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Individual Success Story


“I know the amount of support Fresh Start fosters for everybody who comes through the doors. To me, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

She’s Hired!

Kayla* first stepped in the doors of Fresh Start at 13 years old to attend workshops on mental health and abuse. 

“I had a troubled childhood with some early on sexual interactions. So, I had some issues to deal with, including being entirely pissed off with the world. The program really helped… it made me aware that I’m not the only one suffering. I’m not the only one going through these things at my age. It made me feel not alone,” Kayla remembered.  

She continued with her education and graduated from high school. Kayla started attending the local Grand Canyon University to pursue a degree in business management. While going to school, she worked as a receptionist and wondered where her degree would take her. She knew that her current job didn’t offer any growth opportunities.  

“I just had a whole bunch of tabs open looking for somewhere (to work), and I wasn’t having any luck. I had already been looking for four months before that. I wasn’t finding anything,” she said.  

Kayla ‘s stepmother was very invested and involved at Fresh Start and had always loved the various resources. She knew that Kayla was looking for career opportunities and sent her the application for the Women in Finance program in November 2023. She quickly applied to the cohort on her phone and heard from Trey on Fresh Start’s team shortly after.  

“He informed me of the program and how I was viable for the scholarship program. I was almost in tears. I didn’t know if it was an option for me. Monday through Thursday, all day, for six weeks. I have school, work, I need income, I have rent. I didn’t know how it would be possible,” she said.  

Because of her previous experience at Fresh Start, Kayla knew the Women in Finance program would benefit her.  

“I know the amount of support Fresh Start fosters for everybody who comes through the doors. To me, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was debating with my family, when my parents said they would help me with finances,” Kayla recalled. 

Kayla began the Women in Finance cohort in January 2024. It was the start of an incredible balancing act as Kayla remained in school at GCU full-time, worked on the weekends, and spent six days a week at Fresh Start. Even when she had to make sacrifices in other areas of her life, Kayla knew it would be worth it to successfully complete the course. 

“When I commit to something, I commit… There were times when I was very tired, I admit that, but in those times, there was the constant reminder that this is truly helping me. Even if I don’t see it in this instance when I’m exhausted, I’m excited to wake up to come to Fresh Start and see the people I get to see every day” she said. 

Kayla had very clear goals – she knew she wanted career advancement and a pathway to set herself apart from other candidates.  

“This program made me realize I want a career… Before I attended, I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t know what I was doing with my degree, I didn’t know if I even wanted to stay in the degree. The program has shown me what I really want in my personal life and in my career. We’re taking so many transferable skills with us and life lessons. I’ve learned we can put it on our resume to get us through the door,” Kayla said.  

Kayla’s mom is a small business owner who struggles with her finances after Kayla’s stepfather passed away last year.  

“We lost some income. It’s been hard for her,” Kayla said. “Through [the program], I’ve been able to learn not only about Fresh Start’s resources, but also about banking resources for family that could help our situation.” 

Throughout the course, the Women in Finance students learned how to interview, specifically how to decipher questions on the spot and pinpoint what hiring managers are looking for in future employees.  

“Confidence is key”  

“The small things are great to bring up in an interview and how they make an interviewer perceive you. All the mock interviews and practices made me realize interviewing is not that hard. Memorizing your pitch is not that hard. As soon as the light bulb went off in my head, it became easy. It’s not the script you’re following, it’s your life you’re telling. Confidence is key,” Kayla said. 

On one of the final days of the cohort, Fresh Start brought in hiring managers with open positions at local banking institutions. Kayla was excited and empowered to speak about her newfound passion for finance and knowledge that she can see herself in the industry long-term.  

“This is a career where I see myself in the next 15 years of my life. This isn’t my 5-year plan. This is where I’m going to be, where I’m working, maybe not the company, but this industry,” she said. 

Kayla already recommended Fresh Start to her friends at school within her degree field.  

“It’s not just a program. It’s a life changer,” she said. “I feel like this is the best time of my life that I could have attended this (program). It makes you realize that focusing on yourself, your career, your happiness is important.” 

She hopes her story inspires other women to take the leap and persevere, even when the road ahead is unclear.  

“I hope that my story of how messed up, incredibly busy, and overwhelmed I was, [shows] that it’s worth it. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Even if you’re incredibly busy, if you’re incredibly determined, you can do it. This program will help you. Maybe not in the way you necessarily think, though, because it did help me in ways I didn’t expect,” Kayla said. 

She’s Hired!

Following the completion of the Women in Finance cohort, Kayla was hired as an Associate Banker with Chase. She reached out to Fresh Start after her start date with a note of thanks.

“I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for your unwavering support and dedication to my professional development. Your encouragement throughout the Woman in Finance program with Fresh Start has been invaluable, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity it has provided me. 

I am thrilled to have recently started my new position at Chase, and I couldn’t be happier with the opportunities it presents. Exploring the various roles and career paths within the company has been both enlightening and exciting, and I am eager to continue growing and contributing to the team. 

I couldn’t have made it this far without the enlightenment and training I am grateful to have received from Fresh Start. “