University of Maryland Extension

2018 Speakers

2018 Speakers

Marguerita Cheng is the Chief Executive Officer at Blue Ocean Global Wealth. Prior to co-founding Blue Ocean Global Wealth, she was a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial and an Analyst and Editor at Towa Securities in Tokyo, Japan. Marguerita is a past spokesperson for the AARP Financial Freedom Campaign and a regular columnist for Investopedia & Kiplinger. She is a CFP® professional, a Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM, a Retirement Income Certified Professional® and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. As a Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) Ambassador, Marguerita helps educate the public, policy makers, and media about the benefits of competent, ethical financial planning. She serves as a Women’s Initiative (WIN) Advocate and subject matter expert for CFP Board, contributing to the development of examination questions for the CFP® Certification Examination. Marguerita also volunteers for CFP Board Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (DEC) hearings.  She served on the Financial Planning Association (FPA) National Board of Directors from 2013 –2015 and is a past president of the Financial Planning Association of the National Capital Area (FPA NCA). 

Rita is a recipient of the Ameriprise Financial Presidential Award for Quality of Advice and the prestigious Japanese Monbukagakusho Scholarship. In 2017, she was named the #3 Most Influential Financial Advisor in the Investopedia Top 100, a Woman to Watch by InvestmentNews and a Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise (MBE®) by the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC).


Rod Griffin is Director of Public Education for Experian. He leads Experian’s national consumer education programs and supports the company’s community involvement and corporate responsibility efforts. He is recognized as an expert on credit reporting and credit scoring issues and is frequently quoted in national print, broadcast, television and online media outlets.

Rod oversees the company’s financial literacy grant program, which awards on average more than $500,000 annually to non-profit programs that help people achieve financial success. Rod also works with consumer advocates, financial educators and others to help consumers increase their ability to understand and manage personal finances and protect themselves from fraud and identity theft. 

For more than two decades he and his team have published Ask Experian, the credit reporting industry’s first online consumer credit advice column. You can join Rod in live conversations about personal finance on Twitter and Periscope every week, just look for #CreditChat.


David Halperin engages in public advocacy and advises organizations on strategy, policy, politics, communications, and legal matters. He is of counsel to Public.Resource.Org. He was previously: founding director of Campus Progress and senior vice president at the Center for American Progress; senior policy advisor for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign; founding executive director of the American Constitution Society; White House speechwriter and special assistant for national security affairs to President Clinton; co-founder of the Internet company Progressive Networks (now called RealNetworks); and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation, Politico, Slate, Foreign Policy, and other outlets.


Sarah Newcomb, Ph. D. is a behavioral economist at Morningstar where she works to integrate findings from behavioral science into tools for individuals and financial advisors. Ms. Newcomb's research is devoted to finding simple, changeable factors in human psychology that affect financial decisions, and using these insights to develop innovative content and products that improve every day money management. Her work involving the human side of money has earned mentions in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Bloomberg, and Time. She is a regular contributor to, and the author of LOADED: Money, psychology, and how to get ahead without leaving your values behind.


Timothy Ogden is Managing Director of the Financial Access Initiative, a research center housed at NYU-Wagner focused on how financial services can better meet the needs and improve the lives of low-income households. He is also managing director of the US Financial Diaries project, a joint initiative between NYU and CFSI which tracked the financial lives of 235 US household for a full year; and a senior fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Financial Security Program. Tim writes and speaks frequently on topics of financial inclusion and financial services innovation both in the US and globally. He has developed and edited more than 20 books, and is currently working on Financial Inclusion: What Everyone Needs to Know


Lillian Singh is Director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at Prosperity Now, leading her team as they partner with executive leadership at nonprofit organizations in over a dozen metropolitan cities. Her work focuses on finding solutions to the problem of growing economic inequality including income gaps, gentrification, unemployment, underemployment and affordable housing. In addition, Mrs. Singh provides financial planning, coaching and wealth management guidance to individual families as a licensed securities and investment representative and uses these lessons and practices to inform the project development and implementation work at Prosperity Now. Mrs. Singh began her career as a researcher for Child Trends, a leading nonprofit research firm in the District of Columbia focused on improving the well-being of children, youth and families. She then transitioned to a career in social economic justice at the NAACP, where she served as the Senior Research Associate for Programs and then was promoted to Director of Strategic Partnerships of the Economic Department. During her six and a half years working at the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, Mrs. Singh directed alliances with external allies across the corporate, private, government and nonprofit sectors, where she oversaw economic education initiatives focused on grassroots organizing and grasstops engagement, connecting NAACP state and local affiliates with corporate, private and national nonprofit partners. Mrs. Singh holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Planning and a Master of Arts degree in Sociology, both from Stanford University.


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