Congratulations to winners of the Outstanding Symposium Practitioners' Forum Award!
2018: Lucia Reed & George Reuter, Compass Working Capital
For the past 25 years, the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program has been one of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's best kept secrets. The program encourages families receiving federal housing assistance to increase their earned income and then enable families to build savings through the process of paying rent. Despite being the federal government's largest wealth-building program for families with low incomes, it has been underutilized and under-optimized for decades. Compass Working Capital, a Boston-based financial services nonprofit, has spent over eight years unpacking the program's potential by combining this powerful savings incentive with high-quality financial counseling and coaching.
Lucia Reed joined Compass in September 2015. In her role as Financial Services Manager, Lucia works to embed client feedback into all of Compass' services, coordinates and delivers professional development to coaches, and manages and develops Compass' relationships with referral partners. Lucia also manages a pilot in Cambridge public housing of an automatic enrollment program model known as "Rent-to-Save." Prior to Compass, Lucia spent several years working in education-related roles, including as an Account Manager with ESL schools in the Boston area, as a teacher of Social Justice and Theology at Matignon High School in Cambridge, MA, and as an Education Coordinator at a homeless shelter in Nashville, TN with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She has also spent time in Chicago, IL at the Ignatian Spirituality Project working with women experiencing homelessness.
Lucia graduated from Union College in 2009 with a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. In addition, she holds a Masters in Theological Studies from Boston College. She is an Accredited Financial Counselor.
George Reuter joined Compass Working Capital in April 2016. He leads the development of actionable learning that supports Compass' clients and improves the organization's financial coaching practices. Prior to his time at Compass, he spent eight years working in community development at The Neighborhood Developers (TND), where he directed evaluation efforts related to housing, community engagement and financial capability programs. While at TND, George launched a peer consulting business that provided database and evaluation services to Community Development Corporations in the Greater Boston area.
George is a Salesforce.com Certified Advanced Administrator and Certified Developer. He completed his Master of Science in Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. He also holds a professional certificate in Program Evaluation from Tufts University and a BA from Haverford College.
2017: Carmina Lass, Credit Builders Alliance
As the Director of Training and Consulting, Carmina leads the development, marketing, coordination and delivery of CBA’s education, training and consulting services. She also provides support to CBA’s Reporter and Access team creating innovative and entrepreneurial services to meet CBA’s client and partner needs and carrying out CBA’s mission. Carmina has over seven years of experience as a non-profit practitioner through which she focused on economic empowerment, financial capability, and lending among low-income and underserved communities. Most recently, Carmina was the Director of Homeowner Services at Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity in Colorado Springs, CO. Carmina has a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University where she concentrated on intercultural conflict resolution, dialogue and reconciliation among divided communities, and microfinance strategies for poverty alleviation.
2016: Barbara O'Neill
Dr. Barbara O'Neill is a Distinguished Professor at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, and is Rutgers Cooperative Extension's Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management. From August 1978 to June 2004, she was Family and Consumer Sciences Educator in Sussex County, N.J. and taught over 1,100 classes and speaking engagements to over 24,000 adult learners. She is also project director for the national Cooperative Extension basic investing program, Investing for Your Future. Dr. O'Neill is a prolific writer and has written over 1,500 consumer newspaper articles and over 100 articles for academic journals, conference proceedings, and other professional publications. She is a certified financial planner (CFP), chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC), accredited financial counselor (AFC), certified housing counselor (CHC), and certified in family and consumer sciences (CFCS). Dr. O'Neill has held various leadership roles in state and national professional associations and served as president of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) in 2003. She is the author of two trade books, Saving on a Shoestring and Investing on a Shoestring, and co-author of Money Talk: A Financial Guide for Women. She has also written three financial case study textbooks, an online Guidebook to Help Late Savers Prepare for Retirement, and six book chapters. Dr. O'Neill received her Ph.D. in family financial management in 1995 from Virginia Tech and holds a master's degree in consumer economics from Cornell University and a B.S. in home economics education from the State University of New York at Oneonta.