The Wealthspan Financial Partners team is comprised of an impressive group of industry experts, world-renown aging scientists, top-notch technology developers, and an advisory board that is unmatched in our industry.
The Executive Finance Team
Kirk Ashburn is a highly trained professional with more than 20 years of industry experience. He has successfully been involved in helping individuals and families in Illinois and across the country to change the way they save and plan for their future as well as generations to come.
Kirk focuses on providing retirement income planning services with the goal of educating clients as to their options for meeting their current financial needs, achieving their long-term financial goals, avoiding common retirement-planning mistakes, and enjoying a lifetime of financial freedom. This approach helps his clients have confidence with their financial affairs, now and throughout their retirement.
Jeff has been in the financial services business for 20 years. Most of his time has been spent in executive-level roles helping train hundreds of financial advisors around the country on how to better plan for and serve their clients. He has a deep understanding of financial planning and the financial products that can be used to create the desired outcome for clients.
Jeff led the business development team for a start-up registered investment advisory firm and grew the assets managed by the firm from under $100M to over $4B in a short 5-year period of time. This growth put the firm on the Inc. 5000 list for 5 years straight and in one of the years the firm landed at the #10 fastest growing companies in the country.
Dr. S. Jay Olshansky
S. Jay Olshansky received his PhD in Sociology at the University of Chicago in 1984. He is currently a Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Research Associate at the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Chief Scientist at Lapetus Solutions, Inc. The focus of his research to date has been on estimates of the upper limits to human longevity, exploring the health and public policy implications associated with individual and population aging, forecasts of the size, survival, and age structure of the population, pursuit of the scientific means to slow aging in people (The Longevity Dividend), and global implications of the re-emergence of infectious and parasitic diseases. Dr. Olshansky is on the Board of Directors of the American Federation of Aging Research. In 2016, Dr. Olshansky was honored with the Donald P. Kent Award from the Gerontological Society of America, the Irving S. Wright Award from the American Federation for Aging Research, and he was named a Next Avenue Influencer in Aging.
Dr. Karl Ricanek, Jr.
Karl received his PhD in electrical engineering where he developed a novel compact representation for face recognition based on anthropometry in 1999. He published his first paper in Artificial Intelligence in 1990 on the use of Genetic Algorithms for music composition.
He is the Professor of Computer Science and the Director of the I3S Institute & Face Aging Group at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The Institute focuses on technology development in machine learning, computer vision, deep learning, embedded systems, and software development.
Karl is the Chief AI Scientist where he leads the AI team and Data team. The AI team has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in AI, Machine Learning, and Computer Vision. Karl has multiple patents on facial analytics.
Karl is active in the standards community on AI algorithm bias and AI ethics.
Dr. Steven Austad
Steve received his PhD in biology from Purdue University. He is a distinguished professor and Chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After earning an undergraduate degree in English literature from UCLA, he left academia for a number of years during which among other things, he drove a taxi cab in New York City, worked as a newspaper reporter, and trained large cats for television and movies. His interest in science awakened by his animal training, he returned to academics to study animal behavior more formally. He is the Director of the UAB Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in Basic Biology of Aging, the Scientific Director of the American Federation for Aging Research, and on the External Advisory Committee of the Mayo Clinic Kogod Center of Aging. He is the author of more than 200 scientific articles and more than 150 newspaper columns on science. His book "Why We Age: What Science Is Discovering about the Body’s Journey Through Life" has been translated into 8 languages.
Gary is the Executive Chair and CEO of North Star a portfolio investment
He is the former Executive Chair and CEO of Seguros Monterrey New York Life Insurance in Mexico, and a member of the Audit, Investment, and Reinsurance committees at Seguros Monterrey New York Life & Medical Insurance Company.
Gary is a highly experienced Chair & Chief Executive. Over the past 39 years, he has established, led, built, grown, and strengthened financial services, insurance, pension, and health companies in 12 countries: Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, India, Taiwan, China, USA, and Mexico.
Gary provides counsel from his breadth of operational, regulatory, and strategic insights and strong practical experience across multiple geographies and businesses.
Dr. Michael Hodin
Michael is the CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging, the leading business voice on aging policy and strategy, aimed at reshaping how global leaders approach and prepare for the 21st century's profound shift in population aging. Mike is also a Managing Partner at High Lantern Group a strategic communications firm.
Prior to founding the Global Coalition on Aging and High Lantern Group, Mike was a senior executive at Pfizer, Inc. for 30 years, where he created and then led its International Public Affairs and Public Policy operations. Prior to joining Pfizer, Mike was Legislative Assistant to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and also a Visiting Scholar at Brookings Institution on U.S. Foreign Economic Policy.
Mike is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and from 2010-2012, was an Adjunct Senior Fellow. He sits on the Boards of the Foreign Policy Association, the Business Council for International Understanding, The NYC Blood Center, the American Skin Association, the American Society on Aging, Harris Manchester College at Oxford University, Emigrant Savings Bank, and on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council for Population Ageing.
Mike holds a BA, cum laude, from Cornell University, M.Sc.in International Relations from The London School of Economics and Political Science, and M.Phil and Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University.
Shauna earned a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland. She earned a Diploma of Life Insurance and an MBA from the University of Technology Sydney.
She has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry working in life, health, and general insurances, funds management and banking sectors across more than 40 countries.
She is a former Senior Vice President and CMO of the New York Life Enterprises Division, team lead for Prudential UK, and served in senior executive roles in product management, sales, and services with Insurance Australia Group, as well as roles with AMP Ltd.
As a consultant for digital innovation, Shauna worked with Chubb Life, Principal Financial Group, and FWD Asian Insurance.
Shauna is a passionate advocate of customer-driven change, delivering significant achievements at both strategic and operational levels of major organizations with extensive experience and expertise in a broad range of functional disciplines.
Mark is a financial services executive, product innovator, strategic planner, and industry leader.
He formerly served as the Senior Vice President and Director of PNC Insurance Services, Executive Vice President of Financial Institution Products at Bank of America, and Head of Product Management and Product Development for Chase Insurance Group, a division of JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Ben received his Master’s degree in Computer Science and Information Systems from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he is also a part-time Lecturer in the Computer Science Department.
Ben’s knowledge and expertise in primary research areas including biometrics, computer vision, and machine learning are vital to WFP product development.
Ben's experience spans production level monolithic and microservice-based REST APIs, complete system architecture & design, SQL and NoSQL databases, and exceeding modern security regulations. He has a strong focus on cloud-based security, privacy (including HIPAA and GDPR), optimization, and reliability.
Ben is actively proficient in C/C++, C#, and Python as well as a wide variety of other languages.