About Jen

The Road Home, Anything But Ordinary

There is truth in Robert Frost’s words. “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” No where in that verse did Mr. Frost say following that road would be easy but, I do believe it has made all the difference.

I’m a classically trained illustrator with a BFA in communications, and a Master of Science in business development. Much like my educational background, the trajectory of my career path has been anything but cookie cutter.

My first job truly began on the back of a motorcycle. I helped to build one of the largest and most successful Harley-Davidson distributors in the world. And on the eve of the Internet forever changing how the world spins, I then became Webmistress for the fastest growing University in New Jersey. Twenty-years into the show, the curtain came down without the proverbial curtain call.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

There is truth in Robert Frost’s words. “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” No where in that verse did Mr. Frost say following that road would be easy but, I do believe it has made all the difference.

I’m a classically trained illustrator with a BFA in communications, and a Master of Science in business development. Much like my educational background, the trajectory of my career path has been anything but cookie cutter.

My first job truly began on the back of a motorcycle. I helped to build one of the largest and most successful Harley-Davidson distributors in the world. And on the eve of the Internet forever changing how the world spins, I then became Webmistress for the fastest growing University in New Jersey. Twenty-years into the show, the curtain came down without the proverbial curtain call.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

How did I arrive here?

It Started On A Bike,

I arrived home one afternoon in 1999 with a new leather jacket in-hand. I told my parents I “needed” it. Well that was my first mistake. But after much discussion (err pleading), they both conceded and I went on my first motorcycle ride. That ride would lead me on quite the adventure over the next few years, as I’d help to build one of the largest and most successful Harley-Davidson distributors in the world. No, I never ended up buying one, (I’m a self-proclaimed klutz and didn’t think it was a good idea to ride stag).

My favorite was the original “Harley Hummer,” a 125cc KH that looked identical to the one Elvis appeared with on the 1956 cover of Enthusiast Magazine. They used to let me roll it around the giant showroom floor:) I LOVED that bike.

Then…

I Drove Up the Turnpike.

The Summer of 2001 I made one of the more odd career transitions, from designer and motorcycle/highway historian to…Webmistress? I had a front-row seat for the evolution of the Internet, and at a University. I lived, I learned and taught what I knew. I furthered my expertise in all things digital communications. It was this knowledge I used to help three multi-million dollar businesses succeed beyond their wildest expectations. So I couldn’t comprehend when instead of being lauded as one of the only women in a high-level technology position at a public institution of higher learning in NJ, I would instead witness my career of 18-years vaporize in slow motion.

I’ve been up. I’ve been down. But even after my worst of days I still believe in standing up for what’s right, even when right may even mean starting all over again. When one door closes, another will inevitably open and in my case, that new door brought me back home.

The Toasters.

An Unlikely Destination.

When the sky is falling down around you, it’s sometimes hard to see that the sun is still shining above the clouds. While this is an uber abbreviated version of my story, since losing a job to which I had dedicated the vast majority of my adult life, I knew my tomorrow had to tap my inner creativity, and in a big way. I was lamenting my fear about the future with a close friend when she mentioned how I should AirBNB my 2015 Airstream, Aolani. This casual conversation turned into a highly profitable business.

I did the market analysis and ran the models on viability for a business that would deliver “glamp to the camp.” I think I even researched longer than necessary because I was almost looking for a reason not to follow this path. Well in less than a year, I had added two additional Airstreams to my armada. I was all set to create a very special campground of my own on a friend’s farm when true disaster struck. I thought that losing my job was something I’d never recover from. Then we found out that my mom had cancer.

Keeping the Faith.

Going Home.

The situation left me with no choice but to put my Airstream renovations on-hold and sell my newer Airstream. I had to return to Delaware. If creativity wasn’t in demand before, now it was really needed.

After unsuccessfully applying for several positions, I was returning from coaching my son’s basketball team one Wednesday evening last Summer when I received a phone call. A small Catholic high school in Wilmington was so impressed with my swiss army-knife skill set that they wanted me to come in for an interview for a new position they wanted to create, for me.

And just like that, almost twenty-years to the day, I had started a new journey and career. This time as a communications coordinator and web design teacher for an all-girls school in Little Italy that had been my sworn-enemy in basketball 25 years earlier. Funny how the world turns right?

Best of all though? Mom was given a clean bill of health in February, right around when I finally found this elusive pic of her with an Airstream in 1973 at Fort Wilderness in Disneyworld. While it’s very difficult to find info on this, Disney did at one point, briefly rent Airstreams at their campground. You didn’t seriously think that Dodge Colt towed it there did you? LOL.

What’s that saying?

Sometimes you don’t get what you want…you get what you need.

Like Churchill once said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going.” The way I look at things, while I know it won’t be the last time that life sends me hurdles, I do believe that the first half of my life has sent me challenges that will inform how I live the second half of it.

So the immediate future for me is as follows: finish Alice Anne the Airstream, publish my first children’s book, keep that wooden boat floating and…laugh, a lot more, while doing these things. And if I can find 1960’s Chevy C-10 or Impala Wagon along the way to tow both, then it’s a good day;)

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