“What do you do?” When the lovely woman seated to my right at a luncheon asked me this question, my friend on the left chuckled out loud.
“Good luck answering that, Jennifer!”
It wasn’t because I don’t know, but because I do several things and I am never quite sure what to say. This blog post is the result of trying to come up with an answer.
My job: I run the Florida public affairs department of a Boston-based financial services company. I spend my time working with elected officials from around the state, local non-profits, civic organizations, and other business leaders. On any given day, I might be talking to a State representative about a bill, arranging a team service event for a group of volunteers, attending a Chamber of Commerce meeting, visiting with a member of Congress or their staff, or communicating with our associates about something going on in our area. I often travel around the US for meetings and conferences. I work with some of the smartest, most dedicated folks I know and for that reason and a whole bunch more, I love this job. In March, 2017, I will have been at it for 10 years and, in my opinion, there is no better job for me.
My “side-gig”: If you move past my full time job, the next logical answer to the “what do you do?” question is my business. While I have had some small money-makers on the side over the years, my Rodan + Fields business is a real business that suits my life. And, I love being the skincare lady! I sell anti-aging products and tools, as well as items for acne, sensitive skin, sun damage and, as of this week, an eyelash product called “Lash Boost” that is blowing up my business. R+F has not only provided a reliable stream of revenue for our family, but has helped me be more confident, expanded my vision for our family’s future, and grown my circle of friends. I spend between 5 and 10 hours a week on my business, usually in small chunks of time – 15 minutes putting orders in, 30 minutes chatting with a prospective consultant who is considering joining my team, an hour of training once a week, etc., and I usually do my work after the kids are in bed or while I am in the car driving to an appointment or soccer practice. Direct selling has come a long way from the days of home parties (I don’t do them) with garages full of inventory you have to pre-order and deliver (my products are drop-shipped by the corporate office/warehouse when they are purchased). I have found that the people who have jumped into this type of business in recent years are smart, friendly, socially and technologically savvy people who are trusted by their circle of influence. It is a fun time to be in direct sales.
#Meetjax: This summer, I started “Meet” (which may or may not be the final name) or #Meetjax, as it has come to be called. I score folks coffee dates with an awesome person they didn’t know they needed to know. There are three rules: 1.) You cannot pitch or sell anything, 2.) you cannot flirt, and 3.) you cannot know who you are going to meet until you get there. The response has been thrilling! Dozens of people have signed up and most of those have either come back for more or referred their friends to do it too. This is my night time guilty pleasure; it is what I do instead of binge watch tv. 😉 I am really excited to see where this goes next.
Family stuff: Not to be overlooked, the second largest amount of stuff I do (after my full time job) is related to being a wife, mom, daughter and sister. HH (Handsome Hubby) and I have 3 kiddos, known here as Vader, Splash and Turtle. I am also excited to have 2 of my sisters and their families close by, as well as my mom who just retired and moved here this summer! It is the bee’s knees. I am sure my daily to-do list looks a lot like yours: soccer, flag football, parent teacher conferences, school fundraisers, holiday gatherings, milestone events and such.
Other: As a volunteer, I currently chair the Early Learning Coalition of Duval and participate annually as a member of the selection committee for Leadership Jacksonville’s Adult Program. As a representative of my company, I am on the board of trustees of the Florida Chamber Foundation and serve as the co-chair of the policy committee for the Jax Chamber. I have also invested some time into the effort to open a Sudbury School in Northeast Florida although I admit, I have moved that to the back burner as my kids are all excelling in their current school.
Other other: As my mentor Audrey told me once, “You do better when you have a couple of new projects.” This is so true. Over the last few years and with great intention, I sunset my roles with several wonderful non-profits and set the table for some new things in my life. HH and I moved from our suburban home to a suburban apartment closer to the kids’ school and my office. We are trying to live a leaner, cleaner life, which equates to buying less, purging what we already have, taking advantage of shared amenities and spending less time in the car. I am reading more, walking more, inviting people over more, and sleeping more…sometimes. This is our #YearOfResortLiving.
I also realized that I wanted to connect more with the people I know. #Jensquestions is result. Monday through Friday, I post a different question on my Facebook page (Twitter is lagging, but I keep trying). The answers delight, amaze and inform me about the marvelous people in my circle in a way that is just not possible in the limited amount of time we have to interact in person. (The questions are always set to “public” on Facebook, so even if we don’t know each other personally, I welcome your replies too!)
That’s what I do. 🙂
Thanks for reading.