An Interview with Jennifer Joly: Educator Extraordinaire

Rose Alarcon

Education may not have been the path Jennifer Joly originally envisioned, but it became her passion. She talked with Y Not You Media about her experiences in the field, how she currently works with students on the Autism spectrum but her resume also includes former adjunct professor. Her style of teaching uplifts the wellbeing and prioritizes the needs of her students, cementing trust with the parents as well. Like the fantastic educator she is, her career fulfills her along with the deep love she has for her family.

Tell us about yourself.

I have been in the educational field for over 2 decades and it has simultaneously been the most challenging yet rewarding career choice. For well over 15 years I have been an Educational Consultant working directly with children on the Autism spectrum, as well as those with other varying developmental delays. As a lifelong learner, it has been my personal mission to effect change in the lives of my students and their families. The reward is changing the trajectory of the entire lives of the families I work with for the betterment of their children. As a former adjunct professor, I was able to impart the importance of foundational education and structure when teaching young children. My college students learned firsthand from my experiences when I was a classroom teacher as well. Overall, teaching is a work of heart and my heart remains filled with passion, purpose, and possibility.

What made you get into doing what you do now?

Teaching found me! I graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in law. I wanted to work as an undercover FBI agent and solve crimes. However, life had other plans for me. After becoming a mother at an early age, I was interested in securing a job that allowed me to share the same days off as my son. As an added bonus, who doesn’t want summer’s off with pay? It was truly a no brainer for me! I embarked on this path thinking I would teach for only a short time, but alas, I fell in love with my work!

What differentiates you from others within your industry?

My competitive differentiators are innumerable. However, the top three factors that I would say keep me above the rest are, for one, I go above and beyond the call of duty for the children I serve. Second, I am culturally in tune with my target population. Lastly, I establish and maintain team building and effective communication with the families that I serve. Although these may seem like small details, I have found that, within these practices, students and families trust me. They know me explicitly as the professional that has the best interest of their child at the forefront of their treatment.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Due to the fact that I have worked in many capacities under the educational umbrella, my future possibilities remain endless. Ultimately, I would like to spearhead an educational initiative for children with special needs at either the local, state, or national level. Regardless of my official title, I will continue dedicating myself to the needed education of my students.

What challenges have you faced while building your business and brand?

My biggest challenge and or obstacle was not seeking a mentor early on that could have potentially spared me from many of my missteps early on in my career. Learning the business of running a business and building a brand that people respect, trust, and believe in no small task. I have been fortunate to forge and establish some wonderful professional relationships and build a reliable and expansive network.

What have you learned from these challenges?

I have learned a plethora of lessons over the years from my challenges. The three most poignant lessons have been to, first of all, trust myself and the process. Second of all, I’ve learned it’s important to read and or listen to more books. Third of all, ask for guidance and help when it’s needed, which is never a weakness.

What advice would you give to others while on their journey?

I would reiterate what I stated above. That being said, what I would also like to share with those on the journey to branding and building a business is to make time to do what you love. I’ve learned that it’s important to fail forward but have fun along the way. Make sure to secure partnerships with honest, hardworking people, travel, save money, invest, explore multiple opportunities, and have patience with yourself along the way. Life’s journey is a winding path, so brace yourself for the ride!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

My advice to my younger self would be understand and develop meaningful networks and resources early on. Seek more opportunities to establish multiple streams of information and income early. Sit and write your goals down and reassess them as necessary. Short and long-term goals are living agreements that we establish with ourselves and the universe. They can be adjusted as necessary. Have fun!

What is your why?

The beginning of this journey began because of the love I have for my son and my firm desire to give him a life filled with the notion of infinite possibilities. My WHY has morphed over the years to encompass the growth of my family unit, but the mission remains the same. My WHY will forever be my love for my family! My family is and shall remain my driving force. I have never witnessed a U-Haul attached to a hearse. Humans are incapable of taking objects with them into the next life. However, the people we leave behind will only remember the fond memories that we shared, not the objects that were purchased.

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