We’ve all entertained a version of the Eat, Pray, Love fantasy, but how many of us would actually quit our jobs, move out of our apartments, and hop on a plane? Well, that’s exactly what Jess Teutonico did. After a trip to Kenya, she left her job at Vogue and returned to Africa for two years, where she became acutely aware of the lack of access to basic resources necessary for development and growth — and set out to change things.
Inspired by her trip, Teutonico returned to New York and started her own nonprofit, Under The Acacia, which, beginning with building schools, focuses on community development. Six years later, she's a mom to 2-year-old son Luca and is heading up mega-producer Nile Rodgers' youth development-focused We Are Family Foundation. That's why we made it a point to get in some face time, tapping Teutonico for The List, our series with T.J.Maxx that puts the spotlight on game-changing women. And, we discovered that her life, though divided into a few distinct categories, is united by a singular vision: to make a positive impact and leave the world a better place than she found it.
Coming soon, we take a stroll through her bohemian apartment (where she's beautifully incorporated artifacts from her time in Kenya), learn how she stays sane while juggling so much, and get the real deal about what it was like to leave a high-powered job in fashion to strike out on her own. While you wait for the full interview, check out the video above, featuring this fierce humanitarian. You may not have plans to move off the grid, but you'll definitely be motivated to hop off your couch and into action.