At the 2018 AFCPE Symposium, Madeleine Greene was presented the Distinguished Fellow of the Year award. Her acceptance of the award was followed by an emotional, yet empowering, speech telling stories of her time as AFC®. As a true pioneer in the AFCPE community, we thought it was only right to kick-off this year’s #FridayFollowspotlighting the one and only Madeleine Greene. Madeleine, known as the “The Money Lady” by servicemembers, has worked the last 18 years as a financial educator, counselor, and coach. With this title, she believes that this allows the individual to decide how she might be able to best assist.
AFCPE: Madeleine, you have been an AFC® for more than 20 years. What inspired you to enter this field?
Madeleine: My career path as an AFC began in 1992. The State of Maryland (MD) had budget problems and cut the University’s budget. I was given the choice of a transfer or leaving the University. Upon arriving at my new position, I was told “there is a volunteer financial counseling program you will coordinate and you need to become an AFC”. Working toward a secure retirement for myself, I was prepared to jump through all and any hoop that was presented. It was a fast and furious process toward the AFC. Many thanks to Dr. Mary Stephenson for amazing training and opportunities. Marvelous colleagues, volunteers, and class attendees taught me much over those 26 years and for these treasured individuals I am grateful.
AFCPE: What has inspired you to stay connected with AFCPE and this field?
Madeleine: Financial security is key to leading a successful life. Clients tell me on a daily basis how valuable they have found our time together. Positive feedback caused me to abandon my original University of MD retirement plans and continues to give me new found energy every day, to help in some small way a person who wants to do better. Staying involved with AFCPE provides a synergy for excellence by learning from other professionals who are doing amazing things.
AFCPE: A synergy of excellence is truly what you provide to this community! Speaking of, at this year’s Symposium, you were awarded the Celia Hayhoe Distinguished Fellow Award. Congratulations! What did it mean to receive this award?
Madeleine: Receiving the Hayhoe Distinguished Fellow Award was a shock and very humbling. Humbling because I know there are many AFC’s doing wonderful things to help deserving people. Being recognized in front of your peers, especially when you do not expect it, is heavy and sweet. The award has forced me to be retrospective and thankful for all those who have made this career possible. My family especially put up with many hours/days where Mom was away or preoccupied.
AFCPE: What’s next for you? What has you most excited?
Madeleine: Travel for some is not exciting but I am looking forward to January 2, 2019 when I begin an amazing travel schedule to Army Medical Recruiting offices confidentially coaching and counseling our very fine U.S. service members. I am excited because if this year is like last year, I expect to hear over the next six months about the progress they have made financially since my visit a year ago. Perhaps also I will meet someone who will choose to pursue the AFC and a wonderful helping career. It has happened before.
Madeleine Answers the Friday 5:
- My Why: Because I truly believe “knowledge is power for good”
- My Favorite Quote: “Living successfully is forming the right habits with a positive attitude”
- My Hero: My father U.S. Army General Allan R. Greene, he led and served in uniform and as a civilian in the communities where we lived.
- My Favorite Personal Finance Resource: – I have several depending upon the situation.
- My Best Advice:
- For someone starting the journey to financial wellness: First be honest with yourself about your current money and life choices. Set small, reasonable, achievable goals and track your accomplishments no matter how small. Compliment yourself on every positive change that gets you closer to your goals. And if having a “budget buddy” would help don’t be afraid to ask a friend to be you for help coach/buddy.
- For a new professional entering the field: Set realistic goals you can live with, shadow an AFC professional if possible, ask questions about community needs, share your training with community organizations and they will tell others about you. Success doesn’t come overnight it takes time and hard work.
- My advice for a rewarding career: Listen, continue to learn, stick to what you know, be real, exceed expectations, and volunteer where and when needed.
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