By Jennifer Borba Von Stauffenberg
Right now is such a special time in my life with the arrival of our baby boy the day after Christmas. This has truly been the most magical start to a new year. As I spend my time snuggling and adapting to life with two boys, I’ve reflected a lot on the most memorable moments of Olive. This year feels particularly special for the business too because it marks our 10th year.
The Olives have been working hard to give me the greatest gift—time with my family. This love and support is a perfect reflection of the moments that stand out the most to me.
Here are my #Top10OliveMoments in no particular order.
1) Launching p1440 exactly how we planned with Kerri Walsh Jennings, three-time gold and one-time bronze medal beach volleyball Olympian, on the Today Show during the Winter Olympics. When we brainstormed this launch, I worried that it was too lofty of a goal when I shared the vision with our client, but it all came together. Courtney and I flew to New York to accompany her to the segment and it was truly special. The bonus was seeing Paris Hilton backstage.
2) Our amazing fundraiser at House of Blues for the Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania (IEFT) with Feeding the Soul Foundation. Jason Mraz made a special appearance along with Raining Jane and other amazing local artists. Supporting my friend’s organization while bringing together some of my favorite musicians was unforgettable. The way it all came together, almost effortlessly, was nothing short of magical. The real gift was a solid donation to support the kids in Africa.
3) Our two year Oliversary party at W Hotel. What’s better than all your friends and family, including your favorite college professor and all your clients joining for an epic celebration featuring live music, art and drinks on one of San Diego’s beautiful rooftop venues. For me personally, it felt like an arrival. I was celebrating more than success that day. I was celebrating living life on purpose.
4) The day I really became an entrepreneur. I arrived at work one morning to a client sitting at the front door of the office. He had decided to stop moving forward on his campaign. I was disappointed, but optimistic that everything would be okay. At the time, I had two employees and we were a nimble team…every client counted to make ends meet, but I could handle one client moving on. By lunch, I got a call that another client would not be renewing their agreement because of new management. This sent me into a tailspin, but still I knew this wasn’t about performance, so while it was a tough pill to swallow, I figured things would be okay. I went for a walk to breathe through the moment. By the day’s end, I received a third call from a client’s new executive director who informed me that they would not be sending over the countersigned agreement to continue our services because she wanted to allocate budget differently. Now totaling half of our revenue, I literally laid down on the floor and cried. I put on my huge sunglasses to cover my eyes and slipped out of the office. I ran home and when I entered the house, my husband was there to greet me. He asked what I was afraid of and I explained that I was worried about losing our home and cars and he replied: “Do you believe in what you’re doing?”
When I said yes, he said: “Then I’d be willing to risk everything.” That was the start of me running Olive fearlessly like I had nothing to lose and that’s when things really took off.
I made ends meet that month by selling my car. I used a portion to pay my bills and used the rest for a down payment on a new car. I actually just traded that car in right before the end of the year. Naturally, I gave her a hug in gratitude for saving my business and keeping me safe all these years.
5) The Jeremy Sicile-Kira campaign. It’s no surprise that business owners can experience burnout. To say I was burnt out was an understatement when Chantal Sicile-Kira walked into my office. As we sat across from each other in our conference room while she shared Jeremy’s story, I felt chills course through my body and I knew this was going to be bigger than ever. We launched his campaign and it went viral. Jeremy, a non-verbal man with autism who has the gift of synesthesia and painting, experienced massive success with coverage across the nation. In addition to having his voice heard, I was re-inspired and back on track for which I am forever grateful. Watch Jeremy’s story here. This segment syndicated to every major city across the country catapulting his career as a professional artist.
6) When Bigsley Event House expanded The Color Run contract to include us working in over 25 cities throughout the US in just one year! We knew it was possible, so we did our usual ass-kicking strategy, but it was still very satisfying when they could see the impact of The Olive Way and we were able to grow with them.
7) Every time an Olive secures their first big hit. I remember a meeting with Jaclyn in her earlier years and I asked her what she was working on and in a very soft voice she told me she secured The Wall Street Journal like it might not happen. It did and it still remains the most fun moment when our team members follow our process and surprise themselves with what they achieve. I live for that.
8) In my first year of business, my client flew me to New York for one night to attend the Americans for the Arts gala. As I stood outside of the event, I had a moment of realization—I was truly living to the fullest as I sat among the biggest influencers in the art world—what a blessing.
9) All the times collaborations have been successful! Last September, I connected p1440 and One Love Movement. Then I brought the Human Rights Campaign into the picture to be the recipient of funds. Seeing the magic and impact of bringing all these powerhouses together brought me tremendous satisfaction.
10) Right now…knowing that I have built a team that can sustain my absence to give me a real maternity leave, I’m moved to tears. Thank you, Olives. I’m grateful!
Now, I sit here looking forward to the next ten knowing it will be even more powerful and more impactful.