Jennifer joined BLI in August of 2017 as Chief Operating Officer. She is a LCSW, and worked in a variety of clinical settings. She also has extensive experience working in EAP and the medical insurance industry.
(Q) – You were working in medical insurance for the past 7 years, what made you decide to change industries and work for BLI?
Jennifer: I was a part of a strong and close-knit team when I was managing the medical benefits for a Fortune 16 company. We pushed each other, held each other accountable, and supported one another through personal matters. Although I learned and strengthened my skills while in this position, it was time to challenge myself and use those skills in a different capacity. I have known Wendy since my days in EAP, her energy, enthusiasm and her mission are hard to pass up. Not to mention, she is darn persuasive when she wants to be.
(Q) – Tell us more about you.
Jennifer: I was born in Wisconsin and lived in the Midwest until receiving my undergraduate degree in 1994. I really didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in after graduation. I had family in NY, so I packed by bags and headed East where I was a live-in nanny for the first year and a half. I always knew I wanted to be in a “helping” profession. I ended my short-lived career as a nanny and worked in a group home for adults with developmental disabilities. I helped these individuals integrate into the community, provided ABA therapy and completed a research project which was published on Proactive Components for Medical Desensitization in Adults with Autism.
I went back to school to obtain my MSW. Upon graduation I worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings, focusing on mental health and substance abuse treatment. In 2007 I moved into the EAP World and subsequently into the health insurance industry in 2011.
From a personal standpoint I have always loved endurance sports. I have run 8 half marathons and four full marathons. I hung up my running shoes in 2011 after completing the NYC marathon. I have since competed in two Spartan races. My competing days are over, but I still enjoy staying fit. I was married and with my husband for 18 years when he was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. He passed away 14 months later in October of 2014. He managed a severe case of Crohn’s Disease for most of his life, and because this illness ran in both of our families we mutually decided not to have children. We did have 2 beautiful dogs that we adored!
Although life can be challenging and sometimes downright traumatic, I don’t let those times define me and I try to live by the following mantra during the difficult times:
“At any given moment you have the power to say: this is not how the story is going to end.”
Today I share my life with a witty, kind and generous man, who has shown me that one can love after loss.
(Q) – What do you do for fun?
Jennifer: I love, love the beach. I live near the ocean and the boardwalk. In the summer time you can find me laying on the beach, stand up paddle boarding, biking or running the boardwalk. I also love to travel. Most recently I have traveled to Nicaragua, Spain, The Maldives, and this Spring Vietnam! I used to despise cooking, but I have to say it is slowly becoming something I really enjoy.