Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeannette Grace.
Hi Jeannette, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I wasn’t a stranger to difficulty and struggle. As a single mom at 19 years old who needed food stamps and Medicaid to support my daughter, I juggled raising a daughter, working 55 hours a week, and attending college. In 2008 I had a different type of struggle thrown at me—being laid off from a job I was in love with, a full-time faculty member at a college. I was lost and angry. I grieved. Then I pulled up my big-girl pants, so to speak, and began a job search. Anyone who knows the job market between 2008-2010 knows how hard jobs were to find. Application after application, I waited and hoped for an interview. I got one here and there, but none turned into full-time employment. The many job networking groups I joined were filled with desperate, angsty people like me. I hated feeling anxious and that my future and security were out of my control. That got me thinking, how do I make lemonade out of lemons? How can I turn this economic downturn into an opportunity?
In 2009, I began exploring entrepreneurship. What if I used my experience and expertise as a “communication and leadership consultant”? I was terrified because many other talented, experienced, and unemployed people were also launching consulting careers. I questioned whether the Twin Cities market would become too saturated with consultants, and I would find myself picking the crumbs of consultancy. I did it anyhow! Twelve years later, I have earned a master’s degree, authored a book, created an awesome digital course for leaders, and built a 10+-year-old successful consulting and training business that helps leaders (especially women leaders) and their teams thrive to do their best work!
Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Heck no! Single parenting aside, building a business takes work. In my first year, I said YES to everything. Even the stuff I didn’t know how to do. Then I got scrappy and creative and figured it out. This meant working 24 hours a day and being the admin, the accountant, the marketer, the salesperson, the curriculum developer, the facilitator, and so on. Along the way, I’ve taken some risks that didn’t pay off and some that did. I offered public workshops initially; they didn’t work at all. I tried weekly videos via YouTube and my newsletter; those got a little traction. I hired someone to do a social media campaign that fell flat. Those are the things that didn’t work. I did some things by hiring an amazing business coach who taught me to take ownership by asking clients to pay me what I was worth. I wrote and published a book, G Factor: 8 Secrets to Increasing Your Gravitational Pull at Work, that I spent two years researching.
My most successful year revenue-wise was 2019, but I burned out. I was exhausted and started resenting my work. COVID19 was a blessing in a weird way for me. It allowed me to slow down. I got clarity and let go of trying to be and do too much. Then I began focusing on what I love and am good at, which is helping leaders become awesome and create workplaces people love to be.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Expressive! Communication Consulting & Training?
Is this when I’m supposed to pull out my elevator pitch?!
In all seriousness, I help teams and leaders become great. That’s the simple answer. A more thorough explanation is this: most issues in the workplace (and out of the workplace) are caused by poor communication. Mistakes happen because expectations aren’t established and communicated. Conflict happens because people don’t know how to communicate powerfully and respectfully; employees struggle because leaders don’t coach or create environments where employees are challenged yet supported. Leaders struggle because they don’t understand human behavior and how to lead and inspire their teams. Leadership isn’t just about everyone feeling good and getting along; it’s about hitting metrics and making hard decisions. I believe the best leaders lead with both their heads and their hearts. I use data and science to back up the tools and strategies I teach my clients and their teams – that’s the head part. My education in communication and psychology allows me to integrate the human side of leadership – that’s the heart part. My clients tell me that I’m engaging, energetic, and fun while giving them concrete methods for taking action. They often say they had so much fun that they didn’t even know they were learning and growing!
Communication issues exist in every company and on every team. They reduce revenue, profitability, and employee engagement if they are ignored. I work with clients to uncover why it is happening and design and deliver training programs to fix it. Solutions might be a half-day or monthly program that runs for a year. Or it could be taking a leadership team through my digital course. Whatever the solution is, I believe it is my responsibility to design the right solution for the client’s situation.
Can you talk to us about happiness and what makes you happy?
Personally, wine, my wiener dog Merlot, my grandkids, my kids, my husband, my dearest girlfriends, and reading a good book (not necessarily in that order). My daily 3-mile walk and sunshine. Professionally, seeing the lightbulb go off for a client and then choosing to shift how they are working with others. And, of course, seeing the shift happen for an individual, team, or organization. I say in jest that my life’s goal is to rid the planet of bad leaders, so if I could do that, I would be super happy.
- Be the Leader Everyone Wants to Work With digital course $997
- Boost Your G Factor in 10 Days! digital mini-course $97
- G Factor: 8 Secrets to Increasing Your Gravitational Pull at Work book $15.99
- Half-day training – starting at $2200
- Full-day training – starting at $4000
Photography: Laine Torres Photography and CDH Photo