Jaime Schwarz of SendThanksNow: “Have someone to share it with”

Send More Thanks! — Although I’ve only recently turned on to the benefits of gratitude, it has quickly become my number one strategy. Just by using the platform I’m helping to build I’m not only thanking people in my life more (my wife and kids, my friends and extended family), I’m exposed to so many amazing people […]

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Send More Thanks! — Although I’ve only recently turned on to the benefits of gratitude, it has quickly become my number one strategy. Just by using the platform I’m helping to build I’m not only thanking people in my life more (my wife and kids, my friends and extended family), I’m exposed to so many amazing people we’re adding to our community who I get to thank too!

As a part of my series about how to live with Joie De Vivre, I I had the pleasure of interviewing Jaime Schwarz.

Jaime Schwarz is a former creative director in advertising who formed a do-good agency, became a brand therapist, and immersed himself in the startup community to bring strategic innovation to the companies and efforts that need it most. In his previous life, Jaime won Cannes, OneShow, Clio, Webbies, BMA’s and more for his work across most industries and mediums and spoke at events like Social Media Week. He lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his wife and two sons.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I’m a creative director and copywriter by trade and spent my NYC decade and a half career covering every industry in every medium but found myself being pulled towards the do-good, change making, innovation and health spaces. I formed an agency called Pro4Bono to market for do-good companies and innovate through product and business development with them. Since then I’ve been a brand therapist and chief creative consultant for various startups that align with my values and goals for how I want to affect the world. So this was a very easy alignment when I met Adi and his amazing gratitude platform. And when COVID-19 hit, we both knew that there was a lot of pent up gratitude for essential workers to harness for a gratitude network.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

The most pivotal moment that led me to where I am today with SendThanksNow would be when I held a breast cancer/women-in-tech hackathon. I had never attended a hackathon, let alone built one, but by the end of our 3-day weekend, not only had we created 10 working betas, we built a strong little community inside of a larger innovation community I had only just begun to explore while concretely contributing to the self check movement.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

Right after that breast cancer hackathon which was during breast cancer month in October, we decided to follow up with a testicular cancer campaign for Movember. We had so many jokes and machismo and such a polar opposite strategy to the women in tech empowerment of the breast cancer hackathon that it just fell so flat which really humbled me right after such a huge success.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

After studying advertising in Chicago, San Francisco, London, and Amsterdam I was finishing up my 2nd internship in NYC when I was shown the portfolio of the most talented creative I had ever seen. Some of the greatest Nike spots of the past decade and so much more. I cold-emailed him and asked for any help he could provide if he’d look at my book of spec ads. He said he was moving to NY soon from Chicago and would meet with me. He made me redo my 2 year-built book from scratch and made me such a better creative just as I was starting my career. He hired me for my 2nd job, I won my first awards under him, and he and I ended up working together again when I was a creative director. I wouldn’t be the creative I am today without him.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?

Americans are always obsessed with what’s next, what’s new, and who has what I want? What we value has become our values and that means we are forever searching for what we haven’t obtained. But because “you can’t take it with you” the truth of where happiness really comes from is never too deep in our unconscious so not only are we in a rat race, we are at least semi-conscious of that fact.

Can you share with our readers your 5 strategies to live with more Joie De Vivre? Can you please give a story or example for each?

  1. Send More Thanks! — Although I’ve only recently turned on to the benefits of gratitude, it has quickly become my number one strategy. Just by using the platform I’m helping to build I’m not only thanking people in my life more (my wife and kids, my friends and extended family), I’m exposed to so many amazing people we’re adding to our community who I get to thank too!
  2. Step back — The best advice I got on my wedding day was to grab my new wife and escape for a few minutes to go outside and look in on our party. Taking that time to absorb our life from this perspective is something I’ve taken to heart. So now I often take the time to step back and look, as an observer, at the people closest to me.
  3. Forest bathing — This is what the Japanese call it, which I love very much, but hadn’t heard of it till I’d been doing it for a while. I worked on a project some years ago called “Project You” which gave a lot of advice on how to find contentment and one of them was surround yourself with the color green — green ink in pens, green pictures, and especially getting outside in the green. I live in NYC so it takes effort to get the green sometimes, but it’s worth it. Side note, Adi told me the Jewish analog for this is Hitbodedut
  4. Smile! — Another fact I learned during the making of Project You, was that if you force a smile, your body will recognize your face and actually get happier, putting you in a better perspective to enjoy whatever is around you. Come happy, leave happy.
  5. Have someone to share it with. — The most important part of Joie De Vivre is answering what Vivre is to you. For me that’s the people in my life and leaning on them to find the joy, not only with them, but with everything else because of them.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?

I’ve never missed an episode of Brian Lehrer on WNYC. Seriously, since I had a Palm Treo in 2002 I’ve been downloading the mp3’s before podcasts even existed. Although I’m way behind on This American Life, it’s always an aspiration to listen to more of those. Quick list of other podcasts: Uncivil, RadioLab, The Deciding Decade, The A-List, PodSave, The Pitch, United States of Anxiety, Think About This, On The Media, Revisionist History, Shiny New Object (but this was all pre-pandemic as it’s hard to podcast these days). I’m digging Bob Garfield’s American Manifesto. It gives me a thirst for our ideal democracy. I found a lot of good perspective in Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier that constantly feeds my need to make SendThanksNow the kind of community that learns from these lessons.. Guns Germs and Steel by Jarod Diamond made a big impact in my early 20’s on how much our environment shapes our cultures and to give people themselves a break when it comes to what they’re born into which helps me approach people more easily. I love the short tales in Einstein’s Dreams of all these different possible worlds, but the two books that just feel like a warm hug from the author to me are Kiss Me Like a Stranger by Gene Wilder and Boy & Flying Solo which are Raul Dahl’s childhood and early adult memoirs.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Saint Auxbury said “”If you want to build a ship, don’t gather people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather, teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” — This is my reminder to teach joy, to use joy as the impetus for everything, to put myself in a joyful perspective IN the work, not just as the goal of the work.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I teach and mentor. Since 2017 I made the conscious choice to only work with clients that make the world a better place. And in my role today with SendThanksNow, every idea, every build, every product and campaign is all about spreading goodness through gratitude.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

As I’ve mentioned above, SendThanksNow is the project that I think has the biggest potential to bring joy into the world. As a matter of fact, if you think of the global needs of humanity right now, the lowest hanging fruit to make the biggest change, and the platform we’ve created, I really do believe that the ease of use, access to inspiring stories and people, and variety of ways to thank others can add more gratitude practices to the world than ever before. And those who practice gratitude have so much more resilience and positive mental attitude that if we can truly nudge society in a grateful direction, well, the sky’s the limit!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I feel bad being this repetitive, but gratitude is such a magic bullet and SendThanksNow is so laser focused on building a movement around gratitude, that this is really about moving forward in that already decided direction rather than still looking for what the movement could be.

Thank you for these excellent insights!

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