At the 2023 AFCPE Symposium, AFCPE recognized several leading organizations and individuals for their groundbreaking work in financial areas such as counseling and research.

WESTERVILLE, Ohio, Jan. 4, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) recognized ten individuals, organizations, special projects, and initiatives expanding access to personal finance resources and education across the country as part of its 2023 AFCPE Awards.

“I’m constantly amazed by the talents and dedication of AFCPE members, which is highlighted with these award recipients,” said Rachael DeLeon, AFCPE Executive Director. “The personal finance field is constantly evolving and facing new challenges, but the work of AFCPE members across financial education, research, and practice is a guiding light in helping create a future of financial security for everyone.”

AFCPE Symposium, which took place in New Orleans, LA, from November 29 – December 1, had nearly one thousand attendees, including 310 first-time attendees, 648 in-person, and 309 virtual. The 2023 Symposium award recipients were announced towards the end of the conference.

The award recipients included:

The Celia Ray Hayhoe Distinguished Fellow Award: Syble Solomon
Syble Solomon is the founder of Money Habitudes, an innovative product that has revolutionized how we interact with our finances. This resource has helped countless individuals gain control over their financial lives and contributed significantly to AFCPE’s mission. As a longtime AFCPE member, Syble served two terms on the AFCPE Board of Directors, participated in multiple committees, and has consistently shared her knowledge through presentations, articles, and mentorship.

Setting the Standard Award: Sage Financial Solutions
Sage Financial Solutions is a longtime partner and a leader in financial coach training and professional development in ways that meet the real-world needs of inclusive communities. Our organizations first partnered as certification and training partners for the CFPB Financial Coaching Initiative in 2015, and we continue to work together to ensure that all people have access to the highest quality financial coaching, counseling, and education.

Mini Grant: Lynn McHann, AFC®
The project, “Momnomics”: A YouTube Series for Financial Wellness for Young Adults,” aims to deliver crucial financial literacy education to young adults aged 18-30 through a series of engaging, high-quality YouTube videos, covering topics like budgeting, debt management, investing, and retirement planning in an easily digestible, relatable manner.

Educator of the Year: Dr. Christopher Thomas Sneed
Dr. Sneed has offered financial and consumer education through The University of Tennessee (UT) for almost two decades. With his research, program development, trainings, and grant procurement, Dr. Sneed has provided exceptional service and profoundly impacted Cooperative Extension and the field of financial education.

Counselor of the Year: Charlestien Harris, AFC®
Charlestien Harris is a 35-year veteran in financial education and counseling who Southern Bancorp Community Partners currently employs as a Credit/HUD Certified Housing Counselor. Charlestien has access to vast networks of resources that allow her to connect her clients with the necessary services to help them find viable solutions. She is currently featured on social media platforms (Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn), video media (Vimeo), and websites, in addition to news publications and websites internationally.

Outstanding Education Program: Ohio State University Extension – Fulton County
As a program of Ohio State University Extension, “Real Money. Real World.” is fun and distinctive because it includes an interactive spending simulation that provides the opportunity to make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those made by 27-year-old adults. RMRW has three parts, including four preparatory classroom lessons, a hands-on budget management and decision-making spending simulation, and a post-session evaluation of spending choices made during the simulation.

Counseling/Planning Center: Kansas State University – Powercat Financial
Powercat Financial is a unit within the Student Life division of Kansas State University managed under the AVP of Student Wellbeing. The program is designed as a peer-to-peer program where students studying in a financial-related or helping profession program assist fellow students with budgeting, saving, credit, student loan repayment, and transitioning to work.

JFCP Outstanding Paper Award: “The value of financial education during multiple life stages.” Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, Volume 33, Issue 1, April 2022.
Authors Philip Gibson, Janine K. Sam, and Yuanshan Cheng examine the timing of financial education and its impact on short-term and long-term financial behavior. They also explore the power of financial education on financial knowledge, examine the link between financial knowledge and positive financial behavior, and cite implications for all financial education advocates.

To learn more about the AFCPE awards and recipients, visit

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