Winning Woman Feature: Jasmin Forts

Encouraging the beauty of gainful employment and career advancement for women of color. Jasmin Forts, MBA, CPCC currently works as Talent Acquisition leadership for a large domestic organization with operations spanning worldwide. She is a Certified Career Coach and a member of NRWA, SHRM. Her journey into the corporate workplace started with limited guidance and no formal network.

Personally, dealing with disparities in tools to build resumes, interview authentically, and express confidence in physical presentation urged her to close the gap. She is a “self-proclaimed Livelihood Enthusiast” and cares how people prepare for maintaining their careers.

She has been featured in Teen Vogue, Monster.com and Madame Noire for her HR and Talent Acquisition advice. In her free time, Jasmin loves to run 5ks and cuddle with her husband and two kids. Inspired by an amazing network of women, Jasmin ensures all new clients feel welcomed and walk away feeling clarity and confidence in their career goals.

Who is Jasmin Forts and what was your motivation for starting your brand?

I am a multidimensional woman.  I’m more than a mother, wife, sister, and granddaughter. I am an emotionally healed person operating at the full capacity of what my purposes are.  I am aware of myself and my impact in the world. The motivation for starting my brand came from my personal story.  After I started the journey of self-awareness and understanding that my journey wasn’t my own, I realized that my purpose was to share and help others who may benefit from some of the expertise and knowledge that I’ve gained along the way. That was the motivating factor.

My current role that I’m transitioning out of is the head of talent acquisition for a healthcare tech company. Because of the needs of my family and just my personal needs I wanted a different role that really embraced work life balance and being a woman professional. So I transitioned into a job being the manager of talent acquisition at a university here in the metro Atlanta area. However, the tech company didn’t want me to leave. So they’re keeping me on as a consultant, month by month, and week-by-week until I say, I just can’t do it anymore. I’m really at that point now, but they’re not trying to hear it, they want me to come back. But I just, cannot operate at that level right now, just because of my family and other things.

My entrepreneurial endeavors include Jobbing with Jas, LLC, which has basically morphed into what I like to say, a career caregiver. I started out pushing certified career coach, really tackling resume writing, job search kits etc. But understanding and going through all the clients that I did, and just conversations, there’s a nuance with working with not just women of color, but black women of a cultural aspect and emotional intelligence. So, the coaching piece is the biggest part of what I do with Jobbing with Jas. I’ve really been focusing on classroom workshop style learning in an intimate setting and I’ve also taken on some government contracting under that brand, which has been, I would say, the biggest impact. I enjoy doing that a lot better than the one on one just because when you deal with the masses that just find you, they want your whole life for $30 and without the work. It’s so funny, because I get that feedback from a lot of different people that have entrepreneurial brands. You’re not the magic pill to whatever there woe, is, but if anyone sends you more than $5, they feel like they own your life until they get it right, and you’re not there to do the work for them, you’re there to help them. So that’s one thing I would say is very interesting about that brand. But the other thing that I’ve built is Thee Werkplace, which is a co-working and event space here in Atlanta. That came about because in doing all the workshops I was doing in Atlanta, affordable, beautiful space was hard to come by. So I was just like, why not bet on myself. For me, I’m a person of action and solution. So a lot of the fruit on the tree of my life is because I just spring into action and I do it. I saw there was a need and there were other businesses like mine in the area that we’re looking for space. So my husband and I built one. You can do your workshops there for a very great rate, host events, or participate in our networking events.  We have a bunch of really great small businesses in the area that uses the space for their workshop needs and other needs as well. That’s the synopsis of everything that I have going on during the day besides being a mother.

Let’s take a step back and talk about your journey as a single mother.  Who were you before Jobbing with Jas?

I think the single parent narrative gets lost in the narrative of irresponsible men and baby daddy drama. I didn’t have that. So let me just put that out there because I think that part gets lost and I want to make sure I honor his role in this as well. I had a baby, had to drop out of college, and ultimately him and I just weren’t partners anymore. I did have a great co-parenting partner in him where if I asked him for anything, and a lot of times I did, he would do it. Still, dropping out of college and not having that family unit was difficult because I didn’t have the support of my family. I had to understand that now I have to take care of my baby girl and figure out how I going to carry this burden as a single mother.  I remember one time I even had to bring my daughter to an interview and how embarrassed I was because it was like they’re just going to type cast me and I’ll become a certain profile of person.  It’s unfortunate that these stereotypes and discrimination happens but they happen.

After going through that whole journey I just knew in my heart in my gut I didn’t want another woman to feel that same despair that I felt or that same handcuffing to disappointment that I felt in that process of building a career in understanding what gainful employment meant. I wanted to be on the other side of the desk to lift up the veil to understand what that meant to understand the recruitment process. Who are the decision makers? What does workforce-planning mean? What is succession planning? I wanted to learn all of these things, and because I was in college and I had little knowledge of this, it was tougher, but at least I had some working knowledge to begin pulling myself up by the bootstraps.  My first job in HR was part time, $8.36 an hour. I was barely making ends meet.  It was a terrible feeling but I started my career there. Because of that, I never forget Jasmin at 21 years old, pushing that baby stroller into that employment agency feeling like I have to figure this out. Not just for me, but others looking right at me.

How did you discover your purpose?

I believe it was just through being honest with myself, and asking a series of questions. It’s very important to honor the women that came before me and the men that supported them as well.  As I was thinking about the stories in my family, I got very in tuned with that. I think when you know who you are; it’s just easier to align with what that purpose is. It really became so clear to me. When we went to see the Black Panther, there’s a moment well, there’s a couple moments in the movie where they asked T’challa who he is. That really stuck with me, because a lot of us walk around, not knowing who we are. Then when he said, who his mother and father were, it gave them power. So for me, it really resonated with me with all of the work that I had been doing with my family tree, and understanding who I was and my place in the world. That helped me define what my purpose was, and how to push my legacy forward.

What motivates you to keep going?

Because I am a person of execution and solution, there’s always something that could use help or solving. There’s not a day that goes by where your kid needs something, your spouse or partner needs something, or you need something. That really propels me in a way to keep going.

What advice would you give to a woman who is following in your footsteps?

The one thing I would say is focus on your ability, whatever your niche is, and whatever is unique to you. I believe that wholeheartedly. It’s so easy when you have people that look up to you to get caught up in whatever their spotlight is and trying to recreate what they did. That can make you feel insignificant. It can make you feel inadequate, it can make you feel like you know what, I’m not going to do it because she already did it. I still go through those moments and I talk to my husband sometimes. I talk to myself a lot of times.  Just know that her story doesn’t take away from whatever you have going on and your journey to help whoever you’re supposed to help. With so much visibility at our hand grasp, it’s easy to get caught up in other people’s stories and people that we look up to, and just going oh my gosh, I don’t compare or I don’t know what to do. It’s okay, a lot of us don’t. There’s not a blueprint for this. Focus on your unique talent and the rest will definitely follow. It will push you into an area of what you need to do next for yourself and really push you into a way where you start researching the resources that you need to do that as well.

What’s next for you? What are some things that you’re interested in doing?

I don’t know. I think I want to have another baby.  I may grow Thee Werkplace to another location. There are so many things in my mind but I’m really just operating in the space of letting God and the universe flow. I’m not really getting tied to what I think because I’ve noticed that when I get wrapped up into what I think I should be doing, it gives me anxiety. But ultimately, really staying plugged into what God has for me.

Tell us about some of your accomplishments and which one you are most proud of.

I would say having two healthy respectable kids is definitely an accomplishment and my relationship with my husband.  He is definitely my best friend hands down like seriously, that is my friend. That is an accomplishment for me because growing up in a home of domestic violence and financial abuse, I never saw myself getting married which leads into my next biggest accomplishment. I am an emotionally stable and spiritually grounded woman, and I am proud of that.

What are some of your favorite books, podcasts, and resources?

1) Friend Zone podcast

2) Think and Grow Chick podcast by Courtney Sanders

3) “Their eyes were watching God” by Toni Morrison

Is there anything else that you would like to say that we did not cover?

I think the essence of what I’d like to say to the world is to share the importance of women, specifically black women.  Understand the importance or the value of sisterhood and loving one another especially in a world that not only tries to push us down but also mimics us. Every time I turn on anything it’s someone concerned with how a black woman says something, what she did, or what we’re caring about. It’s just so much. In environments like that, the one thing that a lot of women that I come into contact with are like I’m in love with your energy and I just think it is so nice.  It’s because I don’t know how to be anything else. In my heart, sisterhood is the essence of everything I do, the reason why I started my business, the reason why I created a space, and the reason why ultimately I do propel forward.

Check out Jasmin on Instagram @JobbingwithJas

Author: Shellon Johnson

Shellon Johnson is a New Yorker with big dreams. As a child, she found her love of writing through reading and journal writing. Since then, she has grown to complete multiple degrees, certificate programs, and work in various industries in both private and public sectors. Shellon is the owner of PoshLife Events & Decor, LLC, a former New York City based event planning company, but recently decided to get back into her passion of writing, her best form of self expression. As a proud Women By Choice member, Shellon contributes to the WBC blog providing lifestyle content, and write ups on Winning Women throughout the world.

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