Caleb Brown, MBA, CFP®

Caleb Brown is the host of the New Planner Podcast, and is Co-founder and CEO of New Planner Recruiting, a recruiting firm that specializes in sourcing, screening, and integrating financial planners in financial planning firms nationwide. He was named the Next Generation Influencer by Financial Planning magazine, one of the top 25 most influential people in the industry by Investment Advisor, and Investment News 40 under 40. He is a graduate of the Texas Tech Personal Financial Planning Program and started his career spending more than five years in an RIA firm in North Texas helping a sole practitioner transition the firm to an ensemble model. Brown has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus for the TTU College of Human Sciences and a Distinguished Alumnus for the TTU Financial Planning Program. He has authored Successful Hiring for Financial Planners: The Human Capital Advantage which is a compilation of the to do’s and what not to do’s in hiring for a financial planning firm so business owners can alleviate pain points often associated with hiring. As well as Finding Your Path: The Roadmap From Student to Successful Financial Planner a guide for aspiring planners to create the career of their dreams.

Brown is a Kolbe Certified™️ Consultant, and original creator of the FPA Career Day program, which began with the Dallas/Ft. Worth Chapter and subsequently, has been implemented by other organizations across the nation. Throughout Brown's career, he has mentored, hired, managed, and coached many career changers and college students seeking internships and full-time positions in financial planning as well as the firm owners who hire them. He is also an Adjunct Faculty member for the University of Georgia’s Financial Planning Program. Outside of work, Brown coaches youth sports and volunteers with various programs benefiting foster and adoptive kids. He is also an avid golfer, hiker, Tough Mudder, and snowboarder.

Joel P. Bruckenstein

Joel P. Bruckenstein, CFP®️, is a globally recognized authority in the field of applied technology for financial professionals. He is renowned as the Publisher of Technology Tools for Today (T3), formerly known as Virtual Office News and now known as the T3 Tech Hub.

As the driving force behind the esteemed T3 Advisor Conference, Bruckenstein has established it as the preeminent technology event for independent financial advisors executives from independent broker/dealers and executives from large registered investment advisory firms. The conference also welcomes fintech journalists, private equity firms, and asset managers that support the wealthtech ecosystem. Celebrating its 20th year in 2024, the conference has consistently delivered unparalleled value to its attendees.

For more than two decades, Bruckenstein has been advising financial service firms of all sizes, aiding them in enhancing their technological infrastructure, streamlining processes, and optimizing workflows.

Akshay Dhawan

Akshay Dhawan is a Managing Director at Ankura, based in Washington D.C. He has more than 15 years of experience designing, implementing, and managing various IT and Cyber risk related programs.

Dhawan has extensive experience working with IT and security executives across industries to develop and deliver leading edge solutions rooted with a deep understanding of the organization's business priorities and goals. He is a trusted advisor to his clients assisting them solve complex challenges with their security controls and compliance programs. He has served as a chief information security officer (CISO) for clients across a diverse set of industries and organizational sizes. In his current role, Dhawan is responsible for leading Ankura's Cloud Security Services and also servers as board advisory to companies.

Prior to joining Ankura, Dhawan led the Federal Risk & Authorization Management (FedRAMP) cloud certification services for Deloitte. He has also served in a leadership role within AICPA's task force to develop frameworks for new and existing industry-based information security certification programs.

Kate Healy

Kate Healy is a financial services industry executive and NextGen advocate, purposefully building brands. She is CEO and Founder of AdvoKate IQ, LLC, a consultancy firm designed to help wealth management create growth strategies to take advantage of demographic changes affecting workforce and client acquisition.

Healy is widely recognized as a leading advocate for the next generation of financial planners, for women advisors and for the financial planning profession. Wealthmanagement.com named her to the 2018 “Ten to Watch” list. In 2016, Investment Advisor magazine named Healy as one of the industry’s 25 most influential people. Healy was named to InvestmentNews' inaugural "Women to Watch" in 2015. Additionally, she was TD Ameritrade's 2014 Impact Award winner for Leadership in Diversity and Inclusiveness.

She is past board chair of the Foundation for Financial Planning and clerk for the Invest in Others board. Healy supported the CFP Board's Women's Initiative (WIN) Council, the Center for Financial Planning's Advisory Council, and the Center’s Diversity Advisory Board. She was formerly managing director for TD Ameritrade Institutional, leading marketing and Generation Next.

Healy is a frequent speaker at industry events including InvestmentNews, FA Magazine, Future Proof, FPA, NAPFA and TD Ameritrade’s LINC national conference. She is a contributor to industry publications and podcasts, including Barron’s: The Way Forward, WealthManagement.com, and InvestmentNews. Healy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Rutgers College.

Dennis Stearns, CFP®, ChFC

Dennis Stearns is Founder and President of Stearns Financial Group, a $2 billion fee-only business planning, financial planning and investment management firm In North Carolina.

Stearns has been named Entrepreneur of the Year (Business Leader), Most Admired CEO (Triad Business Journal) and Small Business Advocate (Greensboro Chamber). He has been called a “leading financial futurist” by the Street.com and “one of the leading scenario experts and futurists in the financial planning industry” by the Financial Planning Association. His firm was named to CitiWire’s Future 50 list of the most innovative firms.

He has been quoted in leading industry magazines and news sites, including NAPFA Advisor Magazine, Kiplinger’s Finance, the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, TheStreet.com and the peer reviewed Journal of Financial Planning.

Stearns is the author of several books, including CEO Road Rules: Right Focus, Right People, Right Execution (a “must read” – Daniel Jorndt, former CEO, Walgreens) and Fourth Quarter Fumbles: How Successful People Avoid Critical Mistakes Later in Life. Workbooks for the 4th quarter of life include Fourth Quarter Champions and Fourth Quarter Champions: Business Owner Edition (“essential reading for business owners” – Doug Tatum, former Global Chair – ACG). Dennis’s new book is called Ninja Entrepreneur: Secrets of Top Business Owners to Thrive in Uncharted Waters.

Stearns is an active community leader and has been awarded three national community service awards from the YMCA, TDA Community Heroes and Invest in Others. He serves on several university and foundation boards. He is a former chess master and played on one of the winningest Pan-American Chess Teams in U.S. history. He has played simultaneous chess with up to 50 people at the same time raising money for children’s charities. He has taught an inner-city chess club for at-risk youth for more than two decades.

Carolynne Thomas

Carolynne Thomas advises executives on their most important challenges, including how they lead, how they align their organizations to strategy, and how they create followership in the process of both. Her clients include leaders in the consumer products, financial services, healthcare, and professional services industries.

A sought-after coach, strategist, and speaker, Thomas has guided leaders and their teams through strategy changes, culture evolutions, and transformative acquisitions. Her extensive experience and no-nonsense approach immediately attract senior executives who crave answers and have “had it” with bluster. Thomas has also set the standard for how to establish cohesive executive teams, reduce uncertainty during times of change, and improve leadership effectiveness overall.

Before joining CRA, Thomas researched the effects of genetic counselors’ communication styles on parents of newborns for the Human Genome Project. She earned Communication Science and Women’s Studies degrees from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the University of Denver.

A Wisconsin native, Thomas and her family live in the Phoenix metro area.

Dr. Sahar Yousef and Lucas Miller

Dr. Sahar Yousef and Lucas Miller are both cognitive neuroscientists and MBA faculty at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

At Berkeley, Sahar and Lucas run the Becoming Superhuman Lab (featured in Forbes Wired and Business Insider) and teach one of the most popular MBA classes, called "Becoming Superhuman: The Science of Productivity and Performance". Yousef has become one of the world’s leading experts on cognitive training and is featured as a top scientist in the Headspace wellbeing app (used by more than two million people every day). In 2021, Yousef produced a multi-part video series with John Legend on the science of music and its impact on our focus and emotions.

Outside of the academic world, they co-run “Becoming Superhuman”, a training and consulting firm which teaches busy professionals who think for a living how to get their most important work done, in less time, with less stress. Miller specializes in physiology and performance psychology and uses his background as a competitive powerlifter to help knowledge workers increase their daily energy levels, manage stress effectively, and optimize their work and home routines.

Since COVID began, they have collectively given more than 500 talks and keynotes to knowledge workers in 50+ countries, have advised executive teams at Google, Coinbase, and Visa, and have been invited to speak for the US Congress and Saudi Arabian governments.