The beginning for Jennifer really was all about Al Gore and his tireless crusade to awaken humanity. The seed was planted after screening “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006, as it was for so many in the world. But at the time, Jennifer was a single, working mother raising two kids. There was no time for action. Yet.
Flash forward. The environment became a top priority for Jennifer over ten years ago, in 2013. Jennifer was remarried and her children beyond their elementary school years. She left her 9-to-5 job downtown, began freelancing and had control of her time. She became a founding board member of a local environmental group, Go Green Northbrook, raising environmental awareness in her immediate community. After a couple years of events and meetings — including sitting down for coffee with her village president and presenting a community-wide sustainability plan which was later adopted — she wanted to turn her attention to how local choices connect globally and contribute to change on a higher level.
In 2015, she attended a Climate Reality Leadership Corps training with former Vice President Al Gore and world-renowned experts. There, she learned extensive facts about the science of the climate crisis, and powerful communication and leadership skills. She has returned numerous times to serve as a mentor to new leaders, contributing to growing the movement for change.
In 2017, she co-founded and served as the founding chapter chair of The Climate Reality Project: Chicago Metro Chapter. She structured the organization’s foundation, built a leadership team, grew an online presence, and helped grow the chapter to over 600 members with a dozen action teams. During this time, she set aside her creative practice.
Jennifer helped secure Chicago’s commitment to renewable energy. She was one of a handful of people in the room negotiating final details. City Council unanimously passed the resolution in April 2019. Soon after, Al Gore personally presented Climate Reality’s highest honor, the Green Ring Award, to Jennifer in 2019 in Minneapolis.
In 2021, just as Jennifer was stepping back from her chapter involvement to return to creative endeavors, the United Nations Association of Chicago awarded the chapter a Global Goals Award for climate action. And after years of advocacy work, chapter members celebrated as our state coalition secured Illinois’ commitment to renewable energy in the fall of 2021.
Currently, Jennifer serves as a co-lead of chapters for Climate Designers where she helps build out their international chapters program while also building her studio art practice. Being back in the creative community, especially with those advancing solutions on climate, feels like coming home — integrating her deep values with her creative skills.