Society Connections E-Newsletter
Another SFSP member benefit of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter

Editors Message: A New Chapter


Glen Coral, CLU, ChFC 

Chairman, Society Connections Committee; Vice Chairman, Membership Committee


By the time you open this edition of Connections the Chapter leadership will have transitioned and the new Board will embark on the 2013-2014 fiscal year!  It is a great time for all of those who have served, and for all who have participated in this year’s events and benefitted from the activities, education and networking opportunities to reflect and share their thoughts on how to improve what your Society does to enhance your membership experience.  If you haven’t considered giving some of your time to the Chapter, please do.  The more you participate, the more connected you will be to the Chapter and to other professionals throughout our community. We accomplished great things this past year, to which we owe outgoing President, Greg Marquardt, a debt of gratitude for his leadership and involvement of every aspect of the Chapter. 


Education Events - Overall participation in our increased significantly, both from the membership and from our guest attendance.  We attribute that to a few key decisions:  a date/time/place – 8:00 am on the third Thursday of the month at the Villanova Conference Center, free CE, CPE and CLE credits, and excellent content and speakers.  Curt Cyliax and his committee did a great job this year and we know Kevin Thomas will continue to carry the ball with a great slate of meetings to come.  The sponsorship of the events exceeded expectations, which we attribute to the increased interest in what we are doing!

Professionals Dinner – We had another successful event, a credit to Derek Lemke and his committee.  Michael Smerconish delivered an insightful, humorous keynote address, and the Desmond did a wonderful job as always.

Cystic Fibrosis Initiative – While this endeavor is just getting off the ground, Bill Widing worked diligently to develop the concept of providing pro bono services and the relationship with the local CF Foundation chapters.  We anticipate providing valuable professional guidance to families impacted by cystic fibrosis and ask members to be generous in volunteering a few hours of your time as the need arises.

University Partners – Mike Felmeth, as chair of this committee, will continue to nurture the relationships the Society has with Drexel and Widener.  In addition, he hopes to invite new partners with a couple of other institutions.  This year was capped by a joint event with Drexel on Behavioral Finance which was well attended by Drexel Alumni and Society members.   Both groups are looking forward to planning another event this year.

Membership – We are very proud the Chapter exceeded its new member goals for the year!  Many thanks to Dave Bernaus, CLU, ChFC, Glen Coral, CLU, ChFC and the committee for their dedication in keeping the Society strong!  Bill Cooper, our incoming Chapter President, not only led the Chapter in recruiting, but was also was a leader nationally.  His formula is pretty simple.  He just asked other professionals he respected to join and participate!  There is a “buzz” about the Society.   In addition to insurance advisors, we are attracting younger professionals from the accounting, legal, financial planning and banking communities.  And, our new members are recruiting colleagues as well, so the excitement is growing.  By bringing new professionals to our Society, we remain a strong, diversified, knowledgeable and connected financial community!

Liam Hegarty and Bethanne Killian – We would be remiss if we didn’t thank our friends at Maguire Hegarty for all their time, effort and support of the Society.  They keep things running smoothly and will continue to work hard to help us grow the Chapter.


As always, we welcome contributions of articles for Connections, and your feedback to make the Chapter even better!  Look for our calendar of events for the coming year!


Connections to Industry


Connections to Membership

WELCOME to New FSP Members


William R. Shuey

Valley Forge Financial Associates, King of Prussia

Email:; (610)783.6650


Bill works primarily with individuals and families helping them set and achieve their financial goals. He also advises 401(k) plans concentrating on trustee review meetings, performance reporting, and employee education.


Bill earned his B.S. from Slippery Rock University in Sport Management and Business and his M.S. from West Virginia University in Physical Education. He currently holds his Series 6, 63, and 65 securities licenses.


Prior to joining Valley Forge Financial Group, Bill spent 10 years as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles organization working in various capacities, including serving as the team's linebacker coach. He currently assists the West Chester University football program as a part-time coach. Bill, his wife Maura, and their daughter, reside in Chester Springs, PA.



Robert Palidora

AXA Advisors, LLC, Bala Cynwyd

Email:; (610) 660-4212


Robert Palidora is a 1976 graduate of Saint Joseph’s University with a degree in Marketing Management. Prior to joining AXA Advisors LLC, he was a partner in ALLURE where he directed all operations and built it into a nationally recognized men’s specialty store.


Mr. Palidora’s background in understanding the diverse aspects of running a profitable business has helped him identify major areas of concerns that impart business owners and executives’ financial strategies. This background enables him to be a true resource to his clients.


Joe Gaeckle, CFP

Lincoln Financial Advisors, Chesterbrook, PA

Email:; (610) 727-4925


We are welcoming Joe back to the Philadelphia area and are pleased to have him back after time away in the Midwest!  Joe is looking forward to working with other members of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter.


After graduating from LaSalle University his career took him to Kansas City and then to Indianapolis.  He spent some time with The Hartford (PLANCO) before settling with Lincoln Financial Advisors.  Joe does have a personal client base, supporting them with his expertise as a Certified Financial Planner.  He also provides wholesale resources to a select group of advisors.  However, his passion is assisting advisors in preparing their practices for succession to the next generation of ownership.  Whether planning a sale to internal advisors, merging with other boutique firms or preparing the firm for sale to a larger advisory organization Joe works with the present ownership to create value and assure a smooth transition.



Ellen Filipski

Student, Drexel University

Email:; 267-394-0888

Ellen is a student at Drexel University and will be graduating in June. She worked for Dietz and Watson in their cost accounting department while on co-op, but will be starting a new career at Vanguard in their AFP rotational program in August. She will be rotating into the corporate finance, internal audit, and fund financial services departments and others.  For fun, she sings, often participating in local (Bucks County) festivals.  She is an avid runner and just completed her first half marathon in Philadelphia last year!



Michael Wolfe, CPA, ABV, CVA

Fesnak and Associates, LLP, Blue Bell, PA

Email:; (267) 419-2229


Mike is a Director of Business Valuation Services at Fesnak and Associates, LLP in suburban Philadelphia.  Their clients are usually privately-held companies ranging from early-stage to large, mature companies, all with a need to understand something about company value  – overall enterprise value, shares of stock, intellectual property, stock options, etc.  New business comes through existing clients, accounting and appraisal firms and an extensive referral network.  Outside the office, you may find me “picking” for my wife’s antique business, not to be confused with the Mike Wolfe on the television show American Pickers!



Matthew Magarahan

Highland Capital Brokerage, Downingtown, PA

eMail:; (610) 350-1202


Matt serves as Sales Vice President for the Highland Capital Brokerage—Mid-Atlantic, Philadelphia office.  He focuses on the independent producer market. He is highly skilled in the high net worth marketplace and jumbo limit underwriting, case design, and policy review/evaluation. Matt has nearly a decade of insurance brokerage sales and marketing experience. Prior to joining HCB, he worked with Crump Life Insurance Services (formerly BISYS). He was a former original member of Crump’s SAM (Super Affluent Marketplace) Group and President’s Club, a small exclusive group of Crump’s top brokerage sales and marketing managers.



Richard M. Farrell, Jr CLU ChFC       

Nationwide Life Insurance Co., Downingtown, PA

eMail:; (610) 241-6745


Rich has been involved in the financial services industry since 1984 in a variety of roles.  For the past 17 years he has been an External Wholesaler and is currently  with Nationwide Financial serving the Philadelphia Metro territory as a Regional Vice President and promoting all Annuity products -- Variable, Immediate, Fixed, Fee-Based and Alternatives. He resides in Downingtown, PA with his wife and 3 sons and enjoys travel, reading, being pool side and the occasional round of golf.



Natasha Johnson, E.A.                                  

Widener University, Student

Financial Bee, LLC

eMail:; (267) 595-6000


Natasha is no stranger to the financial services world.  She is an Enrolled Agent and spent several years in public accounting and assisting musicians in the tax planning of royalties.  She obtained her unique experience in the music and entertainment industry having worked for SONY Music Entertainment, and specifically, Epic Records, assisting various artists (and some prominent names!) in marketing and promotions.  She was introduced to the industry by her father and grandfather who opened the first music store in Harlem several decades ago.  She has been in Philadelphia for the past 10 years and is continuing to provide marketing and promotional services, as well as financial counseling, to clients as she pursues her CFP designation.





Drew F. Smith, MBA                          Continental Bank, Plymouth Meeting, PA


                                                            (610) 684-4238


John J. Coll, JD, LLM                        PFG Advisors, Berwyn, PA


                                                            (610) 517-2290



John J. Kelly, CLU, ChFC                 The Institute of CPCU, Malvern, PA


                                                            (610) 251-2773


Brooke Schneck                                Drexel University, Student


                                                            (414) 687-3248


Alyse Schongold                               Drexel University, Student


                                                            (339) 364-9823           



Connections eNewsletter Editions:

Fall 2013

Winter 2012 - 2013

Fall 2012

Winter 2011 - 2012

Fall 2011

Summer 2011

Spring 2011

Winter 2011