IAM1657 – Founder and Author Provides Online Personal and Professional Development Training In Humanist Learning

Podcast Interview with Jennifer Hancock

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: Jennifer runs a successful business and has a significant influence. Her “why” is so strong but what I love is how in a true entrepreneurial form she became the change she hoped to see. She has such a great perspective in the understanding of the human aspect of business in the behavior of her clients but also owns and stands in her “limitations” as they give her power but also a catalyst for her creativity. We talked a little about humanism and what most people may not realize about human development, and she very much understands “if you run your race you can't lose.”

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Jennifer Hancock Teaser 00:00 
That's exactly my philosophy is, I don't wanna work hard, but I still wanna work. And I still wanna have an impact on the world. So how do I do that? it just requires me to be creative.


Intro 00:10

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs. Without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:35

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and we're doing something a little bit different this year with some of our episodes. We're repurposing some of our favorite episodes around specific topics related to entrepreneurship. This month we're focusing on entrepreneurship and community. Us, we, our, together and we're gonna look at entrepreneurship and industries in different types of entrepreneurship and ultimately what that really means. But we're also gonna delve deeper into the importance of community, networking, niche communities and how that supports being a CEO, entrepreneur and business owner. So sit back and enjoy these special episodes around entrepreneurship and community.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Jennifer Hancock of Humanist Learning Systems. Jennifer, it's awesome to have you on the show. What I wanted to do was read a little bit more about Jennifer so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. Jennifer Hancock is a mom, author of The Bully Vaccine, and founder of Humanist Learning Systems. Her professional background is varied, including stints in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She has served as a director of volunteer services for the Los Angeles SPCA and sold international franchise licenses for biotech firms. She was the manager of an acquisition group information for half a billion-dollar company, and served as the executive director for the Humanist of Florida. Her speaking and teaching businesses coalesced into the founding of Humanist Learning Systems, which provide online personal and professional development training and humanistic business management and science-based harassment training that actually works. Jennifer, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Jennifer Hancock 02:12

Yes, I am.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:13

Awesome. Let's do it. So the first question I had was just to hear a little bit more about your CEO's story and what led you to start your business.

Jennifer Hancock 02:19

I had been working for the Humanist of Florida as their executive director, but I became a mom and they needed someone who could devote themselves full-time. And I realized that wasn't me anymore because I was a mom, so I had them replace me and dedicated myself to being a mom. But that doesn't last long, because I didn't really set out to form this business. It was almost forced on me and I'm really glad it happened that way. Then I found my calling so I do feel that what I do is my calling, but I didn't really intend to end up here.

Gresham Harkless 02:54

It's funny enough, it's like I say a lot of times with a lot of things that I did, it was people that were forcing me to do a lot of the things. Like do the digital marketing. It's oh no, I want you to do that. I was like, that's okay. Or you don't have to pay me. And then there are people that are forcing your arm and saying, hey, no you should do this. This is what you're good at. And sometimes you just move with the universe regardless.

Jennifer Hancock 03:13

Exactly. That's what happened to me.

Gresham Harkless 03:15

So I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper and hear exactly how you're serving clients. Can you tell us a little bit more about what you're doing?

Jennifer Hancock 03:20

It turns out I do speaking and teaching, but I don't necessarily like the travel part of it because it takes me away from my family and my first priority is my family. And then the other problem I was having, especially with teaching people how to stop bullying using behavioral science, and this is important for people to understand that this part of it is what kind of forced me into my business. I can train a bully to stop and given the problems we have in society with kids and in the workplace, it's immoral to not share that knowledge with other people and I realized that A, I don't like traveling and B, trying to teach people one-on-one is not an efficient way to create societal change. If I get hired by a company to teach them how to stop harassment in the workplace, I'm simultaneously teaching the parents who work in the workplace because where are the parents that are in the workplace. I'm teaching them what they need to know to teach their kids. And so I can get an economies of scale.

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But the other reason to put this online is to create this online learning company so that I don't have to travel. I can train as many people by not leaving the house as it would take me to leave the house. Even just going to the next town over, if I had to drive an hour, that's an hour each way, plus an hour in the training. That's three hours. Every time I do it a lesson versus I record it once and they can come in and take it from me, and I don't have to travel to them, but they still have access to me to ask questions, to get feedback, and all of that stuff. So for me, the online learning component really fit my personality because I'd like to do the education part, but I increasingly not like to travel. Unless somewhere cool like India, you want me to go someplace cool. I will absolutely go. But in general, no. A lot of my business grew around my desire to not do things, which is a really weird way to grow a business. But I was very clear on what I didn't wanna do, and so every time I tweak my business, it's because I've realized there's something I don't like to do. And so I find a workaround to it that allows still do the work, but in a way that eliminates the things I don't like about the work and maximizes the stuff I do.

Gresham Harkless 05:28

Absolutely love that because a lot of times, and this is true in my eyes, an entrepreneurial type mindset because you're saying, okay, I have a problem. I have to do all this traveling. I don't wanna do this traveling. How can I not do this traveling, but still have the same impact or even a greater impact by doing something different? So you decided to write a book. You decided to do a lot of things online largely because you had that problem and you understood that you had 24 hours in the day just like everybody else. So there was a limit to that and you figured out how to solve that problem. So I love that.

Jennifer Hancock 05:56

What's the point of working from home if I'm not home for my family?

Gresham Harkless 06:02

Yeah. Yeah, and I love that. I've always heard the quote and quote laziest people or the people that do come up with those incredible kinds of hacks or ways to automate things because you're thinking, okay, I'm not gonna do this, there has to be a better way. And you either find that better way or sometimes you just create that better way. And a lot of times that's where the great innovations come about.

Jennifer Hancock 06:20

Yeah. And that's exactly my philosophy is, I don't wanna work hard, but I still wanna work. And I still wanna have an impact on the world, so how do I do that? And that's, it just requires me to be creative.

Gresham Harkless 06:30

There you go. There you go. I love that. Now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce, and you might have already touched on it, but can you tell us something that kind of differentiates you or sets you apart and makes you unique?

Jennifer Hancock 06:39

I think it's because I do have a background in behavioral science. I used to be a dolphin trainer like I went to college to study linguistics and specifically to work as a dolphin trainer at a dolphin language cognition research laboratory in Hawaii. I had read the book Day of the Dolphin, and that's what I wanted to do when I was 11. I read that and that's what I wanted to do. And when I went to college, that's what I did, because that's just the sort of person I am. Anyway, you set a goal at 11, you do it, okay.

Gresham Harkless 07:07

There you go, good for you.

Jennifer Hancock 07:09

But the point is, I have this background in behavioral science in a way that most people don't. So I have a cat in the background. My cat is trained to come to the station when I want her to, I'm a good trainer and when I teach a lot of people who teach bullying and harassment topics, they're teaching it from a legal standpoint. And they're not actually teaching the behavior, like what is exactly going on? What exactly do you need to do to make it stop? And how exactly does that dynamic play out? And as far as I can tell, I'm the only person in the world teaching that, which really annoys me because I'd really rather other people do this so that I can go back, because you know what I really dream of doing is watching Bollywood movies all day, and no, I'm not joking. That's what I would be doing if I wasn't doing this. And I can't because no one's teaching what actually needs to be taught. So it's one of those, if I don't do it, no one's going to do it. So I have to do it. And that actually is my secret sauce because it's not only that I'm unique doing this and I don't wanna be, but it's really motivating to know that if I don't do this, no one will.

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I don't have a problem with waking up in the morning and thinking, oh crap, I have to do X, Y, or Z today. I never wake up thinking that. My business grew out of my desire to make the world a better place by teaching what I know, which is how to get these bullies to stop using behavioral science and everything flows out of that. The business kind of created itself because of that. And again, I'd rather other people teach this, but no one is, so I have to, and that's my motivation. That's the secret sauce. And for people that have motivation problems, I think changing around what you're doing in your head and thinking about what you're doing makes the world a better place if you're only motivation is to make money. There are way easier ways to do it than to be an entrepreneur. Running your own business is hard. Yes, but I'm never not motivated to do it because I have to do it because of overriding motivation is to make the world a better place, and everything I do is in service to that. Including the creation of the company.

Gresham Harkless 09:18

Makes perfect sense. I love that. It's like your why is so much stronger. And your why is obviously very strong, with all the things that are going on in the world. And with bullies, especially, I completely understand why you're saying, I wish somebody else would do it, but they're not doing it. But I have to do it just because I know how to solve these issues and nobody else is doing it, so I have to do these things. So I definitely think there could be no stronger pull than having a strong why like that.

Jennifer Hancock 09:39

Yeah exactly, and when I say, I wish other people would do it, that's part of my motivation is to teach other people how to teach this so that I'm not the only person because I as an individual can only reach so many people and I wanna reach the world. So other people need to learn what I know. And then teach it as one, and then I can retire and watch Bollywood movies.

Gresham Harkless 09:59

Awesome. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient as a business owner.

Jennifer Hancock 10:09

So my hack is I'm only giving 80%, and this seems like a really weird hack. Someone's only giving 80%, and most people are, I got to give it 110%. I don't have 110%. No one has 110%, and if I give a hundred percent, then there's nothing left for the things that make life worth living, which is my family. I find by committing myself to only giving 80% to the business, that I'm forced to find creative ways to solve my problems. More efficient ways, both economically, because I'm committed to staying within my budget and not going into debt for this business, right? That would not be good for my family. I'm committed to being around for my family, so reminding myself that this is not the entirety of me, helps me keep that work-life balance that is so critical to my happiness. You can tell I'm in a good mood. It is Friday afternoon. I'm in a good mood and you know what? My husband and son are camping this weekend and I have a whole weekend I can work and I'm actually really excited about the work part I'm doing this weekend because it's one of the few weekends I can work because the boys are camping. Okay, fine. But I love what I do because it's not overwhelming.

Gresham Harkless 11:21

I love that.

Jennifer Hancock 11:21

And it also helps me, remind me to bring in allies. I spoke at a talent development conference in Tampa last month, and I was speaking to one of the people afterwards, and she has a skillset I don't have. She's really great at creating creative experiences for people to learn multiple things simultaneously, and I'm just in awe of her. She's really cool. Her name is Sherry Sutton, by the way, if you're interested. But she was like you can learn this too. And I'm like why? When I have you. It's probably better for me to collaborate with you than it is for me to try and be you. I have my own skillset. I don't need to be everything to everyone. I just need to know other people who have the things I'm lacking and I need to collaborate with them. And that to me is part of that 80% hack, I don't need to be everything. It's okay. My limits are actually okay.

Gresham Harkless 12:16

Yeah. And your limits are what allows you to spend that 20% doing the things that you're truly passionate about and spending time how you want to and have that work-life balance that you touched, and talked about.

Jennifer Hancock 12:24

And then it forces me to collaborate with people for the other pieces that would take me forever to put together.

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Gresham Harkless 12:30

There you go. Now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom, a piece of advice, or if you could hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Jennifer Hancock 12:39

It will be okay. The CEO journey is up and down, up and down, and it's filled with moments of sheer terror. It won't be pleasant, but you'll be okay.

Gresham Harkless 12:48

Absolutely. No, I love that. And it's always a good reminder because I always say sometimes you build it up in your head, like the failures. They're never really, sometimes as bad as we make them out to be. And you think that, if something bad happens, you'll never ever be able to recover from it. But that's not always the case. So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is a definition of what it means to be a CEO. So we're having different quote and quote CEOs on this show, but I wanted to ask you, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Jennifer Hancock 13:11

Responsibility and responsibility. A lot of people think of responsibility as a bad word, right? It's something you want to avoid, and I just talked about a bunch about wanting to be lazy. Being responsible feels really, really good. It means I'm getting stuff done and to me, a CEO is ultimately responsible for getting the stuff done. CEOs have a lot of trouble giving up control, right? Especially a solopreneur. We know how to do it. But how do I get someone to do my social media marketing for me in a way that I'm okay with? And this is gonna seem weird, a lot of times when I do training on how to stop a bully and I'm doing it with adults, inevitably, a question about loading dishwashers comes up, right? And anybody who's married or lives with someone knows the problem of the dishwasher. The other person does not load the dishwasher the way you do, and it's completely wrong and really annoying, and they feel that way about you. And this is an item of contention in a lot of marriages, and you just have to, if you want the other person to take on the responsibility of the dishes, you have to be okay with how they do them.

The end goal is that the dishes get done. And it's the same thing with solopreneurs becoming managers, is you have to let go of that control and allow the other person to solve the problem their way. Now at first, it's really uncomfortable because they're not doing it your way. But if you brought on someone with talent, Their creativity could take you to places you didn't even know you could go. But you have to give up control to allow them to fly so that you can fly. And I think the problem is people don't like the uncertainty of letting go of control, and they have this illusion of control, and the reality is they're just, suffocating themselves in their business. They have to let go of control and let their employees do their job.

Gresham Harkless 14:57

Awesome. I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule. What I wanted to do was pass you to the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional to let our readers and our listeners know, and also how they can get a copy of your book and get in touch with you.

Jennifer Hancock 15:08

My company's called Humanist Learning Systems, and it's at, and I've got all these online courses. We have courses on how to deal with cranky customers using behavioral science. Which a lot of entrepreneurs need, because a bad customer can suck you down a rabbit hole and take all your time. And it also has a list of all my books, all my online courses, courses from other humanists, doing similar education. I also volunteer because I'm a humanist. I volunteer with the International Humanist Management Association. And we do online live conversations with academics from around the world. This is the sort of stuff I'm involved in. I'm working on a book for academia on humanism and business management and trying to get all my talks into book forms, but all of that is on my website,

Gresham Harkless 15:52

Awesome. And we'll have a link in the show notes. Jennifer, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Jennifer Hancock 15:59

Oh, you too. And thanks for having me on.

Outro 16:01

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear at This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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