Jenn T. Grace was a born entrepreneur. From the days of loaning her own library of books to forming a landscaping company at age 17, she's always had a knack for business.
Jenn has been working in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) business and marketing space since 2007. She has helped numerous LGBT and allied business owners grow their companies through targeted marketing efforts.
A self-proclaimed "professional lesbian," Jenn is on a mission to teach you everything you need to know about doing business with and marketing yourself to the LGBT community. Through her website and podcast, Jenn has created an online educational outlet and judgment-free space where people can ask questions. Business owners often seek her counsel in the early stages of understanding business etiquette around the LGBT community.
A blogger, podcaster, consultant, speaker, trainer, and author, Jenn aims to be your one-stop LGBT-business-and-marketing shop. With new content on her website each week, you are bound to find something useful. When you are done reading this book, head over to the Jenn T. Grace website for additional insights on doing business with the LGBT community.
Flash Dance 2.0
One of my earliest jobs was working in a hot water heater expansion tank factory. I started that job working in the packing department because that's where the 4 women out of 100+ men worked in the company. Within a matter of weeks I managed to change the way the process was done in packing, making it more efficient. Then I moved my way into 5 new positions over the course of 6 months, all of which were physically demanding. My body may never forgive me. In all of these positions I changed the way the process worked. To me it was about working smarter not harder. The position I had before I left was in welding. I like to think of myself as the shorter and fairer version of Jennifer Beals from Flash Dance sans the leg warmers! These were a series of jobs I will never forget because I know what manual labor feels like and I still found a way to build and create. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for that experience because I truly appreciate all that I have built in my career and business.
The Planogram Queen
The next stage of monumental building and creation was my 7 years working in retail. In those 7 years I opened 8 retail stores in 4 different states. There are many pitfalls to working in retail, as anyone who has done it will tell you. But I thoroughly enjoyed opening new stores. I was known as the "Planogram Queen." I would take an entire store display apart and redesign it within a matter of hours - making a hell of a mess to boot. It was a bit like the Tasmanian Devil came ripping through, but oh did I love it! I got to make the ordinary extraordinary and flex my OCD muscles while I was at it.
Creating Something from Nothing
In 2004 I was itching to get out of retail. I started my first company JTracz Designs and began doing freelance work designing logos, brochures, websites - you name it. But what I was really looking for was an office position. One position I applied for was for customer service but by the time I walked out of the CEO's office he had hired me for a Marketing Analyst position that didn't previously exist - he just knew he wanted to hire me in a marketing capacity. It was then that I truly feel in love with marketing. I was totally in my element because there was no marketing department and it was my job to create one. After 5 years I walked away feeling like I had done just that. This was also the company where I first began my foray into LGBT/gay marketing.
The Birth of the Professional Lesbian
In 2007 I became involved with the local LGBT chamber of commerce in Connecticut. Before the chambers official launch I was asked to create the branding and marketing for the newly forming organization. In a matter of months I became so passionate about the LGBT business movement that it propelled me to get involved in every way I could! I went from the Marketing Committee Chair to a member of the board in about 6 months, being the youngest at just 26.
In 2009 as a board member of the LGBT chamber we realized that we needed to take the organization to the next level and in order to do that we needed to hire an Executive Director. With no job security or certainty that I could make this work I jumped at the chance to do it. It was a big leap of faith. The chamber had hardly any money in the bank and I had about 10 weeks to raise enough money to pay my salary. I kicked the butt of every goal I set, which included being named Chamber of the Year in 2011. I built the organization from a group of volunteers, to nearly 200 members and doubled the budget 2 years in a row. I retired from my post as Executive Director in March 2013. It was a wild ride and the LGBT chamber movement is something I am still very connected to and passionate about.
All of these experiences are what make me, me. This summary just scratches the surface of my endeavors. There are many years of overlap doing different things and I didn't even touch upon the business I started and closed within a couple of years. You can read more on the lessons I learned from that experience by clicking here.
A pivotal turning point in my life was in August 2012 where I decided to make a significant change in my life. I wrote a very personal post about the Power of Making a Commitment which you can read here. I share this with you so you can see me beyond an entrepreneur and business owner - a lot of the experience I share in this post was the impetus for creating this blog in the first place.
Why You Want to Work with Me
I've been creating marketing strategies for 10 years
I've been working within LGBT marketing specifically for 8 years
I'm an entrepreneur and business owner, just like you.
Marketing, communications, storytelling and business building is my passion.
I've got a killer combo of marketing and communications degrees to back up my hands-on knowledge.
Who I Work With
Working together is like dating. It needs to feel right, so consider this our first date, read on to see if you want to go any further.
I work with driven entrepreneurs and business owners who:
are ready to take the next step in their LGBT marketing initiatives
are willing to put themselves out there as an Ally to the LGBT community
understand this is about strategy - not a get rich quick scheme
understand the LGBT community has its nuances and are willing to put in the effort to become educated about them
If you have questions or comments, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!