Business & Entrepreneurship Career Community
Jennifer Jurgens '03
Business Administration, Marketing
CEO & Founder, 1 Bold Step, LLC
1. Tell us about your journey since graduation.
I attended Grand Valley twice. Once in 1989 as a Freshman (later transferring to MSU for their Supply Chain Management Program) and then again for Graduate School to get my MBA. The majority of my career has been in sales & marketing technology, with a 4-year stint in non-profit as the Executive Director of Susan G. Komen of Michigan. I moved out of Michigan three times; once to Hawaii, then to Los Angeles, and finally to San Francisco... each time coming home to Michigan. My journey has taken me from writing inventory systems for bars in Waikiki to becoming a data center expert in Silicon Valley during the dot.com craze, to creating and managing sales & marketing process efficiencies for large manufacturers with complex sales channels. In recent years, I started a Marketing Operations & Strategy company with another GVSU graduate; Adam Clarke.
2. Share a favorite Grand Valley memory.
During my Freshman year, I played on the Varsity Volleyball Club and absolutely loved the practices and the people I met through our travels. I even went on to play competitive beach volleyball with some of them. From my graduate studies, I fondly recall Dr. Samir Isaak, who taught one of our capstone classes. After the first class, I went home distraught; certain that he was pushing too hard and that I was never going to be able to understand what he wanted from us. By midterm, I realized that he was pushing me because he thought I could do better. And by the end of the class; I had a whole new understanding of how good strategies were formed and how best to communicate them for optimal execution. And I got an “A”. =B
3. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
There are two: “Be the aspirin and not the headache” & “Maybe you should just start your own business”. Both came from work with Pondera Advisors (the talented Joe Day & Dr. Jackie Taylor). Being the aspirin to headaches for our clients AND getting to choose who we help and how (because it’s our business) has been an amazing experience.
4. List three words you would use to describe your Grand
Discovery, Confidence, and Relationships
5. What difference would you like to make in the world?
My focus has changed over the years, but there has always been a theme of making something better, faster, and more efficient. From years at Komen fighting breast cancer, to serving on the inaugural TEDxGrand Rapids committee, to mentoring younger people looking to get into the field of marketing, I’ve been obsessed with people’s potential, and then scale and repeatability. I would like to think that after years of always trying to positively impact lives, some type of ripple effect would continue after I was gone. The difference I make may just be a subtle change in how something is approached or handled, which would be hard to quantify but very easy to feel. I was once told that my mother brought joy to every situation she encountered and that’s the kind of difference I’d like to make too.
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