Name: Jennifer Henderson - aka Wonderful Woman
Current Residence: Henderson, Nevada
Birth Place: Sacramento, California
Ben & Jerry's Flavor: Phish Food & Chunky Monkey
Music: Alicia Keys; Lizzo; John Legend
Book/Movie: Becoming (Michelle Obama); The Other America (Michael Harrington); Art of War (Sun Tzu) and Entire Marvel Universe Movie Collection (The Avengers; Black Panther; Iron Man, Spiderman; all the superheroes!)
Quote: “If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.” Maya Angelou
“I’ve decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
NPO or Social/Environmental Cause: I spent my childhood living in several countries as part of a military family. Travel was a broadening and life-shaping experience. My parents continually encouraged me to become a global citizen --- embracing the diversity of people and cultures while seeking common ground. I knew that I was destined to spend my life working for peace, justice and equity. As an organizer, I received a rich education from an amazing set of people committed to securing basic human rights for everyone: community activists in Mississippi fighting for equal access to voting; migrant and seasonal farmworkers in North Carolina demanding clean drinking water in the fields; homeless women and their families in Philadelphia redeveloping abandoned buildings into affordable housing; enterprising teenagers in the South Bronx running their own farmers’ markets. Over the past four decades, I have worked as a justice and equity co-conspirator with people who are marginalized socially, economically and politically. I am fortunate to live my passion as a strategist/coach to organizations, communities, businesses and leaders advancing progressive policies in the areas of racial equity, civil rights, affordable housing, accessible health care, quality education and community economic development.
BEN & JERRY'S BIO
A little background...
I met Ben, Jerry and Jeff at the beginning of the One Percent for Peace Campaign. I had been working for years with Jobs for Peace to achieve a 25% transfer of military dollars to much-needed domestic spending on education, jobs, health and housing. The two efforts were naturally aligned. Soon after working as a volunteer on the One Percent for Peace Campaign, I was asked to help think through the organization of the Ben & Jerry's Foundation. With advice from myself and other activists and organizers from around the country, the Foundation established the employees as the decision-makers for grant making. After several years of working with the company on a number of projects, I was thrilled to be nominated and voted onto the Ben & Jerry's Board of Directors.
How long have I been on the BOD: Since 1996
My History with Ben & Jerry’s:
I met Ben, Jerry and Jeff at the beginning of the One Percent for Peace Campaign. I had been working for years with Jobs for Peace to achieve a 25% transfer of military dollars to much-needed domestic spending on education, jobs, health and housing. The two efforts were naturally aligned. Soon after working as a volunteer on the One Percent for Peace Campaign, I was asked to help think through the organization of the Ben & Jerry's Foundation. With advice from progressive activists and organizers from around the country, the Foundation established the employees as the decision-makers for grant making. After several years of working with the company on a number of projects, I was thrilled to be nominated and voted onto the Ben & Jerry's Board of Directors.
Why am I passionate about Ben & Jerry's?:
Ben & Jerry’s is the ultimate unicorn. Who else could have possibly envisioned a business being the ideal vehicle to advance social justice?!? The company’s three-part mission boldly states that business can and must operate in a way that is simultaneously ethical, sustainable and profitable. And it actually works! I believe that the company’s best ideas, practices, policies and victories are ahead. I am confident Ben & Jerry's will continue to evolve, re-invent and challenge itself in order to ultimately realize the vision of a just and caring world.
What is my role/purpose on the BOD:
Jeff, Pierre and I served on the BOD before the acquisition by Unilever. We have the informal responsibility for sharing the genesis, background and history of the company with new board members and Unilever. This knowledge has been very important in setting the context for decisions the company makes today. I also work with the board in the areas of the Social Audit, Board Development, and CEO Compensation. These committees are responsible for insuring that the terms laid out in the Sales Agreement are maintained.
What unique capabilities do I bring to Ben & Jerry's and the BOD?:
I have more than 40 years of experience in the fields of community economic development, urban and rural public policy advocacy, organizational development and social enterprises. These skills have been called upon as the company has 1) developed ways to partner with nonprofit organizations; 2) considered the community-wide implications of major decisions like closing a plant; 3) reviewed marketing campaigns that relayed a strong position on issues like Fair Trade; and 4) requested support and encouragement to the CEO and senior staff in their visioning and planning.
I have worked with stakeholders, including businesses, to create shared wealth and prosperity both inside businesses and within the larger community. This includes specific skills in strategic planning; organizational development; leadership development; team building; social, political and economic justice advocacy; and collaboration.
Like my fellow BOD members, I bring to Ben & Jerry's a wide network of relationships and contacts that have proven useful to the company. Currently, the work of my firm on food access, food security and food deserts might provide a lens to examine Ben & Jerry's role in the current debate regarding childhood obesity and other food-related maladies. As the BOD has become more visible to the employees and other company stakeholders, each of the BOD members has become even more intentional in sharing their specific expertise with the company, where appropriate and applicable.