January 2019 Scholarship Recipients
Tommy Adkins (Dayton, OH) served in the Army as a field artillery surveyor, and his experiences left a lasting impression on him. One of his passions in life is making sure veterans get the benefits that they are entitled to. “A veteran has to be so proactive to obtain their benefits,” says Tom, and cites a study that states that only about 36% of veterans have received the benefits that they deserve. In his spare time, Tom has volunteered at his local VA hospital, checking in patients in the outpatient surgical center. Most of the people sitting in the waiting room are military spouses, and Tom visits with each of them while they are waiting to make sure they are aware of the benefits that they and their spouse are entitled to. “My drive is to do a job and do it right,” Tom says. “I’m so involved with military benefits because when I see something that’s wrong I want to go back and fix it.” In his professional life, Tom has been an insurance professional since 1988 and earned his LUTCF® designation in 1991. Now, Tom wants to build on his LUTCF and his years of experience by completing the Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) designation.
David Evans (San Diego, CA) is a transitioning Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer with over 20 years of service in Navy aviation. During his career, David spent eight years in Japan and over three years in Italy. “I’ve done everything from managing squadrons, to operations, to logistics, and planning,” David says. “I’ve got this bag of experience in different areas and I’m not sure where I want to focus it.” To further focus his experience and develop his skillset, David will be taking the Master of Science in Management (MSM) program. The MSM will help hone the leadership skills he has gained over 20 years in the military and help him translate those skills to the civilian world. “Now is the time,” David says. “I’m focused on what’s next.”
Arthur Forget (Albany, NY) is a Sergeant in the Army National Guard who spent seven years on Active Duty before joining the Reserves. While Arthur was looking for a way to pay for college, he talked to a recruiter who convinced him to enlist in the Army. He went away for basic training and his advanced individual training and returned home at the beginning of September 2001. “I was home for three days, and then September 11th happened,” he says. Arthur’s unit was sent to Ground Zero on September 12th and the experience was, understandably, a pivotal moment for him. “When I first joined, it was all about the benefits,” Arthur says. “Once I saw everything at Ground Zero, it completely changed me as a person, my whole outlook. I went from wanting to use the military for its benefits to wanting to be a part of it.” Upon returning home from New York, Arthur was promoted into a position at the Joint Operations Center working in military intelligence and domestic operations, and held that position for over six years before going to graduate school and beginning a career as a financial advisor. Having already completed the coursework for the CFP®, Arthur will be completing the remaining credits to earn Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program, which will round out his financial planning education and help him build his practice.
Jennifer King (Center Sandwich, NH) is the spouse of an Active Duty Army Sergeant, and they have been married for two years. The life of a military spouse has been an adjustment for Jennifer. "I've loved it, but it comes with its challenges," she says, explaining that one of the toughest aspects has been finding a career that is mobile and flexible. Prior to marrying her husband, Jennifer worked for Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments. "I had a career up until my husband joined the Army, but between basic training and not knowing where we would be stationed, and now with him deployed, it's hard to keep a career going." Jennifer has always been interested in finance. Her degree is in global business and economics, and she has earned her Series 7 and 63 licenses. While Jennifer's husband is deployed, her focus is on earning certifications and designations and learning as much as she can. She is currently working on studying for her Series 65 and then plans to focus her energy on completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program and sitting for the CFP® exam. Her ultimate goal is to open her own firm focused on setting young professionals up for success. "After talking to my friends, even those who work in the financial services industry, it has become quite clear that not many people know if they are 'doing it right.' There is quite a gap in availability of experienced and credible financial planners who would like to help the majority of Americans with their financial goals."
Thomas Lechleitner (Frederick, MD) retired from the Navy in May 2018 at the rank of Captain after a 30-year career. His Navy career started as a way to pay for his education. “I wanted to go to college and the Navy seemed the best path to get there,” he says. He received an ROTC scholarship and earned his commission. A transition to financial services seems like a natural one for him. “There’s a lot of overlap,” Tom says. “As a Navy officer, a lot of my job was advising my junior officers and junior enlisted – career advice, family advice, financial advice, helping take care of people. I wanted to continue that.” Tom recently completed the CFP® program and is now ready to complete the remaining requirements to earn the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation, which will help to round out his knowledge and skills.
Branden Mann (Whitney, TX) spent eight years in the Army, and transitioned at the rank of Staff Sergeant. Like many, Branden felt the call to service after September 11th and dropped out of college in order to enlist. During his time in, he was deployed as a Platoon Sergeant to South Korea, Kuwait, and Iraq. “I deployed with 30 soldiers and I got them all home,” he says proudly. Branden credits his time in the Army for teaching him resilience, empathy, and appreciation, but it also taught him that “the Army is a young man’s game – at 29, I knew I needed to get out.” Branden finished his Bachelor’s degree while serving and jumped headfirst into financial services upon his transition in 2011. He spent a few years working for First Command and is now an independent financial planner connected with Citizens National Bank, with $60 million in assets under management. Branden wants to continue to grow his business and his skillset, and will be undertaking the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program before sitting for the CFP® exam. “I’m ready to be challenged,” Branden says.
Susan Pascoe (Brighton, CO) is the spouse of an Active Reserve Chief Warrant Officer 3 who has 28 years of service – and Susan has been along for 15 years of that service. “We’ve been blessed,” Susan says. “The military has been very good for us. I can’t imagine living any other way.” Currently, Susan is a Financial Counselor with Zeiders, providing financial readiness counseling to service members and their families, which compliments her Accredited Financial Counselor designation and her master’s degree in human services with an emphasis on marriage and family. “Nine times out of ten, before we can get to the financial issues, there are a few non-money things we need to address,” says Susan, explaining that issues in family finances are sometimes a symptom of a lack of communication. “It’s like you’re going on a trip, but you didn’t discuss where you’re going first. When you get in car and one of you thinks you’re going to beach, one of you thinks you’re going to the mountains – the car can’t go both ways.” To further equip her skillset, Susan will be completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program, and will then go on to sit for the CFP® exam. “I have a heart for helping people,” Susan says.
Brian Smith (Maple Grove, MN) spent 20 years in the Army and National Guard, and retired at the rank of Major. He is the third generation of his family to serve in the military, but Brian’s original goal was to be an aviator. “Top Gun changed my life. I was going to be a Naval Aviator and nothing was going to change that.” During a medical exam, it was revealed that Brian had “just enough colorblindness to eliminate me from any kind of flying.” Undaunted, Brian earned his commission into the Army and went into Air Defense. “Spite is a great motivator,” Brian joked during his interview. “If I wasn’t going to fly anything, I was going to shoot them down.” Brian enjoyed every moment of his impressive military career. “I loved my career. I had so many good soldiers and good leaders. Just about every day I wish I could put the uniform back on. It was awesome.” In his civilian life, Brian is currently a wholesaler, and he wants to learn and grow to understand the retail side of the business as well. “I want to understand my clients better. I want to improve my competency so that I can help financial planners on a different level and see the world through the lens of their experience. Brian holds the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) designation and has completed the coursework for the CFP® curriculum. Now he plans to complete the remaining credits for the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation.
Joseph Voellm (Westlake, OH) joined the Marine Corps in 2005 right out of high school. Stemming from a military family – his father was a Naval Commander and his siblings are all in the military – it was something he really wanted to do. “I had it in my mind that I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself and make a difference in the world.” He was drawn to the Marine Corps due to how prestigious and tough it is, feeling this was the right decision. A highlight of his time was when he was deployed to Haiti a few days after the earthquake. Here, he handed out food and helped with the rebuilding infrastructure, making him feel like he made a difference. Now living in Ohio, Joseph is employed at the JL Smith Group. “It’s a great group to be with. I love my team and I’m learning every day.” Having recently completed the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program, Joseph will be completing the Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) program, which will round out his expertise. “There’s going to be ups and downs, not everything is going to come easy. If you never give up, you never lose. You only really lose when you don't learn.”
Chasity Wells (Duluth, GA) says that leadership is one of the biggest things her four years in the Navy taught her. “It taught me a lot about being a leader and getting other people to buy into my leadership,” Chasity says. “It was a great experience. It taught me a lot about being brave and rising to the challenge.” After leaving the Navy at the rank of Second Class Petty Officer Quartermaster, Chasity worked for two different telecom companies, providing customer service and sales training. She enjoyed the work and was making good money, but started looking for opportunities in a different field once it became clear to her that outsourcing customer service overseas was becoming the norm within the telecom industry. “It was a pivotal point in my life; what’s my next move?” Chasity says. “I vowed to find an industry that could shield my family from this.” In 2011, Chasity made the jump to become an independent insurance agent and has fallen in love with financial services. After completing her bachelor’s degree in 2015, Chasity has her sights set on the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program, which will provide her with a robust skillset to better serve her clients. “My voice is for the women who are following my steps and feel scared wondering is it possible,” Chasity says. “I am the lighthouse and beacon declaring it is possible.” Chasity’s warmth, tenacity, and her “never give up” attitude is admirable. “I just want to know it’s possible – as long as I know it’s possible, I know I can do it.”