Jennifer Buffett is co-president of NoVo Foundation with her husband, Peter. She is responsible for creation and oversight of the Foundation’s vision, strategy, and program development. In addition, Jennifer is co-chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Jennifer works passionately advocating for girls and women worldwide and to end violence and exploitation against them, promoting “whole-child” education practices, and supporting balanced, sustainable communities.
Jennifer and her husband Peter were named in Barron’s list of top 25 most effective philanthropists in 2009 and 2010.
My Definition Of Success | Success to me means aligning my energy, gifts, resources and skills in ways that harmonize with the energies, gifts, resources and contributions that others bring towards positive effects.
It takes intellectual and emotional intelligence to be successful collaboratively and doesn’t always happen. Success has often been defined as what one person can do solo. But I feel most successful when I’ve been able to work well with, and also support, others and catalyze a positive ripple effect. Sometimes that can mean supporting someone else to rise to the occasion. Success to me has changed in terms of the importance I place on achieving alone. And I greatly value the how things get done and the many contributions others make along the way.
I Am Driven By | What drives me is a love for the incredible organic intelligence and wisdom of planet earth and the belief that we could create a more nurturing, respectful, kind and safe world for all and for future generations. I am driven by a desire to wake humanity up out of the collective madness that is destroying so much of this world. We could be living in a world where each human safely and supportively develops and shares their unique and innate gifts in life-giving, regenerative ways. But this means a real and deep shift needs to happen. I want to be a part of the shift out of our current paradigm and systems of domination, competition and exploitation, towards co-creation, collaboration and partnership.
My Highlights | I am incredibly proud of being a part of building and shaping the NoVo Foundation from the ground up and for not being afraid to work in some very difficult arenas – such as ending sexual exploitation, child and domestic abuse and challenging social norms in terms of disparities due to race, class and gender. I am proud of the vision we hold for a world where girls and women and the natural world are held in great reverence and respect.
The Difference Between Good And Great | People who are great at what they do love what they do and can’t stop trying to improve upon, see and do things in new ways. They show up with enthusiasm, with fresh energy and curiosity – never thinking they’ve seen, done or know it all. They also know how to listen deeply and leave room for other’s creativity and talents. They have learned how to bring their skills and gifts, but also know how work with their ego in check and work with and recognize others.
A Key Talent | I think a strength I have, and have really developed over time, is discernment. I have learned how to use my intellectual and analytical skills combined with my intuition and “feeling” sensibilities. In one’s professional life, read and analyze proposals, correspondence, communications and review carefully and more than once. Learn how to ask as many questions as you can to take as much of the guess work out of a situation as you can. Learn how to consult with others to see how they analyze situations, problems and solutions. Check your thinking with others you trust and ask for feedback. Look for gaps and kick the tires on what’s presented to you. Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know and ask for advice. Learn also how to listen to your gut. Trust and verify. All of these things help you develop a keen sense of discernment and sense of how to manage almost any situation, task or project.
Principles I Live By | I believe in showing up in one’s daily life with humility, respect, positivity and kindness. I believe that daily random acts of kindness and putting out positivity are as important as the more perhaps “recognized” things we achieve in life. I believe in leaving things – homes, jobs, projects, people, etc. – better than how you found them. I believe in doing no harm and being as aware, self-reflective and responsible for your words, deeds and actions as possible.
Lessons I Have Learnt | I’ve learned so many things on my journey, but one thing that guides me daily is the understanding that ALL people fundamentally wish to be and feel safe, seen and celebrated. And if we all contributed to making that a priority and a reality for the people in our daily lives, and people who our lives touch, we would have a much better world.
Performing At My Peak | Sleep and exercise are key for me as well as a maintaining a healthy diet and regular preventative medicine (such as massage and acupuncture). I believe in taking quiet time for introspection and connecting meaningfully with colleagues and friends. I believe in taking time in nature and finding ways to slow down and be as present and in the moment as possible. If you are truly able to be present and fully embodied and not distracted, you make better choices and perform optimally.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I love reading – I could read books and articles all of the time and be very happy. I also love listening to long podcasts and online YouTube lectures and documentaries.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I would love to continue to be a part of seeding deeply transformative work around the world that results in a more nurturing, positive and loving world – and that results in people being better equipped to create that world. And I would like to develop my artistic talents personally – painting, dancing and writing to be more specific.
The Meaning Of Life | The meaning of life is to have felt experience and to share -which I don’t think is possible if you are watching television or looking at a screen all of the time. I believe we are here to stretch our hearts and minds and to honor and express our unique gifts, wake up to our immense innate individual and collective human potential as well as to co-evolve with our fellow humans and other life forms. I believe that dogs, dophins and trees for example are here to evolve as well and I think we forget that.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | To think of individuals who you greatly admire and write down the traits they have that you admire. Then go and emulate all of those things yourself!
Advice On Building Wealth | I would re-think what “wealth” means to you – does it mean following you heart and spending your time and energy doing what you are drawn to doing, building a skill-set that makes you feel that you are contributing and empowered and serving others and the greater good? Does it mean forming meaningful, satisfying relationships in your life? Might it mean being a part of making your community more self-sustaining, enriching, beautiful and satisfying? Monetary wealth is fleeting and if one puts all of their efforts into making money, it seldom means building a satisfying or rich life. I would advise to think about what makes you feel “wealthy” other than accumulating money and build on those things.
I Am Inspired By | Girls inspire me.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I would like to leave a Legacy full of human and heart-centered work and projects – work that nurtures human beings and what it means to be a human being, work that brings love back into the equation and supports all people to develop the skills and abilities to work non-violently, co-creatively and positively together in the “real world” more than be distracted by technology and artifice. I would like to be known as a person who made people feel safe, seen and celebrated.