Jenny Gladding was born in Richmond, VA in 1960. During her teenage years, her family moved to Asheville, NC, where she attended a small alternative high school, The Newfound School. At the age of 17, she enrolled at Marlboro College, in Marlboro, VT, where she studied literature and philosophy and became an apprentice in a professional summer stock theatre company, The Marlboro Guild Theatre. Following her time in Vermont, Jenny worked as photographic fashion model for The Ford Agency in New York, and lived and worked in Tokyo, Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.
With earlier training in French pastries, Jenny left her modeling career in New York, at the age of 29, to spend a year living on Cumberland Island National Seashore, working as the chef at the Greyfield Inn. The following year, she returned to school to finish her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia. Jenny completed an honors thesis in the Distinguished Majors Program in Religious Studies by pursuing independent study in Religion and Psychology examining the intersection of personality development and religious beliefs. Her inquiry explored how theories of pedagogy and child-rearing affected the religious/spiritual beliefs of the adult. She graduated with honors and Phi Beta Kappa in 1992, and then attended a graduate program in Theology and Personality Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, GA receiving the prestigious Robert C. Woodruff Fellowship.
The common thread through all of Jenny’s experiences has been her demonstrated passion for inquiries and practices related to personal and spiritual growth. In the Episcopal church, she created and taught courses on faith development to adults, and implemented a pilot program in the Montessori-inspired Godly Play for children. She embarked upon a 4 year study and practice of Buddhism as well.
Jenny now lives in Charlottesville, VA and is the mother of two teenage girls. Parenting is the pinnacle of all her accomplishments. She writes poetry and is currently working on a memoir.