2016 Conference Speakers

Chad Hymas, Keynote

Eagles Don't Fly in Flocks, but Seagulls Never Get Lonely

The Wall Street Journal has declared Chad Hymas “one of the 10 most inspirational people in the world!” In 2001, at the age of 27, Chad’s life changed in an instant when a 2,000 pound bale of hay shattered his neck leaving him a quadriplegic. But Chad’s dreams were not paralyzed that day – he became an example of what is possible.

Chad’s speaking career in the areas of leadership, team building, customer service and mastering change has brought him multiple honors. He is one of the youngest ever to receive the Council of Peers Award for Excellence and to be inducted into the prestigious National Speaker Hall of Fame. Chad travels as many as 300,000 miles a year captivating and entertaining audiences around the world, creating an experience that touches hearts for a lifetime. You can discover more about Chad at www.chadhymas.com.

Keith Brainard

NASRA Update: Significant Reforms to State Retirement Systems

As research director for the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, Keith Brainard collects, prepares and distributes news, studies and reports pertinent to public retirement system administration and policy. Keith is co-author of The Governmental Plans Answer Book and created the Public Fund Survey and State & Local Pension Exchange. He has discussed public pension issues before Congress, state legislative committees, public pension boards of trustees, and on multiple media outlets. Keith is an appointed member of  the Texas Pension Review Board and previously served as manager of budget and planning for the Arizona State Retirement System and fiscal analyst for the Texas and Arizona legislatures. 

Susan B. Geffen, Esq.

Elder Law and Planning for the Future

Susan Geffen is an elder law and estate planning attorney, gerontologist and author.  She is the creator of "Raising Up Your Parents" seminars to assist those facing the challenges of caring for elderly relatives and their own futures, a program that has been attended by more than ten thousand adult children, caregivers and seniors.  She is the author of the highly regarded book TAKE THAT NURSING HOME AND SHOVE IT! How to Secure an Independent Future for Yourself and Your Loved Ones.

Pinchas Cohen, M.D.

Personalized Aging: Individual Healthy-Aging Strategies

Pinchas Cohen is the dean of the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California and executive director of the Andrus Gerontology Center at USC. He is leading several new initiatives at USC, including the development of a Center for Digital Aging with a major focus on the creation of tools for “Personalized Aging” by using the latest technologies to individualize healthy-aging strategies. 

Cathy Terrell

Messaging GPS: Mapping Your Benefits Communications Strategy

Deputy Executive Director for the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) Cathy Terrell helps oversee agency operations and programs that provide retirement, deferred compensation, and cafeteria plan flexible benefits for nearly 200,000 state employees and retirees and the Texas Employees Group Benefits Program. Cathy has served in several roles at ERS including Director of Governmental Affairs, Communications and Research and Customer Benefits divisions. She has worked in both the public and private sector in public affairs and marketing. As a newspaper reporter and editor, her work earned awards from the Associated Press. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is a Certified Public Manager.

Hal E. Hershfield, Ph.D

Considering Our Future Selves

Psychologist Hal Hershfield studies how thinking about time transforms the emotions and alters the judgments and decisions people make. While he was a Ph.D. student at Stanford University, his research concentrated on the psychology of long-term decision-making and how time affects people’s lives — specifically at a moment when Americans are living longer and saving less. 

One of Hershfield’s most well known discoveries suggests that when people are confronted with their “future selves” they experience an emotional sense of connection that can influence long-term financial and ethical decision-making. When do we finally become our future selves? Hershfield says, “It all depends on how we think about thinking about the present. People who are able to step outside of the here-and-now in a meaningful way are better able to see how the past, the present and the future are connected.

Christian Weller, Ph.D.

New Policies Can Help Americans Save for Retirement

Christian Weller is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and professor of public policy at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is the author of the recently released book, Retirement on the Rocks, Why Americans Can’t Get Ahead and How New Savings Policies Can Help, arguing that because the retirement crisis is the result of broken public policies, there is a better policy path forward. 

In Addition:

Dennis Gatlin, Retired Director, Field Education Services for the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association presents InFRE Pre-conference session on Ethics for Public Pension Professionals
Michael L. Wilson of the Utah Retirement System and owner of Integrity Financial Planning presents InFRE Pre-conference session entitled Fundamentals of Retirement Planning - CRC 1.
Robert Klausner, Esq. provides the national Pension Case Law Update
Tom Lussier offers The Washington Update
NPEA member systems share best practices and programs in breakout sessions