Meet the Sponsors - Jill Derr and Dan Blake, Resonant Capital Advisors

by Molly Barnes
January 6. 2021

The Wisconsin Family Business Center sponsors are an invaluable resource to FBC members. They are experts in the areas of finance, law, insurance, and investment, and they recognize the importance of family businesses to the health and well-being of the economy, the community, and of society in general. In this Meet the Sponsors feature, you’ll meet Jill Derr and Dan Blake from Resonant Capital Advisors!

Jill Derr, CFO and Director of Client Financial Organization

Dan Blake, COO and Director of Alternatives

Tell us about your role at Resonant Capital Advisors. What do you enjoy most about it?
Jill Derr: I have the privilege of being involved with many aspects at Resonant Capital. Not only do I manage the internal financial aspect of our business, but I also have the opportunity to work with clients. The relationships both internally and externally are the best part of the job.

Dan Blake: I'm involved in several areas at Resonant Capital Advisors, which allows for an engaging, challenging, and rewarding variety on a daily basis. Our team-based approach to working with clients is the most enjoyable aspect of my work.

Do you have a specialty or area of focus in your role that our community would find helpful?
JD: Many of our clients have complex asset bases, business ownership, family and trust structures. I truly enjoy helping them organize this information in a way that can be easily interpreted by them and their family members through clear reporting. This helps our team members provide good advice and clients to make informed decisions. Our family office reporting platform offers data aggregation, integrated accounting and reporting as well as tax document collection.

DB: Screening and identifying unique private alternative investments.

How long have you been a part of the Wisconsin Family Business Center?
JD: Since I joined Resonant Capital Advisors in May of 2019.

DB: Two years.

Please tell us about your time as a sponsor of the Wisconsin Family Business Center. What have you enjoyed most? What value have you received from being a part of the FBC community?
JD: As both a family business owner myself and as a sponsor, I benefit from both sides of the relationship. The FBC does an incredible job understanding the needs of owners and brings not only relevant content to families but also introduces them to valuable resources in the community that can add value to their family and business.

DB: We've enjoyed our time as a sponsor of the Wisconsin Family Business Center. Owners of family businesses face unique challenges, which require the type of discussion and community established by the center. Our business supports this ethos, and as a member of a family business myself I find value uniquely related to my personal situation.

What the biggest challenge you see family businesses face?
JD: Family dynamics which lead to challenges in legacy and succession planning. Fear can also hold back growth. Seeking help from trusted advisors can help overcome these obstacles.

DB: I'm not sure they are unique specifically to today, but it has likely stayed relatively consistent: succession planning. How you identify the right leadership in any business, especially a family business, can be hugely challenging, but also rewarding. It is a no doubt challenging and requires hard work and honest communications.

What is your all-time favorite book?
JD: Kringle by Tony Abbott. Annually we would read this book with our kids over the holidays. It holds many fond memories for us.

DB: A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
JD: I am proud to be part of Resonant Capital Advisors and to work with such a talented team. I also take pride in serving on the board of a local non-profit foundation that gives back to our community in many ways.

DB: I worked as a reporter in Chicago in the early part of my career and competed against some of the most-experienced and well-known reporters in the U.S. It was hugely rewarding to deliver "scoops" on some of the biggest national news stories of the day to inform the public in an accurate, objective and honest way.

What do you want business owners and family business leaders to know about your industry?
JD: Fiduciary investment advisors are uniquely positioned to look at the whole picture – estate, financial and tax planning, business consulting, multi-generational business planning and more. By being able to put the client’s interests first – always – we can build long-standing relationships and help individuals and families beyond just investment and financial decisions. This adds value to clients personally, financially, professionally, and helps them grow.

DB: Don't let the financial and wealth management industry intimidate you. Make sure your advisors talk in a language you understand so you know they're looking out for your interest and goals.

Please tell us about yourself, your education, and background.
JD: I was born and raised in the Fox Valley and married my husband Tom, who is a Madison native. I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and my CPA designation. After college, I worked as the director of accounting and finance in Milwaukee on the Marquette campus revitalization project. In the mid-1990s we moved back to Madison to manage our family’s 3rd generation real estate and apartment business. I have been active on many local boards and provided business accounting/consulting for early-stage companies, single family offices, construction companies, and non-profit organizations.

DB: I grew up in Madison, but ended up going to the University of Iowa (I've been a lifetime Badger season ticket holder though - don't hold it against me!). I majored in English and journalism as an undergrad, and also have an MBA in finance and accounting from the University of Denver. My career has included days as a reporter, installing electronic health records, and working in venture capital. Each has provided me with useful skills in my current role.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
JD: Thank you FBC for supporting family businesses!

DB: Thanks for the Wisconsin Family Business Center for all the hard work in structuring and planning engaging programming!