Founder and CEO
“No matter what happens, individuals want their families’ financial security protected. Helping them achieve that peace of mind is why I love what I do.” That’s how Patrick Carroll, founder of Obsidian Planning Solutions, describes what drives him today and has for the past 30 years.
In that time, Patrick has developed a holistic approach to planning that begins and ends with a person’s life goals. He helps business owners protect and grow their companies while synchronizing their personal financial, business and estate plans. “I believe that integrating all plans is the only way for owners to achieve the goals they set for their businesses, their families and themselves.”
When Patrick works with owners to grow their businesses, he always keeps an eye on their future business exits—exits that happen by design, death or disability. To create the best possible outcomes, Patrick draws on his extensive training in business valuation issues, tax-minimization strategies, business value-building practices, business continuity plans, and estate plan designs for business owners.
Patrick is the author of Tame Your Money Elephants (Apple Ridge Press, 2016) and creator of The Lifestyle Protector ProcessTM. This proprietary process puts individuals on a path to enjoying life to the fullest. As a recognized expert in exit planning (he has earned the prestigious Certified Exit Planner designation), Patrick speaks to audiences of advisors and owners about the importance of inserting an owner’s personal financial planning into the business exit planning process.
After a childhood spent living in some of the world’s hotspots (Hungary, Iran, Burma (now Myanmar) and Laos), Patrick returned to the US to earn a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech. He subsequently received his Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) designation and Master of Science in Financial Services degree from The American College Of Financial Services.
Patrick and Julie, his wife of 30+ years, share a love of adventure. They have visited numerous countries for both business and pleasure and have launched two daughters. They are members of the DC chapter of Le Bailliage du Greater Washington, part of the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Together, they participate in the club’s activities celebrating fine cuisine.
Todd Feldman, CFP®, CExP™
If Todd hasn’t asked you, “why?“ you aren’t yet an Obsidian client. We know because “why?” is his favorite question. “Why have you been successful in your business?” “Why are you thinking of transferring out of your business next year?” “Why do you think that problem can’t be solved?”
Todd is curious 24/7. In his free time, he travels to exotic destinations and figures out how to cook recipes better at home than the chefs in his favorite restaurants. But Todd is a questioner in his career as well. He’s been looking for a better way to solve problems for business owners from his early days with a major brokerage house and insurance company, to his years in multinational and community banks.
Todd has found a home at Obsidian. “First, I draw on my financial and business exit planning expertise in more ways than ever. Second, we aren’t tied to any products. Instead, we’re tied to process and solutions.”
At Obsidian, Todd is able to connect questions to solutions as an advocate, not as a salesperson. “After I learn all I can about why owners, their businesses and their families operate the way they do, I propose plans and solutions,” he explains. “My greatest satisfaction comes from finding solutions to problems owners thought were unsolvable, then seeing their faces when I offer several alternatives.” It isn’t surprising that Todd has earned the role of trusted confidante to so many of Obsidian’s clients.
In addition to his CFP® Todd has earned his Certified Exit Planner designation and holds a degree in finance from The Smeal College of Business at The Pennsylvania State University. He is a Maryland native and currently lives in Gaithersburg with his wife Gabryela and son Ethan.
Pamela Flick CFP®
Pam is a number-crunching people-person. That’s a unique combination that has served Obsidian’s clients well over the 20-plus years she has been with the firm.
After working in business insurance sales for several years, Pam originally joined Obsidian’s marketing department. Over time, she added additional training qualifications to her already strong background in finance, and today focuses on financial planning for individuals.
On a daily basis, Pam gathers information, analyzes data, makes planning recommendations and is a key member of the team that reviews all plans prior to submission to clients for approval and implementation.
“It is during the information-gathering process that I have the most contact with our clients,” Pam says. “But planning gives me the opportunity to establish long-term relationships—no, friendships—with people. That’s what I love.” She adds, “Creating financial plans is challenging and rewarding, but getting to know so many clients as friends keeps me coming to work every day.”
What does this diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan do during the offseason? “I’m a huge sports fan and active volunteer.” Of all her volunteer “jobs,” Pam enjoys teaching first and second grade Sunday school classes the most. She is an avid hiker: canyons, national parks and soon, the route between two 1000-year-old European capitals.
Pam earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Marketing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her MBA in Finance and Investments from The George Washington University.
Senior Client Service Specialist
Sean McCarron plays an integral role in the creation and execution of the plans we create for both individuals and business owners. “Once we have helped clients to articulate and prioritize their unique goals, then I prepare investment portfolio recommendations tailored to reach those goals.” While Sean is experienced in creating those recommendations, “I really enjoy sitting down with clients to explain the pros and cons of each investment vehicle in both up and down markets.”
Once clients are matched with their ideal investment mix, Sean monitors portfolios to keep them aligned with their original goals. He also keeps a finger on the pulse of various markets and fund performance metrics. In the process, he stays in contact with clients to re-balance portfolios as necessary and answer their questions.
Using goals, rather than product, as a starting point is what drew Sean to Obsidian nearly 20 years ago. “For years, my job was to fit the individual to the product. Flipping that process to make it totally client-centered leads to better outcomes and happier clients. And when clients are happy, I’m happy,” Sean says.
Sean attended the University of New Haven and The George Washington University. He and his wife have three children and one granddaughter, and Sean looks forward to sharing his love of golf and fishing with more grandchildren soon.
Tanja is simply unflappable and that’s good for all of us. On a typical day, she will solve several technology-related issues, answer as many questions about compliance matters, manage a personnel issue and organize a training meeting—all before noon. In addition, she supervises all staff members, sets project priorities and manages workflow effectively and with poise.
“I love what I do,” Tanja says, “because no two days are ever the same and I have contact with every person in the firm.” But Tanja takes the long view as well, “I came to Obsidian because Patrick offered me the opportunity to help this company grow. Every day I know I’m part of that growth.”
Five o’clock is far from the end of Tanja’s day. She’s a wife, mother and active member of her church. Through membership in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, she coordinates and participates in community and service programs for underserved youth and adults.
Tanja brings to her position experience as a business law and estates and trust paralegal, and undergraduate and MBA degrees from the University of Maryland University College. Tanja is inquisitive and organized by nature, a creative problem-solver and just a nice person to be around. Perfect for an operations manager.
Patricia (Patti) Copley
Director of First Impressions
Patti is the first person you’ll see and likely the first voice you’ll hear when you visit or call Obsidian. She sets the tone for all of us: warm, interested and always professional.
“I’ve got the best job in the company,” she says. “I get to greet everyone who comes through our doors. Whether a person is coming in for their first meeting or I’ve known them for years, we always have a few moments to catch up on the important stuff–their kids, the latest basketball score, vacation or new book.”
Talking to people about what they’re interested in comes naturally to Patti. “I can’t count the dinner parties, book club dinners and neighborhood socials I’ve planned.” From the smallest appetizer to the game pieces, peppermint sticks and rainbow bridge she constructed for a life-sized game of Candy Land, Patti puts careful preparation, hard work and creativity into everything she does.
Patti has a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing (with a minor in economics) from the University of Maryland. She’s a fan of the Terps—both men’s and women’s basketball and football—as well as the Washington Nationals and Redskins. She and her husband are the proud parents of three grown sons.
Client Service Associate
As a Client Service Associate, Elizabeth Boa works with our planners to set appointments and keep projects on track and on time. She also assists with the preparation of documents for client meetings. Her background in municipal government, non-profits and research institutions contribute to her ability to keep everyone accountable and projects moving forward.
Elizabeth has an undergraduate degree from Hood College and master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University—both in environment-related studies. Elizabeth enjoys cooking, reading, travelling and camping with her teenage twins and husband.
Client Service Associate
Alissa brings to Obsidian a wide variety of experiences, including work for the federal government, non-profit management and several overseas assignments. At Obsidian, she manages special projects such as our gemology and identity theft seminars and client-appreciation events.
On a daily basis, Alissa works with our planners to process the many forms involved in making and tracking investments accurately and on time. She’s also our go-to person for a wide variety of research projects. When clients have questions, Alissa either knows the answer, or knows where to find it.
Alissa has an undergraduate degree in International Relations and Russian Language and Literature from Tufts University, and a master’s degree in Russian Area Studies from Georgetown University. When not at work, you will find Alissa gardening, cooking (yes, she picked up a recipe or two in Siberia) or chasing (with her husband’s help) three energetic and curious daughters.