In 2004, Jennifer Porter (now our Managing Partner) was COO of Sentient Jet, working 18-hour days, seven days a week. The pace was familiar but unsustainable, and she wasn’t particularly happy. Realizing she needed a change, she made a big one: she resigned and, after wrapping up her transition, decided to spend five weeks in Nepal, teaching English to young Buddhist monks.
Katmandu is loud, frenetic, and packed with people. Each morning, Jennifer walked through the urban streets of Nepal’s largest city, dodging cars, children, and cows, to the monastery where she taught. As she stepped into Boudha (Bó-da), the area of the city where many of the monasteries are located, the sounds, smells, and electric energy of the city faded behind her. People moved slowly, thinking and reflecting.
Improbably nestled inside the busy city, Boudha was peaceful, quiet, and calm. The buzz of the city just beyond the walls was a sharp contrast to the sense of stillness inside.
Teaching the monks was hard, funny, and rewarding. With no books, no curriculum, no headmaster or even other teachers, Jennifer found herself making it up as she went along. She also found herself relaxing, slowing down, and connecting with the kind and thoughtful people around her.
When Jennifer returned to the US, another big change followed as she transitioned from operations executive to executive coach.
Jennifer and the founding team formed The Boda Group in 2011 to help leaders and teams reflect, assess, clarify objectives, and achieve success in the areas that matter most to them.
We know that many great leaders and teams are ambitious and driven, and that they operate in fast-paced, results-oriented, often hectic business environments. And yet, leadership and team development require time and a calm place for reflection. This contrast between the frenetic day-to-day experience and the calm needed for leadership and team development continues to remind Jennifer of her time in Katmandu.
The Boda name is our nod to Boudha: an ever-present reminder of the need to pause, reflect, plan, learn, and grow, amidst chaos and intensity.