How Jane Goodall pioneered heart-centered leadership
3 min read
Jane Goodall Institute

This article sheds light on the conversation between Galitt Kenan, the Director of the Jane Goodall Institute in France; Cilla Henriette, a Partner and Business Humanizer at Innate Motion; and Shad Raouf, show host. Jane Goodall changed the world by channeling her love and empathy. In this article, we discuss how she did it and what we can learn from her to create meaningful change. 

The Challenge 

When Jane was in her 20s and out of money, she was in Kenya searching for a job. A friend introduced her to Louis Leakey – a Kenyan archaeologist and paleontologist there. Experiencing her natural love for animals, Leaky invited Goodall to be the first woman ever to meet and live with the wild chimpanzees. 

Goodall made several scientific breakthroughs. Most notably, she found out that chimpanzees make and use tools. And just like that, the human rank in the Animal Kingdom was forever changed. Her revelation meant that humans were not superior to other animals. They were their peers. 

Despite her impressive work, Jane wasn’t taken seriously because she was a woman. It wasn’t until National Geographic snapped a photo of her with a chimp that the critics began to disappear. Jane became a symbol of heart-centered leadership. 

Meaningful Change

It is scientifically proven that local communities, nature, and animals are always interconnected. Everything affects everything. Nothing operates in a silo. Every slight change impacts biodiversity – which Jane called “the tapestry of life.” We are part of complex webs, not bubbles. 

In alignment with nature’s and life’s interconnectedness, the Jane Goodall Institute focuses on empowering local communities to protect their local habitats. Their philosophy is that locals should do everything for locals. The logic is that locals have more at stake, a bigger reason to care. After all, their habitats are what affect their daily lives and livelihoods. 

“We’re trying to be very focused and to help the local population. They are the ones who decide what we are doing. We are providing them training and give them the tools, so they can develop.” – Galitt Kenan

Humanizing approach

Besides a lack of localized efforts, the animal protection industry can occasionally be highly prescriptive. Rather than empowering locals to create their local solutions to local challenges, many organizations enter territories where they don’t belong and tell people how to fix things. 

The way Jane Goodall and her institute do things allows us to reimagine what wildlife protection can look like instead. For example, instead of speaking to people about the importance of protecting the forest using numbers, reports, and jargon, we can speak directly to people’s hearts. For people to be compelled to change, we must replace humiliation with humility in our conversations. 

Galitt explains that storytelling can be a powerful tool to meet people where they are and talk with them rather than at them. She says that Jane makes them feel “as if they’re the only one whenever she speaks to someone.” Being present with people and inspiring them to think with us builds passion and knowledge; together, they inspire dedicated action. 

It is easy to be prescriptive and tell people what to do. It is more sustainable to give people the tools to carry themselves forward for generations instead. An example is the Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots and Shoots program. It is a program for youth to map their environments, discover the needs of their communities, and create solutions to these challenges. It is not a program that tells youth to arrive at specific solutions or to select particular problems – it is an authentically localized program. 


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