Military Saves is proud to present the inaugural 2021-2023 Advisory Board. This dynamic group is comprised of a diverse set of partners from many different organizations that support the military community. Each member of the advisory board brings a unique input and strategic insight to the table, so that the Military Saves program can evolve and grow as we continue to support our military families on their journey to build wealth and reduce debt.
Our advisory board members serve a two-year term and meet monthly via video conferencing, and once a year in-person at our Washington, DC office.
Brian Alvarado - Deputy Director of Workforce Development, Hiring our Heroes
Brian L. Alvarado is a military community advocate by day, and a military spouse, gadget geek, and amateur kitchen genius by night. He is the Deputy Director of Workforce Development on the Military Spouse Team at Hiring our Heroes, a program of the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation. This initiative is dedicated to measurably impacting military spouse unemployment and underemployment through the overarching strategies of grassroots engagement and public/private partnerships. In this role, Brian directs a team of dedicated professionals across several programs and initiatives that drive the attainability of economic stability through employment opportunities for the military community. As a military spouse, Brian has served as Naval Command Ombudsman at Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center aboard Naval Base Point Loma as well as various Family Readiness Group board positions in support of the sailors and families of commands his service member spouse has served with. He currently serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Military Family Advisory Network. He is the 2018 Armed Forces Insurance United States Navy Spouse of the Year and has been recognized by the American Military Partner Association with their National Community Service Award as well as the recipient of the 2016 Vanguard Equality Award from Equality California.
He and his spouse, Matthew Alvarado, US Navy (Ret.), reside in Washington, D.C.
Shay Cook - Financial Readiness Manager, FINRA Investor Education Foundation
Mrs. Shay Cook is the Financial Readiness Manager at FINRA Investor Education Foundation. Shay has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology and found her way into the financial services field while working for a federal credit union. In May 2007, she was accepted into the FINRA Foundation’s Military Spouse Fellowship program and completed it in July 2008. Since then she has used her Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) certification to promote financial readiness at Walter Reed’s Army Community Service, Coast Guard Headquarters, and now through her organization, Crusaders for Change, LLC. She obtained the Financial Fitness Coach (FFC) certification in Nov 2019.
Shay lives near Ft. Meade, Maryland with her retired Air Force husband and English bulldog. They also have a daughter who attends the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).
Jennifer Davis - Government Relations Deputy Director, National Military Family Association
Jennifer Davis became a Government Relations Deputy Director at the National Military Family Association in 2018. She is responsible for programs relating to spouse employment and education, financial literacy, and food insecurity. These areas touch on elements such as state licensure, consumer education, and advocating for the protection and enhancements of legislation and policy affecting these issues. She also serves as co-chair to both Personnel Committee and Taxes and Social Security Committee of the Military Coalition (TMC). Prior to joining the Association, Jennifer served in various roles at the Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA) including as Director of Military and Government Relations. She earned a bachelor of science in interior design from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh as well as a diploma in resident planning. Before going back to school and working in advocacy, Jennifer served in the United States Air Force as an imagery analyst at the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), Offutt AFB, Nebraska. Over the last 19 years as a service member and spouse, Jennifer has lived in Texas, Nebraska, Hawaii, Florida and Virginia.
She currently resides in Springfield, Virginia with her son while her husband, MSgt Steven Davis, USAF, serves at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway.
Andia Dinesen, AFC - Executive Vice President of Communications and Operations, Association of Military Banks of America
Andia Dinesen is the Executive Vice President for Communications and Operations for the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA), a not for profit association of banks operating on military installations, banks not located on military installations but serving military customers, and military banking facilities designated by the U. S. Treasury.
Andia is charged with assisting the President/CEO of AMBA in all aspects of communications and operations with a focus on providing support to AMBA members and associate members by creating and maintaining a public awareness campaign extending knowledge of AMBA and its members to the military community. She is also charged with sustaining a close working relationship with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Personnel and Readiness, the Banking Liaison Officers of each service branch to include the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, National Guard, and Reserve offices, American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, Military Officers Association of America, Military Spouse Employment Partnership, National Military Family Association, Consumer Federation of America, and other partners in the Department of Defense (DoD) Financial Readiness Campaigns. In 2010 she received a Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Excellence Award in recognition of her work. Andia is certified as an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC). She completed a FINRA Investor Education Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship and was credentialed by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE). In 2000 she graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. Andia is currently enrolled in the Personal Financial Planning Master’s Program at Kansas State University and will graduate in July 2021.
Andia has relocated with her family to nine installations since 2000 to include two overseas assignments. She now resides in the Washington D.C. area with her husband, Ian, and their two daughters.
Tom Kastner - Financial Wellness Vice President, Wounded Warrior Project
Tom Kastner serves Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) as financial wellness vice president. In this position, Tom provides strategic vision, operational oversight, and leadership to the program areas of Warriors to Work, Veterans Benefits, the Resource Center (Call Center), Alumni Registration, and the Emergency Financial Assistance program. Before joining WWP, Tom worked at the senior manager level for Mercedes Benz, USA and Amazon, LLC. In addition, he served as a senior administrator and academic dean at two different private military boarding schools. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, Tom retired from active duty after a 30-year career as an infantry officer and operations research analyst.
Tom earned a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and MS in statistics from Georgia Tech, a MS in applied mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a MA in national strategic studies from the Naval War College.
Tom and his wife, Pam, have been married for 31 years. They have two adult children who both served as commissioned officers until leaving the military in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Tom and Pam enjoy the beach, playing cribbage, reading, and are grateful to have been rescued by their amazing dogs, Boots and Pi.
Aaron Levy - Acting Director, Individual and Community Preparedness Division, FEMA
Aaron Levy is the Acting Director of FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) where he leads the Agency’s efforts to help people prepare for disasters (Objective 1.3 in FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan). Aaron oversees programs that partner at all levels of government, the private sector, and community organizations to increase citizen and community preparedness and encourage the development of disaster resilience across the Nation. Prior to joining ICPD, Aaron served as the Executive Officer (XO) of FEMA’s National Preparedness Directorate (NPD). As XO, Aaron served as the de-facto chief operating officer of a business line consisting of 400 full-time employees, across three geographical locations with an annual budget of $400 million. He provided counsel to NPD’s Assistant and Deputy Assistant Administrators on the directorate's strategic, budgetary and operational priorities while managing the staff of the Office of the Assistant Administrator.
Aaron graduated from Richmond, The American International University in London with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and subsequently received his Master of Arts in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Aaron also completed the Executive Leaders Program at the Naval Post Graduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security. A native of New Jersey and lifelong New York Giants fan, Aaron resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Katie and their amazing daughter Carolyn.
Jerry Quinn - Chief Operating Officer and Secretary, AAFMAA
LTC Jerry Quinn (USAR) serves as Chief Operating Officer and Secretary at AAFMAA, overseeing all operations of life insurance, including new business, policy services, member benefits, and survivor assistance services. Jerry brings more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry where he specialized in strategic programs and business development, and has over 34 years in the US Army, including continued service in the US Army Reserve. He has served in various command and staff assignments, including deployments in support of OIF, Desert Storm and Panama, and homeland defense missions in the United States. He currently serves as the Commander of the 316th Quartermaster Battalion in Oklahoma.
Jerry holds a B.S. in Finance from Colorado State University and an M.B.A with an emphasis in Organizational Design from the University of Colorado.
Shannon Razsadin - Executive Director, Military Family Advisory Network
Shannon Razsadin is the executive director of the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN), an active-duty Navy spouse, and mom of two toddlers. MFAN was founded in 2013 to fill a persisting gap in the military community: the inability to quickly and effectively understand the modern military family and connect military families to the resources they need to thrive. Under Shannon’s leadership, MFAN has become a premier, respected nonprofit leader in a crowded and sometimes confusing network of military and veteran service organizations. Shannon was selected through a competitive process to serve as one of three civilian advisors to the Secretary of Defense on the Military Family Readiness Council and is regularly called on by national and local media to weigh in on military-related topics, including CBS, CNN, and FOX.
Shannon’s leadership, authenticity, fresh approach, and focus on collaboration have enabled her to earn the trust of military families and leaders within the public and private sector who seek advisement on the evolving needs of the modern military family. Shannon, her husband, and their children live in Newport, Rhode Island... for now. Home is where the Navy sends you.
Bianca Strzalkowski - Managing Editor, AmeriForce Media
Bianca Strzalkowski is the managing editor of AmeriForce Media, publisher of Military Families and Reserve & National Guard magazines. In partnership with Military Influencer Conference, the company launched a new quarterly magazine focused on entrepreneurship, social impact, and careers for veterans and military spouses. She is experienced in news reporting, editing, and public relations. Her portfolio includes interviews with former Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis, then-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Shark Tank CEO Daymond John, and countless elected and military leaders. She uses storytelling to connect audiences with the lesser-told stories of the military community. Prior to her current position, Bianca was deputy director for Blue Star Families, where she worked as a liaison with the Obama Administration on career licensing efforts for military spouses. In 2011, Bianca was named Military Spouse of the Year and received a Certificate of Commendation from the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos. Her husband recently retired from the Marines and her daughter-in-law currently serves in the Air Force at Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany.
Bianca holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and journalism. She resides near Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, where she serves as the public affairs officer for Maryland ESGR and is a member of the Military Reporters & Editors Association.
Andi Wrenn - PFC Provider Network Manager, Zeiders Enterprises, Inc
Andi Wrenn, AFC has had a passion for helping people make sound financial decisions for two decades. She is on the AFCPE Board of Directors and is the Provider Network Manager for over 700 financial professionals working with military families at Zeiders Enterprises in the Personal Financial Counselor (PFC) Program. She has been a manager with the PFC program since 2008.
*Disclosure: Military Saves does not endorse any products or services.*
Angela Caban, MHRM
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, mom of two, and the Military Saves Director. She is responsible for directing and overseeing communications that effectively describe and promote the program and its services.
Prior to joining Military Saves, Angela was a Community Manager for USAA, where she was responsible for the strategic planning of the digital-based platform open to 11 million members.
In 2010, Angela founded a military support network to help bridge the gap between the active duty, National Guard, and Reserve communities. The Homefront United Network was named a top military support network by Joining Forces in 2014. Angela has been published in various print and online publications, with a writing focus on military lifestyles and financial readiness for everyday military families.
She is the former Vice President of the New Jersey Board of Education, where she was an avid advocate for military kids attending civilian schools as well as current issues affecting curriculum and regionalization of smaller school districts. She has also served on various advisory boards such as the Military Family Advisory Network and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Angela has her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from DeVry University and her Masters in Human Resource Management from Keller Graduate School of Management.
Angela's Favorite Saving Tip: Have more than one savings account and name them based on what you are saving for. Example, "Vacation Money", "Emergency Fund", "New Appliances"... naming them to the specific goal you are saving for will make you think twice about dipping into savings if it isn't an emergency.
Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Senior Program Manager
Lila Quintiliani is an Active Duty Army spouse, veteran, mom of two, and the Military Saves Senior Program Manager. Previously she worked as a Personal Financial Counselor on military installations worldwide and as a contracted subject matter expert for content for the Department of Defense’s Office of Financial Readiness. Lila also served as the Assistant Coordinator for the Military Saves program in 2012-2013.
A FINRA Military Spouse Fellowship recipient, Lila is an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in East Asian Studies from Columbia University in New York City and a Master’s Degree in Chinese History from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Lila feels strongly about helping military families find financial success.
Lila's Favorite Saving Tip: When you pay off a monthly note, like a car loan, continue to save that amount in a savings account. Watch those savings grow!
Jackie Toops was an Army wife for 7.5 years, and is a freelance writer, content creator, media personality and the Military Saves Program Coordinator.
Jackie has been published in print and online across numerous outlets to include Army Wife 101, NextGen Milspouse, Veterans Rideshare Inc., SoFluential Media, Wall Street International Magazine, Families Go Travel, and more.
Jackie has overseen public relations, communications, and social media for museums, galleries, universities, and military spouse- and veteran-owned businesses. She proudly served on the board of the AUSV Veterans Awards, was the emcee of Vet Fest, and has been interviewed on various military-related podcasts. Highlights of Jackie’s career include being a volunteer radio co-host with the Armed Forces Network (AFN Wiesbaden), participating in a panel with Facebook’s VP of Marketing during a Boost with Facebook event, and meeting actor Chris Hemsworth at a Warner Bros. Pictures press junket.
Jackie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Florida State University, a Graduate Museum Studies Certificate from the University of Cincinnati, and a Master of Nonprofit Management from the University of Central Florida.
In her free time, Jackie enjoys international travel, coffee, music, and spending time with her two sons.
Jackie’s Favorite Savings Tip: Keep your eyes on the prize. When saving, consider the big picture and don't allow impulse purchases to detract from your larger goals. Focus on what you really want instead of what you want now.
10 FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, 20 MILITARY AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS AWARDED FOR ENCOURAGING MILITARY COMMUNITY TO SAVE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Military Saves announced today that four banks and six credit unions have been awarded the Military Saves Designation of Savings Excellence for their extraordinary efforts to motivate their communities to build personal savings during Military Saves Month 2020. Now in its seventh year, the award is presented annually to banking institutions that succeed in getting people to open or add to wealth-building accounts.
Ten military installations/units and ten military supporters were also awarded the Military Saves Savings Champion designation for their outstanding efforts in motivating their communities to build wealth and reduce debt.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unfortunate situation that is currently impacting military families and their finances. The timing of Military Saves Month has helped to spearhead the conversation around saving during a national crisis and help service members and their families take action toward their savings plan,” said Angela Caban, Military Saves Director. “The installations, organizations, financial institutions, and supporters awarded went above and beyond to encourage and support the military community to save.”
Military Saves Month, held in April, is an annual opportunity for the entire military community to assess their savings status and make a plan to start or increase saving, and for organizations to support good savings behavior.
“Fort Jackson’s Army Community Service (ACS) Financial Readiness Program (FRP) team believes in the Military Saves' mission to motivate, support, and encourage military Families to save money, reduce debt and build wealth. Our team encourages the entire military community to save year-round,” said Angela Crosland, the Fort Jackson Financial Readiness Program Manager. “This year, the COVID-19 pandemic posed a challenge in spreading our savings message. However, it created an opportunity to promote planning for emergencies and the unexpected.”
For more information about the Military Saves program, visit militarysaves.org.
For more information about the Military Saves Designation of Excellence visit here.
2020 Military Saves Designation of Savings Excellence Recipients
Armed Forces Bank
First Keystone Community Bank
First Arkansas Bank and Trust
Fort Sill National Bank - FSNB, N.A.
Air Force Federal Credit Union
New Horizons Credit Union
Freedom Federal Credit Union
PenFed Credit Union
Navy Federal Credit Union
Travis Credit Union
Camp Fuji, Japan
Los Angeles AFB, CA
Fort Bliss, TX
McChord Field (JBLM), WA
Fort Drum, NY
Sheppard AFB, TX
Fort Hood, TX
94th Engineering Brigade, Tennessee Army
Fort Jackson, SC
Fort Leonard Wood, MO
National Credit Union Administration
Association of Military Banks of America
National Foundation for Credit Counseling
Defense Credit Union Council
The Military Money Show, Lacey Langford
FINRA Investor Education Foundation
The Table Financial Planning, Andrea Clark
Investor Protection Trust
Military Saves is an initiative of America Saves, a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America that uses the principles of behavioral economics and social marketing to motivate, encourage, and support the military community to save money, reduce debt, and start building wealth. Military Saves encourages individuals and families to take the Military Saves pledge and organizations to promote savings year-round and during Military Saves Month. Learn more at Militarysaves.org
Although you can’t know when an emergency will arise, one thing you can count on is that they WILL happen. Often when you least expect it. That’s why Military Saves wants our Savers to be prepared by saving for the unexpected.
This month’s resource packet is filled with valuable information and helpful tools to aid your audience in everything from budgeting, to “finding” the money, and stats that reinforce why saving for emergencies is so critically important, especially to military families.
Share this information with your audience so they can set a goal and make a plan to be prepared for life’s unexpected moments.
Social Media Posts:
5 Ways Military Families Can Save $500 to $1,000 for Emergencies via @MilitarySaves
57% of respondents in the 2019 @MilitarySaves Saver Survey said unexpected expenses were their top challenge when it came to saving.
Those with a #savings plan are much more likely to have adequate emergency savings. Set a goal and make your plan by taking the @MilitarySaves Pledge. http://bit.ly/pledgems
Savings Tip from @MilitarySaves: Automatically transferring money from checking to #savings is the fastest way to #save $500 to $1,000 for #emergencies https://bit.ly/2QYKZjt
America Saves/Military Saves Resources/Tools
Partner Organization Resources & Highlights
New Blog Posts:
Military Saves Quarterly Program Update - Q3
When: September 22, 1 p.m. EDT
Where: Online via Microsoft Teams
America Saves #ThinkLikeASaver Virtual Town Hall Series, co-hosted by Military Saves
All Virtual Events will take place on the America Saves Facebook Page at 2pm ET
October 22, 2020 | #ThinkLikeASaver: Simple Strategies To Help You Save
November 5, 2020 | #ThinkLikeASaver: How Do I Pay Off Debt?
November 19th 2020 | #ThinkLikeASaver: Saving For Major Life Milestones
Military Saves is committed to ensuring military families have the information they need for their well-being. Here is a list of savings resources to help during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. This page is being updated as new resources come in.
- Military Saves Articles
- Emergency Assistance
- Military Service Relief Organizations
- Other Organizations
- Income Taxes
- Other Resources
- Financial Information
- Mortgage Relief
- Student Loans
- DoD Resources
Military Saves Articles
Veterans Crisis Line Call 800-273-8255, chat online, or text 838255
Military Service Relief Organizations
AFCPE - Talk to a qualified financial counselor or coach - for free. Thanks to the generosity of the Wells Fargo Foundation, and in partnership with Yellow Ribbon Network, AFCPE® certified financial counselors and coaches are now offering unbiased and fully confidential virtual financial counseling and coaching sessions – free to individuals and families who are struggling with the financial implications of COVID-19.
Gary Sinise Foundation “Additionally, any military service members, veterans, first responders, and their families affected by COVID-19 can apply for financial assistance through an initiative of the Foundation’s Relief and Resiliency program, called H.O.P.E. (heal, overcome, persevere, and excel).”
Penfed Foundation (application process currently suspended, but may reopen; Foundation also has other financial assistance options).
GI Bill Benefits to continue. Students with questions can contact the VA’s Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. ET on weekdays
IRS Coronavirus tax relief extends payment/filing of taxes
IRS Check Status of Stimulus Check
IRS Web Tool for Non-Filers to Recieve Stimulus Check
MilTax Services Military OneSource – free tax filing to get a refund now; call 800-342-9647 to connect with a MilTax consultant
Digital Resources for Military Families
Through the MWR Digital Library Portal, families can access many FREE, useful resources including:
- Tutoring - free tutoring for military families through Tutor.com
- Major daily newspapers
- Consumer Reports
- National geographic plus most magazines
- Ebooks, audiobooks, comics, and graphic novels
- Research tools such as Britannica Library, Gale Academic Onefile, Morningstar, Ancestry.com
- Mango Languages
Through Blue Star Families, military families can enjoy free memberships to:
- Headspace – access meditation and mindfulness content for free with a membership to this app (valued at $95.88)
- Thrive Market – receive a free membership (valued at $59.95) to shop and ship best-selling natural and organic products at wholesale prices right to your doorstep
- Caribu – enjoy books focused on military children in the app’s dedicated Blue Star Families category
National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) Coronavirus Financial Toolkit
Mortgage Relief Tracker: This site tracks federal, state, and private mortgage relief programs.
Federal Student Aid – You may be able to temporarily stop making payments