The EPI Thought Leadership Council is made up of a select group of highly successful advisors whose work exemplifies the Value Acceleration Methodology and whose insight and knowledge are valuable to other advisors.
Council Members serve as extensions of Exit Planning Institute in the media to represent the Value Acceleration Methodology. As thought leaders, these advisors are viewed as trusted sources for reporters and journalists.
Managing Director, Interchange Capital Partners
Areas of Expertise: Family Business and Entrepreneur Client Segments, Transition Strategy, Value Acceleration
Brian is the Managing Director of Interchange Capital Partners. In this role, he oversees strategic initiatives of the company with a specific focus on the Family Business and Entrepreneur client segment. His focus is on helping owners think through, build and execute on a value acceleration and transition strategy for the shareholders. He believes that at its core exit planning combines the plan, concept, effort, and process into a clear, simple strategy to build a business that is transferable through strong human, structural, customer, and social capital. The future of each owner, their family, and their business are addressed by exit planning through creating value today.
Brian is also the President of the Pittsburgh Exit Planning Chapter, which he helped found in 2019. The chapter’s mission is to give business owners a forum to get educated on true exit planning – how to build a valuable and transferable business through a proven process. He graduated from Penn State with a Bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Business. He is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor and a CFP.
When not advising businesses, Brian enjoys spending time with his wife, Natalie, and their daughter, Quinn. He is also an avid golfer and likes the occasional scotch and cigar.
Partner, Strategic Development and Partnerships (USA), RFN Global
Areas of Expertise: Business Value Growth and Transition Expert, Entrepreneurship and Family Business
Over Sean Hutchinson’s 30 plus years in business, the most valuable lessons he has learned have been from business owners who generously shared their stories of success and struggle. They have allowed him to offer insights and guidance based on first-hand experiences.
Sean has founded more than half a dozen companies, all of them with partners, some more successful than others. At the age of 34, Sean led a fast-growing global company and was responsible for making big decisions with big implications on a daily basis. Despite having been very green, he was hard-working and quick-learning and the firm became the largest of its kind in the world. Sean is proud to call himself the third-generation heir to his family’s 64-year-old custom millwork manufacturing business.
Sean is a founding partner in RFN Global, an interconnected, collection of solutions for transitioning business owners, their communities and the professionals who advise them. RFN Global includes:
RFN Academy, an educational community offering practical training to business owners and the professionals who advise them.
RFN Advisory Group, a team of professional advisors who work directly with business owners to help them optimize the value of their business, believing ‘transition-ready businesses are more valuable’ ™.
RFN Cities, a preparedness and business retention program providing communities with a programmatic approach to identifying the magnitude of the boomer-owned business risk in their community.
As one of the founders of RFN Advisory Group (previously SVA Value Accelerators), Sean’s primary focus is strategy and growth. He helps owners and their leadership teams imagine what being a “company of the future” looks like for them, and then helps them achieve it. Sean sees his work as transformational, not just transactional and it all comes down to getting ready for next.
To serve clients better over the years, Sean has invested heavily in education. In addition to obtaining a master’s degree from Miami University of Ohio, he is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) and a Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor (CMAA). Sean’s educational and professional experiences have equipped him to serve on the Board of Directors for three private companies and confidently accepts opportunities to speak to owners and professional advisors across North America, whenever he is invited to do so. Sean has been a faculty member of the Exit Planning Institute for seven years and enjoys helping professionals uncover the importance of supporting an owner through one of the largest events of their life.
Partner, Strategic Development and Partnerships (USA), RFN Global
Areas of Expertise: Retirement Planning, Financial Wellness, Risk Management, Financial Planning
Michael S. Sheppard, CFP®, CPFA, CEPA is Managing Partner and founder of IronwoodDrive Financial Group, LLC (IFG). Michael is responsible for the thought leadership, strategic direction & pursuit of driving IFG’s mission while always reflecting the markets we serve. Sheppard has 15+ years of experience as a financial advisor and leader in the financial services industry. IFG manages retirement plans, employee benefits, & runs financial wellness education programs for businesses and corporations. IFG provides fee-based financial planning, wealth, and risk management for individuals as well as financial planning services for professional athletes, collegiate & professional coaches.
Founder and CEO, KeyeStrategies, LLC
Areas of Expertise: Exit and Transition Planning, Business Development, Business Management
Julie Keyes is the founder and owner of KeyeStrategies, LLC and has been an entrepreneur for the majority of her life. As the founder and operator of several companies, she understands what keeps an owner up at night and the balancing act required to work both ‘in’ and ‘on’ the business. Having outside perspective and mentoring made all the difference for her, as she spent years growing and improving her companies before selling and becoming a business adviser in 2011.
As a Certified Exit Planning Advisor and Value Growth Advisor, she works with business owners who seek to understand and maximize their exit and critical transition options. She is the President Emeritus of the Exit Planning Institute Twin Cities Metro Area Chapter (2016-2020) and a faculty member for their CEPA Program. In addition, Julie was awarded EPI’s 2017 “Leader of Year”. Her speaking engagements bring her across the country delivering her exit planning expertise to owner and advisor groups alike.
When she’s not advising business owners and advisors, you can find her doing something fun outdoors with her family. She and her husband, Shaun have 8 children and spend as much time with them and their grandchildren as possible.
Chief Strategist, Execuity Value Advisors
Bourbon Badass, Whisky Chicks
Areas of Expertise: Value Acceleration, Business Valuation, Entrepreneurs
Linda’s purpose is to use her gifts, experience, and knowledge to guide current and future business owners to maximize their potential. Her 20+ years of C-level experience growing a $100 million business, enables her to relate to the challenges business owners face every day. She founded Execuity Value Advisors and Whisky Chicks in the same year. Both companies embrace the idea that knowledge and experience breed confidence. Linda is a skilled facilitator and has developed a systematic approach for measuring and improving the value of a business. More importantly, she knows how to turn strategy into results. Be sure to check out her podcast, “Wealth Empowerment State of Mind” and her book, “How to Be a Bourbon Badass”.
Co-Founder and Principal, The Founders Group
Partner, Strazzeri Mancini
Areas of Expertise: Family Business, Estate Planning, Charitable Intent, Succession Planning
Counselor and Attorney for Successful Families and Business Owners. Educator for Wealth Advisors. Speaker and Author.
As a former general contractor, land developer, and business owner, Joe combines these skills along with more than 20 years of experience as an attorney to counsel families and business owners.
Through 4 unique brands and with his partners, Joe educates wealth advisors, assists business owners to find “what’s next,” counsels families towards alignment, as well as protects families and their assets.
The Southern California Institute is a Thought Leader Community providing resources, education, and advice via collaborative think tanks, events, programs, online content, and introductions.
The Laureate Center for Wealth Advisors provides advanced training and support for wealth advisors, such as: Attorneys, Accountants, Fiduciaries, Bankers, Financial Advisors, Insurance Professionals, and other wealth advisors. Learn how to attract, engage, and work with your perfect client and their trusted advisors.
Strazzeri Mancini LLP helps affluent families get to the heart of highly relevant matters and resolve messes in the areas of integrated tax and estate planning, business succession, and family governance counseling.
The Founders Group leads business owners through all phases of transition where increased clarity, net cash flow, and market value expand and solidify choices for business transition: if, when, how, how much, and to whom.
Partner, Senior Vice President, Morton Wealth
Areas of Expertise: Personal Financial Planning, Business Strategy, Wealth Management
Joe Seetoo is a Partner & Sr VP. with 23 years of experience in providing wealth management for affluent business owners and high-net-worth families. Prior to joining Morton Capital Management in August 2007, he served as the Director of Investment Research for Georgina Asset Management, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor located in Santa Monica, CA from September 2003 until July 2007 and as the Director of Operations from May 2000 until September 2003. Joe Seetoo began his investment career with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., Inc. in 1998. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst, and a member of the CFA Institute and the Los Angeles Society of Financial Analysts. Additionally, Joe is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor, Certified Financial Planner®, and a member of Provisors™. He is President of the Conejo Valley chapter of the Exit Planning Institute.
Joe Seetoo earned his Black Belt Degree in Krav Maga and was an instructor for nearly a decade. He successfully completed Sealfit Kokoro Camp 37 in June 2015.
He has served a number of philanthropic organizations including Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley, Water Buffalo Club, Project ECHO & the Dubinoff School for Child Development.
Joe received his Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and International Relations from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. He is married, has two daughters, and resides in Westlake Village, CA.
Area President, FocusCFO
Areas of Expertise: Business Strategy, Entrepreneurs, Leadership
Darren has more than 30 years of diverse business, management, operations finance, and accounting expertise across a broad range of industries. Darren’s background includes senior roles expanding market share across continents and channels and designing improved operations, marketing, and finance practices in both private equity and public traded environments with Honeywell, Komatsu Ltd, Connell Limited Partnership, Green Earth Technology, Gary-Chicago Regional Airport Authority, and Greif, Inc.
Darren received his MBA from The Ohio State University and BS in Accounting from Purdue University.
Chief Strategy Officer, WealthSource Partners, LLC
Areas of Expertise: Financial Planning, Small Business Planning, Business Strategy
In 2016, he launched Financially Simple™ – an educational portal featuring a financial blog, podcast, and video resources – to simplify the complexity of finance for small business owners. In addition, he has recently published his second book, “Your Baby’s Ugly,” teaching readers how to assess the sellable value of their company with the goal of growing its long-term value. His relatable and effective educational style has thrust him into the national stage, garnering him multiple awards and accolades including inclusion on Investopedia’s list of Top 100 Financial Advisors four years in a row. In 2009, Justin founded the boutique financial planning firm, Heritage Investors, following years of working in a large wealth management firm. And now, Justin works with business owners at WealthSource Partners as their Chief Strategy Officer.
Consultant, The Family Business Consulting Group
Areas of Expertise: Family Business, Value Growth, Managing Teams
Amy Wirtz is a consultant with The Family Business Consulting Group specializing in shareholder value enhancement, business planning processes, and transition implementation of management, leadership, or ownership of a business. Her passion stems from growing up in her grandparents’ second-generation business, surrounded by the complex matters a family business presents.
Amy brings a range of experience to family enterprises by serving in roles such as an exit-planning advisor, collaborative lawyer, mediator, land teacher. Drawing from 25 years as a lawyer, she believes in peaceful resolutions to complex issues by helping families learn new communication skills to resolve family and business matters. Amy focuses on providing creative solutions to family business engagements and presenting to relevant audiences. She also helps business owners use their advisors as a resource team to create optimal value.
Prior to joining FBCG, Amy had been a certified collaborative lawyer for over 14 years and a mediator for a nine-year period. Both of these certifications require extensive training in interest-based negotiations, listening skills, reframing, and alternate dispute resolutions. She attended Cleveland State Marshall College of Law and the University of Toledo for her undergraduate schooling where she received a bachelor’s in education.
Professional EOS Implementer
Areas of Expertise: Family Business, Entrepreneurs, Exit Planning
Kyle Danner began his entrepreneurial career in his family’s printing company, where he became an owner and helped the firm grow from $2million to $18+million in revenue. He then made the difficult decision to leave it all behind. Today, Kyle combines his experience as a former business owner, his knowledge as a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA), and his skills as a Professional EOS Implementer® to help business owners build a better business and live a better life.
Partner and Senior Consultant, The Telos Group
Areas of Expertise: Family Business, Growth and Transition Planning, Entrepreneurship
Mike has worked with family firms and family offices from across the world. He teaches and coaches in the areas of entrepreneurship, strategic planning, and family enterprise. He serves on the Board of several growing companies and is the founding partner of The TELOS Group, a consulting firm focused on growth and transition strategies for enterprising families.
Mike has worked at several universities—teaching, conducting research, and starting new programs. Most recently he founded the Initiative for Family Business and Entrepreneurship at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.
Mike is a seasoned speaker and teacher on all aspects of family enterprise. He blends stories, knowledge, and experience in a way that engages and holds the attention of their audience. Sometimes challenging but always entertaining, topics are tailored to each group’s needs and supported by content that ignites further discussion.
Partner, BPM LLP
Areas of Expertise: Accounting, Taxes, Early Stage Exit Planning
Rich is a CPA and a CEPA who has been helping business owners succeed for over 25 years.
With a background in tax, experience in accounting, and a focus on early-stage exit planning, Rich is a forward-thinking advisor who helps business owners with thoughtful advice that goes far beyond accounting.
Founder and President, Prometis Partners
Areas of Expertise: Succession Planning, Wealth Management, Exit Planning
Vincent is the founder and president of Prometis Partners. He began his career in 1989 providing wealth management services to businesses and individuals. After two decades with Lincoln Financial Group, confident in his own experience, Vincent built his own firm, Prometis Partners. During his years as an independent succession planning advisor, Vincent has discovered his true passion for working closely with business owners on exit planning strategies. He brings his experience and enthusiasm for finding solutions to each new challenge.
Vincent has a gift for motivating people and providing them with the necessary long-term impetus to reach their goals. Vincent provides his clients with written goals for the succession of a business’s ownership and control. His process is derived from a well thought out and properly executed plan that considers all factors, all interested parties, and the personal goals of the owners in a manner and a time period that will accommodate the business, its shareholders, and potential buyers. Vincent is also the founding president of the EPI West Michigan Chapter which provides education to professionals and business owners on value acceleration and transition planning.
Additionally, Vincent shares his experience and positive outlook with others as a national speaker on exit planning. He also leads round-table discussion groups with business owners to explore the issues that they face selling or transferring their companies and to determine how to best approach their individual situations. He is adept at motivating a team or organization to work together to meet group goals and works well under pressure and with time constraints.