“Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen.”
– Brené Brown
By: Nicole Keeny
Jennifer Hacker lives her life in vulnerable spaces. As a life coach and grief specialist, Jennifer walks hand in hand with those who need to be seen—in their grief, in their challenges, in their darkest moments. Because if anyone knows the landscape of grief, has seen the darkness of it deeply, has felt its sharp edges with her fingers, it is Jennifer herself.
As the owner and founder of her own private coaching company and the founder of a nonprofit organization, Jennifer spends her time immersed in coaching individuals who are dealing with some of the toughest parts of their lives, not only because she cares deeply for her clients but also because she herself has been there. “I help people in grief heal and transform their lives after loss—to let go of their pain without letting go of their connection to their loved one. And I know a lot of people in grief kind of push back on that because they don’t think that’s possible. But I know from experience that it is,” Jennifer says.
Jennifer has not always worked in this arena. “I was a CEO and CFO of a construction company, so I basically ran the whole place except for the crew. While I worked for that company, that was when my son passed away in 2003,” she says. “Life was just totally different. There’s the before and there’s the after, and I had to go figure out how to live in the after.”
In the wake of losing her three-month-old son, Jennifer came face to face with a realization. “My business job was not going to satisfy me or my new passion or my new interests, so that’s what set me off on this path,” she says. She admits that her initial approach to her nonprofit and her business may have been a bit unconventional. “First, I actually started a nonprofit organization, which is totally backwards because you’d think the coaching would come first. But I was just so called to help women going through all of the most difficult things alone. So, I started a nonprofit organization because I was like, ‘I’m going to help these ladies. I just don’t know how.’ And then I figured out the how. I went to get my certification to be a life coach, and that was what made me go, ‘This is what I was born to do and now I know how,’” Jennifer says.