If asked, Maria would say the reason she has had success as a financial educator is that she connects emotionally with people because of her background and story. While there may initially be language or cultural barriers between her and her students, she quickly establishes mutual trust once her students understand her powerful story of struggling as a new immigrant to the United States 12 years ago. In the coming year, Maria will continue to focus on inspiring minority women to achieve financial security and peace of mind.
The NFEC Financial Education Instructor of the Year award is set aside to recognize a single individual who has made markedly significant contributions to promoting financial wellness over the previous year. The NFEC contends that educators are the single most important influence on participant success; that’s why the council created this award to recognize distinguished financial education instructors for their contributions.
“Maria exemplifies the stellar characteristics represented by the Financial Education Instructor of the Year award. Her passion for helping others work toward greater financial security is evident when she teaches a class and while expanding the program with a network of financial education instructors. This combination is increasing access to financial education programming where it’s needed most and her efforts can continue to help people for many years to come,” commented Vince Shorb, CEO of the NFEC.
Research has demonstrated the significant impact educators make on successful student learning. Distinguished financial education instructors are not merely dispensers of knowledge; they are learning facilitators who can mold and modify participants’ behavior and guide them toward financial wellness.
Maria is the Assistant Director of the LiSA Initiative, a grassroots movement created by First Financial Security, Inc.® to address the financial concerns that women and their families experience every day in the United States. Launched formally in 2015, LiSA brings financial literacy to Americans and the communities where they live and work. LiSA has evolved into First Financial Security’s financial literacy platform. It aims to help all people – women, men, families, communities– who want to take control of their lives and build a better future through financial education. We do this by providing financial literacy curricula, training, mentoring, advocacy and empowerment.
The National Financial Educators Council (www.FinancialEducatorsCouncil.org) recognizes those industry representatives who have made significant contributions to the financial literacy movement. These awards are designed to encourage others in the financial education space to continue to push boundaries toward promoting financial wellness on an ever-larger scale.