Learn About Us

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We're an award-winning, independent boutique wealth management firm dedicated to empowering others to Live Well.

Our Mission & Values

It has always been our goal to deliver the best wealth management experience for every client, every time, at every touchpoint. We fulfill that mission by embracing the six core values that set us apart – we are unique, strategic, consistent, princpled, academic and approachable. We also maintain a strong commitment to bettering the lives of others through a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and meaningful community involvement.

Learn more about our mission and values >

Our Process

We care as much about your financial life goals as you do. That's why we developed our personalized Plan Well, Invest Well, Live Well™ strategic process, which brings together the experience and attention of our entire team to listen to your needs, build and execute a plan to meet them, and partner with you to build upon and adjust that plan through every stage of life.

Learn more about our Plan Well, Invest Well, Live Well™ process >

Our Team

Our award-winning, financial advisors offer more than 50 years of combined experience in the financial industry. As a partner of Commonwealth Financial Network®, the largest privately-owned independent Registered Investment Adviser broker-dealer, we partner with clients in 37 states from our home base in Pomfret, Connecticut.

Meet our team by clicking on each profile below to learn more, and get in touch to see how we can help you Plan Well, Invest Well, Live Well.

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), 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, 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 non-profit 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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The Five Star Wealth Manager award, administered by Crescendo Business Services, LLC (dba Five Star Professional), is based on 10 objective criteria. Eligibility criteria – required: 1. Credentialed as a registered investment adviser or a registered investment adviser representative; 2. Actively licensed as a registered investment adviser or as a principal of a registered investment adviser firm for a minimum of 5 years; 3. Favorable regulatory and complaint history review (As defined by Five Star Professional, the wealth manager has not; A. Been subject to a regulatory action that resulted in a license being suspended or revoked, or payment of a fine; B. Had more than a total of three settled or pending complaints filed against them and/or a total of five settled, pending, dismissed or denied complaints with any regulatory authority or Five Star Professional’s consumer complaint process. Unfavorable feedback may have been discovered through a check of complaints registered with a regulatory authority or complaints registered through Five Star Professional’s consumer complaint process; feedback may not be representative of any one client’s experience; C. Individually contributed to a financial settlement of a customer complaint; D. Filed for personal bankruptcy within the past 11 years; E. Been terminated from a financial services firm within the past 11 years; F. Been convicted of a felony); 4. Fulfilled their firm review based on internal standards; 5. Accepting new clients. Evaluation criteria – considered: 6. One-year client retention rate; 7. Five-year client retention rate; 8. Non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9. Number of client households served; 10. Education and professional designations. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star Wealth Managers. Award does not evaluate quality of services provided to clients. Once awarded, wealth managers may purchase additional profile ad space or promotional products. The Five Star award is not indicative of the wealth manager’s future performance. Wealth managers may or may not use discretion in their practice and therefore may not manage their client’s assets. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or this publication. Working with a Five Star Wealth Manager or any wealth manager is no guarantee as to future investment success, nor is there any guarantee that the selected wealth managers will be awarded this accomplishment by Five Star Professional in the future. For more information on the Five Star award and the research/selection methodology, go to fivestarprofessional.com. 3,147 Connecticut area wealth managers were considered for the award; 289 (9 percent of candidates) were named 2019 Five Star Wealth Managers. 2018: 3,178 considered, 293 winners; 2017: 2,218 considered, 283 winners; 2016: 1,985 considered, 417 winners; 2015: 2,398 considered, 468 winners; 2014: 3,926 considered, 515 winners; 2013: 2,263 considered, 531 winners; 2012: 2,204 considered, 503 winners.

Leisl L. Cording, CFP®

Vice President, Associate Financial Advisor

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Leisl brings over 13 years of experience 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 PLANNER™ 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. She was responsible for managing client relationships ranging from $1 million up to $1 billion. 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. Today, Leisl is involved in various associations throughout northeast Connecticut. These include the Northeast Connecticut Women & Girls Fund Steering Committee, Putnam Business Association, Quasset Cemetery Association, and coaching soccer for the NECONN United Soccer Club.

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 also played Division 1 soccer while attending Quinnipiac. She currently resides in Willington, CT and in her spare time, enjoys playing and coaching soccer, golfing, running, and traveling the world.

James Zahansky, AWMA®

Principal/Managing Partner & Chief Goal Strategist

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Jim Zahansky 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 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. At his previous company, 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 which 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 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 spending time with his wife, Melissa, and their three children.

Jim Zahansky is a Five Star Award Wealth Manager. 1

 

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The Five Star Wealth Manager award, administered by Crescendo Business Services, LLC (dba Five Star Professional), is based on 10 objective criteria. Eligibility criteria – required: 1. Credentialed as a registered investment adviser or a registered investment adviser representative; 2. Actively licensed as a registered investment adviser or as a principal of a registered investment adviser firm for a minimum of 5 years; 3. Favorable regulatory and complaint history review (As defined by Five Star Professional, the wealth manager has not; A. Been subject to a regulatory action that resulted in a license being suspended or revoked, or payment of a fine; B. Had more than a total of three settled or pending complaints filed against them and/or a total of five settled, pending, dismissed or denied complaints with any regulatory authority or Five Star Professional’s consumer complaint process. Unfavorable feedback may have been discovered through a check of complaints registered with a regulatory authority or complaints registered through Five Star Professional’s consumer complaint process; feedback may not be representative of any one client’s experience; C. Individually contributed to a financial settlement of a customer complaint; D. Filed for personal bankruptcy within the past 11 years; E. Been terminated from a financial services firm within the past 11 years; F. Been convicted of a felony); 4. Fulfilled their firm review based on internal standards; 5. Accepting new clients. Evaluation criteria – considered: 6. One-year client retention rate; 7. Five-year client retention rate; 8. Non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9. Number of client households served; 10. Education and professional designations. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star Wealth Managers. Award does not evaluate quality of services provided to clients. Once awarded, wealth managers may purchase additional profile ad space or promotional products. The Five Star award is not indicative of the wealth manager’s future performance. Wealth managers may or may not use discretion in their practice and therefore may not manage their client’s assets. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or this publication. Working with a Five Star Wealth Manager or any wealth manager is no guarantee as to future investment success, nor is there any guarantee that the selected wealth managers will be awarded this accomplishment by Five Star Professional in the future. For more information on the Five Star award and the research/selection methodology, go to fivestarprofessional.com. 3,147 Connecticut area wealth managers were considered for the award; 289 (9 percent of candidates) were named 2019 Five Star Wealth Managers. 2018: 3,178 considered, 293 winners; 2017: 2,218 considered, 283 winners; 2016: 1,985 considered, 417 winners; 2015: 2,398 considered, 468 winners; 2014: 3,926 considered, 515 winners; 2013: 2,263 considered, 531 winners; 2012: 2,204 considered, 503 winners.

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 of 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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Kate Pitts

Director, Client Experience & Relationships

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Kate Pitts joined Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors in March, 2021. She oversees our mission to deliver the best wealth management experience for every client, every time. She is also responsible for building relationships in the broader community to further our commitment to helping others to live well.

Kate brings over 10 years of experience in the financial services industry, starting her career at State Street Global Advisors in Boston, MA. At Street Street, she was primarily focused on helping large, institutional clients engage their employees with their retirement plans through education and financial wellness programs.

Kate grew up in Pomfret, CT and graduated from Woodstock Academy in 2004. She went to Quinnipiac University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing in 2008. She currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two girls and black Labrador. She enjoys going for family walks, catching every living organism with her daughters to examine close up, golfing, snowboarding and traveling.

Holly Wanegar

Director, Client Service

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Holly Wanegar joined Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors in June, 2019. She assists clients with operational and administrative needs in collaboration with our advisors and team to ensure the best client experience. In addition to leading our Operations team, Holly provides critical support to advisors with analytics related to operations and works with our Chief Investment Officer to implement portfolio and investment strategies.

Holly brings significant wealth management experience, particularly in roles involving client intake, trust administration, estate settlement services, financial planning, and investment management. Prior to joining our team, Holly worked at U.S. Trust as a Trust Administrative Officer, and most recently, at People’s United Bank as a Relationship Manager, working to deliver an exceptional client experience for high net worth individuals.

Holly grew up in Pomfret, CT. She is a graduate of Woodstock Academy, and received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Eastern Connecticut State University. She currently resides in Eastford, CT with her husband and three dogs. In her free time, Holly enjoys running, playing soccer, gardening, and travelling.

Rebecca Lewis

Senior Associate, Administration and Client Service

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As Senior Associate, Administration and Client Service, 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 inquires. She comes to Weiss, Hale & 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. 


 

Shandy Chen

Investment Analyst

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Shandy is a Investment Analyst on the Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors investment committee. The committee meets quarterly and Shandys' role is to analyze and track fund performance. He is a fully registered staff member after having passed both his FINRA Series 7 and 66 securities registration exams (registrations held through Commonwealth Financial Network®).

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 resides.

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 non-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!