We had the good fortune of connecting with Jill Wener, MD and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jill, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I spent the first 17 years of my adult life in the medical field, training to become and then working as a doctor. I never really thought I had any other talents or skills that I could do professionally! When I learned to meditate in 2011 during a period of profound burnout, it not only fixed my burnout, but it also changed my life. I never intended to leave medicine, but once I decided to become a meditation teacher and then spent 3 months in India doing my meditation teacher training, I realized I had more that I wanted to offer the world. I focused on teaching meditation for the first 2 years of my entrepreneurial career, and it was then that I got really involved in the physician wellness space. I started tapping (also called the Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT) in 2018 and loved it so much that I became a tapping practitioner in 2019. My medical, meditation, and tapping expertise all informed the work I do in the anti-racism space, through my ‘Conscious Anti-Racism’ curriculum, which is teaching non-BIPOC people mind-body tools and exercises to help them lean into and learn from the discomfort that surrounds anti-racism work (all in the context of learning about systemic racism), so that they can show up in anti-racism spaces in a more productive and less harmful way.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The Conscious Anti-Racism movement, and the book, trainings and courses that my partner Dr. Maiysha Clairborne and I have created, was born out of my own journey as a white woman learning more about my complicity in systemic racism. Using my set of mind-body tools to allow me to embrace and learn from the uncomfortable emotions that this type of work inevitably brings up, rather than shutting down or staying defensive, has helped me so much as I continue to do this work personally and professionally. I wanted to share these tools with other well-intending white people who want to engage in anti-racism work in a meaningful way. What sets us apart is that Maiysha and I each use our medical background and our expertise in mind-body practices (she is an master practitioner of NLP, hypnosis and Time-Line Therapy) to teach aspiring anti-racists actual tools to help them do the deep internal work around systemic racism, so that they can contribute to the social justice movement in a meaningful way. This journey is absolutely necessary, but it isn’t easy, and we teach non-BIPOC people how to lean into the discomfort and use it as a guide through the internal and external work. We don’t just tell people to deal with their uncomfortable emotions; we teach them tools that expand their emotional intelligence and resilience around race and life in general. I am a white woman working in the anti-racism space, so that has obviously been a challenge for me in terms of balancing my role in perpetuating systemic racism, and the harm that I have unintentionally caused (and still cause) over my lifetime, with the work that I do. I don’t have the lived experience of being marginalized by systemic racism, so I am constantly reading, learning, and having difficult conversations to make sure that I don’t center myself and that I continue to recognize that my role in this work is to amplify and support that work that incredible BIPOC activists have already been doing. I also donate a significant percentage of any income that I make in the social justice space to anti-racism organizations. It has absolutely not been easy, but we are honored and humbled to do this work and contribute to the movement for true racial equity in our society.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a tough question to answer after a year of COVID! I grew up in Atlanta, in the Sandy Springs area, but for the first several years after I moved back in 2016, I chose to live in the east side of the city- Kirkwood and East Lake. I love sharing those neighborhoods with visitors and supporting the local businesses in those areas- places like Dolce Vegan, El Myriachi, and of course Anna’s BBQ is incredible as well. I currently live near Piedmont Park, so I’d for sure include the Beltline and a walk in the park. A walking or biking tour of historically Black neighborhoods with Civil Bikes is also a great activity. Some of our new favorite vegan places are Plant-Based Pizzeria and Villys.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be doing the work I’m doing in the anti-racism space without the Allies in Action Bootcamp that I attended in early 2019, led by anti-racism educators and activists Leslie Mac and Paige Ingram. It was so life-changing. I learned so many hard lessons about systemic racism, and my role in it, and I also learned how I could start to take action in the social justice space in a way that best utilized my skillsets. That’s where the ‘Conscious Anti-Racism’ curriculum was born. I also must give a shoutout to my partner in the anti-racism work that I do, Dr. Maiysha Clairborne. Her knowledge, expertise and lived experience, as well as her brilliance, creativity and compassion, inspire me every day to do the work we do together- from corporate and healthcare trainings, to creating online courses, to publishing our first book.
n/a- all have permission to share without credit