Learn About Us

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Our team is committed to making the best wealth management experience for you.

Our approach begins with personalized attention from our qualified and innovative team dedicated to your success to help you Plan Well. Invest Well. Live Well.™

Our service experience and extensive training in investment strategy make us uniquely qualified in helping you define and monitor your financial life goals. We see each client not as a transaction, but as a relationship. We are there when you call, and we are listening to your needs each step of the way.

Laurence Hale, AAMS, CRPS®

Principal/Managing Partner,
Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer

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“It is imperative to invest with rationale and with our clients’ risk tolerance in mind.  We offer the Plan Well. Invest Well. Live Well. process to our clients based on this premise of guidance and partnership.”

Laurence is a principal and founding partner of Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors. He is the chief investment officer (CIO) who is leading portfolio management efforts and chairing the firm’s Investment Committee. In addition to developing goal-driven financial plans for clients, Laurence has extensive investment experience with estate planning and charitable strategies.

Laurence brings many years of institutional investment experience, having started his career in the institutional defined contribution business for Putnam Investments. In addition to more than 20 years of investment management for our clients, Laurence has volunteered his professional talents on behalf of many non-profit and public institutions. He formerly served as an appointed member of Connecticut's Investment Advisory Council (IAC), an advisory body to the Connecticut State Treasurer in overseeing the approximately $29 billion in the State of Connecticut's retirement plans and trust funds, on behalf of more than 200,000 beneficiaries.

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Laurence graduated from Hobart College in Geneva, New York, with a degree in economics and holds the designations of Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) and Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist® (CRPS®) from the College for Financial Planning.

When not advising clients, Laurence is active with several nonprofit and charitable organizations. Laurence currently serves as co-chairman of the YMCA of Greater Hartford’s Investment Committee, as chair for the Hale YMCA Youth & Family Center’s Board of Advisors, and is completing his first term as chairman of the Rectory School Board of Trustees. He is a former member of the Pomfret School Board of Trustees, Day Kimball Healthcare’s Finance Committee, past president of the Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) Foundation, and over the years has supported many other organizations.

A native of Pomfret, Connecticut, he resides there with his wife, Jane, and their three children. In his free time, Laurence enjoys fly-fishing, hiking, golfing, and sailing.

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Laurence Hale is proud to have been recognized as a Summit Club advisor for 2016—a distinction based on annual production that places him among the top 22 percent of advisors affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network.

Each year, Commonwealth, the broker/dealer–RIA that helps us process investment transactions on your behalf, recognizes Summit Club advisors by inviting them to an exclusive gathering of their peers, leading industry experts, and Commonwealth home office staff. Summit Club advisors benefit from an intensive learning and networking experience designed to help them hone their expertise, share best practices, and provide ever-higher levels of service, education, and leadership to their clients.

Laurence Hale is a Five Star Award Wealth Manager. 1

 

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Based on 10 objective eligibility and evaluation criteria, including a minimum of 5 years as an active credentialed financial professional, favorable regulatory and compliant history, accepts new clients, client retention rates, client assets administered, education, and professional designations. 3,178 Connecticut wealth managers were considered for the award; 293 (9 percent of candidates) were named 2018 Five Star Wealth Managers. (The criteria provided reflects the most recent year for which advisor received the award. The criteria used, the number of wealth managers considered for the award, and the percentage of those who receive the award, may vary from year to year). These awards are not indicitive of the wealth managers' future performance. Your experiences may vary. For more information, please visit www.fivestarprofessional.com.

Heather O'Rourke

Lead, Client Financial Planning Services

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Heather anchors the Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors Service and Operations team. She has more than 16 years' experience with advisors Laurence and Jim and more than 25 years in the financial services business. She has been an integral part of the growth of the firm and the satisfaction of our clients. Heather has held positions at Paul Revere, First Union in Worcester; Merrill Lynch; and Advest, where she was honored with the distinguished Client Service Award. She holds a producer's license for life and health insurance, the FINRA Series 7 securities registration, and holds a Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional designation from the College for Financial Planning. Heather’s commitment delivers skilled, timely answers to client questions and due diligence to outstanding matters. She offers industry experience along with an extraordinary personal commitment to client service and the process of financial planning.

Heather has been a lifelong resident of northeastern Connecticut. She enjoys traveling, hiking and outdoor adventure. Heather is a board member at TEEG, helping empower residents in Northeastern Connecticut. She enjoys volunteering at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for families and their children facing serious illness and is dedicated to helping rescue dogs in need at Dog Orphans Society in Douglas, Massachusetts. She is a devoted follower of U2, but above all else, she is an incredibly loyal fan of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots.

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James Zahansky, AWMA®

Principal/Managing Partner & Chief Goal Strategist

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Jim is principal/managing partner at Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors, leading practice strategy, business development initiatives, and team leadership for the firm. Additionally, as our chief goals strategist and investment advisor, Jim leads clients through our unique Plan Well, Invest Well, Live Well™ process to help them reach their financial life goals.

Jim transitioned to these pivotal roles in the practice in 2014 after 17 years as a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry, where he developed and implemented strategies and initiatives for major US pharmaceutical brands. In his most recent past role, Jim was vice president, Respiratory Division at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he was responsible for all US business and marketing strategies and initiatives for the company’s respiratory product portfolio that included 8 brands, a team of 300 people and $600 million in revenue. Since this transition to Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors, Jim has taken his years of strategic training and financial acumen to assist clients in building strategies that align to their individual or organization’s goals.

Throughout his career, Jim developed strong skill sets in strategy, leadership, fundamental finance and interpersonal dynamics throughout his career and regards one’s character as their defining quality.

Jim is active in the community and serves on the Hale YMCA Board of Advisors where he was elected as Board Secretary. Jim also serves on the Northeastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the Quinebaug Valley Community College Foundation Board. He graduated from Bryant University with a business degree and was appointed to the University's Wall Street Council, joining other high-powered, finance-oriented alumni who are focused on innovations in the investment industry.  Jim holds the designation of Accredited Wealth Management Advisor® (AWMA®) from the College for Financial Planning. Close to home, he leads the Frog Rock Youth Basketball Association as president. He has coached teams in basketball, Little League baseball and youth soccer leagues throughout the Last Green Valley. In his downtime, he enjoys basketball, biking, running and time with his wife, Melissa, and three children.

Leisl L. Cording, CFP®

Vice President, Associate Financial Advisor

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Leisl Cording joined Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors in January 2019 as Vice President, Associate Financial Advisor and will work closely with our advisors in guiding clients through their unique financial situations and helping them customize financial plans to help achieve their financial life goals.

 

She brings over 10 years of experience in working with high-net-worth individuals in multiple areas of retirement, financial and estate planning. She enhanced her financial planning knowledge for individuals by obtaining the Certified Financial PlannerTM certification in December 2016.

Leisl started her career in the trust and investment services department at U.S. Trust in October 2008. While at U.S. Trust, she developed a passion for delivering superior client service and gained a broad knowledge of all aspects of wealth management while administering individual, retirement and various types of trust accounts. Subsequently, she joined People’s United Bank in the wealth management department in June 2014. She was an integral team member that helped to establish a wealth management presence in the Hartford, CT area. She assisted clients with navigating their complex financial situations and providing simple solutions to help reach their goals. Her responsibilities ranged from individual financial planning, trust and fiduciary administration, estate settlement and investment management. While at People’s United Bank, she was involved in their Women in Leadership program, which focused on women in business and allowed her to share her expertise with women on the topics of investing and financial planning.

Leisl grew up in Pomfret, CT and graduated from Woodstock Academy in 2004. She later graduated from Quinnipiac University in 2008 with a degree in Finance. She currently resides in Woodstock, CT and in her spare time, enjoys playing and coaching soccer, golfing, running and traveling both in the U.S. and internationally.

Diego Briones

Manager, Marketing & Client Relationships

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As manager, marketing, Diego serves a foundational role in providing dedicated support to client relationship and marketing sectors of the business. Diego came to Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors from the University of Connecticut’s School of Business, where he graduated summa cum laude. Starting as a marketing and operations intern, Diego’s analytical and organizational skills have transitioned well into his current role with the business.

Interested in how organizations can effectively use data to inform policy decisions, Diego also holds a Master in Public Policy (MPP) from the University of Connecticut. Insights from his advanced coursework have helped bring effective change to Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors in strategic organizational planning, analysis, and policy implementation.

Outside of work, Diego is an avid soccer player. He has played at the collegiate varsity level and continues to compete in various leagues. He also enjoys traveling, especially to Chile, where much of his family still resides.

Kelly Graves

Associate, Client Operations & Service

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Kelly supports our client operations and service team at Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors, helping to ensure timely and dedicated service on new accounts, transactions, and investment portfolio management. She joined the team in October 2018 after a career as a paralegal where she developed invaluable skills in client service. She also brings a broad knowledge base from her previous work in matters such as bankruptcy law and litigation in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, civil litigation in the U.S. District Court, the U.S. District Court of Appeals, and the Massachusetts State Courts, as well as insurance defense and loan modifications.

 
 
 

Kelly received her B.S. in business administration from Becker College in 2001.  She grew up in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and has been a longtime resident of Connecticut.  She enjoys spending time with her husband, Barry, as well as her two sons, Brayden and Tyler.  She also enjoys traveling, camping, and watching her sons play soccer.  Kelly is also a huge fan of the New England Patriots.

Shandy Chen

Manager, Portfolio Analytics & Operations

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Shandy leads client operations and service at Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors, working to deliver timely and accurate service on new accounts, transactions, and account management. He is a fully licensed staff member after having passed both his FINRA Series 7 and 66 securities registration exams (licenses held through Commonwealth Financial Network®), and enjoys his frequent interaction with clients, helping them execute on their financial goal plans.

After graduating with a degree in economics from Hamilton College, Shandy joined the Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors team in June 2017, and brings a wealth of talent in problem solving and data analysis. Shandy also graduated from Pomfret School and hails from Willington, Connecticut. In his free time, Shandy enjoys playing soccer and snowboarding. He also enjoys visiting China, where his parents grew up and most of his family still reside.

Jacob Guertin

Associate, Marketing

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Jacob joined Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors as an intern in the summer of 2017. He has since been an integral part of the team working collaboratively to support marketing activities. Jacob conducts research for digital and print media, creates client-centric educational resources, manages website changes, and even does some creative design work in his spare time.

 

Currently, Jacob is pursuing his bachelor’s degree at Eastern Connecticut State University with a major in marketing and a minor in digital art and design. He is a native of northeast Connecticut, growing up in Putnam and attending Putnam High School.  Jacob was president of his class for two years and also played soccer, basketball, and baseball. He was the catcher for Tri-town American Legion, helping them to their first playoff berth in more than a decade, and he gives back to the community as a coach for several youth development programs.

Rebecca Lewis

Associate, Client Service & Administration

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As Administration & Client Services Associate, Beckie is committed to ensuring that every client’s experience is at the highest level. With her superior organizational and communication skills, Beckie manages daily office operations, scheduling, and phone inquiries. She comes to Weiss, Hale and Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors with more than 20 years of experience in client support, including positions with American Airlines, American Express Travel, and Electric Boat.

Beckie received her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts in 2014, focusing on Women’s Health and Integrative Health Practices. She lives in Pomfret Center with her youngest daughter and has two grown children nearby as well. Outside of work, she spends time cooking and relaxing with her family and friends. She’s also an active volunteer member of the Northeast Connecticut Women and Girls Fund, an organization committed to helping women and girls in Eastern Connecticut lead more fulfilling, productive, healthy lives. 

James Weiss

Co-Founder

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Jim is co-founder of Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors and is currently retired from the business after more than 30 years' of helping individuals, families, and not-for-profits create solutions for their financial challenges and plans to achieve their goals.

Jim now spends his time coaching people in transition in his Savor Coaching business; making chocolates for his Pomfret Chocolates business; traveling with his wife, Nancy, and his family; and always aspires to innovate and prosper. We couldn’t be happier for him and wish him well in his LIVE WELL phase!