I’ve been writing this blog in my head for several months now — ever since learning I have a precious blessing – my baby Ava – growing inside me.
I thought of all the people I wanted to tell about my pregnancy face to face — and realized there wasn’t enough time to travel everywhere, so this blog is for all my family, friends, mentors, clients, and supporters – today and over the years, who I can now officially exclaim: ‘Hey — Rory and I are pregnant! Our pup Holmes (also JSA’s Chief Canine Officer) is going to be a big brother.’
Ok so now that’s out of my system — let’s talk about some additional blessings! My first baby – JSA of course – just turned 15!! (I’ll pretend that I’m too young to already have a teenager and you can nod and pretend too). But with this amazing 15-year milestone, I’ve been thinking about how it truly ‘takes a village’. (I know – over-used adage — particularly when discussing babies — but please stick with me here…)
Not just surviving, but actually thriving 15 years is attributed in no small part to our amazing clients and industry at large who embraced, supported, and promoted us. To be entrusted with a company’s brand is both an honor and a responsibility that we cherish — and we strive to earn that trust day in and day out, with our ‘divide and conquer’ spirit here at JSA. That makes me very proud not just of our endurance (read as our grit to ‘go the course’), but also of our tenacity (as in, to rise to challenges gracefully and turn them into opportunities to build and grow). We have not just endured the test of time, but we’ve done so in a manner that leaves me, well, proud as a peacock. (Hey, I get to be corny, I’m pregnant. And I know, what was my excuse in my 20s and 30s?… shhh… pretend like we just met!)
But thriving these past 15 years is mainly attributable to my team. I’ve been blessed to work with the best of the best, who have inspired me every day with their passion, creativity and resolve. And if I’ve learned anything as an entrepreneur over the years, it would be to hire great people and then let go of the reins. As my husband says about his team, when you have thoroughbreds at the gate, you point them in the right direction and let them run.
I’ve also learned that it’s not about the dollars, it’s about the journey – the collective challenges and experiences we share along the way. And I’ve learned that time is most precious and yet most fleeting – so we need to expend it carefully – with those we love and admire, and with those who motivate and inspire.
About 8 years ago, I began to focus more on the business of JSA instead of in the business of JSA — being the CEO vs. an Account Strategist. And in that new role, I concentrated on building the voice of JSA — who we are, what makes us different, and how we best leverage our strengths in the service of others, from businesses large and small, to communities around the world. We created events, virtual roundtables, a video channel, a podcast series, a blog (and look at you finding this blog now), a social platform, among many other things, to more effectively disseminate news and information, not just about us or our clients, but about our network infrastructure sector. Combined, this platform has allowed us all to collaborate in a more meaningful and productive way. Our hope is that with greater and more effective communication (vs. the tremendous amount of misinformation out there), we, as an industry, can make better business decisions and grow together.
This journey has also allowed my talented team to grow personally and professionally, delivering the highest quality work to their assigned accounts in new and innovative ways (not just the way I used to do it when I was at Telx or MSNBC). They identify and adopt the latest tools and resources, and bring fresh approaches to our telecom and data center marketplace everyday.
As I take the time to count my blessings, I think of my husband, my baby Ava on the way, and my family, friends, and colleagues, but I also wanted to publicly acknowledge my JSA family. I have an amazing team who I have relied on – well, since the creation of JSA (did I mention 15 years ago?), who have never let me down. Yep, many of my team members have been with me 12+ years or longer – a fact that really gets me teary-eyed when I think about it.
So, here’s to a great kick-off to our Roaring 20s decade ahead – together. And I can’t wait until Ava is old enough to intern! Mama has some filing ready for you baby girl!
Look for more of my ‘Ava Ramblings’ blog coming soon – as I ramble through being a pregnant CEO (yes pregger brain is real, and tips on how to overcome), and then becoming a Mama Bear CEO (how my experiences in this industry have affected how I will approach being a parent – and how being a parent may change my leadership objectives). I know — you can’t wait for it. Happy 2020 y’all.