James Fletcher, CFA and his wife Marné and their four kids live in Hong Kong. James is a portfolio manager with over 12 years of equity research experience. He is currently Director of small and midcap EM equities at APG Asset Management. James earned a B.S. in Finance from Brigham Young University, where he graduated summa cum laude and with University Honors. He is a CFA charterholder.
I started Young Investors Society because of a letter that I received from a young man named Edgar. After visiting his school in inner-city Los Angeles, and leading the class in an engaging discussion about the stock market and how investors pick companies to invest in, he wrote me the following:
“It’s awesome to have someone give their time to teach us, adults don’t really do that anymore, especially for teenagers. You may think this is a joke, but your 45 minute presentation has changed my goals for my life. It has given my something to strive for.”
That letter burned in my soul. Edgar’s statement that “adults don’t really do that anymore” became a personal challenge for me that led me to start Young Investors Society.
Mike Zisa is married to his wife, Kimberly, and has three sons, Robert, Jack, & Kyle. He received his Master's degree in Mathematics Education from The City College of New York and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. After 5 ½ years as a high school Mathematics teacher, Mike had a rewarding career as a Senior Financial Analyst at Bank of America. He was also a Financial Advisor for 4 years at Merrill Lynch in Princeton, NJ before joining Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. as an independent Financial Advisor. He holds the FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 securities registrations and offers financial planning services to his clients. Mike has been teaching Investment Management and Wealth Management at Pennsbury High School since 2004, teaches a Business Communications class at Bucks County Community College, and has developed financial education curriculums for various organizations. Additionally, he is a Certified Financial Education Instructor through the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC), a member of the Personal Finance Speakers Association (PFSA), the Global Association of Teachers of Economics (GATE), the National Business Educators Association (NBEA), and the Pennsylvania Business Educators Association (PBEA). Mike has published (through Amazon) the popular books 'The Early Investor-How Teens & Young Adults Can Become Wealthy' and 'The Family Investor: How Young Couples & Families Can Become Wealthy', has written financial literacy articles for various publications, been interviewed by Forbes and U.S. News & World Report, and has been a keynote financial literacy speaker at numerous conventions. He also owns and manages BecomeAnEarlyInvestor.com. His hobbies include playing the guitar, exercising, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
As an educator of Financial Literacy, I have witnessed incredible maturation among my students that has helped them develop the concept of financial responsibility. With the implementation of YIS in my high school, I have taken students to the next level of financial comprehension. Students have received invaluable experience related to investing for the long-term and have even overcome their fear of speaking in front of an audience. They have such an advantage over their peers who have not been exposed to financial literacy and YIS. Evidence of this advantage can be seen through former students and YIS club members that are now in college. Many of them have contacted me to say that they are way ahead of their classmates in their business/finance courses. While their classmates struggle, my students already have a deep understanding about finance and investing. Some of them told me they opened up Roth IRAs and started investing in high quality stocks for the long term. As an educator, this makes my efforts throughout my career worth every second!
Dave Miles is married to, Maria, and has four children, Andrew, Emmy, Hannah, & Matthew. He received his Master's degree in Investment Management from Boston University and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance at Brigham Young University. Dave is currently a Research Analyst at Fidelity Investments focused on fixed income asset allocation and portfolio manager research for several of Fidelity’s asset allocation products. Prior to his time at Fidelity, Dave was an Analyst on the fixed income sales and trading desk at Wachovia (Bank, now Wells Fargo) and has ten years of experience as an investment professional. Additionally, he is both a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) charterholder. As a volunteer, Dave has spent considerable time mentoring teens and pre-teens in church youth groups and the Cub Scout program. His hobbies include playing and coaching soccer, cycling, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
“I jumped at the opportunity to join Young Investors Society because I saw it as an opportunity to give high school-age students the basic skill sets needed to be a successful long-term investor. I felt there was a gap in the financial literacy education material (i.e., teaching long-term investing) that YIS does a great job filling. Additionally, I love the fact that we push the students, through the dollar-a-day program, to analyze the opportunity cost of their spending choices and balance out how much they consume today vs. saving for retirement. These are lessons and habits that learned at an early age will become life changing for many students. Attending my first stock pitch competition was an awesome experience because I got to see firsthand how much the students had learned (a ton!) and how excited they were to start building long-term wealth through prudent personal financial management. That experience keeps me excited and driven to make YIS even better.”
Andrew Davis is married to Mary Ellen and has three children, Ellen, Drew and Caroline. He received his Bachelor's degree in Marketing from the Grand Canyon University school of business. Andrew is currently a Financial Advisor with Steel Peak Wealth Management, an independent Registered Investment Advisor based in Woodland Hills, CA. Andrew works with a select group of individuals and families that understand the value of building a financial plan, goals that are easily defined and a portfolio designed with structure free from emotion. He holds a FINRA Series 7 and Series 63 and 65 registrations. Prior to Steel Peak Wealth Management, Andrew spent ten years with two Chicago based Investment Managers, most recently Advisory Research, a Global Value Manager.
As a financial advisor, I see first hand the benefit of planning for retirement early. Unfortunately, I see the challenges ahead for those who failed to plan effectively. Prior to the launch of Young Investors Society I felt there was very little I could do to change the reality that some of my clients will achieve their goals and others will not. After joining the board of directors at Young Investors Society I have never been more optimistic that everyone will have the knowledge required to achieve their financial goals. Getting involved at the school level has been extremely rewarding. The Young Investors Society team has put together an after school program that can change the financial trajectory of so many. It will take years before we understand the impact of our efforts today but I know we are part of something special.
Valerie Funk Anderson is currently an accounting curriculum manager at Becker Professional Education. In this role, she specializes in developing audit-related courses for CPA, CPE, and ACCA. Prior to joining Becker, Valerie worked at Harvard Business School, where she was part of the initial team that developed and launched HBX CORe, a set of three fundamental business courses that enable students around the world to experience the unique methodology of Harvard Business School in an online, asynchronous setting. Valerie received her bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from Brigham Young University, after which she worked as an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston and Dallas. Valerie and her husband Grant currently live in Massachusetts, where Grant is pursuing his PhD in electrical engineering at MIT. Valerie's favorite things to do include eating Grant's gourmet cooking, spending time with her nieces and nephews, and trying out new creative hobbies (e.g. dance, piano, painting, and wreath making).
"I joined Young Investors Society because I believe in the power of education and the power of financial freedom. I went to college without a clue what I would study. I ended up getting my bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting, with a minor in economics. Before I started college I couldn't have even told you what accounting or economics means! I loved all my classes in those subjects because I felt like it was a whole new world opened up to me. I hope that YIS helps broaden high school students' horizons by opening up the world of investing to them."
Lee Mackay is currently an attorney and shareholder at Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner, PC in Westlake Village, California where he represents institutional and private clients in a broad range of commercial real estate, financing and development and investment matters. His practice specializes in all aspects of commercial leasing, property management and commercial and residential dispositions and acquisitions. Before joining Nevers Palazzo Lee was an associate at Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. in Orange County, California. Lee received his J.D. degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and he received his B.A. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, majoring in Economics and minoring in Political Science and History. As a volunteer, Lee has spent considerable time mentoring teens in church youth groups and volunteering as a Scoutmaster with Boy Scouts of America, where he received the Scoutmaster Key Award and the Scoutmaster Service Award. Lee is an avid waterman and enjoys surfing, freediving, SCUBA diving, spearfishing and hunting lobsters by hand. He is also a voracious reader, backpacks with his family and friends annually and practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Lee Mackay is married to Jennifer and has four children, Hannah, Rachel, Emma and Aaron.
“I was attracted to YIS because it is the exact program I wish I would have had when I was in high school-- a fun and engaging approach to teaching high-school age kids sound investment fundamentals that can lead to a life of freedom and opportunity. I am so excited for my own children to learn the important principals taught in the YIS curriculum and I volunteer my time in any way I can to help spread the same opportunity to others."
Claudio Brocado was born and raised in Mexico and came to the US on a Fulbright scholarship to Washington State University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a double major in Business Administration and Foreign Languages and Literatures. He later obtained his Masters in Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine.
Following a successful eight-year career in the restaurant industry, with most of it in financial planning and analysis, Claudio entered the financial services industry. He had a rewarding long career as an emerging markets equity portfolio manager. To spend more time with his family – his, wife and teenage daughter, as well as his son and his young family (including a beautiful granddaughter) -- Claudio retired from full-time corporate work .
Thus, after managing Latin American and emerging market equity funds at Putnam, Fidelity and Legg Mason’s Batterymarch in Boston, Claudio is managing his own family’s modest holdings as if they were a very small global fund. To stay sharp as an investor, Claudio reads and studies extensively, and publishes his thoughts on LinkedIn and Seeking Alpha. He is also writing a short book for Young Investors Society (YIS) on his strong belief in the importance of corporate culture.
Jane Winslow is married to Waldo Lanas, whom she met in Quito, Ecuador, the halfway point between her hometown (Columbus, Ohio) and his (Santiago, Chile). They have two children, Mattias and Mariel, who grew up in the U.S. and Chile, where the family lived for 13 years. She holds an MBA degree from Stanford University, an MS in Agricultural Economics from Ohio State University and a BA cum laude from Denison University. She retired in 2015 from Merrill Lynch, where she spent most of her career in Latin American Equity Research and Sales. As ML's Senior Country Analyst based in Chile, she was ranked #1 in her market by Institutional Investor, LatinFinance, Reuters, and key institutional investment firms such as Fidelity and Capital. Prior to business school, she worked briefly at the World Bank in Washington DC and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. For the past 10 years, she has been a Board Member of Worldfund, a non-profit which funds and operates high quality educational programs in low income areas of Latin America.
I remember having a breakfast meeting with James Fletcher, my client and friend, on my "farewell tour" before retiring from Merrill Lynch. I thought I would be telling him about my retirement plans and about several of the foundations I hoped to work with. Instead, James began telling me about his plan for a non-profit start-up to teach high school students about investing. By the end of our meeting I was hooked, and had agreed to join the Board of what was to become Young Investors Society. I am a big believer in the power of education to change lives. My brothers, sister and I are the first in our family to attend college, and I've seen firsthand the impact it can have. Most of my volunteer non-profit work has focused on education, i.e., giving kids the tools they need to improve their lives. So YIS resonated with me: We are investing in young lives and the returns are going to blow us away.
Derek Westra lives near Salt Lake City with his wife Danielle and their daughters Aniston, Layla and Noelle. Derek received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in Public Relations and Business, and his Master’s Degree from the University of Hawaii in Marketing.
Derek’s career in marketing has helped to launch major recognizable campaigns. Derek was on the 7-person startup team of now billion-dollar survey software leader Qualtrics – literally working to market the young, growing company from the owner’s basement. Since returning to the mainland from Hawaii, Derek has helped to lead the digital awareness efforts for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Derek led the team that produced and executed the international, multi-year “I’m a Mormon” campaign, and oversaw creative development for exhibits and content in the Church’s worldwide Visitors’ Centers. Derek spent several years leading a team responsible for a major update, re-architecture and redesign of LDS.org (the largest and most visited religious website in the world), and helped to create and manage the Church’s first social channels (including the social pages of Church leaders).
Currently, as Director of Communications for the Church’s humanitarian organizations – Derek oversees awareness for several multi-million dollar nonprofits whose purpose is to care for the poor and the needy, and teach self-reliance. Away from work, Derek loves spending time with family pursuing creative ventures. He and his wife paint together, and sell fine artwork online. They have also co-authored rhyming children’s books, and love to participate in cooking competitions together. Derek plays guitar and piano, and speaks Portuguese and Spanish.
Manny Sanoja holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California and a Certificate in Business from Harvard Business School (HBX). He started his career at the young age of 16 as an entrepreneur by working in the family's restaurant business. It's here that he honed his skills and learned the fundamentals of business, entrepreneurship, leadership and management in a real world environment. For nearly a decade, his experience as a business operations manager and business owner, prepared him for working with companies in multiple capacities, such as Universal Music Group, Showtime Networks, Ivener & Fullmer, LLP, and currently, Prudential Financial - where he oversees the financial operations of one of Prudential's largest and most valuable relationships: a $36+ billion Taft - Hartley Defined Benefit Pension Trust.
Manny's passion for giving back to the community led to his relationship with James Fletcher and the Young Investor's Society, where for over the last year, he has been enthusiastically volunteering his time as the Director of Operations. As a first generation college graduate, Manny is cognizant of the harsh reality young people in the millennial generation face today. Most notably, in regard to obtaining proper education on how to manage their finances and how to invest intelligently. His role in the Young Investor's Society has been one of the most fulfilling to date, as it helps to fill this void in financial literacy by offering mentorship and education in a simple and effective format that many great educational institutions still do not fully provide.
Manny's other passions and hobbies include music, singing opera as a classically trained musician, writing inspirational books and poetry, weightlifting and spending time with his two children, Marin and Leo.
Romina Rodriguez is a freelance Virtual Assistant from the Philippines.She has 6 years of Business Development and Lead Generation background and a former Lead Generation Manager for Vocus, a cloud-based PR and Marketing Software based in the US. She finished Bachelor in Mass Communication from University of the City of Manila.
She is currently the Education Programs Manager for Young Investors Society and customer service for teachers administering the YIS club each week and making sure to provide great support.