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Get to Know Clerestory Advisors!

In this month’s blog post, we bring you a closer look at the people behind the operation.  Read on to find out more about Karen, Liz and Tom……


Meet Karen Archambault

Karen is our efficient and friendly administrative assistant.  She helps us with everything from creating new investment accounts to preparing for annual client meetings. 


  •          What do you enjoy about being a part of Clerestory Advisors?

The work atmosphere is professional as well as relaxed.  I honestly like the people I work with.  I know my opinions are valued and I’m considered a part of “the team.”  The clients I deal with are all very personable and easy to work with even though I’m usually asking them for something – statements, taxes, new passwords, signatures etc.  The variety of duties that I have keeps things fresh and from recent studies I’ve learned it should help at my age to keep Alzheimer’s at bay.  I also enjoy my flexible hours and my Fridays off- who couldn’t agree with that?!


  •          What is your favorite trip that you have ever taken?   

Italy in 2000- We were in Italy for 16 days and went from Rome to Venice, Florence, Sienna and finally Santa Margherita.  The first part of the trip was spent in museums, churches and visiting antiquities.  We saw the David, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, the Vatican, including a glimpse of the pope riding in the pope-mobile in St Peter’s square, the Coliseum, gondolas, Montepulciano and all those wonderful hill towns, all the while eating fabulous food and drinking even more fabulous wines. 


  •          What book are you currently reading?

A Man Called Ove- It’s a heartwarming story about a recently widowed man: a man of few words, strict routines and plenty of opinions right down to what kind of car a person should drive and it’s definitely not a BMW.  Ove is a curmudgeon with a capital C but even so you can’t help but like him and hope he finds his way in the world without his loving wife by his side.


Meet Liz Alf

Liz is our newest addition to Clerestory Advisors and acts as an associate planner.  She works on many tasks from guiding the on-boarding process with new clients to helping with the annual portfolio rebalancing. 


  •          What do you enjoy about being a part of Clerestory Advisors?

I love the opportunity to work with our clients- they’re the best! For the last nine years, I was a high school science teacher and one of my favorite parts of that work was being able to help my students both in learning and life.  Working at Clerestory allows me to use my background in education to help people organize their finances and understand the path to reaching their financial goals.  I also appreciate that there is a large variety of work from thinking through tax planning strategies to researching investments to preparing analyses for client meetings.  Of course it’s also great to work with family!


  •          What are some of your favorite hobbies or activities outside of work?

I have recently become a huge fan of running even through the chilly Chicago winter.  My longest run to date has been a 10 miler- but I’m aiming for a half marathon in the near future.  I also love trying out new recipes both when making dinners or baking treats.  I’m often checking out fun cooking blogs looking for new ideas to try out on my husband and friends.  My husband and I are huge dog people and have adopted two dogs through a local rescue organization.  You can often find us going on long walks with our pups or trying to do some training at home J  


  •          What is your favorite place to visit and why?

My ultimate place to take a vacation is a beach- almost any beach will do.  One of my favorites is the beach along the North Carolina coast.  My extended family vacations here every couple of years for a week in the summer and it’s a great chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful summer weather!  I’ve also had the great fortune to visit beaches from California to the Dominican Republic to the Bahamas and had a great time at all of them soaking up the sun, reading a ton and swimming with the fish.


 Meet Tom Alf

Tom is our founder and principal advisor.  He is the guiding force behind Clerestory Advisors and works to manage the client investment process. 


  •          What do you enjoy about being a part of Clerestory Advisors?

I love being able to spend the time needed to personally understand each client’s situation and plan for their financial future.  I enjoy helping clients make progress each year towards long term goals despite life’s obstacles.  In this way, I feel that we are making a positive difference in people’s lives.


  •          What are some of your favorite hobbies or activities outside of work?

I enjoy reading- especially mysteries (favorite authors are Louise Penny and William Kent Krueger) and historical fiction.  I also enjoy traveling and hope to continue doing so both across the US and overseas.  Exercise has always been a regular part of my life from biking to long walks (non-winter J) to swimming.  In the future, I’d like to begin doing some bird watching in our beautiful Minnesota wilderness.


  •          What is your favorite trip that you have ever taken?

Visiting the Grand Canyon with my father and brother- it was a very special trip.  This was the only time we travelled together without spouses or significant others.  This was also the only time my father ever travelled without my mother.  There were such breathtaking views that words fail to describe how amazing it is.