Welcome, glad to have you here!
I’m a business strategist, speaker and author specializing in the LGBTQ market. My work guides corporations, small business and non-profit clients as they navigate the space where doing business and managing the workplace intersects with LGBTQ issues.
I held many positions prior to starting out in the business world back in 2004, but there is a common thread to all of them – I like to build – to create – to leave things in a better place than when I found them. These sentiments ring true whether I was welding in a factory, tearing apart retail planograms or building out a marketing department. I simply love to build and create.
My Professional Bio
Jenn T. Grace is a nationally recognized business strategist, speaker and author specializing in the LGBTQ market. Guided by the mantra, “change happens in business,” Jenn believes social change happens first in the workplace before spilling over into mainstream society. She is an Amazon Best Selling author and has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, The Hartford Courant and on CNBC. Passionate about helping people share their stories of adversity, Jenn is the Founder of the Purpose Driven Authors Academy and Purpose Driven Publishing. She holds a M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Golden Gate University and a B.S. in Communications from Salem State University. A marathon runner, animal lover and novice birder, she lives in Hartford, Connecticut with her wife Andrea and their two children.
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s the juicy stuff!
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 four 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 five new positions over the course of six 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 Flashdance 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 seven years working in retail. In those seven years I opened eight retail stores in four 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 fell in love with the business world. I was totally in my element because there was no marketing department and it was my job to create one. After five 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 chamber’s 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 six 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 ass 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.
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 website in the first place.
Ready? Here’s What’s Next.
Work With Me. If your organization is interested in the speaking or consulting services, please contact us today at jenn [at] jenntgrace.com or (860) 281-1583.
Hang Out for a While. If you are interested in working with the LGBTQ community in any capacity, spend time on this website. There are 463 pages of information on how to effectively work with the LGBTQ community. You can also sign up for the Inner Circle, where you will receive my top business strategies and resources delivered to your inbox once a month.
Get one of my four books on Amazon.
- Beyond The Rainbow: Personal Stories and Practical Strategies to Help your Business & Workplace Connect with the LGBTQ Market
- But You Don’t Look Gay… Successful marketing strategies for doing business with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community
- No Wait, You Do Look Gay… The 7 Mistakes Preventing You From Selling to the $830 Billion LGBT Community
- Marriage Equality Marketing: 5 Questions you must ask to sell to the $917 Billion LGBTQ Market