Hustle, Honey! Interviews

Hustle, Honey!: Jasmin Forts of Jobbing with Jas

To say I have struggled trying to figure out my career, life path, and this game called “Climbing the Ladder in Corporate America” is an understatement. I’ve updated resumes, reached out to my network, went to job fairs, went to networking events, everything under the sun, I did it. Let’s face it: as a black working mother and woman in the corporate spectrum is hard. There aren’t a ton of resources out there for black women by black women that can help navigate you through the proper steps of preparing yourself professionally who can understand the struggles and speak the lingo. Everyone doesn’t want to necessarily be an entrepreneur nor have the direct contact with the friend of a friend who has the CEO’s number of the company you’re dying to work for. Many women do what they know how, but that effort lacks proper guidance.

When there is a need, there’s always a business that handles that. It’s called Jobbing with Jas.

Jasmin Forts launched Jobbing with Jas as a means of bridging the gap for women who are looking to polish themselves for a career. She slays in the boardroom, as well as in her own business. Her company has gained loyal followers and  tons of testimonials from women who have landed that dream position they never thought they could…and she’s just getting started!

On the personal side, Jas is that sister you’ve always prayed for. The best friend you secretly wish you had. The girlfriend you’d love to call everyday just to chat. She is such a rock star and cares deeply about the needs of women. She is M.A.D.L.Y. in love with her husband, Rico and amazing mother to two BEAUTIFUL children! One who was my Hustle, Honey! in January {Read here}. Yes – her 12 year old DAUGHTER runs her own business. How’s that for fabulous parenting skills?!

Today’s Hustle, Honey! is about Jasmin Forts, owner, creator, and career slayer helping women feel less intimidated with the process of job hunting and preparation and more confident that they will not just land a job, but gain a career.

LG of BB: What’s the story behind Jobbing with Jas?
JF of JWJ: It started through my struggle. The discouragement I met becoming a single mother in college. I eventually dropped out and had to figure out how to care for the new life I conceived. My daughter was the best gift in the world and her Dad and I had a very cool relationship. Ultimately, we had different goals and timelines in mind when dealing with life. I did want to get married and I was not ashamed in saying so. He did not…well not at that time. (Note: if there are any single women looking for a solid guy and wouldn’t mind co-parenting with our tribe- I’d love to set y’all up). We decided to go different ways as far as our relationship was concerned, but still remain active participants in raising child. That was the catalyst for me to looking for employment and trying to figure out my career path.

I went on interviews and visited staffing agencies that type casted me. Single mother. Young. Black. Underemployed. Just a year ago, I was on a thriving college campus having fun and sharpening my mind with others. Fast forward to having a child and dropping out of school – I became the bane of existence it seemed. It was a low, low, low point for me. All my friends were enjoying life and being young. I made the decision to have my daughter. I felt lonely and isolated. It seemed there was no one I could talk to that was relatable and willing to mentor me on career development. It took a toll on me like no one’s business. From that point, I decided I wanted to be someone that helped with hiring decisions and bridging the gap for those that looked like me. I never felt so voiceless in all my life and never wanted another woman to feel what I felt during those emotional years of building my career. It took 10 years to finish my undergrad and eventually finished my MBA program, as well. I was growing my career and taking on positions to strategically understand corporate HR and Talent Acquisition.

Corporate America is still a place where women of color are a marginal voice. Our leadership is needed, but somehow we are overlooked. I decided that I was going to put use all the years of personal experience and professional development to coach women of color. I understand that if we are giving the tools and resources to compete – that’s what we do! We show up and show out! Jobbing With Jas has a distinct mission to encourage the beauty of gainful employment for women of color through resume writing, interview coaching, and employment strategies. It is my business to help prepare the women I love and haven’t met yet to be prepared to take a seat at the table – if that is what they want to do.

My story is one of self-responsibility and I’d be a hypocrite not to reach back be help sisters I see my reflection in. I am not my sister’s keep, I am my sister. -Jasmin Forts, Jobbing with Jas

LG of BB: What do you love most about what you do?
JF of JWJ: I love being able to see women walk away feeling empowered and confident about where they are going in their careers. Meeting new women and hearing the stories also give me hope and help me talk to my daughter and sisters about overcoming challenges. It helps me feel a sense of community in knowing my story, other women’s stories are all intertwined. Being a part of changing the narrative in how women of color – specifically black women are portrayed makes me feel like I am walking in my purpose. It is humbling but also builds my confidence in situations where I used to feel inadequate.

LG of BB: From the moment I met you, I could tell that women friendships, sisterhood, & girl power means so much to you. Why is that?
JF of JWJ: I grew with a household of women. I learned from an early age the power and importance of my sisters. Not saying we didn’t ever fall out. Shoooot. We would fall out over someone wearing a shirt or taking hair stuff, but overall we loved laughing and talking about things only girls go through. So as I grew up it was never really hard for me to make girl friends.

I think my ability to empathetic and not compete is my super power. To always be kind. I grew up in a house with domestic violence. I remember the healing I felt when my sisters and I would go in one of rooms and pray and cry and cuss God out for giving us such a wack stepdad. LOL! We would check in our Mom—and moments later be out at church or shopping and no one would notice how much suffering my Mom just endured. It was amazing to me. That helped me formed my feelings and emotions towards building my sisterhoods and friendships. I don’t force it. Some women don’t want you all in their business. I get it. But I can only be a friend if you allow me. So I do best in relationships that are transparent because I overshare. I am transparent. I need to know that what I say is delivered to a safe place and received with love. I learned girlpower from my Mom’s and sisters strength, strife, and struggle. There was beauty in all the chaos I saw growing up. It made me love me more and love other women enough to know that we are all going through something.

LG of BB: Why are you passionate about helping women of color succeed in their careers?
JF of JWJ: First, because I am one. LOL! When you love yourself as hard as I do, you see yourself in others that look like you. You understand the stories and struggles and know each of stories can have a thread in someone else’s. I think about my favorite book, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston and how Janie was telling her story to Phoeby. Two women of color connecting on the struggle and intersectionality of what it means to be women, black, and alive in America. Phoeby walked away feeling taller after hearing how Janie did not succumb to the pressures of the world. Hearing the story of another woman like her gave her a lense of hope and confidence. I read the in “Sister Citizen” by Melissa Perry-Harris this same comparison. Of course, she wrote it waaay better than I can explain it. But in short, my passion lies in helping us because who else is more qualified to do so? My story is one of self-responsibility and I’d be a hypocrite not to reach back be help sisters I see my reflection in. I am not my sister’s keep, I am my sister.

“I think my ability to empathetic and not compete is my super power. To always be kind.”

LG of BB: What’s your mantra in life?
JF of JWJ: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to far go together.

LG of BB: Running your own business can be a bit scary, but it’s a dream for many of us. Do you ever doubt yourself? If so, how do you overcome it?
JF of JWJ: I do. In fact, I recently relaunched for a 3rd time after 4 years of conceptualizing my business. Lol I often wonder if my community really understands the importance of investing in self. You get those moments when you are like, “why should I care if others succeed or not!” I definitely have those moments. But they are outweighed by my love of what I do and knowing that I am creating a safer space for my daughter and son to be themselves as they grow in their professions. You cannot fail if you try. I am not just trying – I am doing. I hire myself every day I build content or curriculum for JwJ. The right people engage with my business and the people that are suppose to understand my message get it. Honestly, I try to stay in that space and remember my way for the days I discredit what I am doing.

 

LG of BB: What is your secret to success?
JF of JWJ: If I tell you it wouldn’t be a secret. Kidding! I would say my secret is I am a doer. It is rare you will hear me say something and not follow up. I understand the power of words – they mean something. So I am careful to what I commit to and who I align myself with. Because I am always doing, I know that can be annoying to some people. So I stay clear from those folks and surround myself with energies and minds like myself. Which sometimes means I am with my husband most of the time because he gets me. Oh, that’s part of my secret to success too. I have a team that helps. My husband and kids. We have folded each other in every part of our lives so we support each other where needed. Goes back to mantra plus teaches my kids the importance of ‘doing’ not just talking and having a support system that shows up for you.

 

LG of BB: Many may not know, but my Hustle, Honey! Chef Toots is also your beautiful daughter! How does it make you feel to watch your daughter follow along in the same entrepreneurial footsteps like yourself?
JF of JWJ: It makes me emotional at times. I see her confidence growing. She believes in her ability and magic… how instrumental is that in the teenage years? I mean, seeing her not second guess herself is so gratifying because I just only began feeling so self-assured. It makes me happy to know that as a parent she is listening and sees the importance of being a producer not just a consumer. For that same reason, my son Ezra is already spinning his wheels at 7 to figure out how he can be his own boss. I just want them to be free in determining their path. Have the liberty to know that can do whatever they set their minds to and do it. I lead by example so I am sooo happy that it is impacting the way they view life, parenting, and how my husband and I relate to each other. I know they are watching everything I’m doing, I do my best to keep that in mind.

LG of BB: When you’re not working, what are some of your hobbies & passions?
JF of JWJ: My husband is my best friend, ridah, and all around fave person. Plus my kids are super dope so I hang with them a lot. We are young parents so by default my kids get to do a lot of fun stuff that I don’t remember doing. But we travel, rock climb, hike, go to plays, all types of cultural stuff because I want them to well-rounded. I hang with my sistercircle quite a bit as well. My girlfriends are amazing and time with them is therapeutic. Outside of that, I love to paint, run, entertain at my home, and get massages. Oh, and I looovve a great brunch spot! I probably brunch once a week!

LG of BB: Let’s dream: Where do you see JWJ in the next 5 years?
JF of JWJ: Hmmm I see myself in my own career consultancy firm helping all levels of professionals and students…from high school seniors all the way to seasoned professionals. I will have a book talking about the experience of duality in Corporate America as a black woman and how my story relates. Also, doing speaking engagements and community service to move the meter on preparing young women to compete professionally and look at less travelled career paths. My honest dream is to be working JwJ fulltime, honey! They gon get this #blackgirlmagic whether than like it or not!

LG of BB: You’re a gorgeous wife, mother, & business owner. What’s something other people may not know about you?
JF of JWJ: Aw, shucks thank you! That’s tough because I feel like I share a lot of who I am… but one thing that people may not know I am still afraid of the dark. I cut on the lights and if my husband is out of town I book a hotel so I don’t have to be home alone. Pathetic, but true. One time, I invited all my girlfriends to the hotel when Rico went to Dallas and we had a conversation party. I told them to bring the kids and let’s hang. It allowed us to hang out, the kids were occupied, and I was not home alone. LOL! I have little hall lights in my house and flashlights in all the pantry closet. You will not catch me in the dark if I can help it!

LG of BB: What’s next for Jobbing with Jas? Any events coming up?
JF of JWJ: I have a Resume ParTea & Workshop coming up on Mar 25th from 10a-12. Super excited about it. You can get more info on jobbingwithjas.com & tickets here. I will also start a summer series called “Lipsticks, Blazers & Relaxers, Afros. It is a workshop series going over the importance of leveling the employment playing field and decreasing hiring bias as it relates to black women’s physical appearance. Knowing how to pull together a professional presentation is important if you are looking to compete in corporate. I have the stats and done research to understand the necessity for us as candidates, so the workshop should be super fun, interactive, and really hitting on my mission on encouraging the beauty of gainful employment for women of color.

LG of BB: I see you girl. Keep hustlin’.

Contact | Jobbing with Jas // JWJ – FB // JWJ – TW // JWJ – INSTA

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