Currently Browsing: Stories of HOPE

Stories of HOPE – Nicolette Szonday

In 1986, Nicolette Szonday left Hungary with her family as political refugees. Because of how her mother and grandparents were saved, protected and fed by American soldiers during World War II, Nicolette’s family chose to move to America out of the many countries willing to take them in. Starting over was tough, but Nicolette used her Small Business Accounting Certificate and BA to stay on track. She has worked in the financial field for the past fifteen years, working for Bank of America and now for JP Morgan Chase as a Sr. Specialist experienced in handling domestic and international clients with their retail and credit card accounts. Nicolette is also currently in training to become a lender with Chase Credit Card Services in Wilmington, DE.

Stories of HOPE – Donna Swopes

Donna Swopes has been volunteering since she was a child. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Donna began volunteering as a Brownie in elementary school at Barstow Country Day School. In high school, she volunteered as a girl scout at East High School. “Volunteering was a requirement of my parents,” Donna states, “giving back to the community was important to them.” After high school, Donna attended the American Institute of Banking and Valencia Community College.

Stories of HOPE – Jerry Patrick

Jerry Patrick, a native Houstonian, has a long history of pursuing a better future. After high school, Jerry went to work for a credit union. He worked many departments for ten years and then went to work for Toyota Motor Credit. He attended college in 2004, where he graduated from University of Phoenix in 2007 with a BS/BA degree. Currently, he is employed with Chase Bank and is celebrating his 13th year there this month.

Stories of HOPE – Marcus Chery

Marcus Chery is from Houston, Texas, and is the youngest of three with an older brother and sister. He is currently in school studying Social Work. After his schooling is completed, Marcus hopes to become a licensed Social Worker.

Stories of HOPE – Z.D. Wooten

I was born, in a small country town in North Carolina, to a loving mother and father. I am the youngest of four children. My father was a bricklayer and my mother a homemaker. My parents instilled in us at an early age to help others and to be the best in all that we do. We grew up in the church attending weekly Sunday School or else we were restricted from doing any activities. As an adult I still attend church with a strong foundation developed at an early age. I love playing tennis and golf.

Stories of HOPE – Anna Jackson

A California woman through and through, Anna Jackson was born in Riverside and raised in Palm Springs. She moved to the Bay Area in 1965. She attended the University of Phoenix and California State Eastbay, after which she began pursuing her career in Telecommunications. She has spent 32 years in this field and is also certified Financial Literacy instructor. She is both a mother and grandmother.

Stories of HOPE – Joshua Harrison

Joshua Harrison was born and raised in San Jose, California. He left California for college and went to The School of Business and Industry at Florida A & M University. Once finished there, Joshua began in the financial services industry. He worked with Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Jackson Hewitt. He also started a music studio in Florida with several of his friends. In 2011, he sold his interest in the music studio and went back home to California. Upon his return, Joshua began building a business in Alameda County, where he now teaches families how to become properly protected, debt free and financially independent.

Stories of HOPE – Francis Lau

Francis Lau comes from a country where the literacy rate is low and the people relatively poor. “I was lucky enough to have higher education with help from various sources to complete my Bachelor and Master degrees in America,” he states, “I definitely can see the difference being educated.” With this background, and after having spent over thirty years in the banking industry, with a current position as Vice President and Area Manager for First Bank, Francis feels a desire to invest in the community. “I learned, I gained and benefited a lot from the community and it is time to give back,” he says. Coupled with his passion, First Bank is a great match for Francis. “First Bank is very conscientious in encouraging and supporting its employees helping out in the community and with my self intents,” he explains.

Stories of HOPE – Scott Pickett

Scott Pickett has a long history in the business and finance world. He studied finance and real estate at the Wharton School of Business and played for the University of Pennsylvania football team. After graduation, he worked for Thomas Properties Group and for a publicly traded Real Estate Investment Company. After many hours of hard work and long hours, Scott currently serves as the Vice President of Transactions for Post Investment Group, which is a real estate investment company that oversees approximately 11, 000 units nationwide.

Stories of HOPE – Molly Fedorchak

Molly Fedorchak began her career in the banking industry nearly 40 years ago. She currently serves as Vice President and Senior Community Relations Manager for Union Bank in Sonoma, Northern California, a branch where she was also part of the team to open it in 2010 and served as branch manager for two years. She enjoys her time with Union Bank, especially as Union Bank is dedicated to giving back to the communities where they do business. “Each year, Union Bank donates two percent of its net profits back into the community through local nonprofits and community organizations,” Molly points out, “In my role as senior community relations manager, I work with the bank’s community partners to help build strong, healthy, and vibrant communities.”

Stories of HOPE – David Kim

David Kim started working in the financial industry in college as a part-time teller at Union Bank. He never envisioned himself having a long-time career with the bank. However, after graduating from UC Irvine, David was nominated by his supervisor to participate in the bank’s management training program. During the orientation meeting, David had the opportunity to meet and network with Union Bank senior executives and was astounded to learn that many of them had been with company for up to 40 years. It was at that moment that he decided to begin his career at Union Bank. Currently, David is Vice President and Branch Manager for Union Bank in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

Stories of HOPE – Thad Bagnato

Thad Bagnato is originally from Lewis Run, a small town made up of mainly first and second generation Italian immigrants in Pennsylvania. He grew up next door to his grandparents, who both emigrated from Southern Italy. During his years in a Catholic high school, Thad had a nun take special interest in his education. This nun pushed him into taking forensic (speech) classes, which, at the time, seemed to have little relevance to his life.

Stories of HOPE – Clio Castruccio

Clio Custruccio, originally from Chile, spent her childhood in Mexico. Clio then moved to Colorado about six years ago, where she studied at CU Boulder and graduated recently with an architecture degree. During her time in Colorado, Clio worked for several start-up companies. Based on this experience, she decided that she wanted to pursue the business route and start her own industrial design business. In addition to this pursuit, Clio is also applying to MBA programs around the country in hopes of learning more about the business world and utilizing the skills she gained as an undergraduate.

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