Member Spotlight on Jude Olinger

Member Spotlight on JUDE OLINGER
President of The Olinger Group, EO New Orleans Chapter President

Interview conducted by Winnie Hart, Communications Director

Please tell us briefly about your company.
The Olinger Group is a market research firm that works with Fortune 1000 clients nationwide to help them make better decisions through scientific research. We measure things like customer satisfaction, brand image and awareness, and consumers' attitudes and opinions about products and services.
So why did you join EO and how long have you been a member?
I've been a member since 2003. I joined because I wanted to talk to and learn from peers who could understand my opportunities and challenges as an entrepreneur.
How did you come up with an original idea for your business?
By accident. I got a job in the industry and just loved it. I'd tried (and failed) at a couple of other businesses before this one.
What do you like best about your business?
Working with smart, interesting people and getting to understand other people's businesses and business models.
How much money did you have to invest to start your business?
I was 27 years old and started from zero. I had to moonlight as a waiter at Brennan's my first year in business. Totally bootstrapped deal. Would not necessarily recommend this course but you have to do what you have to do as they say.
What is your proudest accomplishment to date in your business?
Seeing it grow from nothing into something real and knowing that we are creating value for our clients and employees.
When did you first realize you were going to be an entrepreneur?
I grew up on a farm and everyone in my family and in the community was self-employed - I didn't know anyone who had a "normal" job. When I was at LSU majoring in business, I took an entrepreneurship class with Dr. Bob Justis. Part of the class was having entrepreneurs as guest speakers. After hearing these people, I was hooked on entrepreneurship and was driven to create a business of my own.
What is your most proud accomplishment in your entire life?
I know that it sounds corny but my daughter Grace who was born in November 2007. She's our first child. Also, being the first in my family to graduate from college.
What are your biggest personal strengths?
Why do you think you have been successful?
Naiveté, stubbornness, and using my and God-given aptitudes the best way that I know how.
What is something you hope will be written about you in your obituary?
That I was a generous person who loved and lived life to its fullest potential.

One more question, how does it feel to be President of such a great chapter?
I love it. As I told my wife at EO University, I feel like I'm with "my people" every time that I'm with other EOers. My only regret is that I can't do it full-time!

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