Meet Jessie

Born into Adversity and Difference

Imagine having 20 surgeries before turning five years old. Being born with a genetic condition called Ectodermal Dysplasia, hospitals and dental clinics were like Jessie's second home. When she wasn't at doctors visits, Jessie was helping out at the family business in their small town just north of Seattle.  

 

Despite the many challenges she faced in her young life, Jessie never felt sorry for herself. She was very shy and did exceptionally well in school. Just before entering her teens, Jessie's hair started falling out and her shyness began morphing into a social anxiety that took years to overcome. From the time she was 10 years old, Jessie found self-expression through tap dance. The dance community was her entire world and she felt accepted there. Jessie started working professionally in entertainment at 13 years old and was fortunate to have studied with many tap dance legends before they passed away—including the opportunity to perform onstage with the late great Gregory Hines. (Read Jessie’s full dance biography)

 

At the age of 17, Jessie's family lost their business and their home as corporate stores entered the local market and they couldn't adapt quickly enough. Jessie was the first in her family to go to college, attending the University of Washington to study Business and Innovation Management.

Jessie Sawyers
Jessie as a baby wearing a white top with a nasogastric feeding tube

Following Her Passion

 

Jessie taught and performed all through her college years as her sole source of income. It was during this time that her hair loss increased to the point that she started wearing wigs, and she had a round of dental implant surgeries to help correct her genetic dental abnormalities. This was a time of deep personal exploration for Jessie, who was still coming to terms with all of her physical differences. She was eager to emerge from the protective shell she had since outgrown, and was about to take a daring leap into a vastly different way of being...

Jessie with wig cap

Post-college, Jessie spent her time teaching and performing in Seattle and around the country. During this time, she was invited to be on faculty at the Australian Tap Dance Festival, and this opportunity became the catalyst for her to dream bigger than ever before. What emerged after months of visioning was a global video project called "Music of Humankind", intended to celebrate the beautiful diversity within our shared humanity. In service of this mission, Jessie bootstrapped her way across six continents, collaborating with over 100 artists she met in eleven countries. She dreamt that this global project was planting seeds that could blossom as part of her long-term career plan.

Traveling Solo Across Six Continents

Jessie at airport
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What would you dream of doing next if you had absolutely no limitations?

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Jessie with teeth

Two months after returning from her travels, Jessie faced dental complications from the implants placed a decade prior. She spent the next two years living on a liquid and soft food diet while undergoing jaw reconstruction surgeries. Jessie was devastated that her newly emerging career visions had to be put on hold. She lost most of her income, but was fortunate to have been supported through this time by her friends and family.

Then at 29, Jessie Lost Everything...

While it was a trying two years, Jessie didn't lose her joy or her growth mindset––it was during this time that the concept for her social change company called Getting Unlocked emerged. (She actually carved the company logo out of a lino-block one day while sitting on her couch healing from surgery!) This experience strengthened Jessie's reverence for the preciousness of life.

Music of Humankind
Music of Humankind
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Isn't it Time to Let Your
Hair Down and Be Free?

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The dental surgeries went well and Jessie was ready to charge forward, but one nagging sense of restriction was still looming in her mind: She wasn't in complete acceptance of her hair loss yet, but she was so ready to conquer this discomfort once and for all.

 

Jessie spent 13 years trying to conceal her hair loss and then another 7 years of wearing wigs once it had progressed further. Mustering up the courage to wear wigs was a big step toward acceptance, but it still felt distressing to look at her sparse, shedding hair in the mirror. It was the Summer of 2018 when Jessie shaved her head for the first time. Thinking she'd still wear wigs in public, after the head shaving Jessie felt so happy and free with her new bald look that she went over two years without wearing hair at all! (Eventually, she realized how cold her head got without hair and now freely alternates between wearing wigs, headwraps, hats, or the bald look.)

In the years since shaving her head, Jessie has: 

Jessie sitting

Jessie uses her life's trials and triumphs to help others break free from social conditioning that confines and from self-limiting beliefs so they can awaken to their authentic self. She inspires people through her commitment to lifelong learning, self-expansion, and a resolve to live in harmony with others and the natural world.

 

Want to Book Jessie for an Event or Workshop? Head to her contact page.

Group image of attendees at Jessie's book launch event in 2019 at Commune Yoga in Seattle