Jennifer Jenkins and her team noted two things at a company retreat last year. One was that the company, JJPR Agency, would celebrate its 10 year anniversary in 2020. The second was how the agency almost never pursues accolades for the work it does in the industry and the community.
Jenkins, who founded the agency in 2010 and serves as its president, decided to pursue the Small Business of the Year Award from the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce in hopes of getting her 10 employees some recognition. As one of three finalists for that award, JJPR was then nominated for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Dream Big Awards.
On Thursday, the U.S. Chamber announced JJPR was the winner of the Woman-Owned Business Achievement Award. The Daphne firm was the only Alabama company to win a Dream Big award.
Jenkins said she assumes the chamber said “JJPR” because once the agency’s employees heard “Daphne, Alabama” on the virtual awards ceremony, their screams drowned out everything after.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the fabric of our communities. Over the last several months, they have faced challenge after challenge, and their grit, determination and generosity are an inspiration to us all,” said Tom Sullivan, U.S. Chamber vice president of small business policy. “Through the Dream Big Awards, the U.S. Chamber is proud to honor the very best in American small business – the innovators, dreamers and doers who despite this year’s obstacles, continue to be a beacon of hope through their actions, contributions and leadership.”
In a year where others bemoan the challenges, Jenkins said the recognition has been a positive sign for JJPR.
“Yeah, 2020 has been one of those years that you could really just pick out all of the negative bad things that have happened or you can say, ‘Ok, this has taught us so much,’” Jenkins said.
From more time spent with family to appreciating time spent interacting with coworkers, Jenkins said it’s important to focus on the positives.
Focusing on the positives and being adaptable is what has made JJPR Agency stand out over the past decade. Jenkins talks about going from the antiquated faxing of news releases to an agency that weaves in elements of marketing, advertising, public relations, branding, social media, events, web development and content creation in a digital age.
She said it’s been possible because the agency has added talented employees over the past decade. It’s also crucial to have a loyal and growing set of clients, she said.
“It’s very exciting but at the same time the people on our team and the clients who have been so loyal to us over the past 10 years – they’re really who made us, so we’re going to continue to do what we’ve been doing for the past 10 years,” Jenkins said.
While it may not take 10 years before JJPR pursues some other outside recognition, Jenkins said getting recognized daily from clients for the work the agency does is praise enough.
“We’re going to keep on doing what we do every day and that’s provide a great service to our clients,” she said. “It’s not going to change who we are at the core.”