Jessica Goldberg, a Chicago native, currently lives and works in New York City. She is the Senior Producer at @tenpercenthappier. Jessica has dedicated herself to sharing important national and international stories with the world. She has written stories covering some of the biggest issues of this century, including Syria’s Civil War, the Orlando nightclub shooting, and the election of Donald Trump. To Jessica, storytelling and sharing information is the first step in solving big worldwide problems.
Where did you grow up? Where did you attend school?
I grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago. I attended the Walter Cronkite school of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University where I received my Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees. I majored in journalism because I have a passion for understanding our world and the human condition.
Could you tell me about your career as a journalist?
After I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to share big national and international stories. I moved to New York City without a job, without any friends, and without a place to live. I hustled for a month trying to figure out where I was going to work. I ended up getting a job with Al Jazeera America as a writer and producer for their morning show. I loved working there. I wrote stories about big issues, such as Syria’s Civil War, the Ukraine crisis, and the Black Lives Matter movement. I wanted to share the stories of underrepresented people. I think journalism is the first step to solving big problems. We need to understand stories so we can make better decisions on how to help. After Al Jazeera, I worked as a producer at ABC’s Good Morning America, and then I was the senior supervising producer at Mic.
You currently work for Ten Percent Happier. Could you tell me more about what Ten Percent does, and what your role in that is?
I am the senior producer at Ten Percent Happier, which is an app focused on meditation and mindfulness and was started by ABC news anchor Dan Harris. The team I lead creates docuseries and courses that focus on mental wellness. We just launched our Stress Better Series, a seven day course that introduces scientifically backed methods reducing stress. Through the course, individuals watch educational videos and then practice the learning through guided meditation.
When I interviewed at Ten Percent Happier, I felt like I was at home. The team is so smart and driven to make the world a better place.
How do you bring mindfulness and positivity into your everyday life?
Well, one of the most important things I’ve learned while working at Ten Percent Happier is to really be mindful of where I am putting my energy. It is really important to ask ourselves: What are my values? What is most important to me? Am I making sure that those things are my priorities?
For me, my community and my family are incredibly important. I try to make sure that I prioritize those groups in my life. When I do that, I am much happier.
You have won many awards for incredible stories you have written and projects you’ve been involved with. Could you tell me more about those stories?
Awards are flattering, but I think the stories that have made an impact are even more meaningful to me. I did a story last year about the women who have been going missing on Native American land. It was an eye opening story because it added important information to a conversation that needed to be had.
I am most proud of the stories that change people’s mindset regardless of whether they win awards or not. The series we just did about stressing better has helped a lot of people I know. Stress can be an ally for us; it is our bodies natural response to force us to deal with situations. By sharing the tools to use stress to our advantage, I have helped people change their perspective on stress and change their daily choices related to their mental wellness.
Do you have any hobbies?
One of my favorite things to do is to plan events. I’ve hosted animal onesie brunches and planned trips to Upstate New York. Last Friday night, I hosted a two-hundred person dinner with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The Jewish foundation focuses on investing in young leaders. The dinner was created to build community and enjoy time together. It was such a beautiful event.
I also love to exercise and listen to audiobooks; I go through about one audiobook a month. I find they are a great way to learn while I am riding the train or working out! One of my favorites is the Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters. It is a great, powerful book that teaches about creating spaces for people to feel safe and show up as their full selves. Priya Parker is brilliant. Another favorite is a book by Steven Hawkings called The Brief Answers to the Big Questions.
What does it mean for you to be powerful? When do you feel powerful?
To me, being powerful means leading with kindness, warmth, and passion. When I inspire a group of people to work on something meaningful, I feel powerful. I embody my most powerful self when I am using my charm to make a positive impact in our world.