In the second part of our conversation with this year’s winners, we talk to the impressive joint winners of the Education Champion of the Year award.

Robert Boland APFS Chartered Financial Planner – Cotswold Independent Financial Services Ltd

From the moment he first spoke with George Tsounias about the Personal Finance Society’s My Personal Finance Skills programme, Robert Boland knew he wanted to be a part of it.

Since Robert first got involved, the programme has grown significantly: ‘We started with a board game in schools. Thinking back to then and comparing it to where we are at now is remarkable.’

‘I’ve always been a big supporter of the initiative and receiving this recognition from my peers is tremendous. It means a lot to me personally, says Robert.

While coronavirus hampered many, Robert saw lockdown as an opportunity. Suddenly, rather than being limited to his immediate surroundings, he was able to take financial education into schools across the country virtually.

‘Schools themselves were looking for content to share with pupils and largely welcomed my contact. It drove me on to give something back which would resonate and be useful to these students,’ explains Robert.

The award promises to deliver wider benefits too. ‘My two company directors had faith in me and were very supportive. As a business we’ll use it in our newsletter and when clients read about it, I hope it opens further doors in schools around Coventry and Warwickshire.’

Hazel Bowen FPFS, Chartered Financial Planner – Tilney Financial Planning Ltd

Being crowned joint winner in 2021/22 is ‘recognition for the commitment and energy that I put into working on this programme for three years,’ says Hazel Bowen.

‘It is lovely to know the work is having an impact.’

Hazel firmly bought into the Personal Finance Society’s My Personal Finance Skills programme from the outset: ‘I really embraced the concept of an education champion. As well as delivering sessions, I contacted schools cold, trained and mentored new champions and created some bespoke sessions for schools.’

‘I’d talk about it at any opportunity – e.g. whenever I met someone with a link to education – because it is all about opening doors and creating opportunities.’

‘Being an education champion aligns with my own personal beliefs around work. It is about empowering, educating and inspiring people,’ continues Hazel.

Her dedication has not gone un-noticed by colleagues or clients either: ‘‘It’s good for my firm – clients care about working with a business where people use their commercial experience to benefit the wider community.’

Watch the 2021/22 Personal Finance Awards highlights reel now.

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