Our E1 member Meredith Sesser has owned and operated the Encino-based Meredith J. Sesser Professional Law Corporation since 2018. There, she practices employee benefits law, ERISA and benefits taxation.
With 23 years of pension and ERISA experience, Meredith routinely assists businesses and non-profit organizations in the preparation, implementation, operation and termination of retirement plans, such as defined benefit and cash balance pension plans, 401(k) profit-sharing plans, and 403(b) plans. She represents employers in Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) controversies, including investigations, audits, and voluntary compliance to prevent or correct plan disqualification and fiduciary breaches.
Additionally, Meredith counsels her clients (including business owners with anywhere from one employee to hundreds) on inadvertent filing errors, resolving inaccuracies and working vigorously to successfully abate IRS penalties charged to employers with late or negligent filings of Form 5500 (Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan). Meredith advises employers on employee benefit claims, as well, including business structuring and employment relationships, how to determine and analyze controlled and affiliated groups, and leased and staff employees to ensure that a business owner’s retirement benefits are not subject to scrutiny by the IRS.
A founding member of Echelon in 2019, Meredith says, “I first heard about Echelon from Mark Fishman, since I sublet office space from him, and the Encino 1 Group Meetings are held right in my building, so it’s been super convenient! I chose to join Echelon not for networking, but, instead, so I could get help with business advice since I am a sole practitioner. The majority of people in my group are also small business owners, so we face the same issues, like succession plans, hiring employees, marketing, what are the best ways to send Xmas cards or gift baskets – small biz issues like that. Because my fellow members are small business owners, I get great ideas from them which help me with my firm. While it’s always nice to get a new client through networking, the real benefit to me of being an Echelon member is to make connections with people similar to me. For example, I got an email from someone in my Echelon group asking me about retirement plans – this demonstrates how Echelon can be a wonderful resource.
Also, Echelon definitely helps its members improve their marketing – I enjoy receiving their Professional Magazine because I like reading about people I know. In fact, I recently saw a copy of Echelon’s Professional Magazine laying atop a table at a restaurant in the Valley! The Echelon meeting groups are small, everyone gets a chance to talk, and, to me, it feels more like a ‘hang out’ than a strict meeting. I appreciate this, because the meetings are not formal — they’re not like structured business meetings where people are falling asleep. Other networking groups I’ve belonged to always had a strict protocol to their meetings. I much prefer the structure of Echelon’s approach.”
Meredith, her husband Chad, who’s a Disney Marketing Executive, and their three sons recently took a two-week vacation to Italy. She loves to travel with her family when she can, and loves going to the gym. Meredith’s three sons are: Sean, a high school senior and Lacrosse player (who is currently looking at colleges — which must have a great sports team!), and Jake and Dylan who are 15 year old twins. Jake is also a Lacrosse player and Dylan loves basketball.