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Conversations with the Inspiring Jennifer Pohlkamp

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Pohlkamp.

Jennifer, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Like a lot of people, I was told to pick a major in college and decide my career path when I was too young to understand what that really meant. I studied political science, pre-law, international security, and to round it all off… sports marketing.

I always held a part-time gig at a restaurant/bar and finally realized that my experience serving people and having to manage all those different personalities is what made me successful in other aspects of my life and was grooming me for my future.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has not always been a smooth road but it rarely is for anyone, my stressors are not the same for others and vice versa. I struggled with gaining respect and having my ideas be heard as my own because of my age, gender, and race. I made a decision to focus on my career instead of getting married and having children at a younger age. I’ve been told I’m too harsh and too soft in the same breath, my voice got heard but the vision had to be someone else’s in order to be executed, I was told I’m too empathetic and in order to make it in the world- you are going to have to care less about how it affects people. EFF THAT. I may care too much but if we don’t take care of each other and build each other up to grow, why are we doing this? Customer Loyalty Starts with Employee Loyalty.

I want to share with young women starting off on their journey of independence and the future to write their own narrative on gender equality. Not every story is the same, not every obstacle should be blamed on the other sex or the other side. Find your own voice and figure out the why with an open mind. I learned that some lost opportunities that I thought were based on gender, were in fact because the other person simply deserved it more. There have been times I’ve been frustrated when I realized I should be grateful. You don’t have to have a set dream, just believe in yourself, your greatness and be the best you as much as you can while you continue on your pursuit of happiness. Work hard, dream hard, live hard.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Grind and Prosper Hospitality story. Tell us more about it.
I have been growing with a new hospitality group over the past seven years. Pete Cich and Rob McShea, founders of Grind and Prosper Hospitality, hired me as a bartender for their new beach establishment while I was finding ways to create a new life coming out of undergrad.

As their company grew, I learned that their journey and end goal were something that I admired and wanted to be a part of. Seeing their process grow from an employee standpoint- I had an advantageous perspective to bring to the table. In what is sometimes called an alpha male industry, I was excited to be considered to be a part of their management group.

I’m a grinder. If it needs to be done, I will make sure it really needs to get done (haha) and then, ensure it does. I understand the frustrations of an employee at the entry-level to a senior level and do what I can to create an optimal work experience for them based on my own past experiences. From day-to-day to staffing-to big picture–> I’ve got my hands in it.

I’m the Director of Operations for Grind and Prosper Hospitality and am known for having an abundance of post-it’s wherever I go.

I am the proudest of this company and team for promoting growth and progress in all aspects of life. Our team is built around trust and commitment and when we face adversary- we do it together and we know that we must grow and be better from it. We aim to learn something new every day. The challenges change with time, so should the solution. We have learned there is a difference between just running a business and helping people accomplish their goals. We take responsibility for the real job at hand. Do what is right, do it to the best of your ability and show you care.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
My Mom is my number one ride or die. How funny when it comes full circle and all the stuff you may not have appreciated or understood from your mom makes complete and total sense. I now see all the hardships endured by immigrating from Korea and hours that my mom tirelessly worked just in order for my sister and I to have an opportunity to succeed. She showed me that you are more than capable of creating your own destiny and no one will be able to take away your dedicated work ethic.

Other than that- I look around at my friends and even strangers who are kicking life’s butt and try and emulate that energy every day.

Image Credit:
Danny Desanti, Huy Hoang

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