July 2017 Scholarship Recipients
Veronica Brown (Columbus, GA) is the spouse of a former Army Specialist, whom she married after he completed his military service. In addition to her role as a pastor, Veronica has been working in the insurance field since 2000. “It was totally different then from what it is today,” she says, “from paper and pencil and knocking on doors, to enrolling people online and over the phone.” While insurance is her specialty, she wants to diversify her skills to address her clients’ financial questions. “I believe this education is a needed component. When I read the course descriptions, I said, ‘Oh, my God, I need this!’ I want to be the go-to person for answers.” To introduce her to the world of financial advice, Veronica will participate in the Financial Services Certified Professional® (FSCP®) program that will equip her with the tools to better assist her clients. “I love bringing clarity to clients so they can make the right decisions for meeting their financial needs.”
Jonathan Childs (Chalfont, PA) graduated from West Point Military Academy in 2002. Following his graduation ceremony, he asked his parents to head on to his graduation party without him, as he had some post-ceremony processing to take care of; he would catch up with them later. “That’s the last thing I remember. On my way back from the ceremony, my car rolled off the highway and I was found hanging from my seatbelt on the side of the road. No one knows what happened.” Jonathan was in a coma for five days following the accident and spent two months in several different hospitals. He then spent two years convalescing at home, going through rigorous physical therapy. Three years after the accident, he was medically discharged from the Army. “It was a big shock,” Jonathan says. “I’m a perfect example of how plans don’t always go as expected.” Jonathan tried his hand at a few different jobs after his discharge, but found nothing that lasted. In 2008, Jonathan joined Prudential in a position that helped him grow professionally, further developing his love of serving others. The experience he gained at Prudential built Jonathan’s confidence and he opened his own firm, New Perspectives Financial Group, with several of his Prudential coworkers. “It’s going well but, as with any new business, the money you make goes back into the business to cover expenses.” Jonathan will complete the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program that will enable him to gain further knowledge and skills to help make his New Perspectives enterprise a success.
Randy Groner (Jefferson City, MO) joined the Army Reserves in 1986 and is currently at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3 with the Missouri National Guard. “It was going to be a one-weekend-a-month deal,” says Randy. “I thought I’d do my six years and then I’d get out. Once I was in, though, I enjoyed it and I just stayed.” Over the course of his career, Randy has had several deployments, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Qatar. “They are not fun while you are engaged in those assignments, but you can never take that experience away.” In the early 2000s, Randy decided to make the military his full-time job, so he transitioned from the Reserves to the Army National Guard. Among the many responsibilities he has had over the course of his career, one of the most interesting was his experience in State Emergency Duty, running all of the logistical operations during the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, in the late summer of 2014. Among those logistics was coordinating over 2,000 soldiers. “It was an amazing ordeal,” Randy says. “It could have gone badly, but I feel the way we conducted business, it went over pretty well.” Looking ahead for his next career, Randy wants to transition into financial services. He has already earned the Accredited Asset Management Specialist® (AAMS®) designation, and will be taking The College’s Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program. He wants to round out his knowledge and skills so that he can pass them on to younger soldiers. “I’ve been in their shoes, I’ve made those same mistakes,” he says.
Robert Hila (San Marcos, CA) entered the Navy when he was 21 years old, but he had not been planning on it. “I took a friend to a recruiting station, and while he was filling out paperwork, a recruiter sat me down and put on a video. I thought, ‘What if they don’t take my friend, and take me instead?’ As it turned out, that’s exactly what happened, and I was so glad I did it.” During his six years in the Navy, Bob saw five different countries and worked on fighter jets. “There are not many people who can say they did that! I had a real blast.” Bob says his one regret was that he did not make a career out of the Navy, “I keep kicking myself for that. I should have gone on to an officer program.” Bob’s current job is with the National Agents Alliance, an insurance brokerage. He has 12 years of experience in financial services and holds Series 7, 6, 66 and 63, and his Life/Health licenses. “I love gaining the knowledge and I want to serve my clients in the best way possible,” Bob says. “When they call, they trust me; they have given me discretionary control of their money. They know I’ll take care of them as friends.” Bob will be studying in the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program, and plans to sit for the CFP exam. He will build upon his years of experience and gain further knowledge to better serve his clients.
Tamra Ivanoff (Carlisle, PA) is the spouse of an Active Duty Army Colonel. They have been married for the entirety of his 26-year career in Field Artillery. “He hasn’t been shooting cannons for several years now, though,” Tamra notes. Currently, her husband is deployed in Afghanistan, but prior to his departure, he was directing strategic war games at Army War College. A holder of the Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) designation, Tamra helps service members and their families with budget advice and debt and credit counseling through Zeiders Enterprise, and also leads presentations on the new military Blended Retirement System. “When the light bulb comes on, that’s the best part of my job,” she says. The mother of five children, Tamra leads a busy life, but it is finally calming down. “Now, with my husband gone and all the kids out of the house, I have a lot more time on my hands. I can disappear into an online course now without feeling like I’m unplugging from everyone.” Tamra plans to build on her AFC® certification by completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program. “The AFC® program gave me a good overview, but I think the ChFC® curriculum will fill in the gaps for me.”
McAlbert “Al” Jeantus
McAlbert “Al” Jeantus (Newark, NJ) was 18 years old when he was deployed during the battle of Fallujah. “I remember how hot it was that day – 130 degrees.” Two years later, Al was sent back for a second deployment, this time as a Sergeant. “I was very young, but I had been exposed to great leadership. I grew not only as a Marine, but as a leader.” Al spent a total of four years in the Marine Corps and, in that time, attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. While earning his undergraduate degree, Al worked as a Relationship Manager at his mentor’s company, Coroebus Wealth Management. He found the experience formative. Al now wants to follow in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a career in the financial services profession. Al’s father recently passed away unexpectedly, and the process of managing his estate has further solidified Al’s desire to “serve the community that has supported my father’s company since its inception.” Al is currently studying for his IRA and Securities licenses. He will expand on the skills he has acquired on the job by completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program.
Joseph Toepke (Columbia, MO) retired from the Army as a Major in 2015 after 24 years of service. “I wanted to be a pilot ever since I was five years old,” he says. He enlisted in 1992, earned his commission in 1995, and branched into aviation. It was during his last deployment that the idea of working in financial services became appealing to him. “My chaplain told me that he had been a financial advisor for 20 years and he thought I’d be really good at it. It’s extremely enjoyable for me to solve complex financial problems for people.” Joe is in the process of opening up a branch office with his mentor, a 20-year financial services veteran, and another relatively new advisor. “My mentor has 20 years of experience. The other advisor is new like me, but he also owns a mortgage business. I look around and wonder, ‘What can I bring to the team?’” For Joe, that is where the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation comes in. “This is something I can really wrap myself around and accomplish. I really want to learn this material; I want to know this industry inside and out.” Joe wants to use this education to serve three populations: teachers in the local area, his fellow retiring military personnel, and parents with special needs children.
Darryl Trimble (Lithia Springs, GA) is a Captain in the Army Reserves with 10 years of service and two deployments to Iraq. A graduate of the University of Missouri at St. Louis, Darryl had originally planned to become a lawyer and thought going into the Army would be a good way to help pay for law school. A summer session of law school was enough to change his mind about his future, though, and he received his commission from the Army in 2008. “I just enjoyed it,” he says of his time in the military. “I’ve got some good training and I’ve made some great relationships.” One of Darryl’s classmates started working at Edward Jones, and Darryl liked the sound of his day-to-day duties. “I’m a quick learner and a good communicator, and I’ve always enjoyed finances.” He went on to earn his Series 7, 66, and 63 and has experience working at Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo. Not one to shy away from hard work, Darryl’s military nickname “Beast Mode” followed him into his new career. Two years ago, Darryl made the jump and went independent, a decision he calls “one of the top five best decisions I’ve ever made.” “I feel so free,” he says. “It’s my business; I feel better talking to the client and recommending a solution that doesn’t have to be proprietary to my employer.” Darryl wants to complete the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) program to round out his financial experience. As he notes, “The Army taught me that determination is what makes a good leader.”