Philly's Phinest Profiles Jen Groover -The Ever Evolving Entrepreneur
Do you know someone who is an innovator, a designer, an author, an expert, a speaker, a mentor, or a television personality? Any of those individual paths would be impressive.
Jen Groover has achieved success in all of those fields.
Born in Media, Pennsylvania, Groover's parental influence set the initial foundation for her life. Accountability was key. Her early education was in Catholic school, where the value of discipline was instilled. Later, her Bachelor of Science degree in education and minor in philosophy were creatively woven into her career.
"My Mom had a television show on Cablevision, organized political campaigns, and was involved in many charitable events. The experience of being with her allowed me to meet people, including Philadelphia athletes like Steve Carlton, Pete Rose, and Tug McGraw, who were living their dreams. My father did not grow up in an affluent environment. He was a Marine before he put himself through law school and become an attorney. He was also very involved in the community," Groover said.
Her mother was taught by Vince Lombardi at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey. An experience that impacted her life and was later offered to her son and to her daughter Jen.
"My Mom was an old school, hard knox, Italian woman from Brooklyn. In reading things about Lombardi, I know her perspective was influenced by his mentality. She used to say, 'You're not allowed to complain unless you do something about it, and if you want to win, you have to go for it,'' Groover fondly recalls. "She passed those ideas on to us."
Groover's friends refer to her as "Super Groover" because of her energy and ability to accomplish goals. When asked how success may have affected her life, Groover referred to something one of her long time friends recently told her.
"Kaci, one of my best friends since we were young, commented that I am still the same person that I was in high school and that success had not changed me," Groover says proudly.
"I learned that getting angry, upset, and over-anxious does nothing. It is through calmness and in the understanding of people that you become more fulfilled. One of my favorite books is Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman. In it he says a warrior acts, only a fool reacts," Groover said.
While studying at Kutztown University, Groover also helped to lead a successful fitness program. After graduating, she briefly worked as a kindergarten teacher. Then she partnered with Wilmington, Delaware gym owner and had a successful fitness training company. She started an aerobics division within the company called the Groove Shop, traveled to mentor instructors, and taught at master's classes where thousands of conference attendees would be present.
"I was killing myself by over-training and over-working. For the 1999-2000 season, an Olympic trainer was helping to prepare me for the U.S. National Aerobic Championship and for the Galaxy Fitness Competition, which is more of an anaerobic event. At the same time I was teaching multiple daily aerobics classes, training many clients, as well as doing gymnastics and yoga. I thought I was invincible," Groover said.
Living a Life of Purpose
For health reasons, she eventually decided that it was best to move away from the intense physicality of her schedule.
"I was given the greatest gift of a wakeup call. I was defining myself by a body fat count. The idea of perfection was on a physical plane. That is not a way to live," Groover emphasized. "There are many layers in a fabric that makes someone who they are."
During that time, a trip to a motivational speakers conference, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, was about to reveal that she was open to a new direction in life. Bob Proctor, seen on the best-selling DVD The Secret, spoke at that event.
"Bob taught me so many things that I knew, but did not know how to express, or to understand. I approached him and told him that what he said had changed my life. I asked him to be my mentor," Groover said.
Art Linkletter and Walt Disney
While attending another motivational speaker's event, that featured Mark Victor Hansen, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, she met Art Linkletter. He had achieved fame as host of the television show, Kids Say The Darndest Things.
"I had the chance to have lunch with Art. He told a story that became one of the most profound tipping points of my life. Because he was friends with Walt Disney, Art was one of the first people to go to Disney Land when it opened in 1955. He said that Disney had ran into so many obstacles while trying to get his theme park started, but he never gave up," Groover emphasizes (Linkletter passed away earlier this year in May).
Before that lunch with Linkletter, Groover had been frustrated because she didn't know how to formulate her ideas into a business. She realized through Linkletter's story that ideas have equity and just need to be positioned in the right way to become successful.
"One day I read about someone who had pursued an idea that was similar to one I had. But, that person had the courage to pursue it and I did not. So, that person reaped the rewards. It hit me that the feeling of regret was so much worse than had I tried it, even if I would have failed," recalls Groover.
Mantras To Live By
Have more fear of regret than failure.
Become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
"One of the greatest questions I ever heard came from a high school student who said, you are using success stories, what about the people that failed? I told him that successful people have failed, but had gotten back up and kept going. The dichotomy of life is that you grow most when you are struggling, in pain, or are suffering," Groover said.
Creating a Media Footprint
The creatively analytical Groover holds a variety of patents and trademarks, which is hardly surprising considering her many innovative business models. Groover's springboard came from a line of women's handbags she created called the Butler Bag.
"I have created many of the television segments that I'm on. I didn't really want to go on television and speak about fashion. I wanted to speak about entrepreneurship and the inspiration needed to start a company. So, I had to learn how to make that concept marketable for the media."
"At the time I was getting involved with television there was no fusion between business and lifestyle segments. I worked on creating a footprint, within the media, where I provided content for the small business owner and entrepreneurs. That idea really took off when the economy started to plummet a few years ago. Today, I can't create content fast enough," Groover says proudly.
Through her segments on networks like Fox, NBC, and other media outlets, she presents concepts in a digestible form by converting Wall Street business jargon and political topics into Main Street language.
My favorite part about working in television is going into a green room. You never know who you are going to meet there. Steve Forbes was extremely warm and welcoming when I met him. Paula Deen was so friendly and very humble," Groover said.
Recommendations for Younger Women
Groover is not only inspired by, but has become friends with two well known individuals who have impacted the lives of women nationally. Nell Merlino, who founded 'Take Your Daughter To Work Day' and Gabrielle Bernstein, author of Add More Ing To Your Life: A Hip Guide To Happiness.
"Their efforts have taught me that when you have earned an opportunity to have influence, you also have a responsibility to make a positive impact and to help people. Women have come so far so fast. In setting the example for the younger generation, we need to keep expectations realistic. It is okay to ask for help, be vulnerable, and to remember that we can't do anything without other people."
"When my Mom passed away a few years ago, I learned most profoundly about the power of legacy. In looking at my own daughters, I reflected on the many experiences she offered to me. I realized how much one person can affect a life. I know that what I do affects my daughters. When they see me on TV, or my book in a store, I want them to know that I'm working, doing something positive and productive. I want them to understand that the rewards from what I do are not their toys, but are in seeing the things I'm working on come to life," Groover said.
Leader Girlz is one of her newer brands. It teaches young girls about empowerment through play and helps foster their inner entrepreneur. She wants young women and girls to get to a point where they act out of love, not fear.
"Social influence is so important for young people today. Their uniqueness is their power. They should not all want to be alike. Being yourself is good. Everyone might not become an entrepreneur, but everyone has entrepreneurial skills."
Groover likes listening to people who have inspirational stories to tell. She thinks it's important when people can offer inspiration and tactical skills that can be applied that day.
"Money does not motivate me, making a positive impact through change does. Successful people work on themselves, more than their business. I want to remain on the speaking circuit and continue with a number of television shows are in development. I would like to develop documentaries, want to fuse new theories of what wellness and fitness should be, and think I have a second book in me."
"I have a very optimistic view of the economy. Hard times have made us more resilient. The highest Cyber Monday (The Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend) sales ever were recorded this year. Business models are changing, as online sales, joint ventures, and collaboration are all stimulating the economy through multiple platforms and in different ways," Groover concluded.
Jen Groover struck me as someone who is relentlessly resilient. She puts into practice what she has learned and offers models that can be implemented into everyday lifestyles. Her vividly recalled solid childhood foundation clearly enabled a consistent work ethic to be developed, a lasting success to have been earned, and a future that seems surely to evolve in many positive ways.
Check out Jen's website at http://jengroover.com/aboutme.htm
Contact Sean O'Brien at email@example.com