Jan Blackmon Adams is an entrepreneur and a finance and operations professional. With over 15 years of corporate and small business experience, she currently co-owns and manages PRIVÉ by Tanya Tymus, a premier luxury hair salon in Midtown Atlanta. She’s also Vice President of Operations for Thanks Again, a company that markets and administers loyalty reward programs for the airport and travel industry. Prior to starting her own business, she worked as a commercial real estate banker for over 15 years, developing and honing the financial and business skills necessary for managing her own business.
Jan believes that smart work builds professional credibility and ultimately leads to new career opportunities. She has used this as a guiding principal in her career and attributes much of her success to it.
In addition to working, Jan is the Treasurer of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys Foundation, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to providing scholarships to African-American women law students as well as mentoring at-risk young girls in the local juvenile justice system.
Jan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and an MBA in Real Estate and Banking from the Terry College of Business at University of Georgia.
Jan lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her 7 year-old daughter and enjoys reading, cooking and travel.
How did you launch your career and get to where you are today?
After graduate school, I began my career as a commercial real estate lender. I spent over 15 years in various roles in the banking industry, working my way up to a senior manager position. After a merger, I made the decision to leave my job to look for new opportunities outside of corporate America. What resulted was a traditional job at a small business as well as the role of small business owner. I made the leap to entrepreneurship when a friend approached me with an opportunity to co-own a hair salon. I didn’t have experience in the hair industry but I was a professional manager with financial and other management skills. So after reviewing my professional strengths against the opportunity, I knew I would be able to add value, expanding both my own knowledge and experience as well as contributing to the success of the venture. So, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and became a small business owner!
What have you had to sacrifice along the way, if anything?
Free time has been a bit of a sacrifice. With a small business, you’re the decision-maker and, often, the person executing the decisions; there’s always something that needs be accomplished! However, having a lengthy ‘To Do’ list requires time management and focus. Owning a small business while balancing my other commitments has made me a master of efficiency and focus!
How do you define success?
Success is service – service to family, friends, community and self. When I’m able to help someone have a better day or a better experience, I’m successful. My goal, on a daily basis, is to find a way to serve. I can only truly claim success when the people with whom I interact are better for the experience.
How do you balance work and life?
Balance is difficult when you own a small business and have another job as well. But I maintain balance by finding time to do the things I enjoy, like spending time with friends and family, spa pampering or reading a good book. Taking time to engage in activities I enjoy allows me to recharge so that I show up every day, ready to give and be my best!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m not sure where I’ll be in 5 years and I look forward to the journey of figuring it out. My career and life plan have less to do with the destination and more to do with hard, smart and consistent work each day such that opportunities present themselves. Professional competence and follow-through will ensure that the confidence others have in you will grow. When that happens, opportunities occur. We’ll see where I go when the next opportunities arise!
Who is your role model or mentor?
My late mother was my role model. She never had the opportunity to attend college but made sure that I was able and equipped to go. When it was time for me to apply, since she had no experience with the process, she enlisted the help of her friends and acquaintances to help me. She would not allow me to be deterred and she wasn’t afraid to ask for help. I learned these two qualities (and many others) from her. She was a remarkable woman with an infinite ability to give and to love. She instilled confidence in me along with a commitment to work hard and succeed. I’m proud to represent her and hope to continue her legacy of love and excellence. I have and have had many mentors. Mentorship does not have to be a formal relationship and it doesn’t have to come from someone more ‘experienced’ than you. Sometimes a mentor is someone with a different point of view. Some of my best insights and ideas have come from conversations with my 7 year-old daughter! A mentor is anyone who can challenge you and help you uncover new and exciting ideas and solutions.
What advice do you give your fellow entrepreneurs?
#1 – ‘Hope’ is not a strategy! As an entrepreneur, ‘hoping’ that things will go well and work out is a sure-fire road to failure. There is no substitute for planning and hard work. Period.
#2 – Always have a Plan B! While having a solid plan is paramount to creating a successful outcome, having a secondary plan, a Plan B, is also crucial. Sometimes, things will not go as anticipated and having a back-up plan will prove invaluable to allow you to continue to navigate obstacles and move forward.