“Lead with love, compassion and honesty.” With Beau Henderson & Jayne Portnoy

Lead with love, compassion and honesty. None of those qualities will ever produce a poor outcome. As a leader I believe your primary objective should be to grow your people and in doing so, you will achieve your business goals successfully. As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To […]

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Lead with love, compassion and honesty. None of those qualities will ever produce a poor outcome. As a leader I believe your primary objective should be to grow your people and in doing so, you will achieve your business goals successfully.

As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Jayne Portnoy.

Jayne Portnoy, Founder of the Pen2Paper Project can be easily described as a brand coach, marketing strategist, speaker, yoga instructor and committed humanitarian. The Pen2Paper Project became her physical and analog reaction to a career in hospitality and wellness. Encouraging people to connect with each other and themselves through the art of letter and journal writing wasn’t just a passion project for her and the thousands of men and women that have attended her workshops — it was a necessity.

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?

Ihave had a career fueled in equal parts kismet and hustle, ranging from the National Football League to Fortune 500 hospitality and entertainment concepts. I have always had a passion to create memorable experiences and connections. Whether a sporting event, product launch, or Michelin starred meal, the driving purpose is all the same; to have genuine, passionate, creative conversations that lead to deeper relationships with ourselves and others. My love affair for being a pencil pusher began when it did for most angst-ridden teenage girls with a sparkly little journal. I mostly completed those pages with drama filled mood swings and to eventually abandon the practice when life, travel and the career got too big. Eventually social media became the place you shared your soul. We posted our workouts, check-ins, photos of food and ultimately our emotions gave way to emojis. It was when puppies turned to politics that I had to bid it all adieu. I returned the simplicity of letter writing and telling those that I missed — that I really missed them with long rambling sentences, doodles and consideration for each letter that hit the page. And so the Pen2Paper Project was born out of a desire to reconnect with people organically through analog tools, daily prompts and workshops

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

Like nearly every business worldwide, the Covid19 pandemic has turned a program designed to gather people in groups and reduce digital diets on its head. Uncertain if Pen2Paper would still connect during these uncertain times, I have been invigorated by just how much people crave connection — even if there is a screen in between for now. Science has long proven the numerous benefits of writing, but to be able to moderate wellness, expression and comfort in real time is deeply rewarding.

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?

The mistake wasn’t entirely mine, but I was doing a television interview and the station misspelled my name to Porntoy (versus Portnoy). An honest mistake, but my parents were mortified and in the end everyone had a great laugh. It is also a great lesson in how powerful the written word is, and so easily manipulated into alternate messages. The honest mistake has inspired me to be a far more diligent observer and seeker of the printed word.

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?

I am grateful to have far more than one mentor, creator and business visionary to support my career path. Annually, I do not set resolutions but instead establish ‘peopleloutions.’ I make two lists of people that I admire for their work ethic, success and impact on our world. The second list is of people that I believe will help raise my personal vibration, diversify my perspective and open my eyes to new ways to process the world. I work throughout the year to form mentor-ships, partnerships and true friendships with these men and women. I find it a far more rewarding way to kick off the year, as this deliberate practice has lead to significant friendships, support and personal and professional growth

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

I feel like this answer will fill largely cliché, but if you choose a career path the doesn’t feel like work, burn out is a milestone you can avoid. Don’t get me wrong, there have been moments, leadership and decision in my career journey that I’ve truly disliked, but I’ve never achieved burn out as I truly loved the people and projects I was working on. Knowing how too pivot and grow yourself, in lieu of what others may dictate for you will also optimize your joy.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Lead with love, compassion and honesty. None of those qualities will ever produce a poor outcome. As a leader I believe your primary objective should be to grow your people and in doing so, you will achieve your business goals successfully.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each.

I believe the wellness is not a destination or goal achieved, but a progressive work in progress to optimize our experiences so that we can live life richly and optimally. As an avid scribbler and advocate of the benefits of putting pen to paper, I believe we’ve become reliant on drugs and labeling over coping skills. Here are just a few reasons to write and their multiple benefits:

You will communicate with clarity.

  • Unlike talking, when you write you look for more sophisticated words and expressions to describe what you have in mind. This helps you build a structure that will allow you to express yourself better and communicate complex ideas in a much more effective way.

You will eliminate stress.

  • empty your mind — by capturing everything that comes to it — in order to eliminate the stress that causes having many things hitting your head, writing and developing your ideas produces an amplified effect since not only you take them out of your mind but also the whole process of rationalization that otherwise would abstractly stay in there.

You will be more productive.

  • Writing activates the neurons in your brain and gets it ready to overcome the rest of the tasks (you can use it as a kind of warm-up at the beginning of the day). In addition, writing down your tasks improves your ability to carry them out by 42%!

You will learn more.

  • Writing in your own words the information that you receive helps you assimilating and consolidating knowledge that otherwise you would forget soon.

You will gain awareness of your reality.

  • If you write down what you have in mind each day, what you expect to achieve and how you feel according to this, you won’t need a psychologist to explain you who you are. You will realize yourself.

You will make better decisions.

  • When writing you clear up your thoughts and, obviously, a clearer thinking allows you to make better choices.

You will be happier.

  • It’s an immediate consequence of the two previous points.

How about teens and pre teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre teens to optimize their mental wellness?

Teenagers are still largely influenced by the direction in their homes and appeal to parents to encourage this generation to get back to putting pen to paper so that natural

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero. This book is an endearing, honest, and great resource for fueling personal and professional optimism. She uses humor, personal insights and research to deliver a poignent message. A perfect read for any woman that feels stuck in her career path, or just beginning the journey.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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. 🙂

It’s a modest and not life altering vision, but we have lost the ability to self-soothe and manually cope, as we’ve become incredibly addicted to social and broadcast media, and therefore just simply wish to see an increase in individuals using pen to paper tools to map their road to wellness.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” Anais Nin. We spend such an extraordinary amount of our lives living outside the moment, that using my own craft to recall, savor and explore moments of the past and present so that they can be savored.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?


Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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