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PNC Thought Leadership Series: Top 10 Rules to Financial Security

October 13, 2020 | 8:30 am - 9:45 am



Financial Security is an attainable goal for most people, providing that they make a few sensible and informed decisions. The next installment of the PNC Thought Leadership Series will be held virtually this fall on October 13 covering the top 10 rules to financial security.  The panel discussion will be led by Beth Philemon, a current Jenkins MBA candidate, with experts from PNC, Realm Investment Consulting, Cherry Bekaert and Guardian Wealth Partners.


  • Welcome remarks
  • Panel Discussion
  • Open discussion

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Beth Philemon, NC State Jenkins MBA Candidate

Beth Philemon is a first-year NC State Jenkins MBA candidate concentrating in finance, marketing and technology entrepreneurship. In addition to her work as a graduate assistant, Beth is a communication and marketing special Assistant with the NC State Graduate School. She founded Choir Baton, a collaborative online community about life and choir. Choir Baton engages others through social media takeovers, the Choir Baton podcast, and online courses under the mission of #morepeoplesinging. In 2019, she launched Six Week Sing, a community choir in the Triangle. Prior to NC State, Beth taught secondary music in TN and NC, served on the NC Governor’s School faculty and adjunct faculty at Meredith College. Beth is a National Board Certified Teacher and holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting. She believes the world of business and music are intertwined and thrives on building conversations with others about both. 

Expert Panelists

Lori Jones Gibbs, SVP of Community Development Banking for The Carolinas, PNC

Lori Jones Gibbs is the senior vice president of community development of the Carolinas for PNC. In this capacity, she leads a team of people who focus on how PNC can partner with organizations to initiate and/or expand existing community and economic development activities. Jones Gibbs is the author of the book Yes, I Would Marry Him Again, Wives Salute Their African American Husbands and co-author of YES, You’re Approved! The Real Deal About Getting a Mortgage and Buying A Home. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and also holds a master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport. Gibbs is married to Kenneth Gibbs and they are the proud parents of three adult children and five grandchildren.


Ron Elmer, President, Realm Investment Consulting

Ron Elmer brings over 25 years of diversified financial industry experience to the table that includes the management of investment portfolios for clients like Boeing, Chrysler, IBM, Walgreens and the states of North Carolina, Georgia and California. Elmer is the current president of REALM Investment Consulting and has previously taught finance courses at NC State and Strayer University. Elmer earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma and his Master of Business Administration with a concentration in finance and accounting from New York University. The Montana native now resides in Cary, North Carolina, with his wife and twin children.


Jonathan Kraftchick, Partner, Cherry Bekaert

Jonathan Kraftchick serves as a partner in the Raleigh office of Cherry Bekaert as the head of the firm’s innovation and, since 2001, has conducted audit engagements for a variety of companies and industries throughout the country, as well as writing and delivering courses both inside and outside of the firm. Outside of Cherry Bekaert, Kraftchick is an adjunct professor at Elon University in their accounting department. In 2015, Jonathan was awarded the “Taking it to the Max” award by the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA), which honors the legacy of former NCACPA Chair Maximo Mukelabai. He was also the first-ever recipient of the NCACPA Elevating Women Award, which recognizes a male in the CPA profession who actively supports the advancement of women. Kraftchick received both his Bachelor of Arts in economics and his Master of Accounting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Russell Smith ’86, Partner, Guardian Wealth Partners, LLC

Russell Smith is a licensed certified financial planner with over 30 years of professional experience in financial services and is a member of leading pension and financial services organizations, including the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) and sister organization the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA). Smith is an alumnus of the Poole College of Management as he received his Bachelor of Science in economics as wells as a minor in mathematics in 1986. He is now an owner and partner of Guardian Wealth Partners, LLC, and his business focus is centered on advising ERISA pension and 401(k) plans. Smith provides design, implementation, investment management, communication and education services to qualified and non-qualified retirement plans. 

About the PNC Thought Leadership Series at NC State University

The PNC Thought Leadership Series at NC State University is a coordinated, bi-annual event bringing together academic and industry experts to conduct cutting-edge conversations around relevant and timely business challenges. This series is hosted by the Poole College of Management and made possible by the support of PNC Bank.


October 13, 2020
8:30 am - 9:45 am
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