Jane Seymour is an award-winning actress, an author, an artist, and a philanthropist. Many know her from her work in movies and television. Her body of work includes the James Bond film Live and Let Die, the epic romance Somewhere In Time, and the title role in the TV series Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman.
She co-founded the Open Hearts Foundation to "empower people to transform adversity into opportunity." The foundation partners with and supports organizations "committed to positively impacting lives in the areas of health, education, arts and sports."
The name "Open Hearts Foundation" was inspired by Jane’s mother, who survived three and a half years in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. She survived by focusing her energy on caring for other prisoners, and later told daughter Jane, "If you keep your heart open, love will always find its way in."
I'm very excited that Jane could join me for this special video edition of Marketing Smarts! We'll discuss her work with the Open Hearts Foundation, the challenges of personal branding in the age of social media, what makes a story compelling (whether it's a brand story or a movie script), as well as the importance of authenticity in branding.
Along the way, Jane shares insight into how she balanced a career with motherhood. She's a mother of six (her twin boys are named after their godfathers, Johnny Cash and Christopher Reeve) and grandmother of five!
Here are some highlights from my conversation with Jane:
Sometimes, the easiest way to find the right nonprofit partner is to start your own charitable organization (04:21): "I have the Open Hearts Foundation. It's my own foundation. We...identify organizations that are doing what the Open Hearts Foundation talks about, which is taking a personal challenge and using that as an opportunity to help others. This was all actually inspired by my mother, who went through World War II in a Japanese internment camp for three-and-a-half years. By the time I was born, and my sisters, my mother always used to say to me, "Darling, when things are tough, and when there are challenges in life, the natural instinct is to close off, but if you can open your heart, accept what's happened, and in some way reach out to help someone else.... Purpose leads to happiness, which brings love into your life."
Businesses and nonprofits alike can win by letting their audience take ownership of the brand once in a while (06:21): "We decided to ask the public who they should be nominated for the Open Hearts Award, and so we had 1,300 organizations submitted. It was very hard to choose! We had to pick four. So, I've been going around the country and giving checks to all four of them, and then interviewing them and doing media locally. We're making promo videos so that the public can see who they are and what they do and why we picked them. Then, on April 7, everyone will be allowed to vote for their favorite. April 23rd, we'll announce the winner, and the winner will get a $10,000 check and national notoriety."
In business and in life, small things make a big difference (07:14): "Hugz from Bugz is a wonderful organization. Haley Ebberts was diagnosed, when she was young, with leukemia, and while she was going through chemo and all the rest of it, she and her parents decided that kids who were going through chemo really needed hope and fun and games and maybe the odd visit from a princess! Some of the families needed financial help. So they wanted to bring hope and gifts and something special to that community, and that's what she started.... There are wonderful things that people do that make a huge difference to people."
Making magic can be as simple as being open to meeting people (11:22): "I never stop...meeting people in my travels. I meet people every day at the oddest times and I tell them about what I'm doing and they go, 'Oh, we're doing something like this,' or, 'We'd love for you to come and do that with us,' or, 'We want to support that.' So, I have this great belief that, sometimes, when you least expect it, magical things happen because you meet someone, you talk about something. Talking about having an open heart and having an open mind is very much a universal message."
If you want to tell a compelling story, tell a true story. (15:22): "I'm all about authentic—when something's real. I personally love biographies. I don't think a story's ever as profound or as moving as a real story, and I think when you hear what people have actually had to go through, it's really more powerful."
Learn more about Jane at JaneSeymour.com, and be sure to check out the Open Hearts Foundation, too! (And if you're looking for a local charity that supports families dealing with pediatric cancer, visit Hugz from Bugz while you're at it!)
And visit CelebratingOpenHeartsContest.com after April 7 to vote for one of four finalists in the Open Heart's Foundation's "Keep an Open Heart" contest. The winning charity will receive $10,000!
Jane and I talked about much, much more (including her upcoming stage debut in Singapore and her favorite accent to use while acting), so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
This episode brought to you by GoToWebinar:
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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.
Jane Seymour, award-winning actress, artist, author, and philanthropist. Jane co-founded the Open Hearts Foundation. Check out Jane's website at JaneSeymour.com, and follow the Open Hearts Foundation on Facebook.