The Financial Education Advisory Team is helping guide Oregon State Treasury’s efforts to provide resources to and a foundation for Oregonians to gain confidence when making financial decisions.
Treasury’s financial education goals include: provide financial education resources to people across the state, amplify existing financial literacy efforts in the public and private sectors, help people avoid predatory behavior in financial marketplaces, and identify gaps to make financial education more accessible to people when they need it most. The panel will also discuss potential ways to improve financial awareness in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Please see the final report for priorities and strategies recommended by the panel.
Recommendations from the Financial Education Advisory Team
Advisory Team Members
Oregon State Treasurer
Treasurer Read is the chair of the council. As State Treasurer, he has prioritized efforts to help every Oregonian to thrive financially, including the creation of the new refundable Education Savings Credit that makes it easier than ever to save for career training and college costs. He previously served in the Oregon Legislature.
Financial Advisory Station, Mexican Consulate
Laura Aguirre, Mexican Lawyer and Tax Attorney, Master of Business and Tax Law, graduate and under-graduate teaching experience in Banking, Business, Tax and Financial Law. Currently working as the Coordinator of the Financial Advisory Station at the Consulate of Mexico in Portland, providing financial advisory and education, especially to the Hispanic community.
Financial Beginnings Oregon
Kate Benedict was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011 and began her career at Impact NW in Portland. She took on a leadership role at the Oregon Food Bank, then became Executive Director of Financial Beginnings Oregon in 2016. She believes wholeheartedly in their upstream, accessible financial education. She lives with her husband, Thomas, in Northeast Portland. They spend their free time trail running with their pup, Archie, and pretending they know how to cook.
Scott Cooper has been the executive director of NeighborImpact, the community action agency serving Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, since September 2012. He is also the president of the Community Action Partnership of Oregon, the state association of Oregon’s 18 community action agencies, working together to fight poverty. Scott has worked in the nonprofit sector at federal, state, and local levels for nearly 40 years. He has is currently chair of the Crook County School Board, on which he has served for 12 years. He served two terms as county judge in Crook County and was a Prineville City Councilor and Council President. He recently was appointed by Governor Kate Brown to the Regional Equity in Recovery Task Force. Under previous governors, he has served on the Oregon State Housing Council, the Oregon Commission on Children and Families, and state task forces tax structure, poverty, education and transportation. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia. He and his family live in his childhood hometown, Prineville.
SilverOak Advisory Group/ former personal finance columnist
Brent Hunsberger is a Certified Financial PLanner and Investment Adviser Representative with Silver Oak Advisory Group, a fee-only financial planning firm in Portland. Before advising people on their finances, he spent more than 20 years in journalism, including as The Oregonian's "It's Only Money" personal finance columnist. A native of New Mexico, he graduated from Indiana University with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology and has lived in Oregon since 1996. He resides in West Linn with his wife and two teen-age daughters.
Junior Achievement of Oregon and Southwest Washington
Gina Huntington is the Vice President of Programs at Junior Achievement of Oregon and SW Washington. She grew up in Indiana and graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor’s in Applied Health Science. After earning a Master’s in Education from Roosevelt University, Gina entered the nonprofit world and began her career at Junior Achievement of Chicago. She was excited to explore her passion for education, career readiness, and financial literacy. She moved to Portland in 2009 with her husband and opened a food cart, the Kettle Kitchen, that she ran for two years. Gina is married with two daughters and lives in North Portland with her family.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Southern Oregon
Bill Ihle is the Executive Director and CEO of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Southern Oregon, the state’s only community-based, nonprofit credit counseling agency. In the role, Bill has expanded CCCSSO from serving just two counties in southern Oregon, to now serving nine counties in northern California and southern Oregon. Nearly 80% of the clients served by the agency come from low-income settings. Under his leadership, CCCSSO established secure live video link to connect clients in rural Coos County with the agencies counselors in Medford and Financially Fit Women, which was created to break down financial barriers that frequent hold women back from managing family and business finances. In 2021, the agency expects to lead a national test program to deliver counseling services to clients remotely via mobile device, thus reaching even more clients who need their services.
Bill completed his undergraduate degree at California State University, Chico, and later completed his studies at Harvard Business School. A native of California, Bill served for many years as the spokesperson for the governor of California. In 1997, he moved to Oregon to serve as the Global Executive Vice President of Corporate Relations and Marketing for Harry & David. For three terms Bill served as the Vice Chair of the Oregon State Lottery Commission and has also served on numerous regional and local community boards and statewide commissions. Bill and his husband live in Medford.
financial counselor for people with disabilities, Abeona Group
Alisha Langford was born and raised in Southern Oregon and has called Portland, Oregon, home since 2002. She holds bachelor of science degrees in Business Management & Leadership and Human Resource Management from Portland State University, and currently lives in Southeast Portland with her two daughters, Lily and Ashlynn, who has a Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy diagnosis. Alisha’s 20+ years of experiences as a parent of a special needs child drive her passion to advocate for families with special needs children. Through the Abeona Group, she is able to focus completely on helping these families navigate the complex process of special needs life care planning.
OnPoint Community Credit Union
An Oregon native, Moore graduated from Willamette University, where she cultivated a love of travel and service to others. Moore joined OnPoint Community Credit Union in 2007, assuming roles that helped shape the organization’s Community Relations programs. Since 2018, Moore has led OnPoint’s financial education strategic imperative, which serves OnPoint members and all citizens of Oregon and SW Washington in their journey to financial prosperity. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, travel, and camping with her children.
AARP / former member, Oregon Retirement Savings Board
Ms. Santana retired as the Executive Director of the San Francisco State University (SFSU) Head Start. Before that, Ms. Santana worked for 14 years as the Oregon Child Development Coalition's Executive Director. Ms. Santana received a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. She is a National Head Start Fellow and a Johnson & Johnson/Head Start/ UCLA Fellow. She volunteers in the Multnomah County Community Involvement Committee (CIC), Oregon State AARP Diversity Advisory Committee, and is a past member of the Oregon Retirement Savings Board.
Karen Saxe is the Director of Financial Wellbeing for DevNW. In her role, she is responsible for program development, advocacy, and high-level oversight of programs and staff who provide education and counseling for personal finance, homeownership, and foreclosure prevention services across six counties. She holds a BA in Political Science from Seattle University and an MA in Public Administration from the University of Oregon.
Microenterprise Services of Oregon
Felicia Wells-Thomas is the Community Liaison Manager at Micro Enterprise Services of OR, N/NE Navigator. As a longtime North/Northeast Portland resident, she is familiar with the needs of people MESO serves. Felicia graduated with a Supply & Logistics/Business Management degree in 2008. She has worked at MESO since 2011. She is passionate about providing individuals and families opportunities to be/become self-reliant. MESO provides business skills, resources and flexible capital to empower the disenchanted, and make it possible for them to dream again.
Nixyáawii Community Financial Services
Dave Tovey (Umatilla) is the Executive Director of the Umatilla Tribes’ Nixyáawii Community Financial Services, a developing Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). He is also the former executive director for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in northeast Oregon. He has served in top executive roles with the Siletz Tribal Business Corporation, Cayuse Technologies, the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation (ATNI-EDC). In 2001, he was named Economic Development Leader of the Year for the State of Oregon by former Governor John Kitzhaber. He currently serves on the boards of two CDFI’s—the President of the ATNI-EDC and the Secretary/Treasurer of the Indian Land Capital Company. He spent the majority of his early career with the Umatilla Tribes as economic development director and executive director during their period of dramatic growth throughout the 1990s.
Chabre Vickers is the Vice President Community Development Officer for Wells Fargo in Oregon and S.W. Washington and leads the company’s community development initiatives and Community Reinvestment Act activities supporting low- and moderate-income communities. Chabre’s passion for community is demonstrated by her advocacy with many organizations where she utilizes the tenets of Critical Race Theory to enhance access and capacity toward tangible social change for the benefit of all.
Chabre volunteers in her community and serves as a board member for the Oregon Symphony, Literary Arts, and the OHSU Avel Gordly Center for Healing. She also is a Governor on the Board of Governors for The Portland City Club and is a Board of Professionals member for the Trail Blazers’ make it better foundation. She previously served as an Executive Committee Member of the Portland African American Leadership Forum.
Contract Financial Counselor, National Guard
George Katsinis, Jr. has spent 22 years as a vocational instructor with certification and experience in Oregon and Washington in agriculture, industrial technology, and science. He earned national certification from the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) as an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC). His experience includes eight years working as a personal financial counselor for Army National Guard and Reserve service members and families across the United States coming off active duty, plus another five years in private practice as a personal financial counselor. For the past two years, he has worked full time as a personal financial counselor for all Oregon service members and their families.