Welcome 2020 Strategic Impact Fund Scholarship Recipients! 


Below you’ll find the profiles of 12 Cohort Leaders. Please take some time to read more about each leader, then sign up to be part of a group.

  • Participation in a cohort is optional, but we strongly encourage you to join a group. Historically, those who engage early and often have had a higher pass rate on the exam due to this additional support tool. Please take advantage of it!

  • Be diligent in your study each week. Please sign-in 5 minutes early and come ready to participate and ask questions. Those who keep up and stay engaged feel well-prepared to test at the end of the cohort engagement.

  • Plan to test as soon as possible once your cohort engagements conclude to increase your likelihood of success!

Melissa Mittelstaedt, AFC® candidate

Cohort conducted in ASL

Hello! I’m Melissa Mittelstaedt, Sign Language Interpreter & Money Coach.

I’m fiercely passionate about both of those things. I started my post-secondary education at Iowa State University, where I had the pleasure of getting to know several Deaf students via casual ASL instruction and cafeteria conversation. I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration but knew my connection with sign language wasn’t over. I decided to go back to school to become an interpreter. After three of the most challenging and humbling years of my life, I earned my Associate’s Degree in Sign Language Interpretation and hold a NIC-Advanced certification. I have been an interpreter for the last 13 years, and early in my career I learned that an interpreter doesn’t make millions. Hence, my money journey. I mastered a way to budget on variable income all while eliminating debt and increasing savings. That part of my story led me to build my business, MelissaMitt, specializing in financial stability for women business owners. What you can expect from this cohort is engagement, encouragement, and accountability. I am honored to be an AFC Candidate and look forward to all of us joining forces to find success in passing the AFC Exam! 

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

This cohort will select meeting dates that work for the majority of participants during their first online engagement.

Schane Coker, AFC®, FFC®

I am currently working as a Personal Financial Counselor for Zeiders Enterprises based in Miami, Florida and serve as the Vice Chair for AFCPE’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Taskforce. I am also pursuing my doctorate degree at Florida International University (FIU) studying Adult Education and Human Resource Development.

My academic background in Financial Literacy and Education includes a Bachelor’s in Financial Counseling and Planning and a Master’s in Consumer Science with a concentration in Family and Consumer Economics, both from Purdue University.

My field experience includes working in the Credit Union industry as a Loan Officer and Assistant Branch Manager and as a Financial Coach working with military veterans through the Financial Coaching Initiative sponsored through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

My research focuses are based off these experiences include Adult Education, Bankruptcy, Consumer Behavior and Protection, Critical Race Theory, Financial Socialization, and Literacy Education.

As your mentor, you can expect from me support, guidance, encouragement, and accountability!!

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

Sunday, February 14, 2021 at 6 PM ET

Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 6 PM ET

Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 6 PM ET

Shay Cook, AFC®, FFC®

Shay is a Christian (🙏🏾GodsPlan), Proud Black Woman (👑BlackGirlMagic), Leader (👏🏾Motivation), Wife (🇺🇸MilitarySpouse), Mother (👸🏾FavoriteGirl), Entrepreneur (💪🏾HustleHard) and SO much more (🙌🏾BlessingsOnBlessings). 

As the CEO & Founder of Crusaders for Change, LLC (C4C), she focuses on providing financial counseling, coaching, classes and consultation where people:

  • PRAY – Providing members with the tools they need to succeed
  • WORK – Increasing well-being, morale and productivity 
  • PLAY – Bringing personal finance education & assistance to places of fun 

To learn more about Shay and C4C, please visit www.crusaders4change.org/who-we-are

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

Friday, February 12, 2021 at 2 PM ET

Friday, March 12, 2021 at 2 PM ET

Friday, April 9, 2021 at 2 PM ET

Cain Hill, AFC®

Cain T. Hill, B.S, AFC®, is currently serving as a Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Personal Financial Counselor (PFC) at Zeiders Enterprise located at Fort Bragg, NC. He is a U.S. Army Retired Master Sergeant with 20+ years of proven military experience.

Cain possesses a comprehensive background in delivering engaging personal finance briefings, intriguing financial literacy training, results-based financial counseling for individuals and couples in the most challenging situations. Each day he works tirelessly to help his clients achieve the following four keys to financial freedom: have a spending plan, save for the unexpected, eliminate debt, and invest for the future. 

Cain continues to serve on the AFCPE Symposium Taskforce and as a mentor for the AFCPE MentorConnect Program.  He is extremely passionate about helping freedom fighters achieve financial freedom.  To learn more about Cain, connect with him on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cainthill.   

Join Cain’s cohort if you are ready to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work to achieve your certification so that you can help bring financial freedom to those who are in financial bondage.

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

Friday, February 12, 2021 at 12 PM ET

Friday, March 12, 2021 at 12 PM ET

Friday, April 9, 2021 at 12 PM ET

Elaine Harrison, AFC®, FFC®

As a young adult, I was introduced to the concept of debt-free living and financial independence. It was then that I decided that I wanted to share what I learned with others. Over the years, I have assisted countless people in developing plans to live below their means so that they can enjoy the rewards of living debt-free.  

I firmly believe that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! With a fierce compassion for financial education, I help people to proactively take control of their finances.   

I hold a Master’s degree in Education and the Accredited Financial Counselor® and Financial Fitness Coach® certifications from the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE).  

When not working, I enjoy reading, crafting, and admiring nature’s beauty. 

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 8 PM ET

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 8 PM ET

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 8 PM ET

Dr. Ann James, AFC®, FFC®

Dr. Antoinette (Ann) James is the Founder and CEO of Financial Freedom Battle Buddies. While serving in the Air Force, Dr. Ann was responsible for executing multi-million-dollar operating budgets within the U.S. and overseas. Now, she is on a mission to educate and equip members of the military and veteran community to effectively manage their personal finances, so that they can live life freely. As a single mother of a young adult daughter with special needs, Dr. Ann is passionate about helping other single parents leave a legacy instead of debt for their loved ones.

As an Accredited Financial Counselor and Financial Fitness Coach, she is known for dishing out doses of tough love while guiding others on their journey to financial freedom. She has also provided financial consulting services to the Department of Veteran Affairs and the 8th Judicial District Court of Nevada. Additionally, Dr. Ann has served as a tax preparer with Liberty Tax.  

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 2 PM ET

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 6:30 M ET

Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 12 PM ET

Desiree Kaul, ChFC®, AFC®

Desiree Kaul is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) and an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®). Her extensive experience in financial counseling, education, and planning includes work with the military, economically vulnerable individuals, and students. She sought the AFC program because financial literacy is a passion for her. Growing up, Desiree didn’t have financial literacy in her high school and got into financial trouble in her college years. She feels strongly about helping others understand money so they can empower themselves and their families. Even in her new role in financial planning, her focus is working with clients from all levels of society. “Planning should be for everyone, not just the wealthy.” Desiree has taken numerous exams while receiving her latest designation and understands how to execute a plan for successful studying. Staying motivated can be difficult, but Desiree is ready to be your cheerleader and coach!

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 10 AM ET

Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 10 AM ET

Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 10 AM ET

Brian Lomax, AFC®

Brian Lomax is an Accredited Financial Counselor with BLP Financial Counseling and Coaching.  He is a retired military veteran, U.S. N., who served both enlisted (E-6) and officer (O-4) ranks.  He assists clients in creating a financial plan specific to each client’s needs and desires allowing the individual and families to work on becoming financially aware and to get free from debt while creating a road map towards becoming financially secure.  He works with members in the community and helps them to better understand their financial situation while assisting each client in developing a plan to gain confidence and achieve their personal financial goals. Brian is a recipient of the 2019 FINRA Military Spouse Fellowship Award, which recognizes his dedication and commitment to serving the fellowship program and his counseling and supporting countless military families in need.  He also holds a Masters in Business Administration, Masters in Organization Management/Entrepreneurship and has been an Accredited Financial Counselor since 2013.’s

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 4 PM ET

Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 4 PM ET

Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 4 PM ET

Cherie Stueve, AFC®

Welcome and congratulations! I’m a professional development junky, that all started with earning my AFC® as a 2011 FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellow. Fully embracing the financial continuum, I earned a graduate certificate in financial therapy, passed the CFP® exam in 2019, and am near-complete on my PhD in Personal Financial Planning and Financial Fitness Coach (FFC) designation.

My journey in personal finance begins and ends with serving others: clients and mentees. I use my counseling and coaching skills to help military families, middle class working families, and retired individuals.

Why choose my cohort? I’m a teacher at heart. I have facilitated the AFC® review webinars for the most recent Fellow cohorts & I taught personal finance courses at KSU. And Sunday is a good evening to meet! (Honestly, everyone here is a Rockstar!)

What will I add to our cohort? Transformation of counseling and money concepts from the flat textbook pages into a 3D picture, showing you how to weave communication techniques and factual knowledge together to help someone. Just like with my own clients, I will meet you where you stand today and help you reach your goals. Along the way, I will share my personal tips for preparing and attacking any rigorous professional exam.

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 7:30 PM ET

Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 7:30 PM ET

Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 7:30 PM ET

Adrienne Taylor, AFC®

I’m Adrienne the Founder of Tailored WealthSaver® and previously I served as one of two Personal Finance Educator/Managers at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the third largest Navy base in the nation.  

What will you gain from my cohort?  Honesty without the sugar coating, and a community of peers who are dedicated to your success.

Why choose my cohort? I have been in your shoes! Actually, I’ve been in the shoes of failing the exam and having to retake it! I understand the feelings of nervousness and doubt and I want to help you overcome them! I am dedicated to your success.  

Something near and dear to my heart is social justice which means helping to bridge the wealth gap for all income earners.

What you will not gain from my cohort: Hacks to passing the exam. I will respect the AFCPE Code of Ethics. 

A little about me personally: My hobbies are yoga for meditation, photography and playing with my 6-month old fur baby Skye.

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 11 AM ET

Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 11 AM ET

Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 11 AM ET

Michelle Tindall, AFC®

Welcome to AFCPE.

What’s the benefit of choosing me?

I share a common experience with you.

This month I moved from candidate to certified crew.

I passed my exam in December 2020.

Sorry, I can’t reveal questions and answers, Honey.

I’m passionate about helping people of color.

Without devaluing the worth and needs of others.

Where do I work?  Higher education.

Guiding minds of all ages to better our nation.

Personally, I’m a Christian, wife, and mother.

I believe the Bible from cover to cover.

We’re going to help our communities get their money straight.

Rest assured, this cohort is going to be great – because you joined it. 🙂

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 2 PM ET

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 2 PM ET

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 2 PM ET

Sylvia Watford, AFC®, FFC®

Sylvia Watford is a Senior Financial Education Specialist with Virginia Credit Union, a member-owned financial cooperative with 300,000 members.

My passion is to help close the wealth gap in this country. Serving as a cohort leader is in alignment with this desire. I have worn different hats in the financial services field to include loan officer, financial advisor, and financial counselor/coach. In my current role as a financial educator with a credit union, I am aware of the importance of having diversity in the financial services field. I welcome this opportunity to support your endeavor to earn the AFC certification.

Live Cohort Meeting Dates:

Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 3 PM ET

Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 3 PM ET

Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 3 PM ET

Email support@afcpe.org.

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