Joline Godfrey is the founder and Chief Creative Officer for The Unexpected Table, a real and virtual gathering place for exploring issues of thriving families in the midst of accelerating change.
Joline has been an innovator in financial education and well-being for families for over two decades. She grew up in a family business, gaining an intimate understanding of the complexity of sustaining family and career across generations and trained as a clinical social worker. Starting out in one of Boston’s oldest settlement houses she later joining the Polaroid Corporation where she specialized in family and gender issues—in the context of work and business. Her experience in what was then one of America’s leading tech companies enabled her to launch a spin-off from that company which she grew and sold in 1990.
That adventure led to an invitation from Inc. Magazine to host a series of dinner table gatherings for women entrepreneurs, documented in her first book, Our Wildest Dreams. Insights gained from those tables led to deep curiosity about how women acquire financial fluency. And in 1992 she founded An Income of Her Own, the country’s first non-profit focused exclusively on financial education for girls and women. In 1996 she published No More Frogs to Kiss: 99 Ways to Give Economic Power to Girls.
Also that year Godfrey transitioned the non-profit into the company, Independent Means Inc. to provide financial education girls and boys. In 2003 she published Raising Financially Fit Kids, now a classic resource for building financial fluency in kids. And by 2013 when the Tenth Anniversary Edition of Raising Financially Fit Kids was updated and released, families all over the world were adopting her methods and tools.
Godfrey’s invention of a developmental approach to financial education for family members from the youngest child to the oldest financial novice was a breakthrough in financial education which has earned her numerous speaking and consulting opportunities, including invitations to address gatherings that include Fast Company and Inc. 500 conferences; the exclusive Padres e Hijos gathering in Latin America, hosted each year by Carlos Slim; and an historic meeting at Ten Downing Street organized by Gordon Brown to encourage a more entrepreneurial UK generation. She has spoken to family offices from Dallas to Dubai and at many of the most prestigious family office gatherings in the world.
The Unexpected Table is Godfrey’s newest venture, providing a platform to write, consult, and work with families intent on thriving in the midst of change. Hosting conversations at eclectic tables to bring complex groups together to learn and discover remains one of her core passions.
A Maine native, Joline graduated from the University of Maine and received an M.S.W. from Boston University. She was awarded an Honorary Degree in Business from Bentley College for her achievements in financial education. Godfrey was a Kellogg Leadership Fellow and has been recognized in features for The Today Show, Oprah, Fortune, Business Week, Inc. Magazine, and The New York Times. Independent Means was acquired in 2015.
Joline is at work on a new book about what makes families thrive. She lives in Ojai, Ca.