Faces of NEFE: Carol Chapman, Assistant to the President and CEO

Carol Chapman, Assistant to President and CEO

When Carol Chapman joined NEFE in 2013, she already had extensive experience in social services, community outreach and higher education. As assistant to NEFE President and CEO Ted Beck, Carol says her satisfaction comes from working behind the scenes to provide Ted and the NEFE Board of Trustees the support they need to achieve NEFE’s mission and vision.

NEFE: How would you describe your job to a fifth-grader?

Carol Chapman: I’m the assistant to “the boss,” as a fifth-grader would think about it. Being an assistant to a busy executive means that you provide whatever support that person needs, from scheduling his appointments and managing his travel, to doing research for him, to editing his correspondence and speeches. Basically I’m there to be a helper.

NEFE: Where are you from originally?

CC: I was born, grew up and went to college in upstate New York. After graduating I went to Boston for a year and worked for Social Security. The job wasn’t a good fit for me, so when friends invited me on a six-month cross-country driving trip, I quit my job and went. We visited Colorado, and I just loved it. I decided to move here even though I didn’t have a job. I was young and brave. That was 1976 and I’ve been here ever since.

NEFE: What brought you to NEFE?

CC: I started my career in human services — mostly running programs for people with disabilities, older adults and at-risk youth. I loved it. It was one of the most exciting parts of my career, but when I got married and had my two children I needed something less intense. I got a job close to home at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo. I was hired as the executive assistant for academic affairs and eventually moved to the president’s office, where I worked for 12 years as the special assistant to the president. I always had been very active in the community, mostly through my kids — I was on PTA; I was a Cub Scout leader, soccer mom coordinator, baseball team treasurer, basketball team booster club president, etc. I actually have two letters from Golden High School, one from the debate team and one from the basketball team. I may not have been an athlete myself, but I like to say that I lettered in high school, even if it was 30 years later. After retiring from Colorado School of Mines, my community involvement led me to take a job as the executive director of the Golden Civic Foundation to help them through a transition period. But having promised myself that I wouldn’t have to do any more fundraising after I retired, I decided to look elsewhere after a couple of years and discovered NEFE. It’s really been a great fit for what I’m looking for at this stage in my life. I feel a bit like a poster child for NEFE’s messaging when I read personal finance articles about people transitioning to “encore careers” later in life to keep working longer. It’s good to keep your brain chugging along, and it’s good financially to not start drawing down your retirement funds too early.

NEFE: What interests you about personal finance?

CC: My husband and I both grew up relatively poor. We were first-generation college students and we both took careers in the public and nonprofit sectors, so I knew we weren’t going to make a lot of money. I had no formal course of study, but I read whatever I could and enjoyed managing our money and teaching the kids how to budget. Early in my career I ran a program on fixed-income consumer counseling. We did a lot of what NEFE does — helping people on fixed incomes learn how to manage their financial lives in a better way through budgeting and learning how to grocery shop effectively.

NEFE: What are your interests outside of work?

CC: I had never been out of upstate New York for the first 19 years of my life, but I spent most of my sophomore year of college in Spain, which ignited my passion for travel. I was fortunate that I did a lot of traveling in Europe, South America, Central America and Mexico from age 19 until my kids were born. I went through a long dry spell where all we did was car trips with the kids. Now that the kids are out of college and my husband is retired, we have started traveling again. It’s wonderful to be able to rekindle an old passion to learn about other cultures.

See the full November-December 2016 Digest or download the PDF.


  • Paul Golden

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  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

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