Come learn about new developments on dynamic topics and network with other benefits professionals!

Western Pension & Benefits Council Membership

Join a local chapter to engage with other benefits professionals and receive a discount for attending this conference!


Phoenix Chapter


Platinum Sponsors

Conference Sessions

Secure 2.0

Washington Update




Plan Design

Economic Update


Nonqualified Plans

Program of Events

Thursday, October 19

11:30am - 12:30pm - Check-In

12:30pm - 1:30pm - Secure 2.0: IRS Update

This session, led by the Director of Employee Plans for the IRS, will update the audience on the matters EP is working on including:  self-correction of eligible inadvertent failures under section 305 of SECURE 2.0, the development of an IRA correction program under SECURE 2.0;  the development of guidance on overpayments under section 301 of SECURE 2.0; pending guidance on combining the 401(a) and 403(b) pre-approved plan programs; examination priorities; and EP hiring.

Eric Slack, Tax Exempt & Government Entities, Director of Employee Plans, Internal Revenue Service

1:30pm - 2:00pm - Break

Break - Sponsored by JP Morgan

2:00pm – 3:00pm - Ethics

Join us for an entertaining and practical look at professional ethics.  We will talk about the various sources of ethics rules and guidance and focus on practical topics like –

-        What to do when your clients don’t provide information or pay your fees;

-        How to handle problems when they come up; and

-        Tips for effective client communications.

Jim Paul, Employee Benefits Law Group

3:00pm – 3:30pm - Break

Sponsored by Trucker Huss

3:30pm - 4:30pm - Cybersecurity

Ted Burik, US Government Accountability Office

Elham Fayyazi, Department of Labor

5:00pm – 7:00pm - Reception

Sponsored by Gallagher

Friday, October 20

8:00am – 8:50am - Breakfast

9:00am – 10:00am - Secure 2.0: Part 2

During this session, we’ll discuss several provisions of SECURE Act 1.0 and SECURE Act 2.0 that affect defined contribution plans. Topics include long-term, part-time employees; required minimum distributions; Roth catch-up contributions; employee certification for hardship and emergency personal expense distributions; and deadlines for plan amendments. Please Join Ron Rutherford-Triche for this informative and interactive session!

Ronald Rutherford-Triche, Retired, Former Branch Chief, Qualified Plans Branch 2, IRS Office of Chief Counsel

10:00am – 10:30am - Break

Sponsored by Nataxis

10:30am – 11:30pm - Nonqualified Plans

Bruce J. McNeil, Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl

David Lin, US Government Accountability Office

Kendra Kosko Isaacson, Office of Senator Patty Murray (WA)

11:30am – 12:20pm - Lunch

12:20pm – 1:20pm - Washington Update

Phyllis Borzi, Employee Benefits Security Administration

Kendra Kosko Isaacson, Office of Senator Patty Murray (WA)

1:30pm – 2:30pm - Corrections - SECURE 2.0 Has Made Correcting Plan Failures Easy. . . Not. . . Yet Anyway!

Scott Galbreath, Trucker Huss

Stephanie Bennett, Voluntary Compliance Program Coordinator, TE/GE Division, Employee Plans, Internal Revenue Service

Sherrie Boutwell, Boutwell Fay

2:30pm – 3:00pm - Break

Sponsored by PIMCO

3:00pm – 4:00pm - Plan Design

Karen Casillas, CAPTRUST

Theresa Conti, Sunwest Pensions

James Goldstein,  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration

4:00pm – Program Concludes

A summary of this valuable and economical conference:

  • Continuing Education Credits 
  • Networking with Employee Benefit Professionals
  • Dynamic Topics and Speakers
  • Member rate - $395 early-bird/$445 regular
  • Non-member rate - $495 early-bird/$545 regular
  • Sponsorship opportunities ranging from $1,500 - $10,000

Meet the Speakers


Former US Assistant Secretary of Labor

Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

The Honorable Phyllis C. Borzi, JD, MA, retired as the US Assistant
Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration
(EBSA) in 2017. She was confirmed by the US Senate in 2009. During
her tenure, EBSA oversaw nearly 708,000 private-sector retirement
plans, approximately 2.8 million health plans and a similar number
of other welfare benefit plans that are covered by the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and that provide
benefits to approximately 150 million workers and their families. Ms.
Borzi led the Department's efforts to implement the Affordable Care
Act, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, the Genetic
Information Nondiscrimination Act and other health and pension laws.

She also represented the Secretary of Labor on several governmental
boards, including the Board of Directors of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which the Secretary chairs, and as Trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.

Previously, Ms. Borzi was a research professor in the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University Medical Center's School of Public Health and Health Services.


Director of IRS Employee Plans

Tax Exempt  & Government Entities, Director of Employee Plans

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Eric Slack is the Director of IRS Employee Plans, the business unit responsible for compliance of the rules related to retirement plans. He is responsible for EP’s Examination, Determination, Voluntary Compliance and Technical programs. He’ll help guide EP in implementing changes required by the SECURE Act of 2019 and also SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022.

Eric served as the Director of Field Operations-West for the Western Compliance Practice Area in the Large Business and International Division. He formerly was the Senior Tax Law Specialist in the Employee Plans Division of TE/GE.

Prior to this, he was the EP Acting Area Manager, Mid-Atlantic area, overseeing examinations of qualified plans from Philadelphia to South Carolina and west to Ohio and West Virginia. Before leading the Mid-Atlantic Area, Eric served as Detailed Tax Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee under Ranking Member, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), where he worked on a variety of tax issues, including the negotiation of the omnibus spending and tax extender bill in 2015.

Eric began his IRS career as an Attorney-Advisor to the National Taxpayer Advocate in Washington, DC. After leaving the NTA, he worked in the IRS Tax Exempt & Government Entities Division. He developed and implemented a Knowledge Management strategy, working closely with the IRS TE/GE Commissioner, and internal and external stakeholders to effectively develop and retain information across the Operating Division.

Eric is a graduate of Washburn University of Topeka with a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish. He has a J.D. degree from George Washington University and an LL.M. degree in Taxation from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He has lived around the world from Kansas to Hawaii to Rio de Janeiro and is most proud of his wife Robyn, and two children Charlie and Hera.

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Pensions Policy Director and Senior Tax Counsel

Senator Patty Murray (WA)

Kendra Kesko Isaacson serves as Pensions Policy Director and Senior
Tax Counsel for Senator Patty Murray and advises her on ERISA,
retirement, and tax issues. Prior to joining Sen. Murray's personal
office, Ms. Isaacson served in the same role on the Senate Health,
Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee during Sen. Murray's tenure
as Chair of the Committee.

Ms. Isaacson 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. Following law school,
she was an Associate with Slevin & Hart, P.C. and Venable LLP in
Washington, DC. Before joining the Senate, Ms. Isaacson worked in the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the Department of Labor where she worked in the Office of Policy and Research.


Retired, Former Branch Chief, Qualified Plans Branch 2

IRS Office of Chief Counsel

Before his recent early retirement from practicing law, Ronald Rutherford-Triche was Branch Chief, Qualified Plans Branch 2, in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in Washington, DC. While there, his work focused on regulatory issues affecting employers’ qualified plans. Prior to joining the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in 2017, Mr. Rutherford-Triche spent over 20 years practicing in the field of employee benefits law. Mr. Rutherford-Triche received his bachelor’s degree from McNeese State University and his law degree from the Tulane University School of Law.



Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl

Bruce J. McNeil is a partner with Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl and a member of the Employment & Labor Practice Group where he leads the ERISA, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group. Bruce is based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, where he focuses his practice on assisting clients in a variety of employee benefits matters including tax-qualified plans, executive and nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements, equity arrangements and phantom equity arrangements, and employee benefits litigation.


Bruce is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. He was appointed to serve on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans by the Cabinet Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao, and he is considered one of the country’s foremost authorities on executive and deferred compensation.



Boutwell Fay LLP

Even in law school, Sherrie became excited about the evolving area of employee benefits. To Sherrie, it’s about collaboratively working with clients to find the best solutions to their employee benefit challenges.

Since 1983, Sherrie has focused her law practice and ongoing education on finding solutions in this ever-changing and complex area of today’s employee benefit challenges. She enjoys unraveling the mysteries of ERISA with her clients with a clear focus on truly understanding each client’s issues while carefully and clearly defining the best options for each situation.

Sherrie has represented clients before the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Department of Labor, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, arbitrators from the American Arbitration Association and the United States District Court, with respect to employee benefits issues.

With an emphasis on retirement and deferred compensation plans, Sherrie advises and counsels a broad range of clients including employers, employees, plan fiduciaries, financial institutions, government agencies and trade associations, on a wide array of employee benefits matters. Sherrie has extensive experience and is a highly sought-after speaker, writer, and advisor on employee benefits topics.

Sherrie takes pride in bringing a practical and down-to-earth approach to resolving complex benefits issues involving qualified plans, non-qualified plans and health and welfare plans.


Senior Analyst

US Government Accountability Office

David Lin is a Senior Analyst in GAO’s Education, Workforce and Income Security team. He was the lead analyst for GAO’s project on Executive Retirement Plans and has worked at the agency for more than 10 years on a range of retirement and income security issues. David received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in political science and an MBA from Boston University. 



Fidelity Investments

David Schneier is a Director with Fidelity’s Customer Protection team. He is an accomplished IT professional with well over thirty years of experience, the past twenty-six of which have been focused on Cyber Security. Prior to joining the Customer Protection team, he led a team responsible for assessing cybersecurity programs for Fidelity suppliers and third parties. He possesses the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Third Party Risk Professional (CTPRP) certifications.


Chief of Criminal Investigations Division

US Department of Labor/EBSA

Elham "Ellie" Fayyazi started her career with EBSA in 2002 as a Benefit Advisor, then served as an Investigator and Senior Investigator. In 2010, she became a Supervisory Investigator and in 2018, the Chief of Criminal Investigation Division. Her entire professional career has been with EBSA. Ms. Fayyazi is currently the agency’s point of contact on Cybersecurity. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and a law degree from Suffolk University Law School.


Senior Technical Advisor

US Department of Labor/EBSA

James Goldstein is a Senior Technical Advisor with the US Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Los Angeles Regional Office.  During his two-decade career with the agency, he has worked on many large civil and criminal investigations involving single-employer and multi-employer sponsored health and retirement plans.  Mr. Goldstein is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where he received an American Jurisprudence Award in Constitutional Law and earned a JD with honors. In 2012 he served as an adjunct professor at Southwestern Law School, where he co-taught a course in employee benefits law sponsored by the Department of Labor.  Mr. Goldstein frequently speaks on EBSA’s enforcement program before various industry groups.



Employee Benefits Law Group

Jim counsels employers on employee benefits issues in mergers and acquisitions and guides employers and fiduciaries in the formation and operation of Employee Stock Ownership Plans, including stock purchase transactions, as well as complex deferred compensation issues.  He provides practical and understandable guidance, advice and support to employers, plan sponsors and fiduciaries.


From qualified 401(k), profit sharing and pension plans, welfare plans, nonqualified plans, executive compensation and other benefit programs, Jim has done almost everything in the employee benefits arena.  With 35 years of experience, he counsels employers on design, compliance and operation of qualified retirement plans, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, welfare plans and stock-based compensation plans, including corrections where needed. Jim also counsels clients on fiduciary issues and has experience in fiduciary litigation.


Jim received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and is a member of the State Bars of California and Arizona.


Jim is a past-President of the Sacramento Chapter of the Western Pension & Benefits Council, and has served on the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) Leadership Council and Government Affairs Committee (Co-Chair) and is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. 


Vice President, Financial Advisor


Karen Casillas is a nationally recognized industry advocate specializing in investment advisory, retirement plan consulting, and fiduciary governance services. Joining CAPTRUST in 2012, she previously held leadership positions within Fidelity Investments and American Funds. Karen is passionate about creating exceptional client and employee experiences, financial wellness, and delivering actionable and impactful guidance.

Karen received her B.S. in economics from University of California, Davis, and passed FINRA Series 6, 7, 8, 24, 26, 63, 66 exams. She is a Board member for WP&BC San Francisco, and past-President for WP&BC Los Angeles. Within CAPTRUST, Karen is Co-Chair of the Women’s GROW Initiative, a Peer Group Co-Leader, mentor, and CAPTRUST Community Foundation Grant Committee member. She volunteers as a sustainer for National Charity League Vista, and Chairman of the Assistance League of Ventura County’s Investment Committee. Awards include NAPA Top 50 Female “All Star Advisor” 2015-2022 and Top 100 DC Advisor Teams 2017-2022.  



Trucker Huss

Scott is the head of the Equity and Executive Compensation practice at the San Francisco based employee benefits law firm of Trucker Huss.  He has over 30 years of experience working with clients on all types of qualified plans and nonqualified deferred compensation plans, equity and synthetic equity plans, and change-in-control and severance arrangements. He also assists clients with Internal Revenue Code section 83(b) and 409A compliance and correcting qualified plan compliance errors under various Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor remedial programs.

Scott has served as Chair of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Tax Section, as well as President of the Sacramento Chapter of the Western Pension & Benefits Council. He continues to serve on the WPBC Board of the Sacramento Chapter. He has also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Governing Board of the Western Pension & Benefits Council and as a board member of the Sacramento Chapter of the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA). He served as President of the Sacramento Chapter of NIPA and instituted its merger into the Sacramento Chapter of Western Pension & Benefits Council in 2020.  Scott is a member of this year’s Western Benefits Conference Planning Committee.

Scott is a Fellow of the highly selective American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, and he is a frequent writer and speaker on new developments in employee benefits and the author of The Benefit of Benefits blog. Scott was named a Top Lawyer for Employee Benefits (2015-2017 and 2020-2022) in the lists published by Sacramento Magazine. He was also named a Super Lawyer in Northern California Super Lawyers 2021-2023 for excellence in employee benefits law. Scott was recently recognized as a 2024 Best Lawyers in America for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law. He is rated as an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.


Program Coordinator

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Stephanie Bennett is a Program Coordinator for the IRS' Employee Plans Voluntary Correction Program (VCP). Her responsibilities include assisting with the resolution of applications made under VCP and requests for Voluntary Closing Agreements. Prior to joining the IRS, Stephanie worked in the private sector as an attorney specializing in employee benefits. 



Sunwest Pensions

Theresa Conti has been a leader in the Retirement Plan industry for more than 30 years. In the early days of her career she felt that she could offer clients more personalized service and consulting than they were getting with traditional TPA firms, so she decided to start her own firm in 1998, Sunwest Pensions. Theresa holds a QKA (Qualified 401(k) Administrator) designation with ASPPA and an APR (Accredited Pension Representative) designation with NIPA. In 2011, she also earned her Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) designation with the IRS. In 2019, she earned her CPFA (Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor) with NAPA.  In 2023, she sold her firm and is now a Senior Consultant with July Business Services. 

Theresa was a member of the Board of Directors of NIPA for 11 years and was President for 18 months during 2007 through 2008. Theresa spent six years as a board member with the Arizona Chapter of NIPA, including serving three years as President. Theresa has also worked with NIPA’s Annual Conference Committee for three years, served as it’s Chairperson for the 2003 conference, and has served on the Chapter Leadership Task Force. Theresa also worked in conjunction with NIPA, ASPPA and the IRS on the development of Circular 230 and the ERPA Licensing Program. In 2016, Theresa was awarded NIPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her service to the industry. She is also a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events and is quoted frequently in industry publications. She has also been on advisory boards for several of the industry’s leading financial firms. In 2022, she was added to the Board of WIPN (WE Inspire. Promote. Network).

She has dedicated her career to sharing her expertise throughout the industry and with her clients.

Choose Your Registration Fee

Early-bird Deadline - Friday, September 15


Early-bird - $395

Regular - $445



Early-bird - $495

Regular - $545


Opportunities ranging from $1,500 - $10,000

Westin Kierland Resort

The conference will be held at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The conference has a room block for Wednesday, October 18 - Saturday, October 21. The room block rate is $339/night. The link for the room block will be provided in your confirmation email.

Rooms available at the Westin Kierland Resort are limited because October is a popular time in Scottsdale so do not wait to reserve a room.

Check Out the Resort