An Existential Valentine

Jennifer Sertl #a3r
4 min readFeb 15, 2023


As a curator, I tend to express myself best in a series of articles. Here are some old and new articles intended to strengthen your sense of belonging. I hope you find a connection or insight that gives you the kind of jolt good chocolate provides.

1) Why We Need Each Other “Recent research reveals that people are more capable of mental novelty when thinking on behalf of others than for themselves. This has far-reaching practical implications at every level of business.” Thus spoke, Daniel Pink.

2) The Four Loves “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis

3) The Empathy Advantage: Leading the Empowered Workforce with Heather McGowan and Chris Shipley. In this book, you will learn about the five interlocking trends that brought us the empowered workforce: The Great Resignation, the Great Refusal, the Great Reshuffle, the Great Retirement, and the Great Relocation collectively delivered the Great Reset. These trends, building for a decade prior to the pandemic, saw employees leading jobs; restructuring where and how they work, accelerating retirement, and reordering the role of work in their lives.

4) What Google Learned In Its Quest to Find the Perfect Team . What I love about this article is that it leans heavily on the research for University of Rochester’s own Dr. Deci who coined the phrase “Self Determination Theory.” You can do a deeper dive into the research. What we find is that resilient people and resilient teams have the trifecta: autonomy, competence and connectedness. I learned about this in 2012 and changed my leadership coaching to create a team matrix with more fundamental questions about personal agency.

5) Dare to Un-lead with Celine Schillinger. With a world that is decentralized and distributed, most leadership models are still based on a centralized leadership model. Schillinger offers an empowering way to examine the system you are in and design a strategy to open possibility. Her leadership invitation offers four moves: self emancipate, connect in diversity, mobilize and un-lead.

6–7) I was deeply impacted by the inspiring contemporary poet David Whyte who says, “people don’t have a conversation to get work done; the conversation is the work.” I heard that in 2000 when I started my own consulting company and the idea of conversation as currency has been a strong part of both my practice and coaching. In addition to David Whyte as model for strengthening your conversations, Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations is a touchstone.

8) Sherry Turkle, Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is someone who has been studying the relationship between people and technology for over 30 years. I recommend her entire portfolio of books and talks. I first learned of Turkle in 2011 with her TED Talk Alone Together. I was the mother of three children (5, 9, 15) and here message “we need to teach our children to be alone or they will only know loneliness” hit me hard. It caused me to design more more quiet and solitude in our family practice. We had no idea at that time the epic loneliness that our culture now embodies. The antidote to loneliness is Reclaiming Conversation.

9) Most of you know I am the Director of Marketing of Circle Optics. One of the reasons I feel so connected to this technology and team is our vision for democratizing immersive experiences. Our first public expression of this is coming in April and I cannot wait to share more. For the past year I have been curating stories of our ecosystem and hope enjoy our inaugural 360° Pulse Magazine.

10) I have written and shared a lot of articles about concepts of belonging and relationship. I am going to leave you with one of my favorite love letters. It is John Steinbeck offering love advice in 1958.

Finally, I don’t think we understand how much we are shaped by the relationships around us. I have been tracking #networkeffects for the past four years and here is my curation:

I wish you all the best in your sense of belonging and may you find the person, the culture, the community who understands your gift and supports your clarity on how to thrive.

Love and light,

Jennifer Sertl



Jennifer Sertl #a3r

Biz strategist fostering better decisions,systems thinking, scenario planning. Mind of chess player ♜ Heart of a poet ♫ Inviting depth ... @agility3r