Jere Fletcher '75
Jere Fletcher '75 is at once both grounded and fond of uplift. Even his business e-mail is not complete without a short exhortation to seek goodness, create felicity or simply accept contentment.
Fletcher doesn't work for a greeting card company—he's a lawyer—and he can't be said to have too much time on his hands. An accomplished outdoorsman and well-traveled devotée of tango and swing dancing, he's also molding for himself a new vocation as a motivational speaker and career facilitator.
"Whether on mountainsides, waterways, the Internet or the dance floor, I've found it very satisfying to be able to offer encouragement to friends and colleagues," Fletcher says. "People have helped me along the way, and I'm happy to provide the same to others. There's a universal principle in that, a divine law in giving something back, without strings.
"It's very powerful when we realize that we create ourselves, day-to-day, wherever we are," he adds. "Success and happiness are not in 'finding' yourself. They are in creating yourself."
Fletcher self-creation has burgeoned since his move to Rochester, N.Y., in the mid-90's. He found the tango there, involved himself in outdoor conservation activities, became a photographer of some repute, and turned a career corner.
A member of the Adirondack Mountain Club, he's worked behind the scenes to preserve tracts of land in the huge upstate park. He's also organized excursions up some of New York's highest peaks, trips that end in requisite Fletcher fashion with a glass of wine at a local B&B: the mountain just conquered is a topic of banter and a pleasant backdrop, and the one beyond it becomes the focus of another day's plans. His outdoor photographs now grace professional offices in Rochester and have appeared in galleries as far away as Massachusetts.
"A sense of humor is vital," Fletcher notes of his Adirondack outings. Laughter and the company of like-minded people is key also to Fletcher's appreciation of the tango. A longtime swing dancer, he followed up on a flier he saw a couple of years ago for tango dancing, and has been hooked ever since.
"It's a great way to socialize, have fun, and enjoy physical activity and mental concentration," he says. "Each tango has a different rhythm; some styles are fast, others slow. The construction of the dance belongs to the leader. The embellishments are up to the follower. A dance where we laugh is a good one."
Fletcher once "put on a show for the rest of the diners" in a small restaurant in the Spanish Pyrenees at the request of the owner, he says, but a trip to the cradle of the tango, Argentina, still awaits.
In the meantime, he's working to keep some spirits soaring closer to home. After a speaking engagement in the late '90's to a group of healthcare workers, a new career direction was born, which Fletcher calls "helping people build their lives. We all have vocations, callings and futures," he says.
He'd previously circulated resumes as favors to acquaintances, offered start-up business advice, and lectured on the law to high school students and to other professionals, but is now concentrating on bringing training and speaking together under one career umbrella.
"You get a great feeling connecting and encouraging people," Fletcher says.