Jessica Brauer

Self-Employed Branding Coach

What personal accomplishment are you most proud of?

Without a doubt, I am most proud of my accomplishments as an entrepreneur. I opened my first business at 23 and was able to partner with incredibly talented vendors and publishers across the country over the years. After volunteering with Laramie Main Street Alliance I felt a pull to help small businesses on a larger scale and made the decision to sell my business in order to start a new endeavor offering marketing and communications services for community-minded organizations. Running a business takes a unique passion, dedication and stubborn day-to-day drive. I am proud of the hard work I’ve put in, and find myself in constant awe of the incredible entrepreneurs around me pushing for success day in and day out.

What is your primary personal development goal/business goal for the next 5 years?

I would like to continue to celebrate community and entrepreneurs in any way I can—in and beyond Laramie. I strongly believe in the power of coming together to create vibrant ecosystems that offer more than an exciting experience—a public art project, social media campaign, street dance or holiday promotion—but also act as support for the health, well-being and economic stability of our towns. I’d like to champion for out-of-the-box thinking in activating and rallying around neighborhoods, creating places for locals of all walks of life to feel connected, supported and empowered to contribute their talents and passions. Similarly, I’d like to take my commitment to community and catapult it into a place not bound by physical space but by shared stories in a place that connects and supports female entrepreneurs with the tools they need to tackle their dreams—big or small. A close group of friends and myself have started to explore what it looks like to have a place offering equal support for the emotional and the more tangible, “How the heck do get this thing off the ground?” questions that are inevitable as a business owner. I’d very much like to see this project launched, growing and offering support to female change-makers nationally.

What is your biggest philanthropic achievement?

I’d say my biggest philanthropic achievement is my commitment to an organization, rather than one, big moment. I began volunteering with Laramie Main Street shortly before opening the doors to my business and have not stopped since taking on my first Main Street “project”—an adopted Christmas wreath. I have served on the Laramie Mash Up committee in various roles since 2015. This event is Main Street’s annual fundraiser, town and gown celebration and warm weather send-off hosted on the streets of downtown each fall. I have also been a part of the growth of Laramie’s Small Business Saturday, a one-day event designed to keep dollars local in the holiday season, along with a #SHOPLARAMIE social media campaign for peak shopping seasons throughout the year. I’ve offered marketing support, as well as grunt labor—pouring beers, picking up trash, coordinating vendors, etc.—for volunteer appreciation events, tours, public art projects, redevelopment projects, fundraising initiatives and community outreach. Volunteering has been a huge factor in the trajectory of my career, opening each and every door I have walked through professionally, helping me build connections, learn about the community and grow.

What action or event that you've been a part of, that you believe has made the biggest difference in Laramie? Or are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my commitment to the community as a whole and my place at the table as we grow and evolve. During a busy football weekend, a friend recently stopped me on the streets to tell me that she kept hearing one thing from the visiting fans: “the people of Laramie are incredible champions for their town.” It’s an absolute joy to contribute to this collective cheer for our town in any way I can. The jobs that make me feel the proudest of my work are typically the simplest—delivering Small Business Saturday balloons, having coffee with a budding entrepreneur looking for resources as they launch their big idea, rallying around a collaborative project, shoveling a neighbor’s sidewalk, pouring beers at a mural party, browsing the memories being made on the #downtownlaramie feeds, connecting like-minded locals and watching what can happen with a little nudge and support. In the big picture, I don’t think my work is groundbreaking. I am surrounded by people doing big, incredible things every day who deserve the recognition as the innovators they are. I do, however, feel I contribute as a living example of loving your town and finding success through that. I am proud to know that my peers see my passion and commitment to Laramie, and I hope those sentiments are contagious and uplifting to anyone who feels they have something to contribute to their community of any size.

What excites you most about the future of Laramie?

We live in an incredible community. The people, places and heart of this town are vibrant, leaving little surprises around every corner—whether a new mural, civic organization or celebration tucked away somewhere. This energy cultivates an atmosphere of constant growth and change that is exciting to watch. I look forward to watching what’s next, seeing entrepreneurs bring their talents to the table and the community rallying around innovative, off-the-wall, scrappy ideas the way we do in Laramie.

What do you think has helped make you successful in your endeavors?

My support systems. For every success I’ve achieved, there has been a core group of incredible people cheering for me, pushing me to try harder and encouraging me to take the scary leaps. There are just as many moments I’ve felt lost, frustrated and confused as I have felt like I was on track to making the mark I desire to in the world. Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on and a crew to celebrate wins with. Without mine I’d be half the person I am today.

What advice would you give to other young professionals in Laramie?

Find your people—lean on them, lift them up. Keep your eyes on your own paper—it doesn’t matter what your peer’s life looks like. You are creating your unique story in the world, and you shouldn’t for one second get hung up on how different someone else’s path looks. Lastly, Step out of your comfort zone every now and then. Growth can’t happen in a vacuum.

20 Under 40Jacob Chavez2017