of its inaugural Women to Watch and Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion recipients. She also received the Association of African American Financial Advisors’ Leadership Legacy Award and the Heart of Financial Planning award from the Financial Planning Association. 

Lazetta’s national media presence includes appearances on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Nightly Business Report, and CNBC’s Closing Bell. She writes on topics related to culture, talent and wealth as a member of the CNBC Digital Financial Advisor Council and a contributor to the Wealth Management to the WSJ Experts blog, WealthManagment.com, and NextAvenue.org.

In all her endeavors, she is on a mission to create wealth for the common good.

Focused on the Future: Trap Kloman Discusses How to Continue Success in an Unpredictable and Evolving Market

Focused on the Future: Trap Kloman Discusses How to Continue Success in an Unpredictable and Evolving Market

In this episode of Focused on the Future, industry leader Suzanne Siracuse talks with Trap Kloman, the President and COO of Commonwealth Financial Network, to discuss strategies and principles that have contributed to the long-standing success of Commonwealth Financial Network and its dedication to serving its advisors effectively.

Specifically, Trap discusses:

  • How a customer-centric approach has helped Commonwealth build strong relationships with advisors as their mission and reason for being. The firm believes that if they take care of their advisors, success will naturally follow.
  • Why a purpose-driven mindset is essential in the industry, and Trap reiterates the importance of having a clear purpose and staying true to it in all their endeavors.
  • Balancing client requests with the firm’s capabilities and the need to prioritize requests based on what is feasible and aligns with the firm’s overall mission.

Resources:

Connect With Suzanne Siracuse:

Connect With Trap Kloman:

About Our Guest:

Trap Kloman serves as President and Chief Operating Officer at Commonwealth Financial Network. With the firm since 2015, he works to strengthen the success of our company and our advisors by ensuring that all members of our community have the resources, tools, and opportunities they need to remain competitive. That starts by building relationships, lending an ear, and keeping abreast of future opportunities and industry trends.



Focused on the Future: Heather Fortner: Her Journey, Lessons and Advice on Making it to the C-Suite

Focused on the Future: Heather Fortner: Her Journey, Lessons and Advice on Making it to the C-Suite

In the latest episode of the new podcast series, Focused on the Future, veteran industry leader Suzanne Siracuse talks with Heather Fortner, CEO of SignatureFD, about the importance of understanding people’s motivations,  the evolution of a firm’s messaging and why inclusion is key to a positive culture.

Specifically, Heather discusses:

  • Her journey from intern to CCO to CEO
  • Why her degree in professional counselling was the most important thing she has done.
  • Her firm’s unique website messaging and how it came about.
  • The one question she was asked influenced how she builds and develops her teams.

 Connect With Suzanne Siracuse:

Connect With Heather Fortner:

About Our Guest:

Heather is the Chief Executive Office and Chair of the Board of SignatureFD, an integrated and comprehensive wealth management firm with offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina, recently named to the Inc. 5000.

During her twenty-year tenure at the firm, Heather has created and executed strategies that have exponentially grown SignatureFD’s AUM from $250M to over $7B.  Her unwavering commitment to leading and building teams that exhibit excellence in leadership with heart has garnered her national recognition. Among these accolades, Heather has been awarded CEO of the Year by Wealth Management Magazine in 2021 and Most Admired CEO by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2022. In 2023, she was selected to the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2023 and named to the Titan 100 List. 

She is a longstanding advocate of DEI initiatives both at SignatureFD and within the wealth management industry broadly. Her focus on empowering women to take on leadership positions has helped SignatureFD achieve a 90% female executive leadership team. Her belief that every person has a purpose in life, to which wealth properly aligned can help support, is the cornerstone of SignatureFD’s client promise, Net Worthwhile™.

Resources:



Focused on the Future: Peggy Haslach: How Financial Advisors can best serve the LGBTQ+ community

Focused on the Future: Peggy Haslach: How Financial Advisors can best serve the LGBTQ+ community

In the latest episode of the new podcast series, Focused on the Future, veteran industry leader Suzanne Siracuse talks with Peggy Haslach, financial advisor at The Finity Group, talk about how to best serve LGBTQ+ clients and team members, creating a niche practice that aligns with you as a person, and why she believes our profession “needs more pies!”

Specifically, Peggy discusses:

  •  Why she changed careers and became a financial advisor. 
  •  Critical best practices in serving the LGBTQ+ community.
  •  The importance of discussing ESG with your entire client base
  • Various ways in which firms and their teams can approach DEI effectively.  

Resources:

Connect With Suzanne Siracuse:

Connect With Peggy Haslach:

About Our Guest:

Peggy Haslach, CFP, CLU is a Financial Advisor with The Finity Group.  Peggy has built her practice working with female practice (veterinarians, doctors, and attorneys) and small business owners. At age 53 she made a career change when she saw, first-hand, the effect life events had on women’s financial security. She realized there were very few female financial advisors and financial advisors who could relate to the different planning needs of women and LGBTQ. 

Peggy is a lifelong athlete. She was a Highschool All American Swimmer and a member of the Women’s National Waterpolo Team. As an athlete, trainer and coach, Peggy uses a coach’s approach with her clients. Peggy has also earned her both her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ ( CFP®) and Chartered Life Underwriter ® (CLU®) designations. Peggy is a member of The Finity Group’s Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Committee and was honored as a Rising Star at the 2022 InvestmentNews Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Awards for her work promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the financial services industry.

Peggy and her wife Desiree live in Sumner, Washington with their 4 Border Collies.



Focused on the Future: Leslie Tabor: Why every Financial Advisory Firm needs to have a Talent Strategy

Focused on the Future: Leslie Tabor: Why every Financial Advisory Firm needs to have a Talent Strategy

In the latest episode of the new podcast series, Focused on the Future, veteran industry leader Suzanne Siracuse talks with Leslie Tabor, Director of Education and Consulting at Charles Schwab, about what key areas top performing firms are investing in, mastering inclusive leadership skills, and why a “people first, employees second” approach to culture is a win for all.

Specifically, Leslie discusses:

  • Why having a talent strategy is critical to firm growth. 
  • Tips for creating a team culture in hybrid work environments.
  • The important of offering Training and Development programs. 
  • Recruitment and retention strategies that work.

Resources:

Connect With Suzanne Siracuse:

Connect With Leslie Tabor:

About Our Guest:

Leslie Y. Tabor is director of Business Consulting & Education for Schwab Advisor Services. She oversees the strategic direction of talent management programs designed to help independent advisors evolve and grow their firms.

Since joining Schwab in 1999, Leslie has held leadership roles in operations, risk management, and program management. She is passionate about advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the financial services industry; she mentors young professionals and works with the Professional Business Women of California, Financial Women of San Francisco, and the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning.

Leslie holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix. She was recognized as one of the Top 100 Filipina Women in 2015 by the Filipina Women’s Network, with the 2016 Industry Leader Award by the Professional Business Women of California, with the 2019 “See It, Be It” Role Model Award by InvestmentNews, and with the 2021 “Diversity and Inclusion Luminaries Award by ThinkAdvisor.



 

Focused on the Future: Mark Tibergien on Setting your Strategy to Drive an Enduring Business

Focused on the Future: Mark Tibergien on Setting your Strategy to Drive an Enduring Business

In the latest episode of the new podcast series, Focused on the Future, veteran industry leader Suzanne Siracuse talks with industry legend, Mark Tibergien, on the key areas every firm needs to focus on to ensure success, why he encourages everyone to embrace reverse mentoring and how everyone can participate in improving financial literacy in their communities.

Specifically, Mark discusses:

  • The Evolving Role of a Financial Advisor
  • His Four step process in Setting a Successful Firm Strategy.
  • The importance of finding your differentiator.
  • His view on the biggest transformation in the financial advice industry
  • Reverse Mentoring:  Why he’s a fan!
  • Why improving financial literacy is personal for him 

Connect With Suzanne Siracuse:

Connect With Mark Tibergien:

About Our Guest:

Mark Tibergien retired in 2020, as CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions, LLC, a BNY Mellon Company, and now works as a management consultant, speaker and board member with other enterprises that are going through dynamic transformation. 

Currently, he serves as Advisor in Residence for Ernst & Young Wealth & Asset Management Sector, is on the board of Pathstone, a multi-location RIA backed by Lovell Minnick Partners and Kelso & Company, and as an advisory board member for Commonwealth Financial Network.

His industry specialty is in financial services, in particular working with Wealth Management Firms, Broker/Dealers, and Registered Investment Advisory firms through each stage of their business evolution.



Focused on the Future: Kristi Rodriguez on Redefining Retirement, Attracting GenZ and Making an Impact

Focused on the Future: Kristi Rodriguez on Redefining Retirement, Attracting GenZ and Making an Impact

In the latest episode of the new podcast series, Focused on the Future, veteran industry leader Suzanne Siracuse talks with Kristi Rodriguez, Senior Vice President of The Nationwide Retirement Institute, about redefining retirement, appealing to the Gen Z investor and an innovative approach to introducing the financial services industry to diverse students.

Specifically, Kristi discusses:

  • Taking a “safety first” approach when it comes to retirement income
  • How to best serve Gen Z’ers
  • What and Who inspired her to spearhead the creation of The Financial Alliance for Racial Equity
  • A program, that actually works in recruiting diverse talent to the financial services industry

Resources:

Connect With Suzanne Siracuse:

Connect With Kristi Rodriguez:

About Our Guest:

Kristi Martin Rodriguez currently serves as Senior Vice President of the Nationwide Retirement Institute® for Nationwide Financial, leading the teams responsible for advocating for and educating members, partners and industry leaders on issues impacting their ability to have a secure financial future.

Kristi is an active member of the community, working with several non-profit and social organizations that aid unserved communities throughout the country. Kristi was one of the founding members of the Ohio chapter of The National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP), an organization helping people of color and women achieve inclusion in our industry. Kristi serves as a board member for Kindway, a non-profit organization dedicated to the successful re-entry of incarcerated men and women into the community. Additionally, Kristi is a member of the Board of Trustees for The American College of Financial Services.



Focused on the Future: Tyrone Ross on What It Will Take To Serve the Client of the Future

Focused on the Future: Tyrone Ross on What It Will Take To Serve the Client of the Future

In the latest episode of the new podcast series, Focused on the Future, veteran industry leader Suzanne Siracuse talks with Tyrone Ross, about what it will take to best serve the client of the future, the importance of firm culture and why he still believes in crypto!  

Specifically, Tyrone discusses:

  • What the client of the future is going to want in a financial advisor 
  • Why the words “wealth management” may exclude an entire group of investors.
  • Which industry firms have him “excited” 
  • Why he is still bullish on crypto.
  • His advice on creating a culture that embraces inclusivity.

Connect With Suzanne Siracuse:

Connect With Tyrone:

About Our Guest:

Tyrone Ross is the CEO and Co-founder of Turnqey Labs, Inc. and President and Founder of 401 Financial, a registered investment adviser. Formerly as the CEO and Co-founder of Onramp Invest he raised $7M in venture capital from Gemini’s Frontier Fund, Coinbase Ventures, SoftBank’s Opportunity Fund and others. He has been recognized by Investment News 40 under 40 (2019), and WealthManagement.com as a top ten advisor set to change the industry in 2019. FinancialPlanning.com named him as one of 20 people who will change wealth management in 2020. He was recently named as Investopedia’s Top 100 financial advisors, Think Advisor’s 2021 IA25: VIP’s Pushing Advisors Forward, and most recently acknowledged as one of Barron’s 10 people to watch in wealth management in 2022.



Focused on the Future: Michael Nathanson on Retaining Top Talent through Purpose, Sustainability and Culture

Focused on the Future: Michael Nathanson on Retaining Top Talent through Purpose, Sustainability and Culture

In the latest episode of the new podcast series, Focused on the Future, Veteran Industry leader Suzanne Siracuse talks with Michael Nathanson, Chair and CEO of wealth management firm, The Colony Group, to discuss keys to retaining top talent, setting up a sustainable firm for the future and what we all can do to make an impact on our industry.  

Specifically, Michael discusses: 

  • His overall philosophy and process around attracting retaining and hiring top talent
  • Deciphering the difference between descriptive and prescriptive cultures. 
  • Why he set out to create a firm culture that is opposite of the Borgs from Star Trek.
  • The six traits in the humane immune system that companies also seek to be sustainable. 
  • Why he has taken the Net Positive Pledge and is looking for other fin serv firms to do the same.

Resources:

Connect With Suzanne Siracuse:

Connect With Michael Nathanson: 

About Our Guest:

Michael Nathanson, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of The Colony Group, is a highly respected and experienced leader in the wealth management industry. He is relentlessly dedicated to bringing meaning and joy to the lives of Colony Group clients and team members by fostering a culture that values lifelong learning, cultivates innovation, and offers opportunities to live lives full of passion and purpose.