SPARK National Conference

Conference Speakers

Kevin Albert

Kevin Albert
Managing Director
Pantheon Ventures

With 35 years of private equity experience, Kevin joined Pantheon as a partner in 2010. Kevin is a member of Pantheon's Partnership Board and is responsible for business development and client service activities globally at Pantheon.

Kevin previously worked at Elevation Partners where he was in charge of fundraising and investor relations. For the 24 years prior to joining Elevation, Kevin ran the Global Private Equity Placement Group at Merrill Lynch. He has a BA in economics and an MBA in finance from the University of California, Los Angeles. Kevin is based in New York.

Michael DiCenso

Michael DiCenso
Senior VP, Sales & Strategic Partnerships,

Mr. DiCenso is a "thought leader" in the Financial Services, Investment Management, Asset Management, Wealth Management arena in the Institutional and individual Markets, both USA and International. Focused in the areas of fiduciary process management, fee transparency, innovation, technology, vision, strategy, sales growth, marketing, client service, operations, practice management, M&A, and capitalizing on industry trends. He has been quoted in numerous retirement and financial publications and media sites including PLANSPONSOR, PLANADVISOR,, the Chicago Sun Times, Defined Contribution and Savings Plan Alert, and the highly acclaimed book "Transform Tomorrow."

Mr. DiCenso has more than 28 years of experience in the Institutional and Retirement Plan Arena including 401(k), 403(b), defined benefit, 457, and non-qualified plans, investment advisory services, wealth management, worksite, HSA's, MEP's, annuities and IRA's. He is nationally recognized for his "critical thinking", innovation, knowledge and insight regarding ERISA, DOL, IRS, SEC, FINRA and fiduciary issues facing advisors and plan sponsors today.

Mr. DiCenso is a nationally recognized speaker and expert in the retirement services and wealth management industry. He has presented at national retirement industry conferences including PLANSPONSOR's 403(b) Summit and Plan Designs Conference, The Center for Due Diligence (CFDD) Advisor Conference, American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) 401(k) Summit, the 401(k) Wire Summit, the FI360 Conference, the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) Symposium, the PLANADVISOR National Conference, the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) Conference, NASDAQ OMX Conference.

Chris Gaston

Chris Gaston
Senior Policy Director,
Davis & Harman LLP

Chris Gaston is Senior Policy Director of Davis & Harman LLP. Chris has more than a dozen years of Capitol Hill experience and he represents clients on a wide range of issues before Congress, particularly retirement and savings policy.

Prior to joining Davis & Harman LLP, Chris served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) who was a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

After growing up in Central New Jersey, Chris initially started with Rep. Holt as an intern and over the next twelve years, worked for Rep. Holt in a number of congressional and political positions. For more than five years Chris served as Rep. Holt's Legislative Director where he helped establish an ambitious legislative agenda and advised him on a diverse range of legislative issues. In that capacity, Chris was responsible for all of Rep. Holt's work on the Education and the Workforce Committee, including his legislative initiatives to promote retirement savings. Chris also led Rep. Holt's efforts to raise concerns about the Department of Labor's fiduciary proposal.

Chris graduated with a B.A. in Political Science with a Public Policy Focus from The George Washington University and received a M.A. in International Law and Politics from Georgetown University. He and his wife, Molly, have two active kids, Max and Clare, and one hyper active Border collie, Ace.

Mike Hadley

Mike Hadley
Davis & Harman LLP

Mike Hadley is a partner in the law firm Davis & Harman LLP. He practices in the area of employee benefits, advising clients on the full range of tax, ERISA, and other laws affecting benefit plans. He has a particular focus on helping financial institutions that sell products to defined contribution and defined benefit plans, IRAs and similar plans navigate the special rules that govern those plans. He also provides clients with strategic advice, plan design, counseling, and compliance assistance for qualified plans, 403(b) and 457 plans, non-qualified executive compensation, employment agreements, and health and other welfare plans.

Mike was formerly Associate Counsel for Pension Regulation at the Investment Company Institute, the national association of U.S. investment companies. His responsibilities included advocating for the Institute's membership before Congress, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury, and the Securities Exchange Commission on retirement security issues and assisting ICI members and staff in understanding tax and ERISA rules. Among other duties he managed ICI's work implementing the Pension Protection Act and responding to 401(k) fee, investment advice, and fiduciary developments in Congress, DOL, and the courts.

Prior to joining ICI, Mike was an associate with Covington & Burling LLP, where he advised clients on employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements, provided advice on ERISA litigation, and assisted with pension and benefits issues in mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate transactions.

Mike is a frequent speaker on the latest retirement savings policy developments coming out of Congress and the regulatory agencies and has testified before Treasury, IRS, and Department of Labor. A sampling of articles he has authored or co-authored: ERISA Compliance for Investment Advisers: A Q&A Guide To DOL's 408(b)(2) Disclosure Regulation, Investment Lawyer, Vol. 20, No. 7 (July 2013); The Economics of Providing 401(k) Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2010 ICI Research Perspective, Vol. 17, No. 4 (June 2011); and 401 (k) Plans: A 25-Year Retrospective, ICI Research Perspective, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Nov. 2006).

Mike was a law clerk for the Honorable Gerald Tjoflat, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was Notes Editor of the Virginia Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif. He received his B.A., cum laude, from the College of William and Mary.

Matthew O'Hara

Matthew O'Hara
Global Head of Investments,

Matthew O'Hara, PhD, CFA, Managing Director, is the Global Head of Investments for LifePath and is Co-Chair of the U.S., Canadian and UK LifePath Investment Committees.

Dr. O'Hara's service with the firm dates back to 2003, including his years with Barclays Global Investors (BGI), which merged with BlackRock in 2009. As part of the Multi Asset Strategies (MAS) group Dr. O'Hara is responsible for all investing aspects of lifetime asset allocation globally including the LifePath complex globally and the 529 complex in the US as well as new product development in those areas.

At BGI, he was Director of Research for the U.S. & Canada Defined Contribution Group. He was responsible for research on defined contribution and pension outsourcing issues. Prior to joining the DC group, he was responsible for all research and model creation for asset-backed and commercial mortgage-backed securities. He also worked on corporate long/short strategies including the launch of the Fixed Income Global Alpha (FIGA) fund. Previous to working in finance, he worked as a research and design engineer.

Dr. O'Hara has been a lecturer in the MFE program at UC Berkeley. He also serves as vice president of the board of the CFA Society of San Francisco.

Dr. O'Hara earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland in 1992. He earned an MS degree and a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1995 and 1997, respectively. He also graduated as valedictorian and was awarded the Pyle Prize for best student paper from the Master's in Financial Engineering program at UC Berkeley in 2003.

Roberta Rafaloff

Roberta Rafaloff
Vice President, Institutional Income Annuities

Roberta Rafaloff is vice president, Institutional Income Annuities for MetLife. Institutional Income Annuities (IIA) enables defined contribution plan sponsors to provide guaranteed retirement income to their plan participants to help them achieve successful retirement outcomes. The business also offers specialty annuity products including charitable gift annuity reinsurance and lottery annuities.The division is part of Retirement & Income Solutions, the company's institutional retirement business, which historically has been responsible for over 20 percent of MetLife's operating earnings.

As head of the IIA division, Rafaloff, who joined MetLife in 1988, has overall profit center and management responsibility, including product oversight and development, underwriting and pricing, and client management. The division is well-known for its leading market position, innovation and history of firsts, such as being the first to introduce longevity insurance, including an institutional qualifying longevity annuity contract (QLAC), into the marketplace. Prior to assuming her current role in 2003, Rafaloff, who has spent her entire career at MetLife, held a variety of sales, client service and management positions in MetLife's U.S. retirement businesses.

Rafaloff earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology from Kenyon College in Gambler, Ohio. She is a FINRA Series 6 and 63 registered representative.

Tim Rouse

Tim Rouse
Executive Director,
The Spark Institute

Tim has over thirty years of experience in the financial services industry mainly within retirement services of large mutual fund companies.  For the past twenty-five years Tim has worked with major plan sponsors in state and local governments, corporations, Taft-Hartley plans, nonprofit hospitals, colleges and universities.  Over his career Tim has worked with Voya Financial, Fidelity Investments, ICMA Retirement Corporation and The Vanguard Group. 

Tim is a former President of the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators' Industry Board and a graduate of Villanova University.

Sharon Scanlon

Sharon Scanlon
Senior Vice President,
Lincoln Financial Group

Sharon Scanlon is Senior Vice President for Retirement Plan Services at Lincoln Financial Group and has responsibility to ensure that Lincoln has the best services to provide successful outcomes for plan sponsors and participants. Sharon's team also provides technical expertise related to business development and customer experience initiatives.

Sharon has over 20 years of industry experience. She has been with Lincoln Financial Group since 2010. Prior to joining Lincoln, Sharon held senior positions in retirement and benefits outsourcing at Fidelity, Mercer, and Putnam Investments.

Sharon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Northeastern University. She is FINRA Series 6, 7, 24 and 63 registered. Sharon is located in Radnor, PA.

M. Corey Whitehead

M. Corey Whitehead
Principal and Chief Operating Officer

M. Corey Whitehead, AIF, is Principal & Chief Operating Officer of MRP. Corey is a registered investment advisor with more than 20 year's experience in retirement services. Corey graduated from the University of Kansas in 1996 with a Business Administration degree in Finance. He also studied International Economics and General Studies Abroad in Scotland at The University of Stirling.

MRP has received many national awards and recognition over the years, including PlanAdviser Top 100 Advisor Team of the Year, Inducted into the Retirement Hall of Fame, 401kWire 300 most influential DC Advisors and most Influential People in Defined Contributions, PlanSponsor Plan Adviser of the Year and Best of the Best and ASPPA/NAPA Top 3 Finalist Advisor Team Leadership Award.

Corey has conducted thousands of committee meetings, investment reviews and employee seminars. He has been a sought after key-note speaker at national conferences and many local industry seminars over the years. He is known for his natural ability to energetically engage his audience and truly educate in a well understood and often humorous way. He has sat on various advisory councils and quoted in various publications. The last several years, he sat in as one of the elite advisor delegates in Washington DC at the NAPA D.C. Fly-in Forum, engaging with key federal policy makers and advocating for legislative and regulatory policy that affects the industry.

He is a husband, father of three incredible kids, workaholic, Jayhawk and outdoor enthusiast.

Past Sponsors