Veronica Dangerfield has dedicated her life to bringing financial literacy to underserved communities through her work at Patelco Credit Union in northern California. Her workshops educate foster, low-income and other high-risk youth as well as young mothers on the basics of personal finance.  Visa recognized her work as an Innovative Educator in 2011 and described her approach in this way:

Using her background as a comedian to connect with the clients of Brighter Beginnings, Dangerfield jumps right in to help those who are attending the program’s financial literacy workshops get comfortable talking about a difficult topic. “Because of lack of banking knowledge and bad experiences, people feel shame when talking about their personal finances,” says Dangerfield, who also works at Patelco Credit Union as Marketing Manager and a financial literacy educator and mentor. “Money problems breed hopelessness. In my workshops, the main goal is to make people feel validated, regardless of their financial pasts. The key is to make it relevant, memorable and fun.”

Her passion and enthusiasm to serve others comes across frequently during our wide-ranging conversation which includes her take on how to make personal finance engaging for young people, the importance of bringing happiness (spoiler alert: think birthday cakes) to a emotion-laden topic like money and how she stays current in the field. Enjoy!

  • 0:00~1:26 – Introduction
  • 1:26~2:33Veronica’s day job
  • 2:33~4:20 – How Veronica brings happiness to personal finance
  • 4:20~6:39 – How Veronica teaches different age groups
  • 6:39~9:18 – How Veronica uses storytelling to bring personal finance to life
  • 9:18~11:36 – What concepts do young people find easy to understand/difficult to understand
  • 11:36~14:47 – Engaging high risk youth with personal finance
  • 14:47~15:50 – What young people are most curious about
  • 15:50~18:17 – Keys to keeping students engaged
  • 18:17~22:48 – Changing the money mindset of young people
  • 22:48~27:38 – Difference between a credit union and a bank
  • 27:38~29:28 – What personal finance books Veronica reads
  • 29:28~32:46 – How Veronica incorporates what she reads into her curriculum
  • 32:46~34:10 – Veronica‘s book recommendations
  • 34:10~38:50 – Veronica‘s final thoughts
  • 38:50~39:24 – Conclusion


Veronica in Action in Berkeley, CA

Students at Berkeley

“I get them engaged, to the level that is so high, that I have to fight to control the classroom”