Read Time 6 mins |
April 11, 2022 |
Written by: Koby Heramil
Q: AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU THINK YOU WANTED TO BE? HOW DO YOU THINK YOU CAME TO THAT DECISION?
Jennifer Barlow: My mother told me that I could be anything I wanted to be. I remember standing on the sidewalk and her looking down at me, my mind just being blown and thinking, “Oh my God there are so many options.” I wanted to do it all. I was in dance class and I wanted to be a professional dancer. I wanted to be a veterinarian. I wanted to learn how to play every instrument I could get my hands on. I wanted to be professional in all the sports teams I joined, volleyball, softball, basketball, etc. I wanted to be really smart and intelligent and work at NASA or something. It was really hard for me to set my sights on one thing.
My grandfather also had a major influence on my childhood. He had a natural curiosity for learning about all aspects of life. My best memories are of him tinkering with new gadgets in his workshop breaking them apart to figure out how they worked, his huge vegetable garden, and the impact he had on his community bringing people together.
Q: WHAT WOULD YOUR YOUNGER SELF BE MOST SURPRISED ABOUT HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE TODAY?
Jennifer Barlow: That's hard for me to answer because I believe anything is possible. I've always had that perspective. Maybe I feel successful already and I feel like it's a young age to feel successful. I'm not as advanced in my career as a lot of other people are and I already feel full. I love what I do, the people I work with, my partner, my home, friends, and family.
Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE HARDEST PART OF WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
Jennifer Barlow: So I have two answers for this one. One is disappointing fans because I'm in this industry to facilitate moments that create positive impacts in people’s lives. I’ve had to be that person at a box office, responding to fan emails, or on a phone call telling them I'm sorry you got scammed or you can’t go to this event that you've been planning to attend for a year. It's really hard to deliver that bad news. I’ve seen so many people break down in tears, some people scream at you, and I've had people punch the box office walls before. It comes out in all different manners because they are so passionate about the thing they love and I had to be that person creating that bad experience. And you can't meet them on their level because it will just make that moment harder for everyone. You can understand it right, we're in this industry because we're passionate about it, and you can understand the disappointment you would feel if you were in their shoes.
The second part is leading people to water, but them not drinking. We put a lot of time and effort into helping our clients make good decisions, so many case studies, and so many people with extensive knowledge in the industry at their side. Thinking about my time in the venue's world as a small fish in the pond, I would have killed to have access to this type of company. My focus was on operations, balancing the books, staff, that sort of thing. I’m pretty sure I asked my partners every week what the demand forecast was for each new show they wanted to book. If we had a partnership with Lyte those questions could’ve been answered and we probably would’ve avoided a lot of red in our books.
Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT WORKING AT LYTE?
Jennifer Barlow: Our passion for innovation and consistently pushing to find solutions that benefit everyone in our industry.
Q: WHAT LESSON TOOK YOU THE LONGEST TO UNLEARN?
Jennifer Barlow: Progress over perfection, is my number one lesson. I'm still trying to overcome this day to day. Sometimes I think this is from being a female in a predominantly male industry for 15 years now, but when I speak, I have this underlying fear that if I say the wrong thing it's just going to come back tenfold in my face. Therefore, I lean toward the idea that whatever I say needs to be right and I want to be confident with my feet firmly planted about what I'm saying. But sometimes it doesn't really matter. All that matters is what your goal or idea is when you're speaking. Saying something is the beginning, getting it right can come after.
Q: WHAT HAVE YOU ACCOMPLISHED RECENTLY THAT WOULD HAVE SHOCKED YOU A YEAR AGO?
Jennifer Barlow: I can go to work in my PJs and make an impact on the world. And being able to come back to my roots is huge to me as well because this industry took me to a lot of different places before this.
Q: WHAT ARE YOU MORE AFRAID OF, FAILURE OR SUCCESS? AND WHY?
Jennifer Barlow: Neither. If you would have asked me this question seven years ago I probably would have said failure. I was at a point in my life where I was having a really difficult time, especially in my career. Since then, I realized that we can't base whether or not we’ve succeeded or failed in one aspect of our lives. It can't just be work, it can't just be your personal life, it's going to be an equilibrium of everything. Family, friendships, work, impact on your community, all that stuff. I've been trying to make it a point to find that balance and I feel really good now. I don't know if that's a bad thing, maybe one of the shoes is going to drop or something like that, but I’m not worried about that sort of thing.
Q: WHAT'S NON-NEGOTIABLE IN YOUR LIFE?
Jennifer Barlow: Believing in what I do at work has a positive impact on the world. If you Google how much time Americans spend at work in a lifetime, you get 90,000 hours as the response. If we all spent 90,000 hours trying to make the world a better place just think about what humanity could achieve. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, other things get in the way or they don't feel the same, and those are the types of people I want to talk to, to ask, “Why do you think this way?” Like the people at DuPont who dumped toxic waste into the town’s water supply knowingly poisoning 70,000 people in the 90s.
Q: WHAT CAN WOMXN CREATE TOGETHER?
Jennifer Barlow: I read Jeanette’s response and I loved it. I want to build off of that. We can create literally anything we want. If you've read any recent science on reproduction, scientists have found a way to create a human baby out of DNA from two females, no men required. It's still in testing and not completely legal and all that stuff but it is possible. If we want to lift a million pounds we create a robot or something to lift that million pounds. We want to go to space, we learn how to create a spaceship and go. We want to build a garden in our backyard, we do it, you know. Maybe a better question is what do we want to create together?
Q: WHAT'S THE MOST EXCITING IMPROVEMENT FOR WOMXN IN THE INDUSTRY?
Jennifer Barlow: It's speaking up, it's the fact that womxn are not being quiet about what they are experiencing whether it's bad or good. I think the easy thing to call out is the #Me Too movement and the negative things that have been coming out over the past decade. There are also positive things like the increase of womxn holding positions in the industry or equal pay being adopted in more companies. Speaking up without being afraid impacts people. One womxn holding a conference or being a boss can inspire so many more to get that confidence and go after their dreams.
Q: WHAT TITLE WOULD YOU GIVE THIS CHAPTER IN YOUR LIFE?
Jennifer Barlow: I would give it, “Day Party,” because I spent a lot of my 20s doing the late-night hustle. I’d stay up till 5 am then go back to the grind with like 4hrs of sleep, just go go go all the time. I don't want to leave the party, but I don't want to stay up until 5 am anymore either.
Womxn at Lyte featuring Jennifer Barlow, Director of Client Services Operations at Lyte
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