Our Squad - Centsai Adulting

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Arindam Nag

Co-Founder & Chief Executive

We’re so quick to run up the ladder of life. Instead of focusing on the long-term, we lust after fast gains: fine dining, a new car, the next vacation… we want it all. But before you ascend the ladder, shouldn’t you make sure it has a solid footing?

For much of my life I followed the wealthy, and how they made money. My home base has changed from Kolkata to Mumbai to New Delhi to London to New York City. I was a journalist at Reuters, and a columnist at Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal. I would often spend my days meeting with people who quickly scurried up their ladders. These were obviously smart people. But their ladders were planted in quicksand.

In the 2008 financial crisis, many of my contacts lost a lot. Some everything.

Like a crime scene investigator, I was paid to probe what went wrong. I saw the quicksand. People built their lives on this semi-solid surface: baristas, construction workers, teachers, doctors, artists, lawyers… most people.

I discovered the problem, but how was I to alert the masses?

I had an idea. However, the Bat-Signal was in Gotham City and I live in New York City. The next best thing to a Bat-Signal? The Internet.

Our mission is to provide a safe space for the creation and dissemination of financial knowledge. Have a look around our financial platform. It’ll help get you the solid footing you need. Figuratively speaking, CentSai’s mission is to turn quicksand into concrete. Care to climb with us?

Doria Lavagnino

Co-Founder & President

Knowledge is everywhere, not just in schools. My father was an Italian immigrant who came to the United States in the late 1950s with $10.00 in his pocket. He self-taught his way into making money with the stock market. He passed that knowledge to me.

But I’m not a ‘finance’ person per se. In college, I majored in French literature. Instead of getting a job… teaching French literature I suppose, I moved to New York City. I earned a master’s degree in journalism. After college I worked at women’s magazines. You know, the glossy ones with the impossibly beautiful humans on the cover… of course you do.

I began to realize many of these girls and women weren’t financially empowered – both in the US and abroad. As a mother of girls, this was disconcerting to me. My girls feel empowered when they play softball, tennis, trumpet, piano, saxophone, or sing. The same positive feelings can come from practicing good financial habits.

Though financial knowledge is all around us, it has no home. There’s no place where young people can come hang out, make friends and learn about how to succeed with money (and life).

I co-created CentSai largely due to the inspiration my father gave me. Instead of getting my father as a teacher, you get a powerful website filled with bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and financial experts who will teach you what you want to know. We stay on the cutting edge of subjects and technology. The technology being integrated into CentSai partially stems from my passion (obsession, really) for artificial intelligence, but not in an Ex Machina sort of way.

Empowerment has no age minimum or maximum. I ran the NYC marathon at age 43 to prove age is just a number. CentSai will have a place for anyone, whether they be 9 or 99.

Want to know the best part about this wall-free teaching method? You only have to learn about things that interest you. You may think that mortgages don’t interest you but everyone needs to learn about them. Browse through the blogs. The information our ‘CentSai’s’ provide is accompanied by stories and games. You’ll soon find learning about money is as fun as reading about your favorite celebrity. Finance made easy.

Mark Rosen

Chief Technology Officer

I love creating things. Whether it be cooking a wonderful meal, building custom shelves for my daughters or a wet bar in my basement, or even creating a rock-solid software solution, the excitement is the same. I enjoy the challenge of taking an idea, finding all of the right ingredients (spices, wood, or components) and putting them together to create something with a life of its own.

I love writing code and I love everything to do with software. I have been part of the tech world for over 30 years and I can assure you that although the industry has evolved in so many ways, once you peel off all of the fancy layers that the consumer sees, you will find that the art of creating quality software is no different now then it was decades ago. We just have amazing new hardware devices and fancy words for the “new” methodologies that we use today.

When Arindam called me to see if I could help him and Doria with CentSai, I got very excited. It felt great that the impression that I made on Arindam a few years back (We both worked at Dow Jones) was so strong that he asked me to join his team. CentSai presents a different challenge then I am used to as I have been in-house or consulting to large corporations (most recently at Deloitte) for most of my career.

The opportunity to help build a start-up to its next level is the real deal. The challenges, the evolution of the site, the myriad of ideas, and the boundaries that can be pushed all coming together bringing order to the chaos. I bring to the table a long successful history of leading global teams of software developers towards delivering world-class applications. CentSai has come a long way since its inception but there is still much to do. As CTO, my goal is to continue to develop the technology team’s capabilities and capacity and lead them towards being as efficient and effective as possible.

Suzanne Harkness

Design Director

I have spent the last 15 years as a creative graphic designer for various digital, print and marketing endeavors in the greater Seattle area. I design independently as a freelancer, which is both exhilarating and terrifying, financially speaking. I’m passionate about design that is multi-functional; it should simultaneously work hard and look amazing.

The beach is my “happy place” and I love living just minutes away from the Puget Sound. I’m an avid sea glass collector and beach combing for hidden treasures is a fun (and free!) hobby.

I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart and the love of my life for almost 21 years. We have 2 teenagers at home, our daughter is 17, and our son is 15.

Sandeep Kumar

Co-Founder & Director of Product Development

When I got a call from Arindam, one of CentSai’s co founders, asking me to lead their product development, I was nervous, a bit scared and also excited. I have handled many overseas projects but this was a big one.

I came on board right from the start. The time difference between Mohali and Brooklyn meant my life needed some adjustments. My wife Ekta, who handles SEO for many U.S. clients and runs her own business, helped me get organize. My 3-year old daughter learned to adopt Doria and Arindam as part her own family, she saw me so frequently with them on video screens.

I love building products (I have a Masters’ Degree in Computer Science) but I fell in love with online education when I helped build WizIQ, a an online platform and virtual classroom tool for students and educators.

At CentSai I am responsible for market research, overall product strategy and corresponding roadmap, business and product planning, user experience, business intelligence and analytic, user base growth planning. I lead CentSai’s product management team and and working with the core design/ engineering teams to ensure the success of the product. If you have any questions or just want to say hi, its [email protected]

Sarah Bettencourt

Senior Social Media Marketing Manager

I’m a Seattle born, nerdy, coffee guzzling, transplant drawn to Arizona by the sun and great outdoors activities year round. I’m passionate about education and ensuring that future generations and small businesses hone in on the needs of millennials.
I studied graphic design at the University of Washington, and received my bachelors degree from Arizona State University. In my downtime I frequent Disneyland, my hometown in the PNW, and California. I also spend a lot of time with my son Fox, creating art, and I love a good adventure. I believe that life is more fun when you embrace it. So, that’s what I’m here to do.

Avtar Kamboj

Web Developer

I am a software engineer with a master’s degree in computer technology.

I have experience working with PHP and WordPress-based websites. I am always looking for ways to integrate my skills with my interests.

I had no idea how challenging my work at CentSai would be when Sandeep, one of CentSai’s co-founders, spoke to me about a position while I was at my brother’s wedding. My life changed permanently from the first day—working in a fast-paced environment where I am learning new things constantly. I enjoy being a part of the financial education industry and a dynamic team.

Before CentSai, I worked for Live Satyamtech as a team leader. There were 10 members in my team, and we were directly responsible for developing new websites and maintaining them.

Harinder Singh

Sr. UI Developer

You can call me whatever you want, give me a variety of titles, entice me with anything, but I will always be a web designer. When I am not working I am surfing around to see the best fonts and colors in vogue. What are millennials looking at? What’s a good design? What’s a great design? These questions point at me all the time. I am always trying to seek answers. I started my professional career as a web designer 7 years ago with a company near Chandigarh, India. I was able to dabble around with a variety of technologies.

After spending almost 4 years in that company I decided to start freelancing on full-time basis as western corporations increasingly started to outsource critical creative work to India. I learned how to better manage projects and get even more creative.

For me CentSai has been a great experience in terms of trying out new things. It’s more than a website, more multi-dimensional platform that will have its own community. Fun stuff.

Currently I am working on providing a fine user experience (UX), interchangeably using a variety of tools such as User Interface Design & Development (UI), Responsive Designs, HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, Twitter Bootstrap, Wireframing, Branding and CMS Theme Integration.

Allison Martin

Director, Financial Curriculum

I’m a personal finance junkie, digital content strategist and speaker. The irony of it all is that I never cared about money and how it worked until I hit rock bottom in my early 20s. But out of that dire situation, my passion for financial wellness was born.

So, after spending years as a governmental accountant, I decided to pursue a career in financial writing and share my perspective on finances with the world. Within a few years, my work had been published on The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Credit.com, MSN Money, Money Talks News and a host of other reputable sites. This paved the way for speaking and consulting opportunities in the field.

While I still enjoy writing, I spend a bulk of my time developing financial literacy programs and working as a digital content strategist. I also travel around the nation facilitating financial literacy workshops to high school students and adults from all walks of life.

I graduated from the University of South Florida with Undergraduate and Graduate degrees in Accounting. (Too bad they don’t really teach you about all the money “stuff” in college. I had to learn the hard way). When I’m not immersed in work, I enjoy mentoring mommy-preneurs, traveling and spending time with my family.

Keenan Spiegel

Director, Data Visualization

It’s hard for me describe myself with full clarity because I am still in beta, meaning: still learning. Over the years I have seen many people make wrong choices about money or are confused. For me to be associated with CentSai was a no-brainer. I have a day job at a bank but I spend much of my free time looking at education platforms, designs, and mulling over creative ways to help teach. By nature I am a builder. I love to create websites, build cars, even help craft furniture. Despite a career in banking, my friends call me creative, whenever I can I try to infuse a bit of art in everything I do. I began my career in financial services, working for Greenwich Associates where I met one of CentSai’s cofounder Arindam.

I am working on the visualization of data and various widgets that find their place on CentSai’s platform. If you have any suggestions on how to further improve some of our functionalities or introduce new ones, drop me an email at [email protected]

Eva Baker

Contributor

I started blogging when I was 16 and today I spend most of my time either running my own site www.teensgotcents.com or planning for the teenage section for CentSai.com. As I started writing for teens I learned that many of them do not get the right information in the right form when it comes to educating themselves about student loans and credit card debt. I am a massive advocate of social media and when I am not tweeting or on Facebook, you could see me on Periscope. I love playing around with various web designs, reading financial blogs and looking at various teenage entrepreneur ventures. I am also in part-time college. Whenever I have free time you can find me curled up on the couch watching Netflix with my two kittens, Leo and Finn or out having fun with friends.

Michelle Jackson

Writer

I’ve made every money mistake that you can think of, and as a result of that I began writing about personal finance.My goal is to help people avoid the money mistakes that I’ve made and feel empowered and in control of their money. I share my money and life related thoughts via my blog www.shopmyclosetproject.com. When not writing about money I’m exploring my town, hiking, meeting friends for coffee, and dreaming up my next big adventure.

Michelle Argento

Writer/Blogger

I am a 20-something new mom, dog lover, and freelance writer/solopreneur living in Chicago. When I returned from my honeymoon, I was devastated to learn that my husband lost his job. We were also in debt. But we have been fighting back to get in the black while learning how to make great financial decisions for the future. You can find my personal story at fitnpoor.com and my site for parents wanting to raise money-smart children at everylittlecent.com.

Jordon Cox

Writer/Vlogger/Britain’s coupon kid

I’m a normal English ‘dude’ who loves to save money – especially with coupons! I’ve had an interest in personal finance since I was 15, and it helped me get my family out of rough times by money-saving and clever financing. This has led to doing a few crazy things… including getting $1,000 worth of groceries for just 10 cents and even flying over 1,000 miles roundtrip to a different country to save just $14 on train fares. My hobbies include eating, travel and seeing the look on a cashier’s face when you hand over 500 coupons… it’s a picture!