Our Team

Our Team

Christian R. Benard, CFP®, EA, AIF®

Senior Partner

Christian Benard is the founder of, and senior partner with, Innovative Financial Inc. Christian works with clients on their investment portfolios, using his knowledge and experience to educate them to understand their income, investments, and available opportunities better. By working one-on-one with his clients, Christian assists them by implementing short-term, mid-term, and long-term strategies. In addition to working with clients, Christian is an instructor for the FMT Solutions Retirement Planning Today® educational workshops held throughout the southeast Michigan area.

Christian attended Walsh College on an academic scholarship, where he earned a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in finance. He is a registered representative and investment adviser representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®. Christian is registered to sell mutual funds, stocks, bonds, variable contracts, and various other financial products. He is also licensed by the state of Michigan to sell annuities and life, health, and disability income insurance.

Christian is also involved with different organizations on a personal level. Christian is very active in martial arts. Throughout college, and for five years after, Christian was codirector of a local karate academy. Christian is a third-degree black belt and a 10-time international grand champion. Christian directed the children's program for five years and is still a major proponent of the discipline karate provides. Christian also enjoys running and has completed three marathons.

Christian is active in different community projects. He sits on the Chippewa Valley Schools Business Advisory Committee. He has participated in the Clinton River cleanup and MS Fundraising, and he is a St. Jude Children's Hospital event organizer and sponsor. He is also a sponsor of the LCN Thunder girls softball team.


BBA with a concentration in finance
Key presenter for Retirement Planning Today course













Licenses and Registrations:

FINRA Series 7 - General Securities Representative registration
FINRA Series 24 - General Securities Principal registration
FINRA Series 66 - Investment Adviser Representative registration (an equivalent of both the FINRA Series 63 and Series 65 securities registrations)
Michigan life, accident, and health insurance licenses
Enrolled Agent: Enrolled to practice before the IRS


Fixed insurance products and services offered by Innovative Financial Inc. are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth.

Maria Elgert

Service Manager

Maria is our service manager.  Her tasks at Innovative Financial Inc. encompass all service-related items for existing clients.  Maria's job is to make sure you are receiving your statements, scheduling client appointments each quarter, preparing all information for client appointments, and everything in between. Maria is thrilled to be a part of such a unique company. Through attention to detail, enthusiasm, and reliability, she strives for customer satisfaction. She looks forward to assuring all clients' needs and expectations are exceeded.

Maria is currently attending Wayne State University, pursuing an undergraduate degree in biology.

Bridget Hockenberry

Computer Operations

Bridget is in charge of all computer operations for Innovative Financial Inc. Her tasks include inputting all notes from client meetings and client correspondence. She also follows a daily checklist to back up our system and to make sure our important information is correct and protected. In today's information age, we feel there is a pressing need to protect our clients' information and Bridget is dedicated to that mission.

Bridget earned her bachelor's of business administration in finance from Oakland University.