College Planning Specialist / Founder
Michelle Mai is a licensed Investment Adviser who specializes in College Planning and has helped over 1300 families to create strategic funding plans for their children’s college education. While attending University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), she gained experience and knowledge working within the financial aid office that helped her recognized the negative impact that insufficient college planning can have on a family’s financial future. She has since pledged to help families understand these deficiencies and has been working with families to develop secure and confident financial plans to minimize their costs for college and maximize their lifetime savings.
Michelle has helped her clients to implement financial planning strategies that work within their budget to maximize cash flow, avoid and re-direct unnecessary transfers of wealth while optimizing their tax-savings. She has the innate ability to understand a family’s financial concerns within their situation and knows how to help guide them to construct and maintain a successful financial plan.
As one of the more innovative members of the college planning industry during the last 13 years, she has developed a three-part system to help families identify and achieve their goals called the Intelligently Balanced College Planning System. She believes that a comprehensive college plan includes college funding, student development and admissions. These three components are correlated and need to be developed at the same time to produce the best outcome for a family.
Over the last few years she has made it a point to give back to the community through educating families on topics including college funding and various aspects of financial planning. She currently serves on the board for N.A.I.F.A. (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors) and was a 2017 nominee for the National Champion of Diversity.
Michelle lives in San Diego, California, and spends the time away from her office with her family, running, biking, swimming and training for triathlons.
College Admissions Counselor
Jessica Brown is a former admissions officer with extensive experience in the college application review process. Before joining the team at College Planning Source, she worked as Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Jessica worked with students and families from diverse backgrounds, guiding them through the selective admissions process. She has read thousands of admissions applications and essays and offers expert advice from the perspective of admissions committees. At UMass Amherst, she was reading around 200 applications and essays per week! Her recruitment travel also allowed her to build a network of admissions contacts from all over the country. Today, she maintains up-to-date admissions knowledge through her network of professional contacts and through participation in professional associations such as the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC).
During her time at UMass Amherst, Jessica also worked with various advising offices, helping underclassmen explore academic major and career options. She understands that narrowing down one’s educational and professional paths can be stressful, and successfully navigating all of the options requires a thoughtful assessment of personal strengths and values. At College Planning Source, Jessica helps students get a head-start on this exploration process, resulting in a greater sense of direction for students and a strategic approach to applying to colleges.
Jessica holds a Master of Education degree with a concentration in Higher Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, both from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring new restaurants, and visiting her family around San Diego.
College Admissions Counselor
Brigitte Brikho is a San Diego native with a passion for helping students through the college application process. Before joining the team at College Planning Source, she worked as a school counselor at various high schools across San Diego. Additionally, Brigitte had served as a College Peer Advisor for two years as a part of UCSD’s California Student Opportunity and Access Program. During her time as an advisor and school counselor, she had helped over 200 students through the college application process. She assisted them in the development of their resumes, essays, and application completion.
As a First Generation college graduate, it is her mission to help others navigate through the complex higher education system. She knows first hand how difficult it can be to develop a strong application for college admissions without the guidance of those who have tread the path before her. As a college admissions counselor, she is excited to carry out the mission of College Planning Source by helping students to successfully develop a strong profile that highlights their passion and strengths.
Brigitte holds a Master of Science degree in Counseling with an emphasis in School Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, both from San Diego State University. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and fur-babies, as well as going for walks at her favorite spot in San Diego– Seaport Village.
Chris Whittier is a financial advisor with experience in investments, insurance, and banking. After his time at MetLife and TD Bank, he sought the opportunity to more directly assist clients with reaching their financial goals regarding funding higher education while maintaining overall financial health. He employs his skills in financial planning and customer service to efficiently move clients through the college funding process and beyond. He firmly believes that proactive financial planning strategy results in the most beneficial outcomes for students and their families.
Chris received his M.B.A. from the New England College of Business and Finance while working full-time in the financial services field. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and enjoys following professional sports and trying new recipes in his kitchen in his free time.
Jessica Lam (Northern California)
Jessica Lam is a Financial Professional in northern California and has helped families save for college and retirement. She has been there to help parents save properly and create cash flow efficiencies within their current budgets.
While being brought up in the financial industry, Lam has been able to see the changes in financial planning and is prepared to help families create and update their plans to reach their goals. She has also been helpful to students that needed help applying to colleges throughout the years.
Since high school, Lam has been a resource to others when looking into college admissions. She has helped her friends and family members with applications and their overall high school profiles. By doing so, she has helped people gain admission into UC: Berkeley, Davis, Santa Barbara, Irvine, Santa Cruz, The Culinary Institute of America, NYU, New York Academy of Art, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.