Hi! I’m Dr. Brenda.

​Sociologist. Researcher. Educator. Financial Coach.

My goal is to help YOU open the doors of financial freedom and a new life! Sure, there’s some luck involved, but I’ll give you the best resources and the support you need to successfully navigate your journey. Together, we’ll make your dream come true!

Adversity. Now that’s a word I know well. Like many, my life has been shaped by adversity.

As a young girl, I dreamed of a life beyond the family farm. Education would be my way out …or so I believed.

At the age of 30, I earned my doctoral degree in Sociology. With the new PhD in hand, I was ready to set the world on fire. A month later I was downsized from my university job and entered an anemic academic market in the midst of state budget cuts. I slipped into poverty as career prospects grew dim.

​Three years and four states later, I finally caught a break, landing a position as a Crime Analyst. And less than a year later, I drove to the outskirts of the nation’s capital and began my dream job, carrying out national-scope research on justice system issues. Eventually, I made one more career move, spending more than 16 years ​researching and promoting court reform.


My career was wildly successful - I received national awards and even testified in front of Congress. But I was worn out from the work trips, long hours, dysfunctional workplace, and the slow pace of reform. Finally, I reached a breaking point and the unimaginable happened—I was fired!

This minor disaster turned into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Poverty had been a hard lesson; one that prompted me to spend decades saving and investing as much as possible. So as I walked out of the office for the last time, I felt a sense of relief, even excitement. I had bought freedom. For the first time ever, I could take a long respite from work and decide what to do next with my life.   

I kept returning to the memories of despair that I felt in my early 30s. And I know there are millions in that same predicament today. Survivors who work hard but secretly live paycheck to paycheck. Graduates who believe they can climb to the top, only to lie awake worrying about student debt. Dreamers who want to explore life beyond the traditional workforce but can’t afford to do so.

Here’s my mission: Create fun and engaging online courses and supportive communities that help people achieve a more rewarding life with fewer money worries. And just like that, the Early Exit Academy was born.

​P.S. You can read more about my story of adversity in this interview.

Companion Projects

The ideas behind the Early Exit Academy took shape from my writing at The Five Journeys, my blog dedicated to financial independence, healthy lifestyle, inner peace, happiness, and community. I started the blog as a reprieve from the negativity and divisiveness that seemed to be broadcast every day in the United States. Once my job disappeared, I began a series called “Freedom in your Fifties.” You can learn more at thefivejourneys.com.

As part of The Five Journeys, I created 30-Day Challenges, introducing readers to healthy living one day at a time. Those Challenges can be found at betterlifechallenges.com. Current offerings include the Million Dollar Challenge, Meditation Challenge, Sleep Challenge, Kindness Challenge, Sugar Challenge, Salad Challenge, and Walking Challenge.

Pay it Forward

​The Early Exit Academy is about empowerment – taking charge of your finances and carving a pathway to the life of your dreams. We support and encourage others to reach their true potential.  That’s why we choose to support the following partners…to spread the fire of empowerment.

​The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

​We believe in empowering those who have been silenced. We support the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), the voice of victims and survivors. NCADV is the catalyst for changing society to have zero tolerance for domestic violence. We do this by affecting public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive that change.

The Food Trust

We believe the choices we make about what we eat have an enormous impact on our bodies, our families, our economy and our Earth. We support The Food Trust, whose mission is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. Working with neighborhoods, schools, grocers, farmers and policymakers, we've developed a comprehensive approach to improved food access that combines nutrition education and greater availability of affordable, healthy food.