NEFE Board Welcomes New Leadership and Two New Members

Two new members join NEFE’s Board of Trustees: Helen Norris, vice president and chief information officer at Chapman University, Orange, Calif., and Colleen A. Walker, chief executive officer of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. Each will serve an initial three-year term on the 14-member board.

The board also welcomes a new chair for 2014, Karen Vahouny, communications consultant and adjunct professor at both George Washington University and Marymount University in the Washington, D.C. area. Michael Bedke, partner at the DLA Piper law firm, Tampa, Fla., is vice chair. Bedke is recognized nationally as a leader in the area of sustainability and the “triple bottom line,” and has received numerous recognitions for his pro bono and volunteer work.

In January the two new board members and newly appointed chair attended a day-long orientation at NEFE’s headquarters in downtown Denver where they met NEFE staff and shared stories of how personal finance has affected their lives.

Helen NorrisVahouny, Norris and Walker not only divulged their Spendster bad spending habits (lattes, cowboy boots and specialty vitamins); they discussed what attracted them to NEFE.

Norris found her passion for financial education through her work in higher education. “More students than you think are one flat tire away from dropping out of school. A flat tire may not seem like much, but it can be the difference between dropping out or continuing to pursue an education,” says Norris.

Norris says she has noticed a shift over the past 15 years from students primarily receiving free aid such as grants, to more students taking on large amounts of debt to fund their education. Norris believes today’s students — especially first generation and low-income — face complex challenges that prior generations did not.

Colleen WalkerWalker first became aware of the critical need for financial literacy through witnessing her family’s financial instability as a child. That prompted her and her husband to make a conscious decision early in their marriage to set a budget and plan for retirement. She says investing in their future was the best decision she and her husband made as a young couple.

As someone who learned through experience, Walker strongly promotes accessible formal financial education for children, enabling them to practice sound money management as adults. Both Norris and Walker also expressed a strong desire to encourage women to enter the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. As women who pursued their education and careers in IT and STEM and experienced pushback along the way, they believe in empowering women to pursue any subject matter.

Karen VahounyVahouny says that after years of working in the corporate world, she is determined to give back. Her goal is to spend one-third of her time and expertise on professional boards, pro bono communications work, and charitable initiatives. Vahouny says she looks forward to what this coming year has in store for NEFE programs and initiatives. “Our board wants to keep setting the bar higher, especially as we more actively integrate the perspectives of young people and increase our support to underserved communities.

"I believe that 2015 will be a great year for NEFE,” says Vahouny.

"The expertise of our new trustees are a great complement to the other highly accomplished professionals that make up the leadership of our board,” says Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE. “We are fortunate to have such dedicated trustees to help us further our mission of inspiring educated financial decision making for all Americans.”

Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]

Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]