Neale Godfrey is the unique individual who dreams big dreams and makes them real. She is undaunted by rejection and finds another path to her goal. Her list of accomplishments is awesome. Not only is Neale an astute business woman, she is astonishingly creative. Her home reflects her love of travel and her collection of cats (including two Bengals) gives testimony to her warm and outgoing personality. Her career accomplishments are reflective of her leadership abilities.
Neale explains her stick-to-it work ethic as rooted in the way she was raised. “No doesn’t mean no. It means someone doesn’t understand how to do it.” This was the philosophy imparted to a young Neale Godfrey by her mother. With that mantra, Neale has attacked and overcome obstacles and adversity in her path, becoming a bank president at the age of 34 and then leaving her career to form the Children’s Financial Network to teach children and their parents to take control of their financial futures and author sixteen books on the subject.
The middle of three sisters raised by a single mother, Neale was taught to believe that her potential had no limits. So when a high school career test suggested that she pursue a job as a cigar packer or cherry picker, she ignored that advice and applied to, and was accepted into, the School of International Service at American University. And despite taking a semester off to tour Vietnam (during the war) and work at an orphanage there, she graduated from American University with honors in three years.
CAN YOU TYPE?
Following graduation, Neale visited a personnel agency and was asked, “Can you type?” As her answer was “no,” they sent her to an interview with Chase Manhattan Bank, where she was hired and accepted into the Executive Training Program. Always one to excel, Neale completed the program at the top of her class. She spent the next thirteen years with Chase Manhattan Bank and engineered the Dupont – Conoco merger in 1980, which was the largest merger in the US at that time.
MORE MACARONI NIGHTS THAN FILET MIGNON
In 1985, Godfrey was approached by a client to take a position as President of The First Women’s Bank. With her mother’s voice still in her ear, “no one is born knowing how to be a bank president, you just have to try it,” she accepted the position. Neale was 34 years old and the single mother of two children. During her tenure with The First Woman’s Bank, she was repeatedly struck by how disempowered women were about finances. Determined to raise her own children to be more aware of their finances, she looked for books that she could use as tools to teach them. She found none. Her five-year-old daughter, filled with the same determination that Neale’s mother had instilled in her decades earlier, suggested that her mother write the books herself.
Although no publishers were interested in the topic, not believing that kids and money was a subject worth writing about, Neale and her children decided that this was the right step to take. With the warning to her children that there would be more macaroni nights than filet mignon, she left her position as bank president and set out to prove that educating children about money was a necessary topic.
"...she set out to prove that
educating children about money
was a necessary topic."
Her first step was founding the First Children’s Bank at FAO Schwarz, an FDIC-insured institution that offered checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit for college education to children. In its three years, the First Children’s Bank was wildly successful and created significant press attention that gave Godfrey more clout when re-approaching publishers about her ideas for children’s books about money. In addition to the First Children’s Bank, Neale also partnered with the Institute for Youth Entrepreneurs in Harlem, which began a greeting card business for highly-at-risk children. The successful program gave inner-city kids an opportunity to learn business skills while teaching them to take control of their futures.
In 1989, Neale formed the Children’s Financial Network to empower kids and parents to take charge of their financial future. Since then she has published sixteen books for pre-school through high-school students, including a #1 New York Times Best Seller, Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children. She appears often in the media, including being on such TV shows as: The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNBC, CNN, etc.
Her determination to make this information available on a large scale led Neale to the Deloitte Foundation which became the sponsor of her latest work, LIFE, Inc.: The Ultimate Career Guide For Young People, reaching hundreds of thousands of middle and high school students.
Neale Godfrey is going strong. She has endless energy and ideas. In addition to being involved in the lives of two grown children, she has the added joy of a new grandchild.