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.

Jasmine Banga - Class Success Coordinator
"Growing up in an immigrant family and being the eldest sibling helped me gain a sense of responsibility. Knowing about finances and how to control them was a part of that responsibility. In school we were not taught much about finances. I cannot think of a better way to give back to my community than by providing such education that was not provided me. Being financially independent is a large part of being an adult and having a solid foundation and understanding of what that entails is equally important. I want to do my part and create change in lives where it is clear that having financial education is a start in having a successful life."

Jasmine coordinates volunteer outreach and recruitment and maintains partner relationships.
Maree Beers - Oregon Manager
"I come from a career in banking and mortgage lending and have seen firsthand the barriers that arise from not understanding personal finance. It made me become aware of my own role in the industry and how it was affecting, either positively or negatively, the people I was committed to serving. As a result, I found myself needing to directly focus on providing financial services through the social responsibility lens of education. I am proud to be here to do that work and be in the middle of that action by helping to facilitate access to knowledge and resources that spark financial confidence and empowerment. I believe that individual financial empowerment is the key to community financial empowerment. When individuals are financially stable and have the tools to handle the financial changes that inevitably happen through their lives, then more focus can be given to their community's well-being. This is achieved through financial education."

Maree sustains the existing relationships developed with hosts, and recruits to engage new connections with new hosts for additional and exciting class opportunities within our Oregon communities.

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Althea K. Blake, EdD - Director of Classroom and eLearning
"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.
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.
Jasper Brokaw - Program Manager
"I had always wished that I was taught about credit, insurance, loans, and investing in college and high school. When I found Financial Beginnings and saw they were actively providing the financial education I had sorely missed when I was growing up, I knew I had to support that mission. There are so many parts of the economy that individuals have no control over. Finances can often be overwhelming and leave one with feelings of defeat and hopelessness. Financial education helps individuals to exercise some control over their lives by providing them the tools to better their livelihoods within their unique situations."

Jasper stewards our program partners to sustain and grow our relationships across Oregon. Jasper also manages our Financial Empowerment Fellowship.

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James Chen - Senior Director of Program Excellence
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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.
Joanne Danganan - California 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
"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.
Alex Manoogian - Senior Director of Markets
"I am incredibly privileged to have a career that is centered around supporting communities to be more secure and resilient. For the past 15 years, I've worked across the globe supporting education and economic empowerment initiatives that have made a real difference in people's lives. I'm ecstatic to be continuing that work here in my home state with Financial Beginnings Oregon. Financial education is important to me because it works to de-center money - and the stress it causes - from our everyday lives. By giving each of us tools and a roadmap, financial education allows us to manage our money, and our expectations around it, in a way that is more likely to make us live healthier and happier lives."

Alex M. works toward making programs more impactful and accessible across Oregon.

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Roxanne Myslewski, MBA - Senior Director of Revenue
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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.
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.
Elizabeth Rose - Class Success Manager
"Growing up in a rural town, financial literacy was not a large part of the curriculum. I always knew the importance of it but didn't have access to that knowledge. Later, my years in banking taught me how much was truly missing in our school systems, and how that barrier limits success in day to day life. When the opportunity came up to join an organization whose sole mission is to promote financial literacy and empowerment, I couldn't pass it up."

Elizabeth serves as the main contact for our volunteers to get connected to opportunities and gain program and facilitation support.

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Jason Rothkowitz - Washington Manager
"My personal connection to the mission lies in my family's lack of financial stability as a child. My father's career in the film industry during the 1970s and 80s was typical for most professional freelancers in that you never knew when the next job would become available. We went from periods of, 'feast to famine'. As a father myself, I strive to maintain a financial stability for my family that was absent for me. Financial education is a critical expanded learning opportunity (ELO) missing in public K-12 education in Washington State. I am a firm believer in filling this need for ELO in partnership with nonprofit and community-based organizations like Financial Beginnings, and volunteers with professional expertise. Early financial education, particularly for underserved and maginalized youth, is essential to ending generational poverty in our communities. As a parent and a volunteer education advocate for over a decade, I am privileged to be able to serve our students and adult learners in the nonprofit space."

Jason facilitates the connection between class hosts and teaching volunteers and recruits and retains new class opportunities.
Sarah Schilz - Senior Director of of Operations, People, and Culture
"I have committed my life to serving those experiencing poverty and systemic injustice. Financial education is one of the most valuable gifts I have ever been given. I fundamentally believe that learning financial skills at an early age allowed me to make sound economic choices. My hope is to share this gift with others, especially those whom are most marginalized in our communities, giving them one tool to realize economic mobility."

Sarah leads the organization to build programs and strategies that reflect community needs.
Chineva Smith - Education and Training 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.
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!