Jennifer Flowers is the creative force behind Accreditation Guru, Inc., a company dedicated to helping organizations prepare for Joint Commission, Council on Accreditation, CARF and other accreditations. My own path crossed with Jennifer’s when she was the Director of Volunteer Services for the Council on Accreditation (COA). As a Peer Reviewer for COA myself, and as the accreditation leader for several non-profits, I had the pleasure of working with Jennifer on a number of occasions. In contrast to what could have easily been an adversarial relationship, Jennifer’s assistance and support was more of a trusted advisor than of a micromanaging evaluating body. Her quick rapport and vast knowledge of accreditation, leadership and management competencies is a natural fit for her role as CEO of Accreditation Guru. I am pleased to present her as another successful and inspiring ‘Entrepreneur in Action!’
1. Career influences
I am fortunate to have a number of good friends who have had success leading and growing their own businesses and I take inspiration from them. I look to their perseverance, dedication to client services and strategic risk taking. Whether these individuals own an insurance company or graphic design firm or another type of business, there is always good information to be shared.
2. Biggest career success
My biggest success came precisely two years after I was unexpectedly laid off from an executive position with a large nonprofit organization. After spending the better half of a year leading the development of a new long-term strategic plan, I facilitated a Board of Directors retreat for a $50M nonprofit agency in Jacksonville, FL. During the retreat, the Board members voted unanimously to accept the strategic plan. This achievement was crowned with the feedback that this was the best Board retreat that the members had ever participated in. I will always be extremely proud of this achievement.
3. Recent lessons learned
Embrace seeking the assistance of others. While ideally, most of my time would be spent consulting for and supporting my clients, crucial functions including sales, marketing, managing finances, website design and others each require the time and attention to ensure the continued success of my organization. Whether participating in sales training courses to further my knowledge base or hiring someone to improve my search engine optimization (SEO), it is key to partner with others who are experts in their fields.
4. What inspires and motivates
I am continually inspired by knowing that I can help agencies to embrace the many benefits of accreditation and how this will, in turn, help improve the overall function of an organization and the services it provides its clients. I not only work with my clients for them to become successfully (re)accredited, but to set them up to truly “live” accreditation even after my work with them is complete.
5. Share a leadership story
If you love what you do and are very good at it, people will gravitate toward you and support your mission. Personally I have had a number of very talented people who want to work for me, develop strategic alliances or have offered to be advisors because they believe in me and the business that I am building. Those that I have brought (or will bring) onboard are not only subject matter experts, but share my passion for this work and desire to help client organizations to Prepare for Greatness! Always surround yourself with talented, dedicated people and everyone will benefit.
6. Your Top Two
#1: Dream big and go for it! Really. Your future is whatever you make of it, so reach high!
#2: Get out there and network, there are connections to be made that can enhance both your personal and professional growth…and always remember to enjoy the journey!
7. About Jennifer
Jennifer Flowers, President
Accreditation Guru, Inc.
Prepare for Greatness blog: http://accreditationguru.wordpress.com/
Check out other featured “Entrepreneurs in Action”!