I had the pleasure of having coffee with Jennie Dixon at a Dunkin Donuts in Windsor, CT. We sat down and immediately dove into a conversation about empowering women. Jennie is a Professional Chartered Financial Consultant, published author, public speaker, and president of the St. Monica’s Daughter of the King (DOK) chapter.
Right away I could tell Jennie is living her call as a woman of God. Throughout our conversation about her life, her education, her work, and the DOK, she spoke with passion and conviction for what she is doing in her life.
Jennie attended teacher’s college in Jamaica before coming to Connecticut with her mother, brother, and two sisters. Jennie has taught at Central Connecticut State University’s School of Business, Chen Shyen University in China, and completed one year of a PhD program.
Her background and passion: teaching financial literacy to uplift women.
“When I was a financial planner I would see clients that are couples come in,” Jennie said, “all the talking would be done by the men. Women wouldn’t know anything about the finances.”
Jennie said, “I heard God saying, ‘this is your life’s work, this is what you are meant to do … use the gifts you’ve been given to go out and serve women.”
Thusthe fire to pursue educating women in financial planning was lit.
Financial Literacy for All
In 1984, as a single parent, Jennie wrote a book, and I must say the title is rather upfront and to the point. Her book is titled How to Make Ends Meet, and it teaches just that – how to financially survive. There is no sugar coating, no complicated business jargon, no need for an MBA or PhD to comprehend. Her book includes charts, straight-forward definitions, fill-in-the-blank planning tools, and a list of helpful resources.
Jennie’s goal was to make the financial world readable and digestible, for all.
“It doesn’t matter what someone’s budget is. A budget is a budget,” Jennie said. “Traditionally, financial planning was just for the rich, but I am finding that people with lower income need it even more.”
Jennie then started a non-profit: Institute for Personal Financial Literacy. “I had the education and financial background, the credentials were all there,” Jennie said, “why not teach women how to navigate the financial world?”
She received grants from the Mission Development Fund from ECCT, Daughters of the King global, and other funding to begin offering literacy program and 1-on-1 mentoring. One of her first programs with these grants was a financial mentorship for seniors at St. Monica’s. This succeeded and spread throughout ECCT.
“None of these initiatives can be done alone,” she said.
She is currently in the process of rebranding and updating her programs, as well as writing a second book. “The financial world has changed,” she said. She hopes to include chapters on retirement planning, student loans, combining finances, and living wills, to name a few. And I must say as a millennial, I am looking forward to her chapter on how to navigate student loan debt.
Daughter of the King
Jennie became a Daughter of the King in 2004.
There is no current diocesan Daughter of the King chapter for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. The DOK chapter at St. Monica’s, which was founded in 2003, is referred to as the Francis Willis Cornwall chapter.
Jennie told me that this chapter is the only active chapter in ECCT at the moment. However, according to the DOK website, there are seven Senior DOK chapters: Ansonia, New Haven, two in Hartford (including the Francis Willis Cornwall chapter), East Berlin, Middle Haddam, and East Haven; and one Junior DOK chapter in Hartford.
Jennie has served two terms as secretary, then became the president.
“[I] take the vows seriously: prayer, service and evangelism,” Jennie said. For her, the Daughters of the King chapter has helped her to become “closer to God in ongoing discernment.”
There are four major service projects happening at St. Monica’s initiated and continued by the Daughters of the King: Moneywise Mentors (the financial literacy program for seniors), diaper drive, clothing drive for the food pantry, and a pill-bottle drive in collaboration with Kateri Medical Clinics.
Recently, the St. Monica’s chapter welcomed a 96-year-old member into the order, for whom Jennie was the mentor.
“I have seen the benefit [of participating in a DOK chapter],” she said, “my faith has grown stronger. It is all about serving others – using the gifts God has given me to serve others.”
Below are three edits made by Jennie Dixon after this blog was posted.
- Jennie is now past president of the Frances Willis Cornwall DOK chapter at St. Monica’s Church.
- Jennie is currently revising and updating her book – not writing a new book.
- ECCT and DOK grants funded the development and a successful pilot of the Moneywise Mentors financial mentoring program. Due to lack of support from her DOK sisters and then church leadership, the program was discontinued. Her hope is that with God’s help she will be able to re-launch the program.