Meet The Team
The Mengyan & Pipala Group Core Values:
- Integrity – We do what we say we are going to do.
- Humility – We admit mistakes and learn from them.
- Authenticity – We speak the truth even when it is uncomfortable.
- Competence – We are experts in our respective roles.
- Passion – We love what we do and we take pride in our work!
Steve C. Mengyan, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional, CLU®, ChFC®, RICP®, CLTC®
Wealth Management Advisor & Principal
As an experienced and highly respected Wealth Management Advisor, Steve Mengyan works with each of his clients to carefully create and implement comprehensive financial plans, no matter what stage of life you’re in. As your life continues to evolve and change through the years, Steve is here to help guide and care for your financial future every step of the way.
Steve began his career at Northwestern Mutual in 2002 as an intern, while receiving his Financial Planning degree from Central Michigan University. After his internship, he joined Northwestern Mutual where he later established Mengyan Financial in 2012. In 2021, he partnered up with Wealth Management Advisor, Ben Pipala, to form The Mengyan & Pipala Group in order to help even more families build their financial futures. Steve has always had a passion for planning and creating well thought out plans and strategies to ensure peace of mind.
Steve feels most fulfilled when helping people make important life decisions that lead to more abundant lives in alignment with their values.
Steve graduated from Central Michigan University in 2003 where he double majored in both Corporate Finance & Personal Financial Planning.
- CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional
- Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®)
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®)
- Certified in Long Term Care (CLTC®)
- Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®)
When Steve is not at the office, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, attending his children’s sports and activities, reading, golfing, camping, hiking, and traveling around the United States in his motorhome. Steve and his family are involved with the Libertyville campus of The Chapel. Steve met his wife Mandy in high school, and they have been together ever since. They currently reside in Libertyville, Illinois, with their four wonderful children, Cameron, Samuel, Mia & Levi and their Goldendoodle named Max.
Ben Pipala was born and raised in Johnsburg, IL. He and his wife, Danielle, are now raising their family together in Lake Barrington. Ben and Danielle have been married since September 2014 and they are proud parents to their sons Jack, born in 2016, and Logan, born in 2020.
Ben obtained his associates in criminal justice at the College of Lake County with the intention of becoming a detective, prior to being introduced to Northwestern Mutual. After careful research of the financial planning industry, he developed a deep appreciation for Northwestern Mutual’s planning philosophy and decided to build a career and business with Northwestern Mutual in August of 2015. He later partnered with Steve to put their visions together with the formation of The Mengyan & Pipala Group in 2021.
He has obtained his FINRA Series 6, 7, & 63 securities licenses, and holds his Life, Health, Long-Term Care and Annuity licenses. He is currently studying for the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designation.
He earned his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and his Certification in Long Term Care (CLTC) designations in 2018, and the Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) designation in 2021.
Ben’s favorite aspect of the career is getting to know people on a personal basis and learning about what is important to them and their families. He finds it rewarding to work with others and sort through the complexities of their finances to develop a game plan that will help them achieve their goals with a high degree of confidence.
Ben enjoys spending quality time playing with his boys and watching them grow. In his free time, he enjoys cooking and practicing the art of grilling and smoking meats on his Weber Smoker.
Gina Ricciotti was born and raised in the Northwest Suburbs of the Chicagoland area and currently resides in Palatine, IL. Her past experiences and excellent mentor guidance lead her to obtain her life and health insurance license in 2002, where she had found a deep appreciation for the financial industry ever since. Gina started her career with Northwestern Mutual in 2006, as a Marketing Manager for multiple Financial Advisors in various network offices. She began working with Steve Mengyan in 2014 as an Associate Financial Representative. Gina is a National Notary Association Member, a Notary Public for the state of IL, and currently holds the title of Director of Operations for The Mengyan and Pipala Group, in which she oversees all aspects of their high volume, growing practice, and acts as the main liaison between our team and our clients. She is proud to be recognized for her ability to build impactful and rewarding relationships with clients.
Gina is quite creative and tech savvy, she truly appreciates the social aspect of getting to know our clients, and aspires to make sure their experience working with our team is professional and enjoyable.
In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, art, learning new things, traveling anywhere on the west coast, as well as planning and attending social events. She has 15 year old Chantilly cat, named Buckwheat, and has a love for animals, design, home improvement projects, cooking, and trying new food and restaurants.
Daniel Mortell graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. He lives in Glenview with his wife Ellen and three children, Madeline, Claire, and Mac. He joined The Mengyan and Pipala Group in 2019 and comes to us from the investment management side of the industry having spent the last 10 years representing both institutional and retail asset management firms. Daniel is a CFA® charterholder (Chartered Financial Analyst) and a member of the Chicago CFA® Society. He holds his life, accident, and health license along with his FINRA Series 7 & 66.
Chris Silchuck attended University of Illinois and graduated with a degree in Economics and was involved in his community and his fraternity, Chi Psi. He was born and raised in Mount Prospect, and now lives with his fiancée Kelly in Chicago. He began his career with Northwestern Mutual as an intern in 2014. He then moved up to Assistant Financial Representative and later joined the network staff, as an Associate Wealth Management Advisor. He now holds the title of Director of Investments. He has been working with The Mengyan & Pipala Group since 2018 and decided to officially join the team in March 2021. He holds his Life and Health license, is investment licensed, and has his Wealth Management Certified Professional designation. His favorite part of his career is being able to interact and work directly with clients to help them and take them through our process from start to finish.
In his free time, Chris enjoys spending time with friends, going to the movies traveling, and frequenting sporting events. He is an all-around Illinois fan – Illini, White Sox, Blackhawks, and Bulls!
Lee Jenner is a graduate of Ohio State where she studied Psychology. She has lived in Green Oaks for the past 18 years, but recently moved to Lake Bluff, Illinois. She was introduced to Northwestern Mutual in 2017 through her NM advisor. She began as an Associate Financial Representative serving on two separate teams. She now holds the title of Director of Insurance Operations and has been with our team since 2019. She holds her Life and Health license. Her favorite part of her career is working directly with clients, helping to educate them on their insurance options and helping them implement recommendations.
In her free time, Lee enjoys working out, listening to live music, walking her dogs (Mack and Otis), hanging out with her girlfriends, and traveling!
Susan Herrick graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Finance. Since then, she has lived and worked in Chicago. She recently joined The Mengyan & Pipala Group in 2021 as a financial planning analyst. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, which she obtained in 2015. She also holds her life, accident and health license along with her FINRA Series 7 & 66 registrations. She has a unique background of owning and operating her own insurance agency, as well as partnering with established financial advisors to provide clients and their families with comprehensive wealth management and financial planning.
Susan is also a USCG Licensed 50-Ton Master Captain. She has experience in operating yacht charters on Lake Michigan, as well as numerous years racing sailboats, both local buoy and long-distance multi-state races. In her free time, you will find her and her dog “Sailor” cruising sailboats around the lake front, or playing in the dog park.
Kristy Trojan is a graduate of Salisbury University where she received her Bachelors in Finance. She grew up in Johnsburg, and now lives in Grayslake, Illinois. She joined Northwestern Mutual in 2019 as a Financial Representative and joined the Mengyan & Pipala Group in early 2021 to align herself with distinguished advisors to learn and grow with. She now holds the title of Director of Marketing. She holds her Life and Health license and is investment licensed. Her favorite part of her career is interacting with clients and engaging in meaningful conversations to help them meet their goals.
In her free time, Kristy enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, spending time with friends, traveling, and shopping, and going on walks with her dog George!