Held on Wed May 18 9am-3pm at the Hartford Club, 46 Prospect St, Hartford, CT was a success!


Embracing Change & Transformation

The transition to college from high school is challenging for students, parents, and the professionals who serve them. Guidance Symposium 2022 brings together the partners who contribute to this process to learn, network, and grow.

Enjoy lunch with colleagues and hear a keynote presentation plus four power-packed talks designed to help you maximize your own profession, embrace change, and help students seize the biggest opportunities in college planning.

Check out our video to learn about Guidance Symposium 2022 and see why you should attend.

Don’t miss it! sign up today.


Our carefully curated panel of professionals will offer expert sessions to help you explore the latest tools and trends, and provide a forum for your professional growth.

Charles Wareham

Co-Founder, Guidance Symposium

Charles Wareham is considered one of New England’s top authorities on college funding. He is a trusted advisor for school counselors seeking his expertise. Thousands of families have found lasting value in his insights and college planning presentations. Charles has over 25 years of experience in college funding strategies and helping families plan for their financial future.

Patricia Roberts

Author, Chief Operating Officer, Gift of College

As featured in

Don’t miss Patricia’s book signing during the 11:15 – 12:00 noon Coffee Break

Keynote Presentation – Finding Purpose During the Pandemic:
Publishing ‘Route 529’ to Help Parents Prepare for College Costs with 529 Plans

With nowhere to go during the early months of the pandemic and as a 20+ year financial services professional and parent of a soon-to-be debt-free college graduate, Patricia Roberts utilized unexpected free time to write about her own savings journey with the goal of educating other parents about the existence and usefulness of 529 plans. Out of this mission, her book, Route 529: A Parent’s Guide to Saving for College and Career Training with 529 Plans, was born. Patricia shares the basis for her desire to empower and inspire other parents about both 529 plans and the peace of mind that comes with being prepared for post-secondary education expenses. She also shares how rewarding the process has been and how much she’s learned along the way.

About Patricia

Patricia Roberts has helped thousands of families avoid millions of dollars in student loan debt over the past 20+ years by sharing her expertise about planning ahead for higher education expenses with 529 plans. She is author of Route 529: A Parent’s Guide to Saving for College and Career Training with 529 Plans and a go-to source for the media and others wanting to learn about these plans. She is Chief Operating Officer at Gift of College, Inc., where she helps employers reduce employee stress associated with the high cost of higher education by offering matching contributions to 529 college savings plans as a financial wellness benefit. She also educates employers on how they can offer tax free student loan assistance for employees and educates them as well about the valuable role 529 ABLE plans can play for employees with disabilities or those, like her, who have loved ones with a disability.

Prior to this, Patricia held key legal and product management roles in the education savings divisions at Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Alliance Bernstein Investments and she designed and launched philanthropic programs, like Rhode Island’s College Boundbaby and NYC Kids RISE, through which families receive seed money for their children’s college savings accounts along with valuable financial education and incentives to save on their own. As a first-generation student from a low-income family, she nearly missed the opportunity to go to college but managed to earn both an undergraduate and law degree while working multiple jobs. Patricia considers the attainment higher education as THE reason she was able to significantly improve the quality of her life and that of her mom and siblings. She is the proud mom of a recent debt free college graduate and is on a mission to help others achieve their higher education dreams with as little debt and regret as possible.

Mark Greenstein

Founder and Lead Instructor, Ivy Bound Test Prep

The Place of SATs, APs, and Grades in the Era of “Test Optional” College Admissions

Farmington-based test prep coach Mark Greenstein will present current trends and admissions policies among competitive four-year colleges regarding standardized tests. Mark will address strategies for parents and students that affect admissions and financial aid awards.

About Mark

Mark and his team of 30+ active tutors have been coaching SAT and ACT prep since 2001.  They work with individuals and with schools that wish to provide extra prep for their college-bound students.

Mark Greenstein has taught test prep since 1987 and has been a speaker on college admissions, vouchers, choice in schools, and education reform. He is the publisher of the Rising Stars’ Heart of Darkness, an annotated version of Conrad’s novel, designed for SAT Prep. He has taught LSAT prep to over 1000 students, and SAT prep to over 800.

He has been on the forefront of “sensibly scheduling your suburban students” (“ssyss”) and claims to be America’s best “PUSHER” for scholarships and acceptances. “Just look at who manages successful firms and their education pedigrees”. Ivy Bound’s SAT and ACT Prep courses have helped over 5000 students raise their scores, enhancing their college admissions and scholarships.

When not doing Test Prep (and at times, while doing test prep), Mark enjoys golf, snowboarding, chess, and beach volleyball.

Jack Burke

Director High School Recruiting, Porter and Chester Institute and YTI Career Institute

STEM Careers that Don’t Require a 4 Year Degree

While today’s High School Graduates face a fast paced and competitive employment scene…it also abounds with tremendous opportunities. STEM Careers are the ticket and at the same time encompass a variety of career fields. His presentation will touch on a number of these careers and the fact that a good number do not require a 4 year degree. Post-Secondary Education for today’s high school graduates is a must and students have several options.

About Jack

Jack Burke is the Director of High School Recruiting at Porter and Chester Institute and YTI Career Institute at the 12 Campuses located in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Jack knows firsthand the importance of maintaining excellence and high standards while helping students find a good fit and their career options after graduation.

Serving in several positions over 30 years including Executive Director/ Vice President, Corporate Director of Admissions/Marketing, Senior Career Program Specialist, Executive Committee and Board of Directors member has allowed Jack to exercise his leadership qualities and passion for education to benefit countless numbers of High School Graduates.

The High School teams at Porter and Chester Institute and York Technical Institute thrive on delivering effective and student-centered Career Education information to help Guidance Departments and Career Centers service their students.
Jack is a life-long learner and in addition to his BA degree has taken many professional development courses, educational seminars, classes and multifaceted training to fulfill his mission in life.

As Jack says, “I consider myself extremely fortunate, for both my family and myself, to have such a career that is personally fulfilling and very gratifying by helping students succeed and create for themselves a brighter future.“

Tom Martin

Author, Financial Advisor, Vaylark

5 Biggest Mistakes College-Bound Families are Making – and How School Counselors can ‘Guide’ Them to Success

Learn the latest tips and tools to share with your students for the journey to college and
beyond. Tom will guide you to answer parents’ biggest questions about paying for

  • Where can we get into college?
  • Where can we get the most financial aid and scholarship money?
  • Private or Public Universities, which makes more sense?
  • What strategies are available if we make too much to qualify for financial aid?
  • Where can we find more resources?

About Tom

Since 2016, Tom has devoted his career to working with college-bound families, helping make the most of school selection. He works with high school families to maximize financial aid, minimize student debt, and create an ideal college outcome for each student.

Tom Martin serves as a board member for the Cheshire Education Foundation in his spare time. He oversees applications for local private scholarships and aids in approving mini-grant requests from teachers in the Cheshire Public School system.

Tom’s work and advice has been featured in Jim Cramer’s,, Nerdwallet, Guidevine, and Discover.

Tom volunteers on the Leadership Council of Pencils of Promise, a global organization that believes everyone deserves a quality education. He served in the United States Navy, was the youngest person to earn the surface warfare qualification, and received the Flag Letter of Commendation. Tom resides in Cheshire with his wife, two sons, and his black Lab named Bash.

Brian Winman

Regional Director, Fidelity Institutional Asset Management

State of Connecticut CHET 529 Plans

Brian Winman Regional Director Fidelity Investments Brian Winman is a regional director at Fidelity Institutional (FI), the Fidelity Investments business that offers financial professionals and institutions access to the investment, technology, and platform solutions they need to service their clients and grow their businesses. Fidelity Investments is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing, and other financial products and services to institutions, financial intermediaries, and individuals. In this role, Mr. Winman is responsible for the sale of Fidelity mutual fund products, exchange traded funds (ETFs), and 401(k) services through financial institutions, planners, wirehouses, and insurance firms in eastern Connecticut and western Massachusetts. Mr. Winman earned his bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the University of Rhode Island. He also holds the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Series 6, 7, and 63 licenses.

Shannon Reynolds

Marketing and Outreach Specialist, CHESLA

Shannon Reynolds is the Marketing and Outreach Specialist for CHESLA, a quasi-public Connecticut state authority created in 1982 to help students and their families finance the cost of higher education. CHESLA’s programs include financial literacy, scholarships, and low fixed rate student loans. Mrs. Reynolds has a bachelor’s degree from Temple University and a master’s degree from Quinnipiac University.

Mrs. Reynolds has been at CHESLA for over 3 years and is passionate about giving students and families all the resources they need to navigate the paying for college process. Mrs. Reynolds heads CHESLA’s Outreach Program, which speaks to high school students and families regarding the financial aid and paying for college process. Mrs. Reynolds knows firsthand how daunting it can be to find additional funding for higher education and is eager to be a resource for students.


Agenda Guidance Symposium 2022

8:30 am Doors open, check in, coffee and networking, pick up swag bag

9am Welcome and Opening Comments

9:15 – 10:00 STEM Careers that Don’t Require a 4 year DegreeJack Burke, Director High School Recruiting Porter and Chester Institute and YTI Career Institute

10:00 – 10:45 The Place of SAT’s, AP’s, and Grades in the Era of Test Optional College Admissions, Mark Greenstein, Founder and Lead Instructor, Ivy Bound Test Prep

10:45 – 11:15 Five Biggest Mistakes College-Bound Families are Making and How School Counselors can ‘Guide’ Them to Success, Tom Martin, Vaylark Financial Advisor

11:15 – 12 noon Meet and greet, Breaktime, Networking, and Book Signing with author Patricia Roberts

12:00 noon – 1:30 Healthy Plated Lunch and Keynote Presentation
Finding Purpose during the Pandemic: Publishing “Route 529” to Help Parents Prepare for College Costs with 529 Plans
Patricia Roberts, Author, Chief Operating Officer at Gift of College

1:30 – 2:15 What is CHESLA (Connecticut Higher Education Loan Authority) and how they can help CT families with college planning and funding
Shannon Reynolds, CHESLA Marketing and Outreach Specialist

2:15 – 2:45 Understanding the Transition from Harford Investments to Fidelity Investments for the State of CT CHET 529, Brian Winman, Regional Director Fidelity Investments

2:45 – Networking and departure


The State of Connecticut has selected Fidelity Investments as the new manager for the Connecticut 529 CHET program going forward. Click here to read about it.


Below you’ll find helpful videos and downloads plus pictures from past Guidance Symposiums.

Invest in a Child’s Future with the CHET Advisor 529 Plan managed by Fidelity

CHET Advisor 529 Plan Advantages

5 Flexible Aspects of 529 Plans

About Guidance Symposium

College Savings is a Big Cash flow Issue for Families

How to Pay For College Seminar

Get Inspired

Build Community

Make a Difference for Families

If you’re committed to creating positive experiences for students and families transitioning from high school to college, you’ll benefit from Guidance Symposium. It’s a trending live event that will quickly give you the tools to cultivate your career and positively impact the lives of students and families.

venue and parking

About the Hartford Club

Since 1873, The Hartford Club has been hosting many of New England’s most influential people for more than 140 years. Today, the Club advances and celebrates our unique culture and community.

Parking is free in the parking garage adjacent to the Hartford Club entrance on Prospect Street, so be sure to have your ticket validated while you are at Guidance Symposium.


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