Meet Jen Jaciw, Co-Owner of Lone Star Limousine
JJ: The transportation industry continues to be a male-dominated industry. It is changing, but men are sometimes surprised that I am co-owner of the company. There has been some prejudice, and I notice the difference most when we are presenting to a corporate group. If it is a group of men, they will speak directly to my husband (the other co-owner). If it is a mixed audience, they will engage both of us.
Being an expert in your field is vital. This is the best way to be respected among your peers and clients, regardless of their gender.
Also, women like to support women-owned businesses so networking with other women is important. Feeling supported and having the opportunity to learn from others are some of the reasons I enjoy being a NAWBO member so much.
SVT: What have you learned and what advice would you give to women aspiring to own their own business?
JJ: You can do it! Stay strong and confident. When you walk into a meeting, be sure you’ve done your homework first… research the person and company you are meeting with.
Continue your education so you can use knowledge to make intelligent decisions instead of emotional ones. You will have to take risks that are uncomfortable but it will be worth it. Be friendly with your competition- you never know when you may need them or when they may need you.
SVT: What have you learned from juggling of work, family and personal, or work/life balance in general, that would be helpful for others?
JJ: I think work/life balance is a constant challenge for the business owner. Faced with a health issue a few years ago, I hired a personal trainer. I have been training 3-4 times a week over the past 3 years, and while my weight is not where I’d like it to be, I am strong and healthy. I also manage my stress better than I ever have.
I schedule time off, usually a long weekend, at least once a month where my husband and I leave everything behind. It is equally important to stay connected to family and friends as it is to your business and employees.
You will be a better manager, colleague, service provider, friend, wife, sister and auntie if you take care of yourself.
SVT: What advice can you give for others where technology can help (or the lacking of it can hinder) in your business and your industry?
JJ: We have to keep up on technology in order to do our jobs efficiently and stay “top of our game”. I think this applies to any industry.
Whether it be the use of smart phones to respond to emails quickly or to charge a credit card while mobile, GPS tracking to communicate to a client exactly how close their car is, or order entry software that provides detailed confirmations, invoices and receipts; all are required tasks that are essential to running a successful transportation company, and all require technology.
SVT: What business owners (men or women) in your industry have inspired you and why?
JJ: Sandy Allen with Royal Coach was a mentor to me when I started in the charter industry. She was (still is) a strong woman and I learned a lot from her. I knew if I stuck with it, I could be an example to others like she was with me.
I also admire my partner, Alex Jaciw. He has taught me what Robert F Kennedy said so eloquently, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Taking risks is necessary to becoming a successful business owner… but it’s totally worth it!
“My career in transportation and event planning spans 30 years and I absolutely love what I do. I am also a domestic violence survivor, half marathon finisher, wife, sister and auntie to two beautiful girls.”
Jen’s family business, Lone Star Limousine, has been providing clients throughout the Bay Area and Silicon Valley with award-winning transportation services for the past 12 years.
They have carried celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, been featured in The Wall Street Journal, and most recently, on MTV.