Founder, Jenna Pascual LLC
YWomen Business Accelerator participant
Jenna Pascual has made it her life’s mission to help others take care of their health and happiness through her life coaching services and laughter yoga classes. After her mother passed away from cancer when Jenna was just 15 years old and then later being diagnosed with repetitive stress syndrome herself, Jenna left her career in the tech sector to travel the world.
“I made it a goal to travel to 30 countries by the time I was 30,” she explained. “I bought a one-way ticket to Colombia, and that eventually led me to a yoga teacher training in Guatemala. One thing I noticed while traveling was people kept complimenting my laugh. In Nicaragua, a woman I was hanging out with told me to look into laughter yoga.”
Jenna later found a laughter yoga class offered at UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Health and was surprised to find how joyful the cancer participants were and the impact the exercise had on their lives. “It reminded me of my mom, and I felt her presence there,” Jenna recalled. “It clicked for me, and I knew teaching laughter yoga could help me and others, particularly stressed-out employees at tech companies.”
Jenna began teaching laughter yoga for teams at companies like Google and LinkedIn. With her background in tech, Jenna tailors her classes to foster connection and team collaboration, bringing out each person’s vulnerability, authenticity, and inner child. As a life coach, Jenna focuses on self-love and empowerment, and incorporates communication and empathy skills from her expertise, along with yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation practices for a more holistic experience.
During the pandemic, Jenna moved her classes online and moved from the Bay Area to Maui, before settling on Oahu and officially forming Jenna Pascual LLC. Last year, she was hired by Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. to teach a laughter yoga session to 400 kupuna (elders) at the Grand Wailea Maui as part of the 50th Kupuna Aloha Luncheon—the largest class she’s taught. “As a business owner, I provide my services to add value to others, but what surprises me most about my job is how much I get out of it when I see and hear people laugh in front of me,” Jenna shared. “Bringing laughter and joy to other people’s lives, and people also bringing laughter and joy to my life—it’s synergistic because laughter is a universal language.”
As an entrepreneur, Jenna said her biggest challenge has been learning not to be afraid to ask for help. She credits the MBDA Enterprising Women of Color Business Center for helping her to know that she doesn’t have to go at it alone. Jenna is currently participating in the inaugural cohort of the Center’s YWomen in Business Accelerator, which focuses on financial acumen. “Since my parents were immigrants from the Philippines and as an Asian American woman, I had a lot of money beliefs I needed to dissect and work through,” Jenna said. “I have really appreciated the program I’m in. Mariko (the instructor) is full of so much knowledge. My one-on-one time with her has been so valuable. There was a point where I felt like giving up and Mariko encouraged me not to and reminded me that it’s not a linear path.”
Jenna often thinks about her future self and what she hopes to have achieved. Her goal is to make her ancestors proud by representing them well and doing great things. As she continues to grow her business, Jenna will be targeting high-stress industries in Hawaii, which include healthcare and hospitality. During Mental Health Awareness Month in May, she hosted a laughter yoga session for the staff at Shriners Children’s Hawaii.
To her fellow woman entrepreneurs and small business owners, Jenna offers the following advice: “Know you’re not alone. There are people who genuinely want to help you and see you succeed. Find community and resource centers in your area and network with as many people as you can. Connect with other women entrepreneurs and specifically women of color entrepreneurs. Set up coworking time with friends or other entrepreneurs via Zoom if you need extra motivation during the week. Don’t give up. Remember the path is not linear. Wanting to give up is normal, but just ride the wave.”