Shay Olivarria is a motivational speaker, financial literacy coach, former foster care youth and author of 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money and Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook. As an ambassador for financial freedom, Shay travels all over the country to educate people on responsible financial decisions.
You’ve seen her in Redbook and Essence and read her financial education articles in Parents of Color Magazine, The South LA Report, HBCU Digest, and Prominence Magazine, among others. She’s appeared on domestic and international radio shows to share tips on making small financial changes that make a big difference. She’s worked with high schools, colleges, and community organizations such as Independent Lens, San Diego State University, University of Southern California, Upward Bound, and Promise House.
Shay’s passion for motivational coaching was ignited seven years ago when she began outreach efforts for the San Diego Community College District. She advised students on the college process and has continued to reach out to youth on a number of levels. Shay is dedicated to community activism and specializes in mentoring gang-involved and at-risk youth, and has been able to channel her life experience into her professional and entrepreneurial efforts. Shay explains, “Aging out of foster care made it clear to me that I need to take responsibility for my financial future. I started reading books, attending seminars, and piecing as much information as I could together. After working with students in truancy and mentoring programs while in undergrad, it became apparent that these kids needed the same help I needed.”
After studying non-profit organizations, public companies, and micro-credit loan systems in graduate school, Shay began public speaking at a peace building organization and became interested in sharing her experiences. “During the seminars, I found myself including tips on money management. Students wanted to contact me personally to get information about scholarships and from there, I created a structured program. I wrote a curriculum and a training manual, and began shopping it around.”
What came from that program is now known as Bigger Than Your Block, a financial literacy organization that incorporates popular culture, games, and group discussion into the educational experience. Topics include Money Management, Understanding Credit and Credit Cards, Understanding Auto Financing, Understanding Retirement Accounts, and Goal Setting and Motivation, Travel and Cultural Competency, etc. Through these workshops, she has fostered relationships with several participants. To date, Shay has spread financial wealth tips to hundreds of students across the country.
Shay earned her Bachelor of Arts degree (Anthropology major, Business Management minor) from California State University – Dominguez Hills. She is working towards her Masters of Science (Anthropology major, Business Management minor) from the University of North Texas.
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