EXTON, PA — 400 of the region’s top business and community leaders erupted in applause as the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) inducted CEO of Key Financial, Inc. Patti Brennan, CFP® into the Chester County Hall of Fame.
CCEDC’s presentation of the Chester County Hall of Fame Award was held at the Phoenixville Foundry on Wednesday night, where Brennan was honored for her more than 30 years of service to thousands of local businesses and individuals at CCEDC’s premier event of the year. The Chester County Hall of Fame Award recognizes an individual’s pre-eminent leadership, business acumen, and outstanding achievements within and beyond the Chester County business community.
“When I look around this room, filled with my neighbors and the business community I serve, I am humbled,” Brennan said. “You see the real me, running late to my board meetings, all too often wearing two different earrings. You’ve watched Ed and me raise four children while trying to maintain a balance that we all know just never really exists. You’ve had faith in me when I decided to do business with a different model and continue to believe in me to this day.”
A nationally renowned wealth advisor who is a commentator on CNBC and the keynote at Forbes Magazine’s Top Advisor Summit, Brennan began her career as an ICU nurse before she decided to pursue her passion for financial planning. Now her wealth management firm, headquartered in West Chester, manages a portfolio of almost $2 billion with a high retention rate. Since Brennan founded the company in 1990, Key Financial has grown to 30 employees. Brennan is consistently ranked as one of America’s top financial advisors recognized by Forbes, Barron’s, Fortune and the Financial Times. She has also commentated for the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Worth and Kiplinger’s.
“Before she became nationally recognized, Patti was making sure wealth management made sense to businesses and families here in Chester County, and she continues to do so every year at CCEDC’s Annual Economic Outlook,” said Gary W. Smith, CEO of CCEDC. “That kind of dedication to the economic empowerment of the community has always set Patti apart. Her legacy of perseverance has led to remarkable success and serves as an inspiration to the next generation of Chester County business owners.”
Brennan grew up in Newtown Square and has lived in Chester County for almost 35 years since graduating from Georgetown University. She started her own business after working as a financial planner in Center City during the week while working 12-hour shifts at Lankenau Hospital on weekends. She credits her nursing experiences with informing her innovative approach to financial planning.
“When it’s life and death, just being competent may not be enough,” Brennan said. “To me, knowing what to do during periods of uncertainty and crisis for a person, family or business means taking the time to understand them on a holistic basis, and providing real options in terms they can understand. I strongly believe we serve our community by making a difference in the lives of every person we meet, whether we are at the bedside, at a workstation or in a boardroom.”
Brennan currently serves on the boards of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine as well as Connect Thru Cancer and the Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital Foundation Finance and Investment Committee. She is a former member of Chester County Hospital’s Main Board and a former Chair of the Retirement Plan Committee, as well as a former board member of CCEDC and its lending affiliate Seedcopa. She is a winner of the March of Dimes Chester County Women of Achievement Award, and was chosen as a “Power Woman to Watch” by Main Line Today magazine.
Mike Grigalonis, CCEDC President and COO, said, “In addition to serving in leadership positions on a national basis for her industry, Patti brings her warmth and energy back to the community. That spirit of service was key to her induction into the Chester County Hall of Fame.”
Past inductees include Chris Annas of Meridian Bank (2022), James E. McErlane of Lamb McErlane, PC (2021); Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet of Victory Brewing Company (2020); Michael L. Pia of South Mill Champs (2019); Claudia P. Hellebush of United Way of Chester County (2018); Dr. Jerry Parker of Delaware County Community College (2017); W. Thomas Musser of The Tri-M Group, LLC (2016) and more.
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