Empowerment consists of leading others to the keys to success, ensuring they understand choices and outcomes of choices, building their conﬁdence in their own abilities through trials, and creating accountability for their choices and actions.” This statement of Jessica Ollenburg, Managing Partner at Ollenburg LLC, reﬂects the importance of leadership in growth of others in every aspect.
A triple-certiﬁed management consultant with graduate studies at the intersection of business administration, law and organizational psychology, Jessica’s practice has been shaped by four decades of high intensity case study work with rock star clients of all sizes and industries. She empowers her clients through assurance of aﬃrmative legal defense, crisis avoidance and leadership playbooks. While strategic big picture thinking always prevails, she prides herself in tactical blueprints that ensure the client’s team knows exactly how to roll out the changes and measure the success. As a leadership coach, she has taken on those unwilling to learn and converted many to lifelong students of continuous improvement. She has taken on those so introverted and untrained they can barely manage eye contact, guiding them through transformation to become high-powered leaders. She asserts “My passion is not only overcoming obstacles that shut down others, but also guiding good people to identify and optimize their own unique talents to the point that their weaknesses become irrelevant.”
A Lifetime of Empowering
Jessica’s workplace background stretches back to childhood. She embraces teaching children about their capabilities at an early age. Self-reliance during childhood development can be so important to empowerment, as important as self-worth. While her career has always been a labor of love to family, community has a special place in her heart. Through elected leadership and volunteerism, she has won a lifetime of community and charitable leadership awards. A culture of giving back has always prevailed in workplaces she leads. Team members who think beyond their own needs are then attracted to the team-based culture. At Ollenburg’s companies, empowerment always stretches both within and outside the organization, and for years she labelled herself “Chief Empowerment Oﬃcer” as a unique title version of CEO.
Jessica collaborates with business owners and top executives for powerful business results. An award winning executive, inﬂuencer, author, inventor and educator; she delivers extraordinary knowledge base and spectacular results via holistic blend of strategic and tactical leadership, employment law, ﬁscal prudence, infrastructure optimization, talent management science and C-suite acumen. Today, she is working as Managing Partner and Principal Consultant at Ollenburg LLC. Her practice focuses upon strategic and tactical leadership excellence, especially through company growth or change; employment law aﬃrmative defense; custom infrastructure playbooks and talent management science. Her quantiﬁable successes then build reputation and referral.
As a serial entrepreneur, Jessica has started from scratch or even debt position. As one example, Jessica stepped in as CEO and drove a heavily-leveraged certiﬁed Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (HRS | Human Resource Services, Inc.) to power forward and surpass $50 million in aggregate worldwide sales, exceeding 1500 ﬁeld employees, while delivering 35 years of highimpact award-winning success to thousands of employers, all sizes and industries. Having impacted hundreds of thousands of workplaces lives, Ms. Ollenburg works with today’s business owners and C-suite as a passionate practitioner in consulting, operations and academic deliveries.
Living life “full-throttle” is what Jessica does, and she believes life changing events occur daily to some degree. The most profound life-changing events have centered on the mortality of others and herself. 23 years ago, her medical prognosis included a maximum lifespan thereafter of 20 years. As a dedicated family and community citizen, this created an urgency within Jessica. Everything she did became “beat the clock” even through extreme unspoken discomfort, and the pinnacle goals were to set up her loved ones to thrive without her. She rarely broke her silence through the duration and conﬁded in very few.
Jessica describes “The message of my own mortality was smothered within the losses of several treasured loved ones who fought just as hard, losses of which I’m reminded daily which fuel the mindset of urgency to attain goals. Having well-surpassed that dictated life expectancy and now enjoying improved health, today I realize I have as much time as anyone but still carry forth that conditioned urgency in everyday life. Intensely aware how many are faced with such threats and are not allowed a repeal of the sentence, I have enormous appreciation of my ability to continue making an impact. I consider it a responsibility. In addition, due to the rapid intensity of my experiences, I have enormously relevant experiences to share… related to that which went well and to that which did not but was overcome.”
An Ideal Leader
Jessica states that leading by example and commitment to lifelong learning are paramount to success. “In my practice I talk about not just what went right, but also what went wrong; as these experiences are the best opportunities to learn what can be controlled, what can be foreseen and what cannot.” Every mistake made and every hardship encountered are tools to betterment. “If I don’t learn something new every day and become better for it, I have failed.” Leaders must be seen learning and must be willing to talk about failures, accepting responsibility for all workplace outcomes without blameshifting. A leader who isn’t perceived as having overcome challenges is not relatable and is not inspirational. A leader who “plays the victim” is equally not inspirational. Ollenburg reveals herself as a lifelong student of motivation and behavioral anthropology, dedicated to learning why people do what they uniquely do, how to predict and when/how behavior can be inﬂuenced.
Leadership is both sales and substance and requires the transformation of others. She attributes her own leadership styles, tactics and teachings to a blend of Situational Leadership, Six Thinking Hats, Appreciative Inquiry, plus a plethora of case studies and business analytics. She oﬀers up that leaders must elevate the importance of every task within the organization and must create a system by which those who perform those tasks have regular opportunity to be heard and valued, while being able to self-monitor and be accountable for their own successes. Additionally, leaders must also protect the best performers from those not pulling weight, creating accountability of and success for all. Eﬀective leaders will understand the uniqueness of the team’s culture and its subcultures and will adapt leadership, incentive and communication methodology to best suit those demographic cultures, embracing diversity. “When leading and/or teaching, audience adaptation is paramount.”
A Tech Expert
A math (and sometimes science) geek at heart, Jessica loves technology. Some of her most proud collaborative inventions are software systems related, including a managerial automated interface from timekeeping through payroll to labor costing, time management systems, custom CRM and an early ATS platform. According to Jessica every business must align with and monitor technology either as a competitive edge of doing business, an eﬃciency tool or a potential competitor to the business. The right technology creates eﬃciency, value and cost control. The wrong technology can be a downward spiral. Wrong technology creates error, impedes eﬃciency, creates legal risk and eliminates much needed expert judgment. Additionally, the business leaders must create a system that recognizes and ﬁts the potentially unique cultures, problem solving proﬁles and workplace DNA of technology and engineering team members. Business leaders succeed when they create systems that properly create, monitor and adapt to technology advances.
Dedicated to Advancement
For Jessica the entrepreneurial and technology spirit are intertwined because of her training, learned outcomes and passions. Her creation of new or uncommon technology advances stems from her early programming knowledge. That is, she learned technology when applied math was called forth and there existed no programs to build programs. She and her team-built programs from scratch, so those from her era (and those who go above and beyond since) inherently understand how a computer “thinks” along with tech capabilities and potential errors. As technology changes, binary thinking remains a constant, and the old blends with the new for great technology forecasting and vision. The pure logic of applied math can be great building blocks to eﬃciency planning.
Challenges are First Step
In her advice to emerging entrepreneurs Jessica asserts “Be committed to the challenge and not stopped by obstacles. Know that if obstacles aren’t present, your impact is likely not strong enough to qualify as entrepreneurism.” Further she asserts “Entrepreneurism done right might take a 24/7 approach. Remember that overcoming adversity and risk-taking are key to entrepreneurism. Be willing to work around the clock; and when you can’t be at the oﬃce because you’re in the middle of critical workload after a sleepless night, be sure your employees know why you’re not there.” In closing among other quick tips, “Don’t be so stubborn in your commitment that you negate real signs that real change is necessary. Never stop studying business and listen to outside experts with unbiased perspective who have proven themselves through relevant situations with tactical success.”