Jess is a boss. No, for real. She's the founder and CEO of SimplyBe, a personal branding agency out of Chicago, and was recently named one of "7 Digital Marketers to Keep Your Eye On in 2017" by Inc.com. Not only that, but in 2008 she founded Chicago's largest digital magazine for women, CheekyChicago.com, publishing over 100 monthly articles, reaching over 100,000 local millennial women and capturing some of the most prolific global brands as clients. Not only is she a successful entrepreneur in every sense of the word, but she's also a bad-ass, empathetic, feminine and emotional woman, loving wife, and a truly positive light for everyone around her.
One thing I noticed about Jess right away is that she makes it a point to build others up. Amidst all of her success, she is usually the one giving out the compliments. She genuinely spreads love and high vibrations to everyone in her presence, friends and clients alike, and is the type of friend that sometimes seems to believe in me more than I believe in myself. Thank you for being my inspirational #womancrushwednesday, Jess!
Check out my interview with her below!
1. What is the most significant experience that you remember to date that has helped inspire you to become a CEO and start your own companies, Cheeky and SimplyBe (as opposed to the daily 9-5 grind that most people end up pursuing)?
I don't know if I can nail it down to a singular "moment." I think it's always been a calling. A desire for freedom. A fire in my belly. A rebellious spirit. A hustle. An ambition to build, to create, to lead, to empower others. I think I'm just built this way? Also, I'll never forget the lessons my mom taught me, when I was younger about how you can make your life anything you want it to be. That "what you put in is what you will get out." I'll never forget those chats and her wisdom about that. And the truth is, I love that feeling more than anything. Seeing the direct results of my own direct effort, "eating what I kill," creating a life by design...it's what keeps me going.
2. What is your #1 favorite beauty product that you swear by, and why?
Living Proof Dry Shampoo. I live by dry shampoo. My weekly blow dries are my biggest beauty vice and that stuff let's me work out, run around like crazy and my hair will look fresh and clean. It's a miracle product.
3. What does your typical morning routine consist of? Give us a play-by-play (weekday).
I wake up around 6am most mornings and immediately reach for my coffee. I spend the next hour or so reading the Skimm, meditating for about 10 minutes and then I'm off to CHI50 by 7am for class. I LOVE starting my day with a 7am workout there. I just feel super connected to my body and strong afterwards. Then I'm back home by 8:10 (I live in the neighborhood of CHI50), and always listen to a podcast while I shower and get ready. I am really into the James Altucher Show, The Jess Lively Show, The Model Health Show and Gary Vee. I eat breakfast - usually Kite Hill Almond Yogurt, mixed with almond butter, Vital Proteins and Stevia, drink more coffee and I'm at the office by 9:15am.
4. What is your favorite thing about being married to Brian, and what is it you miss the most from your days as a single gal?
Brian is my #1 best friend. I love having a partner to face the world with. No one knows the intimate nuances of my business, my relationships, my family dynamics and my world in general better than Brian. He is so thoughtful and truly never forgets a single thing I share with him. It's just awesome to have someone in your corner the way I have with him.
I am an introvert at heart. I really, really, REALLY love being alone. Being a single girl, I had so much space when I lived alone. I love living with my husband, of course, but there are some days I get home after a long day and I wish I could have total stillness. Take a bubble bath, play my weird music on blast, watch my chick-shows and untangle my jewelry drawers.
5. Do you have a mentor? If so, who is it and why/how do they inspire you?
I actually have two mentors, who have absolutely changed my life. One of them is Denise Senter – she became my mentor while I was running Cheeky. (We met in yoga.) She is quite possibly the most brilliant marketer I have ever known and has the most generous heart out of anyone I have ever met. She gave me the opportunity in 2014 to join her team at WorldVentures (when she was VP) as the first person on her team, and she’s the real reason I got to travel the world building a digital product. She has always believed in me and has seen potential I would never see for myself. I am obsessed with her.
Kathy Quinn is my other mentor. She and I connected as I was launching SimplyBe through my dad. Kathy is an extremely successful corporate consultant and has built innovative, one-of-a-kind leadership training programs for all different types of companies and executives. She just gets me and is such a strong, powerful, whip-smart woman. She is always empowering me to think bigger, dream higher, demand more, think outside the box, ask for what I want and to just constantly expand. I love her, too. Women need women in their corner who always remind them of their power.