Meet Our Financial Literacy Team!

Say hello to our Financial Literacy Team, a group of volunteers across various First Federal Lakewood departments dedicated to educating and sharing financial knowledge with our communities. From home ownership to investing to retirement, our Financial Literacy Team loves spreading the financial love through workshops and seminars – all with a smile! 
Headshot of Chalana Williams
Chalana Williams
SVP, Chief Community Development Officer
Chalana Williams | SVP, Chief Community Development Officer
What is a community-related accomplishment you're really proud of?
While volunteering with a workforce development agency, I have been able to teach work related soft skills and financial literacy to individuals who have since become my First Federal Lakewood colleagues, and are now better equipped with money management skills.

Why did you want to be part of the Financial Literacy Team?
I have been leading financial literacy in the community for nine years, and I am convinced more than ever, of the need for financial education that equips individuals and families with skills to manage money effectively. Establishing an First Federal Lakewood Financial Literacy Team allows for increased opportunities to offer seminars and workshops in the community.

When it comes to helping our local communities, what does financial literacy mean to you?
There is a saying, “knowledge is power”, and by offering financial literacy in our local communities, satisfies a passion of mine to help empower individuals and families to make sound financial decisions that can positively impact generations to come.
 
Headshot of Aliya Peabody
Aliya Peabody
Regional Sales Manager, Retail Banking
Aliya Peabody | Regional Sales Manager, Retail Banking
What is a community-related accomplishment you're really proud of?
I love going into assisted living facilities and helping work with the elderly. I go and visit, play games with them, show them how to use iPads and provide a companion-type relationship. I went to school for nursing and my favorite first job was being a dietary aid. Being able to interact with residents who may not see their family all the time, it is very rewarding and provides a sense of compassion they may not always have.

Why did you want to be part of the Financial Literacy Team?
I love to give back to any organization that helps others. I feel blessed with the life I have and not all can be so fortunate. It provides me a feeling of really appreciating how lucky I have been in my life. I love spending my time mostly with the elderly population giving them the best day their day can be. To see them smile and be happy someone has come to see them, that feels great.

When it comes to helping our local communities, what does financial literacy mean to you?
Financial literacy means constantly learning - it’s a lifelong journey of change. I love helping teach it as I am always learning something new but it also helps others to lead to a happy and healthy lifestyle.

 
Headshot of Endia Small
Endia Small
North Royalton Branch Manager
Endia Small | North Royalton Branch Manager
What is a community-related accomplishment you're really proud of?
The North Royalton branch has fostered Junior Banking in North Royalton elementary schools for almost 10 years! I’ve led the program solely for five years. In addition, through partnerships and community building, we’ve been able to expand financial literacy to the high school as well.

Why did you want to be part of the Financial Literacy Team?
I enjoy being part of the Financial Literacy Team because it continues to add depth to financial knowledge. Financial literacy doesn’t only impact or benefit one type of person or one age group, it is essential to all and I think as a community bank we have potential to have an amazing impact.

When it comes to helping our local communities, what does financial literacy mean to you?
To me, financial literacy means my neighbors are more equipped to make decisions that have the potential to impact them and their families for a long time.
 
Headshot of Carlye Burwell
Carlye Burwell
Chagrin Falls Branch Manager
Carlye Burwell | Chagrin Falls Branch Manager
What is a community-related accomplishment you're really proud of?
Serving on the board of the United Way in Geauga County as well as being a graduate of Leadership Geauga are two accomplishments that I am very proud of.

Why did you want to be part of the Financial Literacy Team?
I wanted to be a part of the team so that I could share my knowledge and experiences to improve the lives of our neighbors. Literacy classes aren’t taught in school and many people do not have anyone in their life that can show them the importance of a budget or saving for an emergency. That is where our team comes in. To me, that is a critical role we play as a community bank.

When it comes to helping our local communities, what does financial literacy mean to you?
For me financial literacy plays a great role in reducing inequalities. Knowledge is power! The knowledge that can be gained by participants will serve to build strong money habits. It will enable them to make stronger financial decisions that lead directly to a better future for themselves and their families.
 
Headshot of Nina Salsgiver
Nina Salsgiver
Dave’s Midtown Branch Manager
Nina Salsgiver | Dave’s Midtown Branch Manager
What is a community-related accomplishment you're really proud of?
I’m proud of the Oriana House partnership. The Oriana House is a community corrections and chemical dependency treatment agency and First Federal Lakewood partnered up with them to host financial literacy classes.

Why did you want to be part of the Financial Literacy Team?
I want to be able to educate people who were given a second chance at understanding the importance of finances.

When it comes to helping our local communities, what does financial literacy mean to you?
To me, financial literacy means being able to provide financial education and guidance to clients from all backgrounds. In turn, this will help them achieve their long term financial and personal goals. 
 
Headshot of Jennifer Bechtel
Jennifer Bechtel
Financial Counselor
Jennifer Bechtel | Financial Counselor
Headshot of Bethany Germano
Bethany Germano
VP, Charitable Giving & Corporate Events Officer
Bethany Germano | VP, Charitable Giving & Corporate Events Officer
Headshot of Lisa Behm
Lisa Behm
SVP, Chief Mortgage Officer
Lisa Behm | SVP, Chief Mortgage Officer
Lisa Behm is SVP, Chief Mortgage Officer at First Federal Lakewood. In this role, Lisa oversees the mortgage lending division and supports her teams of mortgage loan originators as they help their customers understand the mortgage loan process from start to finish.  

Lisa joined First Federal Lakewood in 2017 as a mortgage loan officer and has more than 25 years of experience in the mortgage lending and financial services industry. She was previously a sales manager with Huntington National Bank and a team leader with Huntington Mortgage Group.

Lisa is an involved member of her community and has served on several boards and committees. She currently sits on the Cleveland Housing Network Loan committee. She sat on the board of Neighborhood Housing Services for 12 years and was the committee chair for seven years. Additionally, she was a member of the Learning Disabilities Association of NEO for four years.
Headshot of Michelle Cabassa
Michelle Cabassa
Regional Branch Manager, Retail Banking
Michelle Cabassa | Regional Branch Manager, Retail Banking
What is a community-related accomplishment you're really proud of?
Being a part of the Math Club at Memorial Elementary School (in Brunswick, Ohio). We also host a junior branch at the school, where the children ran a bank and the experience taught them how to save money. The students also put together a garage sale for the community, and then deposited the money they earned into their junior banking accounts.

Why did you want to be part of the Financial Literacy Team?
I love being in the community, especially working with the children, they are our future! Helping people with their finances and that is why I am in my position.

When it comes to helping our local communities, what does financial literacy mean to you?
It means that we are here with knowledge and products to help customers save for their futures.  Some may not have the understanding on why it is important to save but we can help them get there. There is nothing more rewarding than working with a customer who saves for what they want no matter how big or small and achieves their goal.
 
Headshot of Dani Gee
Dani Gee
Gordon Square Branch Manager
Dani Gee | Gordon Square Branch Manager
What is a community-related accomplishment you're really proud of?
I recently began teaching classes for El Barrio, which is a workforce development center in Cleveland.

Why did you want to be part of the Financial Literacy Team?
I love the idea of giving back to the community and working with the public in a financial setting. It exposed a need for financial literacy teaching opportunities whether it’s how to save toward retirement, how to decide how much you can afford to spend on a new home or simply ways to avoid overdrawing your checking account.

When it comes to helping our local communities, what does financial literacy mean to you?
To me, financial literacy means having a healthy relationship with your finances. It means knowing how to budget so that you’re able to enjoy your paycheck and still put something away in case of an emergency. And it means having plan in place for retirement so that you don’t add extra stress to your life.
 
Headshot of Kyle Sarver
Kyle Sarver
Parma Branch Manager
Kyle Sarver | Parma Branch Manager
What is a community-related accomplishment you're really proud of?
Being a part of mock interviews with the Garfield Heights High School senior class was a wonderful experience. Most kids don’t get to practice or know what to expect in an interview. I know I wish I had this when I was a senior. I’m also proud to give them constructive feedback and recognize what they did well to boost their confidence. After the event, each kid I interviewed sent me a thank you email stating how helpful my advice was. That was very rewarding.

Why did you want to be part of the Financial Literacy Team?
Being able to give back to my community is something that I always wanted to do. And being able to do it with my employer and educate our consumers on finances. A topic most people don’t like to discuss is very rewarding.

When it comes to helping our local communities, what does financial literacy mean to you?
Being able to give back to my local community means everything.  Teaching financial literacy means we can reach out to a whole lot of people and maybe they can learn one thing and run with it. It means educating our community to make their dreams come true.