Zale Crawford, CFP®, ChFC®
Founder and Financial Planner
Zale and his wife, Kristen, have lived in Olympia ever since they were married 23 years ago and have two sons, Sam, age 18, and Charlie, age 14. Both Zale and Kristen have participated in sports throughout their lives; in fact, both had college athletic scholarships. Zale had a football scholarship at the University of Puget Sound, and Kristen had a basketball scholarship at St. Martin’s College. Their boys have followed suit, each participating in several sports, including football, baseball, basketball, and cross country. Sam is currently attending Grand Canyon University. Zale and Kristen understand and appreciate that team sports can help children and teenagers develop skills in leadership, self-discipline, and goal-setting in addition to building physical strength. Zale has coached various teams for his sons over the years, most recently coaching Charlie's football team.
Zale is a passionate outdoorsman, and he and his family can be found during the spring and summer months on their boat, fishing for salmon, crab, and shrimp, sharing their catches with family and friends. He hunts in the fall and winter, and his family often joins him in that, too. They also like camping, hiking, and biking together when they are not busy with sports.
Zale founded Pillar Financial Group in 2013, believing that most investors would prefer a local, independent firm to a large, traditional brokerage company. He has 25 years of experience in financial services, working as a senior financial planner and agency manager for two large national companies. He grew up in Elma, Washington, and graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, minoring in Economics. Kristen has been an elementary school teacher for the past 24 years, the last 14 in the Tumwater School District, where she currently teaches reading to the children in kindergarten through fourth grade.
Volunteer work is important to Zale. In addition to coaching youth sports, he serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County Club, whose mission is to inspire and enable youth to realize their greatness. He also gives time to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, an organization that helps fund and conduct habitat stewardship projects for elk and other wildlife.
Todd Lindley, CFP®, LUTCF
Todd came to Pillar Financial Group in 2016 after running his own financial planning firm, Lindley Financial, for 33 years in Montesano. Todd launched his company soon after receiving his degree from Western Washington University’s School of Business and Economics. Starting Lindley Financial in a small town was a leap of faith, but it was very successful when combined with Todd’s remarkable work ethic. Todd’s wife, Gerrilynn, worked with him from the time the business opened, and two staff members soon joined them. Both Todd and Gerrilynn felt it was a privilege and an honor to serve the Montesano community, especially since Todd grew up there, working in the logging industry as a choker setter to pay for college.
They are both very happy their daughter, Marisa, joined the company in March 2016. This was particularly exciting because they decided to relocate the company to Olympia in November 2016, merging Lindley Financial Services with Pillar Financial Group. For several years, Todd had been looking for a financial planning partner with the same values as his own, and he finally found this in Zale Crawford, CFP®.
Todd coached numerous teams for the Montesano Youth Soccer Club over a 21 year period. He coached both his kids' teams throughout their school years, and continued to coach for 10 years after his children were finished with soccer. He found that coaching gave him an opportunity to demonstrate to his players how much they could accomplish working together as a team, and to teach them life concepts such as accountability, discipline, and respect. He is honored that many players have kept in touch with him long after they left their soccer teams.
Todd also has a close relationship with his alma mater, Western Washington University. He is an emeritus board member on the Alumni Association, and he and Gerrilynn have endowed scholarships both at WWU and at the Grays Harbor Community Foundation. Todd was recognized by WWU as the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for the College of Business and Economics. He was very proud of Marisa when she graduated from WWU in 2015, and was very honored to be the commencement speaker at her graduation ceremony. Todd is also an emeritus board member for the Grays Harbor Community Foundation, which manages public donations for the benefit of multiple nonprofit agencies in Grays Harbor and Pacific County.
Todd and Gerrilynn travel frequently to their second home in Scottsdale, Arizona. In both Olympia and Scottsdale, Todd is a member of a community-wide bible study group and can often be found in the gym or on the golf course when he is not at work.
Chris Bafus, RICP®
Chris and his wife, Allison, were both born and raised in Spokane and were happy to return after they finished college. Chris graduated from Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley and Allison from Ferris High School in Spokane. They met after they both graduated from college: Allison from Eastern Washington University in Cheney with a degree in marketing and Chris from Washington State University in Pullman with a degree in business finance.
Chris began his career in financial planning at MetLife, working first for 2 years under the tutelage of his father, Gerry Bafus, who managed the MetLife office in Spokane for 35 years. Chris took over as manager in 2002 and continued to build on his father’s success, creating an office with a reputation for genuine camaraderie and collaboration among the planners. He joined Pillar Financial Group in 2015.
Allison works with Chris and Keith in the Spokane office as their Client Relationship Manager, and she also is the chief manager for their three children: Chloe, age 18; and twins, Gwen and Cole, age 15. All of them are active soccer players, and Chris has coached them all in the past, sometimes all three in the same season! Besides keeping them physically active, Chris knows that soccer has helped them learn resilience, cooperation, teamwork, and persistence. Chris and Allison are preparing for Chloe's graduation from high school this Spring and will then send her off to Walla Walla in the Fall of 2022 to continue her soccer career and education as a Walla Walla Warrior. Gwen and Cole have started their first year in high school and are looking forward to all that will come from that. They are both playing high school soccer and love representing their school. The family spends their free time in the summer months on their boat, fishing, tubing, and swimming with family and friends in Lake Pend Oreille and Lake Cocolalla. In the winter, they enjoy ski trips together at Schweitzer Mountain.
Chris is an active member of the Manito United Methodist Church, serving on the Memorial and Foundation committee and on the committee which is responsible for modernizing the church while preserving its beauty and dignity. The church was built in 1923, and since Chris loves old buildings and antiques in general, he is perfect for this work. Chris also serves on the Board of Directors for the United Methodist Foundation of the Northwest, where he and other board members help direct the most prudent ways to invest foundation funds; and on the board of the Rockwood Retirement Community, a Spokane life plan community where he is a member of the pension committee and the finance committee.
Keith came to Pillar Financial Group in 2016 with extensive experience in financial planning, having worked for 8 years as the Financial Planning Director at MetLife. In that capacity, he worked with 50 planners, helping them to develop the best possible financial plans for their clients, and was juggling 8 to 15 plans at any given time. He started his financial services career at Bank of America, working there in merchant services for three years after he graduated from Eastern Washington University with degrees in management information systems and operations management. He then joined MetLife, first working for several years as a financial planner and then assuming the Financial Planning Director position. At Pillar Financial Group, he continues his passion for financial planning.
Keith and his wife, Kelly, are both Spokane natives and have lots of family in the area. Kelly also graduated from Eastern Washington University with a degree in teaching and is a second-grade teacher at Liberty Lake Elementary School. Keith and Kelly have two sons, Mason and Logan. Mason is working locally in Spokane, and Logan is attending Washington State University where he studies Business and Finance. Go Cougs!
The family enjoys skiing in the winter at Schweitzer Mountain and Lookout Pass, and all the activities that the surrounding lakes provide during the summer: swimming, boating, and tubing. They are avid fans of several football teams: the WSU Cougars, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Gonzaga University Bulldogs. At the end of the college basketball season each year, Keith, Zale, and Chris make a trip to Las Vegas to participate in the mayhem of March Madness in that city. This follows their trip in February (this one with their wives) to join in the Super Bowl festivities. Keith and Chris have known each other since childhood, as their fathers were college roommates who have remained lifelong friends.
SmartVestor, Pillar Financial Group, and Commonwealth Financial Network are separate and unrelated entities.
Brett grew up in Elma, WA, and has resided in the area his entire life. He graduated from Elma High School in 2008. During his time there, he participated in golf, baseball, wrestling, and FFA. Over the years, Brett has given back to the community by coaching numerous baseball teams, and supports the Elma FFA Chapter. Brett is also an active participant in his church, Malone Assembly of God, where he donates his time as well.
Brett was able to receive several scholarships, which allowed him to attend Grays Harbor College, where he received his Associates of Arts degree in 2010. Brett then attended Washington State University, where he received a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and a Bachelor's Degree in Finance in 2013.
Brett has 7 years of experience in the Financial Services industry, spending his early career at a large national firm and then moving to a local planning firm as an operations associate. Brett joined Pillar Financial Group as an advisor with the goal of growing and learning with the team in an independent personal approach.
Congratulations to Brett and his fiancee, Kisa! Brett proposed over the 2021 holidays. They will be busy the next several months planning their wedding.