James Ware, CFA, is the founder of Focus Consulting Group, a firm dedicated to helping investment leaders leverage their talent. James is also a highly acclaimed industry author and international speaker on the subjects of investment leadership, culture and building high performing teams. A frequent keynote speaker at CFA Institute, Mutual Fund Educational Alliance, Investment Adviser Association, U.S. Institute and other major industry conferences, James is recognized for his insightful, inspiring and entertaining presentations. His most recent books are Type, Talent and Teams (2018), Lessons on Leadership (LOL) (2018), and Money, Meaning and Mindsets (2017). Prior books include Investment Leadership: Building a Winning Culture for Long-Term Success (Wiley, 2003) and High Performing Investment Teams (Wiley, 2006). They identify elements of leadership and teamwork that lead to sustainable success for investment firms. His articles have been published in the FAJ and JPM. James has 20 years experience as a research analyst, portfolio manager, and director of buy-side investment operations. He has been a guest lecturer on the topic of investment firm management at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. His educational background includes a Masters in Business from the University of Chicago and a degree in philosophy from Williams College, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
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Keith Robinson is the Managing Partner of Focus Consulting Group and brings over 27 years of global investment experience to his consulting and coaching work at FCG. As an expert in human resource and talent management at Allstate Investments, UBS, and Marsh & McLennan, he was selected to develop a cutting edge leadership development program for Northern Illinois University. His specialties include: Management and Leadership Development, Education and Training, Organizational Design and Performance, and Business Strategy. He is the co-author of the highly acclaimed white paper, “Investment Tribes” co-written with Jim Ware, and was recently published in Harvard Business Review and Smart Biz magazine for his work on “High Performing Investment Teams” and “Managing the Human Portfolio.” Keith holds an MBA from University of Illinois and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a business degree from Western Connecticut.
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Michael Falk, CFA, CRC is a partner at the Focus Consulting Group and specializes in helping investment/wealth management teams improve their investment decision-making, and their firms with strategic planning and succession. Previously, he was a chief strategist at global macro L.P., and a chief investment officer in charge of manager due diligence and asset allocation for a multi-billion-dollar advisory practice.
Michael is a frequent speaker and presenter at industry events as well as quoted in the press. He is part of the CFA Institute’s Approved Speaker List. In the past, he has taught on behalf of the CFA Society of Chicago in their Investment Foundations Certificate program, been a contributing member in the Financial Management Association’s (FMA) practitioner demand driven academic research initiative (PDDARI) group and tbeen adjunct faculty at DePaul University in their Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certificate Program. Michael has authored 2.5 books: the 2016 CFA Institute Research Foundation Monograph “Let’s All Learn How To Fish… To Sustain Long-Term Economic Growth”, the 2019 Monograph follow-up “Get to Work… on OUR Future” and he co-authored the 2017 “Money, Meaning and Mindsets.”
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Elizabeth (Liz) Severyns, LCSW, has been working with individuals and groups for over 20 years. An expert in psychology, she manages all FCG diagnostics tools and is certified in Enneagram Personality tool. She has a natural genius for reading people and situations. These natural talents combined with her training in the area of assessment allow her to quickly identify developmental issues and problem areas for leaders and managers at all levels in organizations. In addition, her specialized skills in crisis intervention enable her to get dramatic results in short periods of time. Liz uses her specialty in helping clients focus on key development areas, leverage strengths in their organization and themselves. Prior to joining Focus Consulting Group, she held various management roles in both the public and private sectors, focused on crisis intervention and counseling. Liz has a BA in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MSW from Loyola University-Chicago.
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Jamie Ziegler is an experienced executive coach for business leaders and their teams. She has over 30 years combined coaching, consulting and business leadership experience, including 17 years as a senior executive at Northern Trust Global Investments and Stein Roe & Farnham in Chicago. She started her career as a mutual fund analyst and adviser. Jamie is the co-author of Type, Talent and Teams: Using the Enneagram for Investment Firm Success (2018) and High Performing Investment Teams (Wiley, 2006) and a guest lecturer on firm management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She is a frequent speaker at industry events and has presented to more than 30 CFA societies around the world on the topics of teamwork and communications. She holds an MBA in finance from De Paul University and a BA in English from the University of Notre Dame. She is also certified in a broad range of developmental instruments, including the Enneagram of personality (Wagner program), the Center for Creative Leadership’s 360 degree feedback assessments, the Strengths Deployment Inventory (conflict management), the Harrison Assessment (job suitability) and mediation (Cook County Law Division).
Jack Skeen, Ph.D. has been studying and working in the area of human potential and coaching for the past thirty-five years. He has served as mentor and coach for many CEOs and senior executives of Fortune 500 companies. He is exceptionally talented at identifying obstacles that create a “ceiling effect” to success for individuals, relationships and teams. He is skilled at communicating that which people need to know but often seek to overlook, in ways that make the information highly useful. Prior to entering the world of coaching, Jack founded a private psychotherapy practice where he worked for ten years. He holds advanced degrees in theology from Westminster Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in psychology from Biola University.
Bryan is a senior strategy professional with more than 15 years of experience helping senior financial services executives to identify and solve critical business issues. He has a strong background in developing actionable business growth, market entry, product development and human capital and compensation strategies for leading organizations. Additionally, Bryan has worked closely with a number of growth-stage companies to develop growth and financial plans in support of equity and debt financings. Bryan has held a number of senior strategy and operations roles including leading Greenwich Associates’ Investment Management Strategic Advisory practice and serving as COO of McLagan’s Infrastructure Services team. He was also a senior member of management consultancy Casey Quirk, where he worked with asset management executives on marketing, investment platform and business strategy engagements. Prior to his time at Casey Quirk, Bryan was a Vice President in Morgan Stanley’s Competitive Strategies Group where he focused on the strategic initiatives of the firm’s asset and wealth management businesses. He has also served as an affiliate of private equity firm Broadline Capital where he was COO of one of the firm’s portfolio holdings. Bryan earned a B.A. in Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.B.A in Finance, Marketing and Strategy from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Jason was most recently the Director of Content for CFA Institute and its 150,000+ global members, as well as the co-Portfolio Manager of the Davis Appreciation & Income Fund. The Fund bested the S&P 500 by more than 40%, earned a Lipper #1 ranking, and was one of Morningstar’s first ten mutual funds given a Stewardship Grade of “A.” Jason is the author of 15 publications, including Return of the Active Manager, The Intuitive Investor, and well over 1,000 articles on investing, including for Journal of Private Equity, Journal of Behavioral Finance, The Enterprising Investor, Seeking Alpha, and many other platforms. Jason is also co-Founder of The Sarasota Institute: a 21st Century Think Tank, along with Phil Kotler, the father of modern marketing, and David Houle, one of the forces behind the creation of MTV, CNN, Headline News, and Nickelodeon. He serves on several boards, including the Framework Panel of the International Integrated Reporting Council. Jason received his BA in Economics, Minor BA in History, and MBA, Finance and Accounting, from the University of Colorado. He has traveled to 39 countries, with Egypt, Peru, and Myanmar being his favorites
Susan is a learning & development professional with more than 25 years of experience who is passionate about helping people learn and develop themselves. A financial services industry veteran, Susan’s training specialties include curriculum development, technical training and execution, e-learning, LMS (Learning Management System) administration, talent management, change management, recruiting, performance management, and employee onboarding.
Most recently, Susan was the Director of Learning and Development with Greenwich Associates, a leading research-focused consulting firm to the financial services industry. In this role, she was successful in applying blended instructional design techniques and methodologies using a variety of virtual and face-to-face delivery techniques such as e-learning, classroom-based workshops, simulations, and interactive webinars.
Susan’s work history also includes projects ranging from technical/business transformation, content management, process improvement, and project management. In these roles, she has been successful at transforming large, complex amounts of data into consumable bite size information learners can consume and apply in their daily lives. She is regarded for her collaborative style, ability to impact change in challenging cultural environments with high attention to detail and accuracy.
David Ellzey is skilled in helping investment professionals achieve high performance through clear decision making, dissolving stress, and mastering effective communication. His consultancy within the United Nations organization illustrates his high competency for working with leaders of numerous styles. In addition to individual coaching of executives and CEOs, he excels in facilitating team cohesion and teaching candor, curiosity and constructive debate. As a coach, trainer, and global presenter David has been working in the field of human potential and emotional intelligence for over twenty years.
Laura brings a variety of skills to her role of organizing engagements for Focus Consulting Group. She worked for 12 years at Allstate Insurance Company where she held responsibilities as an administrative assistant, benefit expert, human resource professional and trainer. She also served for 10 years as a housing coordinator, connecting visiting international guests to U.S. host families. Laura is often commended for her attention to detail, excellent listening skills, creative problem solving ability and cooperative demeanor. She is passionate about personal /professional development and excited to be part of an organization which holds that value as well. Laura earned a BA in Psychology from Roosevelt University.
Robert Chender is a partnering consultant with Focus Consulting Group. He served as chief operating officer and general counsel for both major investment management companies and hedge fund groups for over 18 years. Robert is also a certified mindfulness teacher, and frequently teaches companies and teams about the role of mindfulness in the workplace and the scientifically proven benefits of mindfulness including better performance, greater leadership skills and increased individual and company well-being. As an executive coach, his deep knowledge of the investment management industry allows him to appreciate and understand his clients’ particular professional issues, and his coaching focuses on helping clients mindfully improve decision making, clarify goals and strategies and achieve higher levels of concentration and performance. Robert has a B.A. from Vassar College and a J.D. from the New York University School of Law.