My Personal Story



I don’t know when I first began to believe I was not good enough. Maybe it was in elementary school where I was severely bullied or it could have stemmed from being the last one picked in gym class and never asked to a dance. I am sure I created some sort of beliefs about myself from those experiences.

Whenever it was, I carried all those feelings of unworthiness with me into college. I quickly found that the more I drank and partied, the more guys noticed me. I craved the attention, believing that it would lead me to love. Instead it led me into two emotionally abusive relationships.




By my mid-twenties, I was holding onto decades of insecurities, wounds, and anger while pretending I had it all together. I was an event planner for celebrities in L.A. My life looked glamorous. The truth was, it was a mess. I had massive credit card debt; felt unfulfilled and stuck in a meaningless job; and the relationship I was in was wreaking havoc on my friendships and self-worth.

It wasn’t until my then boyfriend threatened to leave me on the side of the road for asking him if he made a wrong turn (read the full story here) that something awakened in me. In that moment, I told myself I was done with the abuse. In that moment, I chose me.


I didn’t even know what choosing me meant at the time. The only thing I knew was that I felt a stirring from deep within telling me I was meant for more.  

Leaving that relationship was the catalyst to my transformation, but it felt like I was in the depths of despair. I depended on my ex for everything and without him, I had to start over. I had to find a place to live, get a job (I had quit my event planning job months prior to the breakup), dig myself out of debt, repair my relationships with family and friends, and heal the wounds that I’d been carrying far too long.

Even though I had taken the courageous step to leave an abusive relationship, I was overcome with grief and self-doubt. I questioned God and myself –

“Who am I?”

“What is my purpose?”

“Is this as good as life gets?”

“I feel so behind in life. Is it too late for my dreams to come true?”

Over the months that followed, I immersed myself in spiritual books, meditated, healed my traumas in therapy, and coached myself to believe boldly resulting in a profound inner transformation. I rediscovered my worth, passions, and purpose; and the power of trusting in myself and God.

I took a big, bold step and chose to follow a dream that I’d had since I was a young girl – to work with Great Apes at a primate sanctuary. I was told my dream was too big, that I wouldn’t make a living doing it, and that nobody else pursued that path (I guess that translated into if nobody else is doing it, it’s impossible). Within four years of deciding to follow my heart, I became the Vice President of the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world and the youngest primate sanctuary executive in the U.S.  I worked closely with incredible people like Dr. Jane Goodall and was featured in The New York Times and NPR.

I am living proof that if you believe boldly in your dreams, they can become a reality.

Over the past few years, my soul has been calling me to expand in new ways by providing hope and direction to those seeking purpose, a vision for their life, and a path to realizing their dreams. I created Jen Whitaker Coaching to help others awaken to who they are and activate their life’s purpose. It is quickly growing, enabling me to broaden my impact in profound and meaningful ways. I share this simply to illustrate again that believing boldly is powerful – and it can be for you too!

If you’re ready to awaken to who you truly are, activate your life’s purpose, and live more fully, you’re in the right place! To learn more about working with me, click here.