May 30, 2023

The Business of Meetings – Episode 168 – 18 Summers – Leveraging Family Board Meeting

We are excited to speak with Jamie and Jim Shiels today! They are the Founders of 18 Summers and The Family Board Meeting.

Jamie and Jim work together and they are amazing entrepreneurs! They join us to share their wisdom and talk about life, family, priorities, business, entrepreneurship, and the concept they came up with called 18 Summers. They also dive into how we must enjoy our relationships with our children because they will leave home after just 18 summers!

About Jim & Jamie Sheils

Boy meets girl. That’s always the simple story in movies. In real life, it’s a lot more complicated.

When 18 Summers founders Jim and Jamie Sheils first met, they faced a whole new challenge. Suddenly, they were a blended family, with the challenges of disconnection and time scarcity that all families face. It was Family Board Meetings that bridged the gap, helping a new family connect, and helping the kids find sure footing on uncertain ground.

Now, through 18 Summers, Jim and Jamie reach families and organizations around the world, helping them discover the benefits of quality time and enduring relationships.

About Jamie Sheils

Co-Founder, 18 Summers

Jamie Sheils founded Florida’s only Waldorf-inspired public charter school and directed a Public Montessori Charter School. She has also developed and implemented programs in several other public and private schools.

She is the grateful ringleader of four beautiful children ranging in age from toddler to teen.

Along with her husband, Jim Sheils, entrepreneur and author of The Family Board Meeting, she founded the 18 Summers movement.

About Jim Sheils

Co-Founder, 18 Summers

When YPO, EO, Harvard University, and other world-class organizations want to help their people succeed at home, they call on Jim Sheils.

There’s a reason people call him “Crazy Glue for Families.”

In keynote presentations, workshops, team events, and private consulting, Jim has helped hundreds of top entrepreneurs and thought leaders around the world focus and implement where it really counts – at home.

Different backgrounds

Jamie and Jim came from different backgrounds. Jim was in real estate and business, and Jamie was in education. Jamie had two boys and had full custody of them after leaving a negative relationship. When Jim came into their lives, they all had trust issues. Fortunately, Jim’s love and adoration for the boys helped to bring everyone together as a blended family. As they navigated their relationships, Jim’s entrepreneurship and Jamie’s education came together to create the framework for The Family Board Meeting.

The Family Board Meeting

The Family Board Meeting is a framework developed by Jim and Jamie for their blended family, inspired by the quarterly board meetings of entrepreneurial companies. It started as gym coupons that the boys could cash in for a day with Jim every 90 days, and it helped strengthen their relationships. They wrote a book about it, which gained a grassroots following and has impacted at least 300,000 families. They hope to reach 2 million families with their concept of one-on-one time to deepen and strengthen family relationships.

The Dinnertime Challenge

The average dinnertime in the US has drastically decreased from 90 minutes in the past to just under 12 minutes in 2017. To combat this, Jamie and Jim created “the dinnertime challenge” during the pandemic, where electronics and media get turned off for an hour during dinnertime, allowing for decompression and better communication among family members. Jamie and Jim’s family also include the daily practice of sharing their best and weirdest fun and freaky moments at dinnertime to strengthen their relationships.

Make the most of the time you have with your children

A study shows that parents typically spend most of their time with their children during the first 18 years, after which their children become more independent. Parents should create memorable experiences with their children, such as quarterly one-on-one days without electronic devices. The goal is to create guideposts for the relationships and prevent time from passing by too quickly without meaningful interactions.

Healing ourselves and our relationships

Healing ourselves and our relationships with our children can positively affect future generations. There is value in being intentional and present in our interactions with our children and creating consistent rhythms and experiences they can rely on. The goal is to create a lasting habit of prioritizing quality time and one-on-one interactions. That habit can get passed down through generations to ensure deep and lasting relationships between parents and children.

The focus of The Family Board Meeting

The Family Board Meeting focuses on spending quality one-on-one time with each child every quarter. There are three rules: One-on-one time, no electronics, and the child plans the day. The family board meeting is an opportunity for family members to give one another sincere compliments and apologies, which helps to strengthen their relationships.

Working together as a couple

Their family has three main buckets: The family enterprise led by Jamie, the real estate enterprise led by Jim, and the 18 Summers enterprise they run together. Jamie and Jim try to communicate and understand their roles and responsibilities in each bucket in order to work effectively.

Playing into each other’s strengths

Jamie believes it is important for couples to play to each other’s strengths in a relationship. She and Jim communicate well. By understanding one another’s strengths and weaknesses, they support each other better and both achieve what they want.

Date night

For Jamie and Jim, date nights are an ongoing process that they constantly work at improving. They do not allow phones on date nights and may not talk about the children or their work. They have also started doing date nights with relationship-building question workshops for couples and organizations.

Connect with Eric

On LinkedIn

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Connect with Jamie and Jim Shiels

On their website

Get a copy of Jamie and Jim’s book: The Family Board Meeting: You Have 18 Summers to Create Lasting Connection with Your Children

About the author 

Eric Rozenberg

For two decades, Eric Rozenberg has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and produced conferences in more than 50 countries across diverse industries. His focus is creating meetings that are not only breathtakingly memorable but which bring corporate strategies to life and amplify team motivation/performance.

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