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Jean Oelwang on Who and What Will You Love Into Being?
The power of partnering in forging relationships that matter

Jean Oelwang and I discuss the power of partnerships and the importance of love in those partnerships on this episode of Passion Struck with John R. Miles. Brought to you by AppSumo’s application marketplace (, Gusto’s all-in-one HR solution (, the Policygenius insurance comparison website (, and Indeed the platform for hiring (

Jean Oelwang is the president and founding CEO of Virgin Unite, co-founder of Plus Wonder, and a B Team Leader. She sits on the Advisory Council for The Elders and several company boards, including RMI, Ocean Unite, Just Capital, and Virgin Unite. She is the author of the new book PARTNERING: Forge the Deep Connections that Make Great Things Happen.

* Purchase Partnering (Amazon Link) – proceeds support the non-profit Plus Wonder.

Never ask the question: Does he love me? Does she love me? Do they love me? Ask the question, am I loving enough? Whether that’s a business relationship, whether it’s a romantic relationship? How can you ensure that you’re giving your whole self when you enter these partnerships and collaborations.

Jean Oelwang

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What I Discuss With Jean Oelwang about Partnering, Virgin Unite, The Elders, and Plus Wonder

Jean Oelwang joins the Passion Struck podcast to discuss how to forge the deep connections that make great things happen through systems change and the power of partnering. Jean explains the impact of Virgin Unite on uniting people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world. Jean also examines some of these collaborations like The EldersOcean UniteThe B TeamCaribbean Climate Smart Accelerator, Ben and Jerry, President Jimmy Carter and his wife Roselyn, and  Unite BVI, which have spurred much-needed change in the world.

  • How Jean Oelwang approached Sir Richard Branson about leading Virgin Unite
  • The story of how Sir Richard Branson and Pete Gabriel founded the Elders
  • The importance of life’s magnetic moments.
  • The importance of adult play in partnerships.
  • The importance of the partnership between Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina, in discovering that CFCs were destroying the ozone layer.
  • How the partnership of André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard ignited the success of the first solar flight around the world called Solar Impulse.
  • The important relationship of love and creating strong partnerships.
  • How our moral compass in a partnership forms virtues on purpose.
  • Addressing the epidemic of chronic loneliness.
  • Importance of systems change in solving many of the world’s largest issues.
  • Why the B Team was created and what it is trying to tackle.
  • TED’s Audacious Project and its importance in addressing global issues.
  • The creation of the non-profit Plus Wonder
  • Why the millions of moments matter in who we become.
  • Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share? Drop us a line at [email protected]m!
  • And much more…
164 | Who and What Will You Love Into Being? | Jean Oelwang | Passion Struck with John R. Miles
164 | Who and What Will You Love Into Being? | Jean Oelwang | Passion Struck with John R. Miles

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More From My Interview With Jean Olewang On Partnering and What and Who Will You Love Into Being

During our interview, I asked Jean why we are bombarded with advice on a self-centered conditional approach to love?

Partnering by Jean Oelwang for Passion Struck Book List

Jean Oelwang explains, “I think that we have, from the time we are born, been so focused to be the one that we’re so focused on hyper-individualism to get the gold star, to be the top of the class, to attend the top university, to be raised up the corporate ladder in the company. And I think that’s perpetuated in the world, a sense of selfishness, a sense of hyper-individualistic behavior, rather than looking at how if we become hyper-connected, we can do far more together in the world.

And so I think that’s in many instances sucked love out of business; for example, many companies I’ve worked in love have not been front and center. I interviewed lots of companies, and in the Ben and Jerry interview, they mentioned love more times than I can remember and could count. The whole interview is about their love for each other and their love as they built this business.

And the same thing with the co-founders of Innocent Drinks and Draper Richards Kaplan. Love was at the center of all of these companies. And I think John, we’re taught to think that we can’t have love in a company. We have to just focus on the goal. t has to be transactional. nd I think that’s such a mistake. Because when you build love and deep connection at the center of a company, a partnership, or a movement to change the world, that’s what will keep that bond strong.

And that’s what’s gonna bring really light and joy into our lives are these deep connections that we build with one another, especially in companies we spend 30% of our time in the workplace. And yet, can you imagine 30% of that time without loving it? It’s just ridiculous that we aren’t putting that at the center of who we are as human beings and as companies. And part of that is shared values.

The depth of love is built through a common respect for one another, trust with each other, empathy for each other, shared generosity, and that builds and strengthens that bond of love.”

The Impact of The Elders

I also asked Jean about the impact of working with the Elders on her life and career?

Jean Oelwang explains, from working with the Elders, “I became fascinated with two questions. One was how do you build these deep connections in your life that make your life more meaningful and also help you be the best version of yourself? And the second one was how do you take those deep connections and ladder them up to be large-scale collaborations?” 

Thanks, Jean Oelwang!

If you enjoyed this interview with Jean Oelwang, let her know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout on Instagram or Twitter:

Click here to thank Jean Oelwang on Twitter!

Click here to thank Jean Oelwang on Instagram!

Click here to let John R. Miles know about your number one takeaway from this episode!

And if you want us to answer your questions or you have a topic you would like John to discuss on one of our upcoming weekly Momentum Friday episodes, drop us a line at [email protected].

Resources From The Show With Jean Oelwang

Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Passion Struck podcast receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you so much for being so supportive!

* Virgin Unite: 

* Plus Wonder: 

* Twitter: 

* Instagram: 

* Facebook: 

* LinkedIn: 

* Solar Impulse:

* The B Team:

* The Elders –

* TED’s Audacious Project:

Passion Struck podcast quote by Jean Oelwang: "We spend 30% of our time in the workplace. And yet, can you imagine 30% of that time without love in it? It's just ridiculous that we aren't putting that at the center of who we are as human beings and as companies. Part of that is shared values. The depth of love is built through common respect for one another, trust with each other, empathy for each other, and sharing generosity, which builds and strengthens that bond of love."

* My interview with Jeff Walker on the importance of collaboration in systems change:

* My interview with Sara Mednick Ph.D. on the power of the downstate and its impact on performance and health: 

* My interview with Katy Milkman, Ph.D. on how to create lasting behavior change: 

* My interview with David Yaden Ph.D. on self-transcendence, psychedelics, and behavior change: 

* My interview with Michael Slepian Ph.D.:

* My interview with Admiral Sandy Stosz on how to lead in unchartered waters: 

* My solo episode on why micro choices matter:

* My solo episode on why you must feel to heal:

About Today’s Guest Jean Oelwang

Passion Struck podcast album cover for episode 164 with Jean Oelwang on her book Partnering

Jean is the Co-Founder of Plus Wonder, a not-for-profit initiative she was inspired to set up due to her deep and long-standing Passion for the power of partnerships of all kinds.

She spent two decades with partners to lead the incubation and start-up of several collaborative global initiatives, including The Elders, The B Team, The Carbon War Room, Ocean Unite, The Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, 100% Human at Work, The Virgin Unite Constellation and The Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship. he also played a key partner in incubating many other initiatives, such as The Audacious Project.

She is also the founding CEO and President of Virgin Unite, a non-profit foundation set up to unite people and entrepreneurial ideas. Jean has helped corporations put the well-being of people and the planet at their core. She’s worked with more than 25 Virgin businesses across 15 industries to help embed purpose in everything they do. She also served as a Partner in the Virgin Group, leading their people strategy.  

Prior to Virgin, Jean spent 18 years working in six continents to start and help lead mobile phone companies in South Africa, Colombia, Bulgaria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and the US. he was the joint CEO of Virgin Mobile in Australia before starting Virgin Unite.  

Jean has long explored the overlap of the business and social sectors, including working for the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife in Australia. She’s also worked in numerous volunteer roles, such as a year-long stint as a VISTA volunteer, where she worked with and learned from homeless teens in Chicago. 

Jean holds several Advisory Board roles, including The Elders, The NewNow, the Sara Blakely Foundation, and sits on the Boards of Rocky Mountain Institute, The Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, Ocean Unite, Ocean Elders, Penn State Board of Visitors, AID Live, Unite BVI Foundation and Just Capital. She is also a B Team leader.

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John R. Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, and author named to the ComputerWorld Top 100 IT Leaders.

John is the host of the PassionStruckPodcast. The show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy of the world’s most inspiring people to learn their lessons to living intentionally. Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better and impact.

Stay tuned for JJohn’slatest project, his upcoming book, which will be published in summer 2022.

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