Challenging an Industry to Evolve

Bringing the family-value approach to the world

JR Gondeck & Vanessa N. Martinez | Wealth Advisors | Authors

JR Gondeck and Vanessa N. Martinez are managing directors and partners of The Lerner Group at Hightower Advisors, responsible for around $1.4 billion in assets. In 2020, Forbes featured both JR and Vanessa on its Best-In-State Wealth Advisors list. JR and Vanessa offer business and financial consultations.

JR Gondeck

Walter “JR” Gondeck Jr. has been driven to succeed since his paper route in the first grade. He grew up in northern Wisconsin, making money by milking cows throughout high school. JR went on to earn his BS in Finance from Marquette University, working all the while at a local bank and graduating a semester early.

His first job out of college was a temporary position at Morgan Stanley under Dr. Eugene Lerner, a former professor of Alan Greenspan’s at the University of Chicago. JR parlayed his temporary position into a full-time advisor role with Lerner went on to become his greatest mentor.

JR entered the Kellogg School of Management, earning his MBA while continuing to work under Lerner. The two worked together at Morgan Stanley for ten years before transitioning to Hightower in 2012.

He is currently a Managing Director and Partner at The Lerner Group, leading investment research. JR leverages his deep knowledge of the global financial markets and passion for investing to guide clients through market trends.

JR Gondeck

Vanessa N. Martinez

Vanessa N. Martinez was born and raised in Chicago. Vanessa’s father is from El Salvador and her mother is from Guatemala, though they met in the U.S. Vanessa spent her summers in Guatemala and knew that is where she wanted to go to college. She earned her BA from San Carlos University of Guatemala.

Guatemala helped her understand just how prosperous America was on the international stage and it inspired her to make philanthropy a core piece of her identity. She remained in Guatemala for six years, working as the international sales manager for a lumber company. As only one of the four women in a company of 500, Vanessa learned how to thrive in a male-dominated industry.

She later returned to the U.S. to earn her MBA at North Park University. Vanessa wished not only to make the right financial decision for her future but to help others do the same. While at North Park, she worked for JP Morgan Chase as a personal banker before becoming a branch manager.

After graduation, Vanessa joined The Lerner Group at Hightower where she is currently a Managing Director and Partner. Vanessa’s primary focus is guiding families through all aspects of their wealth. This passion enables her to dive deep into family dynamics and find actionable solutions for complex problems.

Vanessa N. Martinez

Read their latest posts on ForbesBooks AuthorVoice and