Meet the Team
Languages spoken by our financial advisors include: English, Spanish, Russian and Mandarin.
Offering exceptional service and personal attention is our passion! Communicating proactively is in our blood because we know that regular reviews of your goals and financial plan are key to your success. Sincere care and thoughtful planning surround each client experience, so we invite you to meet the team who will bring you this level of service:
LPL Financial Advisor
John has been a part of Sequoia Wealth Advisors since 2006 after a long career at Morgan Stanley. He works with clients to protect, preserve and grow their assets in ways that are consistent with their goals and risk tolerance. John monitors global and economic events and adjusts client portfolios as necessary. As a retired U.S. Army captain, John’s leadership experience positions him well to guide clients on their financial journey.
John holds Series 7 and 66 registrations with LPL Financial and has been named to the LPL Financial Director’s Club for each of the past five years. He has a bachelor of arts in political science from Carnegie Mellon University and has completed post-graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh. John and his wife, June, live in Monterey and enjoy traveling, cooking and outdoor activities. One of John’s favorite quotes is from Warren Buffett: “Be bold when others are fearful. Be fearful when others are bold.”
Vice President, Investment Services
Lizandro is an Economist and an Attorney from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, the Jesuit University.
He has over 35 years of experience in the Banking and Financial Services Industry. Starting his career at the Banco Central de Reserva del Peru (the equivalent of the Federal Bank in the US) and then went to work for the Banco Continental (BBVA from Spain) in Peru.
In 1989 Lizandro started working for Dean Witter, now Morgan Stanley, as an Account Executive, and thereafter went to work for Bank of America Investment Services as an AVP Investment Specialist. He joined Sequoia Wealth Advisors & Investment Management in 2006 and holds Series 7, 63, and 65 registrations with LPL Financial.
Utilizing his financial acumen, Lizandro assists Sequoia’s clients in meeting major financial goals, focusing in planning for retirement and managing investment portfolios for retirees.
His favorite quote is from Jack London: ”…I shall use my time”
He enjoys soccer, swimming and spiritual reading during his downtime.
Vice President, Investment Management
Eli joined Sequoia Wealth Advisors in 2012 after a career with Wells Fargo Private Client Group and Salomon Smith Barney. His work included supporting many high-tech stock options plans for companies such as Oracle, Google and Cisco as a financial advisor. He currently focuses on comprehensive wealth management, which may include estate planning, insurance and tax planning. Eli works with Sequoia’s clients to guide them through the complexities of financial decision making.
Eli received his degree from San Jose State University. He holds Series 7, 63 and 65 registrations with LPL Financial and is also licensed for life and health insurance in California (CA Insurance Lic. #0C91488).
In his spare time, Eli enjoys riding motorcycles and coaching his two children in a variety of sports.
Vice President, Private Wealth Management
Steven joined Sequoia Wealth Advisors following a 14-year career in financial services with Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors and Ameriprise Financial. As the Vice President of Private Wealth Management, Steven guides Sequoia’s clients through the evaluation and implementation of financial strategies to assist them in working towards their goals. He helps clients develop confidence in their achievements so far, a clear vision for the future, and the capability to pursue even greater goals than they may have set for themselves.
Steven has specialized in comprehensive financial planning for more than a decade, and holds the Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM (CRPC®) designation. He studied economics at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He and his wife, Lorena, live in Santa Clara with their two children, where they enjoy tennis, golf and creating great meals together.
Greg joined the firm in 2013 and has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. He assists Sequoia Wealth Advisors clients with their insurance needs and reviews; and specializes in the areas of life insurance, annuities, long-term care and disability income. From 2008 to 2011, Greg was recognized each year by Jackson National Life Insurance as a top producer. He is currently pursuing his designation as a Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) through the American College of Financial Services (CA Insurance Lic. #0625622).
Greg has a bachelor of arts in business economics (with an accounting emphasis) from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He and his wife, Susan, live in La Selva Beach and enjoy the beach life, watersports, biking and hiking.
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®)
Katie began her career in financial services as an administrative assistant, and now holds the prestigious designation of CFP®. She joined Sequoia Wealth Advisors in 2008 and plays a pivotal role in gathering information from clients, analyzing the data and presenting recommendations based on the results. Katie then assists with the implementation of the recommendations and ongoing review of plan progress.
She lives in the South Bay with her husband and two children, is actively involved with her church, and enjoys knitting and quilting in her spare time.
Chief Financial Officer
Igor has extensive experience in the financial services industry, including 16 years in corporate accounting and 20 years in foreign currency trading. He joined Sequoia Wealth Advisors in 2011 and oversees the business financials and operations. Igor holds Series 7 and 66 registrations with LPL Financial and is originally from Moscow.
One of Igor’s favorite quotes is: “Appreciate what you have and you always have enough.” He lives in Aptos, and his hobbies include diving, chess and flying.
In her 20 years in Financial Services, Niki Canotas has consulted regularly with executives from a variety of fields to help create synergistic strategies to world-impacting problems that hit home personally, such as Long Term Care, Investments, Retirement, College Funding, Life Insurance, Real Estate and Cash Management.
She regularly speaks in the Bay Area on finance and feels that education is important. Developing your own personal financial philosophy and the matching Asset Allocation to back it up is imperative to her.
Asset Allocation from a personal perspective is a key factor for Niki in her approach to advising. For example, excluding a specific type of corporation, or being heavy in a specific sector and needing more Cash Management because you personally have an expertise in it, should be accounted for in your assets and planning. Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
Prior to her current position, she created and led Mobius, a marketing and coaching company where she did Television and Radio production and Business Development. She has been in front of the camera as well, as an announcer for Greek TV on Channel 26 and as a hair model on Channel 7 shows.
With a Financial Services office in Silicon Valley for 20 years, Niki now lives in Campbell and enjoys being a local, going to the Farmer’s Market, raising bees, doing Hot Yoga and learning to ride her Harley. She has been a member of the Campbell Chamber of Commerce for almost 10 years and the Bay Area Greek American Business Association for almost 30 years. Niki is also active in the non-profit and community fields.
Her education is wide and varied, having attended Arizona State University, San Francisco State University, Collins College and Otis Parsons School of Fine Arts just to describe a few. She is continually taking classes across the country to understand The Markets and Society.
Vice President, Financial Planning and Investments
Franz joined Sequoia Wealth Advisors in September, 2015. Starting at Merrill Lynch in 2005, he has put together a decade of client centric financial planning, investments and consulting. Prior to his Merrill Lynch and LPL Financial tenure, Franz was a business owner and spent twenty-five years working in Silicon Valley with diverse technologies earning his way into the executive suite. Additionally, he has experience serving on school and non-profit boards. His business experience, coupled with being a trustee and father, provide clients with a grounded approach to their life’s financial needs, desires and goals.
Franz holds Series 7 and 66 registrations with LPL Financial as well as a California insurance license (CA Insurance Lic# 0F12363). He is registered in several states. Franz earned a BA from the University of the Pacific Stockton, CA and a Masters Science from St. Mary’s College Moraga, CA. He and his wife, Rahnea Sunseri M.D., have two adult children and live in Aptos, CA. Franz enjoys cycling, skiing, golf and traveling.
Matthew J. Prentice
LPL Private Wealth Advisor
Matt started his Financial Services career at Kidder Peabody in San Francisco on the Institutional Sales Desk. He left to become a research assistant at a boutique investment bank called Volpe & Covington where he was an Equity Research Assistant for the telecommunications sector. Matt went on to receive an MBA from Santa Clara University before spending over ten years in the technology industry in Strategic Business Development.
Ultimately, he came back to his first love, finance, in the role of financial advisor dedicated to helping individuals pursue their financial and life goals. Matt comes to us from Merrill Lynch where he spent the last seven years as a financial advisor. Matt believes the key to building a successful and productive client relationship is to treat every client as an individual and to listen intently to their unique goals and aspirations. Only from this foundation is it possible build a truly customized financial plan.
Matt is always looking to give back to his community. He is a former chairman of the Advisory Board at the de Saisset Art Museum on the Santa Clara University campus and currently volunteers for the Peninsula Open Space Trust. In his free time, Matt enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.
Melissa Kaplan Grudin
Melissa has been registered for 37 short years during which time she has guided her clients through many market cycles! She started her career on Wall Street but the West beckoned with a more liberal attitude toward licensing women. She has worked on both coasts since then, embracing the financial planning process, and “leads through planning.” Getting to know and trust each other is priority in the client/advisor relationship and Melissa includes the entire family. Education, understanding and creating an interactive relationship are paramount to doing business together. Her clients can be found in Palo Alto or Carmel and range in age from birth on up! Sitting around the kitchen table seems to suit everyone!
Melissa has her series 7, 63 and 65 registrations, which are held with LPL Financial, and has completed the classwork toward the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation.
Melissa and her husband, Jeff, enjoy sailing in the San Francisco Bay. Between them they have five children and are expecting their fourth grandchild. Melissa’s hobbies include public speaking, investment clubs, working out and hiking
Debbie McCarroll joins Sequoia Wealth Advisors and Investment Management as the Director of Business Development with over 30 years in the banking industry. She has held senior positions in Business Development, Client Relationships, and Commercial Lending with many of the most successful independent business banks in Silicon Valley, the Central Coast and Santa Cruz. Debbie graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Business and Finance. She relocated over to the Coast in 2010 after working and living in Silicon Valley since 1976 and currently resides in Rio Del Mar, Aptos. She is very dedicated to clients and strives to provide the highest level of customer service to each client on an individual basis.
Debbie has been involved with and served on the Board of Directors for many non-profit organizations in both San Jose and Santa Cruz, including: Opera San Jose, Silicon Valley Business Forum, Sacred Heart, and Hope Rehabilitation Services. She is a past Rotarian in the Los Gatos Rotary Club, a current member of the Santa Cruz Rotary Club, and a volunteer at Hope Rehabilitation Services.
Her hobbies are running, cycling, golf, opera and the sport of purebred dogs.
Client Relations Administrator
Julia joined Sequoia Wealth Advisors in 2011. She brings strong customer service skills to her role, having worked in retail positions and as a receptionist in prior years. Julia provides support services to the professionals in our office, and most important, to our clients.
Client Services Associate
Andrew joined Sequoia Wealth Advisors in 2015 and comes from a customer service oriented background. As part of that background he worked at Verizon for a year and a half where he achieved the Presidents Club award - a paid vacation to Scottsdale Arizona for best customer service/top sales. He is very detail oriented, even in the “small matters”, which is perfect for his role as Client Services Associate which involves account opening, account transfers and other responsibilities that contribute to the serving of clients.
Andrew loves the great outdoors and in his free time enjoys surfing and hiking. One of his favorite quotes is: “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus Is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9