Category Archives: Financial Advisor

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.

Ep 69: How to Keep a Client (Hint: It’s Not All About Money) – With Barbara Healy

Investors can build, manage and monitor their portfolios without ever talking to another human. So why do they choose an advisor? Personal connection. What makes them stay? A satisfying personal connection.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Barbara Healy, Partner and Senior Financial Planner at Allworth Financial, about creating personal relationships with clients to build long-term advising partnerships.

Barbara discusses: 

  • Why knowing your clients makes such a difference 
  • Simple steps to make clients feel seen, heard and appreciated 
  • When money is the last thing to discuss
  • Diversifying the workplace to serve a diverse client base 
  • And more


Connect With Barbara Healy:

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About Our Guest:

Barbara Healy is a Certified Financial Planner and a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) with more than 25 years of experience in the financial planning sector. She holds a Business degree from the University of San Diego, and her adjunct education includes advanced courses in Economics and International Business at Oxford, England. An outdoor enthusiast, Barbara lives with her husband in Rocklin, California.

Ep 68: I’m Not a Therapist! When Clients Bring Up Emotional Issues – With Dr. Chloe Carmichael

For many, the pandemic has triggered varying degrees of stress, anxiety and depression. Addressing it in the context of an advisor/client relationship can be uncomfortable. What can you do when emotional health becomes part of the conversation? 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Dr. Chloe Carmichael, a clinical psychologist whose focus is stress management, relationship issues, self-esteem and coaching. Dr. Chloe shares some simple and supportive ways to recognize, acknowledge and talk about emotional health issues with a client.  

Dr. Chloe discusses: 

  • When does anxiety move from normal to a problem? 
  • Talking about it is a sign of health: Acknowledging, supporting, normalizing
  • Social anxiety: Tips on re-acclimating to in-person events 
  • How to use social media to get a copy of her most recent book
  • And more


Connect With Dr Chloe Carmichael:

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About Our Guest:

​​Dr. Chloe Carmichael holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University. Her private practice focuses on stress management, relationship issues, self-esteem, and coaching. She is the author of Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of  Your Anxiety (St Martins Press, 2021).


Ep 67: GenX. They Need You. Now. – With Michael Labos

They are misunderstood, neglected and in a precarious situation. Why are so many financial planners not actively engaging with Gen X? 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with a champion of the Gen X investor. What issues are challenging this generation and why should advisors pay attention? Michael Labos CFP®, CCFS®, and Principal at Gen X Wealth Partners, shares his passion for understanding the values, goals and behaviors of Gen X, and what they urgently need from you.

Michael discusses: 

  • The Gen X need and opportunity 
  • Why you have to use the “B” word 
  • Navigating the college planning process 
  • And more


Connect With Michael Labos:

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About Our Guest:

Michael Labos is the principal at Gen X Wealth Partners and has more than 15 years of experience in the financial service industry. He understands that investing is more than just focusing on risks and return – it’s about your values, goals, beliefs, and a voice wanting to be heard. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional, Michael helps analyze every aspect of his clients’ financial lives. This includes assets, liabilities and cash flow budgeting, current insurance coverages, and investments.


Ep 66: Supporting Executive Clients With Their Tomorrow Story — With Elisa Spain

To have a beginning, we must also have an ending. Sometimes the ending is our choice, and sometimes it is thrust upon us. 

Elisa Spain is an Executive Life Coach and the creator of the You Pivot™ Program. She helps senior-level executives plan and create the next version of themselves whether in a new career or in retirement. Elisa talks with Laura Gregg and David Partain about the power of moving client conversations beyond retirement planning to understand when they may need a career pivot and how that can deepen your client relationships. 

Elisa discusses: 

  • How effectively C-level executives can be coached
  • The power of writing your tomorrow story
  • Building a successful retirement life portfolio
  • Planning so there’s no regret after selling a business
  • The You Pivot™ Program
  • Why your words matter
  • And more


Connect With Elisa Spain:

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About Our Guest:


Elisa K Spain is an executive life coach. Building on her own professional and personal  experience, her coaching approach has evolved from executive coaching to coaching  executives in living their full lives. Her clients include CEOs and C-suite executives from Inc.  500 companies, Crain’s Fast 50, Chicago Tribune’s Top 100 Workplaces, and Crain’s Largest  Privately Held Companies. 

Elisa created the YOU PIVOT™ Program to guide her clients through career and life  transitions. Understanding that careers, like software, require updates to keep them fresh,  this immersive program catalyzes leaders to embrace change and explore a better version  of themselves.  

Elisa’s experience as an executive at Northern Trust, 15-years as a Vistage Peer Advisory  Board Master Chair, coupled with her successful pivot from the corporate world into  entrepreneurship, has shaped her perspective. She holds an MBA from Kellogg GSM,  Northwestern University; CFA, Level I; and a BS from Florida International University. She is  a partner and investor with Social Venture Partners – Chicago, and a member of the  Advisory Board for the Independence Equity I, LP Venture Fund. 

Every Sunday, Elisa publishes stories about transitions, including sharing the life lessons  from the storytellers she interviews. You can read and subscribe to these Sunday  Stories here.


Ep 65: The Power of Transition Planning — With Ross Marino and Susan Bradley

Life decisions made with urgency, short timeframes, and pressure will shape the next chapter of someone’s life. How can advisors help clients navigate thoughtfully through life’s changes?

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk about the impact that life transitions can have on financial plans. Susan Bradley CFP® CeFT®, Founder of Sudden Money Institute, and Ross Marino CFP® CeFT®, Founder of Transitus Wealth Partners explain why there’s no such thing as a purely financial decision, and why the human element must always be considered when serving clients.

Ross and Susan discuss: 

  • Why they wrote a book on transitions: Shaping Change: How To Respond When Life Disrupts Your Retirement Plan
  • How to become more comfortable, productive and successful in financial planning
  • The hidden benefits of beginning client conversations discussing life, not investments
  • The four-step process you can use to facilitate conversations with clients facing major life transitions
  • Critical questions to ask clients facing either trauma or euphoria


Connect With Ross Marino:

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About Our Guests:

Susan Bradley, CFP®, CeFT® is the founder of the Sudden Money® Institute (, which began 20 years ago as a community of practice seeking to better serve their financial planning clients by developing process and tools for the personal side of money and for clients going through transitions. This think tank created the Certified Financial Transitionist® (CeFT®) designation, and a division for training and certification called the Financial Transitionist® Institute. Susan has served on the FPA’s National Board of Directors, she has served on the National Football League’s Players Association’s Financial Education Advisory Board, and she serves as the Dean of Transitions for the Council of Deans of the Purposeful Planning Institute. She is a founding member of the Nazrudin Project studying the psychology of money since 1994.  She is seen and heard frequently in the national media, including NBC’s Nightly News, CNN, NPR, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. TEDx Wilmington Women talk is called, “Change launches you into the next great chapter of your life, whether you like it or not.”

She is the recipient of the Insiders Forum Iconoclast Award 2017.

Ross Marino CFP® CeFT®, an advisor for 30+ years, fell in love with investments in the 9th grade when he received a copy of Money Magazine as a birthday gift. He is the founder of Transitus Wealth Partners, a fee-only financial planning firm that helps people make decisions when life happens and plans change. Ross is also the founder of Advisor2x, which has host more than 1,000 events and conferences for financial advisors since 2010. Currently, he hosts two bi-weekly podcasts for financial advisors and recently published his first book with co-author Susan Bradley: Shaping Change – How to respond when life disrupts your retirement plans. 

Ross is married to his incredible wife of 31 years, has two nearly-perfect children, and shares his home with multiple pets that live to be served by humans.

Ep 64: Trends Shaping Wealth Management Today – With Mark Bruno

Our world has changed dramatically over the past 18 months. The wealth management industry is no different.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Mark Bruno, Managing Director of Wealth Management at Informa Connect. Mark talks about his new role in expanding and growing, Inside ETFs and Inside WealthStack. He also shares his insights into important industry trends and explains what advisors need to be doing to create an intentional strategy for growth.

Mark discusses: 

  • Advisory M&A activity and the professional buyers driving it 
  • How thoughtful firms are growing by design
  • The convergence of asset management and fintech
  • Why more access to wealth management helps everyone
  • The future of work for advisors and its impact for clients
  • Advisor compensation trends

Connect With Mark Bruno:

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About Our Guest:

Mark Bruno is Managing Director, Wealth Management, at Informa Connect. He is responsible for developing strategies that will enhance Informa Connect’s offerings for the wealth management community including media, events, and targeted business intelligence for financial advisors. Mark is focused on the expansion and growth of the firm’s media and event properties, which currently consist of, Inside ETFs and Inside WealthStack along with strategic partnerships. 

Previously, Mark was a managing director with Echelon Partners, which is a leading investment banking and consulting firm to the wealth and investment management industry. While there, he specialized in helping wealth managers build strategic connections between people, performance and profitability. He focused on valuation, organizational design and assessment, compensation consulting, succession and continuity solutions. 

Mark also spent 15 years at InvestmentNews where he launched the media firm’s content strategy studio, a dedicated marketing and custom content division and managed InvestmentNews Research.

Ep 62: Developing and Retaining Next Gen Talent — With Yonhee Gordon

While firms may be successful in hiring younger employees, they often struggle to keep them.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk about successful retention strategies with Yonhee Gordon, a Principal of JMG Financial Group and the RIA’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer. They discuss how a methodical hiring process and a willingness to truly get to know prospective candidates can help lead to fewer surprises and better retention. Yonhee also provides practical advice for young professionals on preparing for a successful career in the financial industry.

Yonhee Gordon discusses: 

  • What’s powering JMG’S fast growth of assets and staff
  • The need to create more awareness of the profession
  • Her passion for connecting people both inside and outside of the industry
  • Steps to help find the right fit when hiring
  • The evolution of career paths in the advisory industry
  • And more


Connect With Yonhee Gordon:

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About Our Guest:

Yonhee Gordon is Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at JMG Financial Group, an RIA with more than $4 billion in AUM located in suburbs of Chicago. Yonhee is also a principal owner of the firm, a member of its Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and spearheads JMG’s involvement in community service. She focuses her efforts on organizational development to ensure the sustainability of JMG’s long-term operations. Yonhee is a certified financial planner and prior to her current role, she served as a financial advisor to clients at JMG by providing tax and wealth management services. 

Yonhee is a sought-after speaker throughout the industry and is a board member for many organizations including Dominican University, The Foundation for Financial Planning, Charles Schwab’s inaugural DEI Advocacy Board and Almost Home Kids (affiliated with the Anne & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Outside of business, Yonhee enjoys travelling with her husband and two sons and volunteering for nonprofit organizations that benefit special-needs children. 

Ep 61: Four Pillars of DE&I from the CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning – With D.A. Abrams

Building a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program (DEI), can be a daunting task. Leaders understand that it’s so much more than just hiring people that look different from one another.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain welcome D.A. Abrams, Managing Director at the CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning. He identifies four key pillars that are necessary to build and sustain a DE&I program.  D.A. also discusses why this should be a business imperative and how firms of all sizes will benefit over time by acting with intention today. Learn how to gain a competitive edge over other firms that aren’t taking action on DE&I today.

D.A. Abrams discusses: 

  • The mission of the CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning
  • Four critical pillars of engagement in a DE&I program
  • How to use geography to your advantage when expanding your business
  • Why to invest in career changers
  • Mentorship opportunities through the Center for Financial Planning
  • And more.


Connect with D.A Abrams

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About Our Guest:  

Managing Director, Center for Financial Planning

David Anthony (D.A.) Abrams, CAE joined the CFP Board as Managing Director for the Center for Financial Planning in November 2019. In his role, D.A. is responsible for the following: Cultivating a quality workforce to ensure the profession can recruit and retain the talent it needs to grow; Fostering a more diverse financial planner workforce that reflects the changing demographics in the United States; and Elevating the discipline of financial planning to increase the stature and recognition of financial planning faculty and educational programs and provide practitioners with cutting-edge knowledge to thrive and provide outstanding service to clients.

D.A. is the immediate past Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the United States Tennis Association (USTA), a position he assumed in February 2012 and concluded prior to joining the CFP Board. During his 26 years with the USTA, D.A. served as the Executive Director and Chief Staff Executive for two (2) of the Association’s 17 Section offices; USTA Eastern, and USTA Missouri Valley.

In addition, D.A. served as the staff member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Hispanic Engagement Advisory Group, National Committee Appointment Process and was chair of the D&I Advisory Group at the USTA. Further, he was the chair of the USTA’s Accreditation Review Committee.

Moreover, D.A. serves as the National Association of Asian American Professionals Board of Directors – Treasurer and is a Board Member of Diversity MBA. Also, D.A. is a former President of the Diversity & Inclusion Sports Consortium.

He played collegiate tennis at Millersville University in Pennsylvania where he earned his undergraduate degree in business administration, concentration – accounting. Subsequently, D.A. earned a master’s degree from Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis, MN. D.A. earned his Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential in 2010.