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About the Professional Advisor Leadership Council

The PALC provides an opportunity for MetroWest professional advisors to connect with one another and the Foundation to gain a greater understanding of the needs of the MetroWest community, so they can better address their clients’ philanthropic goals.

Professional advisors play a critical role in the future of philanthropy in our region.

Our Professional Advisor Leadership Council (PALC) works closely with the Foundation for MetroWest to advance its mission, while increasing awareness about the needs of the MetroWest community so advisors can better address their clients’ philanthropic goals. Council members include leading professionals from a variety of professions; estate attorneys, accountants, financial planners, wealth advisors, and insurance professionals. View Council Members

Members of the PALC see the promotion of philanthropy as one of the more meaningful aspects of their practice. Four times a year the PALC hosts educational and social events for the broader MetroWest professional advisor community. These events promote philanthropic conversations between advisors and their clients, while building greater awareness of the Foundation’s mission and philanthropic services. 

The PALC meets four times a year to plan the professional advisors’ educational and networking series.

Schedule of Council Meetings

(Working Meetings)

  • Thursday, February 9 @ 8:30 AM
  • Thursday, May 4 @ 8:30 AM
  • Thursday, July 13 @ 8:30 AM
  • Thursday, October 19 @ 8:30 AM

Professional Advisor Events

(Educational and Social Events)

  • Thursday, March 30 @ 4:30 PM
  • Thursday, April 27: Spring Inspiration Breakfast*
  • Thursday, June 22 @ 8:30 AM
  • Thursday, August 24 @ 4:30 PM
  • Thursday, September 27: Community Leadership Reception*
  • Friday, October 27: ONEmetrowest Day
    Thursday, November 30 @ 8:30 AM
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Benefits of Joining the PALC

Listing on the Foundation’s website and in the Foundation’s annual report as a PALC Member

Access to four council meetings and four networking events per year

Recognition when attending Foundation for MetroWest events throughout the year

Build Opportunity to be recognized among your peers for philanthropic contributions in the region a Stronger Community

Monthly resource email which includes charitable giving information and trends in philanthropy pertinent to this region

Opportunity to present content to the Foundation for MetroWest’s donors through the blog series, webinars, social media and other channels

Professional Advisor Leadership Council

Our PALC works closely with the Foundation to advance its mission, while increasing awareness about the needs of the MetroWest community so advisors can better address their clients’ philanthropic goals. Council members include individuals from a variety of professions: estate attorneys, accountants, financial planners, wealth advisors, and insurance professionals.

With over 30 years of experience in financial planning, Henderson has helped countless clients achieve fulfillment and leave a legacy. She has previously worked for a large CPA firm in Cambridge and an international law firm in Boston, but in 2021, she finally realized her dream of entrepreneurship with the launch of Abaris Financial Group.

As a specialist in matching resources to dreams, Henderson is a great addition to our committee and an ideal partner for organizations looking to support their communities and achieve their charitable goals. We are delighted to welcome her to our team.

Meaghan is a seasoned wealth advisor with over a decade of experience. She is committed to helping clients achieve their financial goals and align their investments with their life’s purpose. Her approach is centered around building long-term relationships based on trust, transparency, and a genuine care for her clients’ financial well-being. She has a particular interest in working with women, the next generation, non-profits, and foundations to help discern their mission and create investment policies that align with their values.

As a MetroWest resident passionate about giving back, Schweitzer is a great addition to our committee and an ideal partner for any client looking to support their community and achieve their charitable goals.

Jennifer Leisman Dessert, CLU, CLTC, AEP is a principal member of the team at Leisman Insurance where she specializes in life insurance planning for high-net-worth clients. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Jenni stays active in the community through her involvement in The Vincent Club, The Winsor School, Penn Lacrosse and the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund. Jenni lives in Weston with her husband and their two young children.

Jennifer is an attorney at Mirick O’Connell, where she is a Partner with the Trusts and Estates Group. She works closely with her clients to provide highly personalized plans that minimize taxes and effectively fulfill their wishes for passing on their legacy. Jennifer enjoys helping clients carry out their philanthropic goals, whether they wish to make gifts during their lifetime or provide for charitable gifts on their death. She lives in Lincoln, MA and is involved with giving back to her community in a variety of ways.

Chris is a Financial Advisor, and Partner, at Canby Financial Advisors in Framingham. Chris earned a BS in business administration from the University of New Hampshire and his Master of Science in Financial Planning from Bentley University. He and his wife Amy have three children, Madison, Alex, and Mia. Chris’s numerous interests include cooking (and eating), gardening, and cycling. Chris’s family supports many global and local charities and he has been a member of the Distribution Committee for three years.

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Catherine Neijstrom, Senior Counsel at Gilmore Rees & Carlson, PC, has been a member of the Foundation’s Professional Advisor Leadership Council (PALC) for 5 years and has served on additional Foundation committees since getting involved.

Catherine concentrates her law practice exclusively on estate planning and estate and trust administration. When asked about her career she shared that she enjoys working with estate planning clients at all stages of life. Regardless of where her clients are in their planning, Catherine is committed to developing plans that meet a family’s unique personal needs and helping them with their charitable giving goals.

In 1993, John leveraged his experience at Fidelity Investments and started his own firm. At Wealth Planning Resources, John has built a successful business that helps guide each of his business and individual clients through the investment process and helps them achieve their financial goals, including their charitable giving.

John also formerly served on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Join the PALC

Annual membership begins in January of each calendar year.

To join the Foundation’s PALC you must be a professional advisor who lives or works in MetroWest or has a client base with MetroWest representation.

Members are encouraged to:

  • Attend at least 75% of the meetings
  • Make an annual contribution to the Foundation for MetroWest through the ONEmetrowest Fund (average gift size ranges from $500 – $1,000)
  • Sponsor one of our events (average sponsorship size is $2,500)
  • Or support one of our many other initiatives or projects that are meaningful to you. 

For questions regarding the PALC, please contact Marisa Lutz, Development Manager.