2012 Conference Presenters & Materials

Assets for Independence 







Inger Giuffrida  






Thomas Jensen 

Behavioral Economics and Financial Education: Applying Theory to Practice

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Within the last decade, theories of behavioral economics have been applied to health, marketing, and public policy.  Promising results have spurred interest in behavioral economics in the asset building and financial education fields.  Behavioral economic concepts have led to innovations in budgeting and money management systems, ways to save money and changes in workplace-based retirement plan policies.  This session will explore the principles of behavioral economics and their applications to asset building and financial education.  Both the potential results of behavioral economics as well as the inherent limitations will be discussed in this participatory workshop designed to not only inform participants, but also uncover new and exciting possibilities of including behavioral economic principles in program and policy design and implementation

 Inger Giuffrida has operated her own consulting business for eleven years and has had the privilege of working with a diverse set of clients from throughout the United States and Canada.  As a financial literacy/capability and asset-building consultant, she has developed and delivered asset building training and financial education “training for trainers” to thousands of practitioners in the asset-building field across North America and is frequently asked to be a keynote speaker or featured trainer at state and national conferences.

Thomas Jensen is the owner and principal of Vaerdi, LLC (www.vaerdi.com), a private financial planning practice where he works with private clients and consults with state, federal and non-profit agencies on asset building and wealth management projects.  Prior to founding Vaerdi, Mr. Jensen was Program Director with CASA of Oregon where he created a multi-million dollar IDA network with 60 sub-grantees, serving more than 2,500 IDA participants.  Additionally, he was instrumental in the creation of Oregon’s first adaptive technology loan fund, serving people with disabilities.  A Danish native, he spent his first 24 years in Europe.


Credit Builders Alliance







Vikki Frank

Effective Asset Building through Credit    

In today’s economy, a credit score is a valuable financial asset. In this session, we will rethink the full impact that credit scores and credit reports have in our society. Credit Builders Alliance (CBA) will provide an overview of the credit reporting industry, share innovative credit-building strategies from the field and the Credit Builders toolkit, including advancing your understanding of credit reports and scores.

Vikki Frank is the founding Executive Director of Credit Builders Alliance. She has 15 years experience creating wealth building and anti-poverty solutions for international, national and community-based organizations throughout the Americas and Africa. Vikki has worked with over 600 community-based organizations providing technical assistance, training, and consulting to build their capacity around financial services. She is recognized for her expertise in adapting mainstream asset-building strategies to diverse population.


Zenith Management Consulting







Race Cowgill 

Messaging that Matters, Download Materials: 12,3

Powerful messaging causes people to change their behavior. Who are the groups who determine the success of your programs? What behaviors do you want from them? What is the message that will cause those behaviors? Be ready to roll up your sleeves and challenge your assumptions about what messaging can do.

Race Cowgill– After founding and running a successful media company in New York City for ten years, Race Cowgill began a career in consulting with the national firm of Zenith Management Consulting in 1985 and was invited to become a Principal eight years later. For the last twenty-seven years, he has consulted to over three hundred medium and large companies in every industry.  He grew up in Boulder, and has lived in Albuquerque for the past 20 years.


Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas







Dr. Roberto A. Coronado

Economic Outreach Officer and Sr. Business Economist

New Mexico Economy Still Struggles to Recover

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New Mexico has a long history of growth compared to the rest of the U.S. For example, the number of workers on statewide payrolls grew 2.2 percent annually from 1990 to 2007, while U.S. payrolls averaged only 1.4 percent growth over the same period.  The U.S. economy bottomed out in June 2009, and New Mexico has struggled to keep up with the modest U.S. recovery that is now under way.  So far, the nation has restored only 40 percent of the jobs lost due to the Great Recession. If measured in percentage terms, New Mexico’s job losses were similar to those of the U.S. The state’s performance in restoring lost jobs has been poorer than the U.S., adding back only 11 percent of jobs lost. This presentation will address issues pertaining to New Mexico’s recovery and to reasons it is still struggling to gain traction.

Roberto Coronado is an economic outreach officer and senior business economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in El Paso. Coronado oversees the branch’s outreach activities through branch publications, presentations and speeches, public conferences, and economic education programs. His research at the Fed focuses on issues pertaining to the Mexican economy, the maquiladora industry, the U.S.–Mexico border economy and the West Texas and New Mexico economies. Coronado has written articles for various Federal Reserve publications and academic journals in both the United States and Mexico.  Coronado currently serves as the vice president for the Rio Grande Economics Association, the El Paso chapter for the National Association for Business Economics. Coronado is also a clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas at El Paso.


Wider Opportunities for Women







Matt Unrath

National Program Director

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The State of the State:  How much do New Mexico families need to earn to meet all of their basic needs? What is a ‘good’ job? What is the difference between true economic security and living paycheck to paycheck? Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) aims to answer these questions and provide an alternative look at how New Mexico families are doing through a presentation on the Basic Economic Security Tables™ Index (BEST) for New Mexico. The BEST Index is a measure of the local cost of basic needs and assets that individuals and families of all different sizes require for economic security. In this session, participants will explore what the BEST Index reveals about the current state of New Mexico’s working families and how it may improve our work in promoting critical policies and programs.

Matt Unrath serves as National Program Director at Wider Opportunities for Women. He currently leads the development of WOW’s Basic Economic Security Table Initiative, oversees all of WOW’s national projects, serves as a principal contact for WOW’s state partners, and represents WOW in several national advocacy efforts. Previous to joining WOW, Matt served as the Policy and Program Liaison for Asset Building at Heartland Alliance in Chicago, where he worked on various initiatives intended to help low-income families build wealth, including financial literacy and match savings programs and advocacy around consumer protection policies in Illinois.








Greg Mays

Educator, Journalist, Technology Director

Evaluating and Choosing Social Media Tools 

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Social media is a new player when it comes to running a business and communicating with the world.  With 850 million users, Facebook alone has an audience that no business owner should ignore.  When you include other major social media sites like Twitter, Google+, MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr, Instagram, Foursquare, Path, YouTube, Vimeo, WordPress, or Tumblr, it may feel like an overwhelming task to social networks and find the best ways to use them in your application.

Greg Mays has taught technology and mathematics courses at private schools in Albuquerque and Santa Fe for the past several years, and is currently the Technology Director at Desert Academy.  He started the first podcast in the state of New Mexico and is a journalist with a degree in Public Relations from NMSU.  He researches and teaches on the benefits and pitfalls of social media for individuals and corporations worldwide and has his own blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, and Foursquare accounts.


Office of Attorney General, Texas  







Chris Giangreco, PhD

Using Child Support to Promote Family Economic Success  

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Participants will learn about program pilots aimed at integrating child support and asset building services in Texas. The workshop will begin with a short discuss of child support basics and an understanding of the motivators of state child support programs. Focus will turn to a discussion of the alignment with asset building services. The workshop will conclude with the explanation of a few pilot projects that bring together the two systems to promote economic success for families.

Chris Giangreco works to promote financial success for Texas families who interact with the child support system. His duties include oversight of the Urban Fathers Asset Building demonstration, integration of financial education into existing programs, education about the intersections of asset building and child support, and development of pilot projects to create opportunities for child support customers to attain financial stability. Prior to his work with the Child Support Division, Chris worked in Chicago, Illinois, where he managed a statewide asset-building coalition and helped promote local, state, and federal policy supporting economic stability for families and individuals of all incomes. Chris has experience in policy advocacy, program development, government relations and research in a variety of areas – financial services, consumer protections, public health, transportation, housing, and environmental sustainability.









Carl Rist

Vice President for Assets and Opportunities Programs &

Director of Asset Building


Prosperity Works







Ona Porter

President and CEO

Seeding a Future for our Children  

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Participants will understand what we have learned from the field over the past decade about effective child savings accounts.  Together we will discuss considerations around financial account structures, use of funds, and how to develop interactive, culturally appropriate, age appropriate financial education.  What are our next steps in New Mexico?

Carl Rist is CFED’s vice president for Assets and Opportunity Programs and director of Asset Building.  In this capacity, Mr. Rist is responsible for CFED’s work to develop, test, support and expand innovative community practices and programs that help to build wealth and create greater economic opportunity.  From 2003 – 2009, Mr. Rist was the director of the SEED (Savings for Education, Entrepreneurship and Downpayment) Policy and Practice Initiative, a multi-year, multi-site demonstration of matched savings accounts for children and youth in low-income families.  More recently, Mr. Rist has helped to design and implement the Partnership for College Completion, an innovative partnership between  three organizations — UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the KIPP network of public charter schools, and CFED — that offers a comprehensive suite of academic, financial and social supports, such as incentivized college savings accounts, financial literacy education, college readiness training and merit-based college scholarships, for KIPP students.

Ona Porter, President and CEO of Prosperity Works, leads the organizations agenda in New Mexico and nationally.  She developed a comprehensive, integrated investment strategy to insure the  healthy development of all children that is used nationally.  She also developed a concept of multigenerational family policy that is designed to provide the values, norms, expectations and resources required for families to effectively nurture across generations.  Ona conducted and published the first comprehensive study of the status of New Mexico’s children which was designed to identify the root causes of the problems manifested, and to develop primary prevention strategies.  She trained private and public sector managers and leaders nationwide in the development of “family friendly” workplaces and the achievement of workplace diversity.







Chris Zappe

Digital Media Arts Director, Desert Academy

Targeted and Appropriate Use of YouTube

Hands on session held at Hopewell-Mann Community Center computer lab off site.   Through flipcam utilization this session will walk participants through effective use of YouTube; reputation-building video photography; and the logistics of establishing your YouTube profile and uploading video.  

 Christopher Zappe has been a media arts instructor at Desert Academy for the past six years, teaching classes ranging from animation and special effects for film to computer programming and self-publishing comic books. The common thread in all of these subjects is ‘narrative technologies,’ media that can be used to tell a story. In the moments where Christopher is not in or preparing for a classroom, he may be found on a hiking trail, a dance floor, riding a motorcycle or in his kitchen, contemplating the feasibility of becoming a mad scientist.


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau







Irene Skricki

Senior Financial Education Program Analyst

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the new federal agency created in 2011 to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices in the financial services marketplace.   In this session, participants will learn more about the CFPB’s work and will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas around financial education and other topics with CFPB staff.

Irene Skricki is the Senior Financial Education Program Analyst in the Office of Financial Education at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where she started in August 2011.  Previous to the CFPB, Irene was a Senior Associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation for the past 15 years, where she managed the financial stability portfolio. She has also held positions at the Ford Foundation and the Coalition on Human Needs.  Irene has a Bachelor of Science degree from MIT and a Masters of Public Affairs degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.


Coaching for Client Success 







Mary Beth Shewan, MS, BCC, MCC
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Learn why taking a “coach approach” is such a powerful form of communication and how it can lighten your workload.  Experience an effective, simply coaching model you can use with clients to help them achieve better results.  You’ll also practice some foundational coaching tools to assist clients in setting goals, determine their priorities and identify actions steps they’ll take to move forward.

Mary Beth Shewan has been coaching for 15 years and is owner of Wholelife Coaching in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  She is currently on the faculty of Coaches Training Institute and teaches both Financial and Career Coaching through Central New Mexico Community College (CNM).  Mary Beth is a Master Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation. She trains and coaches in organizations across North America.  In addition, Mary Beth holds degrees in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Career Development Counseling.  Her professional experience includes organizational developer, career counselor, manager, speaker, and trainer for business.  Over her career, she has worked in several nonprofit settings conducting job training, career development, and life planning with a wide range of individuals.  Her goal is to support holistic approaches to workforce development, economic development, and social equity nationally.


First Nations Development Institute

www.firstnations.org      www.investnative.org    www.oweesta.org






Shawn Spruce

Financial Education Consultant

Collaborating for Action

Shawn Spruce is a financial education consultant specializing in personal finance training, curriculum design, program development, homebuyer counseling, and consumer advocacy.  Assisting both adults and youth he holds professional certifications in a variety of financial education subject matters and draws on a lifetime of firsthand experience with these topics and related issues.  Moreover, while working with clients ranging from private businesses and non-profits to tribal entities and schools; he strives to empower individuals and families with the knowledge and skill to manage their own finances on their own terms.  He also proudly serves on the Pueblo of Laguna Investment Committee and as a board member for Native Community Finance, a start up CDFI located at the Pueblo of Laguna.