Cincy Chic: Did you always want to be in finance?
Jenny Wilkerson Baker: No, I hated school and I hated the corporate world (or so I thought). Three months before I graduated, my Dad asked me if I planned on working. Hes in the financial business so I told him I'd give his industry a try while finding what I really wanted to do. That was five years ago! I work with Cox Financial, an amazing firm with a holistic approach to finances. I'm self-employed so I can run my own show, which is wonderful. However, with that great freedom and opportunity comes a lot of risk. But I have learned how to balance both the risk and opportunity something that has made me successful.
Cincy Chic: What are your professional aspirations?
Baker: I don't separate professional aspirations from personal goals. I hold two women responsible for how I've decided to structure my life, Marilyn Tam, former president of Nike, and Sandra Meyer, president of Duke Energy. Marilyn encouraged me to find my lifes purpose; which is merging what Im passionate and knowledgeable about. Once I found that, she challenged me to make it my life's reference point. Each opportunity Im presented with I compare to my reference point by asking, "Does it get me closer to where I want to be, or further from my purpose?" Sandra Meyer shared with me the major thing she attributes her success to, which was her decision to take advantage of opportunities that will increase her skill set. When she was new to her career, she was given the option many times of taking over a new position. Even if she knew nothing about it, she would step out in faith in order to expand her knowledge about the industry. At one time or another, she has held many of the positions involved with the company the reason shes now so familiar with Duke in its entirety. This vast knowledge has made her successful. Personally, I want to lie down at night knowing what I have done has made an eternal impact. I believe we reap what we sow. I want to sow seeds that will last through the generations and spill into generations I will not even meet. I want to empower and educate, build-up and refine. I keep this desire in mind when I help a client with their finances, when I help a young woman understand her worth is not found in the praise of others or when I when I go home to my husband at night. Life is more than money and possessions; it is about taking advantage of the opportunities to make an eternal impact.
Cincy Chic: I hear you're truly a "do-gooder" tell us about your philanthropic activities…
Baker: Currently I serve as the president of the Ohio Jump$tart Financial Literacy Coalition. We exist to educate students in areas of personal finance. I'm also a Director at Cincinnati Christian University. I'm so excited about my work there. The faculty and staff desire to make an impact in the world by educating quality leaders. As a nation, we are in serious need of leaders who conduct their lives with integrity and boldness. I'm excited to be a part of such a great university. I'm also involved with the women's group at Crossroads Community Church. We're planning our first ever women's retreat and I'm honored to be part of the leadership.
Cincy Chic: What are some of your favorite pastimes?
Baker: My husband and I are avid runners. We've recently gone from road running, to trail running and we love it! It's a great way for us to spend time together and get our exercise. We also like traveling and water and snow skiing.
Cincy Chic: What's your favorite spot in greater Cincinnati?
Baker: The top of "the hill" at Cincinnati Christian University. You can look down and see the entire city. It's pretty amazing, especially at night! (Though, of course, any Graeters Ice Cream shop is a close second!)