Our Team

Our Team

The people who work at the Pinnacle Financial Group not only have the knowledge and experience to help you pursue your financial goals, but they also happen to be extremely great folks. Our staff is always ready to address your concerns, answer your questions, and put you at ease.

Click on the photos below to learn more about our team members.

Jim Santos

Financial Advisor, ChFC®, CLU®

Jim has worked as a financial advisor since 1983, beginning his career in financial services with Merrill Lynch. He moved on to MassMutual, where he spent the next 15 years assisting his clients in both investment management and insurance services. In 2000, along with Tim Brennan, he founded the Pinnacle Financial Group and adopted Commonwealth Financial Network® as the firm's Registered Investment Adviser–broker/dealer. Its services include financial planning, investment management, and the placement of life, disability, and long-term care insurance.*

Jim’s clientele includes business owners, professionals, executives, and retirees. His business philosophy is very simple—treat every client situation as if it were his own.

Jim has an economics degree from Princeton University and holds the professional designations of Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) and Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) from the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Jim has been married for 33 years to his wife, Suzanne, and they have three children. He has been active on charity boards throughout the course of his career, including the Emergency Fund, Boys and Girls Clubs, Saints Peter & Paul Greek Orthodox Church, and the Princeton Alumni Association.  His hobbies include golf and travel.

*Fixed insurance products and services offered by the Pinnacle Financial Group.

Tim Brennan

Financial Advisor

Early in life, Tim was interested in the intricacies of finance and enjoyed meeting new people. He began working in the financial services industry in 1989 at MassMutual, advising clients on insurance matters. In 2000, he co-founded the Pinnacle Financial Group to bring a complete financial service to the variety of clients he served across the country.

Tim's specialties are investment portfolio management, insurance planning,* and corporate benefit plans. He takes a personal interest in working closely with clients in helping them achieve their goals.

He holds the FINRA Series 6, 7, 63, and 65 securities registrations as an Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network® and is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BBA in finance.

Tim; his wife, Deneen; son, Liam; and daughter, Grace, stay very active. He coaches Liam’s baseball and basketball teams, and the whole family enjoys traveling. Tim also plays competitive softball and basketball and serves on the board of the Wilmette Theatre. 

*Fixed insurance products and services offered by the Pinnacle Financial Group.

Melinda Vajdic

Associate Advisor - Illinois Office

Melinda joined Pinnacle Financial Group in 2014, and, in that time, has enjoyed helping clients find answers to their financial questions, both big and small. Leveraging her work experience and education, she attained her Series 7 and Series 66 licenses and currently serves as an Associate Advisor with Tim Brennan in the Deerfield, IL office.  

Melinda helps clients navigate their own financial landscapes to reach individualized goals, and is passionate about serving clients in a responsive and in-depth fashion. Breaking down complex topics to enhance the decision-making process is also a priority.

Her pursuits in economics began at the macro level, with her Master’s degree (Johns Hopkins University) including a concentration in international economics. That interest was further developed during her formative years working at two of the major financial newswires (AP-Dow Jones and Knight-Ridder).

She enjoys playing music, platform tennis and golf, and spending time with her husband, three sons, and dog.

Joan Scheeter

Office Manager - Illinois Office

Joan earned her journalism degree at the University of Missouri. She worked in media buying and client service for May Company, Philip Morris, and advertising agencies for 15 years before switching to the financial services industry. She worked primarily in the account management and retirement areas for MassMutual and ABN AMRO, North America, before joining the Pinnacle Financial Group Illinois office. Joan has also earned her Series 7 securities registration.

She has owned a 3-flat directly behind Wrigley Field for the last 29 seasons and finally saw her Cubs win the World Series. Joan has a green thumb, and her vibrant garden stands out in the neighborhood. She volunteers as a docent with the Glessner House Museum to satisfy her interests in architecture and Chicago history.

Pam Lefeber

Client Service Representative - Wisconsin Office

Pam joined our Wisconsin office in 2007. She is our client service representative, and it surely shows in her friendly, service-oriented demeanor. Pam is eager to make sure that things are done exactly right and will follow up carefully and closely to ensure the highest level of client service. Throughout the years, Pam has blossomed in her role with us and continues to seek out new challenges and opportunities to help clients.

Pam resides in Kewaskum with her husband, Todd, and their daughters, Kiley and Aubrey.  Her family spends a lot of time at their cabin in the Northwoods of Lac du Flambeau, WI where they enjoy fishing, swimming, tubing, water skiing and relaxing by the campfire.  In the Winter months, they enjoy downhill skiing and ice fishing. 

Julie Benesh

Director of Client Services - Wisconsin Office

Julie joined the Wisconsin office in 2001. In her role as director of client service, she is an integral part of our team. Julie remembers everything! Her attention to detail and ability to be organized in all situations allow our team to run smoothly and efficiently. Her outgoing personality is evident to all who meet her. Her way of being with clients puts people at ease immediately. They know they are in good hands and that whatever request they have made will be handled at the highest level of service possible. Julie passed her FINRA Series 7 and 66 exams in 2008. Becoming a registered team member is allowing Julie to take on additional responsibilities and provide even more valuable service to our clients. Julie is always eager to take on new challenges.

Julie lives in Oshkosh with her husband, Jim, and two daughters, Kennedy and Ellyse.  Julie and Jim will be empty nesters in two years.