We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenni Kephart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenni, what do you attribute your success to?
For me, the key to success is authenticity. People can feel it when you’re being real, and they most definitely feel it when you’re being fake. I think that sometimes businesses get so focused on “sales” or “customer retention” that they lose touch with the human being on the other side of the interaction. We consistently have families reporting back to us how much they feel that we care about them…because we do! I only hire people who LOVE working with students and partnering with them to harness their natural brilliance and let it shine through. It is vital to me that my staff members are deeply fulfilled and continuously growing and developing just as much as their students. I think there is a lot of talk in the world of business about customer experience and in the world of education about building confidence, but I find that we are fully committed that we truly walk our talk when it comes to delivering an incredible customer experience while creating lasting shifts in each student’s academic performance and attitude. We even implement the key curriculum strategies used with our students within each aspect of the company, applying the same principles we use in test prep to challenges we face in business and in our personal lives. I believe that this allows us to be in alignment with our students and truly partner with them to reach their goals.
What should our readers know about your business?
The thing that excites me most about Unlocking Potential is the way we work with students. Everyone knows that there are a variety of ways to approach a problem, but in school we are often taught one or two methods. At UP, we work with our students to uncover their unique perspective and method of approaching problems. We work with students to develop their ability to powerfully approach unknown situations, whether those be math problems, exams, essays, school projects, or some other challenge. The work we do validates each student’s natural and intuitive way of thinking, and we see the benefits extend far beyond our time of working together. Unlocking Potential is entering its 11th year of business. I’ve found that challenges could always be met by returning back to the fundamental principles on which we founded the company. Some of those principles are: focusing on what feels good, allowing aligned opportunities to come to us (versus chasing down opportunities), staying in clear communication, and always working in supportive partnership. Throughout many different iterations of the company and many changes in structure, the basic pillars have remained. In some ways, I feel we are even more in alignment today with what was created 11 years ago, as the ups and downs along the way have continued to return us back to our first mission: empowering natural abilities, extraordinary performance.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
To me, Los Angeles is all about the variety. Hiking is a must. While I generally go to Runyon for convenience (and you gotta hike to the Griffith Observatory if you’ve never done it), I love hiking Mt. Wilson in the Pasadena/Altadena area for its natural, woodsy feel. The Los Angeles Zoo is a gem and an excellent workout with its size and hilly terrain! There is too much food to cover, so I’ll skip straight to dessert. I’m a cupcake fanatic, so I recommend Georgetown Cupcake on Robertson for their cheesecake cupcakes and Sprinkles for their cupcake sundae (ice cream AND cupcake…YUM!). My go-to for ice cream is Salt and Straw for their outrageous and delicious flavors. One of my favorite outings is renting a private karaoke room either on Sawtelle or in Little Tokyo, because, let’s face it, nobody wants to wait two hours to sing one song. There is so much more to Los Angeles than I can ever get to, but I think the best part about it is that every person will stumble upon their own experience of the city, and you can never experience it all!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Where can I begin? My parents always believed in me and encouraged me to think beyond the limits of what I saw possible. I can never thank them enough for all they have contributed to me. I’ve been participating in self-development, educational, and leadership courses incessantly since I was young. My participation in programs at Landmark Worldwide was a very big part of my training and development as a leader and sparked a lot of my entrepreneurial endeavors, in addition to helping me acquire some very fundamental organizational and interpersonal skills that have unequivocally contributed to my success as a business owner. There have been so many individuals along the way who have deeply touched my life and helped me to see my greatness when I couldn’t. You know who you are.