New Financial Life Planning Concentration Taught by Founders and Leaders in the Field

Golden Gate University has launched an innovative new degree-concentration in Financial Life Planning. Part of the MS in Advanced Financial Planning degree program, the concentration is fueled by emerging insights from Psychology and Behavioral Finance and taught by founders and leaders in the fields of financial planning, coaching, and financial therapy.

Dr. Dave Yeske CFP®, Director of the GGU’s Financial Planning programs and Distinguished Adjunct Professor, designed the new concentration. A Financial Planning Evangelist, he has made national TV appearances, led professional organizations, and published articles and books such as Evidence-Based Financial Planning: To Learn . . . Like a CFP.  The financial planning investment strategy he pioneered—The Yeske Buie Approach—has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal. The Financial Planning Association® (FPA) has recognized Dr. Yeske as one of the profession’s leading minds by awarding him their highest honor—The P. Kemp Fain Jr. Award (2017). He earned a doctorate in Finance from GGU in 2010.

Elizabeth Jetton, CFP® has been a thought leader in the financial planning profession for the past 20 years. She has been in the financial services industry since 1981 and served as President of The Financial Planning Association in 2004. She trains planners how to become conversational leaders and to use group conversational processes to engage, attract, and build trust.

Saundra Davis, MS is nationally recognized as an expert in the financial coaching field and founder and Executive Director of Sage Financial Solutions. She developed a financial coach certification program and received a special invitation to attend President Obama’s 2014 White House Summit on Working Families.

Rick Kahler, MS, CFP® is a pioneer in the emerging field of financial therapy that integrates Financial Planning and Psychology. He has been featured by NBC’s Today, ABC’s 20/20, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and MarketWatch. He is a co-author of books such as Facilitating Financial Health and Conscious Finance.

For more information, contact program director Dr. Dave Yeske, CFP® or Request information about GGU’s Financial Planning programs >>.

GGU Financial Planning Graduate Student Co-Authors Paper in Prestigious Journal

The September 2017 issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Financial Planning explored opportunities and challenges for the next generation of financial planners and clients. The cover story of the issue, Serving Millennial Clients with a 3-Step Model was co-authored by Russell Kroeger, CFP®, EA, who is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Advanced Financial Planning at GGU. From 2015 to 2017, Kroeger worked for the financial planning firm of Dr. Dave Yeske, CFP who designed the curriculum for the program and is a leading authority in the field.

Kroeger decided that he wanted to be a financial planner at age 17, and follows his passion to this day. His life and career goals brought him to San Francisco, and soon after he immersed himself in the GGU program. “Not long into my coursework, I developed the necessary foundation for a deep dive into psychology and behavioral science research, ultimately identifying evidence-based strategies that help me to engage and serve young professionals more effectively.” Kroeger wants to serve not only clients, but also increase the profession’s body of knowledge as he does with the recently published article.

Not long into my coursework, I developed the necessary foundation for a deep dive into psychology and behavioral science research…

Along with his co-author, Yusuf Abugideiri, CFP®, Kroeger cites research that says Millennials are more stressed, more collaborative in their decision-making (as shaped by social media experiences), and less sure of their ability to make significant life and financial decisions. Although statistics do show that Millennials are cash poor today, the authors cite Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy that they stand to inherit part of an estimated $59 trillion in wealth transfer over the coming decades.

These factors suggest that this generation needs financial planning help – and would benefit from it more — than those that preceded it. The authors’ 3-Step Model to Serve Millennial clients is to:

Step 1: Use a robust discovery process to uncover worldviews and identify goals.

Step 2: Craft policies to overcome scarcity mentality and clear the path to progress.

Step 3: Build confidence in decision-making abilities through collaboration.

“The role of the financial planner is to serve as a change agent,” the authors conclude, “helping the [Millennial] client craft policies that remove the need for deliberation, building confidence in their decision-making ability, and creating a decision-architecture rooted in their value system.”

Kroeger says that research of this type is important because young professionals are the future leaders of the world: “Opportunities for every individual to establish healthy relationships with money can serve as a catalyst for us to build a more inclusive, empowering, and fulfilling society.”

About Russell Kroeger

Russell Kroeger, CFP®, EA, founded Paradigm Wealth Architects to help young professionals live a life that is in alignment with their ideal-selves, encouraging each client to pursue Wealth and impact the world in a way that is authentic to their unique life experience. In addition to operating Paradigm Wealth, Russell speaks at conferences, consults for financial planning firms, and is a member of Money Quotient’s Research and Education Task Force. He also volunteers as the Director of Advocacy for the San Francisco chapter of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) as well as the NexGen representative for the OneFPA Advisory Group.

Request information about GGU’s Financial Planning programs >>

Women in Leadership’s Tradition of Excellence Continues

Now entering its 5th year, GGU’s Women in Leadership event has attracted successful panelists who have launched businesses or are prominent at corporations, nonprofits, and law firms. The 2016 event was no different and featured alumnae (pictured below, left to right) Givelle Lamano (JD ’10), Attorney at Lamano Law Offices; Sofia Tulchinsky (MBA ’96), Senior Director Global Business Planning & Strategy at Salesforce; and Susan Lovegren (MS, Human Resource Management ’86), Chief People Officer at AppDynamics.

2016 Alumnae Panelists

The 2016 event was hosted by Dr. Marianne Koch who is Associate Dean of GGU’s Ageno School of Business, HR Program Director, and a Professor of Management. Dr. Koch began the session by posing a single question to the three GGU alumnae: What choices did you have to make to get where you are today? The answers touched on themes such as their career paths and accomplishments; challenges and solutions specific to women; networking; and the link between personal and professional development.

Last year’s event drew 175 attendees from the GGU community and beyond. If you want to see more of what you can expect at this year’s Women in Leadership Event, we invite you to watch the video of the 2016 event.

The 5th Annual Women in Leadership Event Is on October 25th!

Attendees of this year’s event can expect another group of accomplished women who will share real-world advice based on their personal and professional journeys. The event is open to the GGU community and the public. Admission to this event is free and refreshments will be provided. We also invite you to take advantage of networking before and after the panel.

2017 Women in Leadership Panelists

Helen Fanucci, Global Windows Sales Leader, Microsoft Corporation

Hazel Blackhart (JD ’08), Group Product Manager, Hematology Franchise Communications, Operations and Alliance Strategy, Genentech, Inc.

Nicole Middleton (MS FIPL ’17), Chief Executive Officer
Strategy Squad Insurance Services

Event Details & Free Registration

Date: October 25, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Location: Golden Gate University, San Francisco [directions]


5:30 – 6:30 pm — Registration begins / networking
6:30 – 7:30 pm — Panel discussion and Q&A
7:30 – 8:00 pm — Post-panel networking

For more information about this event, please visit

Get updates and share with friends: #GGUWomen.

Related GGU Blog Post: My Advice for Women in Business: Know What You Want and Ask for It! by Helen Fanucci, ‎Global Windows Sales and Digital Transformation Leader at ‎Microsoft.

All photos above by Jenny LeMaster.

Dr. Dave Yeske: Financial Planning Evangelist and Leading Light

Dave YeskeThrough the years, Dr. Dave Yeske, CFP® has succeeded in this mission through national TV appearances, leadership of professional organizations, and writer. The Financial Planning Association® (FPA) has recognized him as one of the profession’s leading minds by awarding him their highest honor—The P. Kemp Fain Jr. Award (2017). He continues to spread the gospel of his field as Director of the GGU’s Financial Planning programs and Distinguished Adjunct Professor.

Helping Realize Dreams

During his career at the Paul Revere Insurance Group (now part of Unum), it was Yeske’s job to call on insurance brokers, stock brokers, and financial planners, representing his company’s portfolio of products. He recalls: “I gravitated to the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP) professionals who were using the financial and economic tools I’d learned in school, but in the interest of helping individuals and families achieve their dreams and goals for their lives. The financial planners worked with their clients over time, guiding them and being part of the process as clients realized their visions for the future.

My mission is to be a financial planning evangelist. I want to share the power of financial planning to transform lives for the better, and hold my professional community to the highest standards of conduct while they practice this power with and for their clients.

Inspired by these interactions, Yeske enrolled in a CFP education program and went on to open his own financial planning office. In 2010, Dr. Yeske earned a doctorate in finance from GGU. The investment strategy he pioneered—The Yeske Buie Approach—has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Yeske endeavors to, “help foster the emergence of professionals who can practice at the highest level of competence. This means not only technical competence, but also the ability to understand their clients deeply, to develop strategies that are demonstrably connected to who their clients are as human beings, and to possess and use the skills necessary to be effective change agents in their clients’ lives.”

The Yeske Buie Approach
Read about The Yeske Buie Approach >>

Teaching and Research at GGU

Overseeing the Master of Science in Financial Planning (for those entering the profession and preparing for the CFP® exam) and the Master of Science in Advanced Financial Planning (for practicing CFPs looking to advance to the next level), Dr. Yeske endeavors to “help foster the emergence of professionals who can practice at the highest level of competence. This means not only technical competence, but also the ability to understand their clients deeply, to develop strategies that are demonstrably connected to who their clients are as human beings, and to possess and use the skills necessary to be effective change agents in their clients’ lives. These include advanced communication skills, coaching and facilitation skills, and the ability to think strategically. This focus permeates all of our classes and programs.”

Moving the Profession Forward

One of Yeske’s two primary areas of focus is to educate financial planners to be better versed in research-based writing and to have the skills to incorporate the results of financial planning research. Yeske contributed to this body of knowledge by co-authoring Evidence-Based Financial Planning: To Learn . . . Like a CFP with fellow GGU professor Elissa Buie, and by creating a GGU course called Evaluating Research: Understanding and Using Applied Research in Your Practice.

Yeske’s second main area of focus has been incorporating more science into the practice of financial planning by fostering closer ties between the worlds of practice and academia. “Academics understand how to conduct formal research, while financial planners, working on the front lines with their clients, know the critical questions that need to be answered,” he says. In his roles as Chair of FPA’s Research Center Team and Academic Advisory Council, Dr. Yeske says he “strove to build the connections that I knew would be so necessary to expand our body of knowledge in an evidence-based direction. It’s an essential partnership.”

Request information about GGU’s Financial Planning programs >>

Director of GGU’s Financial Planning Programs Receives FPA Association’s Top Award


Dave_web_2Dr. Dave Yeske, CFP®, is the winner of the 2017 P. Kemp Fain, Jr. Award—the highest honor bestowed by the Financial Planning Association® (FPA). This award represents the pinnacle of recognition in the financial planning profession, honoring one exceptional individual who has made significant contributions in the areas of service to society, academia, and government. He is held in high regard as one of the preeminent leaders in the profession who has directly contributed significant time and talent to building its body of knowledge.

Dr. Yeske earned his doctorate in Financial Planning from Golden Gate University and is currently the Director of the University’s Financial Planning programs. He also holds an appointment as Distinguished Adjunct Professor and co-teaches the Capstone Cases in its Financial Planning course.

Dr. Yeske has been a prolific spokesperson for the profession at conferences and with the media. He has appeared on CBS, CNBC, CNN and NBC News. The Wall Street Journal has profiled Dr. Yeske and the Yeske Buie approach to investing.

A practicing financial planner since 1990, Dr. Yeske founded the San Francisco Society of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners (ICFP) and has held many leadership roles in FPA, including president of the FPA Board of Directors in 2003 and chair in 2004; chair of the FPA Political Action Committee (PAC) in 2005 and 2006; and chair of FPA’s Research Center Team and its Academic Advisory Council from 2007 to 2012. At present, Dr. Yeske serves as Practitioner Editor of FPA’s award-winning Journal of Financial Planning. Currently, he is Managing Director of Yeske Buie, a comprehensive financial planning firm with offices in Vienna (VA) and San Francisco.

Dr. Yeske will be honored at the 2017 FPA Annual Conference to be held on October 2-4 in Nashville.

“Over my 20 years in our profession, I have been fortunate to come to know so many talented leaders, but few have given back as much and are as knowledgeable as Dave. He is one of those dynamic voices and leaders who has mastered so many areas of financial planning and is a true historian of our profession. He has never rested on his accomplishments and continues to support the next generation of financial planners through education and mentorship both in and out of FPA. No one is more deserving than Dave for this prestigious honor.”
—2017 FPA President Shannon J. Pike, CFP®

CFP® is a registered trademark of the Financial Planning Association®.

Request information about GGU’s Financial Planning programs >>

Golden Gate University Ranked #1 in US for Adult Learners for Second Consecutive Year

For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranks Golden Gate University America’s #1 School for Adult Learners in its annual College Guide and Rankings.

How GGU Was Chosen

To compile the rankings, Washington Monthly reviewed data from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) survey, the department’s new College Scorecard database and the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges.

The metrics that determined GGU’s rating include:

  • ease of transfer/enrollment
  • flexibility of programs
  • services available for adult learners
  • percent of adult students (age 25+)
  • mean earnings of adult students ten years after entering college
  • loan repayment of adult students five years after entering repayment
  • tuition and fees for in-district students

Read the article in Washington Monthly >>

Financial Planning Alumnae Will Be Panelist at Women in Leadership Event

Nicole Middleton is CEO of Strategy Squad Insurance Services and will be a panelist at the 5th-annual Women in Leadership event on October 25, 2017. A graduate of GGU’s Master of Science in Financial Planning program (’17), she is a strong supporter of women’s empowerment issues.

Strategy Squad Insurance is a family-owned wealth management firm based in Oakland, CA where Middleton specializes in creating strategies for women and their families to protect and grow their wealth—through holistic financial planning, insurance, and investment management. She is also an active member of the Financial Planning Association of San Francisco’s NexGen Leadership Committee and the Urban Financial Services Coalition.

We invite you to read Middleton’s recent post on the GGU blog in which she discusses the five biggest things she learned in the Master of Science in Financial Planning Program.

Special Event

Women in Leadership

Join us and hear a distinguished panel of professional women share stories, tips, and insight on how to navigate a successful career. This free event is open to anyone in the GGU community and the public. Come to chat and enjoy food!

Date: October 25, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Where: Golden Gate University, San Francisco [directions]


5:30 – 6:30 pm — Registration begins / networking
6:30 – 7:30 pm — Panel discussion and Q&A
7:30 – 8:00 pm — Post-panel networking

Questions? Contact the Ageno School of Business at

What Makes for Quality Online Education?

by Doug Geier, GGU’s Director of eLearning and Instructional Design

Online education is enormously popular, with the number of online students in the US growing to over 6 million in 2015. This is true at Golden Gate University, where many students get their degrees or certificates 100% or partially online. Online classes provide a way for many students to fit education into their daily lives, an opportunity that they may not have otherwise.

If you become a GGU student, you will soon realize that you are at a school that takes online education seriously – 94% of students who took 80% or more of their courses online favorably rated the overall quality of their education at GGU (2016-17 GGU Graduating Student Survey).

More than an Internet Connection

At GGU, we think online learning is more than a medium or a convenient way to learn. Quality online learning is built with many elements – not just an instructor and an Internet connection. Here are the features of GGU’s quality eLearning experience:

  • Faculty experience in an online environment
  • Opportunities for interaction among students and instructors
  • Stimulating and engaging eLearning
  • Integrated online learning platform for interaction, multimedia, and assignment submission
  • Dedicated eLearning department to ensure proper student and faculty proficiency
  • 24/7 support team for technical issues students may have
  • Curriculum that connects learning to the real world

Creating the GGU Online Experience: The eLearning Department

I have a passion for online learning because it provides an opportunity for all students to participate in course activities, contribute to the discussion, and engage with one another. (No one has a “back-row” seat in online learning.) It’s also a great supplement to classroom learning and provides a great deal of flexibility for the adult learner.

One of the building blocks of the GGU online experience is the eLearning Department, which I lead. The eLearning instructional designers have experience and training in both technology and education—and how the two come together for effective teaching and learning. Through GGU’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, the instructional design team supports faculty in the effective use of technology for education.

Golden Gate University has been recognized for excellence in online education for its MBA, Counseling Psychology, and graduate-level Accounting programs.
Learn more about GGU’s accolades >>

Even though we have been offering online education for over 20 years, we are always seeking to improve the student experience. We stay on top of the latest trends and effective practices by monitoring educational blogs, publications, and sites related to technology, online learning, and higher education. Educause Learning Initiative, EdSurge HigherEd, the Online Learning Consortium, and WCET are all wonderful sources of information and inspiration. We also exchange ideas with others in the online education community through attendance at conferences and meetups. Most importantly, we listen to feedback from students and faculty and strive to continually improve the quality of online education at GGU.

My Experience as an Online Student

I hear positive feedback from our online students, but I also share this perspective as a fellow online student at GGU. I’ll be completing my MBA degree this year, most of which I have taken online. If the courses had not been challenging and provided the opportunity to interact with fellow students and the instructor, I wouldn’t have remained engaged and interested. As a working professional, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this if not for effective online courses.

About Doug Geier

Doug Geier is the Director of eLearning and Instructional Design at Golden Gate University where he oversees LMS support, instructional design, help desk and proctored testing services. He was a 2012 participant in the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning and continues to be an active member of the OLC community–serving as a volunteer, presenter, and conference track chair. Doug is also a member of the Substantive Change Committee with the WASC Senior College and University Commission and a part-time MBA student at GGU. In previous roles, Doug has held positions in educational software publishing and online learning as a producer, content developer, and instructional designer.

Video: Why Go to Business School in San Francisco?

Golden Gate University is located in downtown San Francisco in the heart of the Financial District. In this video, Dr. Gordon Swartz, Dean of GGU’s Ageno School of Business, reflects on the city’s reputation and position in the business world.

Dr. Swartz’s holds a DBA from Harvard University and has extensive and varied experience that combines business school teaching, research, and administration — with strategy consulting and development of high-growth organizations. As vice president of MarketBridge, Inc., he led major marketing, sales strategy, and transformation efforts for Fortune Global 500 companies.

Getting an MBA degree at GGU in San Francisco, specifically in the “FiDi”, gives students access to a wealth of expert working faculty and networking opportunities in major business areas such as finance, accounting, taxation, marketing, project management, and IT management. Throughout its 115-year history, Golden Gate University has become an integral part of the San Francisco business world — with over 16,000 alumni residing in the San Francisco Bay Area alone.

Five Things I’ve Learned in Graduate School at Golden Gate University

financial-planner-middletonAs someone who has almost survived graduate school, I can tell you one thing: I am not the same person I was before I started my program. Earning a master’s degree in financial planning has felt like a rite of passage into the career of finance. It has groomed me in many different ways, helping me build up an immense amount of knowledge in various areas that impact our financial lives. It has also helped me develop a new network of relationships with classmates and some of the best practitioners in the field. Throughout my study, I’ve been surrounded by some very bright people!

Here are five things that the program has taught me well about a career specializing in personal finance:

1) “Comprehensive” financial planning is a holistic, professional practice.

As GGU professor Elissa Buie, CFP® often points out in our Cases capstone course, financial planners have to have big brains and emotional intelligence. It is very helpful for practicing advisors to learn about behavioral finance — a field of psychology that gives insight on the emotional tics and behaviors that support or hinder us when making financial decisions. My graduate program also taught me how to crunch numbers, do forecasting, backtest and build investment portfolios. We studied tax and estate-planning law. I smile now when I think back to 2014, when I didn’t have a clue on how to use a HP12c financial calculator, what modern portfolio theory was, or how to file my own tax return!

2) The earlier you plan, the better off you’ll be!

Managing personal finances can be complex, frustrating and time-consuming, but it is not an impossible area to learn or improve upon! In fact, our lives depend on it! Sadly, in the US we simply have never done a good job of teaching people at a young age how to properly manage their money and make good financial decisions. This lack of education can be especially harmful to a person later in their adult years.

I smile now when I think back to 2014, when I didn’t have a clue on how to use a HP12c financial calculator, what modern portfolio theory was, or how to file my own tax return!

Financial planners help clients take a proactive approach towards better financial health and well-being by guiding them in areas such as how to build an adequate emergency fund, how to get rid of and avoid using high-interest rate debt to fund their lifestyles, and why it is important to pay attention to other areas like discretionary spending, taxes, and holes in insurance coverage or estate planning.

3) Delivering financial advice cannot be done in a “one size fits all” fashion.

Every single person has different needs, attitudes towards risk, habits, and things they want to accomplish with their money. Financial planners/advisors have to know how to ask the right (often tough) questions, so that they can truly understand a client’s situation. We empower our clients by helping them strategize in a way that is forward-thinking, and we help them consider and understand the “what-ifs” that might come along with making any number of financial decisions. It’s exactly what makes practicing financial planning such an interesting field!

I wouldn’t call myself a Steve Kerr of financial planning (not yet as least!), but we have similar jobs to do. Thankfully, I learned some solid coaching skills from GGU professor Saundra Davis….

4) There’s a dire shortage of women & minority financial planners

Step inside the corporate offices of a wirehouse, independent RIA, or brokerage firm today and you will see two things: a lack of women advisors and a lack of minority advisors. Since I can check off both of these boxes, I can tell you that women and minorities are not often encouraged to go into this field. Professional advocacy groups like the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) are trying to change this; but to-date those who have been delivering financial advice are, more often than not, white and male.

Compare this with the below illustration taken from a  research study published by the Journal of Financial Planning on the usage of financial planners by different racial groups in the U.S.


This graphic shows a heavy imbalance of wealth between different racial groups. Much of this comes from the fact that Black and Hispanic households, and women, have not shared in the financial rewards of the last century as much as white and Asian households.

I believe strongly that if more women and minorities enter our field, it will expand our reach into these communities, and hopefully encourage more black and brown households and more women to seek the help of financial planners in creating long-term strategies for building personal wealth.

5) Be prepared to wear a coach’s hat.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaa3haaaajdixmzhmy2q0ltq3yjctndu0mc05mtuylta0ztblowrlm2ezngA financial planner has to wear many hats, and being a financial coach is often one of them. Imagine Golden State Warriors NBA head coach, Steve Kerr, as he keeps his players focused on the court. At every game, Coach Kerr and his coaching staff remind the players to remain calm, remember the game plan and make the necessary adjustments in order to execute big wins. I wouldn’t call myself a Steve Kerr of financial planning (not yet as least!), but we have similar jobs to do.

Thankfully, I learned some solid coaching skills from GGU professor Saundra Davis, like how to develop a communication style while working with clients that can help clients assess their own solutions “toolkit” — problem-solving techniques that have worked for them in past experiences that can be creatively applied and repeated towards achieving a financial goal.

Nicole Middleton is a graduate student at Golden Gate University’s Master of Science Degree in Financial Planning program. She is also a practicing Financial Advisor and co-owner of an independent financial planning firm, Strategy Squad Insurance Services, LLC based in Oakland, CA.

This article appeared in Nicole Middleton’s LinkedIn stream on April 3, 2017.