Planner Finds Need for Financial Advice

Dean McGill, an 18-year veteran of American Express Financial Advisors, has a lot to do as new vice president of the company's Los Angeles market group.

McGill said there's a growing need for financial advisers as the average American develops a new attitude toward financial planning, especially given the market turmoil.

"This is a time when people, because of Sept. 11 and the current volatility of the stock market, are choosing to step back and re-evaluate how they are planning for the future," McGill said. "It used to be that people could make a lot of money quickly on the market, but now they are looking for a more structured, long-term approach to educating their kids and retiring."

McGill will be responsible for leading more than 300 advisers and managers in the Los Angeles, Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara area. He will be looking to recruit more than 100 new advisers by the end of the year, with a goal of 1,500 advisers over the next five years.

Because AEFA hires people without prior advising experience, McGill said the company offers intensive three-year training on how to be a financial adviser.

Named by Worth Magazine in 1996 and 1997 as one of the 200 Best Financial Advisors, McGill began his career with AEFA in San Francisco in 1984 as a financial advisor. He later was promoted to field vice president for the firm's San Francisco Bay Area.

McGill said most people believe they don't make enough money to need a financial planner, but the opposite is true.

"The ultra wealthy can lose 40 percent of their portfolio and still be able to retire very comfortably," he said. "Really, it's the regular people who need to make every dollar to work hard to reach their financial goals."

McGill, who graduated from Cal State University-Chico with a B.S. in business administration, is married and lives with his wife in Santa Monica.

Dana Brody


Jim Powell, Phil Holmes, Stuart Araki and Abigail Schwerin have joined Nostrum Advertising Inc. Powell will serve as the new creative director and will head the agency's business development efforts. He has worked with Coca-Cola Co., Bank One, SBC and the Disney Channel. Holmes joins the company as senior art director. Previously, he was the senior art director for Cummings Advertising and Design in Aliso Viejo. Araki joins Nostrum as a senior designer. He has been assigned to work on the Universal Studios Pay-Per-View, Toshiba America Business Solutions, EID and other accounts. Araki has previously worked on accounts for Kawasaki, Imperial Bancorp and Centinela Hospital. Schwerin has filled Nostrum's account executive position. She will manage accounts for Toshiba America Business Solutions and Newhall Land's Italian Street Painting Festival in Valencia. Schwerin was most recently an account executive at Marchese Communications Inc.


Joseph Martino has joined general contractor PCL Construction Services as director of special projects in the company's Glendale southwestern regional office. Martino is responsible for maintaining client relationships, client budget reviews and business development. He will focus his efforts in the commercial, multi-tenant, residential, retail and entertainment sectors. He previously held positions with MBK Construction and Incore.


Philip B. Strauss has been hired at BDO Seidman LLP, a tax consulting and professional services organization. Strauss is a partner in the tax practice and will work in the Los Angeles office. Most recently, Strauss was a tax managing partner for Grant Thornton LLP in Los Angeles.

Seth Ford Gilman has joined the Los Angeles office of March Private Client Services as vice president. He will be responsible for development of new business in the personal risk management area. Gilman was formerly a business development manager with KPMG LLP and the vice president of business development with Accordent Technologies Inc.

Drew Sones has joined R.W. Beck Inc., a management consulting and engineering firm, as a senior consultant for the infrastructure services group in the Whittier office. Sones will be closely involved in expanding Beck's solid waste consulting in the Southwest. He previously worked as an assistant director with the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works.

Kevin Mayer has joined the business strategy consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting. He will head the firm's media and entertainment practice in North America and in Europe from Los Angeles, providing advisory service to senior management in the industry. Mayer is the former chief executive and president of Clear Channel Interactive and a former senior executive at Walt Disney.


Oscar Mazzola has been promoted to manager, film soundtrack division for EMI Music Publishing. In this new position, Mazzola will promote the catalogs of EMI songs for film and television and find film opportunities for writers signed to the publishing company. Mazzola was formerly A & R; (artists and repertoire) coordinator for the company.

Jeff Armstrong has joined A Band Apart, a commercial and music video production company based in Los Angeles, as executive producer of the commercials division. Armstrong was the head of Satellite Films.

Pamm Fair will become deputy national executive director for planning and external affairs at the Screen Actors' Guild. She joined the SAG staff in March of this year as the national director of policy, planning and external affairs. In her new position, she will assume oversight of SAG's national communications. David P. White will become SAG's general counsel. White previously worked as a labor attorney with the firm of O'Melveny & Meyers.

Mandy Martin has been named executive producer of the design and editorial firm Goodspot, a Santa Monica-based firm specializing in marketing and branding projects for feature films, TV networks and programs and commercials. Prior to joining Goodspot, Martin was the executive producer for Attik/San Francisco.

Mariam Naficy and Jessica Algazi have joined the executive team of Movielink, the Santa Monica-based Internet video-on-demand distribution service formed as a joint venture by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal and Warner Bros. Naficy is vice president of marketing. She will lead the marketing, product, customer service and content groups. Naficy was co-founder of, an online retailer of cosmetics. Most recently, she was the interim vice president, channels marketing at Columbia Tri-Star International Television. Algazi is the vice president of content. In her new post, she will be responsible for content acquisition. Most recently, Algazi handled content acquisition for Geocast Network Systems.


Shannon Ryan, Ronald Smith and Howard Huckins have been appointed field vice presidents for the Los Angeles market group of American Express Financial Advisors Inc. Ryan will be responsible for supervising the 200 independent contract franchise owner advisors in the area. She was a national spokesperson for American Express, appearing as a financial planning expert on television shows. Smith has been appointed field vice president for the Long Beach office and is responsible for overseeing the office's 32 advisors. Smith began his career with the company in North Texas in 1994, and was appointed district manager in 1996. Huckins has been appointed field vice president for the Glendale office. He is responsible for overseeing the office's 27 advisors.


Nick Donovan has joined the Torrance office of Dodge Warren & Peters insurance services. Donovan specializes in property and casualty and workers' compensation for commercial accounts. He most recently worked for the Wilshire Country Club and San Gabriel Country Club as a PGA club professional.


Jerry L. Marks is the new managing shareholder for Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe LLP's Los Angeles office. Marks joined the firm in 1998 and practices business litigation with emphasis on securities and accountants' liability litigation. He succeeds Robert Hubbell, who has been appointed to the newly created position of firmwide managing shareholder, where he will work with the firm's executive committee and with the managing shareholders in the firm's 13 offices to develop strategic growth plans.

Public Relations

Shlomit Weisblum has been hired at Carter Ryley Thomas Public Relations and Marketing Counsel's Los Angeles office as an associate. Weisblum will help expand the public relations company's presence and serve accounts including ITT Industries Night Vision, VHA, Medic Alert Foundation and the Westside Children's Center. Previously, Weisblum served as a senior account executive at the Toronto office of Hill and Knowlton.


Michele LaMont has been named director of marketing and new business development for Construction Protective Services of Gardena. LaMont will be responsible for developing new business initiatives, including construction, commercial and video surveillance product lines for the business security company. She was previously marketing manager for the company.


Steve Sipe has been hired at Accutrac Software Inc. as chief operating officer. Los Angeles-based Accutrac is a provider of records management software and services. He will have direct responsibility for administration, business development and product management. He previously served in senior positions with Spanlink Communications, World Data Inc. and Computer Application Systems Inc.

Dennis Michalis has been named the acting chief executive officer and president for Glovia International, the El Segundo-based business-to-business e-commerce subsidiary of Fujitsu. He replaces Matt O'Malley. Michalis joined Glovia in 2000. Before being named acting chief executive and president, he served as Glovia's chief operating officer and continues to hold that position. Prior to Glovia, he worked in technology consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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