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NAPFA Interim CEO Leslie Stokes Photo courtesy of NAPFA
NAPFA Interim CEO Leslie Stokes

NAPFA Announces Interim CEO Leslie M. Stokes

The head of a non-profit executive sourcing firm will take over for outgoing CEO Geoffrey Brown as the NAPFA board seeks permanent replacement.

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors has announced that Leslie M. Stokes will begin her role today as NAPFA’s interim CEO.

Having worked for various professional associations throughout her career, Stokes is currently vice president at Vetted Solutions, where she now sources and places C-level executives for growing and transitioning associations and non-profit organizations. Stokes also has experience with association management; strategic long-term planning; market research and branding strategies; membership engagement; sales; and diversity, inclusion and equity programs, according to the announcement.

“We look forward to working with Leslie and the Vetted Solutions team to guide us through this transition and as we find a permanent CEO,” NAPFA Chairman Jeff Jones said in a statement. “With her expertise and knowledge of association management and organizational leadership transitions, we are confident that she will lead NAPFA and the Board of Directors effectively during her time with us.”

Stokes will act as interim CEO for NAPFA through the departure of current CEO Geoffrey Brown, who will end his tenure on Nov. 15, until a new CEO is found.

Brown, also a career association executive, increased NAPFA membership from around 2,000 to more than 4,400 during his nine years at the helm, the organization said. He announced in August that he would be stepping down from the role—which paid $292,000 in 2021, according to the most recent Form 990 filings—to pursue an opportunity leading the Illinois CPA Society. 

“I just feel really good about where the organization is,” Brown told at the time. “We've got a great team and all the conditions are right.”

Both Brown and Karla McAvoy, the outgoing NAPFA chair, said the organization would likely seek another management professional and expect the permanent CEO will possess the same skill set as Stokes and Brown.

“This is a person that will be responding to and working with a wide number of people,” said McAvoy, including staff, members, government agencies and consumers. “We want somebody who can speak and communicate effectively with all these groups.”

“Certainly,” she added, “a person who’s coming into this position should understand financial planning and really embrace the fiduciary planning that this organization is all about.”

Since it was founded in 1983, NAPFA has represented a growing number of fiduciary, fee-only advisors and supported a series of advice-related public policy issues, including regulation and title protection; financial literacy; diversity, equity and inclusion; retirement security; senior protections; and tax-deductible advisory and planning fees.

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