HU Employee Spotlight: Jesse Eaves

At Humanity United, we are proud to work with a talented and dedicated team that brings curiosity, empathy and creativity to our commitment to create a world with greater peace and dignity.

Each month, we will highlight one of our team members and invite you to meet the individuals that make so much of our work possible.


Name & position?
Jesse Eaves, Director of Policy & Government Relations

Have you had any unusual pets?
My brother and I had a chameleon briefly when my family lived in Uganda. We would take it “hunting” for flies in the bushes near our house. That chameleon lived large for about 2 days, until it died, probably from eating a year’s worth of flies in 48 hours. RIP Cammy.

What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
Robert Axelrod’s “The Evolution of Cooperation”. Our current work in South Sudan is exploring how a small group of people committed to a unified positive vision can influence a larger polarized population (because why not shoot for the moon?). Axelrod’s book (while decades old) still holds up and shows that it is mathematically possible for cooperation to evolve and spread almost like a virus even in places filled with “meanies”. Cooperation is contagious. I stink at math, but this book was totally engrossing and accessible. For instance, the phrase “world of meanies” is used consistently (and helpfully) to help the feeble-minded such as myself get our heads around things like the “prisoner’s dilemma.”

What do you do for fun?
I play drums in a band called “East Ghost” ( and chase my three kids around.

What was your first job?
Mowing lawns in my neighborhood when I was 13. I charged $15 per lawn until one day I was getting new business from a guy up the street. He misheard my price and offered me $40 instead. We both were convinced we came out on top.

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
Bungee jumping 130 feet into the Nile River in Uganda. Somehow that now seems more risky than living in a conflict zone in northern Uganda or working in South Sudan right before the referendum for independence when no one knew if war would break out again.

Favorite travel location?
This is tough. I grew up all over the place but Uganda and the Philippines were top memories and every time I’ve gone back it feels like home. I also always love visiting Chicago (where my wife’s family lives). Go Cubs Go!

Favorite food indulgence?
I could put “food” here and it would be totally accurate. But let’s go with a really good cheeseburger. Because, as my wife always says “sometimes you just need a cheeseburger.”

What is something about you that may surprise others?
The two things that seem to turn people’s heads are that I play drums, and that my first job out of college was working for the Environmental Protection Agency.

What inspires you?
My wife. She’s everything I wish I could be (brilliant, funny, out-going, good at math).