Who We Are
In July 2018, Kaplan acquired the College for Financial Planning®, bringing together two respected leaders in financial services education.
College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company (CFFP) remains a separate institution, owned by Kaplan and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Education programs in financial planning, asset management, wealth management, and retirement planning including our CFP® certification program, professional designation programs, Master’s Degree in Personal Financial Planning, and Master’s Degree in Financial Analysis are offered under the name College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company.
Meet our Board of Directors
Dirk joined the College for Financial Planning in 2001 as Controller and served as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing before becoming President of the College. As a seasoned financial and operational leader, Dirk has an extensive knowledge of all aspects of the College and industry as well as being academically credentialed including the CFP® certification launched by the College in 1972.
In addition to his CPA and CFP® certifications, Dirk earned a BS in Business Administration from Columbia College (Columbia, MO) and an MS in finance and accounting from Regis University (Denver, CO).
Prior to joining the College, Dirk had 10 years in operations, finance, and accounting management. Dirk was operations manager for retail stores from 1991 through 1995. In this business development position, he was responsible for the growth and operations of multimillion dollar sales for retail operations in four states. Dirk subsequently became accounting manager for regulatory accounting and budgeting in the broadband industry in 1995 and became finance director for business development before joining the College in 2001.
James Williams founded J.F. Williams Co., Inc. in 1995 to help people manage their money to tend to their life. His prior experience includes an extensive career in personal and estate tax planning and compliance management with a national accounting firm; as well as providing income tax, property and excise tax compliance management and special finance planning for a variety of businesses.
He also has developed specialized expertise in managing retirement planning and other life transitions by participating in the Sudden Money Institute and similar professional networks.
Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from University of Southern Colorado, and a master’s degree in accounting with emphasis in taxation from Colorado State University. He has held a CPA certification since 1978 and his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification since 1995. He is a member of the FPA, NAPFA, the Personal Financial Planning Division of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Rocky Mountain Estate Planning Council. He also has served on the Discipline and Ethics Commission of the Certified Financial Planner™ Board of Standards.
Neal is Managing Director at WealthPro, LLC and a Registered Principal at The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc. He began investing as a teenager and then following graduation from the State University of New York (Potsdam) in 1983, he took what he thought would be a temporary job in professional financial services. He fell in love with the power of helping people make wise financial decisions, and never looked back.
After earning his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation through the College for Financial Planning in 1989, he also earned the CLU, ChFC, and CASL designations through The American College of Financial Services. During 2019 he completed the Client Psychology Program an intensive program developed by The Wharton School in coordination with the CFP Board – Center for Financial Planning.
Neal embarked on what became a busy career with activities across the Financial Planning profession and universe, including serving as a Director at the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (“CFP Board”), and holding numerous leadership roles at the Financial Planning Association and its predecessor the Institute for Certified Financial Planners, including among others; Chairing FPA’s Government Relations Committee, serving as a Technical Expert representing the United States, before the International Standards Organization (ISO), Chairing FPA’s political action committee, FPA’s Public Issues Committee, development of strategy whitepapers on mechanisms for regulating the profession, and on appropriate fiduciary strategies. He spent 14 years as an Editorial Review Board Member at the Journal of Financial Planning, has served as an Expert Witness and Consultant to Attorneys, and has been widely quoted by major publications. Neal served as a corporate Director with SFA Holdings, Inc. and Atlanta based financial services firm that is parent to several broker dealers and investment advisory firms. He is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Eastern New York, and contributed a foreword to The Art of Investing & Portfolio Management — A Proven 6-Step Process to Meet Your Financial Goals, published in 2004 by McGraw-Hill. He is a charter member of the Nazrudin Project.
During 2008, Neal initiated, organized and served as Program Leader for an international ambassadorial program jointly coordinated between the FPA and The People-to-People organization. Neal brought 90 leading US financial planners to Russia for professional exchange with counterpart Russian financial professionals
The Financial Planning Association has awarded Neal the prestigious “Heart of Financial Planning Award”, in recognition of his distinguished service to the Financial Planning Profession (2012).
In the healthcare industry, Neal is Chief Financial Officer at Hearing Care Resources, LLC a professional practice of Audiology operated by his wife, Dr. Robin Solomon.
Neal and Robin are regularly engaged in various charitable activities and have traveled widely throughout the world (between the two of them they have visited approximately 80 countries). They live in Saratoga County, NY with their feline children.
Judy is the founder and president of Shine Investment Advisory Services, Inc., an independent financial planning and investment advisory firm founded in 1993. Judy received a BA in psychology from Ohio State University in 1979 and became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner in 1985.
She is proud to be a longstanding member of the Financial Planning Association, the largest organization of professionals dedicated to championing the financial planning process, and served as a board member of the Association for four years. From 1996‐2001, she chaired the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal for Financial Planning.
Judy speaks and writes frequently on all aspects of personal financial planning. She has been quoted in various financial publications and professional journals, including Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Financial Advisor, Worth, Smart Money, US News & World Report, The New York Times and The Boston Globe. She is also a frequent contributor to Dow Jones MarketWatch.
Karen Spero founded Spero-Smith Investment Advisors in 1972, a firm that specializes in personal financial planning and portfolio management for individuals and small business owners, with a special emphasis on retirement and succession planning. The firm manages in excess of $300 million. Karen sold her interest in the company and has no financial interest in the firm nor is she employed by the firm. She has the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus and is a member of the firm’s Advisory Board.
Karen maintains both the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification and the Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst (AIFA®) designation. She earned her B.S. degree in business administration from Lake Erie College, where she served as vice chair of the Lake Erie College Board of Trustees and is now an emeritus member of the Board. In 2002, Karen was inducted into the Hall of Excellence of the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges, Inc.
For more than 20 years, Karen was the Staff Financial Advisor for TV 5’s Morning Exchange. She also was a weekly commentator for public radio’s “Ohio Portfolio” for its 3-year tenure. Karen has been consistently quoted in financial publications, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, “Smart Money,” magazine, and others. She has done money makeovers for USA Today and Mutual Funds Magazine. For 7 years, Worth Magazine named Karen to its list of the ‘Best 250 Financial Advisors in USA.’
Lauren is a Principal and Managing Director at Robertson Stephens in the Denver and Vail Valley area. She has over 35 years of experience in personal financial planning, divorce planning, finance and real estate. Prior to joining Robertson Stephens, she was a wealth manager and financial planner at All Season Financial Advisors with Sean Powers, working with people looking for individualized, creative ways to manage their financial fitness, no matter what shape they’re in.
Before moving to Colorado in the early ‘90s, Lauren spent 12 years in the financial industry in New York. She was an investment banker with Morgan Stanley & Co., a financial analyst with J.W. O’Connor & Co., and Vice President of Finance for Silverstein Properties, a Forbes 400 commercial real estate developer in New York City, where she was responsible for arranging over $1 billion in financing.
Lauren is also a Certified Financial Planner®️ She earned her undergraduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and her MBA from Harvard Business School. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Alpine Club, serving as the Chair of the Piolet Society since 2015.
Lauren and her wife Mimi live in the Vail Valley and are the parents of 2 furry dog children, Spike and Nibbles, and one human child, Kate Wilcox, who is a medical resident in internal medicine and pediatrics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Lauren’s passions outside of personal financial planning include backcountry skiing, mountain biking and rock climbing.
Meet Our Senior Leadership Team
Dr. Amy Rell is the Provost of the College for Financial Planning, where her role includes stewardship for the College’s academic programs, creation and implementation of the academic priorities for the College, and assuring the quality of the educational offerings. Amy has served in a variety of academic roles at UCLA, San Jose State University, and the Colorado Community College System, in positions ranging from faculty to department chair to dean. Prior to joining the College, Amy served as founding dean for the Office of Global Education at Regis University.
Amy has an extensive background in higher education administration, which has made her a sought-after speaker at conferences and symposiums. Her research and writing on topics such as internationalization, cultural diversity, dual language programming, and globalization of curricula have been published in numerous journals and texts. In service to the profession, Amy has served as an executive board member for the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Study Colorado, the Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities International Education Board, and the Phi Beta Kappa and UCLA Alumni Association Scholarship Committees.
Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Amy was subsequently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and the Association of International Education Administrators’ Presidential Fellowship. Amy completed the Harvard University Women in Leadership certificate program as well as the Duke University Senior International Officer Academy. Amy earned both her PhD and MA in second language acquisition and applied linguistics from UCLA and her BA in Spanish Literature from Tulane University.
Daniel J. Muszalski, CPA, has been the Vice President of Finance for Tte College for Financial Planning since it was acquired by Kaplan in July 2018. Dan directs all accounting, reporting, forecasting, budgeting, and analytical activities, which includes financial reporting, strategic planning and modeling, managing accounting records, and maintaining a comprehensive set of controls designed to mitigate risk, enhance the accuracy of financial results, and ensure reported results comply with generally accepted accounting principles and financial reporting standards.
Previously, Dan served as the controller of Keeley Asset Management Corp., an $11B registered investment adviser, from May 2007 to August 2016. Prior to joining Keeley, he spent 5 years in public accounting primarily concentrating in the audit function. He has successfully completed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant examination, received an MBA from DePaul University with concentrations in financial management and control and portfolio management, and received a BBA from the University of Iowa with a concentration in finance.
Jan brings to the College for Financial Planning more than 20 years of higher education administrative experience. As Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success, Jan’s responsibilities include oversight of all elements of student services including enrollment, student support, and operations.
Jan has created countless long-term successful financial planning programs with large financial planning firms and universities. Her experience includes leading small and large teams alike with an emphasis on strategic planning, process improvement, and operations that improve the student experience.
Jan’s presentations and publications range from coauthoring the first and second editions of Personal Financial Planning: Theory and Practice to panel discussions at national conferences held by the Financial Planning Association and the Certified Financial Planning Board.
Jan holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and management from Loyola University (New Orleans, LA) and an MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of New Orleans.
Ashley holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and American Literature from the University of South Florida and a Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in higher education from the University of Arizona.
Ashley has worked in both public and private colleges and universities but prefers working with adult learners throughout their learning journey. After a handful of relocations from her home state of Florida, Ashley has landed in Colorado and is working to innovate the higher education industry by offering educational options to students that more closely align with their needs.
Ashley presented at the 2020 American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) conference on Micro-credentials and Stackable Education, served as a 2021 National and Regional session evaluator for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and is currently a member of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) workgroup on alternative credentials. Ashley’s focus for professional development and continuous improvement in higher education is to make college a better experience for students.
For more than 20 years, Brett Sanborn has dedicated his career to higher education. Brett’s experience is broad in leadership, sales, marketing, account management, business development, process improvement, and customer service. As the National Director of Corporate Sales, Brett works cross-functionally with product, marketing, and sales to build out an organizational go-to-market strategy in the areas of wealth management education. Brett has been working with Fortune 500 companies to provide educational solutions to meet the needs of their changing environment to keep them relevant and drive organizational efficiencies and improvements.
Dean of Financial Planning: David Mannaioni
Dean of the Graduate School: Dr. Aman Sunder
Department of Financial Literacy
Department of Financial Planning Education
Department of Advisor Development
Dr. Sara Stolberg Berkowicz
Department of Advanced Programs and Designations
Department Chair: Dr. Christopher Woehrle
Department of Financial Analysis
Department Chair: Dr. Jim Falter
Full-Time Faculty: Cindy Shnaider
Dr. Barclay Roper
College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company
9000 E. Nichols Ave.
Centennial, CO 80112