Joanna Smith-Ramani is Co-Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, a leading national voice on Americans’ financial security. Working with the team, she is building a cross-sector community of leaders (Joanna calls her “quirky Thanksgiving table”) who, together, are using their shared wisdom and humanity to deeply investigate and solve the most critical financial challenges facing U.S. households.
Joanna has over 20 years of experience across community, personal finance, and financial security. Most recently serving as Managing Director, she joined Aspen FSP as the Director of its Expanding Prosperity Impact Collaborative (EPIC), where she built the program from the ground up and conceptualized and launched EPIC’s first two issues — income volatility and household debt — which FSP studies from causes to broader impact to market and policy solutions. Before joining FSP, Joanna served as Senior Innovation Director at Commonwealth, leading the unit that designs, tests, and evaluates promising financial service innovations. While at Commonwealth, Joanna developed innovations to improve savings and financial capability, including prize-linked savings, tax time savings, gamification, emergency savings, and youth savings. Additionally, Joanna led several federal grants, developed and sustained national coalitions, and built a network of industry partners.
Joanna has led national and state legislative campaigns resulting in the passage of a federal law and more than ten state laws expanding savings innovation across the nation. She is a trusted expert on financial security and inclusion, having been quoted in numerous national and local media outlets such as the New York Times, National Public Radio, and Fox Cable News. Joanna holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School and a B.A. in Urban Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University. She serves on the Board of the CASH Campaign of Maryland and A Wider Circle and was selected to the 2017-2018 class of Leadership Montgomery.