AB/Community is an interview series featuring some of the amazing women we work with. Read on to learn about who they are and what they’ve gained from coaching.
Meet Jackie Brockman and Stacey Heuser. Jackie and Stacey are the co-founders of The Narrative Group, a creative experience agency that creates people-centric brand experiences that drive results.
As a female-born and bred company in an industry dominated by men, Jackie and Stacey have changed the game and made their own rules—even selling their company in 2017. Today, they’re still running it, and they run it by embracing everyone’s differences; because they know that the more you support each other and embrace the multiplicity of life experiences, the more authenticity you draw from yourself and your work.
Describe yourself in 1-2 sentences.
JB: I’m Jackie, and I’m the co-founder of Narrative, where I’m a very heart-centered leader. I’m also a working mother with two little boys (five and eight) who keep me very busy!
SH: I’m Stacey, and I’m an entrepreneur, and I’m a mom of a five-year-old little girl. I live in Ojai, California, and I’m really just a woman trying to figure it all out like the rest of us.
You launched Narrative as business partners 11 (!) years ago. What has kept you motivated as an entrepreneur to get you here?
JB: I think entrepreneurialism has always been a part of me, and I never really saw myself working for someone else. I’m a very capable person, so I knew whatever I was working on—whether it was a program, an event, or a strategy—I would do whatever it took to ensure its success. I think that expectation for myself, paired with hard work and perseverance, enabled me to "fake it till you make it" until I actually made it. And here I am! Still driven to do more.
SH: Interestingly enough, I’ve always been really good at business. I've always been an entrepreneur ever since I was in high school. But I've also always told myself that I wasn't very creative and meant for only the business side. And then I read The Artist’s Way in my early 20s, and it helped me realize we’re all creative, but it manifests itself in different ways in us. Today, there are all these ways creativity manifests in my business, and I have my spiritual practice to thank for that.
Okay, let’s gush more about you. What’s your superpower?
JB: I'm really good at connecting with people. It's been the basis of my entire career, and it's what brings me the most joy in my work. Everything from connecting with clients to connecting with teams, it drives me and makes me tick. And I think it's a big reason I'm good at my job—because I understand people on another level, even people who aren't the same as me. I have the ability to really empathize and try to put myself into someone's shoes. Because of that, I can create and craft experiences I know people will enjoy or be moved by in some way, shape, or form.
SH: I feel so lucky that I've leaned on spiritual tools my entire life and have learned how to manage stress and tackle difficult situations. I’ve also had this confidence that I could do anything and that all the answers were inside me. I know that the energy you bring to a situation sets the tone, and I’ve found that often my clients, my vendors, and my team often say how they feel working with me sets me apart from others.
What’s a piece of advice you have for fellow leaders beginning their journey?
JB: You have to stay true to who you are. And you have to believe that what you offer the world is worth something. (And if you need help with either, my other piece of advice would be to work with Antoinette, of course!)
SH: If you ever feel hopeless (which will happen), try to see it as a sign from the universe. If you can, try to shift that hopelessness to optimism, even when it feels hard, and know you're going to come through it, and it's going to be better. Even if you can't see the solution yet, go within for that solution to make itself seen. It's never the end.
We love mantras and inspirational quotes at AB Coached. What’s your go-to?
JB: “People, people, people are just people, people, people.” ― Brene Brown
SH: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end.” ― John Lennon
After spending nearly two decades establishing yourselves in the communications industry, what made you decide to work with Antoinette?
SH: Jackie and I cofounded Narrative 11 years ago. When we entered into an acquisition in 2017, it really heightened the pressure and brought additional stressors to our business relationship. And we couldn’t find resources to listen to other founders’ stories. There were a lot of books about being a woman in business, but they were either geared toward businesses at a different level or had a “girl boss” tone. But we were a really serious business with really serious goals and ambitions.
We also had a parent company that was expecting a lot from us, and we were expecting a lot from ourselves. So we were frustrated. Meanwhile, I met Antoinette earlier through a mutual friend and thought she could help us fill in the gap. And I’m happy we did because although we work in communications, one of the biggest things Antoinette gave us was language around how we could communicate with each other.
How do you bring what you learn from Antoinette into your everyday life?
JB: I'm constantly reminding myself that the answers are inside, that I know what is best, and it's just about being able to get there. I'm super committed to growing spiritually and going as deep as possible in my inner work. Meditation is a key tool that helps me with my growth, and I can confidently say that it has changed my life for the better.
SH: Self-care! As business people, we always think of ROI, and now I think about the ROI that comes with self-care. Even the little things change the energetics so much. I’ve learned how important it is to have that effervescent, kind of bubbly magnetic feeling coming out of yourself all the time.
Antoinette works with many high-achieving entrepreneurs like you, who often ask what other entrepreneurs gain from working with her. What has been one of your favorite results from working with Antoinette?
JB: I'm so grateful to say that I’m the most connected I've ever been since I met Antoinette almost three years ago. And I've seen the most growth in myself—real, actual growth—which makes me really excited. Yet, it almost feels like it's still just the beginning of my journey, which makes me even more excited!
SH: My favorite part of the work is that we were able consistently to try and get to a win-win where I'm winning, she's winning, and we're both interested in each other feeling really good and nobody feeling right, or as they won. And we also took that into our relationship with our clients, employees, and parent company. It's been the most powerful tool that's gotten us through the last three years.