JINJA BIRKENBEUEL
JinJa Birkenbeuel, Final Round Judge 2018
Birk Creative, President & Chief Executive Officer
JinJa is 1 of 5 Final Round Judges for the 2018 SASEtank competition. She founded Birk Creative when she realized the global brand corporation was not providing her the support and room for growth she needed. When she’s not working, she’s a songwriter, a publisher, and a mom of three.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB.
21 years ago, I started my own business because my manager and team’s values were not aligned with mine. I was also not given high-level access to decision makers, which constricted how quickly I could learn. I was highly motivated, and yet the global brand corporation did not believe in me. At work, I did not receive the emotional, physical or compensational support I needed and deserved, especially in comparison to my male colleagues doing similar work. As a result, I moved on and continued my training elsewhere, keeping only the best relationships that formed there.

Birk Creative is a team of 15 entrepreneurial-minded thinkers, designing creative and digital brand strategies for companies and leaders. I am a Google Digital Coach for Google Inc. We run a national program in 12 major US cities, designed to teach small, underrepresented businesses to establish and succeed online. We train them on how to use digital tools to run their businesses, just like how the big brands do.

Birk Creative recently launched a new product, called “The Honest Field Guide”. It’s a podcast about small businesses and entrepreneurship. The series provides tips on how to help you succeed as a “little guy” in the business world.

The best part about my job is seeing that light bulb go off when a business owner realizes that this is something they can actually do. It makes it all worthwhile when I see their expressions change the moment they realize that the power is all in their hands.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING?
I do many things outside of work. I’m a co-songwriter for Utah Carol, an eclectic country and pop band with my husband. We have three albums and are working on our fourth. I also have a digital publishing company, called Birk Digital. I've published books for institutions and authors, helping them save money and control their publishing rights. I’m also serving on several boards related to women entrepreneurship, as well as racial and economic justice. At home, I have three sons; I’m a hockey mom, a swim mom, a piano mom, and a soccer mom.

WHY ARE YOU SERVING AS A FINAL ROUND JUDGE?
I love connecting with diverse audiences. I can continuously learn about new creative ideas from startups and thinkers, keeping me fresh, in touch, and on the ground.

WHY SHOULD STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS ATTEND THE FINAL ROUND AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE?
Students need to stay curious; there is always something to learn. Every connection and experience can add value to your future.

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