Mandee Pope (R) and a guest at the 2018 Financial Empowerment Seminar
April 17, 2019
Written by Meghan Marsden Parsche, United Way volunteer blogger
As a financial planner, Mandee Pope partners with high net worth clients to help them reach their financial goals. As a United Way volunteer, she has been able to apply her skills and passion for financial empowerment of women, fulfilling a huge need in the community.
When Mandee Pope began volunteering with the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, her eyes were opened in many ways. From learning about the demographics of Southeastern Wisconsin’s lake country (much more economically diverse than she realized), to sitting down with hard-working community members and gaining insight into their financial lives, she found many of her assumptions being challenged.
Mandee is a successful financial planner, helping clients create and implement financial strategies. Through this work, Mandee began to notice that many of her female clients were not properly equipped to manage their wealth.
“I found a common theme,” Mandee says. “My female clients tend to lack confidence when faced with the intimidating jargon our male-dominated industry tends to use.”
Mandee is passionate about educating women about money management and helping them gain the confidence they need to be successful. Her passion was a perfect fit for volunteer opportunities through United Way that meet a huge need in the community: removing barriers to financial stability for women.
Mandee lends her background and leadership skills to two annual United Way events, the Waukesha Women’s Job Seminar, which helps women learn interviewing skills, improve their resume, and connect with mentors, and the Financial Empowerment Seminar, which helps community members learn how to budget and connect with financial coaches. She says that her experiences have allowed her to see her community from a different perspective.
The Financial Empowerment Seminar was especially impactful for Mandee. She assisted a woman who she describes as being “one accident or medical emergency away from a financial crisis.” Like so many other people, this woman was living as well as she could. She had a good job for her education level and was a proud homeowner.
The woman had come to the seminar to discuss her options for retirement, but since she didn’t have any retirement savings, she was likely going to depend primarily on her social security benefits in retirement and would have to work well past the average retirement age.
“I think that for many of us who have been fortunate enough to grow up with a strong support system, it’s easy to assume that people who are under financial stress made bad decisions,” says Mandee. “When I reviewed this woman’s finances, there really wasn’t a lot of wiggle room in her budget for additional savings. She was working hard and doing a great job managing her money.”
Since Mandee credits her supportive family, friends and mentors for her personal success, she volunteers to help others who may not have a strong support system or who have not had as many choices as she did growing up.
“What I like about volunteering for the United Way is that there is a volunteer opportunity for everyone,” she says. “Whether you want to help with a one-time event, or if you have time for a weekly commitment, they have an option for you.”
United Way’s Financial Empowerment Seminar happens each fall. For more information on how you can volunteer or attend, follow United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Looking to volunteer now? Visit our volunteer portal to browse hundreds of available opportunities.
Meghan Marsden Parsche is a proud United Way supporter, stay at home mom to her four young children, and volunteer writer for United Way. Meghan enjoys telling the stories of the programs and people making a positive impact on our community.