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A Chicago Tribune Top Workplace for 4 Consecutive Years

Northwestern Mutual – Chicago, with offices in Downtown Chicago, Deerfield, Oak Brook and Rosemont, has been awarded a 2019 Top Workplace honor by the Chicago Tribune. This is the fourth consecutive year the firm has been recognized among Chicago’s leading companies.

“Core to what drives our repeat appearance on this list is a high level of engagement,” said Corey D. McQuade, Managing Partner. “Our financial professionals feel a strong sense of purpose in their work and share in our vision to create the most financially secure community we possibly can: one individual, one family, one business at a time.”

The Chicago Tribune partnered with Energage, LLC, an independent research company to survey 225 Chicago area organizations in the 10th annual survey. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, connection, leadership and engagement, among others. This year, Northwestern Mutual – Chicago ranked 21 among companies with less than 249 team members in the annual list of 150 Chicago Top Workplaces.

About Northwestern Mutual-Chicago

Northwestern Mutual – Chicago, with offices in Downtown Chicago, Deerfield, Oak Brook and Rosemont, is a leading Chicago-based financial planning firm providing expert guidance to help clients manage financial risk and achieve financial security. Ranked one of Chicago’s Top Workplaces, according to the Chicago Tribune, Northwestern Mutual – Chicago provides career and internship opportunities to individuals who want to grow personally and professionally. The company’s nationally recognized financial representative internship program was named by a top internship for students seeking careers in the financial services industry.  Further information on the firm can be found at  

About Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual has been helping families and businesses achieve financial security for morethan 160 years. Through a distinctive, personalized planning approach, Northwestern Mutual combines the expertise of its financial advisors with a digital experience to help its clients navigate their financial lives every day. With $272.2 billion in assets, $28.5 billion in revenues, and $1.8 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to more than 4.5 million people with life, disability income and long-term care insurance, annuities, and brokerage and advisory services. The company manages $128 billion of investments owned by its clients and held or managed through its wealth management and investment services businesses. Northwestern Mutual ranks 111 on the 2019 FORTUNE 500 and is recognized by FORTUNE® as one of the “World’s Most Admired” life insurance companies in 2019.

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Bryce Simon, CLU ®, CFP® a Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual – Chicago has been authorized by the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Board of Standards Inc. to use the CFP® certification marks in accordance with CFP Board certification requirements.

“We are proud of Bryce for achieving the highest standard in personal financial planning,” said Corey McQuade, Managing Partner, Northwestern Mutual -- Chicago. “Earning this designation demonstrates the value he places on doing what is in our clients’ best interest as well as his commitment to professional growth.”

As a Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual – Chicago, Simon partners with senior level executives and business owners to help them develop comprehensive financial plans tailored to plan for and achieve their life goals.

The CFP® certification recognizes individuals who have met the rigorous experience and ethical requirements, have successfully completed financial planning coursework and have passed the CFP® Certification Examination covering the following areas: the financial planning process, risk management, investments, tax planning and management, retirement and employee benefits, and estate planning. CFP® certificants must also agree to meet ongoing continuing education requirements and to uphold CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards.

Simon joined Northwestern Mutual - Chicago in 2008 and started building his financial planning practice.  His commitment to excellence in service to his clients and the industry has been recognized with the Quality Award from the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) for the past six years.  In 2016 he achieved membership into the Million Dollar Roundtable (MDRT) and this year was recognized with the Court of the Table. MDRT is the premier international independent association of financial professionals.

A former college athlete, Simon enjoys volunteering as a coach and mentor in the Near West Little League, a Chicago inner-city baseball and softball program. He is also an active supporter of Northwestern Mutual-Chicago’s Childhood Cancer Program. 

To learn more about Bryce Simon visit his website at  

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Christina Collins and her team are honored with a $500 donation to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation From left to right: Nur Ashrafi, Associate Wealth Management Advisor; Kelsey Kessenich, Associate Wealth Management Advisor; Christina Collins, Wealth Management Advisor; Jessica Duplessis, Client Services & Marketing Coordinator; and Barbara Esker, Associate Financial Representative.

Winnetka resident and Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Advisor Christina Collins, CFP®, CPWA®, CLU®, ChFC®, RICP®, celebrated 25 years with Northwestern Mutual in Chicago.

In honor of this milestone career accomplishment, Northwestern Mutual, through the Foundation, is making a $500 charitable donation in Collins’ name to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, the company’s nonprofit partner in research for childhood cancer. 

“As we congratulate Christina on this career milestone, we are thankful for the continued confidence her clients have shown in her,” said Corey McQuade, Managing Partner of Northwestern Mutual – Chicago “At the same time, we applaud her support of our Childhood Cancer Program as a leader in raising awareness and funds.” 

Collins joined Northwestern Mutual-Chicago in 1993. In pursuit of excellence in her profession, Christina became a Certified Financial Planner™ in 2001. A believer in lifelong learning, she also achieved Christina holds several related professional designations, including the CLU®, ChFC®, CPWA®, RICP®, and CASL®.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Elmhurst College in 1990. Christina supports the professional growth of this industry through various memberships, including the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the Investments and Wealth Institute (IWI).

She is a three-time recipient of the Northwestern Mutual Forum honor, an exclusive achievement, received by approximately 5 percent of Northwestern Mutual's more than 6,000 financial representatives.

About Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $80 million toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 450 pediatric cancer research projects nationally. For more information on Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, visit 

About Northwestern Mutual Foundation 
The mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is to improve the lives of children and families in need. The Foundation has given nearly $270 million since its inception in 1992 and is designed to create lasting impact in the communities where the company's employees and financial representatives live and work. We accomplish this by combining financial support, volunteerism, thought leadership and convening community partners to deliver the best outcomes. Our efforts are focused nationally on curing childhood cancer, and locally on education, neighborhoods and making our hometown of Milwaukee a great destination.

About Northwestern Mutual
Northwestern Mutual has been helping families and businesses achieve financial security for nearly 160 years. Our financial representatives build relationships with clients through a distinctive planning approach that integrates risk management with wealth accumulation, preservation and distribution. With more than $217 billion in assets, $26 billion in revenues and more than $1.5 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to more than 4.2 million people who rely on us for insurance and investment solutions, including life, disability and long-term care insurance; annuities; trust services; mutual funds; and investment advisory products and services.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI, and its subsidiaries. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a comprehensive approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company.

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NM-Chicago College Financial Representatives Kaylinn Smith and Henry Midyett

Participating in a Top 10 internship with Northwestern Mutual – Chicago students explore the career as a financial representative, develop critical business skills and learn the importance of financial planning. And, for seniors who looking to graduate this spring, they may be one step closer to joining the company full-time. 

Building on her classroom learnings, Kaylinn Smith, a Biology major at the University of Illinois – Chicago is learning the anatomy of a financial plan.  In other words, what it takes to make everything work together to plan for and achieve financial security. 

“I’ve been working alongside our experienced financial professionals, meeting with clients, listening to their goals and helping them develop a budget that will guide them,” says Smith. “Not only have I learned the impact a financial plan can make, the internship has opened my eyes to a new career opportunity,” she adds.

At the same time, Henry Midyett, an Economics major at Loyola University Chicago, says the internship has helped him develop critical business skills. “I’ve grown through learning time management as well as how to interact with others,” he says. 

Both seniors, who are expected to graduate in May 2018, are seriously considering joining the firm full-time upon graduation.  And, the doors are open to them, says Jeannie Andresen, Director of Internship Development.

“Kaylinn and Henry have laid a foundation for a client base and financial planning practice,” notes Andresen.  Both are licensed in life, health and accident insurance setting the stage for them to pursue their series 6 and 63 securities registrations following graduation.

They have the potential to attend Northwestern Mutual’s Winter Camp in March 2018.  Held at the company headquarters in Milwaukee, the two-day event provides Northwestern Mutual’s most elite college interns the opportunity to network and learn from their peers and leaders nationwide. 

As the days move closer to graduation, ongoing mentoring, coaching and training will help guide their decision. And, both Kaylinn and Henry agree, whether they join the firm or not, they have grown exponentially through the internship experience.

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Northwestern Mutual is honoring Winnetka resident Christina Collins CFP®, CPWA®, CLU®, ChFC®, RICP® for her commitment to helping clients plan for and achieve financial security with membership in the company’s 2017 Forum Group. Forum recognizes financial advisors who have eclipsed specific milestones in 2017. Collins is affiliated with Northwestern Mutual-Chicago, based in Chicago, IL. This is the third time that Collins received the Forum honor.

“Northwestern Mutual is proud to recognize Christinaas one of this year’s leading financial advisors based upon guidance that she provides clients to help them plan for the future and achieve financial security,” said Greg Oberland, Northwestern Mutual president.

Honorees were recognized at the company’s Forum Symposium in November. The annual event is an exclusive achievement, with approximately 5 percent of Northwestern Mutual’s more than 6,000 financial advisors invited to attend.

About Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual has been helping families and businesses achieve financial security for 160 years. Through a distinctive, whole-picture planning approach including both insurance and investments, we empower people to be financially confident so they can live life differently. We combine the expertise of our financial professionals with a personalized digital experience to help our clients navigate their financial lives every day. With $250.4 billion?in assets, $28.2 billion?in revenues, and more than?$1.6 trillion?worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to more than 4.4 million people who rely on us for life, disability income and long-term care insurance, annuities, brokerage and advisory services, trust services, and discretionary portfolio management solutions. The company holds more than $100 billion of client assets as a part of its wealth management company and investment services. Northwestern Mutual ranks 97 on the 2017 FORTUNE 500 and is recognized by FORTUNE® as one of the “World’s Most Admired” life insurance companies in 2017.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a comprehensive approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, life insurance with long-term care benefits, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (securities), broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company® (NMWMC) (fiduciary and fee-based financial planning services), federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company (NLTC) (long-term care insurance).

For further information,

Haley Buckingham, (312) 548-1820

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Heritage Planning Partners Ben Voigt, Christine Bounchendhomme, Katie Hickman, Mike D’Aquila and Adam Waitzman.

A trip to Dylan’s Candy Bar can be sweet. But when the financial professionals of Heritage Planning Partners brought their kids to the gumball tables, peppermint stools and lollipop chandeliers, the real treat was found in unwrapping inspiring beads. One by one the kids and their parents strung colorful beads and created bracelets to be shared with pediatric cancer patients through the Beads of Courage arts-in-medicine program.

“A core value of our firm is to practice the golden rule of doing what is in the best interest of our clients, our families and our communities,” said Adam Waitzman, CLU®, a founding member of the Chicago-based financial planning firm.  “While we can celebrate each other, we can also provide strength and inspiration for others.”

Northwestern Mutual, which launched its national childhood cancer philanthropic initiative in 2012, recently announced a partnership with Beads for Courage. Through the Beads of Courage Program, children and teens receive colorful beads that visually commemorate treatment and procedure milestones they overcome while receiving treatment for cancer. The Beads of Courage Program is a standard of excellence in over 150 children's hospitals in the U.S., helping children record, tell and own their stories of courage. It is estimated that over 5,000 children and teens coping with cancer will receive Beads of Courage annually during their treatment journey thanks to Northwestern Mutual

“Through this activity, we hope that we teach our kids the importance of empathy and letting other children know they are being thought of and that no one fights alone when facing childhood cancer,” Waitzman added.

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NM Chicago Hyde Park - Entrepreneurship Event Trailblazing panelists offer valuable career advice.

Northwestern Mutual - Chicago hosted an insightful conversation about entrepreneurialism in the African-American community. The female entrepreneurs discussed the forces that inspired them to turn their passions and ideas into successful businesses, the challenges that come with starting a business from scratch and benefits of self-employment.

The panelists included: Autumn Merritt, fashionista, and co-founder of Sir and Madame Boutique in Hyde Park, Lauren Ash, founder and executive director of wellness and lifestyle brand Black Girl in Om, and Andrea Williams, CLU®, CFP®, Northwestern Mutual - Chicago Financial Advisor who runs her own financial planning practice.

The group of trailblazers offered valuable career advice for those in any industry. Ash emphasized that without a support system, Black Girl in Om would not be reaching the same level of success that it is today. “Acknowledging your fears and hesitations by talking about them with other people is important,” Ash said. “Surround yourself with a support system of people who affirm you, rather than those who question or doubt you.”

Merritt advised that resilience and reflection are two important things to keep in mind as an entrepreneur. “Being in business for yourself requires resilience. However, every time you get knocked down, you need to look back and assess the situation. You are going to learn something from every win and every loss.”

An insight from Williams was that mentality and hard work is crucial in growing a career when cultivating one from the ground up. “Whether you’re working for yourself or for others, don’t ever have a lazy day. Always put forth 100 percent effort and work with the spirit of excellence. If you don’t, you’ll only be cheating yourself. Hard workers are building muscle memory that will only help them as their responsibilities increase down the road.”

The panelists also discussed the low but rising numbers of African-American owned businesses. “I found that not only was I often the only woman of color in a yoga class but that there was rarely a woman of color actually teaching a class - I thought, ‘why don’t I create something that speaks to this?” Not only did Ash create an inclusive health and wellness space but also created an online publication and podcast that focuses on conversations of self-care and self-love for women of color.

Williams spoke to this topic as an entrepreneur and as a financial advisor. “When I first started my practice, a lot of people had never seen a black woman in financial services,” Williams said. “Now after ten years, my practice has reached the Northwestern Mutual Forum, where only the top two percent of Northwestern Mutual advisors are able to be.”

As a financial advisor, Williams has built a successful practice that works with the African-American community not just in Chicago, but nationally. “It is very consistent in our community that there is a lack of discussion revolving finances,” Williams explained. “The way that we can bridge that communication gap is by having conversations like this. Build a relationship with a financial advisor you can trust, introduce them to people in your community. This will increase communication, awareness and ultimately be comfortable in your understanding of financial planning."

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2017 Season Highlights Near West Little League aims to be epicenter of community transformation

The little league season may have ended, but for Northwestern Mutual – Chicago financial advisor Sean Pickett the non-profit baseball organization is a year-round commitment.  He’s on a mission to help raise funds that will bring the Near West Little League the resources it needs to be the epicenter of community transformation.

For the past three years, Pickett has served as president of the Near West Little League, an integrated inner-city program for children ages 5 to 15 which empowers coaches, athletes and families to be servant-leaders. Under his leadership, the program has grown to 18 teams, 200 kids and 50 volunteer coaches, umpires, and scorers. 

“The program has provided a safe-haven for kids of Chicago’s Near West side for the past 22 years, teaching the game of baseball, but more importantly life skills that can be used on and off the field,” said Pickett.  

“Sean is an exemplary servant-leader,” notes Corey McQuade, managing partner of the Chicago-based financial planning firm.  “His commitment to developing youth to be people of faith, people of strong character and people who serve others is unwavering.”

Pickett, who grew up on the west coast, was surrounded by a supportive family and community. He started playing baseball in an inner-city league and quickly learned that the sport could be an equalizer where your background didn’t matter. 

As a resident of Chicago’s West Side, he sees some of his neighbor’s struggle with joblessness, violence, homelessness, discrimination, and substance abuse. “I feel a strong sense of responsibility to provide in a way that can help our youth learn skills to make good choices as they grow,” he added. 

While the program has provided a haven for many kids, Pickett would like to see the kids spend more time on the fields, developing their skills, and staying off the streets.  It’s the reason he is leading efforts to raise $15,000 for a batting cage and pitching machine.

“The more at-bats we give them, the more confidence they develop,” he said. “Even more so, a batting cage and pitching machine give us the opportunity to keep them on the fields longer, and thereby safer,” he adds.

The fundraising effort is a big undertaking for a program that runs on $30,000 a year, financed primarily by private donations, but Pickett remains dedicated. 

He is leading from a position of strength and a legacy of leadership of Northwestern Mutual – Chicago financial professionals. 

In 1995, Bob Muzikowski, a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual - Chicago, and his wife Tina, started the Near West Little League in the Cabrini Green housing projects.  His story was portrayed in the 2001 Paramount movie Hard Ball.

In the years that followed, members of the firm’s leadership including Corey McQuade, managing partner, and Toby Eng, district director have coached and mentored youth while helping fundraise to keep the league going.

Today, Pickett has tapped his Northwestern Mutual – Chicago colleagues Richie Green, Bo Muzikowski, Tara O’Dea, Taylor Overman, Tommy Parks, Kevin Reddington, Bryce Simon, Chase Weaver and Kim Westfall to provide a new generation of servant leaders. The financial professionals volunteer as coaches while helping to raise funds through team sponsorships.

“I’m on a mission to make certain the youth in my neighborhood have opportunities for success regardless of the challenges they face,” he said.  

About Near West Little League

Near West Little League aims to be the epicenter of community transformation by empowering coaches, athletes, and families to be servant leaders in and around Chicago’s near West side. To learn more about the league visit To become a sponsor or supporter of the program, contact Sean Pickett at 312-285-4705 or


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Competitive spirits were on display as the Rosemont-based financial planning firm headed to their Annual Office Olympics at Catherine Chevalier Woods.

“We are a collaborative and innovative team,” said Thomas Canale, managing director at NM-Rosemont. “It’s fun to see our financial professionals transfer their competitive spirits for a day of games and healthy rivalry.”

This is the 4th year the financial planning firm has hosted the event that has become a perennial favorite.

Under the direction of Molly Martin, director of recruitment and selection, and the unofficial chief fun officer, the day’s events included: potato sack and cotton ball races, water balloon toss, puzzles and trivia.

When the competition concluded, it was Financial Advisor Bryce Simon and his Assistant Financial Representative Brianna Wojnowski who won the coveted gold medal.  


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NMChicago Interns Attend Annual Meeting Engaging educational and social activities at company’s annual meeting delivers inspiration, learning and networking opportunities.

For students participating in Northwestern Mutual – Chicago’s top rated internship program, a trip to Milwaukee to attend the company’s annual meeting was an experience not to be missed. For four days in July, more than 10,000 financial representatives and their families from across the country descend upon the corporate headquarters city to be inspired, to learn and to network.

“The Annual Meeting is a tremendous experience for networking and professional development,“ shared Jeannie Andresen, director of internship development for the Chicago-based financial planning firm. “It provides students an opportunity to see the company as a whole, and the impact our life’s work has on others.”

“It was crazy to see thousands of people unite in one city,” agreed Samea Akhtar, a senior at Loyola University. “It made me see visually the immense impact we have all around the country.”

For Ally Holland, a senior at Wheaton College, hearing the personal stories of how the company has impacted the lives of clients was most inspiring. “It drives home the importance of the work we do as financial representatives,” she noted.

The multi-day event featured company leaders, industry experts and motivational speakers who provide advice and inspiration on a series of topics ranging from finding your true passion in life to building a successful financial planning practice.

Aside from professional development, students enhance their social development. “I was able to connect on a personal level with the team in my district office and formed stronger bonds,” said Justin Bungag, a graduate of DePaul University who is participating in the post -graduate program.

The bonds also were strengthened among students from the different Chicago area schools, said Andresen. “The paths of students at DePaul, Loyola and UIC don’t often cross with those at Dominican, Wheaton or Elmhurst. It was great to see close relationships develop and new friendships formed.”

Another not to miss is the College Awards Show celebrating the 50th anniversary of the internship program and a private concert with Grammy award-winning pop icon Christina Aguilera at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.