Dara Duguay, Executive Director

Dara Duguay, the former Director of Citi’s Office of Financial Education, has been involved with the issue of financial capability and empowerment for over 25 years. Prior to joining the Credit Builders Alliance, she ran her own consulting practice and advised clients such as TD Bank, the World Bank Group, Experian, Visa, and SunTrust Bank on their financial education efforts. Ms. Duguay also served as the first Executive Director of the non-profit Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. She started work in the field as the Director of Education for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Los Angeles.

Ms. Duguay is considered a national expert on personal finance. Her media experience includes interviews in major U.S. print publications and she has regularly appeared as a guest on many national television and radio networks. She is the author of three critically acclaimed personal finance books: The Citi Commonsense Money Guide for Real People; Please Send Money: A Financial Survival Guide for Young Adults on Their Own; and Don’t Spend Your Raise: And 59 Other Money Rules You Can’t Afford to Break.

An accomplished public speaker, Ms. Duguay has spoken at hundreds of major conferences, including: the G8 summit in Moscow on financial literacy; the European Commission’s summit on financial capacity; the OECD annual meeting; the National Association of State Treasurers; the Society of American Business Editors and Writers; and the American Bankers Association.

Among her many accomplishments, Ms. Duguay has received the Medal of Merit from the U.S. Treasury’s Savings Bond Volunteer Committee, was appointed to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Economics Steering Committee.

Ms. Duguay received her B.A. in Communications from the University of Michigan and received her M.A. in International Relations from Schiller University in Paris, France. She currently resides in Washington, DC.

Sarah Chenven, Deputy Director

Sarah joined CBA in October 2011. As Deputy Director she focuses on organizational and programmatic development — helping CBA meet its mission by strengthening internal systems and identifying innovations in the field in order to best support CBA’s hundreds of members in order to help their clients gain access to responsible credit- and asset-building financial products and services. Prior to joining CBA Sarah was the Founding Executive Director of Innovative Changes, one of the few CDFI nonprofit loan funds in the country dedicated specifically to consumer lending, financial education, and credit building as a responsible alternative to payday lenders. Prior to Innovative Changes, Sarah was with Mercy Corps where she advised low-income entrepreneurs in the Portland Metropolitan area on the development of their small businesses; she also directed the organization’s Hurricane Katrina recovery program in New Orleans. Sarah has over a decade of experience in nonprofit and public sector organizations whose missions are to help disadvantaged groups create systemic change. She has managed numerous programs with sizeable budgets and staff and has worked in diverse and challenging contexts, including post-war Bosnia. Sarah has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, a J.D. from the University of Texas, and is a member of the Oregon State Bar.

Elisabeth Johnson, Director of Membership

As the Director of Membership, Elisabeth manages membership team projects and supports CBA’s Access and Reporter services with specialized technical assistance; she also assists in research pertaining to program expansion and development. Prior to joining CBA, she was a Program Coordinator at American University’s International Communication Program in the School of International Service. As Program Coordinator, she assisted in the retention and recruitment of both faculty and students, conducted communications and outreach efforts, and was active in curriculum and event planning. During her graduate studies toward an MA in International Affairs with a focus in International Politics and Human Rights from American University, she worked as a research assistant on international issues pertaining to social entrepreneurship, internet governance, and dissemination of innovation. Additionally, Elisabeth conducted field research in Turkey for her master’s thesis, studied modern French history and European institutions in Strasbourg, France, and speaks French fluently. Elisabeth holds an undergraduate degree from Syracuse University in International Relations and Psychology, with minors in Middle Eastern Studies and French.

Carmina Lass, Director of Training and Consulting

As the Director of Training and Consulting, Carmina leads the development, marketing, coordination and delivery of CBA’s education, training and consulting services. She also provides support to CBA’s Reporter and Access team creating innovative and entrepreneurial services to meet CBA’s client and partner needs and carrying out CBA’s mission. Carmina has over seven years of experience as a non-profit practitioner through which she focused on economic empowerment, financial capability, and lending among low-income and underserved communities. Most recently, Carmina was the Director of Homeowner Services at Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity in Colorado Springs, CO. Carmina has a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University where she concentrated on intercultural conflict resolution, dialogue and reconciliation among divided communities, and microfinance strategies for poverty alleviation.

Sean Hogan, Finance Manager

As Operations and Program Associate, Sean assists in the day to day operations and finances of the CBA office and provides support to the Reporter and Access team. Prior to CBA, Sean spent 9 years in the customer service field and his summer and winter breaks working at his family’s accounting firm during college. He is a recent (Spring 2012) graduate of the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business, where he majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Management and his curriculum included accounting, finance, negotiations, marketing, and management. Sean has a strong passion for small business management, which he derived from his parents, both of whom are small business owners. He hopes to combine this passion with his well-rounded business background to continue to improve CBA’s day to day procedures and services. This is Sean’s first venture into the non-profit field, and he is looking forward to making an impact on CBA and the credit building community.

Mary Jo Halder, Membership Associate

As Membership Associate, Mary Jo supports CBA members with bureau services and Access and Reporter programs. She also oversees data collection to track CBA member outcomes and program impacts. Prior to joining CBA, Mary Jo taught American and International politics at the University of Northern Iowa. She then moved to Washington DC in 2014 to serve as a Kiva Zip fellow, assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs in crowdfunding 0% interest business loans. Both experiences allowed her to pursue her interest in the intersection of financial inclusion, social innovation, and technology. She is excited to continue working in this field while assisting CBA members. Mary Jo holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Northern Iowa and an MSc in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Kseniya Zubkova, Operations and Program Associate

As Operations and Program Associate, Kseniya assists in the day-to-day operations and finances of the CBA office and provides support to the Reporter and Access team. Kseniya has ample managerial experience as a former administrative assistant where she lead special projects and worked between upper management and the staff. She is a recent graduate from George Mason University where she majored in Global Affairs. She has always been passionate about helping and bettering the world around her, which makes for a natural fit at a nonprofit such as CBA. Kseniya is excited to learn more about the nonprofit sector and specifically how CBA can help those in the greater Washington, D.C., and throughout the rest of the US develop positive credit building skills and how that will help better their lives and the lives of their families.

Morgan Spears, Membership Associate

As Membership Associate, Morgan provides support and technical assistance to CBA members. Morgan supports the day-to-day interactions with CBA members who utilize CBA’s Access and Reporter services. Morgan has a deep commitment to economic justice. Her passion for systemic change are evident in her public service experience and commitment to financial inclusion. Prior to joining CBA, Morgan served as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow through the Congressional Hunger Center. In that capacity Morgan actively led the effort on community engagement for Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. Morgan’s community organizing and coalition building skills allowed for her to increase the Detroit People’s Food Co-op’s member/owners by 40%. More recently, Morgan supported the economic security team at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights where she researched and authored written work on economic security issues such as payday lending. Morgan is excited to build bridges of financial inclusion with CBA. Morgan holds a BA in Sociology, with minors in Economics and Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies from DePaul University.

Maria Sennett, Outreach and Training Manager

As Training and Outreach Manager, Maria supports CBA’s strategic outreach efforts to members and key stakeholders as well as supports the coordination, development and delivery of CBA’s training and consulting services. Prior to joining CBA, Maria worked most recently as Justine PETERSEN’s (JP) Credit Building Manager, leading JP’s national credit building partnerships and training efforts, including work with LISC’s network of Financial Opportunity Centers. Maria’s five years of practitioner experience, working with low-to-moderate income individuals to build credit, grow small businesses, and purchase homes sparked Maria’s passion for starting a career in the asset-building field. Maria holds a BS in Social Work with additional majors in Spanish and International Studies from Saint Louis University.