Advisory Board Spotlight: Deborah Stavis

Deborah Stavis

It’s been 30 years since Deborah Stavis, CFP®, just starting her career as a financial professional, cold-called the Continuing Studies office at Rice University to ask if she could teach a class on personal finance. She pitched her ideas to staff in the basement of the Fondren Library, where the offices were located in 1984, and they gave her a chance to prove what she could do.

She’s been teaching ever since.

“One constant in my life has been Rice and teaching,” Stavis said. “It’s been incredibly meaningful to me.”

Stavis is co-founder and chief executive officer of Stavis and Cohen Financial, which she started in 2009. (Her co-founder, Eddie Cohen, has also been her co-teacher at Continuing Studies for many of these 30 years.) Through her decades of experience, Stavis honed her niche – retirement, investment and estate planning for executives of Fortune 500 companies and successful business owners. She was recognized for three consecutive years as one of the Top 100 Wealth Advisors in America by Worth Magazine.

She knows that her long-standing ongoing gig as a Continuing Studies teacher helped shape her career. “Teaching defined me as a professional who believes education is a core value in business. It has kept me on my toes and shaped the way I deliver information to clients. I know my clients are smart people and they just need us to deliver the information in a way they can understand.”

Her involvement with the Glasscock School doesn’t end as a teacher. She was also a member of the school’s advisory board from 2006 to 2014.

“I loved being on it. I got so much from it,” she said of her board duties. “I believe that the school’s most important role is to be a gateway between Rice and the community. Anything that happens during traditional college age is just for college-age people. But Continuing Studies ties all the ages together.”

“It’s too easy for schools to just do what they do and not become part of the community,” she continued. “I really see Continuing Studies as the gem that ties the Houston community to Rice. I think that’s a very powerful purpose.”

The firm of Stavis and Cohen Financial graciously contributed toward the construction of the new D. Kent and Linda C. Anderson and a classroom has been named in its honor.

“I like contributing to the pillars – the foundation of the building,” Stavis said. “I was there in the early years – in the basement – so I have an emotional connection to seeing the school grow. To have a home is really special.”

Thank you, Deborah, for your dedication to educating the Houston community on personal finance and for your service and support of the Glasscock School. You will be greatly missed as a trusted advisor.

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