Hi! I’m a first-generation (Mexican-Vietnamese) college graduate and certified Financial Risk Manager, who specializes in personal financial planning, career preparation, and academic consulting. I founded Dao Academic Consulting with over four years of professional experience in the public and private sector to help diverse students and professionals prepare for financial, career, and academic success.
I’ve Been There
In my early years of high school, I was a teen runaway and at-risk youth, balancing multiple jobs, homes, and the juvenile justice system along with my classes. During my high school junior year, I received intense mentoring and tutoring that influenced my desire to go to college. I was selected for an internship at a Fortune 500 company, where I was surrounded (for the first time) by white-collar professionals with college degrees. I desperately wanted that type of financial stability and career, and I decided to apply to college as a first-gen student to achieve it.
The estimated cost of tuition and living shocked me when I finally received my college acceptance letter. It was $80k for four years! My family and I couldn’t afford that, but with the help of encouraging teachers and mentors, I strategically applied to local need-based and merit-based scholarships. I graduated from my Title I high school as a registered homeless student with 10 different scholarships, which covered full tuition and cost of living at the University of Texas at Austin.
In college, I struggled to adapt to the rigorous coursework as a first-gen and low-income student. I prioritized working three jobs to support myself and my family, and I lost some of my scholarships during freshman year due to GPA requirements. Gradually, I learned how to study, ask for help, and apply for more scholarships and resume-building opportunities. I served as a student government representative and policy research assistant, conducting research on sponsored scholarships in Havana, Cuba and Beijing, China. I worked 30+ hour weeks as a tutor for wealthy families and policy director in school finance at a government relations firm, all while maintaining full-time student status.
In summer 2019, I graduated and moved to Washington, D.C., to work in the U.S. House Financial Services Committee as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellow. I worked for an investment bank and a top 10 U.S. Bank in risk management after leaving Congress. Along the way, I founded Dao Academic Consulting to address the intersections of financial literacy, career navigation, and academia with other diverse and first-gen students and professionals.
I Can Help
I personally know how confusing, frustrating, and even frightening it is to navigate and budget for financial, career, and academic success.
As a certified Financial Risk Manager, I offer personal financial planning sessions. I also assist with resume review and career strategy sessions for every budget and career. Few consultants and financial advisors recognize the intersections of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, poverty, and generational trauma. These factors impact education, career options, and personal finance for communities of color. This conversation is increasingly important, as the average U.S., student graduates with at least $26,900 in debt. Especially for first-gen students and diverse professionals, financial literacy and management is crucial for closing the wealth gap and fostering generational community wealth.
Everyone deserves an affordable pathway to college, a successful career, and a comfortable budget and lifestyle. I specialize in listening to my clients’ goals, developing a time-measured plan to meet their goals, and gently encouraging and guiding them every step of the way. Every client deserves to know all of their options, and I assist by creating personalized financial budgets and savings plans, developing debt repayment strategies, editing resumes and job applications, and providing career support for landing prestigious internships, scholarships, and jobs.
To hear from former and current clients, please refer to my reviews!