The Financial Beginnings team is united through our collective mission.
We're working toward a stronger tomorrow through financial education today. Here's how we do so, and the passion behind our roles.

Ronecca Norvell - CEO
[email protected]

"As a mom of a young child, I know there are many kids and families in our communities whose lives would be better if they felt like finances were a tool they could use to achieve their dreams instead of a barrier. My passion for the mission lies in the obvious need it serves in all our communities and the demonstrated impact financial education makes on both micro and macro levels. We have the potential to change lives and make the world a better place, one learner at a time. I've devoted my career to helping ensure all kids and families can live their best, most fulfilled lives and financial education is an important piece of successful outcomes. Together, we can empower children to take control of their financial futures and make a plan to fulfill their life goals."

Ronecca works with the team (staff, board, and community) to build and realize plans for long-term organizational stability and mission fulfillment.
James Chen - Chief Advancement Officer
"Growing up, I was lucky to have parents who taught me the basic concepts of budgeting and the importance of living within means. However, beyond those principles, I had to teach myself about credit, investing, large purchase planning, etc. As a result, I am empowered to take control of my financial future. The same cannot be said for the vast number of youth and adults across the nation who were not fortunate to receive any financial education, which is where Financial Beginnings' mission fills that gap. Personal finance and education are areas that I'm passionate about and I have the privilege to be in a workspace that can provide access to quality financial education programs."

James assists with the growth and expansion of the organization by opening new affiliate offices across the country.
Tim Christy, PhD - Chief Operating Officer
"I was greatly impacted by my family's continued money mismanagement as a child. No matter how hard they worked, my family never seemed to get ahead. Having the knowledge and confidence needed to become financially empowered would have made a huge difference in my family's life and their financial futures. Financial education has a far-reaching impact on us all, at both the individual and societal level. But to reach its optimal influence, financial education must be accessible to those who need it most."

Tim oversees key operational components that are necessary for Financial Beginning's day-to-day and future functioning.
Ash Boodel - Director of Technology
"I grew up in a house where finance wasn't discussed. While in college I accrued a large amount of credit card debt because I didn't understand the process. I was a business major and finance and accounting were course requirements, yet personal finance was never discussed. I want to make sure that this information is available to all. Financial education is important to me to ensure that our youth have the knowledge and tools to avoid the same situation, as well as adults for a better financial outlook."

Ash works to keep Financial Beginnings' technology systems up and running; manages all user profiles, access and P&P; manages security of organizational digital assets; and researches, recommends, and implements new tools.
Joanne Danganan - Market Manager
"I grew up in a household where money was a taboo topic. My parents didn't talk to me or my sisters about it, and when they spoke to each other about it, it was usually a heated conversation. Plus, I went to public school in California, which unfortunately provides no standardized personal finance curriculum to its students. With this compounding lack of knowledge, I was ill equipped to manage money, let alone the tens of thousands of dollars I borrowed in student loans to pay for college. I learned about money management the very hard way, setting me back years in wealth building. My situation is not unique, and it is a deep shame that many people like me aren't given a level playing field from the start when it comes to financial education. There are huge gaps of offerings across the board, where some schools may have full semesters of personal finance and most others are unable to provide even one class period on it. It has become my passion to change that situation and to provide resources to the students we impact."

Joanne equips financial educators and financial literacy advocates with the tools and training necessary to provide financial education to those in their communities who need it most.
Jason Krukowski - Graphic Designer
"I am very fortunate to have a mother that did her best to teach me the value of money management and managing finances before I went off to college. Most of what I learned stuck, but the truth is, I had to learn a great deal more on my own. I definitely made choices that I wish I had received better guidance and education on before making them, especially with student loans. I still remember the first time I read the [Financial Beginnings] mission and how deeply that sentence resonated with me. I believe everyone should have equal access to receive financial education that will better prepare them for long-term stability. "

Jason is the creative conduit by which everyone's visions, ideas, and messaging are manifested into graphic designs, communications, and programs.
Chineva Smith - National Program Manager
"Having lived experiences that are similar to the youth and adults that we serve intensifies my passion for equitable and accessible financial education to all. Financial education is one of the most valuable gems that can be passed from generation to generation."

Chineva assists with national growth and expansion efforts, from aspects of partner engagement to the launch and development of new affiliates.
Melody Bell, EdD - Founder
"Prior to starting Financial Beginnings, I had set out with a personal mission to educate young people regarding the basics of personal finance in the hopes they wouldn't make the mistakes of many adults. I spent years working in the finance industry, witnessing how people are ill-prepared to manage their finances in adulthood. I started this pursuit on my own, but soon realized it was more than a one-person job, and here we are more than 15 years later."

Melody works on special projects that focus on program improvements and deepened partner relationships.

"Together, we can achieve so much more than I could have ever imagined on my own."
CEO Melody Bell
Financial Beginnings USA
Board of Directors

Tom Soma - Retired Non-Profit CEO
FBUSA Board Chair

"Understanding how commerce works and learning how to manage money is critical to the future success of every child."
Donald L. Bielen, MBA, Certified Financial Planner, CM&AA - Perkins & Co.
FBUSA Board Treasurer

"Our mission and vision embodies the organization's ability to provide the financial tools and awareness to help people across the U.S. to thrive in the complex world of finance. The curriculum serves as the foundational building blocks that are essential and sorely lacking in our current educational system."
Mike Fisher, MBA, LIIF - COUNTRY Financial
FBUSA Board Secretary

"It has been a longtime passion of mine to champion financial empowerment through greater financial literacy, particularly in communities of color. I am delighted to be part of an organization that focuses on helping to strengthen family financial security."
John A. Stirek, Sr., MBA - Retired Business Owner
FBUSA Board Member

"Teaching children financial literacy is critical to their success in life. I feel advancing the opportunities for children to learn these skills is my legacy."
John Stirek, MBA - Trammell Crow Company
FBUSA Board Member

"Financial literacy changes lives - it is life's key to financial security for all people and their communities."
Feel connected to our mission?
We're continually seeking new volunteers and staff to help us deliver our programming to a growing number of communities.
Come join the team!