What’s your background?
I studied economics at Le Moyne College where I graduated in 2011. While in school, I had the opportunity to tutor people and found a great passion for working one-on-one with people. My mom worked in the non-profit industry my whole life, so I feel like being mission-driven is in my blood.
After graduating, I joined Americorps working for SeedCo, a national nonprofit organization that advances economic opportunity for people, businesses and communities in NYC. Through that organization, I was exposed to helping people prepare their taxes. From there, I joined Brooklyn Co-Op Federal Credit Union where I worked as a tax preparation adivsor for the credit union members.
What brought you to Neighborhood Trust?
While at Brooklyn Co-Op helping clients prepare taxes, I met a Neighborhood Trust Financial Counselor, Justin Enany, who was embedded into the credit union office. He taught workshops and worked one-on-one with our clients. I was so drawn his type of role because I would be able to use my tax prep expertise and then dive deeper to help people with their financial lives. I joined Neighborhood Trust as a Counselor in April of 2014. Now a Senior Financial Counselor, I have dedicated my career to helping and empowering New Yorkers by spreading financial knowledge, mostly in the Staten Island community.
What insights can you provide about why your client retention rate is so high?
My personal strategy to retain clients is to dive deeper under the surface – find out what’s driving their financial problems and show them that they can trust me. At first, we talk through the basics of a one-on-one counseling session: budget, savings, credit history. But the most important information comes from the extraneous conversation we have around the typical counseling session. I ask how the day went, how high the job stress level is, how her family is getting along. What motivates people financially isn’t necessarily numbers, but life circumstances.
For example, I was going through a budget with a new client this past week who had an enormous laundry bill. We went through the rest of the monthly budget items and reviewed her credit score, but I was still a bit baffled by this one number. Then, I asked her about her home life and found out that her husband recently became bed-bound. She was working three different jobs to support this change. She had so little time and so much laundry from her husband’s condition that she felt forced to use the expensive laundry machines available in her building. Together we worked out a way to calculate the time and money she could save using a wash-and-fold drop-off service. We now had a trusted connection about a personal issue that also had an impact on her financial health. That’s what keeps people coming back for more advice.
What do you enjoy in your free time?
During my free time, I like to stay physically active and push myself to the next level. I particularly enjoy riding my bike along the Staten Island boardwalk and exploring different parts of NYC with my husband!