Alyson GrahamTrust and Estate Specialist
Alyson Graham is a Trust and Estate Specialist for Willis Investment Counsel. A trust and estate attorney for over 12 years prior to joining WIC, Ms. Graham serves as a resource to WIC clients, concentrating and specializing her efforts for clients in the firm’s family office.
Championing a holistic approach to estate and wealth planning, Ms. Graham works with clients, their families and their advisors to help clients understand and achieve their estate and wealth planning goals.
Prior to joining WIC, Ms. Graham spent over 11 years in private practice as a trust, estate and tax attorney working with high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals and their families, first with Stewart, Melvin and Frost, LLP, followed by Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP in Atlanta. Most recently, she served as SVP and Head of Personal Trust Services at Ameris Bank.
Ms. Graham graduated magna cum laude with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Georgia State University College of Law, and earned a Masters of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from New York University School of Law. She holds a B.S. in environmental design, cum laude, from Auburn University.
Ms. Graham serves on the Executive Committee and the Legislative Committee of the Georgia Bar Association Fiduciary Law Section. Other professional organizations in which she is a member include the Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section and the Taxation Section of the American Bar Association, and the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar.
She is a graduate of the Leadership Hall County Program Class of 2012-2013 and the Philanthropic Advisor Leadership Institute (PALI) Class of 2016-2017, and is currently participating as a member of the 2022-2023 inaugural class of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) Southeast Fellows Institute.
Suzanne E. BagwellClient Service Associate
Ms. Bagwell is a Client Service Associate for Willis Investment Counsel. Her primary responsibilities include portfolio administration and other matters in support of the firm’s operations team.
Kaitlyn E. SmithOperations Associate
Ms. Smith is an Operations Associate for Willis Investment Counsel. Her primary responsibilities include client reporting, special projects, and other matters in support of the firm’s operations team.
Ms. Smith holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from Georgia Southern University.
Tracey A. PattonSenior Analyst
Ms. Patton is a senior research analyst for Willis Investment Counsel. Her primary responsibilities include conducting equity research for the WIC Core Equity (large-cap) Strategy and assisting in the day-to-day management of the WIC Managed Volatility and Income Strategy.
She is a member of the Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County.
Ms. Patton holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from North Georgia College and State University with a concentration in finance and accounting.
Julia R. PadghamFirm Administrator
Ms. Padgham is the Firm Administrator for Willis Investment Counsel. Her primary responsibilities include day-to-day firm operations, portfolio administration, client service, and other matters in support of the firm’s operations team.
Ms. Padgham holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Atlanta College of Art.
John M. LewisSenior Analyst
Mr. Lewis is a senior research analyst for Willis Investment Counsel. His primary responsibilities include conducting research for the WIC Small Cap Value Strategy, the WIC Fixed Income Strategy, and other areas of research within the firm.
Mr. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Georgia with a concentration in finance. He has passed Level I of the CFA Program.
Natalie R. ChallenDirector of Relationship Management
Ms. Challen is the Director of Relationship Management for Willis Investment Counsel. Her primary responsibilities include supporting the trading operations of Willis Investment Counsel, portfolio analytics, and technology-driven projects. She also serves as secondary support for our operations team in terms of reporting, compliance, and client service.
She is a board member of the Quinlan Visual Arts Center, a tri-chair for the Medical Center Auxiliary’s Marketplace, and is a graduate of Leadership Hall. In addition, she serves on the Board of Trustees for Lakeview Academy.
Ms. Challen holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Georgia with a concentration in finance.
Robert T. Willis, Jr., CFACEO and Chief Investment Officer
Mr. Willis is the founder, CEO, and Chief Investment Officer of Willis Investment Counsel. He oversees portfolio design, participates in securities selection and fundamental analysis, and chairs the firm’s investment committee.
Prior to founding WIC in 1979, Mr. Willis was a tax accountant in the Atlanta office of Arthur Andersen & Co. He is also a former trustee and investment committee member of the State of Georgia Employee Pension Fund and served on the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors during Governor Deal’s administration.
Mr. Willis holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, with high distinction, from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School where he also serves as a guest lecturer. He is a member of the CFA Institute, the Atlanta Society of Financial Analysts and the Rotary Club of Gainesville.
Giovanna M. GoldenPortfolio Administrator
Ms. Golden is a Portfolio Administrator for Willis Investment Counsel. Her primary responsibilities include client service, portfolio administration, and other matters in support of the firm’s operations team.
Ms. Golden holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgia State University.
Brett M. Slattery, CFADirector of Research and Portfolio Manager
Mr. Slattery is the Director of Research for Willis Investment Counsel. He also manages the firm’s Core Equity (large-cap) Strategy and serves on the firm’s investment committee.
Prior to joining WIC, Mr. Slattery was a senior portfolio manager at Harris SBSB (a unit of BMO Financial Group) for three years, and an equity research analyst at Abingdon Capital Management for seven years.
Mr. Slattery holds an MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. He is also a member of the CFA Institute.
Kelli M. Wright
CCO and VP, Operations & Trading
Ms. Wright is the Chief Compliance Officer and Vice President of Operations and Trading for Willis Investment Counsel. She oversees securities trading, the portfolio accounting and client reporting systems, and portfolio monitoring for client specific investment policy compliance. She holds the IACCP® designation (Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional). The IACCP® is a professional program granting the designation to individuals who complete an 18-month program of study of the Investment Advisers Act, pass a certifying examination, and meet certain work experience, ethics and continuing education requirements.
Prior to joining WIC, Ms. Wright served as a financial advisor for the private banking group of Wachovia Bank of Georgia (now Wells Fargo).
Ms. Wright holds a Bachelor of Science degree and an MBA degree (concentration in finance) from Auburn University.
James J. KilroyPresident and Portfolio Manager
Mr. Kilroy is the President of Willis Investment Counsel, having responsibility in the areas of strategy, client relations, firm operations, and portfolio management. He serves as the portfolio manager for the Small Cap Value Strategy, and is also a member of the firm’s investment committee.
Prior to joining WIC, Mr. Kilroy was an analyst with Abingdon Capital Management, a long/short hedge fund, for seven years. Mr. Kilroy’s tenure at Abingdon Capital Management was preceded by two years as an equity research analyst at Bear, Stearns & Co. covering the multi-industrials sector, and four years as an investment banker with SunTrust Equitable Securities.
Mr. Kilroy serves on the Board of Directors of Healthcare Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: HR) Healthcare Realty is a publicly-traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that focuses on owning, managing, acquiring and developing outpatient medical facilities throughout the United States. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Lakeview Academy. Additionally, Mr. Kilroy is a board member of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and Elachee Nature Science Center, where he serves on the investment committee.
Mr. Kilroy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.