Celebrating Client Success

Thunderstorms couldn’t rain on our parade at our 2nd annual Client Celebration sponsored by U.S. Bank! Our clients put in a tremendous amount of work to achieve their goals, and they deserve to be celebrated! This year, we honored five clients who have worked tirelessly on their financial wellness journey. We can all learn from the perseverance and wisdom of this year’s awardees, so let’s dive into their stories!

Talina Dearing

Talina Dearing stands with her financial coach Sasha Moore as they both smile warmly and proudly hold up Talina's Certificate of Excellence.

Talina moved to St. Louis from Denver eager to invest in herself and start a new chapter. While attending a MoCaFi event, she met Prosperity Connection! All of the financial education from MoCaFi and Prosperity Connection resonated with her in a way that hadn’t before, and she was eager to get guidance on ways to manage her finances most effectively and strategically. Wanting to improve her financial situation, Talina started working with Senior Financial Coach Sasha Moore to address issues on her credit report and establish a budget.

Before coaching even started, Talina already had done great work to improve her financial wellness by paying off her car 10 months early and opening an IRA and 401k. She had the skills and drive to succeed; she just needed some tools and resources, and that’s what Prosperity Connection provided.

While working with Sasha, Talina tackled collections, negotiated bills, paid off debts, and improved her credit score. She shared that, “Sasha helped me figure out how to do it myself.” Despite life’s challenges, Talina has continued to pay off debts, build savings, and follow her budget. Her coaching experience emphasized budget mindfulness and effective collection strategies. Talina reflected that, “Before I felt like I was doing it alone. I wanted what we’re doing, but I was by myself and now I have the resources to do the work.”

Today, she’s focused on reducing credit utilization, making good loan payments, and planning for future investments while prioritizing her son’s future. By investing in herself and her financial wellness, Talina is investing in her son and their future. Her future goals include exploring the housing market, buying a car, and providing the best for her son. Her wisdom for us all is to remember that “it don’t matter when you start, just as long as you start.” And look at all the amazing things that can happen when you start! Congrats, Talina!

Nakia Jackson

Nakia Jackson stands with her financial coach Veronica Guerrero as they both smile warmly and proudly hold up Nakia's Certificate of Excellence.

At just 22 years old, Nakia Jackson is already flying towards her financial goals! Nakia’s financial wellness journey started while living at Marygrove where she attended one of Prosperity Connection’s Credit Wellness Events. There she learned a lot about credit, received a credit report review, and began understanding the importance of credit cards. Around the same time, Nakia was also participating in a savings program with LifeWise, where she learned more about budgeting and savings and met Veronica Guererro, who was previously a coach there.

When Nakia decided it was time to improve her credit, build her finances, and begin investing, she wanted a familiar place and someone she knew she could trust. So, she started 1-on-1 coaching with Veronica who had recently become a Senior Financial Coach here at Prosperity Connection! Nakia had always been good at saving money, but working with Veronica helped her save her money in the right places, like her Roth IRA and high-yield savings account.

Despite facing challenges such as a year-long job hiatus and extensive travel, she managed to rebuild her savings while grappling with the need for consistency. Transitioning from penny-pinching to enjoying a more balanced financial approach, she now feels comfortable treating herself while still prioritizing savings and investments. Today, Nakia is focused on building her investments, maximizing credit card benefits, and finding ways to make her money work for her. Having already accumulated $20,000 in savings, she seeks to expand her financial horizons by generating income through investments and exploring new streams of revenue. Way to go, Nakia!

LeVora Kaufman

LeVora Kaufman chats with her financial coach Sasha Moore. LeVora does not want pictures of her face shared publicly, so we only see the back of her. She's wearing a very fun and colorful blouse.

Life can twist and turn in the most unexpected ways. That’s certainly been the case for LeVora Kaufman’s journey with Prosperity Connection. LeVora first heard of Prosperity Connection through one of her girlfriends. After helping her friend with taxes and opening her eyes to her financial situation, LeVora’s friend started financial coaching at Prosperity Connection with Sasha. LeVora heard rave reviews from her friend and loved seeing her progress but didn’t think that coaching was what she needed.

Through working with Sasha, her friend bought her first house! This was a huge accomplishment, and LeVora was, of course, thrilled for her. She was invited to her friend’s closing where she met Sasha for herself. Sasha and LeVora started chatting, and she quickly felt welcomed and comfortable around her. Then they began their own coaching journey, and it has been a beautiful one.

LeVora said that before coaching, she felt mentally overwhelmed and unsure where to start. She was sickened by the interest rates on her credit card debt and yearned to resolve it. Sasha’s welcoming approach and structured system provided the comfort and guidance she needed. Utilizing a home equity line of credit (HELOC), she consolidated and paid off all her credit card debt within four months!

Debt-free by the start of 2024, except for her car note, she shared that she felt like there was “literally a load off my back” and “when I walked out of your building, I felt free.”

LeVora still has the HELOC and some unused credit cards, but now she diligently pays down her debts and allocates the surplus towards savings, aiming for a secure retirement. Meeting with Sasha since July 2023, she experienced a profound sense of liberation upon paying off her debts, crediting Sasha’s guidance and her own determination for her success. LeVora reflected, “once I made up my mind and I met Sasha, I couldn’t see myself going any other way except forward. I knew that I needed to do this and then it happened. Once you make up your mind, do what it is you set out to do.” With retirement on the horizon, LeVora is setting herself up for success. We are so proud of you LeVora!

Otis McClure

Otis McClure stands with his financial coach Sasha Moore as they both smile warmly and proudly hold up Otis's Certificate of Excellence.

Otis embarked on his financial wellness journey with Prosperity Connection thanks to his girlfriend and PC trailblazer, Liz Myers…who, by the way, was one of our honorees last year and now she volunteers with us!

However, being ready and feeling ready are two separate things, and Otis was nervous and uncomfortable at first. Before coaching, the only conversations he had around finances were paying your bills on time. He grew up believing he needed to pay everything off as soon as he got paid, surrounded by the mentality of ‘I’m broke but at least my bills are paid.’ This was new territory for him. He didn’t know what questions to ask or what to expect, but Otis trusted the process and kept an open mind.

He worked with Sasha to build a spending plan and make his money go towards more than just bills. Sasha’s guidance in constructing a spending plan proved instrumental, alleviating anxiety and empowering him to make his money work for him. Otis even said, “budgeting and spending plans are a forever changing game.” While bumps in the road may have reshaped his spending plan, Otis shared, “even though the plan may change, I still feel able to do this and have the funds to make these things happen.”

Transitioning to a growth and futuristic mindset, Otis now prioritizes saving for future goals such as relocating to Dallas, investing in his business as a graphic designer, purchasing a car, and buying a PS5. Overcoming setbacks like job loss with support from Sasha and Liz, he has come to view financial planning as “not just shuffling money around, it’s really an investment for the betterment of your life.”

With his newfound confidence and strategy, Otis is no longer plagued by buyer’s remorse but instead is empowered by his savings and financial foresight. His advice can help us all: “Keep track of where your money is going because you’ll feel better about it in the long run. Put it on paper, take that leap of faith, and you’ll be good.” We’re thrilled you took that leap of faith with us, Otis. Congratulations!

Carmela Tiburcio

Carmella Tiburcio stands with her financial coach Veronica Guerrero as they both smile warmly and proudly hold up Carmela's Certificate of Excellence.

Carmela Tiburcio embarked on a challenging journey to the United States, fleeing cartel activity in her home state in Mexico, to secure a better future for herself and her children. She sought asylum upon her arrival in October 2019 and was granted a work permit.

Despite facing daunting obstacles such as language barriers and depression, Carmela’s unwavering faith and determination propelled her forward. Working tirelessly seven days a week, and with the support of her eldest son, Carmela saved diligently to achieve her dream of homeownership.

Seeking assistance, Carmela turned to organizations like LifeWise for support in obtaining her work permit and financial coaching. Through LifeWise, she was also connected with Veronica, who provided invaluable guidance on budgeting and eventually connected her with Mark, a lender from MidWest Bank. MidWest Bank’s ITIN program provided Carmela with a $5,000 grant for down payment assistance.

Carmela continued her financial coaching journey with Veronica at Prosperity Connection, extremely grateful that the coaching was free to her. And through her work with Veronica, Carmela went from no credit score to a 650, making her eligible for a home loan.

When reflecting on her coaching experience, Carmela shared, “Working alongside Veronica proved to be immensely beneficial for me. Her patience, consistency, and unwavering support were truly invaluable. In a world where I often felt marginalized or underestimated due to my limited proficiency in English, Veronica’s perception of me as a capable individual was incredibly uplifting. Her belief in my potential empowered me to overcome self-doubt and embrace newfound confidence. What truly set Veronica apart was her dedication to maintaining open lines of communication and providing ongoing coaching.”

Carmela’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance, resilience, and the support of community organizations. Despite facing overwhelming odds and being rejected for 3 different properties, she never lost sight of her dream of homeownership. 4th time was the charm for Carmela and she closed on her home in October of 2023. Congratulations, Carmela! We are so excited for you.

Are you inspired and ready to start working towards your financial goals?! You can sign up today to get started with financial coaching or any of our other services. If you’re not sure you’re ready to commit to coaching, see if coaching is the right fit for you!