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Thought Leader Thursday

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Showcasing treasury and public-finance thought leaders

One of the goals of NAST’s Strategic Plan is to develop our members to be the “recognized thought leaders relating to state treasuries and public finance issues.” In early 2019, we launched a new edition of our Daily Newsletter highlighting the roles and responsibilities of our members. Because, once you’ve seen one Treasurer’s office, you’ve seen one Treasurer’s office! 

Submission guidelines

If you are a member of NAST, we invite you to make a reservation to write a column for the Thursday’s Thought Leadership Newsletter.  The articles are generally 4-6 paragraphs, written in first person, consider this a “Dear Colleague” letter.  We encourage  hyperlinks for additional information. See below for the library of past editions. 

To submit an article, please contact Kari Arfstrom at kari@statetreasurers.org.

modern office, laptop, window overlooking city

Thought Leader Articles 

John Murante
Going Virtual: An Online Financial Literacy Wellness Series for Public Employees
By: John Murante
July 29, 2021
As Treasurer, one of my focuses has been on expanding access to financial literacy. I’m proud to have been able to work with state senators this past legislative session to pass legislation establishing fiscal literacy courses in Nebraska schools,..
Kelly Mitchell, Treasurer, State of Indiana
Serving our State with Excellence
By: Kelly Mitchell
July 22, 2021
Leading in a time of such upheaval taught me that the human element in our work matters the most - that leading means more than finding efficient solutions and delivering good government...
Sarah Godlewski
Homeownership: The key to financial well-being and economic security for our state
By: Sarah Godlewski
July 15, 2021
For the average homeowner, a primary home accounts for a significant portion of the total wealth of a family in the United States, and is often the largest asset on a household balance sheet. Yet, many are unable to achieve homeownership...
There’s No Time like the Present: Supporting Maine Families on a Path to Financial Wellness
There’s No Time like the Present: Supporting Maine Families on a Path to Financial Wellness
By: Mary Dyer
July 8, 2021
The goal of the program is to support elementary-age children in developing financial skills early in life, and also includes tools and resources for the adults in their lives...
Emma Heydlauf
We Are More Than Ready to See You!
By: Emma Heydlauff
July 1, 2021
We have great news today! After a year+ of virtual events we are thrilled to announce that registration is now open for our first face-to-face member event this fall. Join us September 19th -22nd in Chicago for NAST’s Annual Conference...
Shaun Snyder
Where Does NAST Go From Here?
By: Shaun Snyder
June 24, 2021
Having to take an organization that was very reliant on in-person events and make it entirely virtual when there is no playbook on how to do that was a challenge.
Questions Answered: Public Finance Workforce Study
Questions Answered: Public Finance Workforce Study
By: Catherine Seat
June 17, 2021
As the "new" Communications Director at NAST (I’ve been told I can use that term for a year!), I wasn't familiar with the impetus for the soon-to-be released Public Finance Workforce Study that the NAST Foundation will be releasing in a few weeks, so I sat down (virtually) with my colleague Kari Arfstrom, NAST’s Deputy Executive Director for Learning, to learn more.
Colleen Davis
"Treasury Talks"
By: Colleen Davis
June 10, 2021
We hear comments that allude to communication every day: "Listen to me," "Talk it over," and "Hear me out." Clearly, communication is the key to success....
Scott Fitzpatrick
MO ABLE & Payroll Deductions
By: Scott Fitzpatrick
June 3, 2021
My staff recently received a note from Marleen, a City of Kansas City employee, who said, "Thank you so much for making the MO ABLE Program available to employees of the City of Kansas City, Missouri...
25+ Years of Innovation, Struggle, and Success
25+ Years of Innovation, Struggle, and Success
By: Michael Frerichs
May 27, 2021
Saturday, May 29th will be a special "529 Day," one where we’ll celebrate the first 25 years of the college savings industry and the many steps the federal government, states, and program managers took to create new savings models, reduce fees, and expand the flexibility of 529 College Savings accounts...
John Schroder
Helping Small Businesses in Louisiana
By: John M. Schroder
May 20, 2021
Small businesses in Louisiana certainly are struggling. However, the situation is not as dire as it is in other states. Part of the reason for that may be the Main Street Recovery Program...
Taking Networking to the Next Level
Taking Networking to the Next Level
By: Catherine Seat
May 13, 2021
I’m particularly thrilled to be part of the TMTS team and see how the conference is run behind the scenes.
Enriching, Learning, and Collaborating
Enriching, Learning, and Collaborating
By: Melissa Waller
May 6, 2021
Throughout 2020 and 2021, we have all experienced a life-changing period in history, and it has reinforced priorities for each of us both personally and professionally. One of these reinforced priorities has been education. As a mother of five—and after homeschooling for more than a year—I have seen tremendous resilience from students, parents, teachers, and government officials...
Setting Up Children for Financial Success
Setting Up Children for Financial Success
By: David McRae
April 29, 2021
Throughout Financial Literacy Month (or Financial Education Month, as we call it in Mississippi), I produced a weekly column for local newspapers and corresponding social media posts that shared tips about the ways families could improve their financial literacy and savings skills. But perhaps the most important element of that outreach was a piece about how to talk with kids about money....
Financial Education Successes in Arkansas
Financial Education Successes in Arkansas
By: Dennis Milligan,
April 22, 2021
As we wrap up the last couple of weeks of Financial Literacy Month, I thought I’d mention some of the great things that have been happening in Arkansas. Over the past five to six years, many state leaders have taken a renewed interest in the financial education of Arkansans, and for good reason...
Tools for Financial Recovery
Tools for Financial Recovery
By: Seth Magaziner
April 15, 2021
Every American deserves the opportunity to reach financial security and achieve the American Dream. Unfortunately, far too many are struggling to make ends meet, and the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 have only deepened the disparities in our nation...
Alison Ball
The Empowerment of Financial Literacy
By: Allison Ball
April 8, 2021
I have long been committed to expanding financial literacy in Kentucky, and this April I look forward to new opportunities that will spark meaningful conversations with our families and youth with my first Treasurer’s Financial Bee Challenge...
Rachael Eubanks
Celebrating Financial Literacy Month
By: Rachael Eubanks
April 1, 2021
April is Financial Literacy Month and is a great opportunity to showcase the important work your state is doing around financial literacy and empowerment. We all have stories to share – I’ve seen what many of you are doing ...
Under Pressure: Serving Through a Pandemic
Under Pressure: Serving Through a Pandemic
By: Thomas P. DiNapoli,
March 25, 2021
Like many of you, we have had to improvise swiftly in New York State just to conduct our ordinary business. And we found – as we problem-solved and worked outside of our usual boxes – that the more we adapted, the more we saw opportunities. ..
Zach Conine
State Debt Management in 2021
By: Zach Conine
March 18, 2021
Despite the challenges posed by 2020, SMDN came together in a unique, but effective way and made tremendous strides on all of these fronts. If anything, the necessity to go virtual opened up opportunities and allowed us to spread our reach...
Sarah Godlewski
The Time Is Now To Tackle Retirement Security
By: Sarah Godlewski
March 11, 2021
As Chair of the Retirement Security Task Force here in Wisconsin, I worked with a diverse coalition of legislators, business owners, retirement experts, and workers to develop bipartisan, cost-effective, and innovative solutions to help tackle financial insecurity during retirement....
Robert Sprague
Unlocking the Power of the Private Sector Through ResultsOHIO
By: Robert Sprague
March 4, 2021
In Ohio and across the country, persistent problems like addiction, infant mortality, and poverty plague our communities and hold our families back. As an engineer, I was taught to evaluate the challenge before you and then find a solution...
Brian Egan
Eight Things You May Have Missed at the Legislative Conference
By: Brian Egan
February 25, 2021
It’s been a jam-packed week and we still have a full day of programming ahead of us! We wanted to recap some of the key takeaways from this week’s sessions so far...
Scott Fitzpatrick
NAST Advocacy in 2021
By: Scott Fitzpatrick
February 18, 2021
I urge you to make appointments to meet virtually with your members of Congress after these briefings to continue our mantra that when State Treasurers speak, federal decisionmakers listen...
Promoting Personal Finance Education Through Collaboration
Promoting Personal Finance Education Through Collaboration
By: Curtis Loftis
February 11, 2021
Personal finance education has never been more relevant than it is today in the COVID-19 era. The virus has disrupted the finances of many hard-working citizens and left them wondering how to navigate their economic obligations....
NAST Financial Education Directors Caucus
NAST Financial Education Directors Caucus
By: Alayna Van Tassel
February 4, 2021
I am honored to serve as Chair of the NAST Financial Education Directors Caucus. The focus of the Caucus is to provide an opportunity for staff to learn about promising practices and talk about common issues. Although our programs may vary state by state, we have the same goals and more often than not, we face the same challenges...
National Unclaimed Property Day Is February 1st
National Unclaimed Property Day Is February 1st
By: Dave Young
January 28, 2021
It is our duty as unclaimed property administrators to reunite the money and property we hold in custody with its rightful owner, especially amid the extraordinary economic challenges facing the citizens of our country...
Shaun Snyder
New Year, New Administration, New Congress: 10 Things to Know and Consider
By: Shaun Snyder
January 21, 2021
Here are 10 Things to Know and Consider for State Treasurers in the 117th Congress....
Shaun Wooden
A Time For Vigorous And Positive Action
By: Shawn Wooden
January 14, 2021
As we approach our national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, I reflected on what he might have said about America today and a particularly prescient quote of Dr. King came to mind. In his quote, Dr. King explained that, "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny." ...
Inaugural Message from NAST’s 2021 President Kelly Mitchell
Inaugural Message from NAST's 2021 President Kelly Mitchell
By: Kelly Mitchell
January 7, 2021
I am excited to assume my new role as president of NAST - the association I consider my professional home and family. I am honored by your faith and trust in me to lead this organization as we shift from stay-at-home orders to the promise of vaccinations so we can all be together again as soon as possible...
Shaun Snyder
Happy Holidays
By: Shaun Snyder
December 17, 2020
As we close out 2020 here at NAST world headquarters, meaning my dining room table, I reflect on changes we made to our Daily Newsletter. Last January we updated the format of our Daily Brief, based on your feedback...
Torsella
Recovering Creatively and Innovatively
By: Joe Torsella
December 10, 2020
The novel coronavirus changed the way we do business in many ways – from the overnight switch to remote work, to quickly executing pandemic relief programs for jobless constituents such as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and finally, our new focus as a society on doing the right thing...
Tobias Read
An Unprecedented Year of Unprecedented Advocacy
By: Tobias Read
December 3, 2020
I know it’s far from original. In fact, the cliché may have become a punchline. But I’m going to say it anyway: 2020 was a truly unprecedented year. In almost every way. From the public health crisis caused by the ongoing pandemic, to the ensuing economic fallout that pushed many of our states into making extreme budget decisions, 2020 has been a lot to deal with...
John Schroder
The People Of Louisiana Protect Unclaimed Property
By: John Schroder
November 25, 2020
This past August in this weekly column, I shared with you that the people of Louisiana would vote in November on whether to protect Unclaimed Property in a constitutional trust fund. I promised to update you on the outcome...
Bracken NAUPA
Do You Have Unclaimed Property?
By: Mark Bracken
November 19, 2020
As we begin to wrap up a financially and emotionally tough year for many and approach the holiday season, I want to use this space to remind everyone to check if you or your family has unclaimed property....
Kelly Mitchell, Treasurer, State of Indiana
Helping Local Units of Government
By: Kelly Mitchell
November 12, 2020
I am hoping to use this Thought Leader Thursday to start the conversation about how State Treasurers can help local governments by sharing some examples of how my team, which includes the Indiana Bond Bank (IBB), has risen to the challenge of helping our locals continue to survive and thrive...
Jeremy Dawson
Take Advantage of NAST Membership Benefits
By: Jeremy Dawson
November 5, 2020
Whether you consider yourself a member of NAST, NAUPA, CSPN, SDMN, or a Corporate Affiliate - if you are in a dues paying office you are connected to one of the largest networks of public finance professionals around the country...
Colleen Davis
The Need for Aid to State and Local Governments Has Not Gone Away
By: Colleen C. Davis
October 29, 2020
As the Delaware State Treasurer, I understand well the impact of denying states and local governments and their citizens an additional stimulus package. Unfortunately, with less than a week until the election, no such support has come...
Taking on the National Retirement Security Challenge
By: Courtney Eccles, David Lynch, Katie Selenski, Keith Welks, Leah Marvin-Riley, Michael Clasen, Michael Parker
October 22, 2020
It’s no secret that retirement readiness is a significant challenge for far too many..
NAST Communications Efforts
By: Marathon Strategies
October 15, 2020
Your dedication to #GettingTheJobDone speaks volumes about your commitment to your constituents and to NAST as an organization...
October Is Cybersecurity Month
By: Joseph Daniels and PN Narayanan
October 8, 2020
As we take time to reflect on the lessons we have learned during this pandemic, we must remain focused and resolved to continue working together, across state lines, to gain insight from our growing partnerships...
Shaun Snyder
Our Work Continues
By: Shaun Snyder
October 1, 2020
While a great deal of what you hear from us is directly or indirectly related to the pandemic, we also continue to focus on our core NAST issues...
David Damschen
Thinking Outside of the Box to Promote Social & Economic Equity
By: David Damschen
September 24, 2020
Can we think constructively about these trials as a “refiner’s purifying fire,” and recognize an opportunity to emerge from this adversity as a country strengthened? I believe that we can...
Shaun Snyder
NAST's 2020 Award Winners & 2021 Leadership Team
By: Shaun Snyder
September 17, 2020
Two days ago, we hosted our Annual Business & Membership meeting. While the setting was quite different – virtual, in lieu of our previously planned Annual Conference in San Diego – it was wonderful to gather together as always...
Working Together
Working Together
By: Deborah B. Goldberg
September 10, 2020
I applaud everyone for the focus and passion I have witnessed during these challenging times, and know that as we forge ahead we will persevere together...
Duane Washington
Forward Together In Leadership
By: Duane A. Davidson
September 3, 2020
Good leadership often involves standing elbow to elbow and leaping forward together...
John Schroder
Protecting Unclaimed Property for the People of Louisiana
By: John M. Schroder
August 27, 2020
Earlier this summer, the Louisiana Legislature passed legislation allowing the people of Louisiana to decide whether Unclaimed Property should be protected in a constitutional trust fund.
Reflections on Returning to School Amid a Pandemic
Reflections on Returning to School Amid a Pandemic
By: Michael Frerichs
August 20, 2020
Now, with COVID-19 continuing to spread, it appears uncertainty will be the defining characteristic of yet another school year...
Rachael Eubanks
Public Finance: 10 Things I've Learned
By: Rachael Eubanks
August 13, 2020
Crises are of course stressful by nature, and they also serve as an opportunity to reimagine how things work and bring a creative mindset to benefit the millions we serve at the time they need us most...
Robert Sprague
Building A More Transparent Future, Together
By: Robert Sprague
August 6, 2020
When government works together, it serves its people better...
Torsella
U.S. Savings Bond Litigation
By: Joe Torsella
July 30, 2020
Nationally, the U.S. Treasury is currently in possession of over 62 million matured and unredeemed savings bonds, yet makes no effort to reunite over $20 billion in proceeds of these bonds with their rightful owner or heirs...
Fiona Ma
Celebrate the ADA’s 30th Anniversary by Passing the ABLE Age Adjustment Act
By: Fiona Ma
July 23, 2020
As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the passage of the ADA, we can honor its legacy and build upon its mission by passing the ABLE Age Adjustment Act...
Duane Davidson
Making the Connection
By: Duane A. Davidson
July 16, 2020
I feel that as a statewide-elected official it is my responsibility to promote resources that benefit citizens in every county, city, and town across the state...
Expanding Long-Term Savings Opportunities
Expanding Long-Term Savings Opportunities
By: Hon. Dave Young
July 9, 2020
Promoting, encouraging, and establishing structures that allow for retirement savings is one of our most important roles as State Treasurers...
Financial Wellness Programs for the State and Local Workforce
Financial Wellness Programs for the State and Local Workforce
By: Darlene Goins
July 2, 2020
The crisis has brought opportunities for state and local governments, philanthropists, financial services and other industries to collaborate and reimagine solutions that can help improve financial stability of families and get them on the right track to living a financially healthy life...
Shaun Snyder
Thank You For Your Support & Involvement
By: Shaun Snyder
June 25, 2020
As I get closer to the end of my third year as Executive Director of NAST, it’s a good time to reflect on where we are...
Working & Learning Together
By: Karen Austin & Grant Wallace
June 18, 2020
One of the core missions of NAST is to provide opportunities for Treasurers to share best practices as they serve their constituents and meet the duties to which they were elected or appointed...
Jason Suggs
Web and Technology Strategies in the New COVID-19 Environment: Challenges, Benefits, and Opportunities
By: Jason Suggs
June 11, 2020
Well designed and executed initiatives can result in a refreshing contrast and help elevate State Treasury programs to new levels—reflecting the tremendous and beneficial work that continues to be done on a daily basis—especially when facing unprecedented challenges...
Zach Conine
Beyond 529s: Setting our Students up for Success
By: Zach Conine
June 4, 2020
A defining moment of a student’s educational path is the point at which the child’s family begins saving for college...
National Action is Needed to Boost American Savings
National Action is Needed to Boost American Savings
By: Michael Frerichs
May 28, 2020
Millions of American families lack the cash savings to weather a rainy day, let alone put money aside for college and retirement...
NAST Staff
A Message From NAST Staff
By: Shaun, Chris, Kari, Emma, Jeremy & Brian
May 21, 2020
Have you registered for the TMTS Virtual Conference yet...
Kari Arfstrom
New Financial Wellness Grants Program
By: Kari Arfstrom
May 14, 2020
As thought leaders on Financial Education issues we want to give you the opportunity to start your planning now...
Mike Nevins
Advocating & Collaborating
By: Michael J. Nevins
May 7, 2020
2020 has brought challenges none of us could have ever expected. My admiration for those who serve the public has only grown during this crisis...
Kelly Mitchell, Treasurer, State of Indiana
Training At Your Fingertips
By: Kelly Mitchell
April 30, 2020
As I am sure many of you have heard by now, the Treasury Management Training Symposium (TMTS) hosted by NAST will be a virtual conference this year...
Duane Davidson
Meeting Local Financing Needs, Thanks to Our People
By: Duane Davidson
April 23, 2020
By embracing the unexpected new challenge of continuing to provide top-notch services to state agencies, local governments, and the people they directly serve, our teams must seek new avenues of doing business to help us reach our goals...
Dave Young
Leadership During An Unprecedented Time
By: Dave Young
April 16, 2020
Knowing that our hardworking staff is adapting daily to new challenges and is keeping the state’s money safe and accessible enables me to focus on the big picture...
Robert Sprague
Lifting Up Our Front-Line Fighters
By: Robert Sprague
April 9, 2020
If the COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us anything, it’s to look for the good in the world...
State Treasurers Continue #GettingTheJobDone
State Treasurers Continue #GettingTheJobDone
By: Deborah B. Goldberg
April 2, 2020
It seems like new questions arise faster than real answers can emerge. Still, despite all of the new obstacles, Treasurers and treasury staff are #GettingTheJobDone for their states and our country...
Manju Virginia Treasurer
Never Be Bored: Consider Another Board!
By: Manju S. Ganeriwala
March 26, 2020
While our many commitments may be weighing heavily on us at this time of upheaval around the country, I am energized by the life-long learning and camaraderie of board service...
Bracken NAUPA
Things Work Better When We Work Together
By: Mark William Bracken, J.D.
March 19, 2020
Whether you manage unclaimed property, debt management, investment portfolios, or college savings plans let us all remember the mission that unites us and that things work better when we work together...
Shaun Wooden
More Than Just Dollars and Cents – The Strength of the Treasurer’s Office as a Policy Maker
By: Shawn Wooden
March 12, 2020
Our offices have tremendous potential to move policy and improve the quality of life in our states in ways that go beyond just dollars and cents...
Michael Fitzgerald
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
By: Michael Fitzgerald
March 5, 2020
All of us in public service and our staff have the opportunity to make an impact, regardless of the duration of your tenure...
Help Us Grow the State Debt Management Network
By: Dave Erdman
February 27, 2020
SDMN’s mission is to lead, educate, and advocate efficient and responsible state debt management essential to meeting states’ financing needs...
Torsella
Addressing Challenges With Bold Ideas
By: Joseph Torsella
February 20, 2020
As State Treasurers, we all know that student debt is at a crisis point in the United States, at $1.6 trillion, collectively...
Brian Egan
7 Takeaways from NAST's Largest Legislative Conference
By: Brian Egan
February 13, 2020
Earlier this week, nearly 300 attendees— including 32 State Treasurers – convened in Washington for our largest Legislative Conference to date. For those of you who could not attend, here’s a recap of what you missed...
Tobias Read
Advocating With One Voice
By: Hon. Tobias Read
February 6, 2020
It’s not in spite of our unique differences, but because of them that our shared voice resonates so loudly on the Hill. When Treasurers speak, federal decision-makers listen...
Josh Header
How to Mitigate Cyber Security Threats in a Fast-Paced World? Slow Down!
By: Hon. Josh Haeder
January 30, 2020
While there are many important issues discussed through NAST, it’s a privilege to discuss the importance of mitigating cyber threats we may face as treasuries on a day-to-day basis. As all treasuries are a little different...
Hon. Beth Pearce
Spreading the Word About ABLE
By: Hon. Beth Pearce
January 23, 2020
Since the passage of the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act in 2014, NAST has been at the forefront of both advocacy and education for ABLE accounts. Nationally, over 51,000 individuals with disabilities and their families are utilizing an ABLE account to ensure a better financial future...
Kelly Mitchell, Treasurer, State of Indiana
Leadership and Learning
By: Hon. Kelly Mitchell
January 16, 2020
To me, this quote sums up the value of our programming within the NAST family. I have found time spent at conferences to be invaluable to my work as the Indiana Treasurer of State. Learning is fundamental to leading, both in our offices and in our states...
Thank You For Your Support
Thank You For Your Support
By: Hon. Deb Goldberg
January 9, 2020
As we enter this new decade there are many uncertainties and challenges, yet many opportunities too. Treasurers are the fiscal stewards of our states and as such are strong advocates for sound financial policies and principles...
Shaun Snyder
Introducing Our New Morning Brief Lineup
By: Shaun Snyder
January 2, 2020
Welcome to 2020 and the first edition of NAST’s newly formatted newsletter. Previously, you received a Daily Brief, along with a variety of other emails informing you about upcoming NAST events.

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