Cultivating Peace Through Compassionate Dialogue. Member Spotlight: Jeff Hasenfratz

Jeff Hasenfratz is an executive leadership coach, group facilitator, budding mediator, and Rotarian who has discovered a calling to help heal divides by bringing people together to engage in open, compassionate dialogue. Originally from Ohio, Jeff has lived and worked abroad for over 30 years: first in Hong Kong, then in Shanghai, China. Looking forward, Jeff is preparing to devote his energies to peacebuilding initiatives which foster justice, reconciliation, and intercultural understanding.

From Tech to Facilitating Human Connection

Jeff built his early career in the tech industry, before transitioning into executive search, then coaching. Through extensive interviewing and talent evaluation, Jeff discovered and nurtured a passion for understanding what motivates people to grow as leaders. This led him to pivot to coaching. As Jeff explains, “I love learning, and I love helping other people access more of their potential.” He took intensive training to formally develop his coaching skills, before starting an independent practice in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Jeff later expanded this practice to group facilitation, applying his coaching approach to group settings. He aims to create value by interacting with people in ways that leave them feeling better off than before, more hopeful and encouraged, at a minimum.  For Jeff, facilitating dialogue has shown him the power of reflective listening to bridge divides.

Unlocking Mediation’s Potential

Witnessing firsthand the transformative power of compassionate communication has led Jeff to pursue mediation training as a next step. He believes mediation offers invaluable tools to move conflicts “to a more manageable, even comfortable state.” Jeff is currently undertaking a 9-month online course to build his mediation skills. He is also interested in learning reconciliation processes.

Having attended an 8th MBBI International Peace Congress at the Hague in 2017, Jeff recently reconnected with the organization as he prepares to move back to the U.S from China. In so doing, his hope is to become actively involved in hands-on peacebuilding initiatives – through facilitation, mediation, or related strategies – to create bridges between divided communities and to defuse tensions. He reflects that he feels an increasing desire to “make a contribution toward greater levels of justice and peace.”

Bringing People Together, One Interaction at a Time

Looking ahead, Jeff plans to facilitate group dialogues and mediate conflicts, patiently helping bring people’s unmet needs to the surface. He hopes to focus especially on the emotional barriers dividing communities, encouraging movement beyond surface-level disagreements.

Jeff draws inspiration from the timeless wisdom of figures like Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, whose teachings blend spiritual insight with practical guidance.  He also tries to follow a simple life mantra: Jeff explains that this mantra reminds him to shift from frustration to pragmatism, transcending negative feelings and assumptions by embracing compassion and solution-focused thinking and action.

Article by Natalie Dewar, MBBI Writer