Joline Godfrey is providing financial education to young people as a way to ensure their ‚”economic self-defense.‚” Through her Santa Barbara-based company, Independent Means, Inc. (IMI), she offers workshops and summer programs for youth, along with training and publications for youth workers and parents, that make the process of financial education fun and engaging.

Joline explains, ‚”Children at all levels of the economic and class spectrum are targeted to consume 24/7. I create programs that help kids be more than ‚’what I wear,‚’ ‚’what I drive,‚’ or ‚’what toys I possess.‚’‚”

Her book, No More Frogs to Kiss: 99 Ways to Give Economic Power to Girls, helped the major girls organizations rethink the importance of connecting empowerment and independence with basic financial skills. Additionally, IMI trainers are now offering financial education to girls in the criminal justice system.

Joline‚’s new book, No More Dragons to Slay, addresses money and gender issues faced by boys, and is due out this year.

In the last year, IMI‚’s reach has grown beyond domestic borders. Joline sees the company‚’s progress not as an event, but as a process: ‚”I think the important perspective on progress is that it is not linear, but messily chaotic and demanding!‚”

To stay on track with her goals, Joline admits, ‚”I have a payroll to meet and clients who count on me. These are powerful responsibilities and compelling reasons to stay focused!‚” Then she adds, ‚”I love my work. I think that deep engagement in one‚’s work is crucial. If you‚’re not working on something that‚’s a vehicle for realizing some larger purpose, it‚’s easy to be distracted.‚”

She measures success by ‚”the power and well-being of my team, and by the extent to which the company transcends me.‚” She explains, ‚”Long-term, if the company cannot survive without me, it will be a sign that I‚’ve not built a self-sustaining organization.‚”

Her advice to aspiring leaders: ‚”Embrace your weirdness. It‚’s often that part of ourselves we think of as not fitting, different, or alien; that we reject or try to hide. Yet, that‚’s the unique gift that, when nurtured, makes us special. One‚’s weirdness is the fingerprint of the soul‚, our particular aspect of humanity.‚” [1/06]