Veronica Dangerfield's background as a standup comedian draws in audiences and keeps them glued to her compelling messages about financial education.
“People are so apprehensive about finances,” Dangerfield says. “With a name like Veronica Dangerfield, (remember Rodney?) the comedy potential is fired up. Immediately, they connect and think, ‘This is going to be fun. I’m going to learn something and I’m going to laugh.’
“Then, I get as corny as I possibly can, because people laugh for three reasons: because something’s actually funny, they think you are funny, or they laugh at me laughing at myself,” she adds. “Everybody wants in on the fun.”
A 10-year veteran of $5.7 billion asset Patelco Credit Union in Pleasanton, Calif., Dangerfield blends humor and financial evangelism to emphasize the importance of financial resilience.
“Financial compassion is what brings me to financial education, because people suffer from shame about not being able to handle their finances,” explains Dangerfield, a financial literacy specialist for the 300,000-member credit union. “The stress affects their families and their future. When you’re in financial trauma, you’re unable to make good financial decisions.”
Dangerfield, an award-winning educator, works with a variety of audiences—from working families to college students and nonprofit human services organizations supporting Bay Area housing.
She’s been a presenter for the Educational Opportunity Program for first-generation college students in all of the Bay Area universities and junior colleges. She also works with Matilda Cleveland Transitional Housing program for homeless single parents in Oakland and the Alameda Justice Center for women who are overcoming abusive situations.
Her work aims to shatter the myth that personal value is measured in dollars and cents.
“People think their income or credit score is equal to their self-worth,” she says. “Our humanity trumps our credit score by a billion. We are greater than our past and our financial missteps.”
Dangerfield’s approach succeeds because she uses energy and fun to build trust.
“I’m here to empower people,” she says. “I aim to help folks take a relaxed approach to an intense topic and help them know they have the power to live happier financial lives.