Pretty Powerful: Jenny Starr Perez
The editor and entrepreneur was one of three women to be honored by GREY GOOSE vodka in a series featuring extraordinary women.
Celebrated editor and entrepreneur Jenny Starr Perez has shifted career gears and the move has put her in professional overdrive. The former editor of Indulge and Selecta magazines is applying her accumulation of skills to head up Editrix Creative Group, a marketing and branding company. And she is accumulating clients across all industries, from catering to publishing, as Perez is heading up editorial duties for a special publication for Art Week 2021, published by the Miami Herald.
Perez sat down with SocialMiami editor Brett Graff over a glass of Grey Goose to discuss her own strategies for keeping present while getting ahead. Here are her points we’d all do well to take away.
On finding inner strength: “In moments of vulnerability, you have to look within and find a way to get your power back. It’s up to each of us to reclaim our power. Finding your power is about deciding what you want your life to be like, making real choices that don’t include other people or a job. Power is what you can do with the opportunities in front of you. Not just in holding a high position.”
On going from editor to entrepreneur: “This year has been a lot of change and I decided to pivot. In life we’re always editing, we’re always changing. We remove things, we add things. And that’s what I do for my clients. I shape them up a little bit. It’s humbling and exciting. I’m always going to keep hand in publishing, that’s my passion. I’ve been an editor for 20 years, I’ve done it for no money and for a lot of money and it’s never changed as far as I feel about the business. That’s true even through the changes in industry, from a heavy print model to going almost fully digital.”
On being the architect of your own life: “When Indulge closed, I felt the same thing most people feel when life throws a wrench your way: sad, confused and scared, which bothered me the most. But soon I realized had an opportunity to – after going hard on my career for a decade – take months of time off. It was scary and jarring but liberating and special. I was able to look at my life and think about what I wanted. I’m proud of my accomplishments, such as the magazines I edited and the awards my teams and I had won. But once you turn 40 years old things change, they did for me, I was given the opportunity to recreate my career and I built one with more time for myself and for friends. I’m also not afraid to say I like making money. Entrepreneurship is a big thing in our new world. I keep hearing things about people leaving jobs and starting own their own businesses. It mirrors the scary 2008 period except now people are doing it because they want to, not because they lost jobs. I could have gone back to a full time position and instead chose to head my own business.”
On getting advice: “We never stop learning or growing no matter how old we are and there’s something soothing to that. Life is not figured out when you turn 40 or 50 years old. It’s important to have people in your life who have lived through things similar or parallel to your experiences. I recommend finding a mentor — remembering they’re not perfect, but people you look up to and offer good advice.”
On starting the day right: “I have a morning ritual – it’s a must. I get up between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. and I light palo santo – it’s a tree that means ‘holy wood’ in Spanish – and can bring positive energy into your space. I say my intentions for the day out loud, and that’s important, saying them out loud. I don’t know if it sets your mind or puts it out to the universe, but it works. Then I turn on high frequency music, and move into my office to start my day. I like working early because I get more done. Maybe it’s a discipline thing. Structure is important to me. I keep to-do lists and follow them. Two things got me through this major career change: I have mental strength and also major faith in not only myself but also God. You have believe in something beyond yourself.”
Her main message: “Take the plunge! Even if you have self doubt. Take the chance, even if you’re scared. You know what you want and the worst that can happen is you fail and bounce back.”
Two things everyone should have: “The same things that got me through 2020: strength and faith. You have to believe in something beyond yourself. To me, that is priceless, no matter how life pivots.”
Brett Graff is SocialMiami.com’s managing editor and has been a journalist covering money, people and power for over 20 years. Graff contributes to national media outlets including Reuters, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Maxim, and the PBS show, Nightly Business Report. A former U.S. government economist, her nationally syndicated column The Home Economist is first published in The Miami Herald and then on the Tribune Content Agency, where it’s available to over 400 publications nationwide. She is broadcast weekly on two iHeartRadio news shows and is the author of “Not Buying It: Stop Overspending & Start Raising Happier, Healthier, More Successful Kids,” a parenting guide for people who might be tempted to buy their children the very obstacles they’re trying to avoid.