It’s simple: our team is on your team. We’ll take the time to learn what your goals are, then get to work helping you accomplish them.
Michelle M. Merkel, CFP®
Along with her commitment to her clients and industry, Michelle is involved in her community. She is an active member of the Childhood League of Columbus, the Junior League of Columbus, Kappa Kappa Gamma alumnae group and First Community Church. She also has offered career mentoring to DePauw University students.
Michelle has been married to Greg Yoakam since 1999 and is the mother of three children, Brooke, Zac and Blake. She is a native of Bexley, Ohio and currently resides in Upper Arlington, Ohio. Through her service to clients and high impact involvement in local organizations, Michelle strives to have a positive influence on the greater Columbus community.
Learn more about Michelle’s professional experience on her professional biography page.
Andrew Lawrie, ChFC®, Investment Associate
Andrew brings experience and expertise to Merkel Financial as our securities trader. He is instrumental in reviewing investment options and assisting with planning for the future of our clients. Andrew has a degree in Family Financial Management from The Ohio State University and holds a Series 6 and 7 licensed as well as being a designated Chartered Financial Consultant. Andrews experience includes being a Retirement Planning Specialist at Nationwide and a securities trader at Fidelity Investments.
Andrew is a devoted husband and father and lives in Dublin, OH. He is an avid Ohio State Buckeye fan and his favorite hobbies include recreational sports and spending time with his family.
Anne Shukwit, Client Business Manager
Anne is a local Upper Arlington native who comes to Merkel Financial by way of Chicago, Il. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and is spearheading client operations, communications, and case management. Anne brings to Merkel Financial her experience as a Client Services Administrator for William Harris Investors, a family investment firm; and a Program Director for the Irene D. Pritzker Foundation, a private family foundation.
Anne has taught English in China and she and her husband Adam are avid travelers as well as being expectant parents in 2018 and Mommy to 2-year-old Oliver.
Paula Ryan, Relationship Manager
Paula has over 20 years experience in Executive Office Management and Customer Service. At Merkel Financial, she is responsible for Client Relations, Administration and Scheduling. She attended Penn State University majoring in Communications and Theatre.
Paula is a foodie and loves to garden and cook healthy meals from her organic harvests. She lives in Hilliard, OH with her musician husband, Daniel. She says her greatest joy and accomplishment is being a mother and grandmother.
Gretchen Bachmann, Office Administrator
Gretchen is the voice of Merkel Financial and she will be the knowledgeable staff member to direct you to the correct office resource. Gretchen brings 17 plus years of Customer Service experience from her time with MetLife Life insurance and works with Michelle to make your Life Insurance needs a reality. She has a Business and Marketing degree from Columbus State Community College.
She resides in Dublin, OH with her husband of 32 years and they enjoy boating, snow skiing and Gretchen especially enjoys watching her husband Mark play soccer.
Jill Milburn, Systems Specialist
As head of IT Management, Reporting and Systems Support, Jill is the life blood of Merkel Financial. She has an Industrial Engineering degree from Purdue University. Her prior work experience includes IT consulting roles at Accenture.
Jill currently resides in Upper Arlington with her husband, Kurt and three active children. Her free time is monopolized by packing lunches, driving carpools and watching youth sports, the latter of which she enjoys immensely!
Rosalie DeStefano, Case Manager
Rosalie brings over 25 years of financial services experience to the Merkel Financial team. She is the driver that guides our insureds through the journey known as Underwriting and supports the team in helping keep the workflow moving in a positive direction. With regulations and back office compliance requirements becoming more difficult to navigate with each passing day, Rosalie’s skills are strong and encompass an in-depth understanding of compliance regulations and requirements. Her strengths are IT and Programs skills, organizational and efficiency expertise.
Rosalie enjoys photography, decorating and music. In her spare time, she can often be found strolling downtown indulging in local visual arts or hunting for finds in a flea market.
Danielle joins our team with over 15 years of experience at Nationwide Retirement. During her time there she worked as a Direct Retirement Sales Specialist.
At Merkel Financial, Danielle is responsible for supporting Michelle and her securities team. She also provides support for eMoney.
Danielle lives in Dublin with her husband, Adam, of 15 years. When she’s not being a short order cook for her extended family she enjoys playing golf and getting her handicap down from a 50! She also has an Australian Sheppard, Kobe, who likes to take her on walks through the park.