Kaycee LeCong: Helping Cougs Navigate a Secure Financial Future
By Becky Kramer
Kaycee LeCong wants to help young adults avoid early, costly mistakes that can sabotage their finances for years to come.
“Whether it’s credit card debt, not knowing how to save or budget, or uncertainty about contributing to your 401(k), there are so many ways to get into trouble,” says LeCong, a lead advisor and partner at Brighton Jones, a Seattle-based wealth management firm.
LeCong (’07 Fin.) is working to promote financial literacy through her role as a Carson College of Business alumna. As a member of the Finance Advisory Board for the college’s National Board of Advisors, she worked on the curriculum for two new classes.
The courses are designed to help students learn about personal finance planning and introduce them to career opportunities in the field. LeCong’s employer also has a role in the new curriculum. Through a gift to the Dean’s Catalyst Fund, Brighton Jones supported the hiring of a new finance instructor to teach the classes.
Besides teaching students how to navigate major financial decisions—such as improving credit scores, shopping for a mortgage, and making the most of a 401(k)—LeCong is excited that the new classes will help students to explore what a career in financial planning entails.
“There are so many opportunities in the field of financial planning, including opportunities for women,” LeCong says.
By 2030, women are projected to control over half of the wealth in the United States, according to a report by McKinsey & Co. Attracting and retaining female clients will be imperative for firms in wealth management, which is still a male-dominated industry, the report says.
Besides LeCong’s work on the advisory board, she volunteers as a guest speaker and panelist at Carson College events. And she targets her donations through the Department of Finance’s development fund to support personal finance instruction.
“Kaycee is a great example of the impact an actively involved alumna can have,” says David Whidbee, chair of the Department of Finance and Management Science. “She’s been successful in her own career, and now she’s giving back through time, talent, and treasure to help students. Our finance program is better as a result.”
A second generation Coug
LeCong is a second generation Coug who grew up in Vancouver, Washington. Her mom, Deborah Krebs, (’80 Ed.) played volleyball for WSU and later served on the College of Education’s board of advisors.
“We’d take family road trips to Pullman when my mom had board meetings and often stayed for a football game,” LeCong says.
From an early age, LeCong was intrigued by questions like “how do I open a checking account?” By the time she graduated from high school, LeCong was leaning toward a career as a certified financial planner. And she wanted a degree from WSU.
“I liked the idea of leaving home and living in a college town,” she says. “You’re with all these people who are in the same phase of life, and you get to grow up together.”
LeCong credits Cougar networking for influencing her career path.
Her parents met one of Brighton Jones’s partners at a WSU golf tournament. They got his business card, and LeCong called him while she was a student to introduce herself and learn about the company.
She interviewed with several firms her senior year but accepted the job offer from Brighton Jones. The founders’ philosophy of “live a richer life” appealed to her, with its focus on money as a tool for helping clients achieve their life goals.
Early in her career, LeCong moved to San Francisco to help establish Brighton Jones’s office there. When she moved back to Seattle in mid-2017, Whidbee recruited her to serve on the board of advisors. It’s been a rewarding experience, LeCong says.
“I enjoy finding out what is going on with students, where the needs are, and where I can add value,” she says.
“Sometimes you think, ‘My contribution isn’t that significant. Is it really impacting the college?’” LeCong says. “But you can find something you are passionate about and really put those dollars and volunteer efforts to work in that part of the college.”