Alumni Jon (’93) and Gretchen (’94) Jones have established a fund in the Honors College at Washington State University to create the Mindfulness-Based Emotional and Social Intelligence (MESI) Certificate in Honors. The purpose of the MESI certificate is to teach happiness as a skill and provide Honors students with tools to improve their performance, relationships, health, and happiness. Through innovative coursework, workshops, local and global community outreach efforts, and guest speakers, the MESI certificate will teach students mindfulness, self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and compassion.
For Jon and Gretchen, the MESI approach to happiness has not only benefited their family, inspiring them to give back to their local and global communities, but it has also become an integral part of the culture at their wealth management company, Brighton Jones. As founder and CEO of Brighton Jones, the largest wealth management firm in Washington State, Jon’s MESI approach to work encourages everyone, clients and employees alike, to live a richer life. The company promotes areas of well-being that expand beyond balance sheets, and they have built an award-winning culture of philanthropy by offering employees unlimited time off for volunteer work in the community and a generous matching program. The company credits their emphasis on giving back as a key reason they recently received the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy Award and for being the first and only company to win Seattle Business Magazine’s Best Companies to Work For award for 11 consecutive years.
We can’t think of a better way to align our values and resources with the cause that we are most passionate about. Partnering with WSU and the Honors College to launch this program couldn’t have been a better fit.
~ Gretchen Jones,
As loyal alumni and volunteers of Washington State University, Jon and Gretchen understand the impact that their investment makes across the various areas they support. “We can’t think of a better way to align our values and resources with the cause that we are most passionate about. Partnering with WSU and the Honors College to launch this program couldn’t have been a better fit,” says Gretchen. Through their gift to establish the Brighton Jones MESI Fund in Honors, the Joneses hope that other alumni, friends, and leaders in the public and private sectors will see the benefit the certificate program will have, not only on the students completing the MESI certificate but on the communities in which these MESI graduates will eventually live and work. The MESI certificate will help students with a variety of majors—from pre-med to business to criminal justice—improve their marketability and job performance in their respective careers and, more importantly, make them more compassionate human beings. “Everyone will benefit from this program, but especially the businesses that hire students who have earned a certificate in MESI from WSU,“ says Jon.
Over time, Jon and Gretchen anticipate the MESI certificate being offered university-wide to engage all students through a values-based approach toward learning—broadening their view of living a happier, more meaningful life through connectedness, engagement, and commitment. As Jon and Gretchen say, “Just imagine what a game-changer this will be for WSU and its students, if all graduates entered the workforce already equipped with the skills to resolve conflict, express empathy and compassion, and become more self-aware.”