The West Region board exists to connect NAPFA members, deepen relationships between academic programs and planning firms, expand diversity, equity, and inclusion, support local professional education, and connect members with resources made available by the national organization within the western U.S. We are a group of volunteers committed to moving fee-only financial planning forward by giving back to the profession.

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West Region Local Groups

NAPFA members have a strong history of grassroots networking and collaboration. Local groups are great places to meet other Fee-Only advisors, attend valuable CE-eligible educational programming, and connect with your peers. Join a West Region Local Group below.


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Contact: Susan Chesney and Sarah Garber

Los Angeles

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Contact: Kenneth D. Gross

Los Angeles - South Bay

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Contact: Scott Leonard

New Mexico

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Contact: Michael Albillar


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Contact: Brian Pon

North Bay

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Contact: Heidi Tennant

Northern Colorado

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Contact: Arlen Olberding

Orange County

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Contact: Randa Hoffman

Oregon/SW WA

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Contact: Megan Buchanan and Andrea Vedder


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Contact: Craig Ritter

Salt Lake City

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Contact: Neil Mahoney

San Diego

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Contact: Heidi Tennant


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Contact: Irene Dabanian


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Contact: Denis Smirnov

Our 2023-2024 Financial Planning Competition is Complete!

The NAPFA West Region Board hosts an annual financial planning competition to help students hone their financial planning skills and connect with experienced practitioners. Teams of up to three members are provided a case study and submit their planning recommendations via a video recording. Judges evaluate the recorded presentation based on the student’s ability to demonstrate the CFP Board’s eight principal knowledge domains, mastery of advanced planning techniques, creativity in identifying unique solutions, and presentation skills.

The winning student(s)/team receives a $3,000 cash award, which may be used to cover CFP Board program expenses such as tuition and books and/or CFP® exam registration and study materials. In addition to the prize, students connect with highly experienced planners and mentors who can serve as a resource for advancing their careers in financial planning. For the winning team’s program, a cash award of $2,000 to support their academic outreach and initiatives.

Congratulations to the Winners!

The competition during the 2023-2024 event was intense, and we are thrilled to announce the winners. Let's celebrate the outstanding achievements of Brenna Cancilla and Annika Echarti from UCLA, who emerged victorious in this challenging competition.

Brenna Cancilla is from Los Angeles area, and earned her undergraduate degree at U.C. Berkeley. She’s working toward a certificate in personal financial planning through UCLA Extension and sit for her CFP exam in July 2024.

“The summer before I went away to college, my dad was hellbent that I learn the basics of personal finance. Together, we read personal finance books and talked about the common strategies and themes. To this day, he takes every opportunity to point to his old photocopied chart showing the time value of money. It feels magical that, by starting to invest at age 20, you can create a completely different life for yourself than if you’d waited. I love learning about other little miracles of finance, and am excited to share them with others.”

Annika Echarti moved to the US in 2023 from Germany to start the Personal Financial Planning program at UCLA Extension. Not knowing anything about American tax, retirement plans, and insurance, she feels it’s easy to measure how much she learned in such a short amount of time through the courses and its wonderful instructors.

“What I love about financial planning is working closely together with people, getting to know them, and helping them on so many different levels to live a happy, safe and financially peaceful life. For me it is so important to build a strong, trusting relationship with my clients, they should know that I always put their interest first. Now that I am finishing the PFP certification, I am excited to be looking for new opportunities starting April 1st as I progress along my CFP journey.”

Runners Up

We also want to recognize the efforts of the other finalists:

Shane Littleton is a hopeful career changer who has worked at faith-based non-profits for the last seven years. Having always been interested in personal finance, Shane decided the CFP mark was for him after stumbling upon Michael Kitces' website and reading Nancy Landon Jones' “So You Want to Be a Financial Planner”.”

Shane undertook the education component in 2023 while working full-time and plans to sit for the CFP exam in 2024. He and his wife will welcome their first child in the spring of 2024, and Shane looks forward to dropping early hints that the baby should consider becoming a CFP professional.

A proud member of NAPFA, Shane hopes to bring his skills and passion to a Portland-area fee-only RIA. He is excited to learn from those who care as much as he does about serving clients by helping them achieve their financial goals.

Nathan Redman-Brown is fascinated by the money science space and how fiduciary advice can make outrageous goals actionable. He believes money is a tool that, when used responsibly, can serve every walk of life. Nathan is a current senior in the George Fox University CFP® Board registered program and plans to take the CFP® exam in July 2024.

“This competition was an excellent opportunity to learn from judges (thank you Megan Buchanan!) and NAPFA members to refine and practice my skills alongside advisors who share a fiduciary mindset. This competition is one that I encourage my peers to participate in both for the prize and also for the learning that comes along the way.”

Cort Morris remembers growing up, money was a taboo topic. His parents and other family members didn’t enjoy talking about it, but it was easy to see the way it heavily affected them.

“In hindsight, many of the financial hardships faced within my family could have been diminished greatly through better planning and communication. This sparked my interest in the world of financial planning, which was further strengthened through my interest in psychology and behavior. I am very excited to start a career in the world of financial planning to help lead those tough conversations and guide individuals towards their financial goals.”

The 2024-2025 Competition

If you’re reading this and think competing sounds like a lot of fun, we’d love to have you for our next competition!

The competition is open to all students within the NAPFA West Region who:

  • Are currently enrolled in a CFP Board-recognized program, including those pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees or a program certificate, or,
  • Are program graduates currently studying to sit for the CFP® exam

Click here to complete the interest form to stay in touch on the 2024-2025 competition! To review the details of the 2023-2024 Competition, including timeline, FAQ, and more, click here.

If you want to learn more about ways to get involved in the 2024-2025 competition, either as a student, professor, mentor or judge, click here to complete the interest form. Additional questions? Email Brenna Baucum.

West Region Board of Directors


Andy Mardock


Evan Loomis


Kaydee Cole


Daniel Yerger

Local Groups

Danielle Miura


Courtney Ranstrom

Academic Outreach

Brenna Baucum and Shalmali Kulkarni