SO WHAT!: Jackie Wszalek, Owner of Splash Printing & Marketing

Panel_7_JackieWszalek_web

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(Illustrations by Michelle Neal. All Rights Reserved)


My muse this week is Jackie Wszalek. Jackie owns Splash Printing & Marketing. Congratulations to Jackie and her team for being awarded the prestigious Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce 2015 Sterling Award on November 20th!

WHY JACKIE QUALIFIES TO BE ONE OF THE 2015 FEARLESS THIRTEEN.

I met Jackie at the National Association for Women Business owners (NAWBO) in 2012. Jackie was a remarkable president of NAWBO from 2013-2014 and has been a member since 2009. I remember the first conversation we had vividly. Those of us who network a lot know that having such a clear photographic recollection of a one-to-one conversation with someone is something special. We met at Zinc Bistro for lunch. I recollect this conversation perfectly as if Jackie is still sitting across the table from me. I remember thinking that I liked Jackie very much and that I wanted to get to know and do more for her and for her employees. At the time, I was a financial advisor with Edward Jones years away from the life I have today. Jackie was just ramping up her business. Since we are both entrepreneurial and strong women survivors who like to laugh at life and business. We connected right away. What struck me the most about Jackie then was that she truly cared about her employees. Those are the type of business owners I loved working with when I was with Edward Jones. Business owners who understood that it is a privilege to have good people working for them. Providing employees with meaningful compensation and benefits demonstrates that they not only acknowledge the concept but act on it.

In 2015, Jackie started to visit our BNI Business Leaders of North Scottsdale. It had been a while since we had last seen one another. She called me prior to putting her application in and asked my opinion about the group from a woman’s perspective. Once again, I had that same feeling of connection with Jackie. I was so glad this strong woman showed up again in my life and still looked forward to getting to know her better. I am thrilled that Jackie is now a member of my BNI Group. I am even more excited that she agreed to be interviewed for The Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Project. I am also looking forward to finally visiting NAWBO again with her in January. I have been searching for a women’s organization to become deeply involved with in 2015, and NAWBO is an organization that has remained on my radar since I arrived in Arizona in 2009.

The three biggest things that impress me the most about Jackie are:

  1. She is a strong woman committed to lifting up other women
  2. She doesn’t take life too seriously.
  3. She thinks with others and keeps them in mind in everything that she does.

In a nutshell….

 You will see from Jackie’s interview that she is everything I love about truly strong women. She is confident yet easy going. She marries business savvy with a, dare I say, “motherly” common sense that I wish more of the world (both male and female) possessed. She follows through completely. She leaves no stone unturned. When you work with her in any capacity she is ON IT like a fly on flypaper. She speaks her mind and is to the point without being a bulldozer. She has a softness about her that makes you want to tell her everything. In my mind she is not just a successful business woman as the owner of Splash Marketing & Printing and a former Phoenix NAWBO President and current President of The Fusion Foundation; she is also a successful human being because she brings her heart and her absolutely contagious belly laugh to everything she does. I automatically trust a person that laughs like that. Jackie laughs with her everything! Unabashed laughter makes me believe in people because like Anne LaMonte says in her book Traveling Mercies – “….Laugher is God’s way of saying ‘ain’t that the truth.’”

FEARLESS INTERVIEW

Jackie took a few minutes out to answer the five Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Questions. You will be surprised to hear that Jackie says “SO WHAT!” a lot and that she does not take herself, life or her business too seriously.

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM JACKIE ABOUT BEING FEARLESS?

1.) Being Unemployable is a Driver

When Jackie found herself unemployed at age fifty-seven due to changes in the market. She had worked for her brothers business which was sold. She subsequently worked for the company that bought it for a few years when the construction industry took a dive.  Jackie realized that she was “unemployable” when she lost her job. At age fifty-seven, she knew that she had spent too many years running the show and that it would be hard in the economy at the time to find a job working for others. Furthermore, Jackie realized that she did not want to work for anyone else anyway. I relate to this knowing that some of us business owners have this trait. At first we are initially reluctant entrepreneurs. Shortly after, we realize that either by circumstance or design, we have no choice but to work for ourselves. Like it or not that is how we are wired. Then we embrace who we really are and become rain makers.

2.) First – Sustainability Means Survival

Initially when we start a business, especially one that employs people right out of the gate, if we have any sense of responsibility at all, we realize that our actions are supporting not just our family but the families of the people that we employee. Keeping the doors open is initially all about payroll and overhead. In the beginning we are working with limited capital and a lot of overhead. Our first job is to survive the start up phase. Jackie bought her business and then survived in the middle of a recession that put many printing and marketing companies out of business. How did she do that? She did it by continuing to monitor risk and reward and to continue to creatively merge applicable like-minded businesses together until Splash Printing & Marketing emerged a Sterling Award winner. She did it by caring about her employees, getting involved in leadership of a women’s organization and by a lot of hard work!

3.) Self Doubt is Expected

Jackie bought her business in 2009, which was a time when as I said before, many in her industry were closing their doors.   Of course she said to herself – “WHAT was I THINKING??!!” We all say that to ourselves when we make a decision to spend a lot of money and time on our dreams. Then at two o’clock one morning when the %^$# is hitting the fan we think – “WOW – Did I just make the biggest mistake of my life?” Jackie calls herself an optimistic person and she most definitely is. I love how she makes light of the recession when she says – “WHO KNEW that it would get so bad?” Anyone who takes a leap of faith and has had one or a thousand of those dark nights of the soul knows that sometimes you just have to take it one day at a time and just keep putting your best foot forward. Winning is about not giving up. When you are persistent, you are likely to be one of the last ones still standing and in Jackie’s case the recipient of the prestigious Sterling Award.

4.) Second – Sustainability Means Leaving a Legacy

Jackie is not just building a business that is surviving to pay the bills anymore. She is building something that she wants to live on after she is gone. She is building something that one day someone else will be proud of. She is creating a place where people want to work and enjoy working. She is establishing a legacy not just a business. Being at this stage of business means that you are at a whole new level. Jackie began with the end in mind – so leaving a legacy was always a goal. Now she is at the point where she can spend more time fine tuning what she built and less time doing the heavy lifting.

5.) SO WHAT?!

Jackie does not take herself, her business, life, yoga or anything too seriously. She recognizes her propensity toward perfectionism and has chosen to counter act that fact with a “SO WHAT!” attitude. The economy is bad. “SO WHAT!” I have employees that unfortunately need to be replaced. “SO WHAT!” There is a typo in this postcard and it has to be reprinted. “SO WHAT!” This concept of not taking anything too seriously and rolling with the punches is one of her core values. When Jackie teaches yoga she has all of her students say in class out loud “SO WHAT!” Reminding her students that yoga is not that big of a deal and that the whole point is to not be perfect at it. When we let it go and just move on – what happens is that we actually DO move on. Jackie and her team are also moving up!

Thank you so much Jackie for taking the time out to be one of the Fearless 13! I look forward to seeing you again at the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Art Opening on Dec 18th at the {9} Gallery from 6-9PM.

Note from the Artist:
JACKIE’S ILLUSTRATION’S STORY:

Because there are so many new art lovers viewing this show, I have decided to give a short summary of what the symbolism is behind each illustration. I have found everyone wants to know what the stories behind the paintings are.

Jackie’s illustration is all about “SO WHAT!” The universal sign for “SO WHAT” is usually a hand gesture and a shrug of the shoulders for some. The hands in this painting are Jackie’s hands. They are taken from the video we shot of her answering the five fearless questions. Since Jackie talks with her hands I just had to use her hands and not paint hands or use another person’s hands. They are her. The words in the background are also playful. Saying SO WHAT over and over again like a mantra, we can see other words emerge that are involved in the process of letting go of expectations. I added some So So’s because sometimes we are just OK with acceptance, which gave us some SOS’s for when we are panicked. HA represents when we can’t help but laugh at ourselves, which led me to add some HA HA’s that are the belly laughs we sometimes have when we finally let go of how silly some situations are. I added some check marks because although we can say “SO WHAT,” there are things that still need to be checked off the To Do list regardless. Then there is some punctuation; sometimes we question ourselves (?), and sometimes we are strong and can exclaim it(!). Sometimes there is a So what: Now what represented by a colon (:).

I pondered the idea of adding a mouth because Jackie has such a great smile that she carries with her every where she goes or perhaps add the light bulb symbol again, which for me is the universal sign of an entrepreneur but that did not look or feel right to me. I held off a few days releasing the blog because I knew something still needed to be added. After a few days of living with Jackie’s painting I realized that it was really the light or the fire that is in Jackie that I find most inspiring about her. The ball of color symbolizes Jackie’s incredible life force that illuminates everyone around her.

I too apply the “So What” ideology to all my paintings. I relate completely just like I did that day at Zinc Bistro in 2012 when I talked to Jackie for the first time. My Art is intentionally not perfect. My work is a bit messy. I do not stay in the lines. The reason why is because, like Jackie I too feel that we have to give ourselves a break. Life, love and business are messy. That is just the way it is. Good enough is good enough and frequently is better. We can strive toward perfection but we will never ever arrive there. I can paint realistically but I choose not to. To me it is all about the story and the person or idea behind the work and the symbols. It is not about staying in the lines and being technically perfect. It is always about the story. This is the story of this painting.

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