Team

The FTA is a diverse community committed to shaping and advancing the emerging field of financial therapy. Our organization is volunteer-run and comprises well-established, respected leaders in their fields. Knowing that many hands make light work, we recruit for volunteers from within our membership, annually. Volunteers engage with other FTA members on a deeper level, and share a sincere desire to leave a lasting legacy that makes a real difference in people’s lives. 

Board of Directors

Since the FTA’s inception, the board of directors and committee members have devoted countless volunteer hours and a relentless spirit to form and grow the organization. 
We’d love to have you join us by volunteering on one of our committees, or our board, to help us elevate the association and the entire profession of financial therapy!

Executive

Ashley Agnew, MBA, CFT-I™

Aja Evans

Ed Coambs, LMFT, CFP®, CFT-I™, MS, MBA, MA

Dr. Bruce Ross, Ph.D., AFC®, CFT-I™

Christine Hargrove, PhD

Chairs

Megan McCoy, Ph.D., LMFT, AFC®, CFT-I™

Dr. Travis Sholin, CFP®

Saundra Davis, MSFP, APFC®, FBS®, CSC 

Christine Hargrove, PhD

Megan Ford, Ph.D., LMFT , CFT-I

Natasha Knox, CFP®, TEP, FBS®

Dr. Alex Melkumian, Ph.D.

Debra L. Kaplan, MA, MBA, LPC, CSAT-S

Cara Macksoud, FBS®

Student Chair
Ben Hampton, CFP®
Brandy Johnson, CAE

Board of Directors

FTA committees are comprised of board members and non-board member volunteers. Committees are chaired by board members to help the FTA reach our goals and are an integral part of our day-to-day operations. If you would like to volunteer to become a board member or committee member, please check out the Volunteer page for more information.

Purpose: The purpose of the Executive Committee is to implement strategic planning goals and to ensure that the goals and standards of the Financial Therapy Association are met and upheld.

Chair: President, Ashley Agnew

Members:
Past-President, Ed Coambs
President-Elect, Aja Evans
Treasurer, Julia Kramer
Secretary, Bruce Ross

Purpose: The purpose of the Social Media & Marketing Committee is to develop and implement communications to members and non-members on behalf of the FTA.
 

Chair: Christina Hargrove

Elizabeth Sterbenz
Emily Johnson
Tara Unverzagt
Yvette Murry
Rahkim Sabree

Purpose: The purpose of the Special Topics Webinar Committee is to plan and support special topics webinars and educational content for the FTA.
 
Chair: Megan McCoy

John Hankins
Ashley Agnew
Jake Stein
Yvonne Hampton
Khara Croswaite
LaQueshia Clemons

Purpose: The purpose of the Membership Committee is to recruit new members to the FTA, assist with membership retention, membership communications, and general member support.

Chair: Travis Sholin

Cara Macksound
Abed Rabbani
Bill Nelson

Purpose: The purpose of the Certification Committee is to develop and execute the certification in financial therapy, and to do so, has three subcommittees: Examination, Education, and Oversight.

Chair: Saundra Davis

 

Subcommittee: Education

Purpose: The purpose of the Education Committee is to develop, manage, and present materials to support members seeking CFT-I™ educational competencies.

Chair: Saundra Davis

Rick Kahler
Kristy Archuleta
Ed Coambs
Bruce Ross
Ashley Agnew
Sonya Lutter
Megan McCoy
Khara Croswaite
Jasmine Ramirez

Purpose: The purpose of the business community to strengthen the FTA brand, and develop and identify partnerships and revenue opportunities that will enable the FTA to enrich and expand its services.

Chair: Nipa Patel

Erika Wasserman
Samer Doshi
Tamiko Cleveland
Aditi Kapadia

Purpose: The ongoing work of our equity and inclusion committee supports the FTA in its commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Chair: Rachel Rivera

Board Liaison: Wookjae Heo

Aja Evans
Alex Melkumian
Ramel Strong
Carla Oliveira
Elizabeth Sterbenz
LaQueshia Clemons
Mariah Hudler
Prince Sarpong
Rachel Rivera
Stephen Molchan
Tamiko Cleveland
Tara Tussing Unverzagt
Tomiko Arthur
Shay Harris-Pierre

Purpose: The purpose of the Conference Committee is to develop, plan, and assist in executing conferences for the FTA.

Chairs:

2024, Natasha Knox

2025, Megan Ford

Bruce Ross
Angela Ackerman
Ed Coambs
John Lawrence
Julia Kramer
Julie Fortin
Michele Paiva
Mike Imber
Alex Melkumian
Preston Cherry
Shaun Maslyk
Simi Mandelbaum
Tom Chancellor
Jonathan Kolmetz

Ashley Agnew, CFT-I™, MBA

Ashley Agnew

Ashley brings a vast knowledge to relationship development, achieving positive wealth management outcomes by connecting to what is truly most important to her clients. She understands that finances touch many aspects of our lives, not just our balance sheets. Ashley is a CFT-I ® candidate and has successfully completed the FTA educational video series. She holds a graduate certificate in financial therapy from Kansas State University, her MBA from Bryant University, and her FINRA Series 65 license.

In her role at Centerpoint Advisors, Ashley uses processes informed by both therapeutic and financial competencies that help people think, feel, and behave comfortably around money to improve overall wellbeing, specializing in inter-generational wealth transfers. She facilitates financial coaching programs providing both emotional and educational resources for clients including financial coaching and therapy, education and literacy, post-college savings strategies, family round-table facilitation and moderation, and financial pre-marital counseling. Ashley is a Board Member of XPX Greater Boston and of the Financial Therapy Association. She has been interviewed in media outlets including Real Simple Magazine and the Boston Globe for her work in the financial therapy field and has been recognized for her research team’s work on helping practitioners in assisting grieving widows.

Ed Coambs, LMFT, CFP®, CFT-I™, MS, MBA, MA

Ed Coambs, LMFT, CFP®, CFT-I™, MS, MBA, MA

Ed Coambs, LMFT, CFP®, CFT-I™, MS, MBA, MA – Ed seeks to expand the awareness and practice of Financial Therapy in the fields of mental health and financial planning. Ed operates a private practice counseling center dedicated to serving couples and their relationship with money. His area of speciality is in helping clients through the intersections of their developmental attachment history, trauma and its impact on their ability to experience financial well-being.

Ed also operates HealthyLoveAndMoney.com an online self-help website dedicated to providing support for couples and their financial well-being. Ed has served on the Financial Therapy Association board for six years in a number of different capacities, recently completing work on the development of the Certified Financial Therapist – I.

Ed has earned an MBA from Queens University, an MA in Counseling from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and a MS in financial planning from Kansas State University. He also holds the CFP®, and CFT-I™ professional certifications. Ed’s vision for the future of Financial Therapy is that it is a well-researched, integrated, and integral part of helping people develop financial well-being.

Aja Evans, LMHC

Aja Evans

Aja is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, speaker, and writer specializing in Financial Therapy. With over a decade of experience in mental health, Aja was consistently hearing about the emotional impact of how people interact with their money. This was all too familiar, having gone through her own journey of financial literacy and reckoning with the feelings regarding her relationship with personal finance. Her expertise sits at the intersection of mental health and all things “money”. She is a woman on a mission to get people engaged in living their best lives while attuning to their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors around money. When she isn’t encouraging people to talk openly about their emotions and money, you can find Aja running around after her two young children or looking into the next delicious place to eat. 

Dr. Alex Melkumian, PhD

​Dr. Alex Melkumian, PhD

Dr. Alex Melkumian, PhD. is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and founder of Financial Psychology Center in Los Angeles, California. He is devoted to helping clients improve their financial and mental health by uncovering patterns in their relationship with money that keep them stuck and suffering. Financial psychology is the intersection of financial literacy, emotional awareness, financial beliefs and cultural factors. Hence, helping clients understand how those factors interplay revitalizes client’s emotional and financial health. Specifically, Dr Alex has worked with individual clients to provide them with practical and therapeutic tools to help heal their financial anxiety. His work with couples and families has helped to address maladaptive behaviors such as financial trauma, financial enabling and financial infidelity.

Dr Alex’s most recent work has been in collaboration with the Pre-Pro Institute where his focus has been aiding athletes to improve their financial wellness and overall performance. As athletes train with a singularity of focus to excel in their field, they often experience stress in other areas of their lives such as finances. This financial stress can unknowingly impact performance and interfere with goal setting and training.

Wookjae Heo, PhD

Wookjae Heo, PhD

Wookjae Heo is an assistant professor of financial counseling and planning at the Division of Consumer Science at Purdue University. Prior to joining Purdue, he worked at another state university for multiple years as an assistant professor of Consumer Affairs. He earned his Ph.D. degree in financial planning from the University of Georgia. Prior to earning a Ph.D. degree, he had worked for a marketing consulting firm as a Strategic Marketing Planner and Consumer Research Specialist in Korea. Before working at the consulting firm, he received MA and BA Degrees from Seoul National University, Korea. His main research interest is broadly about financial consumer welfare, including financial behavioral intervention, financial stress, life insurance, and data mining/data analysis in financial planning and consumer research. With his research interests, he serves a few academic associations as a board/committee member and serves some journals as an associate editor /editorial board member.  

Dr. Bruce Ross, Ph.D., AFC(R)

Dr. Bruce Ross, Ph.D., AFC(R)

Dr. Bruce Ross, Ph.D., AFC(R), serves as an Assistant Professor in the Family Sciences Department at the University of Kentucky teaching in the new undergraduate program, Consumer Economics and Family Financial Counseling, as well as at the graduate level in Family Sciences. Dr. Ross completed his undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University earning a double major in Psychology with Research and Philosophy. He continued his education path at the University of Maryland where he earned a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. He went on to the University of Georgia to earn a PhD in Human Development and Family Science with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy and a specialization in financial counseling and financial therapy practices.

Dr. Ross’ professional and research interests primarily focus on personal and family financial well-being. He uses the systemic practice of financial therapy to better serve families from a holistic perspective in his research, teaching, and community work. Dr. Ross has been with the Financial Therapy Association since 2012 and has the pleasure of serving on various committees, including the Executive Committee as President of FTA in 2020.

Christine Hargrove

Christine Hargrove

Christine Hargrove is a Marriage and Family Therapy PhD student at the University of Georgia. She specializes in working with individuals, couples, and families with ADHD, and integrates financial therapy into much of her clinical work. She conducts research focusing on the relational and financial well-being of couples (including those with ADHD) through the Couple and Relationship Enrichment Lab at UGA and presents her findings at national conferences. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Therapy Association.

Ms. Hargrove works from a strengths-based approach to living with ADHD without ignoring the difficulties ADHD can present in daily life and relationships.

Julia Kramer CPA, CDFA®, FBS®

Julia Kramer CPA, CDFA®, FBS®

Julia is founder and owner of Iaso Consulting, LLC through which she offers individual, couple and family financial coaching and consulting, speaking, workshops and divorce financial services.  She also offers workshops specifically tailored to financial planners to help them work more effectively with their clients by deepening their listening skills as well as understanding financial psychology, the stages of change and the basics of Motivational Interviewing.

Julia is a firm believer that healthy financial behaviors start with understanding and accepting ourselves with all our wonderful idiosyncrasies and then creating a financial plan that is uniquely tailored to us.  She has been a member of the FTA since 2012.

Degrees & Designations

  • BBA University of Michigan, accounting
  • Graduate Certificate In Financial Psychology and Behavioral Finance, Creighton University
  • CPA
  • CDFA® – Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
  • FBS® – Financial Behavior Specialist

Megan McCoy, Ph.D., LMFT,  AFC(R), CFT-I™

Megan McCoy, Ph.D., LMFT, AFC(R), CFT-I™


Megan McCoy, Ph.D., LMFT, AFC(R), CFT-I™ is a Professor of Practice and the Director of the Personal Financial Planning Master’s Program at Kansas State University. Her research focuses on financial therapy and has been published in the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, Financial Services Review, Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, Family Relations, Contemporary Family Therapy, Journal of Financial Planning, and Journal of Financial Therapy among others. Dr. McCoy serves as the Associate Editor of Profiles and Book Reviews for the Journal of Financial Therapy.

Nipa Patel

Nipa Patel

Nipa grew up in Gujarat, India and has called Chicago home for the last 23 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from University of IL at Chicago and MBA from DePaul University. After running a global Information Security firm for 17+ years, she decided to pursue her lifelong passion for understanding the intersection of money & human behavior. She earned her Graduate Certificate in Financial Therapy from Kansas State University in 2021. She is an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) and is currently pursuing Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. 

In her role as COO of Crosspoint Wealth Partners, she focuses on aligning and leading company operations that lead to best outcomes for their clients.


She, her husband and two kids enjoy road trips to national parks (17 so far) and she occasionally dabbles in baking and pour painting.  

Dr. Travis Sholin, CFP®

Dr. Travis Sholin, CFP®

Dr. Travis Sholin, CFP® is a private wealth advisor and co-owner of Keystone Financial Services. He is an adjunct professor at Creighton University and the University of Nebraska Omaha. He is a researcher focused on financial psychology, cross-cultural finances, and intergenerational wealth planning. He speaks on various financial topics to organizations around the world. He is an avid participant in his community serving on several boards, committees, and foundations. He enjoys outdoor sports and spending time with his wife and three children.

Dr. Travis Sholin, CFP®

Dr. Travis Sholin, CFP®

Dr. Travis Sholin, CFP® is a private wealth advisor and co-owner of Keystone Financial Services. He is an adjunct professor at Creighton University and the University of Nebraska Omaha. He is a researcher focused on financial psychology, cross-cultural finances, and intergenerational wealth planning. He speaks on various financial topics to organizations around the world. He is an avid participant in his community serving on several boards, committees, and foundations. He enjoys outdoor sports and spending time with his wife and three children.

Saundra Davis, MSFP, APFC®, FBS®

Saundra Davis, MSFP, APFC®, FBS®

Saundra Davis, MSFP, APFC®, FBS® is a US Navy veteran, and nationally recognized speaker, financial coach, educator, and consultant. She is the founder and lead trainer of the Financial Fitness Coach (FFC®) certification program which supports community based providers and financial professionals to build the skills necessary to promote change in how individuals, families, and communities think and talk about money.

Ms. Davis is the Founder and Executive Director of Sage Financial Solutions, a San Francisco Bay Area based organization that develops comprehensive financial capability programs for low- and moderate-income communities throughout the United States. She is a Financial Behavior Specialist FBS® and her philosophy of the financial continuum of care is a framework to promote the highest standard for professional services for all people, irrespective of wealth and income. Her volunteer efforts as a founding member and past president of the Financial Therapy Association, and as a member of Financial Planning Association Diversity and Pro Bono committees have served to shape a more inclusive profession.

Saundra is also a certified mindfulness teacher, she holds a B.S. in Management and an M.S. in Financial Planning from Golden Gate University where she is currently an Distinguished Adjunct Professor in the Personal Financial Planning program.

Megan Ford, Ph.D., LMFT

Megan Ford, Ph.D., LMFT

Dr. Megan Ford is a financial therapist and professor who uses her interdisciplinary education, research, and practice background in both financial planning and marriage and family therapy to teach and train students at the University of Georgia and create innovative financial therapy tools and approaches. She is a former President of the Financial Therapy Association (2016-2018), has co-authored a textbook, The Fundamentals of Writing a Financial Plan, and has published her own evidence-based financial therapy model, the Ford Financial Empowerment Model (FFEM).

Natasha Knox, CFP®

Natasha Knox, CFP®

Natasha Knox is the Principal of Alaphia Financial Wellness, an innovative holistic wellness oriented financial planning firm in Canada. With a focus on empowering clients to achieve their financial goals, Natasha and her team at Alaphia provide personalized, fee-for-service financial planning, education, coaching and financial therapy.

With articles published in reputable publications such as The Globe and Mail, Money Sense and Forbes, Natasha is a respected voice in the financial industry. She has also been featured on Global TV and CBC news radio, and quoted in numerous national publications such as Business Insider and the Financial Post.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Natasha is dedicated to making a positive impact in her community. She serves as Vice-Chair of the Douglas College Board of Governors, and is a regular volunteer with FP Canada, serving on various task forces and on their exam marking team. She holds several professional designations, including the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Registered Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP), and Certified Financial Behaviour Specialist (FBS®). She is also a graduate of the Kansas State program in financial therapy. Natasha, with her professional designations and education in financial therapy, is dedicated to providing individuals and families with personalized financial planning and guidance towards achieving their unique financial goals.

Dr. Alex Melkumian, PhD

Dr. Alex Melkumian, PhD

Dr. Alex Melkumian is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and founder of Financial Psychology Center in Los Angeles, California. As a practicing clinician for the past 15 years Dr Melkumian has worked with populations ranging from the chronically acute, dually diagnosed patients to highly motivated individuals committed to self-improvement. He is an author and public speaker who works to bring people harmony and ease in their lives, no matter what the issue.

His experiences in the field have given him deep expertise in treating alcoholism and addiction, codependency, emotional disturbance, stress, self esteem, relationships, men’s issues, depression and anxiety. He has also proven to be a supportive career counselor, life coach and specializes in financial psychotherapy for those clients who find their emotional way of acting out is through their wallet or employment. You can find out more about his specialization in Financial Psychotherapy by visiting the Financial Psychology Center.

An immigrant from the Soviet Union he has lived in Los Angeles, California for more than twenty years basing both his studies and his practice there. Dr. Melkumian is married to his wife of ten years and father to two rambunctious children.

Dr. Alex Melkumian, PhD

​Dr. Alex Melkumian, PhD

Dr. Alex Melkumian, PhD. is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and founder of Financial Psychology Center in Los Angeles, California. He is devoted to helping clients improve their financial and mental health by uncovering patterns in their relationship with money that keep them stuck and suffering. Financial psychology is the intersection of financial literacy, emotional awareness, financial beliefs and cultural factors. Hence, helping clients understand how those factors interplay revitalizes client’s emotional and financial health. Specifically, Dr Alex has worked with individual clients to provide them with practical and therapeutic tools to help heal their financial anxiety. His work with couples and families has helped to address maladaptive behaviors such as financial trauma, financial enabling and financial infidelity.

Dr Alex’s most recent work has been in collaboration with the Pre-Pro Institute where his focus has been aiding athletes to improve their financial wellness and overall performance. As athletes train with a singularity of focus to excel in their field, they often experience stress in other areas of their lives such as finances. This financial stress can unknowingly impact performance and interfere with goal setting and training.

Debra L. Kaplan, MA, MBA, LPC, CSAT-S

Debra L. Kaplan, MA, MBA, LPC, CSAT-S

Debra L. Kaplan, MA, MBA, LPC, CSAT-S is a licensed financial therapist, author, and speaker specializing in attachment, sexual addiction/compulsivity, money, work, and relational currency—issues often rooted in unresolved childhood experiences. Debra is faculty for the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, a Certified Sex Addiction therapist and Certified EMDR therapist.


After a successful career on Wall Street, where issues regarding sex, money and power are legendary, Ms. Kaplan merged her fascination with narcissism, sex, power and control with her studies in psychology. Her first book, “For Love and Money: Exploring Sexual & Financial Betrayal in Relationships,” became the inspiration for her groundbreaking clinical work. To meet rising demand, Ms. Kaplan launched her innovative workshops and trainings; For Love and Money©, geared to those who are ready to understand the hidden dynamics of sex, money and power and create healthy relationships.


“Battle of the Titans: Mastering the Forces of Sex, Money, and Power in Relationships” was released in 2020. “Battle of the Titans” dives deep into modern day power dynamics and provides individuals and couples tools to successfully harness their authentic power to create sexual and financial balance in their relationships. Debra is based in Tucson, Arizona, and speaks to global audiences and is an invited guest on podcasts and financial media outlets. You can learn more at: www.debrakaplancounseling.com.

Cara Macksoud, FBS®

Cara Macksoud, FBS®

Cara Macksoud, FBS® is the CEO of Money Habitudes. She completed the Financial Therapy Graduate Certificate at Kansas State University and holds a BS in Finance from NYU Stern School of Business. She is a Certified Financial Behavior Specialist® and a
member of the Financial Therapy Association where she serves on their membership committee. She is also a member of the Association of Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) and is an AFC candidate.

Ben Hampton, CFP®

Ben Hampton, CFP®

Ben Hampton, CFP® is a Ph.D. student and graduate teaching assistant in the financial planning program at the University of Georgia. Before starting his doctoral studies, he worked as a financial planner for high-net-worth individuals and families in Atlanta, GA for seven years. His research interests center around the financial, psychological, and relational aspects of well-being for retirees. He has presented his research at the American Council on Consumer Interests and Financial Therapy Association conferences. Ben’s personal finance commentary has been featured by WalletHub, and he was a recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Assistant award from the University of Georgia Center for Teaching and Learning.  

Brandy Johnson

Brandy Johnson, CAE

Brandy Johnson, CAE has served as the FTA Executive Director since June 2022.

Brandy received the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2019 and has 22 years of association management experience with the day-to-day management of volunteer-based associations.

She is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and Kansas Society of Association Executives (KSAE), having also served as Past President of KSAE and received the 2015 “KSAE Association Professional of the Year.”

Brandy lives in Topeka, Kansas with her husband, daughter, son and two dogs.