An interview with Jenny Garrett, Reflexion Associates
Extraordinary women from across the country have been unveiled as the 2023 finalists in the everywoman Entrepreneur Awards, UK’s longest-running recognition programme for female entrepreneurs. One of these amazing women is Jenny Garrett, TEDx speaker, award-winning coach, author, and Co-Founder of Rocking Ur Teens, who is a finalist in the Entrepreneur for Good category.
In 2006 Jenny founded her business, and now, alongside her team, she works with individuals and organisations, supporting them to achieve career and life-changing results. This is done through using a unique combination of skills around gender balance, leadership, inclusion and self-improvement to inspire and empower.
Beginning her career in Marketing, Garrett found that she wanted to train people in the field of marketing. Through doing so, she herself went on a coaching programme and that was a transformational moment for her.
Garrett commented: “I just fell in love with coaching. But then I felt a bit stuck because I wanted to coach but I had a full-time job as a marketer. So, I got some coaching myself, my coach helped me to get down to four days a week in my day job, and on the fifth day I started to see if I really could build a coaching business if I really liked it, or if it was just more of a dream for me. Within a year, I was freelance, and I'd left my job. That's been 18 years now and the company has grown and developed from just me providing one-to-one coaching to then completing a master’s in management, learning and leadership and developing leadership development programmes.”
That’s not all she does. Around eight years ago, Garrett and two partners began ‘Rocking Ur Teens’, a social enterprise that equips young people with the skills that leaders of the future need. This was inspired by the struggles she saw her daughter having when in the first years of secondary school.
Garrett expressed that the goal of Reflexion Associates is “Our goal is to ensure that our goal is to ensure that every organisation appreciates difference, is inclusive, and has a wonderful eclectic mix of staff from all backgrounds being able to be themselves in the workplace.”
Why is this so important? “Technological advances are moving at such a rate, particularly with AI, and the pace of change is not stopping. I think in order to create the best solutions and deal with the complexities that we have in the world, we need to unlock the potential of everyone. I think that you can’t do that if you don't create inclusive environments where people belong. People spend a lot of their energy just trying to assimilate and fit in instead of really tapping into all of the knowledge and experience they have.”
What have been the biggest challenges of her career?
One of the challenges Garrett faced when getting to where she currently is in her career was the prejudices that others held about her. “I think that as a black woman, I coach all sorts of people, I coach men and women from all different backgrounds, but I think you can get very boxed in. I remember particularly in the field of coaching, so I’d go into coaching conferences, and I'd say the kind of coaching I do, and people would say ‘oh, you coach young people’ or ‘you only coach black people.’ But no, I coach the people who need my help and support. I think that people stereotype you. People have stereotyped me and expected me to be doing a certain type of work, and I've had to really break out of that and challenge people's assumptions about my capability and the work I do.”
“It's an ongoing life of ups and downs being an entrepreneur. You have to become quite resilient,” Garrett stated.
“There are major highlights. I feel like every day I'm so excited by the work I do,” Garrett beamed.
“I did my first TED Talk. And that was like, wow, I've done a TED talk. So that was a big turning point for me. And then I got asked to do a second one. Achieving an OBE was pretty amazing and something that I'm definitely very, very proud of.”
But besides these highlights, her work is always a highlight. “The little things are really key. When a client is able to secure a promotion, or they say ‘I’m really showing up as me and this programme has really helped me unlock my potential,’ I feel like I can take on the world. Each of those wins for me is a major achievement.”
Garrett is consistently busy, and thinking about what’s next and what else can be done. “I think our plans are just to keep expanding and scaling what we do. Perhaps writing more books.
“We run programmes to help increase the representation of diverse talent at senior levels, and we run allyship programmes as well. I think really expanding the reach of those programmes to make a bigger and better impact in business and help create a fairer world.”
Jenny Garrett has already had such a massive impact on the world, and it will be exciting to see how this impact will continue to grow and expand, both through Reflexion Associates, as well as Rock Ur Teens.
Garrett is an extraordinary woman and Startups Magazine wishes her the best of luck at the everywoman Entrepreneur Awards!