We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Henderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I’ve lived on risk-taking, but never really understood what that word meant at a young age. As I got older, and in my young career, I knew that risks were fairly easy to take. I never looked before I leaped, and now looking back, I long for that sense of fearlessness. I had several crossroads in job opportunities – some I didn’t think twice about, and some took serious consideration. The ones that took longer to decide upon, I made sure to ask my trusted circle of friends for advice. Once I knew it was the right choice, the butterflies in my stomach would fly away. I love change where many people do not. Risks always involve change, so when you make a decision to take that leap forward you’re basically predicting your future. That’s what decisions are. When you look back and realize you’ve made the wrong decision, you HAVE to chalk it up as a learning tool. I’m so glad I’ve taken risks in my life and my career. I’m looking forward to seeing what future risks await me. It’s an adventure!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I founded J.O. in 1998 originally as a boutique design and PR firm. Today it has an impressive client base from local to international, specializing in the fields of transportation, nonprofits, financial, healthcare and arts and culture offering full-service advertising and marketing. We specialize in strategic planning, advertising, marketing, public relations, branding and web design. For many years we operated in a small loft office in Near Southside, but when we began to outgrow that space after expanding into larger offices, I started to make offers on buildings. It took me three years and many hard lessons to learn that I needed a tougher shell and a determination to deal with major power brokers and developers that bought buildings for a living. In 2010, I finally landed on an incredible property less than 3 blocks away. It was an eclectic warehouse office building of 6,500 sf on S. Main Street in the heart of Near Southside in Fort Worth. It had beautiful old Thurber bricks, tall skylights and lots of potential. It took about 2 months longer than we had planned to renovate since we did most of it ourselves, along with a few inspection snafus later, it became the best decision I’ve ever made. In 2013, I founded a nonprofit marketing firm, The Cause Agency and also own and curate Gallery 440. J.O. is also committed to helping young people grow professionally. We created an extensive Internship Program devoted to teaching valuable, real-world professional skills. I often conduct informational interviews with recent high school graduates to discuss the advertising world and how they can use their college experience to gain employment. We often volunteer our professional services for worthy nonprofits in our neighborhood. Earlier this year Near Southside Inc. and our company spent 6 months applying for the Cultural District designation for Near Southside Fort Worth through the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA). After 550 hours on the project, we deservedly scored the #1 spot from TCA! Currently, J.O. is one of the longest running full-service women-owned agencies in Fort Worth and Near Southside, and continues to be recognized as leaders in marketing. Two take-aways from running my business is to 1) be stubborn. So many of the male competitors fed my fire along the way, but it only pushed me to show them I could do it. As a woman-owned business in the ad agency world, we have to come out on top. 2) Look for guidance from your mentors. Learn from their business failures and their successes.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a foodie and an art lover, so this will be an easy but eclectic itinerary to put together. For breakfast places, we’re going to visit all the best coffee and brunch places. During the week we’d hit these coffee shops that have good breakfasts and pastries: Stir Crazy Baked Goods, Arcadia Coffee and my all-time favorite coffee (because of their homemade almond milk and fresh breakfast tacos by Taco Heads) is Coffee Folk. Other breakfasts spots might be Eatzi’s and Press Café. Sunday Brunch will be at The Modern, particularly for the view then afterwards we’ll visit the exhibit. During the week we’d spend our time visiting the local galleries like Artspace 111 and William Campbell and of course Gallery 440 (my own gallery). Other things we’d do is shop across the street from my office at Winton & Waits and LTO (two of my favorite shops) then we’d go down the street to eat at Coco’s Shrimp or Wishbone and Flynt. For dinner, we’d plan out special meals and cocktails or wine at Tinie’s, Ellerbe, Fort Worth Club, Cannon Chinese or Spice. If we want to burn off those calories, we’d go biking around the Trinity Trails.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My team at J.O. Agency and the board members of The Cause Agency!