About Our Speakers

21st Annual Estate and Tax Planning Professional Seminar

Michael D. Barnes, JD, serves as President with Johnson Trust Company, a subsidiary of Johnson Investment Counsel, Inc. He oversees all fiduciary services provided by Johnson Trust Company and works closely with high net worth families formulating their succession and charitable plans. Michael also serves as President of Johnson Charitable Gift Fund, a public charity that administers donor advised accounts and endowment funds. He has over 30 years experience in estate and charitable tax planning and trust administration. Before joining Johnson Investment Counsel, Michael practiced corporate and banking law and worked at a local university as a charitable gift planning specialist. He received his BS from Purdue University and JD from Washington University in St. Louis. Back to top.

Mary P. Burns, JD, is Vice President of Estate Planning and Trust Counsel with Johnson Trust Company. With over 17 years of experience, her practice focuses on tax and estate planning, trust and estate administration and business law. In her role as Trust Counsel, she provides legal counsel regarding fiduciary services Johnson Trust Company provides as trustee, executor and agent for both fiduciary roles. Mary received her BA from Bowling Green State University and JD from Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University. Back to top.

Joel S. Brant, JD, specializes in estate and wealth planning, with over 20 years of experience. He was named “Lawyer of the Year” for Cincinnati in Tax Law for 2016. His taxation practice includes issues of corporate and partnership taxation, individual income taxation, state and local tax matters, gift and estate tax, and non-profit tax exemption matters. Jody received his JD, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University and his LL.M. Taxation from New York University School of Law. Back to top.

Ralph J. Conrad, JD, has more than 30 years of experience advising business and individual clients in the areas of tax planning, estate planning and Medicaid planning. He earned his BS degree from Ohio Northern University, majoring in accounting, and has law and Master of Tax degrees from The University of Akron. Ralph is Chair of the Cincinnati Bar Association Elder Law Committee, a member of the Board of Trustees of ProSeniors, Inc., and member of the American, Ohio State and Cincinnati Bar Associations. Back to top.

Kelly S. Draggoo began her career with Social Security Administration in 2009 as an SSI Claims Specialist in Cincinnati. She has been cross-trained in most programs at Social Security including Retirement, Disability, Survivor and SSI. Kelly is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology. She currently serves as a volunteer for the Greater Cincinnati Literacy Network tutoring adults seeking help learning to read. Back to top.

Margaret C. Gibson, JD, is an attorney with Katz Teller. Prior to attending law school, Maggie was a fifth-grade teacher. Maggie counsels clients on estate planning, charitable giving, special needs issues, and probate matters. Maggie prepares comprehensive estate plans, facilitates charitable giving, restructures existing estate plans, uses non-judicial settlement agreements, and navigates probate issues. She earned her BA from University of Notre Dame and her masters in Education and JD from Loyola University Chicago. Back to top.

Bradely G Haas, JD, an attorney with Katz Teller whose specialty in corporate, business law and mergers and acquisitions practice encompasses every stage in the life cycle of a business. He works with clients on matters involving formation, organizational structure, owner/shareholder relationships, employment contracts, customer/supplier contracts, business succession, and related issues. In addition, he is an expert with transition through succession planning, divestitures or business workouts. Brad represents a large cross section of business enterprises in the greater Cincinnati area ranging from manufacturing companies to service-oriented businesses, including other attorney practices. He teaches sessions concerning family business succession in the Next Generation Institute at the University of Cincinnati’s Goering Center for Family and Private Business. Brad earned his BA and JD from University Cincinnati and earned the honor of magna cum laude for his undergraduate degree. Back to top.

Thomas B. Holding, CFP, CRPC, CLU, is with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp and has 33 years of experience specializing in the areas of estate planning, investment planning and retirement planning. He is a graduate of Miami University. Back to top.

George D. Jonson, JD, is a partner with Montgomery Jonson and represents individuals and businesses in a wide range of civil litigation. He defends lawyers in professional liability claims; represents attorneys and judges in disciplinary proceedings; and advocates for candidates seeking admission to the Ohio bar in character and fitness proceedings. He represents public and private companies in a variety of matters, including breach of contract, business torts, non-compete litigation, disputes between owners of closely held corporations, and law firm/partner separations. For more than 20 years, he has served as a member of the Cincinnati Bar Association’s Ethics & Professional Responsibility Committee and Fee Arbitration Committee and speaks regularly on ethics, professional responsibility, and legal malpractice prevention. He earned his BA from Miami University and JD from University of Cincinnati. Back to top.

Jonathan I. Lazzara, DO, is a Psychiatrist with Atrium Medical Center Behavioral Health Unit. He specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders, emotional disorders, psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance-related disorders, sexual and gender identity disorders and adjustment disorders. Dr. Lazzarra is a graduate of Lake Erie Osteopathic Medicine and did his residency at Grandview Medical Center. Back to top.

David M. Lebovitz is a Global Market Strategist on the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Global Market Insights Strategy Team. He is responsible for delivering timely market and economic insights to clients across the country and helped build the Market Insights program in the United Kingdom and Europe. He has appeared on both Bloomberg TV and CNBC, and is often quoted in the financial press. David obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy, with a concentration in Leadership Studies, from Williams College in 2009. He earned a dual-MBA degree from Columbia University and London Business School in 2015. Back to top.

Whitney B. Maxson, JD, is with Katz Teller. In her estate and wealth planning practice, she interacts with clients of all ages, from young professionals looking to establish an estate plan to clients whose planning is largely in place, but who are interested in additional strategies to transfer wealth while minimizing unfavorable tax consequences. She also works in estate and wealth planning or probate administration matters, in which she assists executors with the administration of probate assets and disposition of non-probate assets. Whitney graduated magna cum laude from University of Dayton and earned her JD from University of Cincinnati. Back to top.

Peter D. McColgan is a Financial Advisor and Senior Vice President with Wells Fargo Advisors with over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. He worked at UBS 2009-2018, Smith Barney from 1990-2009 and began his career with Fidelity Investments. He specializes in working with high net worth individuals and families, providing investment guidance and advisory services. Peter is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio. Back to top.

Ryan O’Leary, CSA, ALCP, MBA, is the owner and managing director of Trinity Aging Life Advisors and works with seniors and people with special needs in helping them to manage and coordinate aspects of their lives when they can no longer do it independently. Ryan is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and is an active member of the Aging Life Care Association. Ryan is a Certified Guardian in the state of Ohio and volunteers with Cincinnati Area Senior Services in a guardian role. Back to top.

Candice DeClark Peace, JD, CPA, is a Tax advisor in the Miami Valley office of Clark Schaefer Hackett and a former agent with the Internal Revenue Service. Her expertise includes minimizing the burdens of both entity tax and personal tax. She is a leader in business transaction structuring, estate planning, and managing family transition of wealth and business ownership. Having been elected a shareholder of the firm over 30 years ago, Candy was one of the first women in leadership at the firm. She is a graduate of University of Cincinnati and Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University. Back to top.

William J. Schretter, MBA, CFP, CLU, ChFC, ATA, is the founder and Senior Consultant of Life-Legacy Services. He is an experienced Wealth Advisor and Certified Financial Advisor dedicated to helping clients achieve their life, financial, and legacy goals through the efficient and effective use of financial tools, tax strategies, and properly documented estate plans. Bill has been involved with the financial services industry since 1998, utilizing his skills in financial planning, trading, income tax preparation and securities industry compliance. He has developed and presented financial education seminars for students, public audiences, and private industry. He has been quoted in the Dayton Daily News, CNBC, Bloomberg and has published articles on the CFP Board website. He received his undergraduate degree from Miami University and his MBA from the University of Cincinnati. Back to top.

Joshua A Shapiro, JD, is a Senior Vice President/Trust Officer at LCNB National Bank. He has over 20 years of experience in wealth management services, with a focus on financial planning, tax and estate planning, investments of assets, and Fiduciary trust and estate services. Josh earned his BA in Economics from University of Cincinnati and JD from Indiana University School of Law. Back to top.

James A. Singler, JD, founder of Singler Law, has focused his practice in the areas of estate planning and administration. He helps clients with a myriad of issues involved with estate planning such as distributing assets to appointing guardians, planning succession of family owned businesses, establishing and funding private foundations, incorporating philanthropic giving into estate planning process and represents clients in all aspects of probate and trust administration. James graduated magna cum laude from Rollins College and Valedictorian, magna cum laude at University of Dayton School of Law. Back to top.

Patricia R. Taylor, MBA, ChFC, CFS, is an Advanced Solutions Specialist with Lincoln Financial Group and provides support to both internal and external annuity wholesalers and distribution partners across the US. Patti works closely with wholesalers, financial advisors, accountants, and attorneys. She obtained her BS in Finance from Auburn University, Montgomery, Alabama and her MBA from Indiana University, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Back to top.

Michael R. Watkins, ARPC, PRP, is the Business Development Director and Qualified Retirement Plan Strategist at Retirement Plan Concepts & Services Inc. With over 33 years of Retirement Plan Industry experience spent primarily in sales and sales management roles with various investment platforms, Mike helps advisors, wholesalers, CPAs and business owners implement the proper Qualified Retirement Plans in both the defined contribution and defined benefit markets. Back to top.