Arts Administrator Discovers Passion for Personal Financial Planning at UCSC Extension


- Elisa Ordona

Term : September, 2013
Department : Business and Management
Program : Financial Planning

During her years as an arts administrator for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Elisa Ordona learned a thing or two about finance and development. Though she believed in the arts, Ordona discovered that her passion for finance was on the personal level; instead of supporting nonprofit organizations, she wanted to help others plan for the future on an individual basis. After attending a program overview for UCSC Extension’s Personal Financial Planning program in 2010, she decided it was time for a career change.

“When I went to the overview, I learned that personal financial planning was not just about stock picking and investment analysis,” Ordona says. “It is about helping people. I remember thinking, this sounds like a good fit for me.”

Ordona appreciated the depth and breadth of her courses, starting with the Financial Planning Survey course, which provided a thorough introduction to the field. She was impressed by her instructors, who she noted were “really informed and very helpful.” What made the Extension program unique, Ordona says, was the way it paired a thorough academic foundation with Financial Planning student forums, ongoing networking events aimed to introduce students to professionals in the field.

“The student forums were just essential,” she says. “It gave you a good impression of the industry, including the different business models and how people make a living. Getting to know real people and networking with those who work in the field—that really makes a difference.”

Extension’s PFP program works with the Silicon Valley Financial Planning Association to expose students to volunteer and career opportunities in the region. Ordona completed one of FPA’s pro bono programs, the Sage Financial Coaching Training program, which trains participants in the art of financial coaching. 

“The program has connected me to further training and other avenues of serving the community,” she says. “UCSC Extension has been a good nexus—not just in the classroom, not just industry professionals, but in connecting you to the people you’re going to serve and helping you reach out.”

Ordona completed the PFP Certificate this summer and plans to study for the CFP™ exam next year. She is also studying for a securities license so she will be qualified to work for a small private firm.

Visit our Personal Financial Planning program page to learn more about Extension’s unique offerings. Browse upcoming Personal Financial Planning courses
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