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Women in Business Q&A: Jennie Enterprise, Founder of CORE:

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As a leading entrepreneur, Jennie Enterprise is known as a visionary with a gifted practical imagination and relentless discipline. She has founded and grown a portfolio of successful businesses across a diverse spectrum including the Reebok Sports Club, CORE:, Institute of Skinovation and Ink Ventures.

Jennie's career as a lifestyle arbiter began as an enterprising student at Fordham Law School, where she developed the conceptual and business model for what would later become Reebok Sports Club. The Reebok Club came to fruition in 1991 and is credited as the precursor for the "lifestyle" category. As a vanguard of this important category, Jennie foresaw the trend of catering to people's desire for personalized luxury.

Expanding on this insight, Jennie founded CORE:, a membership-based lifestyle company that provides curated access to unique experiences celebrating the art of ideas, delve into the essence of pressing current topics, unleash creativity, and spark innovation through inspiring combinations of people and events. CORE: members are global thinkers who have significantly altered business, culture, and society. They share a common sensibility and a passion to change the world around them. CORE: exemplifies Jennie's expertise in curating communities and experiences, programming traditional and new media, developing luxury service environments, rapidly driving new business ideas from concept to execution, building strong brand identities, and establishing infrastructure platforms on which to develop high-growth ventures.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
Navigating through life with a profound appreciation for the "puzzles" we encounter is a narrative that I believe has led to an inspired value system. I believe that optimism is a virtue and you need to manage your own world of ideas and develop the art of communicating those ideas so that they are compelling and relevant. I believe it is important to have a laser-like focus on a vision you are authentically passionate about, and artfully communicate why it's compelling AND have the will and the unwavering commitment to execute. Be profoundly engaged in every moment, have an accessible and unpretentious ethos, possess an enthusiasm for discovery through intelligent risk taking, and never underestimate the importance of being nice, humble and having a sense of humor. Never forget the opportunity you have every day to do what you choose to do, no matter how challenging the puzzles may seem. When you are inspired by that reality you will capture the imagination of everyone around you.

How did your previous employment experience aid your position at CORE:?
I started my first business when I was 13, and have been a serial entrepreneur since then. Through my experience I have learned to be nimble and resilient, and believe in my ability to always influence the outcome through hard work. Everything great comes from hard work, a clarity of purpose, authentic passion and an infectious enthusiasm.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
If you love what you do and are passionate about it there is a huge intersection between work and play. If, like me, you are lucky enough to collaborate with your spouse, then the balance is inherent in the way you structure your life.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at CORE:?
It was a challenge to raise money for CORE: before and after 9/11. I was literally, and metaphorically, building something from nothing, and transitioning from a "laboratory environment" to going "LIVE" 24/7.

What advice can you offer women seeking to start their own business?
Have the courage to be ambitiously imaginative, because the only way to change the world is to imagine it differently. Relentlessly pursue relevance, have an infectious enthusiasm for what you are doing and never dilute the vision, but rather refine and sharpen it into focus. Hold yourself accountable for everything.

Once the business has launched, develop a cultural infrastructure that is wired to endure staggering challenges, and develop a sensibility that informs all decisions - stress test the essence of the business so that it has a heart and soul. Also, identify and nurture the best talent to help your business succeed and inspire your employees to be the best version of themselves. Most importantly, don't look for approval from others. Believe in what you are doing and relentlessly focus on executing.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I actually think that women have a unique advantage in the workplace. With all else being equal, smart, creative, innovative, prepared and focused women are uniquely capable of manifesting a super evolved soft - not weak - nuance that is both charming and combustible.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I never had mentors, but I have always studied successful people, and, to a certain degree, I am a bit of a social anthropologist, so my mentors are amalgams of people I have met and read about. I find that it is just as powerful to observe behavior and traits you do not want to emulate, as observing behavior and traits you do want to aspire to have.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
JK Rowling, Sara Blakely, Margaret Thatcher, Diane Sawyer, Anna Wintour, Arianna Huffington and Dangene Enterprise. I like the personal stories that most of these women have of courage, relentless perseverance, and the willingness to take risk and fail brilliantly. I also admire how all of these women have ultimately changed the way we think and experience the world.