Financial Wellness Council

Billy J. Hensley, Ph.D.

Billy J. Hensley

Billy J. Hensley, Ph.D., is president and CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). Hensley assumed his role after a nationwide search and unanimous approval by the Board of Trustees.

Since his appointment in 2018, Hensley has led NEFE through the development and execution of its first strategic plan, sharpening the organization's mission, vision and core values, and cultivating broader transparency and effectiveness. He is charging the organization to Redefine Financial Education through more focused philanthropy, research and collaboration. This is illustrated by the conception and interpretation of the Financial Well-Being Framework, a model for better accountability in the financial capability field. Under Hensley's leadership, NEFE's research agenda has driven the national dialogue about financial education including one study ranked in the all-time top 5 percent of the Social Science Research Index.

Prior to becoming CEO, he led NEFE grants, research, and consumer and collegiate educational initiatives, including program development and management of financial education programs that engaged over 1 million learners per year. Hensley directed NEFE's philanthropic and innovative thinking initiatives, including a transformation of NEFE's grant-making strategies.

Before joining NEFE he served as program associate at KnowledgeWorks Foundation in Cincinnati, assistant director at the Ohio College Access Network and research fellow at the University of Cincinnati. Over the course of his distinguished career, he helped to secure funding for educational initiatives totaling over $35 million, while also administering several college access, educational policy, fundraising and admission activities.

Hensley has served on several national and regional boards. He currently serves on the board of the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, where he chairs the education committee. Hensley also provides counsel on the Jump$tart Financial Inclusion Advisory Panel, a group focused on K-12 financial education access and inclusion. In 2019, Hensley was named to the CNBC Financial Wellness Advisory Council. He also is on the editorial board of the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning.

Hensley received his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati, where he was named Outstanding Doctoral Student of the Year in educational studies, and master's and bachelor's degrees from Union College. His research has been presented at state, national and international conferences and published in numerous research journals.