“Beautiful things start with a beautiful design.” 7 Questions for Jennifer Sertl

Ideas + Innovators is an interview series by Amy Kirschner designed to get to know the thinkers and doers who are leading the way to a resilient and positive future. People from around the world connect their thoughts and projects to Vermont and locals use their practice and wisdom to imagine how what we are doing here could have widespread impact.

“Business strategist Jennifer Sertl is an internationally recognized influencer in social media and thought leader in the emerging field of Jenn-headshot-300x297corporate consciousness. She is president and founder of Agility3R, a leadership development company dedicated to strengthening strategic skills and helping leaders become more resilient, responsive, and reflective.” Full Bio

Do you have any work rituals?

I have 3 writing rituals: Plus +  / Delta Δ, Recalibration, Shadow Dancing

Start by creating a space and time to commit to writing for 30 minutes and don’t judge. Even if you have nothing to write, practice creating the space to write. People are used to creating this time for reading.  If you create space writing and nothing comes, just write about how boring it is. Reserve the integrity of the space and suffer if necessary. If you can do these you can create more impact and learn. It’s essential.

 Who are some artists or writers that inspire you?

  • Ray Bradbury
  • Madeleine L’Engle  She has a good quote: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” In her books, she was talking about Gaia and collective knowledge. She taught about community and I read her work all summer in 7th grade.
  • Benjamin Zander,  (Ted Talk) Conductor. He gave a PBS talk in 2004 that I started using this my leadership development courses because he was so articulate. He had a way of saying ‘What do you want to contribute to this song?’
  • poet David Whyte

 Which project/person do you think deserves a lot more attention?

  • Michael Bauwens (video), his p2p work is starting to get major press. I can’t say enough about his work and his Ecuador project (video). He is so humble and so incredible.
  • Televerde, Call Centers in a women’s prison that give them job training and puts them on a career path. I was there 2 weeks ago, to talk about women in leadership and social media. My vision for the program is to create an alumni program where they come back and be mentors to the women in the program.What is so remarkable about the Televerde team is their commitment to reducing recidivism through career pathing, care and focused attention to the very special women in the Perryville  prison system. It is a model that can and should be replicated nationally.
  • The Asia Institute, creating environments for people to share art, beauty, culture and science.

How are you so prolific online?

I joined Twitter in 2009. Beautiful things start with a beautiful design. I decided:

1- to collect people from all over the world, like a mini U.N. They would have to be 3r. People who would add to vitality to life.

2- how I wanted to use my voice. A lot of people play on twitter. But I thought it was dangerous and powerful. I could say so many funny, snarky, things but it would dilute my presence. I wanted to add critical thinking and quality to the gestalt. I wanted to use my voice for depth and globalization in a good sense.

I want to be an amplifier for the people so busy doing the work who don’t have the ability to broadcast all they do. It’s more strategic than accidental. I frequently say:  “Our competitive advantage is not where we work or what we do but our accuracy in how we scan the macro and the way we choose to articulate our life experience.”


If you had $100 million to do any social change and you were guaranteed to be successful, what would you do?
I would put classical music in our jail system. We aren’t nodes, we’re frequencies. Music has the most transformative power. I love the scene from The Shawshank Redemption where they hijack the speaker system and play opera (video). It would change the cellular experience of people and then change people.

 If you could allocate one hour of everyones time per week to a group collective effort, what would it be?
I would have people design more quiet in their day, people need more downtime. Design in more quiet space so you can here your own intuitive voice. The macro is seductive. The gestalt is moving so quickly you don’t know where your own voice is and I want you to have the quiet time to hear it.

What is your connection to Vermont?

I almost went to UVM and I’m hopeful that my daughter goes to UVM.  Vermont is beautiful balance of humility, education, and nature. When you meet people from Vermont, they are down to earth, care, they listen and they see. They seem to say: “We take care of what we love”. People that have been to or educated in Vermont are forever changed and care about a larger ecosystem because they know they’re a part of something beautiful.



Thank you so much, Jennifer!


We had a fantastic conversation that was so full I couldn’t capture it all. I did my best to pull out some great thought provokers and quotes that you would enjoy.

Jennifer is one of my internet tribe. I’ve been following her for a few year through social media. Her posts often make my day. She has a unique blend of inspiration, wisdom, and fun that always makes me smile and a little bit smarter.



* all images provided by Jennifer Sertl. You can see her visual curation on Pinterest.


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