Investment Advisory Team
Our talented and educated professionals are committed to developing lasting client relationships rooted in trust, integrity, mutual respect, and exceptional service. Meet our team.
Fred J. Cornelius, CFA®, CFP®
President & CEO, Financial Advisor
Fred Cornelius joined Burt Wealth Advisors in 1992 and currently serves as the firm’s President and CEO. In 1991, Fred earned his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation from the College for Financial Planning. In 1999, he became a Chartered Financial Analyst Charter holder. These two designations uniquely qualify Fred to address both financial planning as well as investment management issues. Fred enjoys helping clients attain their retirement goals and dreams.
Fred is a NAPFA Registered Investment Advisor and a former Treasurer and member of the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic NAPFA Board of Directors. He is currently a member of the Financial Planning Association and has served in a leadership capacity of the Suburban Maryland Chapter of the Institute of Certified Financial Planning, which later became the FPA. Fred was a former board member of the Suburban Maryland Estate Planning Council, an organization of estate planning professionals. He is also a member of CFA® Institute, CFA® Society Washington DC and in the past has written abstracts for the CFA® DIGEST.
Fred has been recognized by Worth Magazine as one of the Nation’s Most Exclusive Wealth Advisors, Washingtonian Magazine as a top financial professional and as one of the 150 Best Advisors for Doctors. Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine listed Fred among the Who’s Who of CFP®’s in Maryland. In addition, Burt Wealth Advisors has been recognized numerous times by CNBC, Bloomberg Wealth Manager Magazine, Northern Virginia Magazine and the Washington Business Journal as being in the top wealth management firms locally and nationwide.
Fred resides in North Bethesda Maryland with his wife and 2 sons.
Maria G. Cornelius, CFP®
Executive Vice President, Financial Advisor
Maria joined Burt Wealth Advisors in 1992 as a financial advisor and co-portfolio manager. She was appointed Vice President in 1996, and as her role expanded, promoted to Executive Vice President in 2003. Maria received a bachelor’s degree from Mount Saint Mary’s College in 1983. In 1988 she earned her Certified Financial Planner™ designation from the College for Financial Planning.
Maria works with a diverse client base including attorneys, counselors, teachers and corporate executives. In addition, a number of her clients are enjoying their retirement years. Many of her current clients are women and over the years she has gained a wealth of experience in the issues faced by widowed and divorced women. Maria enjoys working closely with a client’s CPAs, attorneys, and other advisors to provide the most comprehensive services to her clients.
In addition to being included on a list of the “Top 50 Most Influential Women in Wealth Management” by Wealth Manager Magazine, she was featured on Wealthy Living Radio with Debra Owens to discuss “Investing 101 for Couples, Women and Widows”. She has been quoted in articles in US News and World Report, Smart CEO and, Financial Advisor IQ. She published an article in WE Magazine for Women called “Does Your Financial Advisor Speak your Language?” regarding the differences between men and women and how it affects their financial decisions. In of 2015, 2016 and 2017 she was named a “Five Star Wealth Manager” and featured in the Washington Post Magazine.
Maria is actively involved with the Financial Planning Association, the Maryland Estate Planning Council, and is a member of the Bethesda Chamber of Commerce. She has served as both Treasurer and Co-President of St. Jane De Chantal Sodality Guild, a group of close to 300 women who raise money and serve both the church and the community. She is currently Co-Director of St. Jane’s S.O.M.E. program which quarterly prepares & serves lunch to over 250 people. Most recently, she began teaching classes at the Dorothy Day Place, a transitional shelter in Rockville that provides a bridge between homelessness and permanent housing. The 8 week courses are designed to help clients understand fundamental concepts related to budgeting and money management, to increase their chances of success once they transition to their next step. She and her husband Fred reside in North Bethesda and have two grown sons that they are very proud of.
Todd Growney, CFP®
Vice President, Financial Advisor
Todd joined Burt Wealth Advisors in 2004. He earned his bachelor's degree from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 1992, and then relocated to Colorado where he was an annuity specialist for what is now Transamerica Life Insurance Company.
Prior to joining Burt Wealth Advisors, Todd gained valuable industry experience working for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. The majority of his seven year tenure with Schwab was spent as an Investment Specialist, during which time he worked closely with clients, providing sound advice on a variety of portfolio and financial planning issues ranging from education and retirement planning to portfolio management and estate distributions. While at Schwab, Todd briefly headed the finance department for Charles Schwab's Denver Operations Center, spent time on the trading and customer service desks, and conducted seminars on retirement planning, trading, and estate planning. As a result of his demonstrated performance and professionalism, he was selected to manage a Schwab Branch shortly before deciding to join the Burt Wealth Advisors team.
Todd serves on Burt Wealth Advisors’ Investment Committee and has been actively involved in investment research, financial planning analysis, and asset management. He readily draws on his expertise in small business retirement plans, which he developed while at Schwab, as well as the numerous partnerships he has established and maintained throughout his tenure in the financial industry.
In 2009, Todd earned his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation from the College of Financial Planning, and has established membership with the nationally recognized Financial Planning Association.
Jennifer MacLennan joined Burt Wealth Advisors as a Lead Financial Advisor in 1997. She began her financial services career in 1992 in the Washington, D.C. office of Ernst & Young (EY) in Assurance and Advisory Business Services, eventually transitioning to Tax Services to focus on individual taxation and personal financial consulting. In 1995, she took a senior position with Arthur Andersen’s Individual Services team to expand her experience and training with another “Big Six” firm. Interested in adding client asset management to her skills, Jen joined Burt Wealth in 1997.
During her tenure with Burt Wealth, Jen has contributed to the firm and its clients’ success in a variety of roles, inclusive of Client Services as well as Firm Operations Support. As a lead financial advisor, Jen helps her clients gain peace of mind by listening carefully to their needs and organizing their finances into a comprehensive asset management plan built to achieve their financial goals. She leverages her tax background as needed for portfolio management and client planning. In her operations support role, Jen assists the CEO, Fred Cornelius, with financial reporting, budgeting and forecasting for the firm as well as benefits administration for the employees.
Prior to joining Burt Wealth Advisors, Beth worked for eight years in the McLean, VA and Bethesda, MD offices of Wells Fargo Advisors. During which time she worked closely with clients, advising them on a variety of financial planning issues including retirement planning, estate planning, insurance analysis, and education saving. She specialized in developing personalized retirement plans for clients by helping them identify their goals and implement an investment strategy to help them meet those goals. She also coordinated with client’s attorneys and accountants to help ensure that their investment management strategies were reflective of their estate planning and tax strategies.
Beth earned her Certified Financial PlannerTM designation from the College for Financial Planning. As a CFP® professional, she has met rigorous education, examination, experience and ethics requirements. The CFP® certification requires that a candidate agree to meet ongoing continuing education requirements and adhere to the CFP® Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards.
Ms. Venit lives in Kensington, MD with her husband, their two young children and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Deanna C. Tomasetti, CFP®
Deanna joined Burt Wealth Advisors in February 2018 as Associate Financial Planner. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1990 and MBA from George Washington University in 2002. She received her Certified Financial Planner ™ designation in November 2016.
Deanna began her career in the Employee Benefits field, then shifted over to Financial Services in 1999. In 2002, she chose a very different career – that of “Stay at Home Parent” with her two children. While at home, she worked in various jobs such as tax preparer, bookkeeper and volunteer at her children’s schools.
Deanna rejoined the full time workforce in 2011, serving as a Client Service Associate at UBS in Bethesda. There she provided client services to various non-profit organizations and several high net worth clients. In 2014, she joined a small financial services firm in Gaithersburg, MD serving as a Coordinating Advisor where she provided client services to individual clients in relation to their financial planning needs. Deanna also spent time working with various retirement plan participants and sponsors, and provided support to the firm in relation to internal processes and procedures.
Deanna lives in North Potomac, MD with her husband, two teenage daughters and very spunky Boston Terrier, Maddi.
Sophie Leahy, CFP®
Sophie joined Burt Wealth Advisors in early 2020. She grew up in France. She received a bachelor’s degree in international business from the Toulouse Business School. She also obtained a Master of Business Administration in finance from Georgia State University. She held various positions in international corporate and infrastructure finance as an Associate and Vice President for JP Morgan Chase & Co. in Europe (Paris and London).
Sophie has developed a second career as a financial planner over the last six years. She received her Certified Financial Planner ™ designation in 2021. Prior to joining Burt Wealth Advisors, Sophie worked as a Financial Planning Associate for Obsidian Planning Solutions, an independent financial planning firm based in Rockville, MD, for over four years. She successfully supported the financial planning needs of families and small business owners. Her responsibilities included preparing comprehensive financial plans for many of the firm’s new clients. Those often involved complex personal and business issues related to business owners’ exit planning strategies. She is a member of the Financial Planning Association and a recent graduate of its residency training program.
Sophie and her husband have three young adult children. They have lived in Bethesda, MD since 1999 except for three years overseas in Hong Kong. Sophie enjoys dragon boat racing and volunteering for the Financial Stability Network providing pro bono tax preparation and financial mentoring to low to moderate income families.
Brendan C. Feury, CFA®
Brendan Feury joined Burt Wealth Advisors in 2010, bringing with him over ten years of financial services industry experience. Brendan graduated from West Virginia University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He also received a Master of Science in Finance degree from Loyola College (MD) in 2009, where he graduated summa cum laude and was inducted into the international business honor society of Beta Gamma Sigma. During his time at Loyola, Brendan was a portfolio manager with the Sellinger Applied Portfolio, a student-led group tasked with managing an equity portion of the institution’s endowment fund.
Brendan has held various positions in the financial services industry related to asset allocation, investment research and analysis, portfolio management, and trading. Prior to joining Burt Wealth Advisors, Brendan spent 5 years with Ameritas Investment Corporation in both trading and analyst capacities. He was a Due Diligence Analyst charged with reviewing alternative investment programs, including REITs, limited partnerships, and various other direct participation programs. Brendan was also a member of Ameritas’ Investment Committee, responsible for the asset allocation and manager selection for its proprietary investment management platform. In 2016, Brendan earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He is a member of both the CFA® Institute and the CFA® Society Baltimore. He serves on the firm’s investment committee and is responsible for monitoring portfolio investments and researching trends within the capital markets. He works closely with the committee to develop the long-term investment strategy for the firm.
Operations and Client Service Team
Brady Darrington, FPQP™, CPA
Brady joined Burt Wealth Advisors at the beginning of 2021 as Operations Manager. He earned his Master of Accounting from Utah State University in 2004 and his CPA license in 2007. While at school he was a member of Beta Alpha Psi and took part in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
Prior to joining Burt Wealth Advisors, Brady started out his career working in public accounting and corporate real estate. He then decided to switch tracks and started working in the investment advisory industry where he has been for the past 13 years as an Operations Manager with Financial Services Advisory, Inc. There he was able to learn and wear multiple hats throughout his tenure including RMD’s, trading, cybersecurity, compliance, database reconciliation, firm billing, IT, GIPS compliance, and data flows and processes. He has always had a passion for finances and technology and his role allows him to take part in both.
Brady has four children and currently resides in Montgomery County Maryland where he actively volunteers in his church and community. In his free time, you can find him out cycling, gardening, playing basketball, camping, or home playing games with his children.
Myrle Simone, CFP®
Associate Financial Advisor
Myrle Simone joined Burt Wealth Advisors in 2007. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Columbia College in 2014. Prior to joining Burt Wealth Advisors, Myrle worked as an Office Administrator with American Express Financial Advisors for 12 years where her duties included client service, preparing financial plans and office operations.
Myrle completed her CFP® education from the College of Financial Planning and passed the CFP® exam in 2020. Myrle is our expert in preparing detailed Retirement and Comprehensive Financial Plans for Burt Wealth Advisors clients. She is also part of our Client Services team and works closely with each advisor to follow up on client requests, answer client questions and prepare for meetings.
Myrle and her husband live in Berkeley County West Virginia. Myrle enjoys reading, gardening, puzzles, traveling and spending time with their 2 grandsons.