From the moment I met Jennifer, I was inspired by the passion she showed for her craft and career. When Breaking Glass - Girl on the Rise was in the planning phases I knew I had to have Jennifer design the website. She nailed it! I am so excited to introduce you all to Jennifer.
Lauren Elizabeth: Tell us who you are.
Jennifer Gendler: I own and operate Creative Reign, a boutique design studio. Established just this year, this is where I help creative entrepreneurs organize, finance, and build their dream brands through compassionate coaching, inspiring resources, and thoughtful design. My career journey started when I was about twelve years old and received my first PC. I was fascinated with how websites were created, began deconstructing the code, and built my first when I was thirteen. I continued the hobby through high school and went off to college where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Web and Interactive Media Design. I have designed, developed, and maintained brands, websites, and custom applications; taught web and design classes; launched a communications department; and lead a creative team. Which brings me to today, where I now run my own creative business, and I couldn't be more thrilled about this leg of my journey.
LE: You recently incorporated Creative Reign? What did it mean to you? How did you feel?
JG: The primary drive for incorporating my business was for tax purposes— decidedly un-sexy—but it has meant so much more than that. I needed a business name that I wanted to be more than just my personal name, and I had one in mind for some time. This forced me to make a decision and commit, and that's when so much started to fall in place for my brand. To me, my business is not only the embodiment of my own "creative reign," it's about supporting the creative reign of my clients and their own entrepreneurial endeavors.
LE: Tell us about your breaking glass moment.
JG: I've always been ambitious, dedicated, and passionate about what I do, and my competence and trustworthiness landed me in a Director role at the ripe age of 23. I'm not sure if that's my breaking glass moment, because I feel like I'm still breaking glass today. Leaving my last job to strike out on my own and pursue my creative business has felt so empowering and fulfilling, and I can't wait to see how my business grows.
LE: What's your routine day like?
JG: I do have a very structured weekday routine. My morning ritual consists of rising around 6:30 to feed my cats, have a cup of coffee, and either read a chapter of a novel or create something on my iPad Pro to get my creative juices flowing. Sometimes I have a small breakfast, meditate, and get dressed before heading into the office, but I want to be better about regularly completing this chain in my routine. My workday start-up ritual now begins using both my task management app and a custom daily planning page I designed for use on my iPad Pro. I review my core desired feelings and select the one I want to focus on that day. I then look over my calendar and my top three tasks for the day that I've curated the day before. It's a short process as I don't like to start my day bogged down in planning and find I do my best creative work in the morning. I take breaks as I work throughout the day to play with my cats, stretch my legs, and refresh my mind. Around mid-day, I make lunch for my husband and myself. (I'm so grateful we both work from home.) If I exercise that day, it usually happens after lunch for half an hour, sometimes by walking at a nearby park or hitting my desk cycle while reading or watching a show. I like to wrap up work around 5 and complete my workday shutdown ritual. This is where I review my upcoming calendar, outstanding projects, and tasks, and select the next day's work. Having a routine is essential to me. While I'm not always consistent with it—I view it more as a guideline than a strict edict—having the structure helps me focus on my work. It's easy to lean on when I feel lost or overwhelmed. When I'm not following my routine, it's usually because I've been struck with a current of inspiration and am riding the wave late into the night!
LE: How do you overcome a struggle?
JG: If the struggle is work-related, I like to take a break from that work to shift my mindset. Sometimes I'll meditate, read a book, or do something that otherwise occupies me before coming back to the thing I was struggling with. That mental reset helps me to better approach an issue, and in my experience, I make better choices. Even better if it's something that can be resolved over a period of time. Usually, I'll sit down and come up with a game plan, whether that's an actual set of tasks or a drafted response, then I'll sleep on it. Coming back to something with fresh eyes and a renewed perspective helps me genuinely assess the viability of a course of action. If I still agree, often the next day is just about refining; otherwise, I usually wake up having had another inspired plan of action. In fact, I use this approach in my general work. I like drafting client communications the day before and coming back to them the next morning for a final review and edit session. "Refined" is actually one of my core desired feelings and something that I use as a tool to approach a lot of aspects of my life.
LE: What is your favorite quote and why?
JG: I collect a lot of quotes, and it's hard to pair them down, but if I have to choose one, my favorite is probably by Vincent Van Gogh: “For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” There are several variations of it floating around, but this one succinctly captures the essence of how I feel to my core. My spirit is filled with wonder as I find inspiration in so many things. It's what makes me passionate and drives me to create. I believe inspiration is what fuels us to take action on our desires. It's a powerful force and one of my core desired feelings!
LE: What advice would you give to a Girl on the Rise?
JG: My advice to a Girl on the Rise is that time and attention are the greatest currencies you have. Use it by surrounding yourself with what inspires you so that you can stay motivated to take action on what matters to you most because you're worth it and so are your dreams. They deserve your time and attention.
LE: What's your favorite thing to do when you are off the clock?
JG: I absolutely love to read fantasy and romance novels, and I'm not at all ashamed of it! These novels are fantastical, often revolve around the hero's journey, and are just plain fun. I think the reason I'm so attracted to these kinds of books is that they give me every opportunity to use my mind's eye to create the characters, architecture, and world. I'm a visual person, and reading is like a two-part equation, where someone else's words inspire a whole visual landscape in my mind. I do love to watch fantasy movies and such, but I'm more of a passive participant in those. I've even been considering writing my own fantasy novella and have drafted some rough story outlines!
What more is there to say. Jennifer has certainly put cracks in the glass and continues to grow her career. She's someone I can't wait to work with on future projects. I urge you to check out Creative Reign.
Cheers to Jennifer Gendler!