Member Spotlight on Jennifer Bollinger-Conway

Principal, The Netcom Group
Interview conducted by Winnie Hart, Communications Director

Please tell us briefly about your company.
The Netcom Group is an interactive marketing firm focused on the development and implementation of online marketing strategies and fulfillment. We are a strategy-based organization first with the in-house capabilities to develop and deliver websites, technical applications, lead-generation programs and ongoing content delivery and awareness for a business or brand online.

So why did you join EO and how long have you been a member?
I have been a member since 2004. As a first-time company owner, I was looking for a group of like-minded people with whom I could share ideas, work through challenges and continue to grow and learn.

How did you come up with an original idea for your business?
I spent the first 15 years of my career in traditional marketing and advertising and have always truly loved functioning as a strategist. I pursued an opportunity in 2003 to acquire this company because I knew that the future of my industry would be online and wanted to specialize in that niche going forward.

What are your current annual revenues and number of employees?
We are currently between 4 and 5 million in revenue, have 22 employees full-time and at least 10 contractors who work with us on a regular basis.

What is your proudest accomplishment(s) to date in your business?
Surviving Hurricane Katrina and growing in spite of it. If we were able to relocate an entire organization, maintain all clients and our team and prosper anyway - we can do anything.

When did you first realize you were going to be an entrepreneur?
I don't think it was a conscious decision. I have always pushed myself to be successful and have put in the work necessary to achieve it - one goal at a time. As I progressed in my career, working for someone else became more and more frustrating because I wanted to do it my way. I think that is typical of an entrepreneurial spirit and now each day, I am always thinking about ways to grow and ways to pioneer. I can't wait for what's next.
What is your greatest accomplishment in your entire life?
I would unequivocally say my two sons. They are fantastic people and I get the greatest satisfaction in spending time with them. Part of what EO has helped me manage is finding ways to have that time and keep that balance.

What are your biggest personal strengths?
I am a master organizer. I can be presented with a challenge and see the path pretty quickly. I am also a good collaborator and I think that's why the people I work with respect me. I recognize all talents and input and if I don't know, I will find out.

What about your biggest weakness?
I create stress for myself and others because I tend to function well under stress. I have found though, that as I continue to grown in my career I become wiser and more able to allow for others' personal styles.

Why do you think you have been successful?
Very, very hard work and building relationships with people I respect.

What is something that most people don't know about you?
I am a Yankee and grew up in a household that was very non-adventurous. I arrived at Tulane for college and had never had Chinese or Mexican food let alone crawfish or any kind of fish beyond a fish stick. Things are a lot different now!
What is something you hope will be written about you in your obituary?
I hope to be remembered as a good mother and a mentor. I want to have had positive impact on the lives of my family, friends, employees and even in my community.

On a lighter note, what do you do for fun these days?
Well, I just got re-married after 7 years on my own so I am having a blast having a partner again to experience things with - good and bad. I am heading to Italy and Greece in a few weeks so planning the trip has been very exciting and we are looking forward to hitting more places on our list in the near future.

Who has the biggest influence on your life?
My paternal grandmother "Mame." She was, for me, the epitome of the person I would like to be. She was a business woman in her own right at a time when that was a challenge. She loved life and her family. She made everything fun and took nothing for granted. And most of all, she really loved people for who they were and celebrated that. That's a pretty powerful thing.

What are the most influential books that you have read?
I literally read 2 - 3 books a week. Reading is my secret passion. I recently read the Kite Flyer and then Night of a Thousand Suns. I love learning about other cultures and perspectives. From a business perspective, the most memorable book I have ever read is Ogilvy on Advertising. It's very 101 but I refer to all the time when I am thinking through something complex. Sometimes you need someone to remind you that to communicate effectively - you have to be able to say it in 15 seconds or less.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Do your homework, feel as confident as you can and then take action. You will never know everything you need to but you should be able to trust yourself and your ability. Most things are possible.

What lead you to EO?
A friend explained it to me and suggested that I meet with Kevin Langley. I was skeptical but agreed to join and go through Forum training. I had not been to a single chapter event. Once I had been through training and understood what EO was - I knew it was right for me.

How has your initial experience been?
I cannot imagine life before Forum now. That has truly been an incredibly rewarding experience for me and has contributed a lot to my life and to my business. The chapter events and seminars have also been very useful for me and for my team. I am making it my goal to attend at least one national event in the next year so that I can get more involved on a national level.

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