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2023 USC Financial Literacy Conference

Date: April 3-4, 2023
Time: Various
Location: TBD

The USC Career Center presents its fourth annual Financial Literacy Conference virtually and in-person on April 3 – 4, 2023. Students will learn about budgeting, money and debt management, salary negotiation, how to build credit, investing, taxes, and maximizing employer retirement benefit plans. This event will be in-person and virtual.

This event is open to all current students and alumni.


2022 USC Financial Literacy Conference

Day 1 – Money Management 101: Driving Your Finances

Virtual on April 19 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm PT

Learn more about money and debt management and why negotiating your salary is important to your financial future. Topics include budgeting using online apps, building your financial muscle, and salary negotiation strategies.

Ben Markley, Educator & Content Creator,

Ben works for teaching people how money works and how to make it work for them. As a former high school teacher, he feels especially passionate about equipping young people with the tools they need to get the strongest possible start after graduation. You can find him showing beginners how to set up a budget on YNAB’s YouTube channel or teaching financial literacy on TikTok as @thedollarscholar. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife Maddie and son Knox.

Leslie Chang, CFA, CFP, CPWA, Executive Director, UBS

Leslie started in the wealth management Industry 22 years ago and has also worked at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Bank of America.  In 2005, Leslie graduated from the USC Marshall School of Business with a MBA in Finance.  She has the CFP, CFA, and CPWA designations and is continually expanding her knowledge in the rapidly changing investment world.  At UBS, she has been recognized as a leader committed to DE&I and she loves mentoring women in the business.  Additionally, Leslie is passionate about education and has spent many years teaching Finance, most recently at UCLA.  She is an advocate for financial literacy and strongly believes it needs to be part of every student’s education curriculum.

Justin B. Lacey, CFP, CPWA, AWMA,Resident Director – Wealth Management Advisor, First Vice President, Merrill Lynch

Justin Lacey started at Merrill Lynch as a Financial Advisor in 2017 and is located in Newport Beach, California. He focuses on working with executives, business owners and families in designing strategies to help them enhance, preserve, and transition their wealth.

Mr. Lacey graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern California where he double majored in Business Administration & Accounting. His previous work experience includes Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, and UBS. He holds the designations of Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Certified Public Accountant (CPA®), Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®), and Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA®).

Justin Lacey is a member of the Merrill Lynch Black African American Leadership Council, USC Leventhal School of Accounting, and Public Media Group of Southern California. He enjoys travelling and playing basketball. He is an avid USC, Dolphins, Angels and Lakers sports fan.

Day 2 – Alumni Financial Success Stories and Building Your Credit Score

In-Person: NEW LOCATION-TCC 227 Rosen Family Room on April 20 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm PT

Learn from esteemed alumni how to be financially savvy as they empower you in your financial journey. Topics include alumni success stories, an Everfi walkthrough, and how to build your credit score.

Ryan McDonaldDirector of Business Development, USC Credit Union

With more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, Ryan assists our Trojan Family with a focus on student outreach. His expertise assists members with financial services and financial education to enable them with skills, knowledge and confidence to achieve lifelong financial success.

Check out USC Credit Union’s Student Resources!

Valerie Ives, Vice President of Consumer Lending, USC Credit Union

Valerie Ives is a USC alumna from the Viterbi School of Engineering and a current MBA Candidate at the Marshall School of Business. Valerie is an experienced leader in the financial services industry, having worked her way up from an entry-level position to her current role as Vice President of Consumer Lending at USC Credit Union. She’s a strategic thinker and credit union advocate, committed to building healthy organizations and improving members’ financial well-being. Valerie prides herself in facing challenges head-on and empowering others to take risks and break barriers. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and spends her free time nurturing plants and enjoying the city’s food scene.

Hector Cabrera, West Coast/Latin America Business Developer, Smiths Detection

Hector is the Co-Founder of Troy CrossFit, Founder of Faith Strong Inc., founder of MaidPro San Diego, a former U.S. Border Patrol Agent, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, and current Air Force Reserve member. As a Senior Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force, Hector is the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the March Air Force Base Combat Arms Section. Hector conducted three tours in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a Business Developer for Smiths Detection, Hector is innovating current detection technology designed for the DoD and the Aviation Sector into the urban security sector to prevent catastrophic events from occurring. Hector is a Marshall School of Business alumni where he received his Master’s in business.  Hector is a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California Rossier school of education where his dissertations research focus is on the root cause for the underrepresentation of Latinx Community members in entrepreneurship.

Day 3 – Leveraging a Growth Mindset to Secure Your Financial Future

Virtual on April 21 from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT

Learn more about having a growth mindset for managing your financial security upon entering the workforce. Topics will include investing, risk management, taxes, and maximizing employer retirement plans and benefits.

Leticia Williams, Head of Foundational Services, Vanguard Client Services

Leticia Williams is the head of Foundational Services at Vanguard, responsible for leading contact center teams that deliver a world-class client experience for retail clients.

Prior to joining Vanguard in 2011, Ms. Williams served in a variety of roles as a business and economics journalist and editor for business news organizations, including Dow Jones MarketWatch. During her time as a journalist in Washington, D.C., she covered corporate scandals, mutual fund trading regulation, and securities regulation. Before that, she worked as a convertible bonds reporter for Dow Jones Newswires.

Ms. Williams earned a B.A. in print journalism from American University, an M.A. in business and economic journalism from Baruch College, and an M.B.A. from Drexel’s LeBow College of Business. She holds FINRA Series 7, 63, and 24 licenses.

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Click here to watch 2021 Virtual Financial Literacy Conference recording.

Click here to view more information on 2021 Financial Literacy Conference.

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