Our Extended Team

The team members highlighted below are internal Baird experts, who assist us with complex client issues.  They provide a deeper level of expertise as it relates to estate planning, income tax planning, insurance planning, and investment portfolios.  These are just a few of the many Baird resources we may call upon to ensure our clients are receiving the best financial advice.

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Gail S. Freeman, J.D.
Senior Estate Planner

Gail Freeman joined Robert W. Baird & Co. in 2020. Gail is currently a Senior Estate Planner for Baird’s Private Wealth Management Group.

Prior to joining Baird, Gail was a Senior Wealth Planning Strategist for Wells Fargo Private Bank in New York City. Throughout her career in both law and financial services, Gail has worked with individuals and families advising on a broad range of sophisticated estate planning strategies and developing customized wealth plans based on a thorough understanding of each client’s personal values, asset growth and wealth transfer goals. Helping each client to realize their unique vision for their legacy, Gail has utilized both tax and non-tax solutions to achieve that vision.

Gail graduated from the University of South Carolina and earned her J.D. from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois.


Linda Grant-Smith, CFP®
Regional Financial Planner

Linda is a Regional Financial Planner at Baird having joined the firm July of 2017. Possessing a unique balance of compassion and wisdom, allows her to guide and support those around her. Linda’s story-like approach to Financial Planning is what sets her apart from the rest of the field. As a CFP®, she caters to all clients through her creation of visual, calculated, and proactive plans. These plans serve as a compass through the territory of taxation, investments, insurances, health care, education, final wishes, and anything else falling under the broad scope of personal finances.

Linda earned her BA from Wesleyan University in Russian Studies with a concentration in teaching, holds the Certified Financial Planner® designation and received a Certificate in Business Succession Planning from the American College. She currently holds the series 7, 66, 63, 51, 26, 24, life, health, annuity and property and casualty insurance licenses.

Prior to joining Baird, Linda was a financial planner and advisor at various independent firms. Throughout her tenure, she has been published in the Financial Planning magazine, received multiple writing and speaking awards, and has conducted numerous educational seminars to other professionals.

Linda and her husband, Scott, reside in Centerville, TN and enjoy the countryside activities of hiking, kayaking, and boating the Duck and Piney Rivers. They have three grown sons, of whom they are very proud.


Kathy Blake Carey, CFA
Director of PWM Research

Kathy Carey is Director of Research for Baird’s Private Wealth Management group. In this role, she oversees the Asset Manager Research, Equity and Fixed Income Research, and Value Equity Research Teams.

She is a co-portfolio manager for the ALIGN Strategic Portfolios where she is involved with investment, asset allocation and rebalancing decisions, as well as due diligence of the portfolios. Additionally, she is a voting member of Baird’s Equity Recommended Portfolio and sits on the firm’s Investment Policy Committee.

Previously, Kathy spent nine years as an equity analyst and sector portfolio manager with Mason Street Advisors, the public investment subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual. Before that, she was a senior associate in Baird’s Equity Research Department covering Utilities and Financial Technology for four years.

Kathy received a bachelor of arts degree from Yale University and an MBA from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. She has earned the CFA® charter and is a member of the CFA® Society of Milwaukee. She also holds Series 7 and 24 licenses. Kathy is treasurer of the Yale Association of Wisconsin and a member of its scholarship committee.


Erica Kroll  

Erica Kroll joined Baird in 2003 and has over 14 years experience in the financial services industry. As the Insurance Specialist for Baird Insurance Services, Erica supports Baird Financial Advisors in insurance planning concepts from the most simple to advanced wealth transfer planning techniques. Erica also assists in evaluating client’s existing insurance portfolios.  Erica is a Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) designee and has advanced education in long-term care planning. She also holds the FINRA Series 6 & 63 licenses, as well as, the WI life and health licenses.