Category Archives: Business Planning

Ep 79: The Rules Have Changed! How to Get More From Clients – With Bev Flaxington

What makes “The Ask” so awkward and even counterproductive? 

FlexShares recently surveyed high-net-worth investors across the country to better understand what drives their decision to allocate assets to and among advisors. The results are in, and they provide some valuable insight. 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Beverly Flaxington, Human Behavior Coach, a three-time bestselling author, and Founder of The Collaborative. They discuss how advisors can better understand their clients motivations to build trust and better manage their experience. 

Beverly discusses: 

  • Five unique client personas 
  • How adapting your strategies by persona can result in getting more of their wallet
  • The potential shortfall of the 80/20 rule 
  • A common, mistaken assumption advisors make with clients 
  • And more


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About Our Guest:

For the last 17 years Beverly has worked as a corporate consultant. She is also an adjunct professor at Suffolk University currently teaching “Leadership and Social Responsibility”, a course which uses her trademarked change model. She has previously taught “Small Business Management”, “Organizational Behavior” and “Dealing with Difficult People”, a course she created for the University. Beverly is a Certified Hypnotist, Certified Hypnosis Trainer, Reiki Master Attunement Practitioner, Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA) and Certified Professional Values Analyst (CPVA). She uses the DISC and PIAV tools frequently in her work with individuals and organizations. Bev holds a BSBA and an MBA from Suffolk University.

She is an expert in human behavior and change management, sales, marketing, stress management, hypnosis, time management, life and career change, teambuilding, communication and business building.

Beverly D. Flaxington is the author of 30 Days to Understanding Other People: A Daily Approach to Improving Your Relationships and Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior, which won the gold award from Readers Favorite for best new book on relationships. She is also an author of four other books focused on creating change and improvement as a financial advisor.

Ep 78: Expand Your ESG Investing Expertise — With Michael Young

Understanding Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) criteria points and how they relate to investment portfolios is critical for helping your clients navigate ESG issues.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Michael Young, Manager of Educational Programs at US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. They discuss ESG investing and how you can better educate yourself and your clients on the topic to generate new conversations and investment strategies.

Michael discusses: 

  • How US SIF has created tools and programs to support advisors in selling sustainable investments
  • Growing your understanding of ESG alongside your client
  • Tools and resources that can jumpstart your learning and the integration of ESG data points
  • How you can begin to measure impact investing to enhance your client conversations
  • And more


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About Our Guest:

Michael Young is the Manager of Educational programs at US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. He is responsible for education initiatives, all US SIF course offerings, and private training services. 

He continually develops existing courses, creates educational materials for the US SIF Foundation, and contributes to new materials and resources to advance the field. He presents frequently on sustainable investing at industry events and enjoys sharing the work of US SIF and its membership on podcasts and radio programs. 

Michael’s comments have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Investment News, and Bloomberg, among other publications.
Prior to joining US SIF, Michael worked in mutual funds, separately managed accounts, closed-end funds, and exchange-traded funds. His clients ranged from registered investment advisors and financial planning firms and broker-dealer firms to registered investment companies and hedge funds. 

While at AdvisorShares, Michael helped launch the first actively managed fossil fuel free ETF in 2012   

Delta expresses the amount of price change a derivative will see based on the price of the underlying security.

Ep 77: “Hello, Ideal Client” — With Susan Danzig

In this marketplace, personalized service is what separates a financial advisor from an app. Knowing your ‘niche’ and your Ideal Client may be the key to a more prosperous —and satisfying — practice. 

In this episode, Susan Danzig, a Certified Business Development Coach for financial advisors, joins David Partain to discuss the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of narrowing your client focus. 

Susan discusses: 

  • Refining your focus to create impactful niche marketing 
  • 7 Simple Steps for Financial Advisors to Reach, Attract, and Convert More Ideal Clients
  • The importance of knowing and communicating your personal brand 
  • Shifting your prospect screening process for your benefit and theirs
  • And more


Connect With Susan Danzig:

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About Our Guest:

Susan Danzig is an experienced Business Development Coach for financial services professionals. She leverages a 20+ year career guiding financial advisors to achieve greater business success. She is a catalyst for growth with a long track record of helping clients communicate their value, define their specialization, and create effective marketing strategies that attract ideal clients and grow firms consistently.

She is a Certified Business Development Coach who is shaping the industry’s future as a National Board Member for the Financial Planning Association (the FPA) and former President of the East Bay Chapter of the FPA.

Ep 76: Are Advisors Missing the Forest for the Trees? – Kiley Miller on Sustainable Investing

As sustainable investing grows in popularity, so do the misconceptions about its framework.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain speak with Kiley Miller, Director of ESG Investment Solutions at Envestnet.

Kiley is a passionate leader in the ESG investment space. She shares how she is working to help advisors better understand underlying value of ESG information, its various applications, and what it brings to an advisory practice.  

Kiley discusses: 

  • The differences between ESG aware and ESG focus 
  • How the industry falls short in helping advisors appreciate sustainable investing
  • Simple answers to common objections
  • The value proposition sustainable investing brings to an advisory practice. 
  • And more


Connect With Kelly Miller:

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About Our Guest:

Kiley leads ESG product development and ESG product management for PMC’s suite of investment products and service offerings. This includes PMC’s ESG focused managed portfolios and ESG due diligence within manager research. Kiley also oversees ESG and impact data relationships and strategic development of ESG and impact reporting initiatives. Prior to joining PMC in 2019, Kiley was a senior client advisor at Sustainalytics, an ESG research, ratings and analytics firm. There she supported U.S. asset managers to integrate ESG research into the investment process. Kiley also previously worked at the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. Kiley holds an MS in Sustainability Management from Columbia University. She also holds a BS in Environmental Sustainability with a double minor in Business and Environmental Economics & Law from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Kiley is a CFA Level III Candidate.

Ep 75: ESG Investing: “This is where people are” – With Jon Hale, Morningstar

Workers and consumers are holding businesses to higher standards. Why wouldn’t investors do the same?  As awareness of environmental, social and governance issues grows, more people are saying ‘I want an investment that’s going to help me reach my financial goals, but I’d like the more sustainable version, please’.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain speak with Jon Hale, Ph.D., CFA,  Director of ESG Strategy at Morningstar. A widely recognized leader in the ESG and sustainable investing field, Jon addresses some persistent misperceptions and explains why he sees ESG becoming a permanent component of investment analysis. 

Jon discusses: 

  • Recent commentary in the press
  • Investing vs. activism
  • The facts about performance
  • ESG research and resources at Morningstar
  • And more


Connect With Jon Hale:

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About Our Guest:

Jon Hale, Ph.D., CFA, is Director of ESG Strategy at Morningstar. Hale focuses on ESG thought leadership and product strategy. Prior to 2021, Jon was Morningstar’s head of sustainable investing research. He directed the company’s research initiatives on sustainable investing, beginning with the launch of the Morningstar Sustainability Rating for funds in 2016. 

He has been named to Barron’s list of the 20 most influential people in ESG investing (2018), and in was included in the InvestmentNews’ 10 Leaders of ESG & Impact Investing (2019). 



Ep 74: What Makes a Healthy Workplace? – With Amy Dittman

A supportive work environment can improve performance, job satisfaction, and even client experience. Sometimes a little thing –– a better desk set-up, stepping away from the screen, or a confidential conversation — can make a surprisingly big difference.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Amy Dittman, a Health Promotion Specialist working with Stifel, to discuss workplace adjustments that can have a deep impact on our day, our bodies, and our state of mind 

Amy discusses: 

  • Small adjustments that can make a big difference
  • Physical and emotional considerations as we return to the post-pandemic office 
  • The overlooked resource: Employee Assistance 
  • The importance of communication 
  • And more


 FlexShares Exchange Traded Funds 

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Ep 73: Use ESG as a GPS Tool, Not a Moral Compass — With Jeff Gitterman

Why is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investing moving from marginal to mainstream? Aligning investments with values is just the beginning. 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Jeffrey Gitterman, Co-Founding Partner and Creator of Sustainable, Impact, and ESG Investing Services at Gitterman Wealth Management, LLC. They discuss his passion as an ESG advocate, why he believes it belongs in every client conversation and how advisors can make it a standard practice. 

Jeffrey discusses: 

  • The difference between ESG and impact investing
  • Using ESG as a GPS device for investment decisions
  • Why, and how, he made ESG investing the sole focus of his business
  • Critical social changes that are driving the demand for ESG
  • The message he wants to provide in his book — Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity
  • And more


Connect With Jeffery Gitterman:

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About Our Guest:

Jeff  is a widely recognized leader in the ESG and sustainable investing field.  He has over 30 years of experience as a financial advisor, with a primary focus on high net worth individuals and higher education professionals.  Jeff began realigning Gitterman Wealth Management towards ESG and sustainable investing in 2015.  Jeff is also the co-host of The IMPACT TV show, which airs on and Bloomberg TV, and the author of Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity. Noted as an “ESG expert” by Financial Advisor magazine, he has been featured in Barron’s, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Morningstar Magazine, Financial Advisor Magazine, Money Magazine, and CNN, among many others. In 2018, he was named RIA “Thought Leader of the Year” by

Ep 72: Building a More Successful – and Satisfying – Business Through Niche Marketing — With Kristen Luke

Trying to accommodate a wide range of client needs may actually limit your practice’s growth, your effectiveness, and your satisfaction. Targeting a niche that fits your specific experience and expertise can make a meaningful difference for you AND  your clients. 

Kristen Luke is the president of Kaleido Creative Studio, a marketing agency specializing in helping RIAs promote their businesses through a niche approach. In this episode, Kristen joins Laura Gregg and David Partain to discuss the process of shifting financial advisors businesses from a generalist model to a niche model to improve the client experience and business efficiency.

Kristen Luke discusses: 

  • Identifying your business niche based on market size and potential value of the niche 
  • How to ensure that a transition from a generalist to a niche focus makes sense for you 
  • Making the transition while maintaining your current book of business
  • And more


Connect With Kirsten Luke:

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About Our Guest:

Kristen Luke is the President of Kaleido Creative Studio, a marketing agency that helps Registered Investment Advisors market themselves to a niche, making it easier for them to stand out from the competition and attract ideal clients.

For more than 15 years, Kristen has consulted with hundreds of financial advisory firms and shared her marketing expertise via industry conferences and publications nationwide. Most recently, she has contributed her advice to FPA NorCal,, Top Advisor Podcast, Kitces Office Hours, and Advisor Perspectives.


Ep 71: Are Your Clients “Really” Fine? With Julie Littlechild

The right questions elevate good service to actual engagement. They build trust, confirm your credibility and, most important, provide valuable information you won’t capture on a client questionnaire. 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain speak to Julie Littlechild, Founder and CEO of Absolute Engagement. They discuss the importance of going beyond “How are you?”, “I’m fine.” to elicit more meaningful responses, and how a leadership approach can help steer client conversations for optimal results. 

Julie Littlechild discusses: 

  • How to engage to understand what clients really need from you
  • Questions that can lead to more productive conversations and feedback
  • Being a leader for your clients, and its impact on your business
  • Navigating difficult conversations and situations 
  • And more


Connect With [Julie Littlechild]:

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About Our Guest:

Julie Littlechild is the Founder and CEO of Absolute Engagement, an advisor coaching firm that guides advisors through a discovery process that connects the feedback directly from the client to the advisor to help identify and develop an action plan to help those firms achieve their most important goals. Julie has worked with and studied successful financial advisors and their clients for more than 25 years prior to founding Absolute Engagement, she launched and ran one of the industry’s leading client engagement, focused research firms.

She is the author of a popular blog and the author of the book, “The Pursuit of Absolute Engagement.” Julie sits on an Investment and Wealth Institute Advisory board and was identified twice as one of the 25 most influential people in financial planning, and she won an Industry Influencer Award in Practice Management.

Ep 70: Shiny Toy or Serious Solution? Enhancing Your Practice Digitally – With Adam Boyer

Wow. That digital platform sure looks good. Sleek and sophisticated. Smart and fast.  So intuitive, it anticipates your every need – some you didn’t even know you have. 

But will it help to enhance the client experience? 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Adam Boyer, Head of Business Development at Emotomy. They discuss the challenges of choosing digital tools in a crowded marketplace,  key considerations when assessing tools and the one thing any solution should deliver but can never replace:  More time to give to your clients and the  personal attention that sets you apart from the crowd.  

Adam Boyer discusses: 

  • What to ask when upgrading your technology strategy
  • Hurdles small businesses face when integrating new technology 
  • How a thorough business evaluation will help improve long-term operations
  • Why a digital advice platform may be of interest to you and your business 
  • And more


Connect With Adam Boyer:

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About Our Guest:

Adam Boyer is the Head of Business Development at Emontomy, the digital investment advice platform owned by Northern Trust Investments. He is responsible for defining and executing the sales strategy to accelerate the adoption and utilization of Emotomy by financial institutions. With over two decades of financial services industry experience, Adam has held a number of leadership positions, including his most recent roles at Charles Schwab as Head of Sales for Compliance Solutions and Chief of Staff to the Head of Bank Operations and Technology. Adam also spent many years at Bank of America where he helped build out the bank’s Chicago footprint. Adam holds a Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree in Economics from Florida State University.