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YOUR ADVISORY TEAM

Your team will work together to fulfill your dreams of financial security and peace of mind.

Your advisory team will consist of 3 people: a Lead Advisor, a Senior Financial Planner, and a Financial Planning Associate. Each person has a distinct function, but all 3 people are equally familiar with your unique set of circumstances. We believe this approach is the best way to serve you because you will have access to multiple team members with different areas of expertise and experience, as well as continuity if one member is out of the office.

Keep reading below to meet the individuals that make up the  Woodward Financial Advisors team.

James R. Miller, CFP® Photo James R. Miller, CFP® Hover Photo
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James R. Miller, CFP®

President; FInancial Advisor


“It’s a privilege to play such an important role in the lives of so many interesting and accomplished people, and we’re grateful for the trust and confidence you have placed in us. The goal of all that we do is to bring you peace of mind as you consider the many components of your financial life.”

James R. Miller, CFP®    

PRESIDENT & FINANCIAL ADVISOR

 

Jim serves as CEO of the firm as well as a Lead Advisor in many client relationships. He has been advising clients since 1997 and joined Woodward Financial Advisors (WFA) in 2009 when he acquired the firm from its founder, Henry Woodward. Under his leadership and guidance, the firm has transitioned from offering a combination of hourly financial planning and investment management services to specializing solely in comprehensive Wealth Management. Jim’s vision is for WFA to offer world-class service to each client as well as provide an office environment in which every team member can thrive. 

Jim and his wife, Melissa, are New Jersey natives who first met in kindergarten. After hearing rave reviews about Chapel Hill, they took the leap and headed south in 2006. Jim and Melissa have three children: Ava, Mason and Liza, and a dog named Hunter. Though Jim still roots for the New York Yankees, Chapel Hill is most definitely home.


Allison Palmer, CFP® Photo Allison Palmer, CFP® Hover Photo
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Allison Palmer, CFP®

Senior Financial Planner

“My passion is building relationships with clients and helping them solve complex problems. Often, there is more than one solution, and I enjoy helping clients find the solution that fits with their unique goals.”

Allison Palmer, CFP®

SENIOR FINANCIAL PLANNER

Allison is a Senior Financial Planner and joined the WFA team in 2015. In her current role, she performs analyses on various financial planning topics for clients. Additionally, she leads the firm’s Financial Planning Committee.

Allison learned about financial planning as a career as a student at Virginia Tech, where she decided to major in Applied Economics with a focus in financial planning. Upon graduating from college, Chapel Hill piqued her interest, and she decided to jump state lines to NC. 


Austin L. Brown, CFP® Photo Austin L. Brown, CFP® Hover Photo
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Austin L. Brown, CFP®

Financial Planning Associate


“Many things occur behind the scenes at WFA that contribute to you having a positive experience when partnering with us. I enjoy being involved in those tasks, and I am proud of the work we do for you.”

Austin L. Brown, CFP®      

FINANCIAL PLANNING ASSOCIATE 

Austin, a former UNC-Chapel Hill employee, was first introduced to WFA as a client. He enjoyed it so much he decided to become a financial planner himself and joined the team in 2012. Austin directs the operations side of WFA, which includes making trades in your portfolios, interacting with your investment custodian, and managing our performance software. He also coordinates several crucial, firm-wide projects, including oversight of clients’ college savings plan accounts and tracking Required Minimum Distributions from retirement accounts.

Austin and his wife, Betty, are native North Carolinians and UNC-Chapel Hill graduates. They live in Carrboro with their daughter, Nora, and son, Andrew. Fun fact about Austin: he has completed three Boston marathons.


Benjamin E. Birken, CFP®  Photo Benjamin E. Birken, CFP®  Hover Photo
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Benjamin E. Birken, CFP®

Financial Advisor


“I believe in the power of financial planning to create better outcomes; at the same time, it’s important to remember that our relationship is about more than just money. As life unfolds, we’ll be beside you at every step to answer questions, provide guidance and help you achieve your goals.”

Benjamin E. Birken, CFP®

FINANCIAL ADVISOR

The longest-standing member of the firm, Ben started his financial planning career with WFA in 2007. His principle role is serving as a Lead Advisor in client relationships. A voracious reader, Ben is also responsible for bringing new technology and innovation to the firm, developing financial planning strategies, and providing leadership for WFA’s business development initiatives.

Hailing from Los Angeles, CA, Ben, a former research scientist, met his wife, Sarah, while at the University of California, Berkeley. They moved to North Carolina in 2004 and actually came to Woodward Financial Advisors as clients before they got married. Based on that experience, Ben set his sights on becoming a financial planner, and the rest is history. Ben and Sarah now reside in Chatham County with their daughter, Jane, and son, Henry, who are being raised as fans of the California Golden Bears and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Joseph M. Marques, CFP® Photo Joseph M. Marques, CFP® Hover Photo
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Joseph M. Marques, CFP®

Senior Financial Planner


“I spend a lot of time preparing for, participating in and following up on client meetings. Expect to hear from me before and after we have a meeting. We want to know what’s on your mind so we can be sure to discuss what’s most important to you when we get together.”

Joseph M. Marques, CFP®    

SENIOR FINANCIAL PLANNER

Joe Marques joined the WFA team in 2014 after moving south from Charlottesville, VA. He serves clients as a Senior Financial Planner and currently chairs the firm's Investment Committee. With strong analytical skills and a systems background, Joe brings clarity and greater efficiency to the financial planning process and WFA’s internal systems. 

Joe is a career changer; he moved to financial planning after working as an aerospace engineer. He and his wife, Angela, have two children: their daughter, Lucy, and son, Alex. Joe is also a serious road cyclist; occasionally, you might find his carbon fiber road bike parked in his office.

Veronica L. Pflueger Photo Veronica L. Pflueger Hover Photo
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Veronica L. Pflueger

Financial Planning Associate


“I enjoy getting to know clients and working in a collaborative atmosphere to help them achieve their goals and attain financial peace of mind.”

Veronica L. Pflueger      

FINANCIAL PLANNING ASSOCIATE

Roni joined WFA in 2016, and her current role involves assisting Lead Advisors and Senior Financial Planners implement clients’ financial planning goals as well as process their cash requests.

Roni is originally from Bucks County, PA. She moved to NC with her husband, Graham, and Chapel Hill quickly became “home” for them and their pack of pitbull-type rescue dogs. Roni serves on the board of Hope Animal Rescue and spends much of her free time rescuing and fostering dogs.

Maggie S. Wilkins Photo Maggie S. Wilkins Hover Photo
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Maggie S. Wilkins

Client Service Associate


“It’s my goal to make sure you’re welcomed and comfortable while you’re here in the office. If you need us to do something and you’re not sure whom to ask, see me! I’ll point you in the right direction and make sure we take good care of you.”

Maggie S. Wilkins                       

CLIENT SERVICE ASSOCIATE

Maggie joined the firm in 2011 as Client Service Associate to provide needed operational and administrative support for a growing firm. She is involved with scheduling meetings, executing firm-wide correspondence, keeping accurate records of your contact information, and handling your personal documents and paperwork. In addition, she organizes the educational and social events hosted by WFA. 

Originally from a small town in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Maggie enjoys cooking and entertaining friends and neighbors at the Chapel Hill home she shares with her husband, Chad, daughter, Vivian, and hound dog, Noelle.