Joline Reflects, Then Reinvents
Joline Godfrey is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of The Unexpected Table, a real and virtual gathering place for exploring issues of thriving families in the midst of accelerating change. She is an innovator in financial education and well being for families.
After Independent Means was acquired in 2015, Godfrey was reflecting on her what her her future might include when friend and colleague, Chad Brown, said, “I miss the dinners and conversations that were part of the Independent Means programs. Can you build those into your next chapter? That question would turn out to be the catalyst for Godfrey’s next chapter.
Her first book, Our Wildest Dreams, emerged from dinners with women business owners hosted for Inc. Magazine. Those dinners inspired the launch of a financial education program for girls, which morphed into Independent Means, the financial education company she ran for over two decades. Raising Financially Fit Kids, introduced a radically new approach to financial education for kids and was informed by conversations at family tables around the world. And recently, a dinner party in her backyard energized a community response to water issues in her town.
So as Joline thought about Chad’s question an idea began to form. As she puts it, “My anxiety about our polarized world was ratcheting up; thoughtful dialogue and a willingness to listen and search for common ground seems to have been replaced by ideological harangue and an absurdist paradigm of win/lose that threatens civil order. We all know this is folly; we must reclaim civil dialogue to keep a healthy democracy (and healthy families) alive.”
Godfrey conceived The Unexpected Table as a platform to recover a culture of respect, mutuality, and common ground within the context of family–viewing family in the broadest way possible. As a practical undertaking, The Unexpected Table will have four functions:
- Hosting dinners and gatherings, real and virtual, relevant to nurturing resilient and thriving families in an age of accelerating change. Clashing points of view, respectfully delivered and heard will uncover innovative solutions to vexing family dilemmas–from the impact of technology on the family to the very nature of what family is and can be, in the mid 21st century.
- Consultation and education for developing thriving families. Godfrey has worked with more than 400 of the world’s wealthiest and most successful families over the last twenty years. That experience gives her unique insight into a treasure trove of methods and tools for helping families thrive. The Unexpected Table’s top experts will be available to serve families interested in lifelong learning: family development, financial fluency, governance, family innovations and strategies for thriving in the midst of change.
- Offering products & materials for thriving families. In the last twenty years, a wide range of products for children, teens, young adults, parents, and grandparents has evolved to serve families interested in growing from ‘good to great.’ The team at The Unexpected Table will curate the best of these offerings, including exclusive products developed @Table.
- Connect a community aspiring to thrive on www.TheUnexpectedTable.com. This interface will be a meeting place; a safe space for discovering new ways of nurturing family in the context of change. Since 1984 Ted Talks have given us thousands of illuminating monologues in over 100 languages. This intellectual capital, freely shared from simple dark stages is one of the great social innovations of the 20th century; an international treasure. Now it’s time to focus on dialogue as an antidote to our polarized world.
The Unexpected Table embraces a big topic: Thriving Families and How to Nurture Them. The Table is a work in progress, a journey we hope you will join. And what about food? How can you have a table without paying attention to the food? The menu will change regularly: a live dinner with invited guests enjoying hand crafted pasta one month and food for thought the next. Stay tuned: when you get invited to a live dinner somewhere in America or a virtual table in cyberspace, be sure to turn up. We hope you will sign on to see what comes up!