We Are Financial Design Studio
A trustworthy team who is passionate about helping others design a path towards financial success-whatever that means for you. Today we have the privilege to come alongside clients from all walks of life and help them as they raise families, reach career milestones, open businesses, celebrate retirement, and achieve financial goals.
It all started back in 2017 when Michelle and Steve Smalenberger decided to start a different kind of firm. They had a vision for flexible plans that could endure the pressures of life which led to the founding of Financial Design Studio (FDS). Since then, the firm has grown, and the team has too. In 2019, Rob Stoll and Trevore Meyer merged their businesses with FDS and became partners.
As we look to the future, we know that as our team continues to grow, our priority will always be to provide each of our clients with great service and our fullest attention. There's always room for more in the FDS family!
Meet Our Team
Michelle Smalenberger, CFP®
Michelle has a passion for helping others develop a path to financial success. She has seen the power of having a financial plan in her own life and wants to help others experience the freedom and excitement that comes with financial confidence.
After over 16 years working at a nationally-recognized firm, she and her husband, Steve, decided to launch their own financial firm, Financial Design Studio. Michelle now couples her experience and technical knowledge with the FDS team to serve you in Deer Park.
As a Certified Financial PlannerTM she shares her enthusiasm for successful financial futures with all clients. She earned her undergraduate degree in Family Financial Planning from Kansas State University. She enjoys educating others about personal finance through her volunteer involvement with Junior Achievement in the classroom.
Selected as a member of the 2016 Investment News class of 40 Under 40, she has also been mentioned in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, XY Planning Network, The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, Kiplinger, Investopedia, Forbes, and Financial Advisor IQ.
Michelle currently serves as a board member for A Better Life for Kids. ABLFK is a non-profit organization founded to provide opportunities and invest in the futures of children, in Ghana, West Africa, who are in need. Michelle also serves on the Finance Committee of Harvest Bible Chapel.
Professionally, Michelle served as an advisory committee member for XY Planning Network.
Michelle is a member of The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), Fee-Only Network, XYPlanningNetwork, CFP® Board, and a Quickbooks ProAdvisor.
Outside of work, you can find Michelle spending time with her family — enjoying the outdoors, woodworking, gardening, crafting, and watching or playing sports like tennis, golf, volleyball, and basketball.
Stephen Smalenberger, EA
Steve savors the ability to achieve successful outcomes with strategic choices. He applies this skill to helping families plan for financial success. He enjoys getting to know each client in Deer Park, and hearing their unique stories which have brought them where they are today.
His years preparing tax returns and bookkeeping for corporations and individuals has allowed Steve to see the importance of planning firsthand. As an Enrolled Agent (EA), he enjoys the careful preparations that make for rewarding results.
Steve earned his undergraduate degree in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University where he was honored to represent the prestigious Evans Scholars Foundation.
Steve serves in ministries at Harvest Bible Chapel, where he and Michelle attend. He also values spending time with family and watching and playing all different sports, especially golf. He also enjoys continually learning anything new, like guitar, home repair, or fly fishing.
Robert Stoll, CFP®, CFA
Rob enjoys helping families discover a vision and purpose for the financial resources they’ve been blessed with. Rob has over two decades of experience in the financial services industry, in which he has helped families achieve their life goals.
Prior to joining Financial Design Studio in Deer Park, he spent nearly 20 years as an investment analyst serving large institutional clients, such as pension funds and endowments. He had also started his own financial planning firm in Barrington which was eventually merged into FDS.
Rob is from Wisconsin and earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before getting his MBA at Loyola University of Chicago.
Rob is a member of The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), Fee-Only Network, XYPlanningNetwork, CFP® Board, and CFA Institute.
Rob currently serves as President on the board of Sustainable Action International (SAI). SAI is a Christian ministry serving the needs of people in La Victoire, Haiti.
In his free time, Rob enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and serving his local church. He’s also an avid fan of cooking smoked barbecue, including competing on the Kansas City Barbecue Society circuit under his team name, “Rob Dog BBQ.”
Rob currently lives in North Barrington, Illinois with his wife Glenda and four children.
Trevore Meyer, CFP®
Trevore’s passion is teaching families how they can make great financial decisions today so that they’re in position to take advantage of new opportunities in the future.
Trevore has over a decade helping families with their financial planning needs. Prior to joining Financial Design Studio in Deer Park, Trevore owned his own firm, Presence Financial, which he launched in 2017 after a six year stint working with another financial planning firm in the Chicagoland area.
He studied Financial Planning with a minor Economics at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia before moving to Chicago after graduation.
Trevore is a member of The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), Fee-Only Network, CFP® Board.
Trevore believes that staying young and joyful at heart is something worthy of striving for. He can be found cracking carefully-crafted jokes whenever possible, at the expense of himself and his co-workers!
He currently lives in North Barrington, Illinois with his wife Courtney and their son.
Jake is a career changer coming to financial planning from a 15-year career with AbbVie where he worked in various roles in sales, marketing, and training. Jake’s excitement for financial planning came from learning to manage his own finances through a search of his own to find a financial advisor. He decided to turn this interest into a career, and is committed to helping families bridge the gap between today and their future dreams and goals.
Jake will complete his CFP® coursework by the end of 2022 from Northwestern. Then he will be eligible to sit for the CFP® exam in early 2023. He was selected to take part in the Summer 2022 FPA externship where he got to see real-world financial planning as it really happens.
When Jake isn’t learning about financial planning, you can find him training for an ultramarathon, playing golf, or spending time traveling with his wife, Katie.
Anna handles our marketing and branding strategy. When you see new designs or discover new content, she’s behind that! She’s great at researching to learn how to do something best, creating a strategy, and finally implementing it.
Right now, Anna is also studying for a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership through Southeastern University. She hopes to lead creative teams on projects that will shape the world.
Her experiences in high school as a home educated student and a kid’s ministry intern allowed her unique opportunities; because of these, she has developed a love of leadership and a desire to serve others.
When she isn’t working or studying, her free time is filled by other pursuits, such as making art for her studio, Fulcrum Ink; reading literature of all kinds, especially Russian novels; and studying theories about space, like special relativity.
Lisa mainly works behind the scenes, so you may not notice all she does. She helps manage our systems so data is updated correctly and files get organized properly. She prefers to handle the tasks that people don’t notice, but we’ll give her all the credit anyway.
She started in 2020 by managing a few marketing tasks. After seeing her ability to learn new things quickly and her attention to detail, she quickly moved onto managing our data.
Lisa followed in her sister Michelle’s footsteps and also graduated from Kansas State University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in social work in 2007. After working for the State of Kansas for almost 5 years she was thankful to be able to become a stay at home mom.
She currently lives in the north Houston, Texas area with her husband, Cale, and their three children. She enjoys serving in Bible Study Fellowship, all things outdoors, traveling, crafting, and supporting her kids in their passions.
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