Thomas B. Conway, Founder
Tom is President and Founder of The Connemara Group, a fee-only financial planning firm based in Rockville, Maryland. He and his team serve clients throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan Region as well as nationally and internationally.
For over a decade, Tom consistently has been named by peers as being among the top fee-only advisors in Washington, DC and the surrounding region in surveys conducted by Washingtonian magazine and others. The firm’s flat fee, fee-for-service model is perfect for do-it-yourself professionals and executives seeking occasional fiduciary guidance without product sales or commissions or hefty recurring asset management fees.
Tom is uniquely positioned to provide comprehensive planning and investment advice to affluent, high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families. He is among a handful of practicing advisors nationally to have climbed the Seven Summits of Financial Planning:
- General Financial Planning—Certified Financial Planner (CFP®);
- Law or Accounting—Attorney (JD);
- Investment Management—Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®);
- High Net Worth Advisory—Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®):
- Insurance—Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®);
- Estates & Trusts—Certified Trust & Financial Advisor (CTFA®); and
- Philanthropy—Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®)
Additionally, Tom has earned Retirement Planning’s Triple Crown:
- Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®);
- Chartered Retirement Counselor (CRC®); and
- Retirement Management Analyst (RMA®)
A product of a rigorous undergraduate liberal arts education followed by law school, Tom has pursued lifelong learning. He enjoys sharing what he learns with clients. He attends numerous professional conferences each year to maintain his many designations and credentials. Clients benefit from Tom’s decades of experience, broad and deep knowledge base and commitment to continuing professional education.
Tom has eschewed developing a niche practice. While many clients are approaching or are already in retirement, the firm also serves affluent young professionals as well as clients who are mid-career or in transition.
Prior to becoming a financial planner, Tom practiced law for more than a decade. He remains an active member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bars. In 1996, Tom transitioned from the practice of law to providing comprehensive planning and investment advice to private clients. He worked for several large financial institutions including Merrill Lynch & Co. and Bank of America before forming his own fee-only financial planning firm in 2009.
Tom is married to D. Elizabeth Walker, a founding partner of Walker & Murphy & Nelson, a civil litigation defense firm based in Rockville, Maryland. He and Elizabeth have two children, Kathryn and Matthew. Tom and Elizabeth enjoy traveling, hiking and reading.
Mr. Conway is an active member of the following professional organizations:
- American Bar Association
- International Bar Association
- Maryland State Bar Association
- District of Columbia Bar Association
- Montgomery County Maryland Bar Association
- National Association of Estate Planners and Councils
- Montgomery County Maryland Estate Planning Council
- District of Columbia Estate Planning Council
- Northern Virginia Estate Planning Council
- Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners
- National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)
- Financial Planning Association of the National Capital Area (FPANCA)
- Investment and Wealth Institute (IWI)
- Institute for the Fiduciary Standard
- American Bankers Association
Scarlett (Yuanyuan) Che, Senior Planning Analyst/Senior Planning Coordinator
Scarlett (Yuanyuan) Che, CFP® CRPC® is a Senior Planning Analyst with Connemara. She directly supports all planning engagements.
Scarlett is a native of Zhuzhou, Hunan Province, China. She holds a Master’s in Finance degree from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2014) as well as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Certified Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) professional designations.
A Financial Planning Association (FPA®) Diversity Scholarship recipient, Scarlett is committed to educating others on the importance of diversity within the emerging financial planning profession. Developing the skills and experience needed to serve as a highly qualified global financial planning professional is Scarlett’s long-term passion. Scarlett is devoted to provided outstanding client service without the need for product sales or other sales goals.
In her spare time, Scarlett enjoys hiking, reading, writing and traveling. She is also a student of the culinary arts and explorer of new restaurants. She is fluent in both English and Mandarin.
Zhen (Dennis) Zhang, Senior Investment Consultant
Zhen (Dennis) Zhang, CFA is a Senior Investment Consultant to Connemara. Previously a Senior Investment Analyst with the firm, Dennis now assists more broadly with portfolio design and construction, investment analysis, risk modeling and re-balancing strategies. He also conducts fundamental and technical analysis of attractive businesses located in the United States and China.
Dennis has a special interest in emerging financial technologies (fintech) and artificial intelligence (AI). He is dedicated to improving the client investment experience by designing low-cost, tax efficient portfolios to address each household’s unique planning needs and objectives.
A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Dennis travels regularly between the United States and China. He is an experienced professional with breadth and depth of knowledge in many areas of investment and wealth management including investment analysis, equity research and financial product development.
A native of Shandong, China, Dennis currently resides in Shenzhen after having worked for Connemara for several years in the firm’s Rockville, Maryland offices. Dennis is fluent in both English and Chinese Mandarin. He holds a Bachelor of Science Magna Cum Laude in Business Administration (2015) from The Ohio State University. He also holds a Master of Finance (2017) from the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business.
When not working or traveling, Dennis enjoys studying global business models and trends, examining emerging technologies in financial services and artificial intelligence (AI), and spending time with friends and family.
Nathan Portwood, Associate Investment Analyst
Nathan Portwood is an Associate Investment Analyst with Connemara. Under the guidance of the Founder and Senior Investment Analysts, he assists with detailed investment analysis and account rebalancing recommendations. He is dedicated to developing sound, well-balanced portfolios structured to achieve each household’s unique goals.
Nathan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin in 2016 and a Master’s in Business Administration from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in 2019. He is now pursuing the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) professional designation with a goal of becoming a CFA charterholder after completing a multi-year experience requirement with Connemara.
A Texas native, Nathan resides in Austin and assists Connemara virtually. In his spare time, he likes to hike, bike and play piano.
Daria Zalewska, Associate Planning Analyst/Associate Investment Analyst
Daria Zalewska operates in dual roles with the firm as both an Associate Planning Analyst and Associate Investment Analyst. She is responsible for planning analysis and scenario modeling while assisting with detailed account rebalancing and investment analysis.
Daria has passed the CFP® examination and is in the process of fulfilling the experience requirement for Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) certification. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Tennessee (1998) as well as a Master of Business Administration degree and Post-Masters Certificate in Financial Planning from Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2020).
Daria served in the United States Air Force from 1998-2018 and retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She deployed in support of numerous military Operations including Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Inherent Resolve. She has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and Joint Service Commendation Medal.
Daria is originally from Lodz, Poland. She is fluent in both English and Polish. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two sons, jogging and hiking.