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Conversations with the Inspiring Jasmin Sharp

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jasmin Sharp.

Jasmin, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Growing up, I was homeschooled. That meant that dad was the principal and mom was my teacher. Both of my parents were entrepreneurs, so when I was seven years old, they enrolled me in an entrepreneur’s club – basically a bunch of kids who had to create a business to help learn responsibility and money management. I had already been occasionally doing a cookie and lemonade stand out in front of my house, so I decided to sell cookies and created the company “Jasmin’s Goodies.” I knew I needed to have a value proposition and something that made my cookies unique, so I used a mix of whole wheat flour and almond meal and marketed them as “whole grain, low carb.” When I was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease at age 11, I shifted the company over to being gluten-free, allergy-friendly and began specializing in custom, allergy-friendly baked goods. I ran that company all the way through high school, and I’ve known since I was probably about 10 that I wanted to be in business. Once I graduated high school, I decided it was time for me to hang up my baking hat, and the easy decision was for me to go to business school. That’s how I ended up going to Concordia University Irvine, where I just graduated this May with a degree in Business Administration: Marketing.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Oh absolutely not. My parents were very determined that I have a plan for my life, even when I was young, and I thought I was going to do the cookie thing for the rest of my life (my dad used to call me “the new Mrs. Fields”). I think the two biggest obstacles I’ve had were when I was diagnosed with Celiac’s and when I decided to stop pursuing the cookie business. First, when I was diagnosed with Celiac’s, I was going through a myriad of health challenges at the time. And being told that I could no longer eat what was literally the fabric of my life at the time was really terrible to hear. I didn’t really know how to cope with that. But, with A LOT of trial and error, I began figuring out how to make delicious gluten-free baked goods. It also opened me up to a passion I still have today; helping people with allergies find delicious food options. I think the biggest lesson I learned from that is even if you have something that completely changes your lifestyle, you don’t necessarily have to view it as a setback, but you should use the opportunity to grow through the changes. I never realized how big of a market allergy-friendly baked goods were until I became part of that market. The other big challenge I faced was in my junior and senior year of high school, I was realizing I wanted to give up my company and go to college – and my dad was not a fan of that idea. He wanted me to forgo business school and keep running the business. I even had investors lined up at one point in high school so I could move into a commercial kitchen space and start selling my goods commercially. Telling my parents I didn’t want to keep doing what had been my life for a decade was really hard, but I knew to go to college was the right decision for me. And it ended up working out really well – I’m so happy with where I am today. I think that proves that even if people in your life are telling you one thing, you really are the only person that knows what’s right for you, and you should never be afraid to make that decision, regardless of what the people around you are saying.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’ve worked as a business development manager for a company for the last two years in Tustin called ModernBrain – they teach speech and debate classes to students K-12. I’ve worked full time with them for the last two years while going to college full time as well. I got started working with them because I competed in a debate in high school and college, and I’ve loved getting to continue working in that field. I would highly recommend them for anyone who is interested in speech and debate. But I’m starting with a new position in the beginning of July working for a digital marketing agency in Tustin called GMR Web Team as an account manager. I’m really excited about this opportunity because my ultimate career goal is to be a CMO of a Fortune 500 company and this job is a good step in that career path. That’s something I’m really proud of, that every step in my career and every job I’ve chosen to work in since since highschool (besides working at Chipotle in college) has been a step towards my ultimate career goal.

Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
I think that the best way to find a mentor is to find someone who is doing what you want to do or is where you want to be in 5-10 years and ask if they will mentor you. I don’t have one specific mentor personally, but in my experience, if you reach out to someone in your desired field of work and ask them if they’d be willing to chat with you about their experiences, they generally say yes. I recently reached out to a woman who is the head of marketing in North America for a huge international optics company and told her that I was inspired by her success and I wanted to know more about her journey to learn how I can achieve that for myself, and she responded really positively – when she and I were in the same city for a trade show she took a half an hour out of her very busy schedule to sit down with me and have a cup of coffee and talk and I learned a lot from just that one conversation. Now we’re connected on LinkedIn and I know she’s a resource if I need it. I would say that people usually love to share their success and help others if they can, all you have to do is ask.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Felix Esquival (@felixthefrickencat)

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