The Financial Beginnings team is united through our collective mission.
We're working toward a stronger tomorrow through financial education today. Here's how we do so, and the passion behind our roles.

Ronecca Norvell - Chief Executive Officer
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"As a mom of a young child, I know there are many kids and families in our communities whose lives would be better if they felt like finances were a tool they could use to achieve their dreams instead of a barrier. My passion for the mission lies in the obvious need it serves in all our communities and the demonstrated impact financial education makes on both micro and macro levels. We have the potential to change lives and make the world a better place, one learner at a time. I've devoted my career to helping ensure all kids and families can live their best, most fulfilled lives and financial education is an important piece of successful outcomes. Together, we can empower children to take control of their financial futures and make a plan to fulfill their life goals."

Ronecca works with the team (staff, board, and community) to build and realize plans for long-term organizational stability and mission fulfillment.
James Chen - Chief Programming Officer
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"Growing up, I was lucky to have parents who taught me the basic concepts of budgeting and the importance of living within means. However, beyond those principles, I had to teach myself about credit, investing, large purchase planning, etc. As a result, I am empowered to take control of my financial future. The same cannot be said for the vast number of youth and adults across the nation who were not fortunate to receive any financial education, which is where Financial Beginnings' mission fills that gap. Personal finance and education are areas that I'm passionate about and I have the privilege to be in a workspace that can provide access to quality financial education programs."

James sets overall programming priorities and strategy and ensures that our programs align with Financial Beginnings' mission and goals.
Roxanne Myslewski, MBA - Director of Business Development
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"I would be lost without a financial education. I was fortunate to grow up in a family who talked about money not as a taboo, but as a tool to secure a stable future. These ideas and skills are not born into us - they must be taught, practiced, and nurtured. My career has been dedicated to addressing the symptoms of generational poverty, and now I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work to address it head on. Equitable access to financial education is a cornerstone of a thriving society and economy, and is simply the right thing to do. My mission is to use my skills and experience in nonprofit corporate partnership development to make our curriculum available to as many youth and adults who need it - to teach the skills necessary to grow generational wealth through home ownership, higher education, and secure retirement so our nation's children have a better life and a secure future."

Roxanne builds, manages, and stewards corporate partnerships to ensure the strength and reach of our financial education curriculum across the nation.
Tie Odom - Director of Philanthropy
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"I learned early on that making more money without proper education and management could leave even the highest-earning individuals living paycheck to paycheck. I didn't want that for myself, and I knew I didn't want to teach my son to make money but not know how to manage, grow, and sustain his financial life. I've been taught many things about money that shape my mindset and behavior. When I began to understand that the more I strategically manage money, the less it controlled me, and the more confidence I gained in my financial toolbox. I come from a family of hard workers and admire their work ethic, but I also recognize the unfortunate cycle they lived of hard work, small returns, and never-ending bills. I knew I needed to control my income to create a life not riddled with the cycle of the working poor. Financial education is the vehicle that changed the trajectory of my life, and I want that for other people."

Tie works with foundations, corporations, and individuals to build relationships, secure funding, and strengthen community collaborations that push the Financial Beginnings mission forward.
Ash Boodel - Director of Technology
"I grew up in a house where finance wasn't discussed. While in college I accrued a large amount of credit card debt because I didn't understand the process. I was a business major and finance and accounting were course requirements, yet personal finance was never discussed. I want to make sure that this information is available to all. Financial education is important to me to ensure that our youth have the knowledge and tools to avoid the same situation, as well as adults for a better financial outlook."

Ash works to keep Financial Beginnings' technology systems up and running; manages all user profiles, access and P&P; manages security of organizational digital assets; and researches, recommends, and implements new tools.
Althea K. Blake, EdD - eLearning Education & Training Director
"I believe that fostering economic prosperity is a matter of social justice, and is therefore a societal responsibility. As such, I value Financial Beginnings' approach to working with and within communities to make financial education inclusive and accessible. While I am a firm proponent for equitable access to resources, I have come to learn that the value of those resources can be diminished if they're not managed properly. I witnessed this firsthand working in higher education, especially when financial aid payments were disbursed and students' first credit cards came in the mail. Without knowledge of budgeting, savings, credit, etc., these resources that could have helped them get ahead wound up setting them back. Many students are unfortunately leaving college with high value degrees and job offers, but unable to enjoy the fruits of their labor due to considerable debt or poor credit. Therefore, financial education is critical to mitigating the wealth gap and setting up young people and underserved groups for success."

Althea oversees the adaptation of Financial Beginnings' programs and volunteer training into our Learning Management System for virtual engagement.
Chineva Smith - National Program Manager
"Having lived experiences that are similar to the youth and adults that we serve intensifies my passion for equitable and accessible financial education to all. Financial education is one of the most valuable gems that can be passed from generation to generation."

Chineva assists with national growth and expansion efforts, from aspects of partner engagement to the launch and development of new affiliates.
Joanne Danganan - Market Manager
"I grew up in a household where money was a taboo topic. My parents didn't talk to me or my sisters about it, and when they spoke to each other about it, it was usually a heated conversation. Plus, I went to public school in California, which unfortunately provides no standardized personal finance curriculum to its students. With this compounding lack of knowledge, I was ill equipped to manage money, let alone the tens of thousands of dollars I borrowed in student loans to pay for college. I learned about money management the very hard way, setting me back years in wealth building. My situation is not unique, and it is a deep shame that many people like me aren't given a level playing field from the start when it comes to financial education. There are huge gaps of offerings across the board, where some schools may have full semesters of personal finance and most others are unable to provide even one class period on it. It has become my passion to change that situation and to provide resources to the students we impact."

Joanne equips financial educators and financial literacy advocates with the tools and training necessary to provide financial education to those in their communities who need it most.
Jason Krukowski - Graphic Designer
"I am very fortunate to have a mother that did her best to teach me the value of money management and managing finances before I went off to college. Most of what I learned stuck, but the truth is, I had to learn a great deal more on my own. I definitely made choices that I wish I had received better guidance and education on before making them, especially with student loans. I still remember the first time I read the [Financial Beginnings] mission and how deeply that sentence resonated with me. I believe everyone should have equal access to receive financial education that will better prepare them for long-term stability. "

Jason is the creative conduit by which everyone's visions, ideas, and messaging are manifested into graphic designs, communications, and programs.
Ashley Kusiek - Office Administrator/Assistant
"Like so many people, finances were not talked about in my home. The bills were paid (or not paid) and as children we didn't know how our family's finances worked. It was only later in life I learned about my parents' large debt and their lack of understanding about finances that contributed to that accumulation. As a teenager, I started working as a bank teller and quickly learned about debt, credit, and money management. I have helped my parents get a hold of their finances over time. The mission to educate youth about finances is so important so more families can understand and speak to each other openly. If you can start at the beginning with an understanding of finances, you are already ahead and are set to make choices you will not regret as you get older."

Ashley manages all office needs and assists the leadership team with administrative duties while supporting extended staff.
Financial Beginnings USA
Board of Directors

Tom Soma - Retired Non-Profit CEO
FBUSA Board Chair

"Understanding how commerce works and learning how to manage money is critical to the future success of every child."
Donald L. Bielen, MBA, Certified Financial Planner, CM&AA - Perkins & Co.
FBUSA Board Treasurer

"Our mission and vision embodies the organization's ability to provide the financial tools and awareness to help people across the U.S. to thrive in the complex world of finance. The curriculum serves as the foundational building blocks that are essential and sorely lacking in our current educational system."
Mike Fisher, MBA, LIIF - COUNTRY Financial
FBUSA Board Secretary

"It has been a longtime passion of mine to champion financial empowerment through greater financial literacy, particularly in communities of color. I am delighted to be part of an organization that focuses on helping to strengthen family financial security."
Bridget Banz - Farmers New World Life Insurance
FBUSA Board Member

"Empowering people to gain confidence and control with their personal finances helps communities and families protect what matters most, building peace of mind for today, and lasting legacies for tomorrow."
Jamese Beauford, MA - JCarey Connects, LLC
FBUSA Board Member

"Control is the power to influence or direct people's behavior or the course of events. Financial Beginning's mission is where financial control meets opportunity."
Holly Files - LaunchPoint Group, LLC
FBUSA Board Member

"Financial Beginnings achieving its mission is very important to me as I know first-hand that providing financial education to children, and adults, empowers them in ways that will positively impact all facets of their lives."
Frewine Kiros - The Center for Equity & Inclusion
FBUSA Board Member

"There is a racial wealth gap in our country. Closing this gap will require us to strategically partner, and urgently shift from policies and practices based in equality to policies and practices based in equity. Financial Beginnings is perfectly positioned to close this gap, and I am excited to partner on this journey with them."
Martha Mickelson - HomeStreet Bank
FBUSA Board Member

"The knowledge most of us have about finances is limited to what our parents learned from their parents and so on for generations, and Financial Beginnings has created the kind of education about money I wish I had growing up. In a world where financial stability is so often the difference between surviving and thriving, knowledge truly is power."
Jeff Strickler - Retired. Independent consultant. Previously, President & COO of NWEA and COO of EducationNW
FBUSA Board Member

"Financial literacy and capability are essential life skills, necessary for both personal and societal economic health. Appropriate, relevant and timely educational resources, training, and practice can help develop and empower students of all ages to improve their financial decisions and take control of their financial future, benefitting themselves, their communities, and our nation."
John A. Stirek, Sr., MBA - Retired Business Owner
FBUSA Board Member

"Teaching children financial literacy is critical to their success in life. I feel advancing the opportunities for children to learn these skills is my legacy."
John Stirek, MBA - Trammell Crow Company
FBUSA Board Member

"Financial literacy changes lives - it is life's key to financial security for all people and their communities."
Feel connected to our mission?
We're continually seeking new volunteers and staff to help us deliver our programming to a growing number of communities.
Come join the team!