Our Team

Our Team

Brian Connelly

CEO & President

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Brian has spent his entire professional career helping his clients reach their financial goals. Brian began his financial services practice with MassMutual Financial Group in 1990. In 2009, Brian was a founding member of an independently owned, private wealth management practice located in Midlothian, Virginia. In 2016, Brian formed Connelly Financial Group, a full-service retirement planning, wealth management, and advisory consulting firm. 

Early career
My planning career started as many advisors do just out of college.  I was 22 in 1990 when MassMutual Financial Group gave me the opportunity as an insurance-based financial advisor.  As a former geography major and Radford University baseball player, it made perfect sense to enter a field that had absolutely nothing to do with helping clients save and invest for their future.  Little did I know how my geographic planning skills and a lifelong love of sports and competition would have a profound effect on many clients I worked with.

Other than having no clients, no experience working in the financial services field, no money, nor prospects, I was free to commit 100 percent of my efforts into learning my new craft.  Looking back, I am grateful I started where I did.  There is a certain feeling one gets when the only thing that is provided is training and opportunity.  I took advantage of both.  It was made clear at the outset there were no guarantees offered in this endeavor; just the chance to have complete control and independence over my future.  Seemed like a good idea at the time and has proven to be as advertised over my entire career.

As I learned the business, I grew to understand how to communicate, evaluate, process, and deliver solutions.  I have spent thousands of hours sitting with people at their kitchen table at 8 at night because that was the only time they could see me; in office cubicles and then to private offices as they climbed their corporate ladders; in board rooms; in coffee shops; in classrooms; any place when I could develop a new relationship.  Whether I made a new client or not, I learned something from every engagement—good or bad.  I would not trade those experiences as they provided me the foundation upon which I built my practice. 

Growing up in the business
My commitment to building a successful practice was accelerated in the summer of 1992 when my father, a successful salesman, manager, general manager, and executive in the medical supplies business, died suddenly at 51.  I was 24, my brother was 25 and out of the house, but my two sisters (Amy, 21, and Cait, 12) were still at home.  My mom was 50, a new widow, and did not work outside of the house at the time. Looking back, very difficult time emotionally for the entire family as my dad, like a lot of dads I know, was that backbone of our family.  That said, I was the guy, at 24, to help my mom plan financially for the rest of her life.  I drew on and used my experience in athletics to focus my energy to make sure my mom and my sisters were provided for.  Having failed many times throughout my career on the athletic fields since age 7, I felt I knew how to respond and use the tools I had to help my mom and sisters.  I am confident those experiences prepared me for mentally and emotionally to compete on behalf of my mom, Amy, and Cait.

Investing in education
I had enough experience, having been in the business over the previous two years leading up to my dad’s death, to know I did not know everything.  I again used that experience as a jumping off point to go get additional training and experience.  Over the balance of my career, I studied for and passed my Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®), Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), Certified Fund Specialist (CFS), the Corporation for Long-Term Care Certification (CLTC), and the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designationS.  None of this additional training is required to do business in the financial services industry.  I did it because I value the clients I work with and wanted to put myself in position to help them with an expanded knowledge base and resources so they may benefit.  Additionally, I earned my FINRA Series 6, Series 7, 63, and 65 securities registrations* to support my investment and insurance practice. 

1990 to present
In addition to starting my own individual practice in 1990 and growing that, I had a successful partnership from 1998 until 2016 when I formed Connelly Financial Group. My experience as a sole practitioner, a partner, and now head of a local company, gives me a unique perspective in regard to how individuals, corporations, and entrepreneurs think, act, and respond.

One last thought on how I got here.  My BS in geography has given my family, friends, and clients a chuckle on occasion.  This is what I learned form hours studying geographic properties:  A successful financial plan is a map in its most basic form.  A map can allow a client to clearly see the big picture; it can show where potential pitfall lie, what patch is the most traveled; how challenges or obstacles can be avoided.  I believe that is a good quality to be able to help clients achieve their goals whatever they may be. 

The people and process
Any successful practice begins with its people.  I am lucky to have a small, cohesive staff as part of our practice.  Beth and Kim perform a series of functions from administration, communication, and overall practice support that allows us to maintain a high touch relationship with our clients.  In addition to supporting our legacy relationships, they provide scale and a repeatable process to develop new opportunities.  Our firm size allows us to be nimble in response to a host of client service/support items. We enjoy the independence and control Connelly Financial Group can deliver.

Moving forward
I love working with people.  I like to have fun.  I like to make people feel good about themselves. I believe my background in team athletics is one of the reasons I gravitated to this career.  Those experiences taught me many things.  They taught me how to prepare, how to work with different personalities, what it takes to succeed, how failure can be used as a learning experience, to name a few.  I have applied all these lessons throughout my career.  I believe those lessons benefit the people I work for.

In the end, people work with our firm because they trust us. They want a professional relationship whose interests line up with theirs. They want a firm that is motivated to do the right thing.  They want a firm that is balanced and successful.  They want a firm to take care of them.

Final thought
When I work with people I try to put myself in their situation.  How would I attack a specific challenge?  What are the potential payoffs and pitfalls? I always share the story of my dad when he died in 1992 because it applies across all the planning I do professionally.  That story actually revolves around my mom’s history.  When I make recommendations to a client, I ask myself, would I do that for my mom? If the answer is yes, it is fair to say I have high conviction level and feel strongly that course of action will work as my mother is the direct benefactor of those decisions.    

*Held through Commonwealth Financial Network®

Beth Ward

Client Review Specialist

With Brian since 2007, Beth serves as the client review coordinator. She is responsible for scheduling all appointments for clients from annual reviews to consultations. Beth brings to Connelly over 10 years of experience in the legal profession. She excels at customer service and attention to detail with clients.

Kim Young

Client Services Manager

Kim has been part of the Connelly Financial Team since 2016 as the client services manager. She brings to CFS more than four years of experience in the securities industry, servicing brokerage accounts for Wachovia and BB&T Securities.