NAPFA 2023 Award Recipients
2023 NAPFA Inspiring Leader Award
Jessica Hovis Smith, CFP®, CPWA®, CLU®, CAP®,
Jessica is Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.’s President. Her primary role is to set the vision and support the team; however, she also still enjoys practicing her first love of financial planning.
Since entering the profession in 2005, she has been continually engaged with the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). This has included serving as a past south region board member, participating in podcasts and discussion circles, sitting on several committees, including a committee to choose the organization’s past CEO, and chairing the 2019 national conference.
In 2018, Jessica was recognized by InvestmentNews as a “40 Under 40” honoree for her leadership and contribution to the financial planning industry. In 2019, she received the Jack Davis Professional Achievement award from her alma mater, the University of Alabama. The award is presented to outstanding alumni from the school of Human Environmental Sciences for their professional accomplishments.
Outside of the office, Jessica loves spending time with her family and friends, reading, volunteering and enjoying the outdoors. Her favorite pastime is watching her children play soccer.
2023 NAPFA New Professional Award
Daniel M. Yerger, MBA, CFP®, ChFC®, AIF®, CDFA®
Daniel is the owner of MY Wealth Planners®, a financial planning firm in Longmont, CO. Daniel is a member of the NAPFA West Region Board and also represents NexGen planners on the FPA’s Executive Committee.
Daniel is also a Ph.D. Candidate at Kansas State University, where he has researched financial planner compensation and fee models for the past several years, along with authoring “Getting in the Door: Starting a Financial Planning Career.” Daniel lives in Longmont with his fiancé, Kaitlyn.
2023 NAPFA Special Achievement Award
Geoffrey Brown, CAE
Geoffrey ‘Geof’ Brown, CAE, is president and CEO of the Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS), one of the largest state CPA societies in the nation. Brown also serves as president and CEO of CPAs for the Public Interest and ex-officio board member of the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois.
A seasoned certified association executive (CAE), Brown has more than 20 years of experience as an association professional. Before joining ICPAS in 2022, he served as CEO of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), the nation’s leading professional association of fee-only financial advisors, for nine years. Prior to NAPFA, Brown was an account executive with Sentergroup, an association manager at SmithBucklin Corporation, and held multiple positions with North-American Interfraternity Conference.
Brown served as the board chair for Association Forum and is an active member. He is also an active member in the American Society of Association Executives and is a board member for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values. Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland.
2023 NAPFA Excellence in DEI Award
Oak Wealth Advisors, LLC
Mike Walther received his BS degree in Economics and MBA with a concentration in Accounting from Vanderbilt University. He holds the CPA/PFS designation, is a Certified Financial Planner and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. Mike founded Oak Wealth Advisors in 2008. His passion for helping people led him to open the firm so that families with loved ones with disabilities could access fiduciary financial advice and build plans for their futures with advisors required to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. His mission is to help as many families as he can through Oak Wealth Advisors by creating content, teaching classes, giving lectures, and serving clients. Mike has shared his knowledge and experience at multiple universities and with organizations around the country. His firm has served clients on five continents.
Oak Wealth Advisors works to integrate the strengths and passion of those with special needs into every aspect of their firm. All employees have a family member with special needs. All the art in their headquarters office was created by individuals with disabilities. The birthday and holiday cards the firm sends to friends and clients are all designed by individuals with disabilities. The annual “thank you” gifts their clients receive are made by individuals with disabilities or companies that were founded to employ individuals with disabilities.
Mike’s brother, who is on the Autism spectrum, motivates him every day.
2023 NAPFA Excellence in DEI Award
CI Budros Ruhlin Roe (CI BRR)
CI BRR has prioritized an emphasis on diversity and inclusion through multiple initiatives, knowing that this will greatly impact attracting and retaining wonderful associates and clients alike. Programs include a D&I Committee, guiding associate programs and communications for greater inclusivity, and a Women’s Initiative group, fostering education and relationship-building among female associates. The firm has offered a Women in Wealth Management scholarship plus internship award for the past seven years and a Diversity in Wealth Management scholarship plus internship award for the last three years to qualifying college students studying finance. One of our founders, Peggy Ruhlin, also just published a book titled “Wealth is Women’s Work” to encourage women to consider a career in financial planning.
Since 1979, we have been passionate about helping busy people solve complex financial issues through many life stages. In 2021, Columbus, OH-based Budros, Ruhlin & Roe became a partner firm in CI Private Wealth (CIPW) and renamed as CI Budros Ruhlin Roe (CI BRR). CIPW leverages the collective expertise of some of the top wealth management firms in the country to create a profoundly different wealth management experience. Clients receive the benefit of our expanded services and greater collaboration with some of the most highly respected firms in the industry. Clients also have increased access to next-level financial guidance in the areas of Trust Services, Tax Services, Wealth Transfer, Bill Pay and Alternative Investments.
2023 NAPFA Foundation Pro Bono Service Award
Abacus Wealth Partners
Neela Hummel began her career in finance as an intern at Abacus Wealth Partners in 2009, later earning her CFP® and working up the ranks to financial advisor, partner, and Chief Advisory Officer before being named Co-CEO of Abacus in 2021, alongside Mary Beth Storjohann.
During her time at Abacus, Neela has served two terms on its Board of Directors, developed its industry-leading parental leave policy (six months paid time off), and launched the company’s women’s initiative, the Abacus Sisterhood. She has helped grow Abacus as a values-aligned firm that supports gender equity through flexible policies, career path creation, and compensation transparency. As a result, over 50% of Abacus’ advisors are women, in an industry where 20% is the industry norm.
Neela’s work has centered around empowering and uplifting women in finance. Throughout her career, Neela has been a devoted mentor for women career changers and next generation talent. She has also led workshops and lectures, taught courses, and has been a keynote speaker at conferences including the Invest for Women Conference and FPA’s Next Gen Gathering. She simultaneously devotes her time to working within the finance industry to guide leaders and stakeholders to build a more inclusive and gender equitable industry.
Over the course of her career, Neela has been recognized on LA Business Journal's Women of Influence list, by Investment News' “40 under 40” for financial advisors, has appeared on ABC 7 News and Your Money (Sirius FM). She has been a guest on podcasts including Work Your Wealth, the People's Tax Page, and RIA Edge. Neela has been a frequent contributor to the Abacus blog, and has appeared in articles in Forbes, Investment News, CNBC, FPA, Financial Planning, Financial Advisor Magazine, US News, Men’s Health, and the LA Times.
Mary Beth Storjohann is Co-CEO of Abacus Wealth Partners. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, speaker and podcast host with 18 years of experience in the financial services industry. She joined Abacus in 2019 as Chief Marketing Officer after successfully launching and growing her own RIA firm. In 2022 she was appointed as Co-CEO alongside Neela Hummel.
A believer that “actions speak louder than words,” Storjohann is known for sparking conversations and change in the financial services industry by leaning into uncomfortable dialogue and decisions in an effort to help create a more equitable industry. She is a fierce advocate for women, diversity, equity & inclusion, aligning your money with your values, and making financial advice accessible to underserved populations.
Mary Beth has made frequent appearances on NBC as a financial expert and has been featured in major media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Glamour, NPR, The New York Times, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, CNBC, Forbes, and more.
Her accolades include “Mo100 Top Impact CEOs” by Big Path Capital, “Top 40 Under 40” by Investment News, “10 Young Advisors to Watch” by Financial Advisor Magazine, and she was named one of the Top Ten Most Influential Advisors by Investopedia – a list that celebrates financial advisors making significant contributions to critical conversations about financial literacy, investing strategies, life-stage planning, and wealth management.