Our Team

Cynthia E. Vance, J.D., CFP®, ChFC®

Cynthia is the Chief Executive Officer and a founding partner of Sterling Investment Counsel, LLC. She is also a partner at Jensen, Marks, Langer, & Vance, LLC, a comprehensive wealth planning firm.

Cynthia began working in the financial services industry in 1983 after practicing for a large Western New York law firm, where she specialized in the area of tax-exempt bond financing and commercial transactional work. She earned her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) certification in 1988, her Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) designation in 2001 and her Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation in 2016. Utilizing her vast financial and legal experiences supporting individual clients, trusts, businesses and employee benefit plans, she is a member of Sterling's Investment Policy Committee.

Cynthia has her MBA with a concentration in Taxation from Xavier University and graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law. Cynthia is a member of the Board of Directors of Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of W.N.Y., Inc., where she also serves on the management committee and is chair of the development committee. In 2014 she was awarded the Board Volunteer award at the 7th Annual Champions for Justice Bash and received the 2015 Woman of Distinction award from the Girl Scouts of Western New York. Cynthia is a member of the Board of Trustees for Canisius College and is serving on the board of the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association (WNED). Cynthia has been a member of the Junior League since 1986, where she has volunteered many hours over the years, and is a past recipient of The Sustainer Council Award.

 

Christopher M. Marks, J.D., MBA

Chris is the Chief Compliance Officer and a founding partner of Sterling Investment Counsel, LLC. He is also a partner at Jensen, Marks, Langer, & Vance, LLC, a comprehensive wealth planning firm.

Chris began working in the financial services industry with Jensen, Marks, Langer and Vance, LLC and its predecessor in 1997. His focus has primarily been working with closely held businesses and their owners and executives, professional practices, and wealthy individuals, helping them to develop and implement broad based financial plans. Previously, Chris practiced law at Phillips Lytle, a large law firm in Buffalo, New York and worked at the New York City office of the international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he began his career. In his role as Chief Compliance Officer, Chris draws on his financial and legal experiences to oversee the adherence of the firm's policies and procedures. Chris is a member of Sterling's Investment Policy Committee.

Chris received his B.S. in Accountancy from Villanova University, his MBA from St. Bonaventure University, and graduated cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law. He serves on the Board of Directors of NativityMiguel Middle School of Buffalo and on the Board of Directors of Servotronics, Inc.

 

James T. Goede, CFA®

James is the Chief Investment Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Sterling Investment Counsel, LLC.

As a member of Sterling's Investment Policy Committee, James is responsible for assisting with the creation of and maintaining the firm's asset allocation strategies, performing research and due diligence on all new investment opportunities, and utilizing his capital markets background to provide economic and market analysis. Prior to joining Sterling, James worked at the New York City office of the international accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP, within EY's Restructuring Advisory Services group. At EY, he focused on distressed creditor and debtor advisory and corporate viability assessments. Previously, James was with Aberdeen Asset Management, where he was a high yield fixed income analyst within the portfolio management team for the Aberdeen Global High Income Fund, focusing on in-depth, bottom-up corporate credit and industry research. James started his career with BNY Mellon, in their Asset Servicing segment, where he worked in both of BNYM's New York City and London offices. 

James graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Accounting. He has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation. James is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Terese Kelly Investment Group, which is an investment-management course for both undergraduate and graduate students at the University at Buffalo.

 

John Langer, MBA

John is a founding partner of Sterling Investment Counsel, LLC. He is also a partner at Jensen, Marks, Langer, & Vance, LLC, a comprehensive wealth planning firm.

John's background includes over 25 years of financial and management experience with Buffalo Savings Bank/Goldome, Marine Midland Mortgage Corporation (now HSBC), and Citibank. Also, he was Chief Operating Officer with Title Network, Ltd. a WNY based title insurance business. He has been with Jensen, Marks, Langer & Vance LLC and its predecessor company since 2000. Utilizing his vast financial and management experience, he is a member of Sterling's Investment Policy Committee.

John holds a B.S. in Economics and Finance, with honors, from Canisius College, and a MBA with a concentration in Finance from Simon Business School at University of Rochester. He is a past adjunct Professor of Financial Planning, Retirement Planning and Employee Benefits, and Investment Planning in Medaille College's CFP®, MBA and Undergraduate Programs. He has taught in the Advanced Programs at D'Youville College and the Center for Financial Training.

 

Phillip K. Vance

Phil is a founding partner of Sterling Investment Counsel, LLC. He is also a partner at Jensen, Marks, Langer, & Vance, LLC, a comprehensive wealth planning firm.

Phil began his career in the financial services industry in 1993 and has since focused his professional practice on providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services to corporate executives, professionals and business owners. Phil is a member of Sterling's Investment Policy Committee.

Phil has an undergraduate degree from Montana State University. He is a past President and board member of the Ellicottville Ski Club, Inc. where he has served in an executive position for 13 years. He has also served actively in the community by coaching youth soccer and baseball and is a certified USSA ski race coach.