Season 2, Episode 9: Fearless Is My Favorite F Word

Guest Jen Brown is known as the “engaging educator” and “the fearless lady” because of her two businesses, The Engaging Educator and Fearless. She’s an unapologetic supporter of women and uses her businesses as platforms to uplift other women to find confidence and success in themselves.

Host Jordan Lacenski is the founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Brandboss Creative, and co-founder of SheWolf Collaborative.

Host: Jordan Lacenski

Guest: Jen Brown

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Show Notes:

  • 6:26 - “We’re all both hungry and willing to collaborate.” - Jen talks about her move from NYC to Winston-Salem, and how she found her neighborhood niche with other small and women owned businesses.

  • 8:36 - “I call it making my own sandbox, instead of waiting for my turn in someone’s sandbox.” - Jen tells Jordan about how she created her own way to build the things and spaces that she wanted, instead of waiting for someone else to do it for her. This was Jen’s policy when launching Fearless.

  • 12:25 - “I love collaboration! I’m all down for it! You gotta find the right fit though.” - Jen explains to Jordan her vision for Fearless, and how getting the right fit - in partnerships and in creating collaborative space - is important. Everything you do is your brand!

  • 15:30 - “One of the things that I can commend the community for is bringing these topics to surface, everything is crowdsourced.“ - Jordan and Jen discuss how the programming and teaching topics are chosen and cultivated in the Fearless space, about how the space invites uncomfortable yet critical conversations about issues that still need solutions.

  • 17:28 - “I think as a white woman who was brought up by white people and went to a predominantly white school, my history is very whitewashed. Having the conversations, I know they’re uncomfortable, I know it’s hard.” - Through explaining her feelings on watching The Rape of Recy Taylor, Jen dives into the essence of what Fearless is meant to be: a place for women to feel safe sharing difficult conversations, to push limits of learning, to support each other through challenges, to collaborate and grow in new ways.

  • 21:22 - “Listening is a choice.” - Jen and Jordan talk about the challenges of facing and hearing different opinions than your own, and how really listening means not being dismissive of others’ perspectives.

  • 28:59 - “I was scared that I needed someone else and I wasn’t recognizing that I could do this...In the beginning though, when you’re really getting down to the mission and focus and the business model and all that, you do not need too many cooks in the kitchen.” - Jordan asks Jen what she wishes she had done differently as she started Fearless, her real fall-on-your-face moment.

  • 41:21 - “I’m doing this thing, but do I want to keep doing this thing? And that place of insecurity where I was at, discovering who I was and how I fit in, I definitely made choices at that time that were not the best.” - Jen talks about her failure points, working through the transition of living in a different place, managing a team from far away, while opening up Fearless. Jen sets the example of how to fail publically (and wear it as a badge of honor).

  • 44:42 - “My name is still on your paycheck.” - Jordan and Jen discuss the friend/boss line that most female business owners can walk, establishing relationships with employees and partners but still recognizing that they are the ones taking the risk and needing to set boundaries.

  • 49:06 - “It’s okay to say no!” - Saying no to a client is hard, but sometimes necessary if you can tell it’s not a good fit and the relationship isn’t going to work on either side. Produce work that you can stand behind and feel proud of.

Links:

The Engaging Educator: https://theengagingeducator.com/ 

Fearless: https://fearlesswsnc.com/ 

Fearless Instagram: @fearlessws

She Wolf Collaborative: https://shewolf.co/

Brandboss Creative: https://www.brandbosscreative.com/

Also mentioned:

Information on The Rape of Recy Taylor: https://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/rape-of-recy-taylor
Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old black mother and sharecropper, was gang raped by six white boys in 1944 Alabama. Common in Jim Crow South, few women spoke up in fear for their lives. Not Recy Taylor, who bravely identified her rapists. The NAACP sent its chief rape investigator Rosa Parks, who rallied support and triggered an unprecedented outcry for justice.

Be on the watch for Jen’s upcoming book, Thinking on Your Feet: Tips and Tricks for Impromptu Communication Skills on the Job, by checking out her website.

Quotes:

“It’s that balance that makes up all of us, and you’re not just one type of person. As women especially, we’re so multifaceted… We have been taught - in the South, as women, wherever you’re from - to behave in a certain way, to look a certain way, to take up a small amount of space, and this idea of being okay with being multifaceted, being okay with the idea of “Hey you know what, I really care about makeup. I also really care about the dismantling of the patriarchy and white supremacy” and that’s cool and you you can do both. You can do it while you’re adjusting your lipliner. It’s that accepting that you are both, the understanding that you are both, that I think people have a hard time with everywhere.” - Jen Brown

“There are things that you have to make concessions on both ways, and I think that what happens with some people is they say “I’m going to charge a deposit and I’m going to charge it before I start doing work,” and people balk at it and they don’t want to do it, so they stop doing it. It’s like, no no, if you make a choice, do that choice. What’s the alternative? Using the deposit situation, you don’t get paid anything, then you waste your time, and your time is not free. Learn it now!” - Jen Brown