By sharing her pragmatic Humanist approach to living life fully and intentionally, Jennifer has transformed the lives of those who have been touched by her work. By encouraging people be the best, most ethical humans they can be, she consistently challenges people to think about and question who they are, what they are and more importantly, how they want to be.
She is one of the few individuals in America who was raised as a Humanist and she brings her delightful sense of humor, creativity, and compassion combined with a no-nonsense approach to all of her work and her coaching. She will help you focus on what really matters in your life and will teach you the practical skills you need to live your life the way you know you should be: ethically, compassionately and responsibly.
In Jen's Own Words
I have a slightly unusual background. Two intellectual parents in a Los Angeles beach town raised me. That means I am a rare native Angelino. I am also culturally half Jewish, half Catholic and, as it turns out, all Humanist. I owe my Humanism to my parents who made the radical decision to respect my freedom of belief as a child, which at the time, just wasn’t done. Not only was I free to believe as I wanted, I was actively encouraged to think for myself and to challenge my assumptions through the extensive use of the Socratic method by my parents. Volunteerism and compassion for others was an active part of our family values. In other words, Humanism is natural to me. It was how I was raised and what I was taught to value. It is not something I learned about as an adult.
My academic career includes a degree in cognitive linguistics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa where I trained dolphins, and some time spent learning mandarin at the East China Normal University in Shanghai. And yes, both Hawaii and China are awesome places to be and for the record dolphins don’t feel like wet rubber. More like wet skin.
Anyway, my first job out college was as the Director of Volunteer Services for the LASPCA. I feel like I did a lot of good there. The feral cat management program I wrote has been adopted, literally, all over the world. My volunteer program was ground breaking and I ended up mentoring volunteer administrators in SPCAs across the country in addition to being a speaker at international conferences on volunteer administration.
When I moved to Florida I sold international franchise licenses for a biotech firm before joining a half billion-dollar company as their manager of acquisition group information. I got to decide how to spend about $25 million dollars every week. It was fun. I was hired because of my data modeling skills. You see I was a very early adopter of GIS technology and I have spoken at a few international GIS conferences. My data management design skills are good enough that I even won an industry award for best project optimization software. I feel pretty good about that too.
I left corporate life in 2001 to go back into the non-profit sector and had the honor to serve as the executive director for the Humanists of Florida Association. During my 6-year term in that position I grew our mailing list from 85 people to over 2,500 and significantly raised the profile of Humanism throughout the state. But it is the people I met and what I learned from them about my philosophy of life, Humanism, which has had the biggest impact on me. To say that Humanists are by and large extraordinary people is an understatement.
Through the course of my work as a Humanist I was privileged to speak to people across the state of Florida, at national conventions and in Europe. I have given countless media interviews providing the Humanist viewpoint on topics of the day and have written numerous articles for publication in everything from Florida newspapers to nationally recognized magazines and journals. I even had Phyllis Schafly of the Eagle Forum personally respond to one of my op-eds on the Equal Rights Amendment. I feel pretty good about that too.
Which brings us to the present. I left the Humanists of Florida Association to become a stay at home mom and to write a book. Through the course of my work as a Humanist I met many people who were Humanists and didn’t know it and others who could have benefited from the Humanist approach to life. But there were two specific conversations I had with young people that made me want to write my book. The first was a very disturbing conversation I had with my neighbor’s daughter and the other was an online question from someone struggling with an existential depression. I realized that both of these young people could benefit from an explicit discussion of the morals and values of Humanism in addition to the importance of thinking before you act which is so central to the Humanist approach to life. So, I wrote my book, became a blogger and a podcaster and once my son was old enough, starting doing public speaking engagements again. Which brings us to the present.
Oh – and one other thing. I am a Mayflower descendant. Just thought you might want to know.
For more detailed information on my accomplishments view my cv.