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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, or reach out to us to start the conversation!


James R. Miller, CFP® 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.

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

Financial Advisor


“I believe in the power of financial planning to create better outcomes. But 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 long-distance fans of the California Golden Bears and Los Angeles Dodgers.


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

Senior Financial Planner


“I appreciate the opportunity to partner with you and look forward to our collaborative journey. I enjoy helping you make sense of your financial picture and assisting you with reaching your financial goals.”

Austin L. Brown, CFP®      

SENIOR FINANCIAL PLANNER 

Austin, has been a WFA team member since 2012 after working in research for UNC-Chapel Hill. As a Senior Financial Planner, he is an integral part of the financial planning team that delivers high-quality client-centered service. Having operated in a variety of roles at WFA, Austin utilizes those experiences to benefit his colleagues and clients. 

Austin and his wife, Betty, are native North Carolinians and UNC-Chapel Hill graduates. They live in Carrboro with their two children, Nora and Andrew. When he isn’t attending or helping coach children’s sports you can find Austin doing house projects or playing with his kids.

Fun fact about Austin: he has completed twelve marathons, including Boston three times.

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Joseph M. Marques, CFP® 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.


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Victor Colella, CFP® Photo
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Victor Colella, CFP®

Senior Financial Planner


Victor Colella, CFP®    

Senior Financial Planner

Victor joined the firm in 2019, moving from Boston, MA with his wife, a native of the Triangle, for her to pursue her PhD at UNC-Chapel Hill. Prior to joining Woodward, he worked at a large wealth management firm in the Boston Area as the Manager of Financial Planning. As a Senior Financial Planner, Victor’s primary role is collaborating with the other advisors at Woodward and working with clients to help them achieve their personal and financial goals. Victor brings a unique process-focused approach to his work, borrowing from his pre-financial advisory career in management consulting.

As a native of Western Pennsylvania, Victor is most comfortable in the mountains, ideally fly fishing on a trout stream. A self-described “hobby collector”, he enjoys homebrewing beer, cooking, and travelling the world with his globe-trotting wife, Lizzy. In addition to being involved in the vibrant Triangle community, Victor and Lizzy are the proud parents of a golden retriever named Huckleberry.


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Veronica L. Pflueger, CFP® Photo
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Veronica L. Pflueger, CFP®

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, CFP®     

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.


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Megan N. McManus, CFP® Photo
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Megan N. McManus, CFP®

Financial Planning Associate

“I value the trust that clients place in us. I enjoy learning about each person’s unique situation and developing solutions to help them organize their finances, meet their goals, and achieve financial freedom.”

Megan N. McManus, CFP® 

Financial Planning Associate


Megan joined the firm in 2020, moving from Charlottesville, VA. Among her various tasks as a Financial Planning Associate, Megan helps prepare for and participates in client meetings, answers clients’ questions, and manages deposit and distribution requests. Prior to joining WFA, she worked as an advisor for a wealth management firm in Charlottesville.

Outside of the office Megan enjoys reading, hiking, and riding her horse, Reo.


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Maggie S. Wilkins 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. 

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Sean Johnson Photo
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Sean Johnson

Client Experience Specialist


             

"My goal is to make all of our interactions easy and seamless, so that we can continue providing you the highest possible level of service." 

Sean Johnson                      

CLIENT EXPERIENCE SPECIALIST

             

Sean joined the firm in 2020 as a Client Experience Specialist to lead the back-office functions and provide a high level of operational and administrative support to clients and advisory teams. He is involved with custodian management, fulfilling distributions / deposit requests, client portal support, optimizing internal workflows, and serves as the firm’s administrator for the 529 college savings accounts. Prior to joining Woodward Financial Advisors, he worked as a Senior Business Analyst for a financial services company in Chicago. 

Sean and his wife, Ellen live in Chapel Hill with their two daughters, Hannah and Elizabeth. When he is not attending or coaching his daughters’ lacrosse / soccer games, he likes to relax on the golf course. 


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