by Roselle Kovitz
A Wake of Happiness
Despite coming from an unexpectedly long meeting, getting caught in heavy traffic from Bellevue, and arriving late for our interview, Jenny walked into The Scoop @ Walter’s without a hint of stress. As soon as she sat down, she calmly, directly told me she was ready.
I’d met Jenny at several BWC events before we crossed paths earlier this year at Wisdom 2.0 in San Francisco, a conference focused on mindfulness and technology. In each conversation with her, I noticed she had a calm presence and clear vision of what’s important in her life.
Raised on a fourth generation farm in Idaho devoted to sustainability, it’s not surprising that she finds connection and meaning in nature. “I really like those primitive truths–those that once you realize them you cannot deny,” she explained. “For example, eating actual food allows our bodies to do better.”
A 400-meter hurdler at Washington State University, Jenny headed back east to earn an MBA and M.Ed. in sport and exercise psychology at the University of Virginia. It was on a stopover in Seattle during a trip home to Idaho from grad school that brought her to Seattle. “When I listened to people talk,” she said of the brief layover, “I felt like I had arrived home. It felt like where I was connected and where my roots were.” After nearly nine years on the east coast, she moved to Seattle in 2005.
In 2008, she wove together her love of nature, exercise, nutrition, psychology, and eastern spiritual traditions into SEEDS, what she calls “a self-check mnemonic (sleep, eat, engage, dance, smile) to bring you positively into the present in as many moments as you can muster.”
Using this combination of practices, Jenny herself has found a way to live a full, yet healthy life. She has structured her work so she can spend time with her family, especially her two young sons. “When the boys’ great grandmother was ailing, I was able to take them to see her,” she told me. “The boys ran past the oxygen carts and down the hall, leaving a wake of happiness. I want my family to be able to do that whenever we can.”
In addition to nature and family, Jenny’s other passion is helping people. “Helping has been a key theme for me lately—and giving myself permission to serve.” A senior recruiter at Expedia and a part time yoga teacher, Jenny loves connecting people—to work, to resources, like yoga, and to each other. She also loves challenging them to be and to do their best. “I have lots of ways I can do that,” she notes.
One of the most recent ways she is doing that is by writing a book. It’s a combination of self-help and memoir, she says, weaving together themes of mindfulness, yoga, nutrition, and positive psychology. Writing it, she tells me, Is actually helping her to be a better person. “In learning memoir I found out you have to wait until the story is over [to write it].” With that in mind, she regularly asks herself how she wants to look in a particular “scene.” “I don’t want to have to edit it to make me look better,” she confides.
As we finish up the interview, Jenny gathers her things to head home to her husband and twin boys. “My boys,” she tells me, make me incredibly happy.” She then disappears out the door, back to that wake of happiness.