Jackson Comeau grew up in a household where money was simply not a topic of conversation. “There was stress around money, but we never actually talked about it,” he said. He didn’t hold a credit card or understand the basics of personal finance until after he graduated from college and described his philosophy until recently as “just spend as little as possible.”
Now, Jackson is a self-described personal finance geek – and a senior consultant in our enterprise transformation and digital solutions team. With a passion for teaching and facilitating, he volunteers with SecureFutures, a Milwaukee-based not-for-profit organization that provides financial literacy and mentoring to high school students in underserved communities and is one of our 2021 Baker Tilly Wishes winners.
Silver lining opportunities
Jackson connected with SecureFutures a couple of years ago, went through volunteer training and then watched volunteer opportunities pass through his inbox. At the time, he was busy with a new job at Baker Tilly, and the after-work volunteer hours always filled up too fast.
Every other week, he leads a class with juniors and seniors from high schools in Milwaukee. In between meetings, he provides one-on-one mentorship to a handful of students. “The strong facilitation skills I’ve developed at Baker Tilly make me a good fit for this role, and I love working with the kids,” he said.
Many teens in the SecureFutures program live in communities that are largely “unbanked.” The program not only provides education for them around topics like budgeting, opening and using a bank account, establishing credit and getting loans, but also offers a financial incentive in the form of scholarship money for each session and assignment completed.
“For a lot of these kids, this is the first time they’ve had a bank account or even walked into a bank,” said Jackson. “It’s a different perspective – and the kids are also juggling a lot.”
Milwaukee team support
After getting involved in SecureFutures, Jackson discovered that others in our Milwaukee office also support the organization. In fact, SecureFutures was one of the charities named by Milwaukee’s SOAR committee for suggested donations on Giving Tuesday. SOAR (Supporting Opportunity, Advancement and Recognition for all) is the cornerstone of Baker Tilly’s diversity initiative. SOAR fosters education, awareness and opportunities for diverse populations in accounting, management and related disciplines, and is just one of several Baker Tilly programs designed to support diversity in the professional workplace.
Passion for youth development
Jackson has been passionate about youth development since he was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he led social-issues programming for the campus Union and eventually served as its president. He stays involved with the Wisconsin union today by serving on their board of trustees and connecting students with opportunities for professional development.
“As a firm, Baker Tilly is really intentional about supporting young adult development with our great internship and externship programs,” said Jackson. “That feels like such a good fit for me personally, and I’m grateful that the Baker Tilly Foundation backs this up with our commitment to educational programs.”
The CEO of SecureFutures reached out to Jackson personally to thank Baker Tilly for the $10,000 grant. “They had finished a hard-won fundraising campaign, and this was a phenomenal extra boost for them,” said Jackson.