Director of Economic Policy
Bipartisan Policy Center
Shai Akabas is BPC’s director of economic policy. He has conducted research on a variety of economic policy issues, including the federal budget, retirement security, and the financing of higher education. Akabas joined BPC in 2010 and staffed the Domenici-Rivlin Debt Reduction Task Force that year. He also assisted Jerome Powell, now Chairman of the Federal Reserve, in his work on the federal debt limit. For the past several years, Akabas has steered BPC’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings, co-chaired by former Senator Kent Conrad and senior Bush administration official Jim Lockhart.
Akabas has been interviewed by publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and has published op-eds in The Hill and The Christian Science Monitor. He has been featured as an expert guest several times on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.
Prior to joining BPC, Akabas worked as a satellite office director on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2009 campaign for reelection. Born and raised in New York City, he received his B.A. in economics and history from Cornell University and an M.S. in applied economics from Georgetown University.
Michael Andeberhan, CFA, CAIA is an Executive Director at MSCI where he leads engagement with institutional consultants on behalf of MSCI’s equity, fixed income and ESG product suite. In addition, he serves as a relationship manager for select global clients and charter member of the Executive Diversity Council and 401K Investment Committee.
Prior to joining MSCI, Michael was a Vice President at Callan Associates, where he advised institutional investors on strategic planning, asset allocation and investment manager selection. Previously, he was a consultant and researcher at Verus Investments, where he authored papers on topics including factor investing, endowment spending policy and capital market assumptions. Michael began his career as an Associate at HighMark Capital Management.
A first generation Eritrean-American, Michael earned a BA from Washington State University, MS from University of Utah and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations. Michael is a member of CFA Institute, CAIA Association and the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association, where he serves as Committee Vice Chair for Diversity & Inclusion and sits on the Executive Committee. He is active in several not-for-profit organizations dedicated to education and youth empowerment including Oliver Scholars, Seeds of Africa and Rising Leaders.
Director of Policy and Market Solutions
As the Director of Policy and Market Solutions and Project Director of the Retirement Savings Initiative at the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, Karen works to advance promising solutions to American families’ most pressing financial security challenges. Working across sectors and disciplines, Karen and the Policy and Market Solutions team seek to highlight market and policy gaps, jumpstart creative solutions, and build a diverse set of leaders who can turn ideas into action.
Before coming to the Aspen Institute, Karen spent over ten years at the Financial Health Network (formerly the Center for Financial Services Innovation), where she built the Long-Term Savings and Retirement Practice. Previously, Karen led the development of the Financial Health Network itself. She began her career in the retirement industry as a bilingual 401(k) plan educator for both Strong Funds and Wells Fargo Institutional Trust Services.
Karen holds M.B.A. and M.P.P. degrees from the University of Michigan. She also holds a B.A. in Spanish and Art History, with a minor in Mathematics, from Indiana University. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, Matt, and two young sons.
Research Professor and Executive Director of Center for Retirement Initiatives
Angela M. Antonelli is a Research Professor and the Executive Director of the Center for Retirement Initiatives (CRI) at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. She also is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.
As the Executive Director of the CRI, Angela works closely with policymakers, states and stakeholders to strengthen retirement security by expanding the availability and improving the effectiveness of retirement savings, investment and income solutions for private sector workers.
Angela is relied upon for her insights and opinions on issues related to retirement security and savings, including options for plan design and related legal and regulatory considerations, appearing in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Pensions & Investments and many other major news outlets. She has served as an expert advisor to the World Economic Forum Retirement Investment Reform Project, is an invited regular contributor to Forbes.com and MarketWatch, and has served as a member or advisor to several state retirement task forces.
Prior to assuming her position at Georgetown, Angela served in senior positions in the government, consulting and nonprofit sectors, including as the Assistant Secretary & CFO for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with responsibilities for a $30 billion budget and implementing a range of economic policies and programs. She has a B.A., summa cum laude, from Cornell University and an MPA with honors from Princeton University.
Vice President, Head of Research
Rob is the Head of Research at Alight Solutions. In this role, Rob examines participant behavior across the healthcare and retirement landscape to bring data and insights to clients to help them improve their benefit plans and communication materials.
Rob first began working in the industry in 1998 as a pension actuary and retirement consultant. He is particularly focused on behavioral finance issues as they relate to benefit plans.
Rob is considered a leading expert on retirement issues and often appears in top media outlets including Wall Street Journal, NPR, Bloomberg, Forbes, US News and World Report, CNN Money, USA Today, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo Finance, Pensions and Investments, and CNBC. He is also a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences and sits on the Executive Board of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investor Association (DCIIA).
Director, Global Public Policy Group
Rachel Barry is a Director in BlackRock’s Global Public Policy Group, which is responsible for engaging with policy makers on public policy matters that impact BlackRock and BlackRock’s clients. Since joining the Global Public Policy Group in 2014, Rachel’s responsibilities include engaging with policy makers to encourage policy outcomes that increase financial market transparency, protect investors, and facilitate responsible growth of capital markets, while preserving consumer choice and properly balancing benefits versus implementation costs. Rachel leads the firm’s U.S. retirement policy efforts and engages on a range of other issues, including financial technology policy, tax policy, U.S. housing finance reform, mutual fund regulations, and bond market liquidity. She is a regular author on BlackRock’s public policy series of white papers called ViewPoints.
Rachel earned a BA degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University, with dual minors in Economics and Political Science.
Head of Retirement Product
Dan Basile is the head of product for Ascensus’ retirement division. Dan’s team is responsible for the full lifecycle of Ascensus’ retirement product offering from idea conceptualization through delivery and, including, ongoing management of the product set.
Prior to joining Ascensus, Dan was a managing director and the head of product management for BlackRock’s U.S. & Canada defined contribution business. He led product efforts across both institutional and advisor-sold sales channels, while overseeing the team responsible for all aspects of product delivery, including pricing, implementation, and driving the technology agenda. Previously, Dan served in a number of senior positions across retirement, benefits outsourcing, and technology at Aon Hewitt and MetLife.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Gettysburg College and holds his Series 7, 66, and 24 licenses.
Mark Boyko is a partner at Bailey Glasser LLP, practicing in the area of fiduciary breach and prohibited transaction litigation, representing clients in actions brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Mark has represented workers and retirees for over fourteen years, including in many of the earliest and most legally significant 401(k) fee cases and cases alleging breaches of the duty of loyalty and prohibited transactions concerning the selection and monitoring of defined contribution plan investments. Mark also represents participants in private ESOPs claiming that fiduciary trustees caused their Plans to overpay corporate insiders for company stock, as well as participants whose defined contribution plans concentrated in undiversified non-employer securities.
Stephen Budinsky, Associate Consultant, joined RVK in 2017 and is located in the New York office. In addition to working directly with defined contribution clients, he supports RVK’s Defined Contribution Solutions Group (DCSG) and Investment Operations Solutions Group (IOSG). As a member of the DCSG, his primary responsibilities include providing expertise on DC legislative & regulatory matters and plan design and administration, conducting RVK’s annual DC fee benchmarking survey, and working on special client projects. He has worked with private, public, and non-qualified, defined contribution plans. As a member of the IOSG, he has responsibility for search and evaluation projects for DC recordkeeping and trust/custody providers, research coverage on operational service providers, and other operational consulting projects.
Stephen graduated from Rutgers University (New Brunswick) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Economics along with a minor in Spanish.
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Bradford Campbell, partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, advises financial service providers and plan sponsors on ERISA Title I issues, including fiduciary conduct and prohibited transactions. A nationally-recognized figure in employer-sponsored retirement plans, Brad is the former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits and head of the Employee Benefits Security Administration. As ERISA’s former “top cop” and primary federal regulator, he provides his clients with insight and knowledge across a broad range of ERISA-plan related issues. He also serves as an expert witness in ERISA litigation. Brad has been listed as one of the 100 Most Influential Persons in Defined Contribution by 401kWire and has been listed as one of the top 15 ERISA attorneys in the country by a poll of the National Association of Plan Advisors. He has testified before Congress on employee benefits issues 11 times, including testimony before four different Congressional Committees regarding the effects of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary regulation.
Founder and CEO
Liz Davidson, Founder and CEO of Financial Finesse. Liz has been widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts in the field of financial education. Prior to launching Financial Finesse at 28 years old, she owned a hedge fund with $40 million in assets. She left the hedge fund industry to establish an unbiased financial education firm that would provide people with the information they need to make sound financial decisions and achieve their financial goals. Today, Financial Finesse is the leading provider of unbiased financial wellness programs in the country working with over 600 organizations and Fortune 1000 companies, reaching over 2 million Americans per year. She holds an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA.
Alison Douglass, a partner in Goodwin’s Complex Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Financial Industry Litigation and ERISA Litigation practices, focuses her practice on a wide array of complex commercial litigation, primarily in the areas of ERISA, mutual fund and securities litigation. Ms. Douglass represents clients in all phases of litigation, including pre-litigation counseling and trial and appellate matters in federal courts across the county and in regulatory investigations and governmental proceedings, including before the U.S. Department of Labor and the SEC. As part of her ERISA and mutual fund litigation practice, Ms. Douglass is involved in a broad range of class actions, derivative actions and multi-proceeding litigations. She also regularly advises clients on risk management and insurance coverage matters. Ms. Douglass has been selected for inclusion to Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in ERISA Litigation since 2014.
Vice President, Benefits Operations
Melissa Drennan is the Vice President of Benefits Operations at NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. NTCA is the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs.
NTCA sponsors multiple employer benefit plans on behalf of its members. Melissa Drennan is responsible for regulatory compliance, administrative services, and investment administration for the NTCA-sponsored benefit plans. She has almost 20 years of experience with multiple employer plans. She holds a bachelor’s degree from University of California Santa Cruz and an MBA from California State University San Jose.
Associate General Counsel & ABLEnow Program Manager
Alisa Ferguson serves as Virginia529’s Associate General Counsel and Program Manager for Virginia529’s Achieving
Better Life Experience (ABLEnow) program. 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.
SVP, Head of Product and Solutions Management
Lincoln Financial Group
Ralph Ferraro is Senior Vice President, Products and Solutions, for Lincoln Financial Group’s Retirement Plan Services (RPS) business. Drawing upon more than 30 years of experience in the retirement industry, Ferraro leads the innovation and evolution of the RPS suite of products — developing solutions that meet the needs of today’s consultants, advisors, plan sponsors and participants.
Ferraro is an executive sponsor of Lincoln Financial Group’s African-American Business Resource Group, and is a member of the Lincoln Sustainability Group. He also serves as President of Lincoln Financial Group Trust Company, and is chair of the SPARK Institute.
Ferraro earned a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from Seton Hall University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Princeton University. He holds series 6, 7, 24 and 26 FINRA registrations.
Director of Thought Leadership
Sasha Franger is the Director of Thought Leadership at Empower Retirement. In her role, she leads the strategy and execution of thought-provoking and actionable insights for financial professionals, employers and individuals with a focus on helping people achieve the retirement lifestyle they imagine.
Sasha joined the organization in 2016. She has 10 years of thought leadership and content creation experience and has also served in an analyst role with Lipper and in marketing and content creation roles at Jackson National and Great-West Financial.
Sasha holds a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in political science from Michigan State University. She currently maintains the Series 63 state securities license and holds FINRA Series 7 credentials.
When she isn’t building new content for financial professionals, Sasha is a busy mom of two who enjoys going glamping in her travel trailer. She is also known for constantly recruiting members of her team to join her at Toastmasters meetings.
Executive Vice President
Pension Rights Center
Karen Friedman is the Executive Director of the Pension Rights Center (PRC) a national consumer organization that works exclusively to promote and protect the retirement security of workers, retirees and their families. For 45 years, PRC has worked to shape and implement public policy and strategies to improve the nation’s retirement income programs, and to provide a creative voice in finding innovative solutions to challenging retirement problems.
Karen regularly represents the perspective of workers and retirees on Capitol Hill and in the media. Karen has written op-eds for such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, the Hill and the Cleveland Plain Dealer; has been quoted in major publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Business Week, and the Chicago Tribune; and has been featured on programs on CNN, National Public Radio, PBS Nightly Business Report and Good Morning America.
Karen directs the Center’s “Pension Promises Initiative” which was instrumental in helping secure the recent passage of the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act, a law that will save severely underfunded multiemployer plans and the pensions of their participants and beneficiaries. She is the coordinator of the Initiative on Women and Retirement at Divorce, a PRC common ground project to address problems that women face when seeking to obtain court-awarded shares of their former spouses’ retirement benefits at divorce. Karen was named one of the top 40 Influencers of Pension Policy by Institutional Investor magazine and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.
Davis & Harman LLP
Senior Policy Director
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 and 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.
Morgan,Lewis & Bockius LLP
Elizabeth S. Goldberg advises clients on ERISA matters with a focus on fiduciary responsibility provisions, prohibited transaction rules and exemptions, and the management of employee benefit plan assets. She negotiates investment-related agreements on behalf of plans and financial services providers; designs, implements, and administers employee benefit plans; and counsels clients on US Department of Labor (DOL) investigations, plan fiduciary governance structures, ERISA reporting and disclosure obligations, ERISA litigation, and general benefit plan compliance considerations. Liz’s work experience includes several years at the DOL’s Office of the Solicitor.
Elizabeth’s preferred pronouns are she/her/hers.
Liz came to Morgan Lewis after more than six years at the DOL’s Office of the Solicitor, where she worked most recently as a senior trial lawyer litigating fiduciary breach actions under Title I of ERISA. While at DOL, Liz worked on numerous large ERISA fiduciary enforcement actions that dealt with the law’s fiduciary provisions, prohibited transaction rules, ESOP transactions, and trustee duties. She also spearheaded and ran an agency pro bono program that received the 2009 Federal Agency Pro Bono Leadership Award.
Senior Director of Retirement and Investor Research
Investment Company Institute
Sarah Holden, PhD is Senior Director of Retirement and Investor Research at the Investment Company Institute (ICI). At the Institute, Ms. Holden conducts and oversees research on the US retirement market, retirement and tax policy, and investor demographics and behavior. She is responsible for analysis of 401(k) plan participant activity using data from the EBRI/ICI Participant-Directed Retirement Plan Data Collection Project. She oversees The IRA Investor Database, which contains data on more than 17 million IRA investors and allows analysis of IRA investors’ contribution, rollover, conversion, and withdrawal activity, and asset allocation. She also manages household survey research on a range of topics relevant to the fund industry and policy formation.
Prior to joining ICI, Ms. Holden worked as a staff economist at the Federal Reserve Board. Ms. Holden graduated from Smith College, cum laude, and holds a PhD in economics from the University of Michigan.
Jason leads the Customer Protection function for Fidelity Investment’s Defined Contribution business, responsible for protecting over 30 million participants from fraud and account takeover. Jason has over 25 years of experience in financial services and has led teams spanning client implementations, new customer products, new associate tools, and Information Security. Jason has been with Fidelity for 17 years and is currently leading the fraud controls workstream for the SPARK Institute Data Security Oversight Board.
Senior Strategic Policy Advisor
David C. John is a Senior Strategic Policy Advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute focusing on pension and retirement savings issues. PPI is AARP’s internal think tank. John is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution working with the Retirement Security Project. RSP focuses on improving retirement savings in the United States, especially among moderate and low income workers. Prior to joining AARP, John was a Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation for 14 ½ years.
John has written and lectured extensively on reforming the nation’s retirement programs. He is a co-author of a proposal to include trial annuities as a default withdrawal choice in 401(k)-type plans. He is also the co-author along with J. Mark Iwry of the Automatic IRA, a small business retirement savings program that has been adopted by several states for firms that do not sponsor any other form of retirement savings or pension plan. In addition, John is the co-author of a number of papers including ones on national retirement savings plans in the United Kingdom and other countries, how to structure state-sponsored plans for small businesses, multi-state retirement savings programs, an automatic way to create retirement income from retirement savings, reforming the saver’s tax credit, and a number of other topics.
Managing Director, Retirement Strategist, DC
State Street Global Advisors
Melissa is the Managing Director for Retirement Policy for the Defined Contribution team. Melissa leads the DC team in developing and communicating the team’s public policy positions as they relate to the retirement market, and is responsible for cultivating relationships with key retirement policy decision-makers.
Melissa is based in Washington, D.C., and in Boston. She works closely with State Street’s Regulatory, Industry, and Government Affairs (RIGA) group, which is responsible for coordination of overall State Street public policy positioning and advocacy.
Melissa is an attorney with extensive experience in developing and implementing policy and strategies on domestic and international employee benefits legislation and regulation, as well as Social Security reform. Importantly, she has worked for many years on Retirement Income policy. Immediately prior to joining SSGA, Melissa was a consultant providing strategic planning, policy analysis and advocacy work on a variety of issues, including retirement, long-term care, Social Security, and global employee benefits to financial institutions and large plan sponsor clients in the US. Previously, Melissa worked at MetLife, where she spent 12 years in the company’s Washington D.C. government relations office. Melissa also has worked for the Retirement Strategies Group, the American Council of Life Insurance and the Equitable Life Assurance Society of America.
Acting Assistant Secretary
Employee Benefits Security Administration
Mr. Khawar was named Acting Assistant Secretary on March 25, 2021. Mr. Khawar was sworn in on January 20, 2021 as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration. He has extensive government experience, and has previously served in a variety of roles at the Department, including as an EBSA investigator, in EBSA’s Office of Enforcement, as EBSA’s Chief of Staff in two Administrations, and as a Counselor to the 26th Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez. Mr. Khawar has a bachelor’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from Emory University School of Law.
Kendra Kosko Isaacson
Senior Pensions Counsel
Senate HELP Committee for Senator Patty Murray
Kendra Kosko Isaacson serves as Senior Pensions Counsel to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, where she advises Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and other committee members on ERISA and all retirement-related issues. She is also a member of the Committee’s Oversight Team where she assists with nominations and financial conflicts of interest. Kendra also advises Senator Murray on all tax-related matters.
Kendra received her B.A. in Government from Dartmouth College, a J.D., with honors, from the Catholic University Columbus School of Law, and an LL.M in Taxation with a certificate in Employee Benefits from the Georgetown University Law Center. After law school, Kendra was an Associate with Slevin & Hart, P.C. and also with Venable LLP in Washington, DC. Before joining the HELP Committee, Kendra worked in the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the Department of Labor where she worked in the Office of Policy and Research.
Groom Law Group
Michael Kreps specializes in issues relating to public policy, fiduciary responsibility, and plan funding and restructuring. He routinely represents both private and public sector clients before federal agencies and Congress.
Previously, Michael served as the Senior Pensions and Employment Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions from the 110th through the 114th Congresses. In that role, he managed all aspects of
the Committee’s retirement agenda and had primary staff responsibility for pension legislation, including the pension investment provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the funding stabilization and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation reform provisions of the MAP-21 Act of 2012, the Pension Relief Act of 2010, and the CSEC Pension Flexibility Act. He also led the Committee’s oversight of regulatory activities involving employee benefit plans. Michael writes and speaks frequently on retirement and health policy.
HR Services DC Solutions Delivery
Rachel D. Kugelmass is the Center of Excellence Leader for Defined Contribution at Conduent HR and Learning Solutions. Rachel has more than 30 years of experience in Defined Contribution consulting and outsourcing, with deep expertise in DC plan design, process improvement, product design, communications and compliance. As the organization’s leader in interpreting and implementing legislative and regulatory changes, she collaborates with legal, technology, client service, customer service and plan sponsor stakeholders to ensure compliance, consistency of messaging, and participant engagement in the evolving DC landscape.
Associate Chief Counsel, Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, and Employment Tax
IRS, Office of Chief Counsel
Rachel Leiser Levy is Associate Chief Counsel, Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, and Employment Tax (EEE). EEE serves multiple operating divisions and covers a wide array of topic areas including employee benefits, exempt organizations, employment taxes, state and local governments, and Indian tribal governments.
Prior to joining Chief Counsel, Ms. Levy worked at a law firm in Washington, D.C. where she advised clients on a broad range of federal tax issues affecting employee benefits and employment taxes. From 2012 through 2015, she was an Attorney-Advisor and Associate Benefits Tax Counsel with the Office of Tax Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury, where she worked on employee benefits issues, including implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Prior to joining Treasury, she was a Legislation Counsel for the Joint Committee on Taxation. From 2005 through 2008 she worked at law firms in Chicago and Washington, D.C. on litigation, employment, and employee benefit matters.
Division Vice President
Fred Makonnen is a Senior retirement services executive with over 20 years of experience building, strengthening, and leading sales and client management teams to define and deliver accelerated growth strategies and achieve superior client loyalty and engagement.
A proven record of consistent top achievement in business development, client retention, acquisition integration, consultative client solutions, retirement policy, and thought leadership with an end goal to address America’s growing retirement crisis.
Managing VP, Chief Information Security Officer
Mr. McCollum serves in a Senior Executive Leadership capacity, in the role as a Managing Vice President, Chief Information Security Officer. He is responsible for establishing and maintaining Enterprise Security, its vision, strategy, and risk, ensuring all information assets and technologies are adequately protected. He leads his teams in identifying, developing, implementing, and maintaining efficient processes across the organization to reduce security technology risk. In addition, he is responsible for the Security Innovation, Security Operations, Identity and Access Management, Disaster Recover, and Business Continuity functions.
Mr. McCollum joined ICMA-RC in October 2011 and has more than 25 years’ experience providing strategic direction and operational leadership of enterprise IT infrastructure comprising information security operations, help desk support, server operations, datacenter operations, and network voice/data services.
Mr. McCollum served on the board of directors for the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) and actively participates on various industry advisory committees including the SPARK Data Security Oversight Board and IANS Security Client Advisory Committee. He is currently pursuing a MS in Cyber Risk Management at Georgetown University, to complement his bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems, from North Carolina Central University and his certifications and license: C|CISO, SANS GIAC/GSLC, and FINRA Series 99.
Senior Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
Joan McDonagh is the Senior National Regulatory Policy Director for Empower Retirement. Her areas of expertise include law in the employee benefits area as well as ERISA compliance with an emphasis on fiduciary requirements. Joan joined the organization 1988, when she worked for Great-West Financial subsidiary EMJAY Corporation.
Joan holds a Juris Doctor degree from American University Washington College of Law and is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association. She is on the Government Relations Committee of the Society of Professional Asset-Managers and Record Keepers (SPARK) and is past chair of the Public Policy Committee of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA). She is also a member and past Vice President of Wisconsin Retirement Plan Professionals, Ltd.
Joan has written numerous articles and presented a variety of seminars on retirement plan issues. She is a contributing author of the 401(k) Answer Book, which is published by Aspen Publishers, a division of Wolters Kluwer Law and Business.
Retirement Plans Manager
Bechtel Global Corporation
Ms. Mehta is the retirement plans manager for Bechtel’s retirement plans group. Her primary responsibilities include the oversight of various retirement plans including 401(k), non-qualified and international plans with over $6 Bil in assets. She provides investment and administrative support for the Bechtel Group Foundation, VEBAs and all other non-U.S. Bechtel retirement plans and sits on various fiduciary committees of Bechtel affiliate companies. She also volunteers on the Asset Management Committee of the Chevron Federal Credit Union.
Ms. Mehta was hired by Bechtel in Singapore as the deputy regional treasury manager responsible for Treasury activities in the Asia Pacific Region, covering North Asia, South East Asia and Australia/ New Zealand. She subsequently re-located to San Francisco as the Treasury Manager responsible for Treasury issues pertaining to the Power and Telecoms Global Business units and North America Region. Bechtel Global Corporation is a premier global engineering, construction, and project management firm with over 50,000 employees worldwide. Ms. Mehta has been with Bechtel Global Corporation for 19 years and with the Retirement Plans Group overseeing retirement plans for more than 15 of those.
Prior to joining Bechtel, Ms. Mehta worked in Treasury at Singapore Airlines in Singapore. Ms. Mehta has her B.Sc. in Management Science from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), in the U.K. and has received the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designations.
President & CEO
Lew Minsky is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA), a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing retirement security of America’s workers. Lew is a recognized thought leader on retirement plan issues and is a regular speaker at industry events. He is often quoted in industry press on retirement topics and has provided expert testimony to the federal regulatory agencies as well as several House Committees. Lew serves on the Advisory Board of the Aspen Leadership Forum on Retirement Savings.
Senior Analyst, Policy Research
Lia Mitchell is a senior analyst on Morningstar’s Policy Research team. She conducts research analyzing policy interventions leveraging Morningstar data and assists in developing and communicating Morningstar’s policy positions. Lia joined Morningstar in 2016 and previously worked as a data content specialist focusing on health savings accounts and retirement plans before joining the Policy Research team in 2019. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s in Computer Science from the University of Chicago.
Vice President & Senior Legal Counsel
T. Rowe Price
Karen Nash-Goetz is a Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel of T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., in Baltimore, Maryland. T. Rowe Price is a global investment management firm that provides a broad array of mutual funds and other financial services, including full-service recordkeeping for defined contribution and other types of retirement plans. Karen and her team provide legal advice and counsel on privacy and data security matters for the firm on a global basis, including potential impacts to the retirement plan community. A graduate of Georgetown University, Karen went on to earn her Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina. She is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals and holds certifications as an information privacy professional regarding privacy laws and regulations in the US, Canada, and the EU.
Since joining PenChecks in 2002, Spiro has held several different positions, including Director of Operations, Director of Sales and Marketing, and Vice President of Strategic Development. This unique combination of hands-on operational and marketing experience has given Spiro a broad foundation for his new role as the company’s President and CEO. Spiro is focused on cultivating strategic partnerships and initiating the development of new products and services to keep PenChecks at the forefront of the ever-changing retirement plan industry. Prior to joining PenChecks, Spiro worked in Los Angeles, CA as a Special Agent and Financial Representative with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network where he held Life, Health & Disability Insurance licenses and Series 6 & 63 designations. Spiro holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from the University of Southern California. Spiro lives in sunny San Diego, California with his wife, son, daughter, and 8-year Maltese-Yorkie mix dog. Together they enjoy fostering rescue puppies until they get adopted into their forever homes.
Former Director of Retirement Programs
David Pulford is the former Director of Retirement Programs for American Airlines. David oversaw the design, administration and evolution of the company’s defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans each covering more than 100,000 participants. His many initiatives included the consolidation and redesign of the $12 billion defined contribution plans following the American and US Airways merger, which received CIO Magazine’s Innovator of the Year Award in 2016; and numerous plan freezes, terminations and de-risking projects. David Is active in a number of industry groups and is a frequent panelist at industry conferences. During his career at American Airlines David has held positions in Finance, Audit and Human Resources. David has an MBA from the Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University.
Director of Retirement Solutions
Smart USA Co.
Catherine Reilly has over 20 years’ experience working in the asset management and retirement industry in Europe and North America, in roles that cover economic and investment research, product design and business strategy. She is currently Director of Retirement Solutions at Smart, a leading retirement technology business and one of the world’s largest recordkeepers, where she focuses on public policy, thought leadership and strategy.
Most recently, Catherine was Global Head of Research for the Defined Contribution team at State Street, where she she oversaw the $70bn SSGA target date suite and designed custom retirement saving solutions for domestic and global clients. She also led strategic initiatives evaluating the impact of multiple employer plans, alternative investments and robo-advice on the DC business.
Prior to this, she was Chief Economist of Pohjola Asset Management ($40 Bn Aum) in Finland and Management Consultant at McKinsey & Co., Inc in the Helsinki office.
Catherine is a CFA charterholder. She has degrees in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and Economics from Aalto University in Finland. She has also studied business at ESADE in Spain. She enjoys leveraging her diverse background to find creative solutions to client problems.
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.
Head of Public Policy and Advocacy
Ms. Saunders is Head of Public Policy and Advocacy for Putnam Investments. She interfaces directly with national and local policymakers who influence and advocate for client financial outcomes. Ms. Saunders also represents the firm in a number of industry affinity groups focusing on retirement savings, education, philanthropy, and community engagement. At Putnam, she has worked extensively with both retail and institutional business lines. Ms. Saunders has been a spokesperson and content developer on a variety of key initiatives at the firm including: Women and Wealth, Lessons in Leadership, Elevating the Client Experience, Millennial Money, and Diversity and Inclusion. She maintains relationships across the enterprise and reports to Robert L. Reynolds, President and Chief Executive Officer of Putnam Investments.
Ms. Saunders has been in the asset management business since she joined Putnam in 1987. Most recently, she was responsible for leading Putnam’s innovative, client-centric internal consulting team. In this role, Ms. Saunders spearheaded the delivery and development of Putnam’s three pillars of value-added programming: wealth management, practice management, and investment management. She also led Putnam’s early career program for Putnam Retail Management. Before managing the consulting team, Ms. Saunders served as Head of Putnam’s Registered Investment Advisory Business/Private Bank and Trust. Prior to this role, she led Putnam’s North America Institutional Business, including consultant relations and client service. Previously, as a Regional Director, Ms. Saunders managed Putnam’s retail business in the West region. In 2017, she received the Top Women in Asset Management Award from Money Management Executive. She is a member of Putnam’s Diversity Council and Women of Putnam. Ms. Saunders holds her Series 6, 7, 24, 26, 63, and 65 licenses with FINRA.
SVP, Customer Experience and Producer Solutions
Lincoln Financial Group
Sharon Scanlon is the Senior Vice President of Customer Experience (CX) and Producer Solutions at Lincoln Financial Group. In this role, she leads a team of nearly 300 professionals focused on delivering a superior customer experience through innovation and a differentiated service model.
Scanlon serves as the Chief Marketing Officer for Workplace Solutions and is Head of CX, which encompasses two of Lincoln Financial Group’s core businesses — Retirement Plan Services and Group Benefits. In addition, Scanlon oversees CX for Life Insurance, Annuity, and Producer Solutions, and leads the operational teams that support producer onboarding, licensing, appointment, compensation, and selling agreements for Life and Annuity.
Scanlon joined Lincoln in 2010 and has more than 30 years of financial services and employee benefits experience. Prior to joining Lincoln, she held several senior leadership positions with Fidelity Investments, Mercer HR Services, and Putnam Investments.
Scanlon received a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Northeastern University and is FINRA Series 6, 7, 24, and 63 registered. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and four children.
Project Director, Retirement Savings
The Pew Charitable Trusts
John Scott directs the retirement savings project at the Pew Charitable Trusts. The project conducts original research and works with key experts and policy makers to understand the barriers to retirement savings in the United States, how specific policy initiatives such as auto-IRAs might increase retirement savings, and how older workers can reduce fees on their savings and preserve their assets in retirement.
Prior to joining Pew, Scott taught and conducted research on public policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a particular focus on aging issues, tax policy, and the policy making process. He continues to hold a research associate professorship in UNC’s Department of Public Policy. He also has extensive experience in retirement policy, having worked in policy advocacy on retirement and compensation issues in Washington. Scott began his career as a tax attorney and consultant with a focus on pension plan design and legal compliance issues.
Scott earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Cornell University, an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park, a law degree from the Pennsylvania State University, and a bachelors in Economics from Swarthmore College.
Katie Selenski is the Executive Director of CalSavers, the State of California’s pioneering retirement savings program for people who lack access to a retirement plan at work.
Prior to taking the helm at CalSavers, Ms. Selenski was the State Policy Director for pension policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C., where she advised policymakers in a dozen states and cities. Previously, she was a senior manager with the nonpartisan public sector consulting firm Harvey M. Rose Associates, based in San Francisco, advising municipal leaders on a wide array of budget, management, and policy matters, including pensions. Earlier, she was a municipal bond rating analyst at a leading rating agency, a legislative aide in the California Assembly, and the director of an historic statewide youth voter turnout initiative.
Ms. Selenski is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Economic Policy Advisor
Office of U.S. Senator Rob Portman (OH)
Michael Sinacore is the Economic Policy Adviser for Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio). He previously worked for Senator Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) and for Representatives Dave Trott (R-Michigan) and Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) in their respective assignments to the House Financial Services Committee. Sinacore has also served as the Deputy Director for External Affairs at the National Credit Union Administration.
Prior to his government service, Sinacore worked at JP Morgan’s London Office. There, he helped implement portions of the Dodd-Frank Act and analyzed underperforming real estate assets acquired as part of the purchase of Bear Stearns. This experience afforded Sinacore a front row seat to both the Euro Crisis and the Arab Spring.
Sinacore holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Boston College.
Eugene Steuerle is an Institute fellow, Richard B. Fisher chair at the Urban Institute and co-founder of the Tax Policy Center, the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy and its Program on Retirement Policy, and ACT for Alexandria, a community foundation, where he also served as chair. Among past positions, he was deputy assistant secretary of the US Department of the Treasury for Tax Analysis, president of the National Tax Association, and Economic Coordinator and original organizer of the Treasury study that led to the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The author, coauthor or coeditor of 19 books, including Retooling Social Security for the 21t Century and Social Security and the Family, and over 1,500 articles and columns, Steuerle received the first Bruce Davie–Albert Davis Public Service Award from the National Tax Association in 2005 and the TIAA-CREF Paul Samuelson award for his book Dead Men Ruling.
William Stone founded SS&C Technologies, Inc. in 1986 and has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer since its inception. He successfully guided SS&C through the acquisition of over fifty firms since 1995. Mr. Stone has grown SS&C to more than 22,500 employees with offices in Europe, Asia, Middle-East, Australia and throughout North America. In May 1996, SS&C raised capital in an Initial Public Offering (IPO). In 2005, Bill took the company private with entities affiliated with The Carlyle Group. In March 2010 SS&C again went public and trades under the symbol SSNC on Nasdaq.
Prior to founding SS&C, Mr. Stone worked as a Certified Public Accountant and directed the financial services consulting practice of KPMG LLP in Hartford, Connecticut, and was vice president of administration and special investment services at Advest, Inc., a securities broker/dealer.
Mr. Stone is a graduate of Marquette University. He holds or has held National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) securities series licenses 6, 7, 8 and 22, was a New York Stock Exchange and Municipal Securities Rulemaking board Principal and an associated person with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He currently is a Director of Sterling Life & Annuity Company and has served on the Board of Directors of OpenLink, the Board of the University of Connecticut’s School of Business and The University of Connecticut Foundation’s Board.
Senior Tax and Economic Policy Advisor, U.S. Senate Small Business Committee
Office of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD)
Ron Storhaug serves as Senior Tax and Economic Policy Advisor for the office of Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. In that role, he serves as the Senator’s principal policy advisor in his capacity as a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee and Chair of the Small Business Committee. Prior to this role, Ron was Senior Economic Policy Advisor to Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), where he handled the Senator’s economic portfolio. Before Senator Kaine’s office, Ron was an Enterprise Risk Management consultant at Deloitte. Originally from North Dakota, he started his career at the U.S. Senate Budget Committee under Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND).
Business Information Security Officer
Mark advances business information security by leading a team of security professionals. In his role he directs efforts to protect customer information and accounts for Principal and its clients.
Since joining the company in 2008, Mark has held several roles in IT and security. He has master’s degrees in business administration and cyber security from Iowa State University and Harvard University Extension. He also holds the CISSP, CISM and CCSP information security certifications.
Mark is a member of several industry relevant organizations, including FS-ISAC (Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center), InfraGard, SPARK DSOB, and the Cyber Readiness Institute.
SVP, Head of US Tax Exempt Research
Ben Taylor is a senior vice president and head of tax-exempt defined contribution (DC) research. Based in Los Angeles, Ben leads research into public sector and nonprofit DC plans for the firm. He is also a shareholder of the firm.
In his career, he has served as the consultant to the DC plans of 12 states, and many large cities and universities. He also taught economics at Harvard University, where he received an award for excellence in teaching. He is past president of NAGDCA’s Industry Committee and served on the NAGDCA Board. He serves as vice chairman of the Public Retirement Research Laboratory and is vice chairman of the SPARK Data Security Oversight Board. Ben has been published by Oxford University Press and is one of the co-authors of The Disruptive Impact of FinTech on Retirement Systems.
Ben earned a BA from Reed College, a master’s of international political economy and development from Fordham University, and a master’s of public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Vice President, Retirement Plan Administration
Nicholle Taylor is Vice President of Retirement Plan Administration for SS&C Technologies, leading the Retirement BPO organization.
Nicholle spent the first 20 years of her career at Vanguard in a variety of roles. Twelve of those years were spent in the retirement plans business with increasing responsibility, starting first with participant support and plan administration; later moving into day-to-day client services and ultimately in sales and relationship management. The second phase of her career has focused on leadership. While earning her MBA through Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, she had the opportunity to help redesign Vanguard’s high net worth retail business (“Flagship Services”) from scratch and lead operations for the 529 group. She joined Ameritas in July 2015 to continue her passion for operational leadership and return to the very fulfilling world of helping people save for retirement. During her five-year tenure there, she focused on modernizing operations through technology and process improvements and building an “innovation hub” for the business line.
Groom Law Group. Chartered
Kevin L. Walsh advises clients on a wide range of fiduciary matters and other issues involving benefit plans. His practice encompasses helping plan service providers comply with the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rules, working with them as they develop processes for and make investments, and helping them navigate the impact of Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and SEC regulations.
Kevin counsels clients primarily on issues related to Title I of ERISA, but also works with clients on the intersection of ERISA and other federal statutes. He assists insurers in obtaining guidance from the Department of Labor, and helps plan fiduciaries structure investments. He has also worked with plan service providers to structure the distribution of proprietary products in a manner that complies with ERISA’s prohibited transaction provisions.
Kevin is also a member of Groom’s Policy and Legislation Group, where he leverages his deep legislative experience on behalf of clients by providing technical legislative drafting services and strategic advice on interacting with the legislative and executive branches.