Jen Oleniczak Brown is the Founder of The Engaging Educator (EE), a women-owned and operated company dedicated to helping people find their unapologetic, authentic and best voice, communication style and self through improv-based education.
Since 2012, EE has served over 50,000 students, working with such companies as Viacom, Food Network, The New York Times, Saks Fifth Avenue, and CBS. EE is based out of NYC, LA, SF, and Winston Salem, NC. Jen’s work can be found in publications like Bustle, Fast Company, Forbes and Moneyish, as well as her first self-published book Improv(e): Using Improv to Find Your Voice, Style and Self and Think on Your Feet: Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Impromptu Communication Skills on the Job. She is also a teacher on Skillshare, and her first class is focused on Small Talk and Networking. Jen was also the instructional designer on the Center for Creative Leadership’s Improvisational Insights Card Deck, using improv-based skills, activities, and ideas to enhance leadership, and is a Venture Partner with Wefunder.
Q: What would you like to see your team accomplish in 2020?
We’d like to be firmly footed in LA, increase our customer base in NYC, and continue to help corporate clients with residencies.
Q: What were the most challenging areas in the early stages of the company’s growth?
Being different than everyone else! Improv for presentation skills isn’t a new concept – we had to make waves in a busy field that was full of UCB and Second City – and we did so by playing up how we were NOT associated with a theatre and focused on helping professionals – not helping professionals when we weren’t looking for performing gigs.
Q: Who is your role model or hero?
Q: What is your favorite book?
I read a lot! Right now: Stranger in the House.
Q: Do you use any specific method or system to run daily operations?
We LOVE Honeybook. It’s the best “flow” software we’ve used!
Q: Why did you choose your present industry at this time?
It chose me! I was an actor and then a museum educator – I realized that I had something that a lot of educators didn’t have: improv training! It made me flexible, ready to pivot, and audience-centric. Fast forward to making this happen for all professionals, and there is truly nothing else I can do that holds my soul!
Q: What is the best/worst moment you can remember in your career?
Best: Booking our very first corporate client, Saks Fifth Avenue, in 2013.
Worst: Firing my first employee in 2013 and watching him start a similar business. You live and learn!
Q: Looking back – if you could advise a younger version of yourself to do something different – what would it be?
I would tell myself to stop listening to the noise – it’s not worth it! Pay the people that do not pay you no mind.
Follow on Instagram: @YesandJenBrown
Follow on Twitter: @JenOleniczak