Jen was born in Sydney, NSW in 1962. She grew up in Cronulla on Sydney’s southern beaches.
From primary school, Jen attended St. George Girls’ High School at Kogarah. Jen’s first full-time job was as a legal stenographer for a large Sydney law firm.
She then completed a Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree at The University of Sydney.
Jen dreamt of becoming bilingual and felt drawn to the Spanish culture and way of life. In 1991 she flew to the small city of Salamanca in Spain and embarked on a Spanish language course. She met her husband in Salamanca and their two boys were born there.
From 1996 to 2003 Jen worked as a full-time primary school teacher at a private college in Madrid. In 2003 Jen and her family returned to Brisbane and settled in The Gap. Jen became a permanent EAL (English as an Additional Language) teacher with Education Queensland and still teaches in this role today at a Brisbane primary school.
In 2016, Jen contracted post viral fatigue. This left her bedridden. Jen was impacted by the words of Eckhart Tolle on YouTube and began to write down his message in the form of rhyming verse. After writing fifty-four poems, Jen self-published the first edition of Life’s a Mango. The second illustrated edition, due to be released in 2020, contains the original fifty-four poems plus twenty-two more. There are also beautiful mandalas to colour in and blank journal pages for reflection.
Jen loves reciting her poetry off-by-heart to audiences and has appeared on radio and in other live events in Queensland and New South Wales. Jen takes everyday situations and helps us to see them in a different light by adding a perspective with touches of gratitude, kindness, patience and forgiveness. Readers of Life’s a Mango have told Jen that when they read her poems silently or recite them out loud, they feel a sense of joy, acceptance, relaxation and self-compassion.
Jen is a practicing Buddhist and follows the teachings of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Like HHDL, Jen believes in the importance of warm-heartedness and the explicit teaching of these attributes to children through social, emotional and ethical learning programs. Training the mind in virtue and compassion is paramount in today’s world. It was the Sioux Indians who said that the longest journey we ever take in life is from the head to the heart. The rhyming verses in Life’s a Mango will support your journey there through insightful rhyming verse.
As well as teacher and poet, Jen is also an authorized civil celebrant. She delights in designing and delivering all types of ceremonies such as weddings, commitment ceremonies, naming ceremonies, memorials and funerals for the general public.
Jen and her husband reside in the leafy suburb of The Gap in Brisbane. Jen loves the connection she feels with the surrounding trees, mountains and creeks. Going for long daily walks in nature gets her creative juices flowing. For the moment this is where her heart belongs.