Jalyn is my "godmother" (I put that in quotes because neither of us is Catholic, but it's the only title that has ever made sense) because we share a birthday and she has been like a mother to me in many ways. She is one of the women I have most admired my entire life and is truly beautiful inside and out. When you're around Jalyn, you're the only thing that matters. She is extremely talented and has one of the best voices on this planet, but beyond her artistic ability, she exudes a positivity that is so rare. I have often thought to myself "how can I cheer people on the way that Jalyn has cheered me on?"
I'm so excited to share Jalyn because I know that you'll learn from her too!
Tell us a little about yourself and your career
I have had a long and winding road in my career. I have a degree in Music theatre with a minor in women's studies- ( totally marketable, right? ) Because I love to perform, and I also like to have a home and groceries, I spent the majority of my career working in retail and sales and marketing. I started running small independent boutiques, then worked as a sales and marketing director for a photography studio, then I travelled for a year as a marketing director and event host for a tour called "beauty on the move" - an exhibit that went to 93 cities to promote women feeling good about their lives and bodies. After that I spent 6 years as a district manager for Brighton Collectibles, a women's handbag and accessory company , then the next 7 years for Vera Bradley as a sales consultant. During this time I also continued to teach and perform.
When I turned 45 I realized that I was ready to finally jump off a cliff and open my own business. I have a passion for theatre and education, and it seemed like a perfect time and place to open The Academy at Midtown. I have worked at Midtown in shows for years, and renting space here seemed like a natural fit. I have 125 kids enrolled in classes in music , theatre and dance as well as 30 private students. I also teach a class at the University of Northern Colorado for the juniors on building your audition books.
I also still perform quite a bit, and currently I am doing a production of " Always, Patsy Cline" and after that I will be in a production of "Ragtime" this spring.
How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you?
I have an amazing community of women surrounding me. I am fortunate that my very first jobs were working for 2 companies that were run by women. The Balloon Family Party Company where I did singing telegrams was owned and run by a woman, and the Colorado Academy of the Arts was owned and run by 3 amazing women who are my mentors and friends to this day. I owe a lot of my tenacity in business to Denise and Karen and Janet. They believed in me, and have supported me throughout my career. I also have a very tight group of women who help to hold me accountable, who encourage me and who I can go to at any time if I need anything at all. I am proud to be a female entrepreneur in these challenging business times, especially when it comes to the arts.
What decision led you to start The Academy at Midtown Arts Center?
I decided to start the Academy because I saw a real need in the community as well as one of those moments in time where everything seemed to align. I was ready to be my own boss after 20 plus years of running others' businesses. I felt like the time had come for me to run my own business. It's funny, I always coach others to "staff their weakness", but I was afraid to start my own business because I didn't know how to run all the elements of it. A friend of mine reminded me of this, and told me to hire people to do the things I couldn't do. ... so I did! I have a wonderful accountant who is the mom of one of my former students, and I have great teachers to teach the classes I can't (dance, improv and acting) and I teach the ones I love and keep the business going and I also write the checks. :)
What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations?
I wish I could tell my younger self to trust my instincts more, and to take more risks- to not play it so safe. I would tell her to trust her ideas, to not worry about what everyone thinks of her, and to be brave, all the time!
What is your career-related mantra?
I have 2 mantras that apply to both career and life in general. One is RISK and JOY... I really believe that when you take a risk, you experience a level of joy that you cannot reach without the risk. The other is " Every event holds the potential for purpose and destiny". I love this also because of the word "potential" ... it means that you always have the opportunity \ to change your life, change your destiny and fulfill the purpose you have on this earth. We all have opportunities that we miss every day because we don't pay attention, we rush through life and miss the little moments that can make a difference!