Diane Chen

Diane Chen

Executive Director

Dr. Diane Chen is the Founder and Executive Director of Institute of Consumer Money Management (ICMM), a nonprofit research-centered organization. ICMM’s mission is to conduct and provide funding for research and studies that promote positive spending behaviors and consumer asset building with the focus on improving low and moderate income population’s financial well being.  Diane is the founder and served as Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Education Services Inc (CESI), a 501C3 credit counseling agency from 1998 to 2017. In the last two decades, she has lead CESI to become one of the top credit counseling agencies in US. Prior to founding CESI in 1998, Dr. Chen was the President of New China Development Corporation for six years. In that capacity, she helped many North Carolina businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions establish partnerships with China, and worked as a consultant to facilitate the trade and business missions between the US and China.

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In August of 2010, Diane was awarded the prestigious Triangle Business Journal Women In Business award as an Entrepreneur. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Business Leaders Women Extraordinaire award. She currently holds positions as the member of Community Development Steering Committee of BB&T Bank, the Advisory Board Members of National Foundation of Credit Counseling(NFCC), First Citizens Bank, and Enterprising Women Magazine. In addition, she is on the board of UUFR Foundation at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh. Diane has one adult son – he is an Associate US Attorney at Southern District US Attorney’s Office of New York.

Diane earned her master and doctorate degrees in adult education from North Carolina State University.


Patrick Royal

Patrick Royal

Patrick Royal is a researcher from Raleigh, North Carolina.  He did his undergraduate degree in Economics and Computer Science at Duke University, and his master’s degree in Economics at NC State University.

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Patrick has worked for Lynda.com and the Duke Office of Information Technology to create tutorial videos on subjects such as Matlab, Java, and Google App Engine.  He has also taught Economics at NC State.

Patrick started working for ICMM in December 2016.  His main research focus is understanding the causes of and solutions to financial vulnerability among low- and middle-income households.  He has also worked to develop video tutorials aimed at encouraging small business employees to save money using 401(k)s.

Dr. Karen St. Clair

Dr. Karen St. Clair

Karen St.Clair’s academic background is based in the liberal arts (BA, Wayne State University, MI: Psychology and Human Development), human psychological development (MA and PhD, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, TN: Developmental Psychology), and counseling (MEd, North Carolina State University, NC: Counselor Education).

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For more than two decades she taught a dozen different psychology courses at several higher education institutions. The institutions represented diverse faculty, staff, and students. Thereafter, she entered higher education academic administration as a faculty developer. She was an expert in teaching and learning in higher education for three institutions. She supported faculty in their teaching matters, managed assessment of student learning, and supervised student service units that support learning.

Throughout her career her focus had been teaching and academic administration, yet she maintained a research agenda, published professional articles, conducted workshops, and presented at conferences. Upon her retirement, she began applying her teaching and research skills in financial literacy education. As an educator, she joined the outreach education team at Consumer Education Services, Incorporated, which is the Institute of Consumer Money Management’s founding organization. She conducts interactive sessions on a variety of financial literacy topics for community partners in North Carolina’s triangle region. Upon the Institute’s founding, she has been serving as consultant for education and research efforts that will enable the Institute to reach its vision.

Dr. Charlotte Zeamer

Dr. Charlotte Zeamer

I am a research psychologist with a special interest in applied and basic studies of human attention and social interaction. I have over eight years of experience using qualitative and quantitative methodologies to explore the problems of auditory distraction and effective linguistic communication in work and learning settings.

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My research programs have included experimental, survey, and interview-based data collection in academic and industry settings. I have a deep interest in group behavior and how new interactive technologies can improve work and learning outcomes. I use advanced statistical analysis to gain insights from large and complex data sets, and am passionate about bringing such tools to fields where data is plentiful but a clear picture of problems and solutions may be elusive.

My work with ICMM allows me to follow lines of research in education and interpersonal communication in an area where new findings can really make a difference for the better in peoples’ lives.  I am delighted to be a part of this team.