Jaimie was born in London and had a privileged background, being sent to the private high school Eton and attended Harris Manchester College, Oxford. He is left handed, dyslexic and struggled with school which has given me a life-long appreciation for minorities. He rails against the “right-handed, linear, text based thinkers” who control our education system and make him “others” feel stupid! He started my volunteer work in his teens working with severely handicapped children.
His father, Ivor Coats, told him of a story when he was prisoner of the Germans in 1945 that has greatly influenced him. His father, was in a parked train containing ill and badly wounded prisoners. He feared that overnight many prisoners would freeze to death so he, missing a foot, crawled in front of the train to demand blankets for the freezing prisoners. When a German soldier threatened to shoot him, he told the soldier that he was a British Officer and demanded to speak to a German Officer, who was summoned. Blankets were provided. His father’s message was that if you have rank or status use it for the least.
In his early twenties a couple of high school friends died and my mother was severely ill. From these experiences I decided that life is too short to not make a difference everyday. At that time I started writing poetry as way of guiding what I do in life. I write poetry to know what I truly think and feel.
In 1991 I moved to Boston. I have had career that spanned economic development, social investing, and non-profit management. From 2006 to 2018 I worked for an order of Episcopalian monks, the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, who have a monastery in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. I helped the monks close a loss making publishing business, rebuild their monastery that was falling down, build up their endowment and launch a new online publishing initiative that has worldwide reach. I learned how to build a thriving economy for the monks built on giving away their wisdom and kindness. (To learn more about my work for the monks read this article.)
In 2010 my older sister, Emma, was found dead at foot of a cliff after disappearing from the Warnford Hospital in Oxford, UK. This had profound impact on me. I maintain a website to celebrate Emma’s life and art. At Emma’s funeral I said, “go tell the story that must be told and let it touch the hearts of all throughout the world.” I determined that I would work for women’s equality, opportunity for women, and economic justice.