Hope Carlson

Lead Advisor, Principal

Hope joined Dowling & Yahnke in 2017. She holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) designations. Prior to Dowling & Yahnke, Hope spent six years as the Chief Development Officer at the Museum of Us (formerly the San Diego Museum of Man) where she oversaw fundraising and marketing. Her other experiences include serving as the Interim Executive Director for the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet in Balboa Park and four years as a strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group.

Hope holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School where she was a Baker Scholar, graduating in the top 5% of her class. She also obtained her Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia.

Trained as an opera singer, Hope is passionate about music and the arts. She still performs occasionally, but these days she mostly sings children’s songs for her two daughters. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Hope moved to San Diego in 2010. She lives in La Jolla with her husband and daughters.

Why did you join Dowling & Yahnke?

I knew Dale Yahnke and the Firm for several years before I joined Dowling & Yahnke. It was clear to me that he has built a company with extraordinarily talented people who are very kind and have impeccable integrity. The sound, evidence-based investment philosophy resonates deeply with me, as does the Firm’s commitment to education. I also appreciate being able to make a difference each day.

What inspired you to work in the financial industry? / Why did you become a financial advisor?

I used to oversee fundraising and marketing at the San Diego Museum of Us (formerly the San Diego Museum of Man). What I loved best about fundraising was that it was all about getting to know wonderful people and helping them make an impact with their philanthropy. What draws me to financial advising is that it’s all about getting to know wonderful people and helping them navigate their financial journey across the big life questions – paying for their kids’ education, planning for retirement, figuring out how to care for aging parents, making a difference philanthropically, and more. Seeing people’s eyes light up with possibilities or relax in relief as they gain clarity is extremely rewarding.

What is the best gift you have ever received? 

My daughters. They are amazing starbursts of joy, and I am grateful every day that I get to be their mom.

Can you play any instruments? When did you start?

The piano and I are acquaintances, but my main instrument is voice. I started singing at the same time that I learned to talk. My father would rock me to sleep at night and have me fill in the words to his lullabies. As the years went by, I took lessons and eventually was lucky enough to study at the Eastman School of Music, where I received my Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature. These days, I sing a lot of “Wheels on the Bus” for my daughter, but every now and again I sing a full classical recital.

What brought you to San Diego?

Love. I moved here to follow my husband, who is from this area.

I love helping clients with…

Their philanthropic goals – it is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.  I love facilitating conversations that help clients align their philanthropic values and better understand how to structure their philanthropy across generations.  Designing tax-smart giving strategies is another passion of mine.



  • University of Virginia BA in Economics with Highest Distinction
  • Harvard Business School MBA, Baker Scholar
  • Eastman School of Music MM in Vocal Performance and Literature