Who We Are

You are here now : Cornerstone Wealth Advisors > About > Who We Are

What’s in a Name?

Centuries ago, the builder would select the cornerstone first before laying the building’s foundation. If the cornerstone was not perfectly square, that stone would be rejected, because the foundation would be out of line without the perfect cornerstone.

The name cornerstone also has a biblical reference. Jesus Christ was referred to in scripture as “the cornerstone that the builders rejected” in reference to the fact that He was the foundation of His church on earth, rejected by His people.

Our firm is first and foremost a financial planning firm. It is our belief that your future always begins with the proper foundation, which is a well- built financial plan. The wealth management process therefore begins with the plan as a foundation and a well-built plan begins with selecting the proper cornerstone, namely Cornerstone Wealth Advisors, Inc. to help you build that foundation correctly.


Cornerstone Wealth Advisors, Inc. (CWA) is a Registered Investment Advisory Firm providing wealth management services to women in transition, affluent families, professionals, business owners, executives and retirees who need a game plan for the second half of their lives and a coach to help them navigate the pitfalls of retirement. We provide our services within an independent family office setting by offering comprehensive, integrated wealth management including budgeting, bookkeeping, tax prep and business consulting services through our sister company, Barrett Solutions. Therefore, we can orchestrate for affluent clients a broader range of financial services than most firms due to the scope of our core competencies.

We are fee-based advisors. This allows us to be product neutral when recommending a strategy or solution to our clients, thus acting with a true fiduciary perspective. The exception to this rule involves complex wealth management strategies for our more affluent clients, which may include insurance solutions that are offered through our broker dealer relationship and are by design, commission-based solutions. In these instances, we will always provide multiple options to the client and complete fee disclosure to the client.


Denise Barrett CEO
Denise Barrett, CEO,
Co-Founder, Investment Advisor Representative
Denise, her husband Sean, and Michael Sellman created Cornerstone Wealth Advisors, Inc. in 2010. As part of Sean’s recent succession plan, Denise has stepped into the CEO position and will bring to Cornerstone over 30 years of management experience as an entrepreneur and founder of our sister company Barrett Solutions, Inc.

Denise helped lay the foundation for Cornerstone and has referred many of our current clients. Barrett Solutions is a successful consulting and bookkeeping business, with over 200 clients, including individuals who own small businesses as well as executives in the corporate workplace. By adding the financial consulting and bookkeeping services to the offerings of a Registered Investment Advisory firm, we are able offer a broad range of Family Office services from offices in Carlsbad and Dana Point, CA.

Denise brings a wealth of experience to individuals in business from her personal experience building one of the largest bookkeeping firms in Southern California.

Denise and her husband Sean have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. The grand kids are her favorite hobby!As a consultant to small to mid-sized business owners, she has had many years of experience working on retirement planning issues and business exit strategies.

Michael Sellman, CFP®,
Chief Compliance Officer, Investment Advisor Representative
Michael began his career in Boise, ID working for Smith Barney. He specialized in the institutional side of the business where he focused on institutional trading and client relations.  In 2008 he decided to move to San Diego where he began his partnership with Sean Barrett at Morgan Stanley.Michael shared Sean’s aspiration of creating a truly independent wealth management firm and assisted Sean with the formation of Cornerstone Wealth Advisors, Inc.

Michael is a graduate of Boise State University with a BBA in Finance. Michael also holds the Certified Financial Planner® designation. Outside of the office, he enjoys Boise State football, travel and being active.

Lucinda Salinas,
Investment Advisor Representative
Lucinda Salinas has served high net worth individuals, their families and their businesses as a trusted wealth manager since 1986. She has a full understanding of the inextricable connection between an entrepreneur’s business and personal life, especially regarding women, and is an expert in developing the strategies and solutions that meet personal and financial goals.

Lucinda founded an insurance brokerage, successfully grew it to 125 agents and profitably sold it. Business succession issues, including managing a portfolio instead of a business, are no stranger to her. Prior to joining Cornerstone Wealth Advisors she spent six years as a wealth manager for a major investment firm where she mastered integrating the most sophisticated techniques Wall Street has to offer with the personal goals of her clients. She cares deeply about her clients and brings that expertise to them today without the bias of single source products and solutions.

Lucinda Salinas holds prestigious credentials that include Certified Financial Planner®, Chartered Financial Consultant®, Chartered Life Underwriter® and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor®. She has served as president of Women’s Business Institute, Inc., as a board member of National Association of Women Business Owners, Orange County Chapter, and is a founding member of Women’s Circle of Wishes which benefits Make-a-Wish-OC and Inland Empire. She is also a trustee and active member of World Affairs Council of Orange County. Lucinda Salinas has been recognized by Orange Coast Magazine as a Five Star Wealth Manager and nominated for the Women in Business Award by Orange County Business Journal.

David Owens,
Investment Advisor Representative
David is an Investment Advisor Representative with Cornerstone Wealth Advisors specializing in retirement plans for local business and asset management for individuals and families.  Originally from Napa, he graduated from UC San Diego where he received a BS degree in Biology.  While in college David was recruited by a small company where he was ultimately promoted to GM/Executive President.

In 2007, due to the pending sale of the business, he decided to pursue his passion of investment management and financial planning.  David was a former advisor with Edward Jones, and also with the Financial Planning Division of MetLife, before ultimately realizing he needed to move to a truly independent Wealth Management firm to best serve his clients.

Believing in investing in his community, as well as the markets, he is also the President-Elect of the Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary.  In his free time, he enjoys camping, hiking, movies, watching football and just spending time with his daughter!

Isabel Vargas-Brodsky,
Client Service Associate
Before joining Cornerstone Wealth Advisors, Isabel spent a little over 14 years in New England. For 13 of those years she was employed by International Planning Group in Wellesley, MA where she gained experience in international and domestic insurance in the role as a New Business Manager.

In April 2014 Isabel joined the Cornerstone Wealth Advisors team as an Client Service Associate.Isabel and 2 of her 4 children returned back to Carlsbad last summer where she resided previously to moving to Boston.

When she is not enjoying running, doing yoga, singing, or cooking, Isabel likes to find ways to give back to her communities. She volunteered for two years in the Mississippi area assisting those individuals affected by Katrina. Having been born in Mexicali, Baja, Mexico, Isabel is fluent in Spanish.