Volunteer Instructors

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Our Team

These awesome people make it all possible


Luz is an ex-corporate executive turned passionate personal finance educator and speaker. Since 2008 Luz has participated in different programs and projects to promote knowledge and understanding of personal finances. She was the Executive Director of Qualitas of Life Foundation, an organization that provided financial education to Hispanic immigrant families in New York. She also launched, provided leadership, and implemented The Financial Education Program at United Way of Westchester and Putnam, an initiative that offers financial education to employees in the workplace. Today, she is the driving force behind YOUR MONEY MATTERS-EDUCATION (YMM-E), an organization that designs and provides financial education services that help the client-organizations to meet their unique financial education goals. During the last nine years she has provided comprehensive financial literacy education to more than 3,000 individuals of all ages, and for three consecutive years she has been invited to be a presenter at “The Financial Education Day Conference” at Westchester Community College. Luz holds a B.S. in Economics and two master’s degrees both from Pace University. Currently, she is working toward her Financial Planning Certification – CFP©.

Luz Barrera
Volunteer Instructor

Althea Brown is a District Preseason Manager for H&R Block. She covers  Westchester and Rockland Counties in New York and Bergen County in New Jersey. Her role is to partner with the District General Manager in business partnerships efforts, recruit and hire tax professionals, clients service leaders and receptionists, as well as ensure the staff is in compliance with IRS federal, state, and the company requirements.


Althea has an MBA, Enrolled Agent license, and Certifying Acceptance Agent license.


Althea lives in Stamford, CT where she is a City Parks & Recreation Commissioner, Governance Council Member for Roxbury Elementary School, and State Treasurer for a State Representative.

Althea Brown
Volunteer Instructor

Elizabeth Brown is a leading practitioner in the field of financial empowerment. She started her career as an auditor for Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., now KPMG, and in 1995 she started her own tax consulting firm where she has specialized in helping high net worth clients and small-to-medium size businesses in the Tri-State marketplace improve their company finances. In 2008 she became a Certified Empowerment Life Coach. Calling upon her 22 years of experience as a CPA, successful entrepreneur and working mother she launched her personal development business where she runs financial empowerment workshops, entitled Women, Fear and Money.


Elizabeth, the only sibling in her family to attend college, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. degree from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. where she received a four year academic scholarship.


Besides broad professional and educational training, Elizabeth brings life experience to all that she does. She has been well served by the lessons learned overcoming great challenges along her journey. She considers herself to be a student of life, her education coming from each encounter.


Elizabeth is married with one adult son, three adult stepchildren and one step granddaughter. She is a native New Yorker who loves living in the Lower Hudson Valley, enjoys hiking in all seasons, spending time at the beach and visiting great music venues.


Elizabeth is very grateful and excited to be at a time in her life where she can volunteer and give back to others.

Elizabeth Brown
Volunteer Instructor

Eric Cassalina has been a volunteer instructor with My Money Workshop since 2015. With his financial background in banking, financial planning, and wealth management, Eric has been servicing the financial needs of the Hudson Valley area since 2011.

Eric was born and raised in Marlboro, New York where he lives with his wife and two dogs. Eric enjoys golfing, traveling, and community involvement.

Eric Cassalina
Volunteer Instructor

James started his career as a Financial Advisor in 1988, at First Albany Corporation before joining Merrill Lynch in 1991. In 2001, he decided to move his practice and joined Wachovia Securities as a Managing Director, Investment Officer. In April 2009, he joined Morgan Stanley and formed the Cotto & Padovani Wealth Strategies Group. From 1995-2004, James assisted the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (“OMRDD”), the nonprofit corporations servicing this state agency and families of children with disabilities. As a result of his efforts, James was formally appointed by Merrill Lynch as the National spokesperson for their “Families of Children with Disabilities” program. He has been featured on local, national and syndicated shows such as “Money Talks” and “Good Day New York.” In September 2001, Worth Magazine recognized James as one of their “Names You Can Trust” among Financial Advisors. He attended the 2007 Barron’s Winner’s Circle Best Practices Summit and was nominated as one of the top 65 Advisors in New York by Barron’s in 2009. James is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. He currently resides in Cross River, New York and loves spending as much time as possible with his wife, Cory and their three children: Carol Ann, Raymond and Lucy. James and his wife share a passion for raising awareness for Operation Smile, an international charity that corrects facial deformities in children, because their youngest child was born with a cleft palate. They currently sit on the Benefactors committee in New York City and continually strive to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to smile.

James Cotto
Volunteer Instructor

Brigitte Cunning is currently a full-time student at Berkeley College, White Plains, NY and is studying for her Bachelor’s in Business Administration, majoring in Financial Services. Her most recent position was as an Insurance Broker with Guardian Life Insurance. Brigitte takes pride in her ability to build long lasting relationships based on trust, integrity and mutual respect. With close to twenty years of experience in financial services, she listens to her client’s questions and concerns, matching their needs with financial strategies that support wealth accumulation, wealth distribution and financial independence throughout all stages of their lifetime.


Brigitte graduated from Berkeley College, NY in 1990 with an Associate Degree in Applied Science and earned a Master’s Degree in Management from Cambridge College, MA in 1997. She also holds a certificate in Distance Learning (Instructional Technology). Brigitte began her professional career in the financial services industry as an agent with New York Life, where she gained industry knowledge and experience, hoping to have a lifelong positive impact on each client that she serves by helping them improve their quality of life. She interacts easily and communicates effectively with individuals from varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Now partnered with FHFG, Brigitte can offer her clients the highest quality products and services available in the industry.


Brigitte’s strong sense of community keeps her involved as a member of the Huguenot Memorial Church in Pelham, NY where she is also a member of the Chancel Choir. She is a volunteer Instructor with My Money Workshop, a non-profit organization that provides money management workshops for community groups. In her spare time, Brigitte writes poetry that reflects deep human emotions and is an avid reader of suspense thrillers. She also enjoys swimming, and dancing. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, Brigitte now resides in Yonkers, NY.

Brigitte Cunning
Volunteer Instructor

Rick Fishkin has been a financial professional for the past 27 years. He is currently the owner of a mortgage brokerage and financial planning firm in Nyack, NY.


While advising clients over the years, Rick has been concerned with the lack of financial knowledge people have regarding their own fiscal matters. Educating people financially is very important  to him and necessary for people to succeed in today’s economy.


Rick is married, father of 2 boys, leads an active outdoor oriented lifestyle, loves music and helping others.

Rick Fishkin
Volunteer Instructor

Kevin grew up in a household where being financially responsible was taught from an early age.  His passion for investing started with stories of his great grandmother down on Wall Street watching the tickers and investing to build her family’s wealth.  After graduating Skidmore College in 1994, his career detoured into advertising and marketing for 20+ years.  He spent eight years at BBDO, one of the world’s largest ad agencies.  Kevin then transitioned to the publisher side of advertising, working at magazines like Sports Illustrated and Forbes.  Lastly making a shift to the ad tech space, where he spent eight years in digital advertising sales.  In 2017, Kevin finally went back to his passion for fiscal responsibility, becoming a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch.  He works with affluent individuals and families to help build, manage, and preserve their wealth.  Kevin is headquartered in the Florham Park office, but helps clients across the country.


Kevin lives in Scotch Plains, NJ with his wife and three kids (12, 10 and 7).  His free time is spent at various dance recitals, soccer games or other kids activity.  He can’t escape the punishment of being a long suffering NY Jets fan, but is consoled by the fact that his kids are unlikely to follow him into that tough existence.

Kevin Gannon
Volunteer Instructor

Vicki Gold has a background in Personal Financial Planning and Investing and has worked in the Financial and Banking Industries.  She has been a volunteer instructor for My Money Workshop for over four years. Vicki holds a B.A. from Binghamton University and an M.B.A. from C.U.N.Y. Baruch College.  She has two daughters in college and lives with her husband in Westchester County.

Vicki Gold
Volunteer Instructor

Gary Gordon’s career was on Wall Street, where he was primarily a stock analyst covering the housing, mortgage and consumer finance industries. He also served as a U.S. investment strategist and as a portfolio manager. The bulk of his work career was at PaineWebber and UBS (1988 to 2005). He is now retired.


Mr. Gordon does volunteer teaching at a junior high school and at Taconic Women’s Correctional Facility.  He also presents financial literacy seminars to college and high school students. He is on the Board of Hudson Link (college education for incarcerated men and women) and on operating committees at UJA and the Neuberger Museum.


Mr. Gordon is married with two young adult children. He has degrees from Colgate University (BA ’74, philosophy) and The Wharton School (MBA ’77, finance).

Gary Gordon
Volunteer Instructor

Nina Gunderson is a Financial Advisor on the Gunderson Embree team at UBS Financial Services. Nina adds a multigenerational dimension to the team, working with families and the team to create customized investment plans to help grow and protect clients’ wealth. Nina focuses on connecting with the next generation, further reassuring clients that the team is a resource for the entire family. She is a graduate of Wake Forest University, with a major in political science, and minor in entrepreneurship. Nina is dedicated to giving back to her schools and sits on the Wake Forest New York Alumni Board and the Chapin School Alumnae Development committee. She also enjoys sports, travel and photography.

Nina Gunderson
Volunteer Instructor

Born in Palmira, Colombia, Yolanda Infante came to the United States in 1991.  After arriving in Miami, FL, Yolanda moved to New York in 1993 where she started working as a receptionist and administrative assistant for Robin Bikkal, Esq. and by 1995 Yolanda had been promoted to Immigration Coordinator/Paralegal. She also volunteers at the Westchester Hispanic Coalition.


Yolanda has her Associate’s Degree in Marketing from Westchester Community College, is a certified IRS Tax Preparer and she is a certified Immigration Paralegal who now owns her own small business in White Plains, NY. Infante Immigration Connection, Inc. assists individuals, families and businesses in the preparation and submission of forms, documentation, and evidence in support of applications to diverse governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations.


Yolanda is proud to be a help and resource to the local Hispanic community of White Plains and the surrounding area.

Yolanda Infante
Volunteer Instructor

Paul Katzenstein has an extensive background in the Information Technology market, having held sales, marketing and management positions with computer and software firms and start-ups. He currently is a business development executive with IBM’s Software Group, consulting in the use of software to enhance IT service delivery.  Paul has long been interested in personal finance and money management, and has thoroughly enjoyed teaching My Money Workshops for over four years.  He is also involved with the Emelin Theater, a local performing arts center, and volunteers with At Home on the Sound to provide technology help to local elderly residents. Paul graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and received an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.  He has two grown children and lives with his wife, Ann, in Westchester Co.

Paul Katzenstein
Volunteer Instructor

With a background in banking, brokerage, capital markets, and institutional investing, Paul Landolfe has been serving the wealth management needs of high net worth individuals, as a Director and Financial Advisor, for more than 30 years.


Paul holds an MBA in Finance from Iona College, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. Paul earned the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation from the Investment Management Consultants Association, and the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) designation from the College of Financial Planning.


Paul has been married for 32 years and resides in Chatham, New Jersey. He has three children and two dogs, and enjoys playing tennis, skiing, and experiencing good food and wine. Paul has volunteered in the local community for many years and, in 2014, he started working with “My Money Workshop,” educating high school and college students about the fundamentals of money management.

Paul Landolfe
Volunteer Instructor

Ron Mandle was a highly ranked sell-side bank stock analyst for 30-plus years, including 14 years at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. He was ranked among the top analysts in his industry for 21 consecutive years by Institutional Investor Magazine and was ranked second in his final year on the sell side.


He also spent 10 years as an analyst/portfolio manager at GIC, one of Singapore’s sovereign wealth funds, and was intimately involved in GIC’s large (and profitable) investment in Citigroup. Mr Mandle served as president and as a multi-term director of his professional group, the Financial Services Analysts Association.


Since retiring in 2012, he has been teaching MBA-level courses at Baruch College; he also serves on a volunteer committee involving professional integrity for the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute.


Mr Mandle holds a BS in Mathematics and an MS in Management from MIT.

Ron Mandle
Volunteer Instructor
Mani Nwaedozie

Mani Nwaedozie works in education. He is currently a STEM Implementation & Project Manager at the Research Foundation at CUNY, and is the founder of HyperionMD—an enterprise blockchain company focused on linking disparate health data across healthcare providers. At RF CUNY, he focuses on integrating STEM and project-based learning programs in the South Bronx.

Mani, a Bronx native, believes that the lack of STEM access is a critical issue in education today; particularly for both urban and rural communities. He envisions a world where access to high-level math and science becomes a matter-of-course in every community in the country.

Mani graduated from Geneseo in 2013 with a degree in History. He also holds a degree from Baruch College in Finance & Economics. He enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and local beer.

Mani Nwaedozie
Volunteer Instructor

Madeleine  Polemeni comes to My Money Workshop with thirty years of volunteer experience as a trained facilitator for both small and large groups.  Cooking healthy meals with concern for both cost and ingredients is a passion of hers.   Madeleine is thrilled to be guiding new pilot programs on eating well on a budget for the benefit of everyone from their teens to their twilight years.


She resides in Golden’s Bridge, NY.

Madeleine Polemeni
Volunteer Instructor

Ken Rabasco aka Bosco is a member of the National Association of Realtors, the New York State Association of Realtors, Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, and the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service. As a lifelong Westchester resident, Bosco has a vast and extensive knowledge of the intricate details that comprise the communities of Southern Westchester, be it a recommendation for the best place to have dinner in one of the many River Town restaurants, or a market forecast for what the future will hold for the next place you’ll call home.

Bosco is a member of the Rotary Club of Hartsdale – Greenburgh and went to Pace University where he received his Bachelor of Business Administration.

Kenneth Rabasco, AKA Bosco
Volunteer Instructor

Helene’s career in financial industries spans over thirty-five years.  Currently, she is the Chief Operations and Administrative Officer for Eleven Canterbury, a unique boutique firm which is a cross between a consulting firm and an expert network offering the best of both worlds.  Previously, Helene was a director and global business manager within Money Markets, Currencies and Commodities at UBS AG, where projects included coordinating the division’s AML/KYC project, new processes and structures for client reporting, and cost reductions.  Earlier roles included Assistant Vice President within ABN Amro’s MIS Reporting group and Assistant Treasurer at JPMorgan Chase.


Helene holds a DM and MSM in Homeland Security from Colorado Technical University, a BA in Political Science from Niagara University, and has completed MBA course work in Finance / MIS from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business.  In addition, Helene is licensed in life, health and accident insurance in 14 states and certified for NYS Partnership for Long Term Care.

Dr. Helene A. Reda
Volunteer Instructor

Heather Reihs is a commercial real estate professional currently working as a Project Coordinator at Cushman & Wakefield (formerly Cassidy Turley and DTZ). In her position Heather teams with senior brokers to execute transactions, predominantly in office space leasing. As a licensed real estate agent, Heather has also advised clients on leasing residential units in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Prior to commencing her career in real estate, Heather worked at Bank of America as both a financial analyst and client sales officer in the wealth management division.


In 2015 Heather founded the People Who Eat & Talk networking group. The group was created with the goal to bring professionals of all backgrounds together in order to make connections through their existing people base, all in a casual dinner setting.


Heather began enjoying finance and business at an early age. In high school, she was a leader in BPA (Business Professionals of America), DECA (International Association for Marketing Students) and was a graduate of the Academy of Finance, where students take classes in personal finance, accounting and investing as a part of their daily curriculum and complete a mandatory summer internship. She has a knack for numbers and is always on the hunt for a good bargain.


Heather graduated from the University of Florida in 2007 with a BS in Finance and currently resides in Manhattan. She joins My Money Workshop to share her experiences in the “real world” and hopes to convey to participants that keeping yourself organized and “paying yourself first” are the two simplest ways to be successful in personal finance.

Heather Reihs
Volunteer Instructor

Mrs. Reilly is a Somers, NY resident with over 30 years of experience in small business banking, business development, coaching and the creation and delivery of successful sales programs.


In her role as VP/Branch Manager of the Scarsdale office of Patriot Bank N.A., Mrs. Reilly manages the branch’s sales activities and delivering superior customer service, manage daily banking operations, and develops relationships with businesses, individuals, nonprofits and municipalities in Scarsdale and surrounding communities.


The banking veteran has coached hundreds of bankers in New York and Connecticut throughout her career, resulting in increased business relationships, product sales and loan growth. Mrs. Reilly previously served as VP/Small Business Coach at Citibank in Somers, NY, where she worked with a team of bankers to engage and help small business owners succeed. Under her leadership, the bank’s marketplace increased bookings by 83% over three quarters.


Prior to that, she served as VP/Small Business Sales Development at Webster Bank in Waterbury, CT.


Mrs. Reilly earned her master’s degree in business administration from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and her bachelor’s degree in mathematics & computer science from Mercy College, located in nearby Dobbs Ferry.


An active volunteer in her community, Mrs. Reilly is a member of the steering committee for T.E.A.M Tuskers, a one-to-one mentoring program for students in the Somers school system. She also served on the board of her local Y, The Community YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester, from 2005 – 2012;  And as a Somers Girl Scouts Troop Leader and Service Unit Manager from 2000-2014.


Mrs. Reilly lives in Somers, NY with her husband, John Reilly. They have two grown children.

Kathleen Reilly
Volunteer Instructor

Greg Russo is an experienced hedge fund portfolio manager whose career has included several large multi strategy funds investing in relative value opportunities and equity long short.  He spent twelve years focused on index arbitrage trading strategies.


Earlier roles included accounting, operations, risk management, and trade execution across a variety of asset classes.


Greg holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University at Albany and an M.B.A. in Finance with distinction from the Leonard Stern School of Business at NYU.

Greg Russo
Volunteer Instructor

Michael Yu is a project manager for a real estate financial company and a founder of a real estate development company focused on developing sustainable assets for both the investor and consumer. He works on the buy and sell side with developers, other brokers, local politicians and financial institutions within the Westchester, Bronx, Queens and Nassau counties. Michael envisions the Northeast as the metropolis of self-reliance and sustainability. He works very closely with the local Bronx community and hopes to join the Board in order to help the under-served with his plan on transforming how real estate is approached.


Michael graduated from Fordham University in 2016. He is a local beekeeper, enjoys hiking, playing tennis and plans to hike the Appalachian Trail soon.

Michael Yu
Volunteer Instructor