The USC Financial Literacy Conference is dedicated to providing Trojans with the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed financial decisions that will profoundly inspire and shape their futures. Through workshops and dynamic panel sessions, attendees will explore a range of financial topics, such as budgeting, savings, investing, taxes, salary negotiation, and more.

The fifth annual conference will take place both online and in-person at the UPC and HSC campuses from April 1-4, 2024. Students are welcome to attend all sessions and alumni are invited to participate in the virtual sessions. We are excited to offer this hybrid experience, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for all members of the Trojan community. The USC Career Center operates its programs in accordance with USC’s Notice of Non-Discrimination. If you have questions or concerns, please contact careers@usc.edu.

In-Person Session Notice
For in-person events, registration does not guarantee your admission. Seats will be filled on a first-come, first-seat basis, and it is recommended you arrive early to secure your spot.

Virtual Session Notice
Recordings may not be available for virtual events, and we highly recommend attending the live stream if possible.

Day 1 – April 1, 2024

Empowering Futures: USC Financial Literacy Kick-Off with Alumni Insights

Speakers: Monique S. Allard, Vice President for Student Life at USC | Lucas Dyer, Financial Advisor at Northwestern Mutual and Author & Writer | Rose Ann Djelmane, SVP, Community Banking & Lending Production Manager
Moderator: Sarah Oh, Senior Career Advisor, USC Career Center

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM PT *please be seated by 11:50am*
Location: The Forum TCC 450
Register (Current Students Only)
Live Link


Financial Wellness 101: Budgeting & Debt Management

Hosted by: USC WorkWell Center & USC Credit Union

Time: 12:00 PM – 12:45 PM PT
Location: Doheny Memorial Library (DML 121) or Virtual
Register (Faculty & Staff Only)


Best Budgeting & Saving Practices

Speakers: Casey Galindo, Vice President, Campus Campaign Program Manager at Wells Fargo | Sylvia Jones, Vice President, Campus Campaign Program Manager at Wells Fargo
Moderator: Lori Shreve Blake, Senior Director of Career Engagement, USC Career Center

Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 pm PT
Location: Virtual – Zoom
View Recording


Money Mindset & Debt Management

Speakers: Shang Saavedra, Founder and CEO of Save My Cents
Moderator: Sarah Oh, Senior Career Advisor, USC Career Center

Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM PT
Location: Virtual – Zoom
View Recording

Day 2 – April 2, 2024

Breaking Financial Barriers with First-Generation Students

Speakers: Arianna Martinez, Graduate Intern at USC Career Center

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT
Location: First Generation Plus Success Center
Register (Current Students Only)


 First-Generation Credit

Speakers: Laura Peralta, Vice President of Community and Business Development at JP Morgan Chase
Moderator: Divina Montejano, Mentorship & Alumni Engagement Coordinator, USC Career Center

Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM PT
Location: STU B3, USC Career Center
Register (Current Students Only)


Investing 101

Speakers: Mimi Shih, Private Advisor, Vice President at Rockefeller Capital Management
Moderator: Sarah Oh, Senior Career Advisor, USC Career Center

Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM PT
Location: Virtual – Zoom
View Recording


Let’s Talk About Money! First-Generation Student Voices Panel

Panelists: Annette Malan, Keck School of Medicine Student| Antonio Acosta, Student Operations Assistant, USC Veterans Resource Center; USC Marshall Student |Antoinette Alles, Graduate Student, USC Rossier | Celine De Villa Master’s Candidate at USC Gould, LEAP Fellow |Kerry Yoon, USC Marshall Student 
Moderator: Arianna Martinez, Graduate Intern at USC Career Center

Time: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM PT
Location: Virtual – Zoom
View Recording

Day 3 – April 3, 2024

Understanding Taxes

Speakers: Gregory Kling, Associate Professor of the Practice of Accounting, USC Marshall
Moderator: Victoria Bandini, Graduate Intern, USC Career Center

Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM PT
Location: Virtual – Zoom
View Recording


Investing 201

Speakers: Mimi Shih, Private Advisor, Vice President at Rockefeller Capital Management
Moderator: Lori Shreve Blake, Senior Director of Career Engagement, USC Career Center

Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM PT
Location: Virtual – Zoom
Register


First-Time Home Buyer

Speakers: Jason Mata, Branch Manager, American Pacific Mortgage’s Sacramento Office
Moderator: Roberta Watson, Associate Director of Alumni Affinity Programs, USC Alumni Association

Time: 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM PT
Location: Virtual – Zoom
View Recording

Day 4 – April 4, 2024

Know Your Rights (And Your Worth)!

Speakers: Hannah Williams, Founder and CEO of Salary Transparent Street
Moderator: Sarah Oh, Senior Career Advisor, USC Career Center

Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PT
Location: Virtual – Zoom
Register


Making the Most of Your Workplace Benefits

Speakers: Ashley Mark, Voluntary Benefits Specialist, University HR – Benefits Administration
Moderator: Esther Lanier, Senior Career Advisor, Doctoral and Graduate Students

Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PT
Location: MCA 249, USC Health Science Campus
Register


Mastering Your Credit Score

Speakers: Ryan McDonald, Director of Business Development, USC Credit Union
Moderator: Sarah Oh, Senior Career Advisor, USC Career Center

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT
Location: Virtual – Zoom
Register


Sustainability & Impact Investing

Speakers: Mimi Shih, Private Advisor, Vice President at Rockefeller Capital Management
Moderator: Lori Shreve Blake, Senior Director of Career Engagement, USC Career Center

Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM PT
Location: Virtual – Zoom
Register


 Side Hustles: Building Wealth through Multiple Sources of Income

Panelists: J’Net Nguyen, Creative Director, Nexus of Entertainment| Marcy Prete, Freelance Producer & Small Business Owner | Renata Gergenova, Graphic & Product Designer | Jayson Siu, Owner of Invalid.jp, Student at University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler College of Business
Moderator: Sarah Oh, Senior Career Advisor, USC Career Center

Time: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM PT
Location: Virtual – Zoom
Register

Thank You to Our Employer Partners

Speakers

Annette Malan
Keck School of Medicine Student

Annette Malan is a Latina first-generation student from New York City with Ecuadorian roots. Her community’s resilience inspires her, and she’s dedicated to creating positive change and stability. Annette serves as VP of External Affairs for Society 53 and as an advocacy liaison for the Student Accessibility Assembly, advocating for inclusivity and accessibility on campus. Outside of her leadership roles, she enjoys binge-watching shows and exploring the outdoors through hiking. Annette is driven by her passion for giving back and making a difference wherever she goes.

Antoinette Alles
Graduate Student, USC Rossier

Antoinette, a first-generation South Asian educator, is a first-year student in the Educational Counseling program at USC Rossier School of Education. With a background in K-12 education, she is committed to nurturing holistic growth in her students, particularly focusing on the unique challenges faced by first-generation, low income, and immigrant communities. She is passionate about guiding students through the complexities of higher education planning, particularly through financial aid, scholarships, and budgeting. Her personal and professional experience drives her advocacy efforts both in and out of the classroom.

Antonio Acosta
Student Operations Assistant, USC Veteran’s Resource Center; USC Marshall Student

Antonio Acosta is a first-generation college student and a Southern California native. Antonio is the middle child of six and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Antonio is currently working as a Student Operations Assistant at the Veterans Resource Center and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Analytics at USC Marshall School of Business.

Arianna Martinez
Graduate Intern, USC Career Center

Arianna Isabel Martinez is a proud Chicana, first-generation scholar and professional from a low-income family. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she double majored in Political Science and Chicanx Studies, and minored in Education. Currently, Arianna is a graduate student at the USC Rossier School of Education pursuing a Master of Education in Educational Counseling. At the USC Career Center, Arianna is an Internship and Diversity Program Graduate Intern, where she supports undergraduate, graduate, and alumni reach their professional goals through one-on-one advising on internship search, resume review, and networking. In two years from now, Arianna aspires to become a higher education advisor in a four-year institution that supports marginalized youth and provides a powerful learning experience.

Ashley Mark
Voluntary Benefits Specialist, University HR – Benefits Administration


Casey Galindo
Vice President, Campus Campaign Program Manager at Wells Fargo

Casey Galindo serves as Vice President, Campus Program Manager for the Wells Fargo.

In her role, she manages relationships with colleges and universities in Texas and New Mexico. Casey provides financial wellness and subject matter expertise on Wells Fargo products and services to students, faculty, and staff. 

Casey has over 20 years combined experience in banking, education finance and higher education.  She began the first part of her career in Financial Aid at St. Mary’s University and has worked with Wells Fargo in various roles.   

Casey has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and an MBA from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

Celine De Villa
Master’s Candidate at USC Gould, LEAP Fellow

Celine De Villa is a Filipina-American from the Bay Area, CA. As a first-generation college student, she has fostered a goal of supporting first-generation, low-income, and/or undocumented students through advocacy and academics. Celine is graduating from the University of Southern California in May 2024, with a B.A in Political Science and Master’s of Studies in Law. As a LEAP Fellow, she will be applying to law school for the Fall 2025 admissions. On her free time, Celine enjoys trying new places, going on walks, and calling her family and friends!

Gregory Kling
Associate Professor of the Practice of Accounting, USC Marshall

Greg teaches full-time both undergraduate and graduate courses in the Marshall School of Business and Leventhal School of Accounting, and is the Academic Director of the Jennifer and James R. Parks Master of Business Taxation Program. Greg teaches continuing education classes for the California Society of CPAs and CPA exam review classes for Becker CPA Exam Review. Greg is the update author for Federal Taxes Affecting Real Estate (LexisNexis), a professional publication used by tax professionals worldwide, and is an Editorial Adviser for The Tax Adviser, a monthly magazine published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. During his previous career in public accounting, Greg was in charge of his firm’s Accounting Consulting & Tax Group, which provided a wide variety of business services to clients with revenues ranging from $1 million to $50 million. Greg served a diverse group of clients throughout his career – public and private companies, entrepreneurial and large multi-state businesses, in many different industries. Greg’s BS in Business Administration (Accounting emphasis) is from the University of California, Berkeley and his MS in Taxation is from Golden Gate University.

Hannah Williams
Founder and CEO, Salary Transparent Street

Hannah Williams is a content creator and former senior data analyst in the Washington, D.C. metro area tackling a major issue: salary transparency. With her viral series, Salary Transparent Street, Hannah encourages strangers to share what they do and how much they make to combat discriminatory tendencies in employment and close pay gaps that affect women, workers of color, workers with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community.

LinkedInInstagramWebsite 

Jason Mata
Branch Manager, American Pacific Mortgage’s Sacramento Office

Jason Mata is an expert in residential lending and a leader in homebuyer education. During his 20+ years in the industry, he has been awarded as a CalHFA Lending Hero and is in the Top 1% of mortgage lenders nationally.

Jayson Siu,
Owner of Invalid.jp, Student at University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler College of Business

Jayson Siu is the brand owner of Invalid.jp and various e-commerce stores as well. He specializes in media buying on Facebook and TikTok and has spent over 7 figures on advertising platforms to drive results. With a strong belief in capitalizing on trends, he has experience in product development and logistics of running an e-commerce store.

J’Net Nguyen
Creative Director, Nexus of Entertainment

J’Net Nguyen, Creative Director at the nexus of entertainment, lifestyle, and social impact, holds an M.A. in communications management from USC. With previous roles at Hurley, VANS, and managing national campaigns for HBO, FOX, and Paramount Pictures, she’s known for merging Hollywood and academia to drive change. Committed to LGBTQ+ rights, she organizes impactful events bridging brands like Nike and Urban Outfitters. Recognized as “The Future Mayor of WeHo,” she serves on the Board of Directors at The Assistance League of Los Angeles and chairs Encircle, providing therapy for LGBTQ+ youth. Beyond her professional life, she’s an art, design, and fashion enthusiast, curating her wardrobe and home with vintage finds. In her downtime, she hosts stylish brunches, cherishing the vibrancy of Los Angeles, where she believes every square foot is unparalleled.

LinkedInInstagram

Kerry Yoon
USC Marshall Student 

Kerry is a third-year undergraduate studying business and accounting. He grew up in Guatemala City before coming to USC and will be the first in his family to graduate. He is currently working as a tax intern at RSM and will be at Deloitte this upcoming summer as an intern in their cyber risk practice. On campus, he is part of the student organization SC Trojans FC, and his interests lie in all things food, soccer, traveling, and meeting people from different backgrounds. His areas of interest in personal finance consist of maximizing credit card rewards, budgeting, and tax planning.

Laura Peralta
Vice President of Community and Business Development, JP Morgan Chase

Laura is Vice President of Community and Business Development at JP Morgan Chase, where she has the pleasure of implementing the firm’s Racial Equity Commitment through community partnerships.  Prior to this role, Laura worked as Vice President of Community Development at Citi where she managed public-private partnerships with government and nonprofit organizations to help close the racial wealth gap in low income communities.  Laura has an extensive background in government relations through her work as Policy Deputy at the Los Angeles City Council, Program Manager for Diversity Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. where she served as political appointee for President Barack Obama, and as Director of Local Government Relations at California Grocers Association.  Laura holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology from the University of California, Irvine.  She currently serves on the Board of the USC Latino Alumni Association and is actively involved in her community.  Laura is from Argentina, enjoys traveling and loves to support her World Cup Champion soccer team La Seleccion.

Lucas Dyer
Financial Advisor at Northwestern Mutual and Author & Writer

Dr. Lucas Dyer is a Marine Corps Combat Veteran, who spent 16 years as a Marine and six years as a Terrorism Analyst for the Department of Defense. For several years thereafter, he was the Senior Program Manager of Learning and Development for Amazon where he oversaw the development and planning process for over 400 Amazon warehouses and 4000 mid-level leaders. Currently, he runs a financial planning practice where he works with small business owners, high net-worth professionals, families and military Veterans to help bring them financial independence.

Lucas has numerous professional publications including a book about his experiences leading Marines in combat while serving in Afghanistan. Residing in sunny Southern California; with a Doctorate from the University of Southern California, a Combat Veteran, published author, and proud father of two incredible kids, as well as a business owner, he has done enough for himself and gives back as much of his time as he can to help anyone who is willing to listen.

Marcy Prete
Freelance Producer & Small Business Owner

Marcy has her Masters Degree from USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and a freelance producer on shows like Top Chef, Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry, and E!’s highly anticipated upcoming show, OMG Fashun.

While she loves being behind the scenes, you may have seen Marcy hosting, “Big Girl in a Skinny World,” or giving plus size style advice on shows like Rachael Ray, The Real, The Doctors, Hallmark Home & Family and The Dr. Oz Show.

Marcy is also a small business owner, her boutique, The Plus Bus is LA’s premiere destination for plus-size fashion which she runs from wherever her TV work takes her!

Mimi Shih
Private Advisor, Vice President, Rockefeller Capital Management

Mimi began her wealth management career in Vancouver, Canada at CIBC Wood Gundy advising domestic and international UHNW individuals on tax efficient, traditional, and non-traditional investing. She then joined Oryx Legacy Partners, where her responsibilities included reviewing portfolio strategies, reviewing ESG and impact strategies, and relationship management for notable families, foundations, and institutions. Mimi received her B.Sc from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business and her MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Mimi serves on Reaching Out MBA’s Advisory Council and is the Co-Chair of the Rotman NYC Alumni Chapter. For her contributions to the women and LGBTQ+ community, Mimi was recognized as a Forté and ROMBA Fellow. Mimi is a frequent speaker at conferences on topics ranging from portfolio management to community engagement. A strong proponent of giving back to the community, Mimi mentors students at the University of Southern California. Mimi enjoys pushing her limits and has run 3 international marathons. Originally from Taiwan, Mimi has also lived in Vancouver, Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Toronto. She now resides in Manhattan with her dog Mokka.

Monique S. Allard
Vice President, USC Student Life

Dr. Monique S. Allard oversees a staff of 150 employees devoted to integrating learning experiences for USC’s 20,000 undergraduate and 28,000 graduate and professional students. The Student Life team helps students reach their educational, personal and professional aspirations and supports many aspects of student life including accessibility services, career services, development and engagement, equity and inclusion programs, recreational sports, spirit programs and student conduct.

Allard has more than 20 years of experience in student support programs and services, focusing on leading organizational change and developing strategies anchored in well-being. Most recently, she led USC’s expansion of student equity and inclusion programs and the enhancement of the residential college experience.

Renata Gergenova
Graphic & Product Designer

Renata Gergenova is a graphic and product designer specializing in creating compelling brand identities and web designs. With a blend of creativity and passion for inclusivity and accessibility, she brings concepts to life with precision and style. Renata’s approach ensures cohesion and consistency of brands’ visual identity from start to finish. Her commitment to understanding client objectives enables her to deliver customized solutions that help brands stand out. Beyond design, Renata is an illustrator and a design content creator known for her ability to explore new and fun concepts. Her skills extend beyond traditional graphic design, allowing her to create engaging illustrations that enrich brand narratives and captivate new audiences. Renata’s expertise as a design content creator enables her to develop compelling visual stories that resonate with diverse audiences across various platforms. She believes in design’s power to shape perceptions and drive positive change, striving to make a meaningful impact through her work. Renata’s passion for innovation and dedication to excellence propel her to push the boundaries of design, helping brands stand out in today’s competitive market.

Roberta Watson
Associate Director of Alumni Affinity Programs, USC Alumni Association

Roberta Watson serves as the Associate Director of Alumni Affinity Programs for the USC Alumni Association. She works with generational groups like the Young Alumni Council and Half Century Trojans along with some of the industry networks including the Alumni Real Estate Network and Trojan Entertainment Network. Roberta has over 7 years of experience working in alumni relations and has been with USC for just over a year. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Redlands then an MBA from Thomas Jefferson University.

Rose Ann Djelmane
SVP, Community Banking & Lending Production Manager

Rose Ann was born and raised in Los Angeles, and is a USC Alumni gradating in 1982 with a BA in Psychology and is graduating with her Masters in Organizational Management from the University of Arizona in June 2024. In her current role, Rose Ann is responsible for ensuring Multicultural Census Tract and Community Reinvestment Act goals are met by working with the Regional teams, Market Leaders and Loan Officers to implement Community Banking & Lending initiatives, Affordable Product & Program knowledge and execution, Multicultural Trade partner relationship engagement and business development, Connect to Own partner LO alignment, execution of client introductions, and homebuyer education workshop deployment opportunities.  Rose Ann is actively involved in the community and has several leadership roles including the Bank of America Greater Los Angeles Latino Business Council, the  Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership & Advancement (HOLA) So Ca Chapter, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) Southwest Regional Board of Governors, NAHREP Los Angeles Chapter 2020 President, NAHREP 10 Certified Trainer, Self Help Graphics & Art- Board of Governors.  Rose Ann currently lives in Ontario, CA, with her husband and is a proud mother and grandmother.  Her daughter Fatima Djelmane Rodriguez is also a USC Alumni and they are the first mother daughter nominees of the USC LAAA John Hubbard award.

Ryan McDonald
Director of Business Development, USC Credit Union

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

Shang Saavedra
Founder and CEO of Save My Cents

Shang Saavedra is the founder and CEO of Save My Cents, a personal finance education platform that helps Americans learn how to grow their financial wealth by addressing their mental health. Shang finished saving for her retirement by the age of 31, and is America’s leading expert on the key habits and behaviors needed to become less fearful of money and live a wealthy life with joy. Shang’s insights have been published by Business Insider, CNBC, Forbes, Fox Business, USA Today, Time / NextAdvisor, Nasdaq, The New York Post, Kiplinger, and she has been named by Time / NextAdvisor as one of The 25 Most Influential New Voices of Money. Shang was a corporate strategist for CVS Health and Victoria’s Secret, as well as a management consultant at L.E.K. Consulting. Shang received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard and her MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Shang will have a book on personal finance out in early 2025.

Website, Instagram, Youtube

Sylvia Jones
Vice President, Campus Campaign Program Manager at Wells Fargo

Sylvia Jones serves as Vice President for Wells Fargo Bank Student Banking division, part of Wells Fargo’s Consumer Lending Group. 

As Vice President, Sylvia manages customer relationships in higher education across 2 states in the Southeast region and Illinois. She is responsible for providing subject matter expertise on financial wellness and for the promotion of Wells Fargo’s products and services.

Sylvia has served in the financial education industry for over 25 years.  She has held leadership positions at both Citibank and Discover Financial Services.  Prior to joining the banking industry, she served in the higher education industry. 

Sylvia holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Utah State University where she also serves on the University’s Executive Foundation Board.  She also holds an MBA from Western State Colorado University. She resides in Macon, GA.

Moderators

Before joining the USC Career Center team, Divina worked for Chapman University’s Fowler School of Engineering in their career services department helping students refine their resumes and prepare for their career journey. In addition to her higher education experience, she remains active in her community serving as a Commissioner for the Advancement of Women and Girls commission in the City of South El Monte.

Esther Lanier is a Senior Career Advisor for Doctoral and Graduate students at the USC Career Center. She enjoys empowering doctoral and graduate students and alums to explore the many facets of career exploration, career preparation, and launching into successful careers in a global economy. To support the needs of Ph.D., postdoctoral, and master’s students, Esther manages vital programs such as the Beyond the Ph.D. and Postdoctoral Career Conference. She collaborates with various UPC and HSC campus departments and brings her enthusiasm and industry knowledge from human resources, banking, and entertainment. Esther enjoys baking cakes and cookie decorating.

Lori Shreve Blake
Senior Director of Career Engagement, USC Career Center

Lori Shreve Blake is the Senior Director of Career Engagement at the University of Southern California (USC) Career Center. She leads a diverse and dynamic team of 20 professional team members and interns, delivering comprehensive career services to over 49,500 undergraduate and graduate students and over 450,000 alumni. Her international career journey includes establishing and leading career programs for university and government organizations, overseeing academic affairs and university administration for active-duty military and veteran students in Europe. She was an adjunct professor for undergraduate humanities courses and served as a city human resources and employment manager in the Greater Washington DC area. Lori established the alumni career program and continuously re-invents scalable student and alumni career services and resources.

Sarah Oh
Senior Career Advisor, USC Career Center

Sarah Oh is a Senior Career Advisor at the USC Career Center and received her M.Ed. in Educational Counseling at the Rossier School of Education. She works with students of all majors and grade levels and enjoys guiding them through their career exploration and job search process. Prior to joining the Career Center, Sarah received a B.A. in English Secondary Education at Biola University and worked with various USC schools and programs, such as the School of Dramatic Arts, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity, and Research Gateway Scholars Program. Outside of work, she enjoys listening to podcasts, exploring new cities, and spending time with family and friends.

LinkedIn

Victoria is a graduate intern at the USC Career Center and is currently in the process of attaining her Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs at USC Rossier. She is interested in disability/accessibility services, working to create an inclusive and accessible educational environment for all students. In her free time, she enjoys visiting local coffee shops, playing guitar, and reading memoirs. 

Past Conferences