Jory Des Jardins, BlogHer
Hometown: Evanston, IL
Current Residence (City, State): Oakland, CA
Education: English Lit Major, BA, University of Illinois
Professional Background (brief, please): Author and media strategist Jory Des Jardins is president of global sales and business development for BlogHer, Inc. Since co-founding BlogHer in 2005, Jory has developed strategic relationships with Fortune 1000 brands and led innovative campaigns to integrate contextual marketing and advertising into communities of women interested in every topic, from food, health and family to business, finance and technology. As an author and media strategist, Jory regularly writes on women’s business issues, blogging, relationships and pop culture for such publications as Fast Company, The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Inc. Magazine, and her blog, Pause. She’s also written for Sports Illustrated for Women, Working Woman, USA Today Magazine, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times and edited for The New York Times Syndicate and Time Inc.’s Custom Publishing Division. Jory has helped high-technology start-ups Pluck and Rojo launch successful blog syndication initiatives and produced Third Age’s successful network of bloggers. In addition to her personal blog, Jory blogs about personal career growth and entrepreneurship on BlogHer.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: A TV anchor or talk show host
What you are: President of Global Sales & Business Development, and an evangelist of blogging to Fortune 1000 companies who are contemplating connecting with this influential group.
Brief Summary of your Start Up: Founded in February 2005 by Elisa Camahort, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone, BlogHerâ€™s mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment. BlogHer provides the number-one community for and guide to blogs by women, via annual conferences, a Web network, and an advertising network of nearly 1,000 qualified, contextually targeted blog affiliates. BlogHer provides the highest quality content on a range of topics, with all blogs continually edited to meet strict editorial standards, including content quality, category relevance and blog frequency.
Company Website? http://blogher.com
What inspired you? After the first BlogHer conference, when I was still consulting, and I saw these women come together so powerfully, I knew I would have to figure out how to do this for my full-time work. Being around blogging women is addictive.
How long have you been in business? BlogHer was founded in 2005, though Iâ€™ve been plugging away at my various pursuits in traditional and new media for 13 years.
How did you fund it? BlogHer Inc. is majority-owned by three co-founders and has additional backing from Venrock (http://venrock.com).
Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)? Iâ€™ve had a few in my past, but most recently itâ€™s been a woman named Gina Garrubbo. She worked with my partner, Lisa Stone, when she headed up sales at Women.com, and now sheâ€™s been helping me grow the sales team at BlogHer. Sheâ€™s who I want to be when I grow up: powerful, and yet incredibly humane. You can be a force to be reckoned with and kind at the same time.
Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups? My partner, Elisa Camahort, a few other women, and myself founded a small networking group for women in the Valley called the Silicon Valley Supper Club. This organization provides an opportunity for women in all stages of their careers to connect and help each other. We share everything from job leads to good books. Weâ€™ve had little time to devote to it recently, but we still see the women who have joined us for networking dinners are connecting with each other, which is gratifying.
Current Business Challenge? Scaling our business as quickly as itâ€™s growing. We just topped 4.2 million unique visitors to our blog networkâ€”a good problem to have!â€”and with that growth we are always seeking to refine the infrastructure to keep pace. I work with some patient and incredibly competent people, thank goodness.
What are you doing about it?: Weâ€™ve outlined a process, including ownership roles, required permissions, alternative courses of action, etc., which is currently being refined by the people on the front lines. We figure, these are the people who know the most about the issues that come upâ€”they come to us for next stepsâ€”so they should help us refine this process and make sure we arenâ€™t missing anything. The key to this process is that it empowers our people to make their own decisions based on knowledge of best practices and our values.
Favorite motivational quote: Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent, by Eleanor Roosevelt.
Family? I have a husband and a cat who loves it when I work from home.
If so, how do you balance family and business? This is the $64,000 question. You donâ€™t balance themâ€”you negotiate. If Iâ€™ve been on the road for a long time, I make sure that I plan a day or weekend or dinner date with my husband to catch up. Since Iâ€™m not available very often to take care of the household, I try to pitch in by paying bills, planning a trip, or fitting in a trip to the grocery store.
Favorite book? I have favorite books of the moment. The most resonant one of recent memory is FLOW by Mikhaly, oh gosh itâ€™s a long last name! It really breaks down the anatomy of passion.
What do you do to relax?: I wish I could say I do yoga or meditate, but I actually only promise to do those. Usually I take a walkâ€”Iâ€™m a power walkerâ€”while listening to music, and I trade backrubs with my husband.
What do you want to change most about your world?: I think that on a global level weâ€™ve become a culture of packaging and waste. Why do we need to wrap everything ten times over in non-biodegradable plastic and insist on replacements of perfectly good vehicles and clothes? This translates into our time as well. We insist that we â€œpackageâ€ our work by time spent on it. I agree, we need to be polished and dedicated, but not at the sake of our best work. Iâ€™d like to see a work culture thatâ€™s focused on optimized time, not face time. I say this with the understanding that some of my most valuable business relationships came from the result of face to face interaction. But I think Iâ€™m referring to something elseâ€”the need to constantly be on the clock.
What are you most proud of? BlogHer. Hands down. Itâ€™s a labor of love that isnâ€™t always fun and games, but I, and my partners dedicated ourselves to building a community. Having worked at large media companies, Iâ€™ve always come in after the fact. It is enormously gratifying to have seen the community grow into something far bigger than Iâ€™d ever imagined.
What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses? Delegate! Seriously. Iâ€™m still not as â€œstaffedâ€ as I fantasize I could be, but now that I have some talented people helping me, I see just how much the business would have lost in missed opportunity had I not asked for and received help.
Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)? My PDA. I curse it at times, but it has my brain in there.