Jenna Atkinson, Class of 2014
IB is celebrating 20 years of the 40 Under 40 in 2020, and will be catching up with past recipients to see what they’ve been up to since they were honored. This week features Jenna Atkinson, founder, P5 Productions.
What have you accomplished in your professional life/career since your 40 Under 40 selection?
In 2014, when I was selected as part of the 40 Under 40 class, I was working as a business development coordinator at SVA. In 2015, I left my position at SVA to pursue entrepreneurship full time. I founded JAC, a business development and marketing training and consulting company. I worked with professional services firms across the country to help train their emerging leaders on skills and strategies to help them rapidly build their book of business and increase their bottom line. I had the opportunity to attend and speak at a variety of large national conferences and events and host the Growth Bomb podcast and speaker series where I interviewed some of the nation’s most successful entrepreneurs and authors on strategies for business and personal success. These opportunities lead to the creation of my current company and project, P5 Productions. I will be hosting the largest women’s business and entrepreneurship event in Wisconsin, the first annual P5 Women’s Summit, in August 2020. [We were expecting 1,200 women entrepreneurs, executives, and emerging leaders in attendance at Monona Terrace but have since gone 100% virtual and are offering] an unparalleled powerhouse speaker lineup of nationally known multimillionaire entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 Executives and New York Times best-selling authors. The P5 movement is growing quickly and has many new products, services, and resources in the works to help women increase their income, impact, and influence. I was, and still am, very honored to be a part of the 2014 40 Under 40 class, but I am just getting started!
What accomplishments, milestones, or endeavors have you attained in your personal life since your 40 Under 40 selection?
My handsome husband, Matt, and I got married in August 2014. We welcomed our first daughter, Bella, on 7-7-17 at 7:17 p.m. — she is our lucky charm! We moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for Matt’s job at the end of 2018 and welcomed our second daughter, Lexi, on Jan.18, 2019. We have enjoyed numerous trips for work and play to places like Jamaica, Costa Rica, San Diego, Vegas, and our personal favorite, Nashville. Mostly, we enjoy spending time with family and friends and pushing each other to set and accomplish new personal and professional goals. One personal goal I am excited about achieving this year is being able to do my first ever pull-up!
If you were to “do it all over again,” what (if anything) would you do differently throughout your career?
If I were to do it all over again there aren’t many things I would do differently. I think everything happens for a reason and even the failures are important learning experiences. One of the biggest pieces of advice I have received is to trust the timing of your life. If anything, I wish I would have “thought bigger” earlier. I thought I was setting “big” goals at the time, but really I was just setting them based on what I was used to seeing around me. You need to expose yourself to situations and people that are making a huge impact and accomplishing huge goals as much as possible. Find people that are living the type of life that you aspire to have for yourself. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so if you want to be at the top of your game, that’s who you need to create relationships with and learn from daily. Don’t aim for the middle or that’s where you will land. Don’t be afraid to take big risks — you either win or you learn, there is no failure. This one idea of thinking much bigger and setting higher targets is one of the main motivations for creating the P5 Women’s Summit. This event won’t help attendees break the glass ceiling they have set for themselves personally and professionally, it will shatter it!
How did your 40 Under 40 selection help your career?
Being a part of 40 Under 40 when I was 25 years old was extremely valuable in helping add to my professional credibility. Since I was fairly young in my career, sometimes it was hard to get the ear of business or community leaders. Having acknowledgement of my accomplishments from a well-known and respected publication in the area helped open doors and grow my network with both peers and people at a higher level. Of course, it is always great to bump into other 40 Under 40 members from all classes at networking events or through the course of business. I think the designation gives us a special bond!
What is something that you have a new passion for since the time of your induction — either professionally or personally?
I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a “new” passion, but definitely something that has drastically increased over the past couple years, especially after becoming a mom. I am highly focused and passionate about helping women set and achieve bigger goals personally and professionally. I think it is very common for women, especially in the Midwest, to have a negative connotation or mindset about money and wealth generation. However, since my induction to the 2014 40 Under 40 class, I have seen first hand how working hard and increasing your income can also help you increase your influence and impact in an incredibly positive way. The better you do personally, the more resources, connections, and knowledge you have to help your family, friends, community, causes you care about, and the world! If you don’t continuously work hard to achieve your full potential, you are robbing other people of the opportunities you could have provided for them. I want my daughters to know, and more importantly see, that you can be a great mom and also achieve high levels of success professionally.
Based on your experience, do you have any advice for today’s young professionals (under 40)?
Think BIGGER. Set goals every year in categories that are important to you and create an action plan to achieve them. Work on building relationships every day personally and professionally. Do things that add value for people and don’t immediately expect or ask anything in return. Do something for professional development daily — read, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube tutorials, attend networking events, take a class, get a certification, etc. Focus on your health; you can’t reach high levels of success if you don’t take care of yourself first. Write in a gratitude journal daily. It’s hard to be negative when you think of all the things big and small you have to be thankful for. Send handwritten thank-you’s. Learn how to sell. If it’s something important, call — or even better, meet in person instead of email. Take risks. Know your values and worth and don’t let anyone make you compromise on either. Find a mentor. Invest (MONEY) in yourself and your development. Enjoy the ride and try to take time every day to take a deep breath and appreciate the people and things around you. If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, find ways to learn from it and accept it. Do whatever it takes. Dream big and work hard.
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