CEO's Journey to Find Happiness Leads Him to Myanmar

Jim Barnett believes that people who think of others first lead happier lives. It's a theory he puts into practice at his company, Glint, as well working with those living with HIV and AIDS in Myanmar. Garvin Thomas reports.

(Published Friday, Oct. 27, 2017)

Over the past 20 years, Jim Barnett has run a variety of Silicon Valley ventures.

Still, no matter where Barnett has worked during that period, his day has started the exact same way.

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"Monday through Friday, I get up every morning and meditate from six to seven in the morning," Barnett said.

The practice, Barnett said, was one result of his years-long quest to find happiness; one that started years ago with Barnett learning where not to find it.

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"Early in my career, I worked for really successful people who were not happy at all," Barnett said. "I had this insight at a young age that happiness wasn't necessarily material success and promotions."

Barnett is now CEO of Glint, a platform that helps other organizations track and improve their employee engagement, with an eye toward helping their bottom line. The work, Barnett said, is among the most satisfying he has done in his entire career but he knew there was still more to his personal happiness mission.

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"I've realized over the years that people that live their lives in service of others are often just genuinely happier than other people," Barnett said.

Which is how Barnett and his wife, Anne, found themselves in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar.

Traveling that part of the world and looking for an opportunity to help others, the Barnetts found Partners Asia, an organization that works to improve the lives of vulnerable people in Myanmar. Together they founded a home for those living with HIV and AIDS.

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"AIDS, in particular, is a serious problem because not only is there not great health care but often those with HIV and AIDS are shunned by the community," Barnett said.

The facility they created houses 40 people with another building just added. The home helps pregnant women with HIV deliver healthy babies and works with others until they are healthy enough to re-enter society.

Barnett has witnessed numerous stories of lives saved and lives turned-around. It is further proof, Barnett believes, that thinking of others first can do wonders for oneself.

"To get to see the impact you can have on someone's life by being helpful is really satisfying."