By day, Judy MacDonald Johnston develops children's reading programs. By night, she helps others maintain their quality of life as they near death.

Why you should listen

Judy MacDonald Johnston is the Publisher and Cofounder of Blue Lake Children's Publishing, which develops educational reading tools for preschoolers through a program called the Tessy and Tab Reading Club. Johnston's credo, "love words early," and her focus on the earliest years of life, is an interesting foil for her other passion: Planning for end of life. Johnston's side project, Good [End of] Life, deals not with happy babies decoding symbols, but with a much more morbid topic: Death. Good [End of] Life is a set of online worksheets and practices that aim to help deal with difficult questions -- like who should speak for you if you cannot speak, and whether to fill out a do-not-resuscitate form -- before it's too late.

In the past 15 years alone Johnston has founded two other companies in addition to Blue Lake Children's Publishing: PrintPaks, a children's software company, and Kibu, a social networking site for teenage girls. Previously Johnston was a Worldwide Project Marketing Manager at Hewlett Packard.

What others say

“[Johnston]’s leveraged every single advantage she’s been given into creating a hundred times that for others, never holding tight to wisdom or resources, but investing them where they’ll do the most good next.” — from 50-for-50

Judy MacDonald Johnston’s TED talk

Judy MacDonald Johnston on the TED Blog

Culture

Further reading on what makes a good end of life

May 22, 2013

“What would be a good end of life?” Judy MacDonald Johnston asks in today’s talk, given at TED2013. Her answer — based on her own experience of helping two friends face death in a way that respected the incredible life they’d built — involves five practices, all of which can help maintain a high quality […]

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