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Exploring Life & Business with Jessica Broome of Southpaw Insights

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Broome. 

Hi Jessica, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My first job after college was as a Peace Corps English teacher in Cape Verde. I had a great experience, but I knew I didn’t want to teach when I came back to the States. I was inspired by my Peace Corps exit interview to look for any jobs involving surveys or interviewing and ended up working for a criminal justice non-profit, conducting interviews in jails and prisons around New York. After that, I segued into working in the Research and Insights departments of a few major PR agencies before hanging out my own shingle in 2008. I was a solopreneur and digital nomad for 10 years before finally settling down in Brooklyn and starting to hire employees and grow my business. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has absolutely NOT been a smooth road. 🙂 Right after I went out on my own in fall of 2008, the economy crashed, and I had very few clients. Instead of giving up and getting a full-time job, I enrolled in a Ph.D. program to have some guaranteed income and a little breathing room to grow my client roster. After I finished grad school, I had a number of clients I loved working for, and all was well for a while. But after a few years of being on my own, I was working all the time and doing every single thing in the business, from winning new clients to running research projects to doing all my own admin. I realized I wanted more than to just be a one-woman band and that I needed to hire people so I could work on the business rather than in the business. The leap from 0 employees to 1 is huge, and it took me a few false starts, but now Southpaw Insights has grown to 5 FT employees in 3 states. 

We’ve been impressed with Southpaw Insights, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We help our clients make smart decisions by helping them understand what people think, feel, and do. Our expertise is in qualitative and quantitative primary research: surveys, focus groups, interviews, ethnographies, and other methods that let us understand people. We work across sectors and do research with all kinds of audiences, from moms and teens to surgeons and CEOs; the common thread is that we are always talking to people and understanding what makes them tick.

We are a multi-cultural, multi-generational team, and I’m proud of Southpaw being a great place to work where we get to do great work. Everything we do is built on our three core beliefs: Listening is the best way to hear; smart decisions are based on smart data; and great work comes out of a great workplace.

We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
For me, success is waking up every day excited to do awesome work with awesome people. I love seeing this business that I created grow into something so much bigger than me. 

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Image Credits

Lesley Bohm
Kari Otero

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