February 2019 Scholarship Recipients
Chris Bauchle (Indianapolis, IN) is an Active Reserve Air Force Master Sergeant with 12 years of service who is about to deploy for six months to Kuwait. From an early age, Chris dreamed of being a firefighter. Career firefighters in Indiana must be 21 years old, so Chris joined the Air Force Reserve at 18 as a way to prepare himself. “It wasn’t my intention to make it a career,” Chris says. “But, they say time flies and it certainly has.” In his civilian life, Chris has attained his goal of becoming a firefighter, and is also helping his wife develop her photography business. Financial planning has become a passion of his and Chris is at the point in his life where he is ready to develop that passion into a career. “In the military, I think we sometimes fall short preparing our people to maintain their financial health,” Chris says. He will be completing the Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS) program (he intends on bringing his books with him on his deployment), which will provide a two-fold benefit for him – developing his skills and passion for finance, as well as preparing him for future leadership opportunities. The MSFS is a rigorous program, which is part of the appeal for Chris. “Growing up, I was taught the value of integrity and hard work. These days, everyone is looking for the ‘life hack,’ the shortcut,” he says. “When in doubt, you do the right thing and you work hard.”
Samantha Bentley (Waterford, NY) is a devoted mother and the spouse of Adrian Bentley, a veteran Navy Petty Officer Second Class who served for 10 years in the submarine force. They met the summer before he was honorably discharged, and while her time as an active duty military spouse is limited, Samantha says the experience left an impact on her. “My grandfather was in the Navy and my dad was in the Army. I have such a high respect for the military and for military spouses; I understand how it changes their life.” Originally from Washington, Samantha recently relocated to New York and is working for Pearl Insurance as a junior business analyst. “I started out in customer service but I was chosen by my manager to be part of the team implementing our new system,” Samantha says. “I got to learn the ins and outs of our business system department, so when an opportunity opened, I jumped at it. I’ve been in that role for almost a year.” One of Samantha’s career goals at Pearl is to make the jump from junior business analyst to analyst – and earning a master’s degree will help set her apart and further her career. Samantha will be completing the Master of Science in Management (MSM) program, which will develop her leadership skills and open more doors for her career.
David Chang (Los Angeles, CA) is a combat veteran and currently a Major and the Deputy Commander for the 250th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion with the California Army National Guard. David is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point Class of 2002. As senior-class cadet at West Point during the attacks on September 11, 2001, he knew he would face a very different life upon graduation. We knew we were going into combat immediately upon graduating and taking our Oath of Office,” he says. In the years following 9/11, David served as an Armor and Military Intelligence Officer with multiple overseas deployments including one in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After spending seven years on Active Duty, he spent 10 years with the Hawaii Army National Guard, serving in a wide variety of Military Intelligence Positions, including the Vice Chief of Staff of Intelligence (G2/J2) for the Hawaii National Guard. He then transitioned to the California Army National Guard and is currently up for the promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. During his tenure, he has traveled to over 30 different counties, working with foreign military forces to help train their soldiers for real-time worldwide contingencies. “I really enjoy serving my country and support our nation's security. I go where they want me to go and look forward to continually serving our country.” In his civilian life, David has had his own RIA for the past 11 years. “It’s small, about $25 million AUM – my goal is to double that.” To that end, David recently completed the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program and is now setting his sights on the Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) program. These credentials will help David better protect his clients’ futures. “People will be able to withstand crises if they’re making sound financial decisions. If you can change one household at a time, it makes the communities, the cities, the counties, and the country better.”
Christopher DeBlanc (Alexandria, VA) is a veteran Marine Corps Sergeant who spent a combined total of eight years on active and reserve duty. Christopher enlisted in the summer of 2001, a few months before the attacks of September 11th. “I saw the second plane hit the tower,” Chris says. “And I knew my life was going to change.” Chris and his unit were shipped off to Kenya and then Pakistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Shortly after that, he deployed again to Kuwait and led the 1st Marine Division to Baghdad in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Chris deployed a third time back to Iraq for the second battle of Fallujah. “I got to lead 26 Marines on the ground,” Chris says. “It’s like going to the Super Bowl – you train every day for an event like this. It was exciting, and it was terrifying. Like Dickens said, ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’” Upon returning home from Fallujah, Chris decided it was time for a new chapter. He went to college and got his accounting degree, which led him to the world of financial services. “Personal financial planning resonated with me,” Chris says. “Some of the work I was doing in accounting was just chasing dollars around a spreadsheet. When working with a business, the impact is not as tangible. Working with individuals feels good. It feels like you’re contributing to someone’s life.” Chris will be putting his scholarship toward the Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS) program, which will help him continue to develop his skills and propel his career forward.
Olivia Inglett (Woodbridge, VA) is the spouse of Joseph Inglett, a First Lieutenant in the Virginia Army National Guard, whom she met while they were both attending Liberty University. “I didn’t grow up around anyone in the military,” Olivia says. “When we met, he was in ROTC – I didn’t understand what he was doing while he was away on duty or how much his service would later impact my life.” When they got married, Olivia and Joe moved to Ft. Rucker, AL, an experience that Olivia was “totally unprepared for”. “It threw me for a loop,” she says. “I was terrified that I’d accidently do something to mess him up or disgrace the nation. I was in culture shock, but very quickly some of the other spouses pulled me into their group. I’ve been so blessed by the other spouses – it’s the most beautiful community.” After looking for and feeling underwhelmed by the accounting jobs available near her, Olivia found a position at First Command as a financial advisor. “At first, it seemed a little too ‘people-y’ for me,” Olivia joked. But after meeting the people at First Command, Olivia says she felt like she found her calling. “I took a leap of faith and jumped in with both feet.” She is thrilled to have been able to use her finance degree to help the military families of southern Alabama and now northern Virginia. “It’s such a blessing to be able to talk to people and say, ‘we can do this! I can put a plan together for you and no matter what, I’ve got your back.” Olivia will be completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program.
George Jones (Maysville, KY) spent an impressive 23 years in the Army and retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Apart from one year serving overseas in Korea as a rifle platoon leader, George spent his career in administrative roles, namely Chief of the Retirement Branch for the Officers. “Little did I know that I’d be one of those retirees one day!” George made the decision to retire to spend more time with his family, and got a job at a local community college, where he worked until 2016. “I was Chief Business Officer at Maysville Technical College,” he says. “Basically, I was in charge of the financial statements, budgets, and audits – all on the administrative side, not the academic side,” though he does also have experience teaching in an online school setting. Looking ahead, George has been interested in getting into fee-based financial planning, and wants to get the relevant education to complement his MBA. He will be completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program and wants to sit for the CFP® exam as well. “There’s a big need for fee-based planning in my area,” George says. “I think someone with integrity and the right background can really help the families of Kentucky.”
Jeanne Kubat (Grand Rapids, MN) is the spouse of veteran Army Sergeant Wesley Kubat, who served for eight years with deployments to Iraq. "It's been a rocky ride," Jeanne says of her husband's service-connected injuries from being in the military. "The VA has been a lot of help to us." Jeanne's career in financial services started when she was 18, working in banking and loans. After the birth of their second child, she shifted her career focus to insurance, working part time until 2015. Now with Greater Insurance Services of NE Minnesota, Jeanne focuses on group, health, and life insurance, as well as employee benefits and long-term care, and she is in it for the long haul. "I see myself in this business until I'm in my 70's or 80's," she says. A self-described go-getter, Jeanne is eager to learn as much as possible about insurance so that she can better serve her clients saying, "I've seen so many cases of people being uneducated on their future and their financial needs." By completing the Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) program, Jeanne will have a full complement of skills that will make her an expert to the families she serves.
Patrick Larkin (Hanover, MD) is an Active Duty Navy, Lieutenant Commander set to retire next year after 20 years of service. "I saw the commercial, it said, "Join the Navy, see the world!' And I did - this career has taken me to many countries." Patrick started his career as a Surface Warfare Officer, serving on three different ships and crossing the world's oceans – an experience that he says helped to develop his leadership and problem-solving skills. Ten years into his career in the Navy, Patrick enjoyed international engagement and changed career focus to Foreign Area Officer for the Middle East, working with the Fifth Fleet, setting up engagements with foreign militaries to include working as an advisor to the Kuwait Navy. "I loved being able to support our country and build lasting strategic partnerships with foreign partners," Patrick says. Now looking towards the future, he is ready for a new challenge, and financial service is calling him. "I like the 'nothing ventured, nothing gained' environment," Patrick says. "The more you put into it, the more you'll get out of it – that's an attractive component in this field for me." By completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program, Patrick will receive a robust financial planning education that will propel him forward in this new career.
Alfreda Salters (Olive Branch, MS) is the wife of Ronnie Salters Sr., a retired Army Sergeant First Class with an incredible 34 years of service and three tours of duty overseas. When Alfreda met Ronnie, he was already a member of the National Guard’s 166th Engineer Company. “The first time I realized he was a soldier that people relied on was during a hurricane in the Gulf in 2007,” Alfreda says. “He got a call in the middle of the night, and just said, “I got to go!’ and I couldn’t believe he was going out into the storm. He drove through the storm all the way to Alabama to mobilize with his unit.” Now that Ronnie’s military career is behind him, it’s time for Alfreda to focus on her career. Her interest in finance came at an early age. “My grandmother would occasionally send me to the neighborhood store to pick up some items that she needed, and she would let me keep the change every time. That started my saving habit. As a financial coach, I hear many stories from different people, and I believe financial literacy has to start when you’re young.” In 2010, Alfreda was awarded the FINRA Fellowship to earn her Accredited Financial Counselor designation and is currently employed by Magellan Health through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a financial coach. “I love what I do,” Alfreda says. “I have a passion for it; I’ve found my calling.” To build on her AFC, Alfreda plans to complete the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program and plans to sit for the CFP® exam. This education will help her help the families that rely on her, one step at a time from budgeting to wealth building. “Finances are very personal – people want to discuss them, but they need to trust the person they’re discussing them with,” she says. “Building that trust is important to me – I’m not judgmental. I’m here to help.”