Vicki Brackens has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur working in the area of financial education and financial services. She was co-host of Financial Fitness*, on PBS affiliate WCNY in Syracuse NY. Financial Fitness was WCNY's longest-running weekly show until its sunset in 2015.
Brackens is a graduate of the University of Houston in Houston Texas, where she earned a degree in Biology. Although a scholar of life science, she chose another career path, building an impressive list of credentials as a successful administrator at ELS Language Center as the Director of Courses and later on at Century 21 Financial Services (an affiliate of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company).
After completing a successful two-and-a-half-decade career with Metropolitan Life Financial Services she associated her financial services firm, Brackens Financial Solutions Network, LLC (BFSN) with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., in Syracuse, NY. Beginning November of 2018, she started associating her firm with LPL Financial. At BFSN there are four principals that guide every client interaction: Advocate, Advise, Monitor and Motivate. She is known throughout the community for helping clients answer the question, “What's Important about Money... to Me?
In 2008, Vicki founded The World of Cheddar, LLC. The World of Cheddar, LLC is a software development start-up company harnessing the benefits of simulations and games on learning and behavioral change. In cooperation and partnership with the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University they are investigating the power games and simulations provide when used to develop skills in personal financial decision-making. Vicki serves as a Research Associate at the iSchool.
Brackens has appeared in many public speaking venues:
- Institute for Financial Literacy Annual Conference on Financial Education, Presenter
- 5th Annual Inspiring Women TIES Retreat, Panel Host
- MetLife National Leaders Conference Host
- National Association of Black Journalists
- New York City Financial Aid Director's Conference
- MetLife National Financial Planning Conference-Key Note
- Women's Basketball Coaches National Convention
In addition to holding personal financial management seminars at various, colleges/universities and community venues, she has also been featured as an industry thought leader in media outlets such as, WTVH (a CBS affiliate), Black Enterprise, Essence, Consumer Report's Money Advisor, the Central New York Business Journal and Reuters.
Brackens is an active community leader, having served as Board member and on the Finance and Development Committees of the Central New York Community Foundation, as a Foundation Board member of The Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology, a member of The Raymond von Dran IDEA Board of Advisors (RvD IDEA), and as a member of the Syracuse Area Salvation Army Advisory Board. She continues to be involved with her community as a member of the Board of Directors and Investment Committee of Centerstate CEO.
She is the recipient of:
- Community Service Honoree presented by the 100 Black Men -2008 recognizing those in the Syracuse community for their contributions that improve the quality of life in our city and region. Honorees can include individuals, organizations, businesses, etc.
- Community Service Award presented by the Syracuse/Onondaga County NAACP-2010 for her role as a financial adviser, helping people in the community.
- Community Leadership Award, Dunbar Legacy Ball-2014
- Marjorie Dowdell Fortitude Award, Syracuse Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.-2015 based on her commitment to her community, service, leadership and empowerment.
- New York State Comptroller's Award- 2015 awarded by The Honorable Thomas P. DiNapoli, for service to the people of New York in Financial Education
- The Network Journal award for 25 Influential Black Women in Business- 2018 honoring women whose professional achievements have significantly impacted an industry or profession, and who also made an important contribution to her community. Typically, a business owner, or a partner, president, CEO, board chair, or other senior management executive with significant decision-making authority in the corporate, nonprofit, or government sector.
- Centerstate CEO's Business of the Year award 2018 (in partnership with the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance) in the minority-owned business category. These member businesses stand out among an incredibly competitive field of nominees for their outstanding success and role that they play in strengthening the community. The awards recognize member companies that have demonstrated a commitment to growth, improving the community and creating tangible impacts on the economy.