In 2022, our Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors, Dustin Gale CFP®, CPWA®, celebrates his 10 year anniversary of volunteering with Project ECHO.
This is an incredible milestone! To help celebrate it, we asked Dustin about his experiences with PE, and what about Project ECHO keeps him coming back.
Throughout Dustin’s tenure, he has volunteered in almost every single role, including as a program volunteer working with teens, teaching finance classes at a Boot Camp event, managing judges at the Business Plan Competition, and serving on the Board of Directors and lending his leadership expertise.
Dustin was first introduced to Project ECHO by its founder, Chip Goodman. Dustin mentioned to Chip his interest in getting involved in nonprofit work, specifically working with young people. When Chip heard this, he invited Dustin to be a judge for Project ECHO’s Business Plan Competition which was hosted pre-covid at UCLA Anderson School of Management.
“After that first initial experience, I knew that it was something that I wanted to do,” said Dustin. “I rolled up my sleeves and immediately got more involved.”
Dustin had studied business in college but had never completed a business plan and pitch before his junior year. When he saw Project ECHO’s business competition, he was impressed with the opportunity it gave young people who were interested in business.
“That experience of building and pitching a business plan is phenomenal. And it's something that I wish that I had as a student.”
Over his many years volunteering for Project ECHO, Dustin has focused his efforts on expanding the program outside of just LA to reach more students. He says his goal from the beginning was to expand the program and help bring this opportunity to as many students as possible. However, Dustin claims the most rewarding part of his experience is something else entirely.
“It's been incredible to really just see the smile on the students' faces when they're being presented an award, or the energy in the crowd, and see all this excitement for the business world. It really continues to drive me. It’s so rewarding. And I truly just get so much joy out of that. I think that's what continuously pulls me back in every year.”
Dustin is a Senior Wealth Advisor of Kayne Anderson Rudnick Wealth Advisors. He’s a Certified Financial Planner™ and Certified Private Wealth Advisor™, has approximately 17 years of experience in the investment management industry, and is named a Five Star Wealth Manager by Los Angeles Magazine and recognized as a 2022 Banking & Finance Visionary by the L.A. Times B2B Publishing.