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FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT Center Staff

Coaches

Our certified Financial Coaches work with clients toward their future financial goals, helping with safe & affordable financial account access, establishing/building credit, reducing debt, and growing savings.

Margeaux Fischer
Margeaux Fischer, the FEC’s Senior Financial Coach, has worked at International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Sacramento since 2018 and has ten years of experience working in the nonprofit and social services sector. Prior to her role at IRC, she worked as an Economic Empowerment Coordinator VISTA at the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence. She has also worked on humanitarian financing at the Start Network and peacebuilding and gender-based violence research at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. She has volunteered as a Crisis Line Advocate, VITA Tax Preparer, and ESL tutor. She holds a BA in Psychology from Northeastern University and a MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Gavina Avila
Prior to joining the FEC team, Gavina Avila was a freelance instructor, teaching finance classes to artists and entrepreneurs in and around the Sacramento area. Gavina has worked in the financial industry since 2007, when she first started working with Bank of America. She received her B.A. in Economics from CSU Sacramento, with a minor in Business and a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in 2009. In 2013, after returning from teaching English in Sierra Leone, West Africa with the Peace Corps, she promptly assisted her family with starting and maintaining their restaurant business while attending a graduate program at CSU Sacramento. Gavina has a passion for encouraging others, leading with foresight, and developing strong community relationships, both professionally and personally. She was the first in her family to graduate from college, as a first-generation student of immigrant parents, and did so debt and loan free. When Gavina is not traveling and photographing internationally, she likes to take her dog Decker on long walks. She is fluent in Spanish. 
Elliott Geneste de Besme Elliott Geneste de Besme has a passion for diversity and inclusion combined with an extensive background in coaching and training. This experience has molded Elliott into a natural leader who thrives on helping others empower themselves. Elliott has worked with many vulnerable populations throughout the years in various social work positions, and always strives to operate from a place of cultural humility and compassion. Having recently obtained an MSc in Human Resource Management, Elliott is very eager to put his background and education to use in helping to provide FEC clients with tools to improve their lives. A driven professional by day, Elliott enjoys replenishing himself by spending time in nature, with friends, and through various creative pursuits.
Marcia McClain Marcia McClain is a new FEC Financial Coach, working exclusively with individuals who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Marcia brings over 15 years of experience working in various non-profit social work sectors. She has worked as K-12 educator in California public schools for many years, and enjoys providing education opportunities for adults as well. Marcia earned her AA degree in Paralegal studies from MTI College in Sacramento, and her BA degree in Government from California State University Sacramento. In her spare time, Marcia enjoys learning about diverse cultures through visual and performing arts.  

 

Navigators 

Our Financial Navigators help clients who have immediate financial needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making referrals and providing resource access support as needed.

Yasmeen Qursha
Yasmeen Qursha - As a first-generation Syrian-American, Yasmeen is proud to work for the FEC through IRC, due to the partnership’s unwavering commitment to helping communities in need. Her previous IRC internship, her community work experience, and her undergraduate education at UC Davis has equipped Yasmeen with the skills to succeed in helping underserved and disenfranchised communities, which is one of her greatest passions. Yasmeen is trilingual, with fluency in Arabic and Spanish.
Byron Arellano
Byron Arellano joined the FEC team to become a full-time employee right after completing an IRC internship in support of the FEC. Prior to joining IRC, Byron attended CSU Sacramento, where he earned a BS degree in business finance. He is a first-generation college student and was able to graduate debt free.  Byron also spent some time working in the family Mariachi band business, where he played the guitar and the trumpet. He is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. Byron has a passion to help those around him by using his knowledge in finance, Spanish, and the power of music. When Byron is not working, he enjoys reading books, watching futbol, and learning new things like speaking Italian.

 

Community Outreach

Our Community Outreach Assistants help us get the word out about the services that our Coaches and Navigators offer. Community leaders and organizations seeking an informational call or presentation about the FEC should contact one of these team members to make arrangements.

Brian Vargas
Brian Vargas is from Mexicali, Baja California. He has focused his career on helping underserved and underrepresented communities around Sacramento. Prior to joining the FEC team, Brian served three years as a local AmeriCorps member, assisting over 400 students struggling with literacy each year. Before that, he used his experiences as an undocumented college student to inform high school and other college students about resources and steps to achieve a higher education. Brian is bilingual with fluency in Spanish. He can be reached at brian.vargas@rescue.org.
Aiesha Noori
Aiesha Noori was an English teacher in Kabul, Afghanistan. Due to the instability caused in the country by the ongoing wars between Taliban and the Afghan military, Aiesha and her family moved to the U.S. in 2012, and since then she has earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Sacramento State University while working as a clerk and manager at a local retail store. Her life goals center around helping others in need. In line with this passion, Aiesha has served as an interpreter at International Rescue Committee since 2018, assisting recent refugee arrivals to find local resources. Researching different cultures is one of her hobbies, and she speaks Dari/Farsi, Urdu/Hindi, and English. Outside of work, Aiesha likes spending time with her family, going to the movies, shopping, and sightseeing. She is a big fan of Bollywood movies. Aiesha can be reached at Aiesha.noori@rescue.org.