2017 Conference Speakers
Parr Rosson, Ph.D., Texas A&M University
Global Economic and Political Issues Panel
Parr Rosson is Professor and Department Head in the Agricultural Economics Department at Texas A&M University. Rosson works in the areas of international trade and international marketing. He currently chairs the Education Committee of the Texas-Cuba Trade Alliance. Rosson served on the Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee for the US Trade Representative and US Department of Agriculture from 2001-2015.
He has conducted research projects and educational programs in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Prior to coming to Texas A&M in September 1989, Rosson spent seven years at Clemson University where he was Associate Professor and Extension Agricultural Economist and Acting Director of International Programs. A native of Taft, Texas, Rosson received his Ph.D. (1982) and M.S. (1978) in Agricultural Economics and B.S. (1971) in Agronomy, all from Texas A&M University.
William Norris, Ph.D., Texas A&M University
Global Economic and Political Issues Panel
Dr. William Norris is currently an assistant professor of Chinese foreign and security policy at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University where he teaches graduate-level courses in Chinese domestic politics, East Asian security, and Chinese foreign policy. He is also a non-resident associate with the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington D.C. where his work examines the potential for a conventional US-China conflict to escalate to the nuclear realm.
Dr. Norris has been a postdoctoral research associate at the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs and a fellow in the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program, a joint program created by the two universities to foster the study of China’s foreign relations. He completed his doctoral work in the Security Studies Program in the Department of Political Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he specialized in the confluence of economics and security, focusing on the role of economics in contemporary Chinese grand strategy.
His broad research interests include East Asian security, business-government relations, Chinese foreign and security policy, and international relations theory—particularly the strategic relationship between economics and national security. His recent work examines the use of commercial sector actors to achieve national foreign policy objectives in the context of Chinese grand strategy. He has a forthcoming book on Chinese economic statecraft (Cornell University Press).
Dr. Norris has been the recipient of various fellowships and awards, including the Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship, the Asia Foundation’s Domestic Dimension of International Affairs Grant, Bush School Faculty Excellence Award, Smith Richardson Foundation World Politics and Statecraft Fellowship, the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Scholarship, the David L. Boren National Security Education Fellowship, and the Bradley Fellowship. He has been selected as a fellow with the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on US-China Relations. Dr. Norris directs the Bush School’s Concentration in China Studies. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Southwest Conference on Asian Studies and serves on the Faculty Advisory Board of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs.
Jorge A. Bermúdez, CEO, Byebrook Group
Global Economic and Political Issues Panel
Jorge A. Bermúdez is president and CEO of Byebrook Group, a small firm that conducts research and advisory work in the financial services industry. Previously, he served as Chief Risk Officer for Citigroup. During his tenure, he helped stabilize and re-architect the Citigroup Risk organization and Risk Management process. He serves on the Dallas Federal Reserve Board since 2012. He previously served on the Houston Branch Board.
He serves on the boards of Moody’s Corp., Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Association of Former Students at Texas A&M University and Community Foundation of the Brazos Valley. He also serves Texas A&M in various roles, including the International Board, College of Agriculture Development Council and Mays Business School Development Council. Bermudez holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from Texas A&M University.
Maria Quinn, Advisor Education Specialist, Vanguard
Putting a Value on Your Value: Quantifying Advisor’s Alpha
Maria Quinn is an Advisor Education Specialist and National Speaker on behalf of Vanguard’s U.S. intermediary business. She has served as a member of the thought leadership team in Vanguard Financial Advisor Services™, working in conjunction with Vanguard’s Investment Strategy Group and Portfolio Review Department in the crafting and distribution of Vanguard analysis and industry research. She’s responsible for presenting Vanguard’s views on practice management, global-macroeconomics, and portfolio construction methodologies to financial advisors in the broker-dealer, bank, and RIA channels.
Maria joined Vanguard in 2013 and has held a variety of roles serving Vanguard’s high-net-worth retail and financial advisor clients. Prior to Vanguard, Maria worked in the non-profit sector, most notably serving as the Development Officer of a global non-profit based in the San Francisco area. She earned a B.A. in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies and M.A. in International Economic Development from The George Washington University. In addition, she holds FINRA Series 7 and 63 licenses.
Jim Whiddon, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, Founder & CEO
The Extraordinary Client Experience
J.N. “Jim” Whiddon spent over thirty years in the financial services industry. As an accomplished business owner, wealth advisor, and national thought leader, he authored three books: There for the Taking, Wealth Without Worry, and The Investing Revolutionaries.
Whiddon has been quoted by national media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, CNBC and Fortune magazine– and hosted a daily radio show on CNN Headline News in Dallas. His work has been published in over 250 newspapers and publications across the country.
In working with thousands of families over the years, Whiddon emphasized how to successfully invest financial capital. But this experience only highlighted a greater need which went beyond money – the well-being of their children and their grandchildren. Impassioned with this mission, Whiddon merged his highly successful firm in 2013 with Buckingham Strategic Wealth, LLC and then founded The Old School™.
After reading over 400 books in order to mine their nuggets of wisdom – his fourth book, The Old School Advantage: Timeless Tools for Every Generation was released in February 2016. As a father of four millennials, he felt compelled to invest in something of greater value than money: social capital – the “how to” of life. By putting stock into developing communication skills, leadership qualities, and most of all – wisdom: parents can leave a legacy to their kids and their grandkids that equips them to lead a balanced life of success and significance.
Martin Seay, Ph.D., CFP®, Associate Professor, Kansas State University
Applications of Positive Psychology in Financial Planning
Martin Seay, Ph.D., CFP®, is an Associate Professor of Personal Financial Planning at Kansas State University. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Financial Planning Association (FPA), as a director for the Academy of Financial Services, and on the editorial review boards for the Journal of Financial Planning and the Journal of Financial Therapy. Dr. Seay received his Ph.D. in Housing and Consumer Economics with an emphasis in Personal Financial Planning from the University of Georgia.
His research focuses on borrowing decisions, how psychological characteristics shape financial behavior, and methodology in financial planning research. His work has been published in the Journal of Financial Planning, Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, Financial Services Review, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Journal of Financial Services Professionals, and Journal of Financial Therapy.
His research has been recognized with the 2014 FPA Annual Conference Best Applied Research Paper Award, the 2016 CFP Board’s ACCI Financial Planning Award, and the 2016 Montgomery-Warschauer Award, which is awarded by the Journal of Financial Planning for the paper that provided the most outstanding contribution to the betterment of the profession in the previous year. Additionally, he was awarded the Kenneth Tremblay Early Career Housing Award from the Housing Education and Research Association in 2016.