As readers will find in our 2021 Aspen Leadership Forum on Retirement Savings Rapporteur’s Reports, the retirement savings space is at a moment of dynamic inflection. On the policy front, we see widespread support for landmark federal retirement access expansion, unprecedented levels of state auto-IRA legislation, bipartisan legislation to facilitate the provision of emergency savings on workplace retirement savings platforms, and an important package of reforms in SECURE 2.0.
Meanwhile, the industry has been busy, with increased mergers and acquisitions activity in record keeping, private sector investments in better tech and more personalized user experiences, and growth in demand and innovation in emergency savings tools. And all of this is happening in the context of labor market upheaval, increasing inflation, a continuing pandemic, the pending resumption of federal student loan debt payments, and, most importantly, a dawning realization that we must include inclusive and adequate retirement savings in the societal conversation about how we are going to close racial, gender, and generational wealth gaps.
Join the leaders of the Aspen Leadership Forum on Retirement Savings as we look ahead to 2022 and discuss:
- What policy and product innovations can we expect to move the needle on the expansion of access to auto-enrollment into workplace retirement savings to the 40 million people who don’t have access to a plan?
- How will evolving technological capabilities help us close usage gaps among the 24 million people who have access to a plan but don’t participate?
- How can we further expand the group of leaders who see expanding the access and adequacy of our retirement savings system as critical to a future of inclusive wealth?
- What are the policy and product innovations we most need if we are to create the inclusive savings system Americans need?
This event was made possible thanks to the generous support of AARP, BlackRock, Prudential Financial, and T. Rowe Price.
Acting Assistant Secretary Ali Khawar, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor
Mr. Khawar was named Acting Assistant Secretary on March 25, 2021. Mr. Khawar was sworn in on January 20, 2021 as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration. He has extensive government experience, and has previously served in a variety of roles at the Department, including as an EBSA investigator, in EBSA’s Office of Enforcement, as EBSA’s Chief of Staff in two Administrations, and as a Counselor to the 26th Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez. Mr. Khawar has a bachelor’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from Emory University School of Law.
Karen Biddle Andres, Director of Policy & Market Solutions and Project Director of the Retirement Savings Initiative, Financial Security Program
As the Director of Policy and Market Solutions and Project Director of the Retirement Savings Initiative at the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, Karen works to advance promising solutions to American families’ most pressing financial security challenges. Working across sectors and disciplines, Karen and the Policy and Market Solutions team seek to highlight market and policy gaps, jumpstart creative solutions, and build a diverse set of leaders who can turn ideas into action.
Before coming to the Aspen Institute, Karen spent over ten years at the Financial Health Network (formerly the Center for Financial Services Innovation), where she built the Long-Term Savings and Retirement Practice. Previously, Karen led the development of the Financial Health Network itself. She began her career in the retirement industry as a bilingual 401(k) plan educator for both Strong Funds and Wells Fargo Institutional Trust Services.
Karen holds M.B.A. and M.P.P. degrees from the University of Michigan. She also holds a B.A. in Spanish and Art History, with a minor in Mathematics, from Indiana University. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, Matt, and two young sons.
Kendra Isaacson, Senior Pensions Counsel, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Kendra Kosko Isaacson serves as Senior Pensions Counsel to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, where she advises Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and other committee members on ERISA and all retirement-related issues. She is also a member of the Committee’s Oversight Team where she assists with nominations and financial conflicts of interest. Kendra also advises Senator Murray on all tax-related matters. Kendra was selected as a Stennis Fellow for the 117th Congress.
Kendra received her B.A. in Government from Dartmouth College, a J.D., with honors, from the Catholic University Columbus School of Law, and an LL.M in Taxation with a certificate in Employee Benefits from the Georgetown University Law Center. After law school, Kendra was an Associate with Slevin & Hart, P.C. and also with Venable LLP in Washington, DC. Before joining the HELP Committee, Kendra worked in the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the Department of Labor where she worked in the Office of Policy and Research.
Lisa Massena, Principal, Massena Associates
Lisa A. Massena, CFA, is a retirement leader partnering with governments, service providers and policy organizations to develop savings programs focused on increasing private sector retirement coverage. Massena founded Massena Associates to help clients successfully navigate new spaces, achieving on-budget implementation, state-of-the-art operations, happy users, and good policy.
Massena provides strategic advice on market position and opportunities, financial analysis, program design and development, implementation planning and support, issue expertise and testimony, marketplace updates and education, and communication. Prior to establishing Massena Associates, Massena served on the government savings team at Ascensus, the nation’s largest independent recordkeeper, and as the founding Executive Director of the OregonSaves program. She has also held executive positions at State Street and mPower. Massena is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a Municipal Securities Advisor, and a graduate of Portland State University.
Yemi Rose, Founder & CEO, Of Color
Yemi Rose is founder of OfColor (Techstars ’20), a financial wellness SAAS platform focused on employees of color. OfColor provides BIPOC employees with AI-driven and in-person financial advice and banking tools/services built around how we save, spend, and build our legacies differently.
Yemi has spent almost two decades at the intersection of financial services and communications/marketing focused on financial wellness, most recently as the Vice President of Financial Wellness Enterprise Initiatives with Prudential Financials’ Global Communications Group. In this most recent role, he led the
development of Prudential’s Financial Wellness Census research project, as well as “The Cut,” which focused on underserved consumers. He writes and speaks extensively on the racial wealth gap, and his writings on the subject have been published in Time magazine, Black Enterprise, Tech Crunch, The Root, Blavity, Employee Benefits News, and Money.com.
After beginning his career as a Capital Markets Intelligence Associate for Thomson Financial, he served as an Investor Relations Director for several top-tier financial communications agencies before moving to in-house roles. He has served as a senior executive at KPMG and BlackRock Inc., where he worked to help them maximize the value of their acquisitions and fintech ventures. He holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Cornell University. Yemi was born and raised in Jamaica, and now lives with his wife and two daughters in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Aaron Schumm, Founder & CEO, Vestwell
Aaron is the founder & CEO of Vestwell, the engine powering modern-day workplace savings and investing programs, such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Our cloud-based digital recordkeeping platform provides the underlying architecture to support financial services and payroll partners, who are rapidly working to serve the 30M small businesses in the country.
Prior to founding Vestwell, Aaron co-founded FolioDynamix, a wealth management fintech platform. At FolioDynamix, Aaron oversaw the strategy, revenue, marketing, customers and product development. FolioDynamix was acquired by Envestnet (NYSE: ENV).
Outside of Vestwell, Aaron has served on the board of directors and the advisory board for several fintech companies, including Quovo (acquired by Plaid), Vestorly, OfColor, and Chalice Financial Network.
Aaron holds a B.S. degree in finance from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and an M.B.A. degree from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He was included in InvestmentNews’ 40 Under 40 and WealthManagement.com’s “10 to Watch.”