Betty Jenson founded and was CEO of a very successful digital marketing company. She was in the restroom when she heard crying from one of the stalls. She decided to wait outside to talk with whoever was crying.

When her top intern came out of the restroom she asked her to come to her office. “I heard you sobbing in the restroom. What’s wrong?” asked Betty.

“I broke my glasses, and I couldn’t hear a thing in the important meeting I attended this morning”, replied Joselyn.

It took some time for what Jocelyn was saying to register. Then Betty asked: “Are you hard of hearing?”

“I’ve been that way from early childhood. I read lips to cope. But I need my glasses. I’ve never been able to afford hearing aids.”

That night as Betty was telling her husband about the incident, he gave her an idea that would lead to the passion of her life. “Honey, let me tell you about an experience I had today. I was talking to the daughter of a man who had just died. We were doing the funeral planning. Then she asked: “He wore hearing aids. Do you know someone I can give them to?”

From that moment on, Betty started thinking of a registry for no longer needed hearing aids. It was like an organ transplant registry. Betty put together a business plan that involved funeral homes, hospice care, hospitals, and nursing homes to support and encourage the compilation of the registry. Then she developed an electronic marketing campaign to identify young people with hearing aid needs. She was surprised to find that 2-3 children were born with hearing deficiencies. Others developed hearing problems from illness and accidents after birth.

With the donation registry developed, and the children in need identified, the next effort was to enlist professionals to bring hearing aids back to full capability. She was quickly overwhelmed with volunteers, many of them retirees who still wanted to make a difference.

HEARnNOW was created as a 501(c)(3) Corporation to connect donors with those with needs. Other digital media companies agreed to join the effort. For Betty, HEARnNOW became the passion of her life. Surprisingly it also made her company nationally known for becoming a pioneer in the emerging purpose-based economy.

What Betty didn’t expect was that HEARnNOW became totally self-supporting. When young children wore their hearing aids for the first time, they would bug their parents by asking: “What’s that sound?” What Betty did next was create an app called First Sounds. The app was a way for all children (hearing impaired or not) to learn about things from their sounds. For example, the sound of birds chirping led to simple explanations of birdsong. The app became a must have for young parents and funded all of HEARnNOW’s work.

We often confuse passion as attraction between persons. In a more meaningful sense, passion is a personal devotion that frames your life and defines who you are as a person. Passion gives you purpose and an outlet for sharing with others.

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“Love is the quality of attention we pay to things.” – J.D. McClatchy (Poet)

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