Raising Generous Kids: Philanthropy, Parenting, and Personal Growth with Meg George

Episode Overview

In a world where the buzzwords "philanthropy" and "charity" often evoke images of billionaires and vast sums of money, it's easy to feel that meaningful giving is out of reach for the average person. However, the true essence of philanthropy lies not in the amount given but in the intentionality and mindfulness behind each act of generosity.

As Meg George, a renowned philanthropy consultant, emphasizes, intentional philanthropy is about more than just donating money. It’s about making deliberate choices to create a positive impact on the world, aligning these actions with our values and teaching the next generation to do the same.

The Role of Intentionality in Philanthropy

Meg George highlights that many people have the perception that wealthy families have an easy time deciding how to allocate their resources. However, the reality is that it requires significant thought and planning. Families must be deliberate about where they make philanthropic investments to ensure their contributions align with their values and drive the outcomes they desire.

"People want to feel like their gifts are impactful," says Meg. Whether it's a hundred dollars or a million, the goal is to make a meaningful difference. This mindset shift is crucial because it transforms giving from a passive act into an active and engaging process.

Teaching Generosity to the Next Generation

One of the most compelling aspects of Meg George’s work is her focus on educating the next generation about the power of generosity. Her children’s book, What's Philanthropy to Philomena, is designed to introduce young minds to the concept of philanthropy in a way that is accessible and engaging.

Benefits of Teaching Philanthropy to Children:

  1. Early Awareness: Introducing children to philanthropy helps them understand the importance of giving back from a young age.
  2. Cultivating Empathy: It nurtures empathy and compassion, encouraging children to think about the needs of others.
  3. Building a Legacy: Teaching philanthropy creates a legacy of generosity that can be passed down through generations.

Practical Steps to Practice Intentional Philanthropy

For those inspired to adopt a more intentional approach to their giving, Meg George offers several practical steps:

  1. Define Your Values: Understand what causes resonate most with you and why. This clarity will guide your philanthropic efforts.
  2. Research Organizations: Take the time to research and vet the organizations you consider supporting to ensure their missions align with your values.
  3. Plan Your Giving: Develop a plan for how much you want to give and over what period. Consider both monetary donations and volunteering your time.
  4. Engage Your Family: Involve your family in philanthropic discussions and decisions. This collective approach can strengthen family bonds and ensure everyone is committed to the cause.

The Impact of Mindful Philanthropy

Mindful philanthropy not only benefits the recipients but also profoundly impacts the giver. As Meg notes, producing something in writing, like her children's book, becomes part of her legacy, allowing her to see the positive effects of her work even on days when she’s not actively promoting it.

Meg's story illustrates that philanthropy is not reserved for the wealthy. It’s a practice that everyone can adopt, regardless of financial status. By giving intentionally and mindfully, we can create a ripple effect of positivity and change.

Resources from this Episode:

Connect with and learn more about Meg:

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Episode Transcript for Raising Generous Kids: Philanthropy, Parenting, and Personal Growth with Meg George

Kelly Berry (00:00): Hi friends and welcome back to Life Intended. I'm your host Kelly Berry. Life Intended is a podcast that explores what it means to be true to yourself and live an authentic and purposeful life. Each episode explores my guest's version of personal growth, self-discovery, and the pursuit of becoming the best version of themselves, as well as how to find the joy in the journey. I'm excited and honored to introduce today's guest, Meg George. Meg is a mom, writer, speaker, and consultant on impactful philanthropy who finds fulfillment in educating the next generation of philanthropists on the power and joy of generosity. As living proof that you can earn a French degree but pursue any career path that your heart desires, she and her husband Phil co-balance running their consultancy, George Philanthropy Group, with raising their very own good humans in South Florida and upstate New York. She launched her debut children's book, What's Philanthropy to Philomena in 2023 with the goal of inspiring people of all ages to realize the power and joy of generosity. Meg is a passionate advocate for food allergy awareness with essays on her personal experiences related to this published on today.com and in Business Insider. Welcome to the podcast, Meg. It's so great to have you.

Meg George (01:19): Thank you. It's great to be here, Kelly.

Kelly Berry (01:23): Awesome. Well, there are so many, you know, I just read your bio, but there are so many great and inspiring things that you're doing. So I'm really excited to just talk through those here with you today and our listeners just more about you and what you're all about. So, yeah. So let's just start with your work because I think philanthropy consultant is not something that probably a lot of people are familiar with or what you do. So just tell us a little bit about what it is that you all do.

Meg George (01:39): Thank you. I hope in the future that people will actually go to school with the purpose of having this job, but for now, all of us in this field have fallen into it, I think, unexpectedly. And working in philanthropy means that you facilitate in some way making the world better, doing good, the actions that improve the people and the things that need us the most. So in fundraising, people have the chance to solicit and secure gifts for nonprofit organizations in order to improve their programs and spaces and offerings. And that has become mostly understood and pretty obvious, I think, by a lot of people. But as a philanthropy consultant or advisor, I actually am working directly with those people at nonprofits who have to solicit gifts and ensuring that they know the most effective and efficient way to do that at really high levels. So there are the mailers and the email blasts that everyone's used to getting a lot of. But when you read in the news or you hear a story about a hundred million dollar project or a one billion dollar project, there's usually five or 10 families making up a pretty big chunk of the money that's given away to institutions who are in an initiative, a campaign of that sort, of that caliber. And my husband and I advise people on how you would facilitate those huge investments at the really high levels that totally transform organizations and therefore the communities and countries even sometimes that they're in. I also advise families on how to give their money away really meaningfully because people want to feel like their gifts are impactful. I mean, even if we're giving a hundred dollars away, we hope it's being used really well and driving some sort of outcome. So I help families set up a foundation where they can go through that process in a really legitimate and organized way and train their kids, different generations, on how to be philanthropic too.

Kelly Berry (04:13): I love that. So it sounds like, you know, we'll talk about the helping advise families. I think that that, you know, when I think of life intended or living intentionally, I think that that fits really well. So do you sometimes work with families who really don't know how they're gonna give away their money or do you help them like figure out what are your intentions or what are things that are important to you so they can come up with that plan?

Meg George (04:40): Yeah, we use the word intentional or deliberate almost every single day for that reason. People have this perception of wealthy families that it must be so luxurious and nice to make a decision every single day on what you're going to do with all of your money and where you're going to allocate all of your extra resources. But the reality is that it's hard to give your money away really well or really intentionally, to use your word. And that's because there are so many millions at this point of nonprofits fighting for few families' money relative to how many people live on this world. And those families have to be super deliberate about where they're going to make an investment. I use that word kind of loosely because I know that investments are typically things that generate more money and in this case I'm talking about a philanthropic investment. So it's not going to generate more money but it is going to generate a positive impact on a community in the world and they have a lot of thinking to do and a lot of due diligence and usually they have a lot of questions so I am very grateful that my job exists because I love doing it but it also shows me that people are really waking up to how they can live with intention every single day even if they say I'm so fortunate because a I inherited this or I'm so fortunate because I worked really hard maybe I got a little lucky and I have a lot of money that I can give away but I wanted do it in a way that is super aligned with what I care about and super well aligned with generating outcomes that I'd like to see.

Kelly Berry (06:37): So you also mentioned, you know, in your bio and, you know, talking about families and how to teach people philanthropy, specifically children. you wrote a children's book, which is one of the reasons, you know, when I about who you are, that really stood out to me because one of my goals this year is also to write a children's book because I think it's just an amazing way to give back and, you know, like put the messages out into the world that you think are important and watch them grow. So you did this with a book on philanthropy. And so talk a little bit about what that means to you, why you did it, and how you're going about getting your message out.

Meg George (07:17): Well, it's a lot easier to write the words of the book than actually get the book in people's hands. I'll tell you that. I was home, just like everybody else, with my kids every day during the pandemic, and I felt like we were reading a whole lot of books. I was in upstate New York at the time and it was freezing cold. And I told my husband, we don't have one book that has the word philanthropy in it. Granted, my children were small, but I argue not too young to learn the word philanthropy. I don't think any of them are. And I was like, I'm going to write one because, you at the same time that I'm home reading all these books and using books as lessons about anything, every parent knows there's a book about going to school for the first time, using the potty, you know, beds, all this stuff. And I think that they are a great tool to invite a conversation in a really disarming way about a new topic. But also I learn and my parents when they're reading the book or teachers, nannies, caregivers, anybody who's reading to children is also taking in the information too. So I said to him, I'm going to write this book because at the same time that this is happening, we're also starting to work with some more families who are inviting their children into conversations. And there's something very fascinating that's happening with money in America, which is that we use the word next gen a lot or rising gen, rising generations. And it used to be that the next gen of billionaires are people who are like 56 years old and they're, you know, maybe they're inheriting their parents' money. And then all of a sudden we started to get calls from people who are saying, hey, this person wants to be really philanthropic super deliberately and he wants you to train his daughters on being a part of it, they're 17 and 19, right? So I'm like, wow, times are changing. Not that my children's book is suitable for a 17 year old, but what if we get out ahead of that? Whether or not any of the kids right now who have a copy of my book become billionaires, if they grow up to believe that they are philanthropists, that's what they'll be.And whether that's with $20 because it's what they have or a million dollars because it's what they have, it should be a household conversation just like anything else. It's the only way that the trends and charity are going to change is if everybody rising in the next gen grows up with this as basic knowledge and understanding of part of life.

Kelly Berry (10:10): Right. It's another one of those like practical life things that people should be talking about and they should be learning about, but that we're not when we're learning about all of these other things that really aren't going to help shape us as people or really be useful in the future at all. Yeah. So how are you getting your book out there in the message and what have you seen as a result of it?

Meg George (10:27): Yeah, it's so true. Yeah, so I launched my book at the Breakers in Palm Beach, which was really, really fun and definitely one of the most fulfilling experiences I've had in my life. And I felt like at that point, there was enough attention around the event itself that it opened some doors for me to introduce the book to different groups. And any chance I've had to speak at a school, whether that be a public school or a private school, different messaging, or a bookshop or a children's boutique, any place that really will have me, I've gone to and signed copies and spoken to children and asked them questions and let them ask me questions. And it has been incredibly rewarding to say the least and really funny. I mean, the things that these kids say or ask. Almost every school has had a child who's asked me if returning their things back to Amazon is philanthropy, which is so great because it's been a really good starting point for the rest of the conversation on what it is. And the response has been almost emotional for me. It's been so positive from parents and teachers who say, we've never had a book like this. I bought five more copies. I had one person say, I shipped these books to Australia. I know they don't have anything like this over there. So I don't even know. It's crazy to think of that. I don't even know all the people who have my book, but I went to a gala in Palm Beach not so long ago the woman sitting next to me said,My son loves this book about philanthropy, about this little girl and someone, a friend gifted it to us for at the holidays and I was like, I wrote that book. She was like, no way. She took out her phone and she showed me a video of him reading the book and the world is really small and with my kind of personality and probably yours too, you constantly need to be feeling like you're having an impact and you're doing something and you're bringing something to the world and making it better. Like I'm so driven by that. And once you produce something in writing, it's like part of your legacy. Like even on my days that feel slow, good things are happening from what's in the book. So I keep trying to tell myself like, It's okay if you're not promoting it all day every day, because you do get sick of the self-promotion aspect of it, but I do try to mark my calendar for posts or outreach to more libraries and schools and boutiques. And I think it's really, it's easy to do that around the holidays when generosity is on people's minds, but overall it's going really positively.

Kelly Berry (13:36): Mm -hmm. That's great. I'm going to include the link to your book in the show notes. I've not ordered it yet, but I'm going to. I have a daughter who's going to be two next week. So be introducing that to her as well. amazing. And I think, you know, I definitely relate to the wanting to make an impact. And, you know, part of my goal with this podcast is really just to highlight people's stories and bring awareness to things. And I think that sounds like, you know, what the book is all about, you know, bringing awareness to what it is and, and helping people at a young age truly understand what it is so they can figure out how they're going to make it a part of their lives as they grow and, you know, different opportunities present themselves. love guess let's shift gears because we are both moms and I got two young children and older right?

Meg George (14:36): Yeah, I do. I have two teenage step-sons and then I have a son who's eight and a daughter who's six.

Kelly Berry (14:43): Okay, talk to us some because in your introduction, I talked about your daughter's experience or your, you know, really your all's experience with food allergies. And I would love to, I know part of your mission is to bring awareness to that too. So I'd love to give you some time to talk about that and your experience as well.

Meg George (15:02): Thank you for asking about that. My daughter had gone through a really horrific allergic reaction to cashew milk ice cream a couple of years ago and we didn't know at the time that she was allergic to cashew. So it's food allergies are this really life this life-threatening sickness that people have that's not always recognized as such. because there is a mentality around it being an inconvenience. And guess what? It is super inconvenient to feel like you can't just go anywhere and eat or to feel like when your friends come over, you have to ask them to wash their hands and not bring certain snacks. But the more that people know about food allergies, I think the more lives that can be saved. And there's some really selfless and incredibly brave people work a lot in the nonprofit space around food allergy awareness and advocacy that's as a result, unfortunately, of their own children passing. I know there's multiple organizations but one prominent one that's close to my heart is Red Sneakers for Oakley and Oakley was this beautiful boy who passed away really just suddenly and devastatingly. after eating nuts. His parents wished that they knew more about his food allergies and wished that they carried around epinephrine, which we all know as an epipen. I read about this story and then just weeks later my own daughter went into anaphylaxis and needed an epipen. I didn't have any with me, but somebody in the crowd where I was did and he administered it to my daughter. She's fine, although she has needed it again, but we've had our own and we've known what to do. So I want to advocate for cheaper EpiPens, more access to EpiPens, EpiPens in all of the same places that you would see a defibrillator, which I know that people are advocating for more of those too. So I'm enjoying the forces of people who have already devoted a lot of years to their lives of making sure that we know what to do when someone's having an allergic reaction and there's just no stopping really fierce moms when they're on a mission. And so I, like I said, I just joined this movement of people who are like, we're too impacted by this to not do something.

Kelly Berry (17:45): Yeah, so I know you've been on some other podcasts talking about it and you yourself have written some articles. And part of what you've talked about is, you know, almost like recovering from the experience that you had where she had an allergic reaction and, you it was life threatening and it was very scary. So can you talk to that? Like, how have you all been healing and what does that journey look like for you all?

Meg George (18:14): I'm so glad we can talk about this in 2024 because I think about my parents' generation all of the time and the things that they probably went through that I don't even know about that you just didn't discuss. And I am just as much of an advocate, I think, for mental health. I've been through so many things between postpartum depression and having anxiety that without medication and therapy, there's a lot of times in my life that were felt really impossible to get through. And the same is true for following my daughter's allergic reaction. It took me a long time to feel like I could write about it and speak about it without the emotional aspect of it overwhelming me. And it doesn't matter if you work or don't work or have money or don't have money or where you live, when it comes to something like this happening to your child, it shakes you so much and it's really consuming. And following it, I tried really hard to just constantly be grateful, right? Like, she's alive, we can move on, I need to get back to work, she needs to get back to school. But I think that I've accepted more recently that the only way to get to the other side of anything is through it. And I've had so many tendencies to go around everything and just living through it and reliving the experience and going back to where it happened and meeting the person who saved her life and meeting these wonderful people who founded Red Sneakers for Oakley. It's like all of these things have just been little steps in healing myself to a point where I can talk about the experience in a healthy way. And now I know I meant to. I have to take what happened to me and I have to help save other people and raise more awareness. So I'm not shy to say that I spent a lot of time in therapy because I did and I wrote that in the article for the Today Show and I got so many emails, Kelly, of other parents basically saying thank you for saying that part of it because... If your child has anything and you need therapy, you're almost just wondering like, is this just easier for everyone else? Why is parenting so hard? Then you add one more challenging thing to it and it just feels like a little too much, right? So we all, the more honest we all are about how hard this is, we just feel less alone, feels better.

Kelly Berry (20:45): Yeah, sure. Yeah, yeah, I've had even just since starting this podcast, I've had more conversations with people who've heard something maybe a guest has said or something I've said on the podcast where, you know, they just think, you know, I'm the only one who has a hard time with this or I'm the only one who thinks, you know, this experience is hard or, you know, that everybody else can just like handle more than me. And to your point, you know, it.

Meg George (21:27): Yeah.

Kelly Berry (21:29): I think it's hard for all of us. And until we're getting these stories out and being like a combination of a little bit more vulnerable and a little bit more willing to like lean into it, then we're just gonna continue on that path. But I think, you know, when anything like that happens, and this is kind of a combination of my own personal experience and then like reading a lot about experiences like yours, you know, the feelings are complex because on one side you're thankful and on the other side you are mourning a lot. There's a lot that any type of situation like this, you're losing things. You're losing, you mentioned like freedom. Your daughter is now expected to be an advocate for herself and grow up really fast. And there's just a lot of things that you have to take the time to process because if not, you're just gonna be full of anxiety or. You know, if you don't let the emotions out, like they're going to come out in some way, whether it's anxiety or illness or anything like that.

Meg George (22:35): 100 % I think I mourned the most the idea that we'll ever live a life that's like stress free and I am fully aware when I say that that no one is but it's so nice and easy to dream that your life would have been perfect without this thing and I still have moments where I'm just not having a good day and I let myself go there where I'm like, her college, it's going to be the most dangerous and stressful four years of her life. Or like, you know, I let myself go to those places. I think all of us have those like hours, especially before bed when I stayed up too late. And I'm like, what's the worst possible thoughts I could have right now just to keep myself up a little bit later and. You know, before I doom scroll for an hour, how anxious can I get myself? But I've said them all out loud now and I've said them to my therapist and my husband and I'm like, it's all going to be okay because it all has to be. It all has to go the way that it's supposed to go and the things that I can control I'm going to do. But if I control them so tightly and if I'm living, with such fear of death, I'm not really living. Like I'm on this earth to experience whatever I'm the most aligned with. And I know part of it is being aligned for advocacy, but I'm not 100 % here to be just doing that or just doing my job or just parenting my children. So finding like what can fulfill me between spanning the breadth of these different things, I think has been like a really healthy journey.           

Kelly Berry (24:28): Mm -hmm. Yeah, it sounds like it and it does sound like there's so much alignment in like what you're doing and what you experienced and the almost like Don't know the window into how you can use your experience To help others. So, you know, although hard I do think that there's a lot of value that you're probably contributing and you know truly a lot of lives that you'll be able to save because you have info and the platform to do that with.

Meg George (25:00): Yeah, I hope so.

Kelly Berry (25:02): Yeah. So me another thing you mentioned in your bio was like, you know, you all are raising good humans. So I always like to talk to other moms about like what your philosophy is on parenting or what your even like intentions are. So can you talk a little bit about like how you all go about parenting and raising these good humans?

Meg George (25:24): Yeah, and if you asked me a month ago, my answer probably would have been even different than it is today. And three months before that, different yet again. So I'm constantly evolving as a parent, but I'll tell you my controversial latest thing is that I'm just not reading any more about parenting. I don't like don't send me an article. I'm done learning right now. This is my sabbatical from learning. Now I'm just doing. I'll tell you this interesting analogy that I keep applying to so much of life, which is that I know this woman, Nancy Brinker, who a lot of people know. She is a former US ambassador and she founded Susan G. Coleman, which is really the most probably widely known breast cancer research nonprofit, maybe in the world, probably in our country though. And there's so much research done on breast cancer that we know a ton about it. And thank God, because tons of lives are being saved through everything that we found out and we needed money to find all of that out. But then Nancy said to herself, here I am living in Palm Beach and all of these women are dying of breast cancer. She's like, what the heck is going on? And she realizes that these women are just not getting screened for breast cancer. Well, that's how you find out if you have it. We know this. We spent years and who knows how much money finding this out. So she founded a new nonprofit called The Promise Fund where she goes to the root of the problem. She hires patient navigators and they take women and they go to, they go pick them up because women were like, I don't have a way of getting there. She hires patient navigators who speak Spanish, for example, because the women are like, I don't understand what you're saying. I don't speak the same language as you. She finds patient navigators who can help access free childcare because she just, this woman would love to get screened and she feels a lump in her breast, but she can't find a babysitter for her four little kids, right? So Nancy's like, what the heck? These are practical problems. We need to take everything we learned at Susan G. Coleman and we need to put it into action. No more talk, no more reading, no more thinking. We need to do. And that's how I feel about so many things right now in my life. It's like, I know what works in my job in philanthropy. I know that books work. So I'm like, I need to stop talking about it. I need to write a book and then I need to get it in people's hands. And I've read so much about how to parent a child who has huge feelings or who is gifted or who is all these different things. And now I'm like, I am done reading. I am just doing. So that's my first thing I'll say is like, I'm in my just doing era. I don't want to read one more book on how to be a parent. I'm like, I have instincts. I am a mother. I know what's best for my team. I need to trust myself. And when I don't, I need to ask the other people that I trust what they would do. And I can take that or leave it. I don't have to do exactly what they say. So I've had this like revelation in the last few weeks and I would say that that is helping me just make decisions like on the spot to stop caring so much about what other people think. Because when I'm on like Instagram way too much on all these parenting accounts, I start getting kind of nervous that I'm not doing the right thing or my friends are doing it differently or that people at my kids school or the playground or whatever are going to judge me because... there's 400,000 likes on this post, even though I don't agree with it. And now I'm like, no, I need to sit in my own truth of who I am as a mom. And I have one child who's like, really loves to share emotions and feelings so impulsively. And I shouldn't be so embarrassed by that. That's not a reflection of me being a bad mom. That's me just allowing that human being to work through their feelings at that time and we're going to come to the other side of it. So lately I'm like being raising good humans means that I need to be completely honest with my kids about when I'm being philanthropic, how I like to be generous, when I think of something I'm even starting to be honest with them about politics because we live in Florida and they ask they say so and so loves this person or so and so said this person's awful and I say this is my opinion but you're going to create your own opinion you're going to have your own gut and your own judgments of how this all goes so my advice to anyone who's like on the journey or feels like there's just so much noise you just want your kids to be good solid people is you probably already know what to do, so just do it. And don't worry that we're all judging you or thinking that you're a bad mom because your kids flip out or because you parent really gently or because you take your kids and you leave a restaurant when something's happening. It's like, no, we just need to respect who you are as a parent. And that's what I expect of people. And the less I care of what they think, the more secure I feel in my family unit of being like, telling my kids like, you're great people and here's the things you need to do to continue to be great people.

Kelly Berry (31:14): Yeah, that's great. A common theme that has come up in the past several interviews I've done too is that trusting your instinct. So I love that you're like applying that to parenting. You know, as a mom of a young child, you are so right. Like there is, it is information overload out there on what to do, how to act, how to handle, what to expect. And the truth is, you know, you just, you do kind of have to just do. And you do need to sit with like, what kind of children do I want to raise and how do I want to be? Like, how do I want to be as a mom? How do I want my relationship to be? But then you know what to do. And the more you act on it, the more confidence you'll have in those decisions and that you're doing the right thing and that, you know, you're doing the right thing for your kids and your family dynamic and your goals and not somebody else's that has a big account. Yeah, yeah, I love Yeah, shift a little bit back to work because another thing that you and I have in common is that we both work with our husbands. So you mentioned in the beginning you have a French degree, so just talk a little bit like how you came to start doing what you do and working with your husband and what that's like.

Meg George (32:36): Yeah, it's not through the faint of heart, but I've only ever known it really. So I went to college in upstate New York and then in central New York and Syracuse and I stayed there and worked at my alma mater in their advancement office, which is what these institutions essentially call the fundraising and marketing communications offices. And my job was to go meet with alums in different cities and solicit them for gifts. So I would go to like New York City and DC, Philadelphia, and honestly like it's places I had never gone before. I grew up, I never really ever left Central New York growing up except once to on a class trip to France which is when I decided I would get a French degree. So that says a lot about me as a person. I am a planner, but I didn't have a good plan with the French degree. However, I think I had that was probably my first gut trusting moment because I was like, this is going to work out. But my parents are asking a lot of questions. I don't have all the answers. So I'm going to have to, you know, keep them content for a few years here until I know exactly what the future will be. But I know there will be one. And I don't know where it's going to be. I just know I won't be a teacher. So when my alma mater was like, you should apply for this job, and I'll send you around and you seem bold and friendly enough, you know, would you do it? I was like, yeah, why not? Right? And I met a lot of interesting people and I learned a lot about the world. And that was the first time that I realized I knew very little and that I had not been exposed to really anything at all. And so then I had this huge hunger to ask people all these questions about their job and why and their family and their values and money started to interest me. And of course I was asking people for it, but for generosity, which was so different than the ways that these people were making money and thinking about money. My husband actually ended up coming there and working at the same place as me. He had a totally different path. He worked as a lawyer and worked at a different institution before this one. And we both went on to other jobs, but stayed together and decided that we like loved this and that we were good at it. And we left our jobs and founded our firm and started with one client, just like every firm does and grew it from there. And so, At my first job, I worked with him and then it was not so long thereafter that we ended up working together again and have ever since.

Kelly Berry (35:32): Nice. I always tell people when they ask me, you know, like, what is it like? Or normally they don't ask. What they say is I could never work with my husband. You what mean? Like, I don't know how you do that. I could never do that. And for us, it's kind of always been what we've known too. But I always, you know, follow up with it's, it is hard, but it's amazing. Like it is hard for me to think that I could know my husband as well as I do without having that working relationship.

Meg George (36:02): I know, I feel the very, very same way. I do, yeah.

Kelly Berry (36:05): Yeah, but you just get to see a different side of them that you just wouldn't be exposed to if you weren't working together. So it's complex, but it's extremely rewarding, I think.

Meg George (36:18): It is. We have to, like, the most work we've had to do in the past couple of years has been having a separation in our relationship between being colleagues and spouses and co-parenting partners, which is basically like a whole other job, it feels like. And so I do really respect the idea communication, space time that is devoted just to one thing or the other or the other and it's hard to have that kind of discipline but you feel it when you don't. Like we just had to be on a zoom together and we were like yelling at each other about my close being. Oliver and I was like if you were my colleague you could never just yell at me like me that there's clothes everywhere. He's like, I can't work like this. I was like, okay, well, maybe if you were my colleague, you could be like, why are your clothes everywhere? We're trying to work here. But the lights are blurred. You got to know how to work through them a little bit.

Kelly Berry (37:22): Mm Yep. I totally understand that too, because, you know, as a business owner, as a mother, as a wife, and all of the other roles really that you have, it just feels like the space that you have to communicate about anything is shrunk. And so, you know, you do have to be like a very effective communicator, be like very clear about, okay, now I'm going to shift from talking about that to talking about this totally separate thing and We gotta move on. We just gotta move through things. Yeah. It's hard, but fun. And rewarding. It's pretty incredible to build something together, I feel like Hard but fun.

Meg George: It is. It's like, my husband has a tendency to always want more and to get the next thing and to like, I think move the goal line, move the goalpost. And I'm not like that. I'm pretty reflective and comfortable in looking back and celebrating what we've done and feeling really accomplished. And we balance each other out in that way because I can't get too comfortable. You only eat what you kill when you own your own business and my husband has to push us. But I also have to temper him to say like we did achieve that and we did. We need to be proud of that. And you know I'm also really I would say passionate too about equity in households and so it makes it even easier for me to like think about and speak on that topic because we work together. Eve Rodzki has written two books that I love. One is Fair Play and one is like Unicorn Space or Finding Your Unicorn Space, I think it's called. And she is a total pioneer in the space around making sure that things are equitable. That doesn't mean equal. Someone might be a stay at home dad or a stay at home mom and handle a whole lot of tasks. But another parent who works outside of the household comes home and then has to have his or her responsibilities as well. So when you both work outside of the household and in the household, the work that you do in the household is unpaid labor. So we have that conversation like somewhat frequently because the worst thing in the world is playing tit for tat and keeping track of what you do and what the other person does. But the best conversation in the world is just agreeing upfront the things that you'll do and not bringing them up. So I like that part of working together. It's like, we both know what we're doing during the work day. And sometimes during the work day, he hears me on the phone for a while trying to get through to my son's pulmonologist, right? Or I'll ask him to do that because I'm getting on a Zoom. So that's made it nice for parenting too.

Kelly Berry (40:15): Yeah you were actually the first person that I ever like post about Fair Play or I think maybe you mentioned it on your website and I've looked it up but since then I feel like I've seen it everywhere and I've listened to a few podcasts that she's been on and that is you know like it definitely feels very close to home because we do have that like work together you know parent together home together relationship but I think that's such a great book and concept for everybody because that I just feel like that resentment can just fester and cause all kinds of problems. And she just gives you like, you know, language to talk about it and ways to, you know, like you said, even if it's not equal, you know, there's some awareness, responsibility, and just sometimes like reallocation of things that can just make you appreciate the other person a lot more.

Meg George (41:39): Totally. Eve's amazing and she used to be a philanthropy advisor, so feels like a kindred spirit.

Kelly Berry (41:48): Really? Nice. Yeah, I did not know that about her. Yeah, but I think that that's a great book and concept and I know she's got a lot of tools with that as well. And I think isn't fair play. She has created an entire like nonprofit around it.

Meg George (41:59): Yeah. She has, she has, there's like, yeah, there's a Fair Play Institute, there's that deck of cards. I know Reese Witherspoon has really taken on promoting the concept also through video, I think too. So there's so many ways now to get access to it. Like I gift the book to people a lot. I mean, you can't really gift the book to couples that you see bicker because, you know, it's a little offensive, but people who are getting married you can give it to. And I usually say to them, like, I know typically, right, husbands like to say, I'm not reading that book, just tell me what it's about. But that's your first son that you both need to read the book. So I think she has revolutionized men also being vulnerable about the things that they want to do in a household to make it feel smoother. It's like who doesn't want a really positive relationship with your spouse? It's a win -win for all.

Kelly Berry (42:46): yeah, definitely. That's great. I'm glad you brought that up. So we're approaching time. I have one last topic I'd like to talk about or question, I guess, and then a couple of end of the podcast questions. What is a message that you would like to send out to the world?

Meg George (43:03): I would love to tell the world that philanthropy is a word that feels like it's been reserved for billionaires and that we need to rely on people who have the most possible money to make a world better, but we don't have to wait for that and we don't have to reserve it for them. We can all find ways to be generous through our time or the things we already have or our money. And we can teach our kids the same, that they have things that they don't use or they don't need or better yet, that someone else could really use or need more than them. That our kids have skills that they can offer to the world without a return. Everything does not need to be something that makes it more likely for us to get into college and get a scholarship and be seen as some amazing person to people. The universe will reward your children for just being good people and they're not too young to learn that.

Kelly Berry (44:09): Nice. I have two end of the podcast questions for first is what is something personally or professionally that you would like to accomplish this year?

Meg George (44:19): Ooh, that's a good question. I've been thinking a lot about this because how is it almost June? June is this halfway mark of the year. And then you're like, I need to light a fire under my behind to get my things done. I would really like to formalize my participation in some advocacy around like EpiPen legislation. I know that.

Kelly Berry (44:26): Yeah, yeah.

Meg George (44:46): They feel so expensive to families who need multiple packs of EpiPens for school and camp and home and you know, whoever's house they're going to. And that's not right. And I want to help with that. And I need to make sure that I'm always putting myself in a position to be activated as formally as I can be so that I'm really genuinely helping with like tangible outcomes there. And professionally, I would really like to make sure that I build upon the outreach I did with my book last holiday season to do even more this holiday season outside of the communities I've already touched so that this doesn't just feel like a book came out. And so we promoted it and this woman came and signed some copies but that philanthropy is an annual conversation that we get really familiar with and it's a family tradition for families everywhere. So I want to just blow up that conversation if I can.

Kelly Berry (45:58): Yeah, I love both of those. Very well suited and very impactful. So that's great. And then last question is, how do you recharge?

Meg George (46:09): I do some guided meditations on my phone. I want to be better at meditating. I have like a million thoughts all the time. I feel like a lot of, you know, people who I tend to meet and talk to experience the same, but finding time to sit in quiet and be like comfortable with it. I used to avoid because it was scary to be alone with my own thoughts and it was scary to not be productive. But now I think that being alone and in quiet helps me recharge even though I resisted it. So lately, like within the last six months, I'm using the Calm app to just release whatever I can that's being, you know, kind of trapped in this head of mine and try to come out after 20 minutes feeling a little lighter.

Kelly Berry (47:06): Mm -hmm. Yeah, I love that too. I think a lot of high achievers or just in general, people who are living, I think, like an authentic life. Because I think when you're living an authentic life or doing something that's true to you, you do have a lot of thoughts and a lot of ideas and your mind is busy, but it's because you're excited about a lot of things and you're driven. And I think that when you shift the value from productivity to rest and you start to put some value on that rest that it is really good for you know, your mind, your health and everything like that. So Yeah, that's great. Well, this has been an amazing conversation. I'm so appreciative of your time and I think that there's so many great messages in here and I'm excited to get it out and let people hear it.

Meg George (47:43): Yeah, I agree too. Thanks for asking me all of these questions and being intentional to steal your theme on who you're bringing on and what you're sharing with the world. I appreciate you.

Kelly Berry (48:10): Well, thank you. I appreciate you as well. And we will talk to you later. Bye.

Meg George (48:14): Thanks.