Meet Our Team : Truest Capital Strategies | Salado, TX

Meet Our Team

Achieving a life well lived starts with a plan. A plan that moves and evolves alongside you, your business, and your family as you grow. At Truest Capital Strategies, we’ve intentionally built a multigenerational team that’s dedicated to serving you and your loved ones now and for generations to come. More than advisors, we’re financial life coaches. We value educating, guiding, and uplifting our clients to experience the truest version of themselves and achieve their dreams.

Photo of Carson Stephens

Carson Stephens

Strategic Planner, Principal

Planning Approach

The mantra at Truest is that “We are transformed by the renewing of our minds.” By changing your way of thinking, you can set more effective goals, pursue the life you really want, and create a better future. This is Carson’s mindset as he helps clients develop a plan for their business or personal life. His objective is to help them become more aware of their greatest desires and motivations so they can align their financial strategies accordingly. He focuses heavily on personal coaching and education, helping clients think clearly about their situation, goals, and what they most want for their own future, family, or business. He helps them identify their opportunities and obstacles, and then they work together to develop strategies that help the client capitalize on those opportunities, overcome obstacles, and move proactively toward their goals.

Throughout the process, Carson keeps the “big picture” at the forefront; he knows that money is simply a vehicle for personal and business goals, and if there are strategies that don’t directly relate to finances yet will help the client achieve their goals more effectively, he doesn’t hesitate to include them as part of their plan. The important thing for Carson is that he guides his clients toward better futures, and he does whatever he can to make that happen.

Professional Specialty

Carson spends much of his time working with business owners, and just as he would with someone preparing for retirement or maximizing their personal finances, he focuses first on their overarching goals and desires and then helps them identify specific steps to get there. His mission is to help them scale their business and take everything to a higher level, and that begins with vision-casting and strategic planning. He views his role like that of a business consultant or life coach, and he helps entrepreneurs articulate their “Why,” their mission for the business, and where they want to be in five years. From there, he works with them to identify what they want to accomplish in the coming year, and then they outline specific objectives—financial and otherwise—to achieve those goals. Only once this overarching plan has been established does he help them implement specific financial strategies to support the bigger picture. Carson loves seeing people grow, thrive, succeed, and he knows that this holistic approach is the best way to help them do that.

Background & Education

From the start of his career, Carson’s mission has been to love people as best he can. To him, that means providing education and enlightenment. He knows from personal experience how much learning can impact the trajectory of one’s life, and he leverages his experiences to deliver impactful wisdom and guidance to his clients.

Carson earned his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Texas, and he began his career as a band director and teacher at a middle school and high school. Today, he has the privilege of teaching trombone lessons to a few of his former students. He loves witnessing their personal growth, and he feels honored to maintain that connection even after leaving the teaching field.

In 1973, Carson attended seminary and was the lead pastor at four different churches over the course of 24 years. He earned a doctorate from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, and later completed a postdoctoral fellowship in higher education administration at the University of Texas in Austin. From 2000-2003 he was the president of Austin Graduate School of Theology, and for several years, he worked in nonprofit fund development. He began his work in the financial services industry in 2003.

In every field, his core desire was to help people, and he recognized a passion for financial planning as he navigated his own insurance and retirement planning. In 2003, he earned his insurance license, and today, he believes entering the financial services industry was one of the best decisions he ever made.

He is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA).

Personal Fulfillment

Carson lives in Salado, Texas, with his high school sweetheart and wife of more than 50 years, Jannette. Salado is a historic town that was once part of the Chisholm Trail; in fact, the couple’s front yard was a stagecoach stop on the route. They love the small town for its charm and proximity to Austin, but its greatest advantage is its nearness to their two daughters and six grandchildren. They love going on adventures together, and one of Carson’s favorite traditions is teaching his grandsons how to play chess. They range in age from elementary school to college, and even the youngest enjoys challenging his grandpa to a match.  

Along with being an amazing wife, mother, and grandmother, Jannette also helps manage office operations for Truest. Together, she and Carson enjoy going for walks with their very spoiled wirehaired dachshund, Wilbur, taking weekend road trips, and working in the yard together. In his free time, Carson also likes to compose music. 

Fun Facts

What is one thing you can’t live without?

“My piano—I play by ear mostly, and when I want to relax, I sit down and play.”

What’s your favorite part of your day?

“Early mornings—we get up around 5:30, drink coffee, and watch the news together.”

What are you reading right now?

Music in History by Howard McKinney and W.R. Anderson and The Referral Magnet by Kelly Edwards.”

Photo of Cassie Barrientos

Cassie Barrientos

Insurance Professional, Principal

Strategic Approach

Insurance, personal or commercial, is a crucial part of a strong financial strstegy, but few people feel confident choosing the right policy for their goals. Insurance is also something that no one enjoys paying for, and Cassie understands that—so her goal is to ensure that every dollar is well spent. Through a thorough strategic process, she makes sure her clients are well protected from risks, and she helps them understand exactly what kind of coverage they have, how the policy works, and whether they need to adjust their coverage to align with their goals. Together, they discuss the purpose behind the policy, and from there, Cassie helps her clients make confident, informed decisions in line with their overarching objectives.

Throughout the process, Cassie strives to make things easy for her clients. She takes a hands-on approach, helping people fill out applications, answering their questions, and providing support wherever she can. She understands the amount of trust it takes to delegate one’s financial responsibilities, and she takes her role as an insurance professional very seriously. This is part of the reason she and Carson named their firm “Truest”—because their goal is to be “more than true” with their clients’ wealth, and Cassie strives to exemplify this idea through her work with clients.

Professional Specialty

Cassie began working with personal insurance, and quickly she developed a passion for commercial insurance and serving people in this industry. She understands the complexities of their insurance needs, and she enjoys making sure they select the right coverage to help them achieve their goals. She maintains ongoing relationships with her clients, not only guiding them through the initial policy-selection and application process, but communicating with them regularly to help them stay on track. She makes it a point to ask detailed questions about their businesses so she can make sure their insurance plans are continually aligned with their evolving needs.

Background & Experience

Prior to her career in financial services, Cassie spent several years in the restaurant industry in various roles such as assistant general manager and corporate trainer, national catering director, and representative for EZ Cater, a national company that coordinates catering contracts with large corporations like Apple and Microsoft.

Cassie entered the insurance industry in 2020, when the restaurant industry changed drastically during covid shutdowns. While it was a challenging time for many, she’s incredibly grateful for how it impacted her career, and she loves getting to help people through the work she does today.

Community Involvement

Cassie is active in her community by being members of both the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce and the Smithville Chamber of Commerce, and she is actively involved in multiple committees across the county. She was involved as a City Councilman for City of Smithville for 3.5 years and decided to take a step back for herself and family. One of the committees she is a part of is WSSISD (We Support Smithville ISD), which helps raise funds for teachers and staff members in the Smithville Independent School District. Through this committee, Cassie helps coordinate fundraisers and distribute scholarships that support educational growth in their community.

Personal Fulfillment

Cassie loves living in Smithville, Texas, a small town where seemingly everybody knows each other and supports each other. She and her husband Anthony have been together for 15 years (married for 8), and they have three young children—Barrett, Lakyn, and Eli. The oldest, Barrett, plays soccer and baseball, while Lakyn participates in competitive cheer, and Eli, just enjoys the ride of watching big brother and big sister and trying to catch up. Their family loves spending time together, and they enjoy being outdoors—whether they’re on their boat, taking walks, or watching the kids play sports. In addition, Cassie is blessed with a great small group of friends. They all have children who get along and are close in age, the parents all love to hang out, and watching the love and friendships and relationships growing is such a great feeling.

Cassie’s faith is also very important to her, and her hope is that her love for the Lord shines through everything she does, professionally and personally. She and her family attend First Baptist Church in Smithville.

Fun Facts

What is one thing you can’t live without?

“My family.”

What’s your favorite part of your day?

“At the end of the day, I try to always remember to reflect and practice gratitude.”

What is one thing every person should add to their daily routine?

“A devotional—I’m currently doing Luke by Lisa Harper.”

Photo of Jannette

Jeanette Stephens

Marketing and Administrative Assistant

Jeanette joined the Truest Team in 2014. A graduate of San Jacinto College, she later also served the college as an instructor. She has been an entrepreneur, having owned and operated several of her own businesses. Her primary asset is that she is the consummate people person who makes everyone feel welcomed and valued.

She is married to Carson with whom she shares two daughters and six grandchildren.