No, I’m not Superwoman and I don’t have a hero complex. Just a really good sense of humor and a desire to make the world a better place.
About Give Gratitude
Give Gratitude was borne out of the most challenging time of my life. During a two and a half year window, my stepdaughter was killed in a car accident, both of my parents died of cancer far too young, I divorced my husband and became a single mom, and I was fired from a job I loved. The rug was pulled out from under me. No matter how old you are once both of your parents are dead there is a reckoning with your mortality. In that place of feeling overexposed and so vulnerable, I was surprised to find a deep experience of gratitude. And the more I acknowledged it, the more available it was to me.
There was no transformation of grief into gratitude. That was the huge learning. Gratefulness wasn’t a static state of being like we think of happiness or sadness. I began to see gratitude as a choice - an active way of being in the world. I could hold grief and gratitude together. Gratitude brought me into a life of both/and instead of either/or. And that was liberating.
My intention with Give Gratitude is to create a space for folks to actively engage with their own experience of gratitude and see where it takes them.
More Details About Me
When I look at all of my various jobs over the years, the common thread is helping folks connect with the core of who they are. I loved being a teacher and campus minister for a small Catholic girls school. As an assistant chaplain at Bellevue Hospital, I practiced being present to a number of beautiful souls, many of whom had been disregarded by society. I have been in the nonprofit fundraising field for more than 15 years with a focus on raising money for causes close to my heart - healthcare for children and the poor, hospice, housing for the homeless, higher education, after school programs and services for the elderly. Most folks don’t think of fundraising as sacred work, but I do. Fundraisers serve as storytellers of an organization - it’s history, it’s mission, and the people who give it life. Working with donors and building relationships often leads to conversations about meaning, legacy and core values they hold dear. It’s special work.
I graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in Religion and received my Master in Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. While at Union, I was awarded the Hudnut Award for Preaching. This was a special honor because as a Catholic woman all paths to ordained ministry in my church were closed to me. My final year, I was granted the Thomas Julius Hansen Memorial Award for excellence in relating philosophy, theology and ethics to contemporary social problems. This recognition from the faculty arose out of my work with folks who were chronically homeless and mentally ill.
About seven years ago I completed the Clifton Strengths Finder. Since then I have been a vocal proponent of the Strengths approach. I longed for more training and during the summer of 2017, I participated in Leadership Vision’s Strengths Communicator Training. I fully embrace their mission of “celebrating what is good with people” and bring this training to my coaching.
Finally, writing is central to my consulting work and my life. And as with most writers, I want to be doing more of it. My interests are in creative nonfiction, spiritual autobiography, and memoir as well as poetry. A sample of my creative writing, where I have done a lot of wrestling with grief and gratitude can be found on my blog, my season of signs, at jenwewers.com.