My professional career started in child abuse prevention and mental health care. Such a profession takes a level of openness and genuine love for people, which could be considered weaknesses in other professions. As I moved from owning a fundraising business to becoming the CEO and president of the Houston West Chamber of Commerce, I learned to embrace emotional intelligence and interpersonal relationships, and treat others in business as I would expect to be treated—making decisions from my client’s point of view, building true relationships, treating people with respect, and allowing people to speak their truth. This approach has opened unexpected doors and provided me with exciting opportunities to share my knowledge.
None of us is a stranger to the hard work it takes to become successful—education, networking, long hours, and strategic planning. Perhaps what makes my story different is that I have consistently followed my heart. I have found that my passion for helping people, my genuine care for the well-being of others, and my ability to listen to myself and others have propelled me in the right direction—in both my personal life and business.
The best advice I can give about finding fulfillment in your career is this: Own your decisions, even if it means acting in a less-than-traditional manner. For instance, my style of leadership is not walking in front, but walking along side. I know that I have done my job well when an employee feels confident and capable in any situation, including when circumstances become uncomfortable. I want to ensure the people around me feel empowered. My daily satisfaction comes from enabling those around me to find their path to greatness.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
Some keys to success include the ability to speak in public, confident decision-making, a willingness to take responsibility, a positive attitude, self-presentation skills, and good time management. It is exceedingly important to understand that The Chamber is an optional investment for our members. They deserve our respect and the best customer service we can provide. Our members allow us to keep the doors open. We must show them they have made a wise business investment in joining our Chamber.
On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
My best mentor pushed me to do more than I thought I could do, let me do it, praised me for my efforts, told me the truth when I made mistakes, and let me reach for the stars.
On Facing Challenges
My biggest challenge is hiring and leading employees to be their best.
Jeannie’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
Confrontation is simply a conversation that we don’t want to have, but must.