BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: MEET JESSIE JACKSON OF THE CHRYSALIS EXPERIENCE
After 15 years in the United States Air Force, including four years living in Europe, Jessie Jackson has seen and accomplished a lot. In fact as he muses, “I’m a little Black boy from Alabama; I’ve seen things I’d never imagined.” In addition to being a veteran, he is also the co-founder of The Chrysalis Experience, a Warner Robbins, Georgia based coaching and consulting firm.
Jackson was honorably separated from the Air Force earlier this year. When some learn that he spent 15 years in the military, but didn’t retire–the required service time to retire is generally 20 years–the “whys” and disbelief usually follow. His decision was due to what he calls changes in the Air Force’s business operations. However, he emphasizes that, “Sometimes we must make decisions that society might not agree with.” Regardless of your station in life or choices to be made, you must always do what’s best for you. For Jackson, that decision would ultimately lead to meeting his business partner and the formation of The Chrysalis Experience.
The Chrysalis Experience provides coaching and consulting services to individuals and groups. The services consist of a combination of topics that cover customer service, workforce and leadership development, team building, and resiliency training. Though a very young company–it was established just 2014–Jackson holds over 15 years of military leadership, including certified experience as trainer of similar subject matter in the Air Force. While there are many other such firms out there, Jackson believes that what sets The Chrysalis Experience apart from others is the company’s dedication to service. “We consider ourselves to be servant leaders; we are people focused,” he says. Coming from a career in a (military) setting where teamwork, initiative and leadership are paramount, Jackson understands the importance of valuing people. As he puts it, “People are the most valuable resources businesses have.” If a company is to succeed, it must be passionate about its people.
For Jackson, the opportunity to interact with and hopefully positively impact others is the best part of what he does. “I enjoy the differences that we have as individuals,” he shares. Though he admits that he comes by it honestly, “My mom always said that I never met a stranger that I didn’t like!”
As a new business owner, Jackson knows first-hand, what is required to get started. However, he also knows that regardless of your station in life anything is possible. He says, “It doesn’t matter where you start, you can always do better.” This is a tenet that he has used throughout life, including his business. He adds, “We live in a great country, compared to the rest of the world. We have great opportunities here.” While some don’t agree or see the opportunity, Jackson’s time in the military afforded him the chance to see the alternatives. He emphasizes that the opportunity to succeed is there. “You must be willing to learn; do the research,” he says.
For those aspiring to make an impact in business or otherwise, Jackson advises to do what comes natural. “Always stay true to what you believe. If you’re not genuine, people will be able to tell,” he says. He believes that regardless of what a person wants to do it is important to keep the people factor in mind. He cautions, “Have pure motives no matter what you do.” If you have others’ best interests in mind, they will see it and appreciate it.
Business does not come without some uphill battles, as Jackson has learned. While his objective is to help as many as possible, he has also come to realize that not everyone wants the help. In his line of work, people and businesses must be willing to let go and let an “outsider” lead, in order to see another perspective. However, as we all know, it can be hard pill to swallow to have another person tell you how to run your business. He is unmoved in his mission, though. To combat any set-backs or slow movement, he is sure to surround himself with positive people. As well, family plays a key role–especially mom. “My mom made a comment a couple months ago that she would support me all the way to the moon,” he proudly states.
A full-time single dad of two, Jackson knows that what he is doing now, has a much greater purpose than daily business. He is creating an example and a legacy for his children to continue. Knowing this, he is able to maintain perspective in business and life. He understands that all relationships have a reason and season–and a relationship’s value is not determined by its duration. His philosophy: “Life is a train ride. At every stop some get on and some get off, but you continue to ride regardless.”
When it comes to Minding Your Black Business Jackson says that many of the issues within the Black community could be overcome, but we have to want it. “A lot of us still have our hands out,” he says. Instead of complaining about others who have come to the country, and into our communities, and are able to prosper, we should be trying to figure out how to make the system work for us. “We have the same access to information that everyone else does,” he declares. He adds, “We all have cell phones.” So with such easy accessibility to the internet there are no excuses. “There are different resources, but we have to be willing to search for it. We have to have passion, but most don’t have it. Unfortunately, we haven’t quite graduated to 2014, yet.”
Learn more about Jessie Jackson and The Chrysalis Experience, by visiting the website.
Do you know of a Black business or entrepreneur that gets it right? If so, we want to know! Get all the details here, including how to nominate your favorite Black business.