Business

Serial entrepreneur Jasmin Brand on equality and empowerment

Jasmin Brand, Darby James, Brazen, DFW, Dallas

Photo by Cori Baker

When Jasmin Brand was laid off from her executive position in 2007, her future was turned upside down. Now a decade later, she is the CEO of Launch DFW, a digital media company on a mission to inspire and support the future of tech and business innovation in North Texas. She is also the President of DARBY JAMES, an experiential marketing agency known for innovative content, strategic events, and influencer management. While supporting startups, she actively advocates for gender equality.

After graduating from Southern Methodist University with degrees in Political Science and International Studies, Jasmin planned to travel the world and dreamed of working for the U.N. But she needed a job right away and was recruited to work in the insurance business. She quickly moved up the ranks into a leadership position until she lost her job and found herself in career limbo.

Two years later, DARBY JAMES, originally Brandpointe Solutions, was born. Jasmin now serves as president of the digital marketing agency she founded in 2009. The name DARBY JAMES comes from a combination of her late father, Moses James, and her favorite childhood dog, Darby. Jasmin feels that this new, rebranded company embodies a joy for life, big ideas, and the freedom to be bold and unapologetic about it.

Jasmin was recently named CEO of Launch DFW, a digital media company dedicated to inspiring and supporting startups and innovation in North Texas. Combining her desire to support women and her love of music, Jasmin also founded Beats By Her, a digital platform and live music experience for independent female artists. The City Influencer is another platform Jasmin created under the DARBY JAMES umbrella. It is a visual storytelling content and events platform that celebrates culture and community in DFW. 

“The key to having more women in leadership is empowerment.”

This spring, Jasmin began working with Brazen, an organization dedicated to helping growth-seeking female entrepreneurs advance their businesses. Brazen is part membership organization, part curated events, and part global network of women supporting each other. Jasmin feels that there is nothing else in the metroplex like this, but that it is necessary.

Jasmin is a self-proclaimed workaholic. During the rare moments that she’s not taking the world by storm, she loves checking out live music, traveling, dabbling in interior design, and trying new restaurants.

Jasmin is also one of the featured speakers at Plano Profile’s 17th annual Women in Business Summit on Friday, September 28 at the Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park Hotel. Click here for tickets. 

Here, Jasmin talks workplace equality and women empowerment.

Why are you passionate about women in leadership?

As a small business owner, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support, encouragement and love from other women in business sincerely rooting for me to succeed. The key to having more women in leadership is empowerment. But empowerment that goes beyond just words and hashtags. Not only must we empower ourselves to think and dream bigger, but we must also empower and help advance the woman right next to us; she’s working just as hard to achieve something special too. We are in this together.

“We must empower and help advance the woman right next to us; she’s working just as hard to achieve something special too. We are in this together.”

Read more: Maxie McCoy on the potential of female leadership 

What are your thoughts/feelings about equality in the workplace?

I think it’s important that we reinforce the idea of inclusion rather than just diversity. Equality in the workplace is not just about making sure that a person or color or a woman is in the room but they have an actual seat at the table. Representation matters. The goal is to think unity and inclusion with every aspect of work – operations, marketing, recruitment, sales and community engagement. It’s not enough to just check a box anymore. Social media and the pace of our news cycle won’t allow companies to just take the easy road on this. The future of your company depends on your ability to make inclusion a priority, starting from the top at the CEO/Founder level.

Some people believe that racism is no longer a problem. What are your thoughts? How have you experienced discrimination?

Inequalities based on the color of one’s skin still exist unfortunately. There is no denying that. I’m lucky. My life has been blessed by so many interesting and uniquely diverse people that in a way I’ve been shielded by a lot of the discrimination that I know my parents experienced and that I know a lot of people of color still face today. Racism is an ugly part of our country’s history. The key to progress and making a difference is not ignoring that ugly history but rather, acknowledging that we still have some work to do and be willing to listen to others on how change can happen. Empathy goes a long way.

“Empathy goes a long way.”

How did you get to where you are?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs. Both of my parents encouraged my siblings and I to work hard, go to college, get a good corporate job but always have a side hustle. I truly got bitten by the entrepreneurial bug when I least expected it. I was laid off from my job in 2007 and as I was looking for my next role and slipping into a bit of a depression, a friend of mine asked for my assistance on a marketing campaign that she was working on. Little did she know that she would be changing my life forever. I had plenty of free time and missed the strategic aspect of my former job so I ended up creating the entire strategy for the campaign. I gave it to her, didn’t think anything of it besides just helping a good friend. A month later she contacted me that her boss loved my ideas and wanted to know my fee to consult on the project. I immediately googled “what to charge as a consultant” and the rest was history!

As a new business owner, I had no marketing budget and honestly had no idea what I was doing, so I relieved heavily on social media for guidance and information. Ten years ago, social media was still kind of new, so it was an extremely powerful personal branding tool back then. I also used it to connect with thought leaders and find new gigs and prospects. I started to build a name for myself, and clients started to come in and things began moving faster than I think I was ready for.

On the outside I appeared successful but internally, I was battling fatigue, depression, loneliness and really stopped liking what I was doing. Hitting rock bottom sucked but I am so grateful that I did because of the many lessons I learned from it.

“And yes, we totally have super powers, but even Superwoman needs a break and a glass of wine every now and then. She also needs support.”

As women, we tend to take on everything and kid ourselves into thinking we are Superwomen. And yes, we totally have super powers, but even Superwoman needs a break and a glass of wine every now and then. She also needs support. It took almost a decade to learn that success is not possible without the help of others.

Read more: How Jana Etheridge built a career in male-dominated workplaces 

What can women do to advocate for themselves?

Speak up and speak loud. Every woman has a voice already. We don’t need to be taught how to find it. We just need to believe that no matter where we come from or the mistakes that we’ve made, we are still valuable and deserving of nothing but the best. It’s okay to set high standards. You become powerful when you embrace and love who you are, right now in this very moment.

“You become powerful when you embrace and love who you are, right now in this very moment.”

Secrets to success?

Work hard. Be kind. Do way more than is expected of you. Repeat. 

Join us at Plano Profile’s 17th annual Women in Business Summit to hear more from Jasmin! Click here for tickets. 


PLANO PROFILE’S 17TH ANNUAL WOMEN IN BUSINESS SUMMIT


Learn how North Texas’ Wonder Women have been a driving force in their industries and what it takes to go above and beyond what is expected.

Bringing together over 400 of the most respected women from global enterprises, non-profits, government and SMB businesses of the North Texas community—Plano Profile’s Women in Business conference celebrates, unites and empowers DFW’s leading ladies.

This one-of-a-kind learning and business event features special guest speakers, panel discussions and ample networking opportunities. This is your chance to learn from the best and share your best.

It’s time to play a bigger game.

MEET OUR SPEAKERS

Merrilee Kick, CEO/Founder of BuzzBallz/Southern Champion
Jana Etheridge, Managing VP, Chief of Staff and Customer Office, Financial Services, Capital One
Myrna Estrada, Vice President and Regional General Manager for Safeco Insurance
Dana Beckman, Director of Corporate Affairs at Alliance Data
Maxie McCoy, author and writer obsessed with giving women the tools they need to believe in themselves

EMCEES

Lauren Przybyl, Fox 4 Good Day Anchor
Jasmin Brand, CEO Launch DFW and North Texas Director, @BrazenGlobal

EVENT AGENDA

10:30 am – 11:30 am Registration and Networking

11:30 am – 4:00 pm

  • Keynote Speaker
  • Lunch
  • Networking / Break-out Sessions
  • Panel Discussion
  • Networking / Break-out Sessions

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Cocktail Party

TICKETS:

Individual, $125 
Table of 8, $750

While the event proudly celebrates the progress and success of women in business, gentlemen are welcome to attend and learn from our powerful female leaders.

Megan Ziots
Megan was a writer’s intern on Conan and has published work in D Magazine. She enjoys TV writing, blogging and journalism.

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