Congratulations to winners of the Outstanding Symposium Practitioners’ Forum Award!
2020: Sasha Grabenstetter, University of Illinois Extension
Sasha is a Consumer Economics Educator in the state of Illinois – working for the University of Illinois Extension. Sasha’s programming focuses on financial well-being and helping consumers make good financial choices.
Sasha has co-authored on two different curricula including “Apple Seed – A Student Guide to Pro Bono Financial Planning” with Dr. Dottie Durband as well as “All My Money: Change for the Better” with her Consumer Economics colleagues at the University of Illinois Extension.
Sasha is currently a member of the Regional Advisory Committee with the University of Illinois Extension and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) Research to Practice Task Force. Previously Sasha had also been Chair for the AFCPE Symposium Task Force for five years.
2019: Katherine Sauer, NEFE
As vice president, research and programs for the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), Katherine Sauer’s responsibilities include philanthropic, research, evaluation and education initiatives of the foundation. Sauer brings over a decade of expert economic literacy experience from teaching, conducting and overseeing research, developing and implementing projects, and managing programs.
Katie won for “Helping Adult Learners Understand What Drives Their Financial Decisions”. The session introduced attendees to the LifeValues Quiz and explaining the 4 inner values that drive financial behaviors and teaching how to utilize this resource with adult learners.
Katie generously donated the monetary portion of the award to the AFCPE Strategic Impact Fund.
2018: Lucia Reed & George Reuter, Compass Working Capital
Lucia Reed and George Reuter of Compass Working Capital won for “Delivering Financial Counseling to Families with Low Incomes through the Federal Government’s Largest Wealth-Building Program for Families with Low Incomes.”
For the past 25 years, the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program has been one of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s best kept secrets. The program encourages families receiving federal housing assistance to increase their earned income and then enable families to build savings through the process of paying rent. Despite being the federal government’s largest wealth-building program for families with low incomes, it has been underutilized and under-optimized for decades. Compass Working Capital, a Boston-based financial services nonprofit, has spent over eight years unpacking the program’s potential by combining this powerful savings incentive with high-quality financial counseling and coaching.
Their presentation explores the organization’s model for the FSS program, the tools and practices that the organization has developed to provide financial counseling to families with low incomes, its partnerships with housing providers, and the process of engaging an outside evaluation partner to conduct a rigorous program evaluation to measure the impact of this type of program.
2017: Carmina Lass, Credit Builders Alliance
As the Director of Training and Consulting, Carmina leads the development, marketing, coordination and delivery of CBA’s education, training and consulting services. She also provides support to CBA’s Reporter and Access team creating innovative and entrepreneurial services to meet CBA’s client and partner needs and carrying out CBA’s mission. Carmina has over seven years of experience as a non-profit practitioner through which she focused on economic empowerment, financial capability, and lending among low-income and underserved communities. Most recently, Carmina was the Director of Homeowner Services at Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity in Colorado Springs, CO. Carmina has a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University where she concentrated on intercultural conflict resolution, dialogue and reconciliation among divided communities, and microfinance strategies for poverty alleviation.
2016: Barbara O’Neill
Dr. Barbara O’Neill is a Distinguished Professor at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, and is Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management. From August 1978 to June 2004, she was Family and Consumer Sciences Educator in Sussex County, N.J. and taught over 1,100 classes and speaking engagements to over 24,000 adult learners. She is also project director for the national Cooperative Extension basic investing program, Investing for Your Future. Dr. O’Neill is a prolific writer and has written over 1,500 consumer newspaper articles and over 100 articles for academic journals, conference proceedings, and other professional publications. She is a certified financial planner (CFP®), chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC®), accredited financial counselor (AFC®), certified housing counselor (CHC®), and certified in family and consumer sciences (CFCS®). Dr. O’Neill has held various leadership roles in state and national professional associations and served as president of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE®) in 2003. She is the author of two trade books, Saving on a Shoestring and Investing on a Shoestring, and co-author of Money Talk: A Financial Guide for Women. She has also written three financial case study textbooks, an online Guidebook to Help Late Savers Prepare for Retirement, and six book chapters. Dr. O’Neill received her Ph.D. in family financial management in 1995 from Virginia Tech and holds a master’s degree in consumer economics from Cornell University and a B.S. in home economics education from the State University of New York at Oneonta.