Scholarship programs administered by the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning provide a pathway into financial planning careers by helping to cover the costs of coursework required to become a CFP® professional. Here, award recipients share personal reflections on their career and what their scholarship meant to them.
Director of Health and Human Services
Flagler County, Florida
Chynequa King is a candidate for CFP® certification who received a Richard B. Wagner Memorial Scholarship in 2019. This scholarship program supports students who demonstrate financial need and belong to populations that are underrepresented in the financial planning profession in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation. It honors the memory of Dick Wagner, who held the CFP® certification and was a well-known thought leader in the financial planning community with a passion for building the financial planning profession and empowering younger financial planners to succeed. To date, 13 scholarships totaling more than $63,000 have been awarded through the program.
CHANGING CAREERS TO IMPACT THE COMMUNITY
As the former assistant manager of community development for the City of Jacksonville, Florida, Chynequa King spent her workday championing programs and development initiatives that addressed her community’s most pressing needs. She has seen first-hand the importance of educating communities about investing early, saving for future goals and passing down generational wealth without triggering major tax consequences. She also knows that many people struggle to manage their personal and family finances without help.
"I’m pursuing CFP® certification because I plan to make an impact not only in my community but in the financial services industry as well."
— Chynequa King
“I have worked with a lot of families in the past that shared with me how no one has ever talked to them about finances, or how they had to learn the hard way,” Chynequa says. “I want to be that voice, the advocate, the teacher in the financial services industry.”
That passion to help people in her community learn how to save and grow their money inspired Chynequa to make a career change. She decided to pursue an education that would qualify her to become a CFP® professional and applied to the Richard B. Wagner Memorial Scholarship Fund in 2019.
“When I found out I had received the scholarship, I was so ecstatic,” she says. “I immediately began to look for the perfect program for me.”
Chynequa enrolled in the University of Miami’s online program that awards a certificate in financial planning, juggling coursework with a full-time job and the responsibilities of a single mom. “It gave me the excitement in life that I needed given everything else going on around me,” she says. “I knew I had to finish the program, because I felt future clients were depending on me.”
Chynequa completed the program in October 2020 and is currently studying to take the CFP® exam.
Chynequa says she hopes to roll out financial literacy programs for adults and young adults in her community as she continues to learn and grow within the profession. “I’m pursuing CFP® certification because I plan to make an impact not only in my community but in the financial services industry as well,” she says.
Mary Chapman, CFP®
Director of Financial Planning Services
Cummings Wealth Management Group
Mary Chapman, CFP®, is a 2017 recipient of The Deena Jo Heide-Diesslin Foundation Challenge Match Scholarship. This scholarship program supports students who belong to populations that are underrepresented in the financial planning profession—based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability—and/or who have demonstrated financial need. The Center offers the scholarship through a partnership with The Deena Jo Heide-Diesslin Foundation, which was established by Deena’s husband, David H. Diesslin, CFP®, to honor her memory by supporting nonprofits that empower women and minority populations through education. To date, 35 scholarships totaling more than $173,000 have been awarded.
Finding Clarity in a Career Helping Others
One of the defining moments in Mary's life came at the age of 37 when she was diagnosed with cancer. Mary was told to quit her job and live her bucket list. In the days that followed, she says she found clarity: “I knew exactly who and what was most important to me.”
"I could not be more grateful to be the recipient of The Deena Jo Heide-Diesslin Foundation Challenge Match Scholarship. It was truly empowering. The scholarship enabled me to overcome obstacles and obtain the respected CFP® certification that allows me to provide the best possible service to our clients, specifically female breadwinners, to help them establish their long-term goals, assess where they are in relation to these goals, and set a course to achieve them."
—Mary Chapman, CFP®
Among those aspects of life that she cherishes is her work helping clients, particularly women, build a more secure financial future. Mary currently serves as director of financial planning services for Cummings Wealth Management Group. She says, “I’ve worked in a variety of roles, which has given me an enriched understanding of the industry and the needs of our clients.”
Mary started her career in the financial services industry in 2006. She earned her CFP® certification in 2019, two years after receiving a Deena Jo Heide-Diesslin Foundation Challenge Match Scholarship from the Center. “It was truly empowering,” says Mary of her scholarship award. “The scholarship enabled me to overcome obstacles and obtain the respected professional designation that allows me to continue working with our clients, specifically female breadwinners, to help them establish their long-term goals, assess where they are in relation to these goals and set a course to achieve them.”
Helping women manage their financial life and goals, including navigating caregiving needs for children and aging parents as they also juggle work and other responsibilities, is rewarding for Mary. Women “are not being heard or serviced as they should be by this industry,” she says.
Part of Mary’s process in helping her clients is breaking down complex problems into simpler steps to reach success. Simplicity is often the answer to complexity is a lesson that Mary says her dad taught her at a young age. “I love helping people make sense out of complexity and chart a path forward,” says Mary. “I spend my days focusing on how every little detail of people’s lives work together and how those details are woven into a cohesive plan to get them what they want out of what they have,” she adds.
Mary has been cancer free since 2018 and remains focused on health and wellness, in addition to being active in her community. She also runs a pro bono financial planning practice at SheMakesaPlan.com that focuses on providing financial advice to female breadwinners.
Mary encourages anyone looking to make a difference in others’ lives to consider a career in financial planning. “As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, I created a process that provides women the clarity and confidence that will make even the most complex situation simple so they can focus on living their best life,” says Mary. “Financial planning is what I do, but empowering women to find clarity and guiding them to confidently be the best version of themselves is who I am.”
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