Breaking down barriers: FARE’s CFP Board scholarship winners
“Many people in diverse communities exist in survival mode and lack financial literacy. My goal is to help people in these communities understand how they can use their hard-earned money to thrive and live a more fulfilling life,” said Jaunell Silvera when applying for the Financial Alliance for Racial Equity (FARE) CFP® Certification Diversity Scholarship.
The scholarship was created to ease the financial burden Black or African American students and professionals experience when seeking additional certifications by awarding up to $7,000 per student to complete a CFP Board Registered Program.
Silvera and six other diverse professionals were awarded the 2022 FARE CFP® Certification Diversity Scholarship and shared their stories.
As a certified financial therapist™, Magdala Adeleke works with her clients to address the emotional aspect of money. Adeleke is also pursuing a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) distinction to support, guide and motivate anyone, despite their demographics, to reach financial freedom.
“I have always approached money from a people-centered perspective and thought it was important to truly understand each individual's values and goals to help them create a personal path to financial freedom,” said Adeleke. “[My] motivation for pursuing this profession is to help the Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community who may lack access to financial education, tools and resources ... I want to provide the support to help them understand and heal from their financial trauma, feel seen and heard, build wealth and achieve financial empowerment.”
Samuel Bentil-Owusu was born in Ghana, West Africa, where his father taught him at a young age the importance of money. For the past decade, Bentil-Owusu has had a career in financial services but hopes, as a CFP® professional, to assist more disadvantaged clients in reaching a fair and equitable playing field by understanding how global financial systems work.
“My dad was the one who first instilled the love of a financial planning career and has been my biggest cheerleader throughout my journey in this industry,” said Bentil-Owusu. “A major reason why I want to gain the CFP® certification is the responsibility of being a diverse member of the financial planning community and understanding that I must pay it forward. In some of these communities, the cultural significance of one of their own relaying teachable information is very important.”
Ty'Quan Bitting’s interest in the financial planning field stems from the lack of financial knowledge within his community, friends and family. Eager to learn after his first visit to the bank, he went on to receive a degree in finance and worked as a lending processor. He took the time with each client to communicate effectively, ensuring they understood financial principles to make educated decisions.
“People my age are struggling to understand the basic terms and phrases that relate to investing, retirement planning and insurance, and the Black community can especially benefit from step-by-step knowledge from a friendly face,” said Bitting. “Without more people receiving the information, there will be no real change in our communities. Change doesn't happen unless someone gets the information and is willing to share it with the people.”
Candace Brewington is a financial advisor who believes in the greater impact she can accomplish as a CFP® professional for her diverse clients. As the sole provider of her family of four, she has dedicated herself to overcome challenges and create success for her family and clients.
“I value what we do as advisors, and I want to do the best work I can,” said Brewington. “As a future CFP® professional, I’ve determined to continue my path of seeking out earners in diverse communities. I intend to utilize my credentials to fuel my creativity around how to decode and tool my clients, and in particular diverse communities.”
To help relieve pressure on her family of eight from the United States Virgin Islands, Makiijah Crabbe started her first job at the age of 12. As a first-generation college graduate with a master’s degree, she has been in many financial roles and is motivated to reach her goals while assisting individuals and businesses to reach financial success.
“From these experiences, I have learned that with hard work and determination, you can accomplish anything in life,” said Crabbe. “I aspire to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional because it is a rewarding and in-demand career that will allow me to help people achieve their long-term and/or short-term financial goals.”
Jaunell Silvera was born and raised in rural Jamacia becoming aware of the economic challenges her family faced from a young age. Her mother immigrated to the United States to work, creating a better life for the rest of the family who came thereafter.
“Reflecting on those early years and witnessing how financial insecurity can wreak havoc and fracture families has propelled me to pursue financial planning as a career,” said Silvera. “As an immigrant and person of color, I relate to people in diverse communities and I intend to use my knowledge, skill and heart to help people become financially literate so that they can create visions and set goals for their lives demonstrated through a financial plan bolstered with education, patience and hands-on support.”
As a self-employed financial advisor, Chandel Strickland has made countless sacrifices to stay in the industry and continue working towards her goal of eventually building a successful practice to serve minority communities. For Strickland, obtaining a CFP® certification will allow her to raise the bar to facilitate trusting relationships and promote financial wellness with clients.
“I want to become a CFP® professional to help close the racial wealth gap in America. A critical part in this effort is representation in every space of the financial services industry, and I’m fully committed to being a steady presence in this industry for minorities,” said Strickland. “Minorities are looking to learn and do better with their finances but do not always feel comfortable with the people they are presented with.”