How Personal Growth becomes Professional Development: Meet Jennifer Hilton

Jennifer Hilton has worn many hats in The Haven community since 1999 when she did her first Come Alive. She has a deep understanding of The Haven’s programs having done over 30 of them as a participant and having interned, supported, assisted and now led many herself. Jennifer is an Assistant in core programs and leads popular programs like Transforming Anxiety & Stress and Communication Intensive: From Fundamentals to Mastery. Outside of The Haven, she is an empathetic relationship-focused coaching practitioner and facilitator and holds a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University. We’re excited that Jennifer is willing to share how her learning at The Haven has impacted her professional life: developing leadership programs, transforming organizational culture, and one-on-one coaching. 

When and why did you first come to The Haven, Jennifer?

I arrived in 1999 to do my Come Alive on the advice of a business colleague. I was very interested in working in leadership development, working with people and teams in the corporate world. I knew I needed some skills in facilitation to progress my career and highly respected my colleague who had spent a lot of time at The Haven in the 80s. He basically told me to ‘Get your feet to The Haven” to learn about myself and ways to be grounded as a facilitator.

I was also inspired by Warren Bennis, a business leader and author:

“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult.”

– Warren Bennis

By committing to the learning journey (from 2000-2020!) at The Haven, I have learned so about becoming more fully who I am; understanding my whole self (not just the parts in my conscious awareness), how my body can always support me in being a leader/facilitator (or Grandmother!) and how to communicate, relate and express myself more fully. I am so grateful!

How have you taken what you have learned at The Haven into the world?

When I went back to work after my Come Alive in 1999, I did two things: first, I took on a personal mission to learn and integrate The Communication Model; second, I became part of a leadership team that introduced The Haven’s Communication Model to Senior Managers and Leaders of a 20,000 person organization.

I was so moved by the power of this model! I invited a couple of dear work friends to participate in an experiment of living and breathing it – every day! We had daily conversations, whereby we used the model, no matter how small or big the conversation. What we discovered, very quickly, was how using the language of the model, started to change our experience of the world around us. We became tuned into and interested in everything and the people around us, including how we each saw and experienced ourselves. We noticed more, listened to and responded more to ourselves, taking into consideration our personal context in every moment, being reflective about what we would say, what our intention was how we would say it. I remember practicing it with my son many times, and he had no clue what I was doing and saying and yet, somehow he responded differently. I remember once when he was about 4 years old, helping him notice and process his frustration about putting his Lego blocks together that resulted in a wonderful outcome of positivity and sharing.

My friends and I mutually deployed our curiosity to the point where we could have serious interpretations and feelings about the salt and pepper shakers at the lunch table and we had meaningful discussions about complicated matters with fellow supervisors and teammates. Within a three month timeframe we all agreed that we were starting to “think and act” like the model…we had truly integrated both the intra-personal and inter-personal aspects and the elements of communication and they became the lens through which we viewed the world around us. I believe this experiment enabled us the true gift of teaching it to so many people. Personally, I shifted the way I see myself and other people in my life that matter to me, resulting in more closeness and understanding.

What’s your favourite/most fond memory or your deepest learning/impact from time spent at The Haven?

So difficult to choose just one…and I would say the biggest impact came for me after becoming a Haven Intern. The direct feedback and mentorship was life altering in terms of working with (accepting) my habit nature of “doing” and building a new muscle, practicing “being” more authentic. I call this now my Doing-Being dance….do-be-do-do-be-do-do-be-!

In my Living Alive 1, I think the most important and life changing thing was my discovery about my love for movement and dance…which in the end help me stay embodied and experience more joy and fulfillment in my life.

Many thanks to Jennifer about sharing more about what and how she incorporated her personal growth and learning into her professional life! 

Jennifer is leading Communication Intensive: From Fundamentals to Mastery with Cathy McNally and Jane Kilthei, June 11-14, 2020 at The Haven.

The possibilities are endless when you learn to master The Communication Model. In the workplace with teams, you can learn to communicate more directly, navigate difficult conversations with confidence, express yourself more fully with empathy and clarity, increase self-awareness, be a better listener and develop your curiosity.

Being a more masterful communicator can enhance both personal and professional relationships. Often, it’s the lack of “life skills”, sometimes referred to as “soft skills”, that can undermine workplace relationships, team trust, performance, professionalism and satisfaction. With practice, mastering The Communication Model can and will enhance your skills and your life!

This intensive 4-day program is a deep dive into Haven’s Communication Model and beyond! Whether you’ve used the model before, or are exploring using it for the first time, this is an opportunity to explore what is possible in communication mastery.

Learn more and register here

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