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.
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!
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, Dr. Preston D. Cherry
Past-President, Sarah Swantner
President-Elect, Ed Coambs
Treasurer, Julia Kramer
Secretary, Bruce Ross
Chair: Ashley Agnew
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.
Shiv Raj Singh
Purpose: The ongoing work of our equity and inclusion committee supports the FTA in its commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
C. Ramel Strong
Dr. Alex Melkumian
Wook Jae Heo
Dr. Cherry is the Founder & President of Concurrent Financial Planning, LLC, a comprehensive financial planning firm that helps households and business owners achieve Life Money Balance™. Dr. Cherry serves as Assistant Professor of Finance and Head of the Personal Financial Planning Program at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. His research surrounds personality traits and financial uncertainty risks.
Over 14 years, he has served in lead financial planning roles and RIA co-investment manager of $120M in firm assets. Dr. Cherry has also served in institutional retirement sales, as a mutual fund wholesaler, and serves as a financial advisor coach for Carson Group Coaching. His degrees include an MS and Ph.D. in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University, B.B.A. in Finance from Prairie View A & M University and serves on the Boards of the Financial Therapy Association and the Association of African American Advisors Foundation.
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.
Sarah helps people understand themselves and their finances so that they can achieve the life they want. She brings a therapeutic and supportive approach to personal finance in her work with individuals, couples, and groups; and she partners with financial planners to integrate the therapeutic side into their financial planning meetings.
Sarah is dually trained in both personal finance and mental health counseling. For the first decade of her professional life, Sarah worked as a mechanical engineer. After that, she spent another decade doing financial planning and began dealing with the emotional side of money. She now works as a mental health practitioner in her company Black Hills Integrative Counseling and Coaching, LLC, with specialties in financial therapy and healing from childhood trauma and abuse.
Degrees & Designations
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.
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
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.
Natasha Knox, CFP®, is the founder and owner of Pax Planning, a virtual, fee-for-service financial planning practice on the west coast of Canada that fully integrates therapeutic interventions with traditional financial planning. Natasha has a graduate certificate in Financial Therapy from Kansas State University. She is a certified financial planner professional, and an associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and is currently working toward the internationally recognized TEP designation. In addition to her role as business development chair, she serves on the membership and the social media and marketing committees.
She been featured in a number of major publications and podcasts including the Globe and Mail, Forbes, Nerdwallet, and Moolala with Bruce Sellery. In her personal life, Natasha is actively involved in civic leadership, and serves as library board trustee.
Amanda Clayman is a financial therapist who specializes in the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of our financial well-being. She is the host of the recurring Death, Sex & Money podcast series Financial Therapy with Amanda Clayman for WNYC Studios. Amanda founded the Financial Wellness Program for national arts non-profit The Actors Fund, where she pioneered a cognitive-behavioral approach to financial education. Amanda is a sought-after speaker who runs seminars and workshops around the country, as well as the author of several financial wellness courses for LinkedIn Learning. Her work has been featured in media outlets such as The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The TODAY Show, and Amanda has appeared on MSNBC, FOX, and more. To learn about the inglorious start to Amanda’s financial wellness mission, read the story about her $19,000 Haircut at www.amandaclayman.com.
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.
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.
Julie is a Partner and Wealth Manager at Northstar Financial Planning, a women-owned, holistic, financial planning firm dedicated to enriching the lives of women and couples by helping them use their money to achieve their life, family, and legacy goals. Julie holds a MS in Finance degree from Suffolk University and a graduate certificate in Financial Psychology and Behavioral Finance from Creighton University. She is a Certified Financial Planner professional®, a Certified Financial Behavior Specialist®, and a Certified Financial Transitionist®.
She has been quoted in publications including the New York Times and Nerdwallet and published in the Journal of Financial Planning.
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.
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.