Congratulations to the 2018 Excellence in Exit Planning Award Winners!

The Excellence in Exit Planning Awards is bigger than our industry; it is an annual celebration of leadership. These advisors honored here today have made a lasting impact on their communities, whether local, national, or industry-wide and embody the core qualities of a true leader. They don’t shy away from complex problems. They demonstrate the ability to evolve and lead others in an ever-changing marketplace. And most importantly, they understand that nothing important is accomplished alone. K. Brooke Norman, EPI Vice President of Marketing

The exit planning profession poses unique challenges and opportunities. The advisors leading this industry tend to be more entrepreneurial, display high leadership, and are instrumental in driving best practices for their peers and for business owners themselves.  The closing event at the 2018 Exit Planning Summit is the Excellence in Exit Planning Award Luncheon, where the executive leadership team of the Exit Planning Institute takes the stage and recognizes those exit planners that are making a remarkable impact on the local and global community.

It was an incredible closing note to an ever-eventful Summit and we’d like to extend an official congratulation to the 2018 Honorees:

2018 Exit Planner of the Year:

Melisa Silverman, JD, CEPA, CVA, SBA, CMEA

Partner of The Founders Group, President of Avenue M Advisors, President of EPI Greater Los Angeles


Melisa Silverman (CEPA since 2016) embodies the true spirit of a pioneering entrepreneur. Two years ago, in an incredibly competitive California marketplace, while maintaining a thriving valuation practice, Silverman launched and grew a national exit planning practice alongside two other CEPAs. In that same period of time, she founded the EPI Greater Los Angeles Chapter and has led a diverse team of collaborative advisors to forge key relationships with major universities and owner groups. Silverman’s success is bigger than herself. Silverman regularly contributes to the CEPA community and the larger profession in the form of speeches, webinars, written content, coaching, and insight sharing. Her leadership is felt on a local, national, and industry-wide scale.

Join us in congratulating Melisa Silverman in earning the highest honor in the exit planning profession, 2018 Exit Planner of the Year! [connect with Melisa]

2018 Leader of the Year:

Justin Goodbread, CFP, CEPA, CVGA

Editor-in-Chief of, Contributor of Forbes Finance Council, CEO/Founder of Heritage Investors

Thought leadership is a brand stamp of Justin Goodbread (CEPA since 2017).  As one of the youngest CEPAs to enter the community in recent years, Goodbread has quickly established himself as a major contributor of insight, strategy, and leadership. As the founder of Heritage Investors, Justin leaned into his authenticity and entrepreneurial talent which has resulted in a dominant idea-sharing brand machine that educates millions of owners and advisors worldwide on exit planning, financial advising, and business strategy. Rather than withhold his success model as a secret recipe, Goodbread continuously teaches on the EPI community platforms via live events and webinars to help other CEPAs leverage his expertise and lessons learned. In fact, he was a main stage speaker for the fisrt ever EPI Power Sessions at the 2018 Exit Planning Summit, where he did a TED-style talk on how advisors everywhere can increase their authenticity to increase their business development success.  He is a leading contributor in all senses of the word to the profession and spreads mass awareness.

Join us in congratulating Justin Goodbread for earning the 2018 Leader of the Year award! [connect with Justin]

2018 Member of the Year:

Gary Rzucidlo, CEPA

Senior Wealth Director of BNY Mellon Wealth Management, President of EPI Greater Nashville

Gary Rzucidlo (CEPA since 2015) continues to raise the bar and lead the CEPA community with best practices. He is a talented influencer and thought leader, bringing exit planning to the forefront within a major organization. Rzucidlo assisted in the implementation and supported the central office firm to build its exit planning education and owner engagement tools/training. Locally, Rzucidlo is the President of a thriving chapter while simultaneously running owner education sessions with his key partners. And his local impact doesn’t stop with business initiatives. In 2018, Rzucidlo and his EPI Nashville leadership team combined resources to sponsor EPI’s National “Summit Giveback” in support of Abe’s Garden, a Nashville-based Alzheimer’s Treatment and Research Center, pre-raising funds for this philanthropic event. In one night alone, Gary helped raise $20,000 for the cause and brought together over 200 advisors and owners to leave a positive impact on the local community [read full article].  Just like exit planning itself, Gary Rzucidlo’s impact showcases balance, impacting owner’s lives financially, personally, and in business.

Join us in congratulating Gary Rzucidlo for earning the 2018 Member of the Year award! [connect with Gary]

A special thank you to BNY Mellon Wealth Management, the two-time Exit Planning Summit Title Partner and the Sponsor of the Excellence in Exit Planning Awards.  Your leadership is felt in action and example and has driven best practices in the exit planning community.

Learn more at

Make plans to join the 2019 Summit.

The Exit Planning Institute’s 2019 Exit Planning Summit will be held in historic San Antonio next September 23-25 (charity benefactor to be determined). Pricing for the one-of-a-kind conference is only $800 (*limited to first 50 attendees; expires December 31).  Make plans to join this career-changing event, and register here.


The Exit Planning Institute (EPI) is an education company that provides exit planning education to advisors and middle market business owners.  We view exit planning as a strategy, not an event.

EPI leads the professional services profession with the best industry content, ongoing support, and owner education platform, all of which align with our mission: Change the outcome.

Only 2 out of every 10 businesses that come to market actually sell.  We want to increase the number of saleable businesses.

Only 30% of family businesses successfully transition to the second generation, only 12% transfer to the third, and the success rates diminish from there.  We want to improve those intergenerational transitions.

Of those that succeed in the sale of their business, 75% experience “profound regret” within one year of exiting their business.  We want to understand why and create strategies that achieve profound success, wealth, and satisfaction.

EPI is an education company, powered by an elite community of top advisors and owners, all focused on creating a valuable, transferable future for the business marketplace.