Meet your team of advisors who can help you cover money need-to-knows—and make sure you have fun along the way.

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Sarah Blankenship

sblankenship@TheEstablishmentNYS.com
716.417.1668

my story

The way I live my life—never wanting to miss out on anything—feeds right into the way I help people learn about finances. Peace of mind should come first, so when it comes to helping people learn about the financial world, I sweat the details.

You never know what's going to give you the wake up call that you're an adult and need to get smart about money (for me, it was buying a toaster for the first time!), so I'm ready to educate people, no matter where they are in the process.

Like lots of people my age, I’m pretty busy outside of work—from holding a Tae Kwon Do black belt to holding office as president of the Western New York Charter Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association—so I get that it can be hard to make the time to talk about money. But I think once millennials start learning more, they’ll see it’s well worth it.

You should know

Chef and entertainer at heart. North Buffalo runner. Believer in living for today and planning for tomorrow.

fun facts

Favorite wine

Mark West Pinot Noir

On the bucket list

Hit every island in the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo”

Morning must-have

Lots (and lots) of coffee

Favorite restaurant

Woo Chon Korea House in Williamsville

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Sarah Blankenship

Buying Your First Home

TUESDAY / DEC 17

@ Tony Walker Plaza | 6:00PM - 7:30PM

Sarah
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Sarah Blankenship

Females and Finance

THURSDAY / JAN 23

@ Tony Walker Plaza | 6:00PM - 7:30PM

Sarah
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Austin Blujus

ablujus@TheEstablishmentNYS.com
716.276.1160

my story

It all started when I was an intern with MassMutual New York State during my junior and senior years studying pre-law at UB. I decided to make the leap to become a financial advisor, ditched the law school applications, and the rest is history.

One of the best parts of my gig? Helping people everyday at all different stages of their life gain control, set goals, and make plans to better their personal and financial futures. It's never too early, or for that matter too late to start... Your future self will thank you!

I grew up in Amherst with a big (crazy) family, but we're as close as they come. If I'm not following my brother's hockey career, my sister's college softball team, or hanging out with the rest of my family, you can be sure to find me out and about enjoying everything Buffalo has to offer!

I currently call North Buffalo home with my wife Jacqueline, but have lived in just about every great neighborhood in the city!

You should know

Sports analysts in another life... Still waiting for ESPN's phone call. All things hockey junkie. Chipotle addict. Movie and binge television watching enthusiast.

fun facts

Favorite beer

Blue Light

In my desk drawer

My pen collection

Hidden talent

Unparalleled car singer

Favorite musician

Kenny Chesney

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Tim Downing

tdowning@theestablishmentnys.com
716.276.1172

my story

Inspired by the Steve Jobs Stanford commencement speech where he told the graduates to leave their “dent” in the universe, I wanted to work in a career that was impactful. Working as a financial advisor, I create strategies for people to help them achieve their financial goals. This has given me a great sense of purpose for almost a decade.

Unfortunately, people generally misunderstand the work we do as financial advisors. Our business addresses the financial needs of individuals whether they live a long time, die prematurely, or become disabled. Most of the time, I help my clients come up with solutions that fit their situation during uncertain times. Luckily, my work at The Establishment clarifies our purpose.

In my free time, I am active in my church and I love traveling. Whether it’s a weekend road trip or a trip overseas, it’s nice to know there is a world beyond my four walls!

You should know

Born and raised in Amherst, NY. A diehard hard Bills and Sabres fan. Can do 100 pushups. Gives annually to Catholic Charities.

fun facts

Drink of choice

Starbucks cold brew

Dream job

Pilot

Can't live without

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

Wish I knew more about

The universe

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Tim Downing

Creating A Budget

WEDNESDAY / JAN 15

@ Tony Walker Plaza | 6:00PM - 7:30PM

Tim
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Tim Downing

Buying Your First Home

TUESDAY / JAN 21

@ Tony Walker Plaza | 6:00PM - 7:30PM

Tim
BOOK CLASS
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Phil Held, LACP

pheld@theestablishmentnys.com
716.843.3181

my story

After working in the nonprofit field, I fell in love with the idea of running my own business and helping others. Thirteen years ago, I was lucky enough to find the opportunity to work in financial services. My work is all about helping people plan for uncertain times so that they can not only reach all of their financial goals, but protect their families.

My family life was spent growing up in Hamburg, surrounded by friends I’ve known since playing Little League baseball, spending days at the beach, and passing nights playing our favorite Pearl Jam songs. It was a great place to make years full of memorable moments, ones I still carry with me every day.

Now, I have a family of my own. Settled in Clarence, we all like to get out and be a part of things, together. Whether out to a local concert, community event or farmers’ market, it’s great to make new memories with my wife and kids, all while feeling the same connectiveness that makes Western New York such a special place.

You should know

Problematic Sabres fan, and discriminating chicken wing connoisseur. I’m a board member of Amherst High School Academies and Board Member/President of National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors - New York State.

fun facts

Dream job

NHL player

Drink of choice

Spot Coffee

Can't live without

Pearl Jam

Favorite book

Unbreakable by Thom Shea

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Phil Held, LACP

Making Sense of Student Loans

WEDNESDAY / JAN 22

@ Tony Walker Plaza | 6:00PM - 7:30PM

Phil
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Ryan McNulty, MBA

rmcnulty@TheEstablishmentNYS.com
716-817-6659

my story

I got into the financial services industry simply because I was interested and curious to see how it all worked. I've come to find out there is a huge financial knowledge gap for all generations. I see myself as an intermediary between people and the finance world.

I didn't start out in the financial planning field. My undergraduate degree is in hospitality. Right after undergrad, I moved to Aspen, Colorado. For a year I spent my days working and skiing. I returned to good ol' Buffalo to get my MBA.

Buffalo is amazing because of the culture. When I am out of town and meet someone who is also from my home town the connection is instant. The sense of community is what I appreciate most about this city. We're all on the same team.

 

You should know

Lover of golf and all things sports. IPA enthusiast. Set out to treat everyone with respect, courtesy and empathy.

fun facts

Favorite Show

The Office

Bucket List Item

Road trip throughout entire US

Best Book

Nudge

Travel Destination of Choice

Anywhere with a nice golf course

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Ray Pavicich, CLU, CFP

rpavicich@TheEstablishmentNYS.com
716.276.1174

my story

Sure, I'm a financial advisor in my day-to-day life. But I'm also a Russian literature fiend, travel junkie, and unintentional beer snob when I'm outside the office. There's always more to learn, and I think working to be successful while still staying true to myself and my interests is something I share with other millennials out there.

There are strategies out there that work for everyone—and by acquainting yourself with all the information and resources available out there, you can figure out the right tools for your particular situation, financial or otherwise.

Even though I've been all over the world (and even lived abroad), I'm thrilled to call Western New York home—especially West Seneca, where I live with my wife Gina and our sons, Ray and Frankie.

You should know

‘90s hip hop aficionado. Accomplished artist and poet in my spare time. Committed to anticipating what can go wrong so I can take advantage of what can go right.

fun facts

Guilty pleasure

BBQ chicken wings

Hidden talent

Sick culinary instincts

Favorite international city

Budapest or Moscow

Humblebrag

Fulbright Scholar

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Ray Pavicich, CLU, CFP

Wine & Investing 101

TUESDAY / JAN 14

@ Tony Walker Plaza | 6:00PM - 8:00PM

Ray
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Ray Pavicich, CLU, CFP

Personal Finance Fundamentals

TUESDAY / JAN 28

@ Tony Walker Plaza | 6:00PM - 7:30PM

Ray
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Chris Spadafora

cspadafora@theestablishmentnys.com
716.276.1116

my story

Finance was an interest of mine early on and I knew that was the work I would do for my career. In college, I majored in finance and economics, and after graduation, I began working in the financial services industry. I wanted to help people one-on-one with their unique financial needs. Over the years, it’s been rewarding to watch clients progress and see how my work has impacted their lives.

I remember the first disability income insurance policy I sold. One and a half years later, my client was diagnosed with cancer. The policy gave her the ability to stop working so she could focus on her health to beat cancer. And she did.  Because there is a very high focus on investments in our industry, insurance is often overlooked. However, when the two work together, they create a synergy that really serves clients well.

Outside of work I enjoy golfing, fishing, cooking, and spending time with my wife Caroline and golden retriever in Amherst.

You should know

Born and raised in Buffalo – specifically Orchard Park. Have worked in financial services for 15 years. Steak is my favorite thing to cook.

fun facts

Song that never gets old

Comfortably Known Pink Floyd

Favorite restaurant

Ristorante Lombardo

Bucket list destination

Capri, Italy

Drink of choice

Manhattan

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Chris Spadafora

Tips and Tricks to Navigating Your Taxes

THURSDAY / JAN 30

@ Tony Walker Plaza | 6:00PM - 7:30PM

Chris
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Derek Szczupakowski

dszczupakowski@TheEstablishmentNYS.com
716.817.6667

my story

My life in Buffalo started with a Finance concentration within the bachelors of Business Management program at UB. I was hired during my senior year of college, and I've found my home here at MassMutual New York State. I loved the city so much I never left.

It’s hard to consider your financial future now when you think time is on your side. But, there is no better time than now to get serious about your money. The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that the work that I do makes a dramatic impact on the lives of others.

This career keeps me busy; no two days are ever alike. In my free time I am actively involved with the Alzheimer’s Association here in Buffalo. I am an avid golfer, bowler, and Bills fan. In Western New York those are all seasonal things, so it tends to keep me busy all year round!

I am happy to call Williamsville home with my wife Jackie and our son, Jude who we recently welcomed into the world. Seeing the resurgence in the city, and the pride of my fellow Buffalonians has been an amazing experience. Buffalo is everything I could want from a city and more!

You should know

Find me relaxing after a round of golf with a Vodka Gimlet. Committed to helping people plan for the future they want.

fun facts

Song that never gets old:

In My Life by The Beatles

Can't live without:

My wife and kids

Most used emoji:

:)

Favorite book:

The Stand by Stephen King

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Derek Szczupakowski

Crafting Cocktails and Financial Plans

THURSDAY / JAN 16

@ Tony Walker Plaza | 6:00PM - 8:00PM

Derek
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