Creative Team

Launched in 2000, Shaking the Tree is a not-for-profit organization with a unique theatre-based approach to transforming conversations about wealth.

At Shaking the Tree, we have a multi-disciplinary team in place to manage the operations of our organization and to serve as the Creative Team. Their insight and experience from a variety of areas enables us to consistently deliver a high level of professionalism and authenticity to all our projects and events.

Paul McKibbin


Paul McKibbin is an Executive Director in the Ernst & Young LLP’s Americas Family Office Advisory practice. He has more than 20 years of experience in advising families on the creation, management and optimization of family office services tailored to their unique needs. Prior to joining EY in 2016, Paul was a Managing Partner of Family Office Metrics, a firm that provides targeted business consulting on management, operations and technology applications for family offices. Previously the director of GPFN, a wholly owned subsidiary of Guggenheim Partners (GP), he developed its highly secure “Virtual Family Office” websites which provided a blueprint for knowledge management while enhancing the overall interaction of family members, trustees, staff and various advisors. Before his firm’s acquisition by GP in December 2004, Mr. McKibbin was the founder and president of Private Family Networks (PFN), a vice president with SEI and a consultant with The Metropolitan Group. An entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience creating financial software solutions, he received a BA in English and MA in organizational behavior from the University of Pennsylvania.

David Kersnar


David Kersnar is a Founding Ensemble Member of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company where he has served as Artistic Director and head of its Education and Community programs. As our group’s artistic influence and leading practitioner, Kersnar has written and directed several interactive case studies for the financial services industry and managed several educational workshops using theatrical techniques in problem solving exercises. Additionally, Kersnar has designed, directed and performed in over 50 productions with Lookingglass Theatre Company, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Children’s Choir, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, has also appeared with the Goodman, Steppenwolf and Remains Theatre companies, and performed critical roles in numerous television, radio and film productions. He received a BS in Theatre and Performance Studies and an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University.

Maryann Fernandez


Over the past 14 years, as a Shaking the Tree Co-Founder and member of our creative team, Maryann Fernandez has produced a variety of philanthropic and wealth management conferences, and facilitated and co-wrote many of our most successful living case studies. As Founder & President of Philanthropy Indaba, a unique consultancy that develops customized philanthropic journeys and opportunities for learning and service, Fernandez leads high net worth individuals and families out of the boardroom and into the field, bringing donors closer to a deeper exploration and understanding of themselves, each other, and the world in which we live. Fernandez has also consulted with several non-profits including world-renown Ashoka – Innovators for the Public and Educate Girls Globally, helped launch a network of over 150 philanthropists, and served as Vice President of Family Education Services at Harris Private Bank in Chicago.

Edward P. Monte, Ph.D.

Creative Team Associate

Edward P. Monte is co-founder of Family Solutions Group, L.L.C., an interdisciplinary firm providing consulting and advisory services to high net worth families, single and multifamily offices, family businesses and their advisors. His specialty is in parent-adult child relationship issues that impact family businesses and family offices. A particular focus in his consulting, research and writing is the complex dynamics between fathers and sons in business together. In addition, Dr. Monte consults to legal and financial advisors concerning the unique issues they encounter working with high net worth families as well as the more general human side issues advisors must attend to in their work with any individual. Dr. Monte is a member of the Family Firm Institute, on faculty in the Next Generation Leadership Institute of the Family Business Center at Loyola University of Chicago and regularly presents in business schools, accounting and consulting firms nationally. Also, as a third generation son in a fourth generation family business, Dr. Monte brings a unique perspective to his consulting practice, writing and teaching.

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