Our Team

Our Team

Jeffrey Scales

Managing Principal

I have been fortunate in my career as a financial advisor to find a means for doing well while doing good through JSA Financial Group serving client investment needs with ESG ingredients at the core.  Our recipe for sustainable and responsible investments includes addressing environmental, social and good corporate governance factors that can have an enormous influence on our future lives, as well as providing sound portfolio risk management.  JSA is proud to have earned B Corp certification, a designation for businesses who are rigorously committed to providing tangible benefits to the community and the environment.

My professional education includes undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of New Mexico. I earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification and hold the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation. I am a member of US SIF, the Forum to Sustainable and Responsible Investments, which helps keep our practice connected with the latest developments and provides opportunity for active participation in lobbying efforts to support ESG policies.  As a personal mission, I seek to educate other financial advisors about sustainable investing and encourage them to implement more responsible allocations for their own clients.  In part, due to these efforts, I was recognized in November 2018 by Commonwealth Financial Network with their prestigious Special Service Award.

In addition to professional development and continuing education, I seek to stay involved in local and global community organizations, serving as Chairman of Rhinebeck Rotary Club’s International Committee in support of world service projects.  This includes traveling each year with students from Rhinebeck High School’s Interact Club to construct classrooms in rural areas of Nicaragua. It’s a truly life-changing experience for all participants- young and old- from both home and host communities, providing a sense of purpose, connectedness and joy to everyone involved.    

More recently, I have traveled with students to EARTH University in Costa Rica to expose them to sustainable and regenerative agricultural techniques, and immersion in zero waste recycling programs.  This has resulted in substantially reduced waste and carbon footprint in their home school district and participation in the ECO-CHALLENGE of Project Drawdown.

Difficulties faced by families impacted by emotional and financial toll of dementia is something all too familiar.  As one of the founding and past co-presidents of the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association over 25 years ago, I continue my support and offer strategies to help secure the financial condition of families overwhelmed by this disease.

I serve on the Advisory Board of two programs at Bard College: The Center for Environmental Policy, an innovative graduate program at Bard College that offers MS degrees in environmental and climate science policy; and, The Bard Sustainable MBA, with curriculum built to integrate social & environmental impact into core competencies.  These programs create wide-ranging opportunities for students and the community in public policy and the business of building a sustainable future.

Since 1987 I’ve made my home in the Hudson River Valley, where I may be seen kayaking at dawn or sunset, often removing trash from the river or admiring bald eagles in the trees on shore. Our office in Rhinebeck, NY is just half a block from Upstate Films, where I occasionally step out to enjoy an Indie or foreign film, or meaningful documentary.  My sons are pursuing their own careers, yet we periodically unite for exciting and meaningful excursions - enjoying each other’s company with warm stimulating conversation, rugged hike or paddle, or brutal workout at a gym.

Gail Decker

Client Service Manager

In the summer of 2003, I began working for JSA Financial part-time as a client service manager.  My responsibilities include scheduling and confirming appointments, checking in with clients periodically, and other everyday office duties.

Prior to this position, I was employed by Germantown Telephone Co. for many years as a customer service manager with a wide range of duties covering telephone, cable TV, Internet, and cellular.

I’ve been a resident of Columbia County all my life.  In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and following the New York Mets.

Kathline Joseph

Senior Associate Advisor

A product of the beautiful and scenic Hudson Valley, I grew up in Ulster County and attended Kingston High School. Upon graduation, I attended Howard University in Washington, DC, where I explored my love of mathematics, business, and insurance. I received a bachelor's in business administration in insurance with a concentration in actuarial science in 2010.  While at Howard, I interned with HAI (Housing Authority Insurance) Group where I gathered and analyzed insurance claims data for housing authorities across the nation to understand how those claims impacted profit margins.

Shortly thereafter, I met Jeffrey Scales while he was attending a conference in DC and was presented with the opportunity to join his team at JSA Financial Group. I relocated to Kingston in 2012 and began working with JSA as a financial assistant, specializing in insurance products. Since then, I’ve earned my FINRA Series 7, 6, and 63 securities registrations through Commonwealth Financial Network®, as well as the NYS life, accident, and health insurance license.

In addition to the work I perform in the office, I work diligently with Mid-Hudson Seventh-day Adventist Church in Poughkeepsie, New York, to provide many services to the community. I find joy in taking part in soup kitchens, local concerts, and various other activities with my church and others in the area.  The most rewarding experience is to see the impact that these events have on the members of our community, specifically the youth and those less fortunate than I.  I also have a deep-rooted love for music and you will often find me playing my violin or flute or even singing in local groups during my spare time.

Lizdely Garcia

Client Service Associate

For most of my childhood, I lived in Yonkers, New York, until my family and I moved to a small town called Pawling. I completed my four years at Pawling High School, and then I attended Concordia College in Bronxville, New York, where I received my business administration degree with a specialization in accounting. On the day of my college graduation, I went on a service trip to Vietnam with my marketing professor and other business students. This was a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience and one that I hold close to my heart.

Ever since I was young I have always had a passion for health and wellness. In 2015, I became certified as a holistic health coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). I enjoy helping people achieve their personal health goals as well as seeing them grow into a healthier lifestyle. 

On my time off, my husband and I enjoy cooking meals, volunteering at Camp Sunshine in Maine, doing outdoor activities, going to Broadway shows, skiing, running, and traveling together. 

Prior to this position, I worked for Toll Brothers Inc. in the accounting department managing the accounts payable for their New York, Connecticut, and New England offices. I am looking forward to all the different challenges Jeffrey and his staff have to offer.

Trevor Liefer

Paraplanner

I grew up in Rhinebeck and I am proud to call it my home. I went to Millbrook Prep School for high school and then went on to obtain my bachelor's degree in economics at New York University in 2018. 

I was an intern at JSA during the summer of 2015, where I learned a lot about sustainable and responsible investing (SRI) and was thrilled to help complete the rigorous assessment enabling JSA to achieve B Corp certification. I knew after that summer that I want to continue to learn about the impact of environmental, social and corporate governance factors on investments, and ultimately pursue this career. I was thrilled to get the opportunity to return to JSA full time after graduating.

Outside of work I enjoy playing golf, hiking, skiing, running, and traveling. I also love to cook, eat, and try new and different foods. 

Leola Specht

Sustainability Director

Most of my career was spent leading employee Health & Welfare, Pension & Savings and Wellness benefits for mid-size corporations.  My Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Economics with minor in Educational Psychology from the State University of New York College at Oneonta, and Masters degree in Human Resources Management from Mercy College, along with incredibly talented women HR mentors helped enable me to do Benefit Management work well.

The past several years I have focused on environmental and social sustainability matters.  I co-lead the Irvington Green Policy Task Force, serve on the steering committee of the Irvington Pollinator Pathway Project, am on the the board of the Irvington Presbyterian Women, the “Complete Street” Safe Walking and Biking on Route 9 Rivertowns study Committee funded by the new Tappan Zee Bridge project,  the Village of Irvington Comprehensive Plan–Code Modernization Update Committee. I work on implementing local food scrap programs, recycling and zero-waste initiatives, invasive plant documentation and removal, organize and participate in trash clean ups in and along waterways and land, volunteer for native plant initiatives and advocate for chemical and pollution free landscape care. 

I enjoy hiking, biking, skiing, kayaking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, and earth-friendly gardening.  I am a passionate supporter of local, ecologically grown food and am an Airbnb SuperHost. I can often be found outside helping our ecology by pickling up trash and recyclable material, removing invasive plants, mulching leaves in place, etc. and prefer to minimize time in front of electronic screens!