Speaker Profiles


Chris Gaston

Senior Policy Director

Davis & Harman LLP

Chris Gaston is Senior Policy Director of Davis & Harman LLP. Chris has more than a dozen years of Capitol Hill experience and he represents clients on a wide range of issues before Congress, particularly retirement and savings policy.

Prior to joining Davis & Harman LLP, Chris served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) who was a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

After growing up in Central New Jersey, Chris initially started with Rep. Holt as an intern and over the next twelve years, worked for Rep. Holt in a number of congressional and political positions. For more than five years Chris served as Rep. Holt’s Legislative Director where he helped establish an ambitious legislative agenda and advised him on a diverse range of legislative issues. In that capacity, Chris was responsible for all of Rep. Holt’s work on the Education and the Workforce Committee, including his legislative initiatives to promote retirement savings. Chris also led Rep. Holt’s efforts to raise concerns about the Department of Labor’s fiduciary proposal.

Chris graduated with a B.A. in Political Science with a Public Policy Focus from The George Washington University and received a M.A. in International Law and Politics from Georgetown University. He and his wife, Molly, have two active kids, Max and Clare, and one hyper active Border collie, Ace.


Mike Hadley

Partner

Davis & Harman LLP

Mike Hadley is a partner in the law firm Davis & Harman LLP. He practices in the area of employee benefits, advising clients on the full range of tax, ERISA, and other laws affecting benefit plans. He has a particular focus on helping financial institutions that sell products to defined contribution and defined benefit plans, IRAs and similar plans navigate the special rules that govern those plans. He also provides clients with strategic advice, plan design, counseling, and compliance assistance for qualified plans, 403(b) and 457 plans, non-qualified executive compensation, employment agreements, and health and other welfare plans.

Mike was formerly Associate Counsel for Pension Regulation at the Investment Company Institute, the national association of U.S. investment companies. His responsibilities included advocating for the Institute’s membership before Congress, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury, and the Securities Exchange Commission on retirement security issues and assisting ICI members and staff in understanding tax and ERISA rules. Among other duties he managed ICI’s work implementing the Pension Protection Act and responding to 401(k) fee, investment advice, and fiduciary developments in Congress, DOL, and the courts.

Prior to joining ICI, Mike was an associate with Covington & Burling LLP, where he advised clients on employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements, provided advice on ERISA litigation, and assisted with pension and benefits issues in mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate transactions.

Mike is a frequent speaker on the latest retirement savings policy developments coming out of Congress and the regulatory agencies and has testified before Treasury, IRS, and Department of Labor. A sampling of articles he has authored or co-authored: ERISA Compliance for Investment Advisers: A Q&A Guide To DOL’s 408(b)(2) Disclosure Regulation, Investment Lawyer, Vol. 20, No. 7 (July 2013); The Economics of Providing 401(k) Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2010 ICI Research Perspective, Vol. 17, No. 4 (June 2011); and 401 (k) Plans: A 25-Year Retrospective, ICI Research Perspective, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Nov. 2006).

Mike was a law clerk for the Honorable Gerald Tjoflat, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was Notes Editor of the Virginia Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif. He received his B.A., cum laude, from the College of William and Mary.


Roberta Hess

CEO

Princeton Marketing

Roberta Hess is the CEO and Founder of Princeton Marketing, a strategic marketing and communications firm specializing in financial services. Roberta has previously held executive leadership roles at Ascensus, Prudential, MetLife, Travelers Life & Annuity and Merrill. She is is a speaker and coach on personal branding and leadership. Currently she is the head of SPARK public relations committee and chair of the Women in Pensions Network Philadelphia chapter.

Roberta is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Business, a Certified Personal Branding Strategist and 360 Reach Certified Analyst.


Rich Linton

EVP of Group Distribution and Operations

Empower Retirement

Rich Linton is Executive Vice President of Group Distribution and Operations for Empower Retirement. In his role, he oversees Empower’s segment distribution, which includes core, government, large, mega and not-for-profit markets. He also manages all aspects of recordkeeping and plan administration operations, including the Plan Service Center, the participant services center, compliance, conversion and implementation services, client services, processing operations, and financial controls. Additionally, he has responsibility for Great West Global operations in India.

Rich joined the organization in 2016 and has 28 years of industry experience, managing all aspects of the defined contribution business. Before joining Empower, he served as President of large corporate markets and retail wealth management for Voya Financial. There, he oversaw sales and marketing, relationship management, product development, platform management, field representative service, brokerage operations and strategic planning. Rich has also served at Bank of America, where he was Managing Director of the business retirement solutions group, and at Fidelity Investments, where he gained deep experience running a major part of the operations organization. At Fidelity he served in a variety of leadership roles in operations, sales, product, marketing and client services before becoming Executive Vice President in the advisor retirement business.

Rich holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from Boston University. He is board chairman and president of the Society of Professional Asset-Managers and Recordkeepers (SPARK), and he serves on the board of trustees of Colorado Succeeds, an organization of business leaders who are working to improve Colorado’s schools.


John Mitchem

Principal

JM3 Projects

John Mitchem, Principal of JM3 Projects, has worked in journalism, public policy, executive communications and strategic content marketing. His focus has been on emerging technologies, economic development, global capital markets, asset management, fintech and retirement finance. JM3 projects has worked with leading financial services firms, trade associations, governments and universities around the world.


Doug Peterson

CISO

Empower Retirement

Doug Peterson is the Chief Information Security Officer for Great-West Financial. In his role, Doug is responsible for our cyber security strategy, architecture, development and implementation.

He has enterprise-level responsibility for all cyber/data/information security policies, standards, evaluations, roles and awareness for all utilized technologies, services, vendors and partners. Doug is also responsible for business continuity and disaster recovery planning, testing and execution.


Tim Rouse

Executive Director

SPARK Institute

Tim has over thirty years of experience in the financial services industry mainly within retirement services of large mutual fund companies. For the past twenty-five years Tim has worked with major plan sponsors in state and local governments, corporations, Taft-Hartley plans, nonprofit hospitals, colleges and universities. Over his career Tim has worked with Voya Financial, Fidelity Investments, ICMA Retirement Corporation and The Vanguard Group.

Tim is a former President of the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators’ Industry Board and a graduate of Villanova University.