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2021 Retirement Planning Seminar


We’re excited to bring together experts in both the financial and non-financial aspects of retirement planning to speak at our seminar.

RPB_Staff_Headshot_Michael 2x_8cb2a052099d1d51c331a4cf4004b039-1

Chief Executive Officer, RPB


About Michael

Michael has been the executive director of RPB since 2015, leading “the best team one could ever hope for.” Michael has overseen the addition of a number of new programs and features, including: self-directed funds, the Reform Jewish Values Fund, and daily fund valuation; a new, full-scale branding and communications program; and the redesign and launch of a new online portal for employers.

The Reform Movement has been Michael’s professional home since 2005, during which time he held executive positions with Union for Reform Judaism and Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City. Prior to 2005, Michael worked in the for-profit sector in finance and management consulting at firms that include Ernst & Young and Arthur Andersen. He holds an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business and a BS from the University at Albany. He lives in the New York area with his wonderful wife and two incredible daughters.

RPB_Staff_Headshot_Robert 2x_8cb2a052099d1d51c331a4cf4004b039

Director of Participant & Employer Services, RPB


About Robert

Robert joined RPB in 2016 as Director of Participant and Employer Services. Prior to that, he was the Director of Investor Relations and Fund Marketing for Thomas, McNerney & Partners, a healthcare venture firm focused on investing in life science and medical technology companies. Before joining TMP, Robert was a Director in the Alternative Investments group/Asset Management division of Credit Suisse AG and head of investor relations for private equity, which included DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and DLJ Investment Partners, as well as other regional and sector-focused fund groups. Before joining Credit Suisse in 2008, Robert spent nine years with Apax Partners, a global private equity firm with more than $40 billion under management, as the Director of Investor Relations and Information Management for all US funds. He received a B.S. in Economics from Allegheny College and a J.D. from Temple University School of Law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he began his career as a practicing attorney for over 12 years.

Helen Dennis

Speaker and Author on Aging, Employment and Retirement

About Helen

Helen is a nationally recognized leader on issues of aging, employment and retirement; she has received numerous awards for her teaching at the Davis School at USC’s Andrus Gerontology Center and contributions to the field of aging, the community and literary arts. Editor of two books, author of over 50 articles and popular speaker, she has helped more than 15,000 employees—including senior corporate executives, mid-level managers, factory workers, university faculty and staff, physicians, engineers, and rabbis—prepare for the non-financial aspects of retirement. As a weekly columnist, she writes on the subject of Successful Aging for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group reaching over 1.3 million readers. Helen is co-author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller, Project Renewment, the First Retirement Model for Career Women. In her volunteer life, she has been president/chair of five non-profit organizations including Temple Menorah in Redondo Beach, CA. In 2016, she was named one of the 50 influencers in aging by PBS Next Avenue.

Sharon Morton

RJE, Retired Educator

About Sharon

Sharon served as the educator at Am Shalom for 32 years. She is a former president of the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE), a long-time trustee of the Reform Pension Board, representing NATE and is the chair of the RPB Education Committee. Sharon is on the Board of the Midwest Ave of the Righteous, the Past President of Ziknay Nate, and has been involved in numerous educational and social action activities throughout her career and in retirement. Most recently, she founded Grandparents for Social Action. Its mission is to teach grandchildren to be philanthropists and social action activists. You can sign up to read the GSA newsletter at


Partner, Peer, Gan & Gisler LLP

About Michael

Michael J. Gan is a labor and employment law attorney and managing partner at Peer, Gan & Gisler LLP in Washington, DC, and has been representing labor unions and professionals in collective bargaining, litigation, and contract negotiations for 25 years. He also maintains a significant practice working with Reform rabbis and other Jewish professionals in a wide variety of employment matters. Michael’s essay, “Women Rabbis and the Gender Pay Gap: Lessons from the CCAR’s 2012 Landmark Study and a Call to Action” was published in the 2016 National Jewish Book Award-Winner, The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate, from the CCAR Press. Michael is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Boston University School of Law.

Steve Vernon

Founder & President, Rest-of-Life Communications, & Research Scholar, Stanford Center on Longevity

About Steve

Steve Vernon, F.S.A., is President of Rest-of-Life Communications and a Research Scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity, where he conducts and directs research on retirement income, retirement planning and decision-making, and behavioral economics. In his prior career, for over 35 years he helped large employers design and manage their retirement programs. He retired as Vice President and Consulting Actuary with the human resources consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide and also consulted for Mercer. Steve is quoted frequently in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USAToday, BusinessWeek, Fortune Magazine, Kiplinger’s, and Money Magazine. He is an experienced speaker, having delivered over 300 presentations, keynote addresses and workshops on his books Retirement Game-Changers, Money for Life, Recession-Proof Your Retirement Years, Don’t Work Forever! and Live Long & Prosper! and his DVD The Quest.


Virtual Education Consultant, Fidelity Investments

About Bill

Bill Kalwas is a Virtual Education Consultant for Fidelity Investments. He promotes financial wellness for the employees of Fidelity’s Corporate and Tax Exempt clients through online educational events. Bill joined Fidelity in 2012. Prior to his current role, he was a Dedicated Retirement Planner and conducted one-on-one retirement planning conversations and onsite group meetings.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the Rochester Institute of Technology and is a registered securities representative and a licensed insurance representative.


Rabbi, Vassar Temple

About Renni

Rabbi Renni S. Altman, D.D. is the 30th spiritual leader of Vassar Temple in Poughkeepsie, NY and Director of the Seth A. Erlebacher Religious School. She joined the temple in July 2018 and previously served as Associate Dean and Director of the Rabbinical Program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s New York campus. Rabbi Altman also served in two dynamic and innovative congregations: Congregation Emanu-El of Houston, TX and Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, NY. In the past, she worked with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (forerunner of the Union for Reform Judaism) as Director of Programs for the Unaffiliated. She is an active member of Concerned Clergy for Choice, the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Rabbi Altman has authored a variety of publications for the Reform movement and was one of the first interns at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Sean Carson Print

Retirement Specialist, Fidelity Investments

About Sean

Sean Carson, a Fidelity director and retirement planner, has more than seven years with the company. He was previously an investments representative for Fidelity’s Personal and Workplace Investing Group. A Certified Financial PlannerTM, investment advisor representative, registered securities representative, and licensed insurance representative, Sean holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from William Paterson University.


Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Beth-El

About Michael

Rabbi Michael Torop is the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth-El of St. Petersburg, FL, after having served the congregation for 20 years as their full-time rabbi. Previously he served as the Associate Rabbi and Educator at The Community Synagogue in New York, and the Rabbi of the Leo Baeck Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Rabbi Torop’s career was one of innovative leadership that transformed communities. His rabbinate has been focused on creating connected and engaged communities of learning where Jewish life is explored intellectually and celebrated with joy and a sense of partnership with God. Central to his vision was to create change and pursue justice in the local community.

He is a Board Member for the Pinellas County Urban League, and he serves as a Trustee for Palms of Pasadena Hospital. As a recognized leader in the St. Petersburg religious, secular, and political community, he is able to call upon colleagues and officials to rally to causes of central concern. In retirement, he is actively pursuing his many interests including gardening, origami, writing poetry, playing music, reading, and raising the newest member of the Torop household: their new kitten, Sebastian.

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