Welcome, Brandy Baxter, AFC®, FFC®

My Work: Financial Coach and CEO, Living Abundantly

My Roots: Born and raised in Toledo, OH. I grew up with a loving, hard working mother and three sisters.

My Passion: I’m passionate about illuminating the space in someone’s mind with ideas and strategies to give them hope and optimism.

My Hero: Maya Angelou

My Favorite Quote: “Until the system changes, the results remain the same.” – Brandy Baxter

My Reason for Serving on the AFCPE Board of Directors: I have admired the leadership and professionalism of AFCPE for over 10 years. I’ve been encouraged by the intentional emphasis on diversity amongst its membership and financial professionals. Serving on the Board of Directors affords me the opportunity to “come off the sidelines” and “get in the game.” I have an opportunity to lend a different perspective and voice of experience to the organizational leadership.  It’s a rare privilege to serve an organization that has served me so well over the years.

My Favorite Personal Finance Tool/Resource:  Excel. It’s easy and I can do so many things with it.

My Advice for Someone Going Through the AFC® Program: Think of this program as the beginning of a week-long vacation. If you’re like me, there is so much planning that goes into preparing for the vacation, that it can feel overwhelming. There’s packing, hotel reservations, vehicle reservations, activities. All of the pre-work is required to enjoy those few afternoons of sitting on the beach and enjoying the sun. Similarly, your journey to become an AFC has some pre-work that is required, but soon, you’ll be sitting in the sun and enjoying the reward of your hard work.

My Advice for Someone Beginning the Journey of Financial Education/Wellbeing: Your desire to journey into the space of financial education and wellness cannot be overshadowed by someone else’s journey. Do not look around and compare yourself to others. Identify your desire, develop your goals, seek continued professional development, and serve your clients in a way that honors their trust in you.

My Question for my Colleagues/Peers: 
Fellow colleagues, what innovative strategies can we apply to our profession that continue to raise the standard of service we provide?

Brandy Baxter, AFC, FFC

Welcome, Dr. Kate Mielitz, AFC®

My Work: I am an Assistant Professor in Family Financial Planning at Oklahoma State University.

My Roots: Are silver, as is the rest of my hair…except for the very back, bottom short hairs which appear to be black and my daughter calls my “witch hairs” …no, I have no idea why or where she came up with this.

My Passion: Helping people, particularly vulnerable populations, develop a strong financial foundation that is THEIRS, not some pre-scripted malarkey.

My Hero: I have 3…hope that’s okay. My husband, Slade, retired from the military because he never ever gives up. My kids, Kaden and Slaeda, because they are brave and bold.

My Reason for Serving on the AFCPE Board of Directors: I love AFCPE. Like, LOVE. Possibly more than I love my husband who is the love of my life. AFCPE is my family. I like to lead and be part of an influential community. Doesn’t get much, if any, better than this!

My Favorite Personal Finance Tool/Resource: When it doesn’t hate me, my financial calculator. Otherwise, the budget sheet I developed for use with clients in 2009. It’s had some minor modifications, but it’s stood the test of time.

My Advice for Someone Going Through the AFC® Program: Take the time to read the materials. Even if you know the information, take the time and re-read what you know. You never know when something new will pop out at you or a new idea/technique becomes relevant.

My Advice for Someone Beginning the Journey of Financial Education/Wellbeing: Don’t think that what you’re saving isn’t “enough” …every quarter, dime, nickel…even every PENNY counts. Your progress is YOURS. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You CAN do it!

My Question for my Colleagues/Peers:
What is your financial weakness? (Mine tend to all be food related…oh, and Stitch Fix.)

Dr. Kate Mielitz, AFC

Welcome, Dr. Michael G. Thomas Jr., AFC®

My Work: I serve as a financial planning lecturer at the University of Georgia and found Modom Solutions. Modom Solutions is a financial education platform that contextualizes financial information from and for the Black male experience.

My Roots: I am originally from Gary, IN. And, yes, I am very familiar with that this is where Michael Jackson is from. My grandmother lived on the same street.

My Passion: My passion is service. I just like helping people in need.

My Hero: Stacey Abrams is currently at the top of my hero list. We can all learn from her resilience and tenacity.

My Favorite Quote: “Preach the gospel everywhere. When necessary, use words.” Saint Francis of Assisi 

My Reason for Serving on the AFCPE Board of Directors: I believe in the work that AFCPE does and am honored to share in this great responsibility. 

My Favorite Personal Finance Tool/Resource: My favorite personal finance tool is the client. I believe in the client-centered approach when working with individuals. It’s easier to see the solutions when we are able to see the people we serve.

My Advice for Someone Going Through the AFC® Program: Take full advantage of your service hours. Ask questions. Challenge your biases and assumptions. Read studies. Develop the habits of becoming a life-long learner. Certification is where the story begins – not where it ends.

My Advice for Someone Beginning the Journey of Financial Education/Wellbeing: My biggest advice for someone beginning their AFC journey is to set realistic expectations about the path you are taking. It will be a life-long journey for both you and the clients you serve. Change does happen. It’s just that it may happen slower than expected. If people enter into this space with this frame of mind and are still excited about this work, we will move the needle toward improving financial well-being in a mighty way. 

My Question for my Colleagues/Peers:
Is there anything I can do to be of service to you?
If you ever want to pick my brain about something, I would be more than happy to share my experiences with you. The impact of our work is better together.

Michael Thomas, AFC

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