A strong believer in the idea that people’s blessings
should pass through them, rather than stop with
them, Manus says that even in the hardest times, she
tries to find blessings and pass them forward.
April/May 2018 51
just about all of Jillian’s personal affairs over the past decade, she
has witnessed plenty of RAKs firsthand, and knows that along
with kindness and generosity, Manus is big on creativity—something
the neighbors notice.
“She’s very well-known in her neighborhood,” says Curtis,
pointing out that Manus lived in the same home for about 20
years. “She has a very large gate and every holiday she decorates
it, usually with a giant thought-provoking or humorous message.
When her house was put on the market and she stopped doing
it, we started getting mail from people saying, ‘Where’s the gate
décor? What happened? Is everything OK?’ This is in Atherton;
you don’t talk to your neighbors, really. They’re very private
people,” Curtis explains. But when it came to Manus’ crazy gate
designs, the neighbors had to weigh in.
Passing Blessings Forward
Manus, a mother of four (two children and two stepchildren
from a previous marriage, ages 19 to 31), is passing on her ways
to her children, who she says also have kind and giving hearts.
One son, for example, is helping refugees this summer in South
Korea. Another recently helped launch pub crawls in support of
natural disaster victims. Her daughter helped create a teen section
for the Red Cross website and is a
young emerging leader in many other
“My kids get it,” she says proudly.
A strong believer in the idea that people’s
blessings should pass through them
rather than stop with them, Manus says
that even in the hardest times, she tries
to find blessings and pass them forward.
Perhaps her random acts of kindness
have also generated some good karma
for Manus, who, after having endured
personal challenges and difficult relationships,
met and fell head over heels
for Robert Chesnut, general counsel
“He’s the love of my life!” she exclaims.
“He’s a Southern gentleman,
and he’s the definition of pure integrity.
People come up to me and say, ‘You’re
dating Rob Chesnut? What a truly good
person.’ I think, at this point in my
life, I deserve a good person, and I’ve
“People say he’s a saint, and all I can
think about is, ‘God, why hasn’t he run
for the hills yet?’” she asks, breaking
into an infectious laugh. “I know I’m a
handful; I’m very demanding of excellence,
yet I’m very forgiving of mistakes,
and hopefully more self-aware
than ever. I do know I’m clearly a work in progress.”
Whenever the two travel, they try to leave their destinations
more beautiful. For instance, in the course of their trips, they’ll
visit a beach or a forest and collect garbage for hours.
“Our philosophy is to leave this world better, whether that’s
investing in companies or picking up garbage, or teaching our
children good values,” says Manus. n
GENE X HWANG/ORANGE PHOTOGRAPHY
at her 50th