Guest Speakers
Mark Balasa, CPA, CFP

Mark is a Principal, Co-CEO of Balasa Dinverno Foltz LLC, and a member of the Investment Committee which oversees policy, strategic and tactical direction for the firm’s client portfolios. Mark currently sits on JP Morgan’s RIA advisory board, and has sat on PIMCO’s advisory panel for RIAs, the advisory board for State Street Global Advisors, and the technology board for Charles Schwab & Co. Mark has written for INC. magazine’s website.
Mark has been recognized as one of the top wealth managers in the country by a number of organizations and frequently speaks on wealth management topics.
Mark Miller

Mark writes about trends in retirement, aging, and the economy. He is the author of The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security: Practical Strategies for Money, Work and Living, writes a syndicated column for Reuters, and blogs about retirement planning and saving strategies at
Susan J. Schmidt, CFA

Managing Director for U.S. Equities,
Mesirow Financial
Susan Schmidt is head of Mesirow Financial’s U.S. Value Equity team and the portfolio manager for the small, smid and micro cap portfolios. Prior to joining the firm in 2009, Susan had been a senior analyst at Essex Investment Management and Magnetar Capital. At both of these firms she specialized in the financials and industrials sectors. With direct operating experience as president and CEO of a privately-held industrial company in the Midwest, Susan is able to bring a unique perspective to evaluate investment ideas for her portfolios. Susan holds a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College, an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a general course diploma from the London School of Economics. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and a member of the CFA Institute.
Session: Today's Market
Carl R. Tannenbaum
Chief Economist,
Northern Trust

Carl Tannenbaum is the Chief Economist for Northern Trust. Prior to joining Northern Trust, Carl led a team at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago whose charter was to analyze financial risk, its implication for the broad economy and policy choices to address it. He served as the head of the entire Federal Reserve System's risk group in Washington for a year, working closely with Federal Reserve System Governors and senior officials. Preceding his work at the Federal Reserve, Carl served as chief economist and head of balance sheet management at LaSalle Bank/ABN AMRO, where he worked for 24 years. He received a bachelor's degree in finance and economics and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago. He is a past chairman of the Conference of Business Economists and also a past president of the National Association for Business Economics and the North American Asset/Liability Management Association.
Session: Today's Market
Morningstar Speakers
Christine Benz
Personal Finance

Christine is author of 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances and co-author of Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: 5-Star Strategies for Success, a national bestseller. Before assuming her current role in 2010, she served as editor of Morningstar Practical Finance, Morningstar Mutual Funds, and Morningstar FundInvestor.
Sarah Bush
Senior Analyst,
Active Strategies Manager Research

Sarah is a senior analyst covering active strategies on Morningstar’s manager research team. As co-head of active fixed income, she helps manage a team of analysts and shares responsibility for steering the direction of Morningstar’s fixed-income coverage.
Robert Johnson, CFA
Economic Analysis

As director of economic analysis for Morningstar, Bob meets regularly with Morningstar’s sector teams to gather up-to-the minute economic data from more than 120 Morningstar equity and corporate credit analysts globally. He disseminates this information to other sector teams and to Morningstar subscribers via weekly columns and videos on In addition, Johnson provides general economic data to individual analysts to help them formulate their opinions on debt and equity securities. Bob has more than 30 years of investment industry experience, including both buy-side and sell-side assignments as a research analyst.
Session: Today's Market
Russel Kinnel
Manager Research

Russ is director of manager research for Morningstar and editor of Morningstar FundInvestor. He heads the Analyst Ratings Committees, which issue the Morningstar Analyst Rating™ for funds. He also writes the Fund Spy column for, and authored the book Fund Spy: Morningstar’s Inside Secrets to Selecting Mutual Funds That Outperform.
Since joining Morningstar in 1994, Kinnel has analyzed virtually every type of fund and has covered the most prominent fund families, including Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and Vanguard. He has led studies on the predictive power of fund data, and helped develop the Morningstar Rating™ for funds and the Morningstar Style Box™ methodology. He is also coauthor of the company’s first book, The Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: 5-Star Strategies for Success, which John Wiley & Sons published in 2003.
Josh Peters, CFA
Morningstar DividendInvestor

Josh is director of equity-income strategy for Morningstar and has edited the monthly newsletter, Morningstar DividendInvestor, since it was launched in 2005. As part of his role as editor, he manages the newsletter’s real-money portfolio composed of individual stocks targeted to generate above-average income and superior total returns. Josh is also the author of The Ultimate Dividend Playbook: Income, Insight and Independence for Today's Investor.
Shannon Zimmerman
Senior Investment Consultant,
Morningstar Investment Management

Shannon is a senior investment consultant for Morningstar Investment Management, a unit of Morningstar, Inc. He is responsible for manager assessment and selection as well as portfolio construction.