Mentoring Relationships: Destinee and Jennifer

November 15, 2019

Destinee and Jennifer’s Story:

Destinee Wright started her first business in 2012, unofficially, she says, doing hair as a side gig along with her jobs as a barista and bartender.  Friends and clients started pointing out that she was running what could be a full fledged business, so she reached out to CIC to find out what our program had to offer. She didn’t jump on the CIC train immediately though. “I was very doubtful because I’d have to take all this time away from my business to do this class,” she says, and so it was two years before she circled back and gave the Entrepreneur Workshop a shot. Lucky for her (and us!) she honed in on another great idea in the workshop. She pivoted from hair to marketing, and went on to be a CIC Work Group Leader and Networking Night Volunteer all while growing her business Destinee Marketing LLC. Alongside of her business ventures, Destinee is an active member of the community. She has an on-going social justice art project, still does hair, occasionally models, hosts open mics, attends music festivals, supports local artists, and is a huge advocate for awareness of mental health. “I like to dabble, and I feel like the best way to find what you’re good at and what you love is by experimenting and trying it all!” That mindset helped her create a business and life that she loves, but also one that kept her insanely busy. She knew she needed help, which is where mentor Jennifer McCune comes in.

Jennifer also has a long history of life experiences that eventually connected her to CIC. Her work experience includes working at Monticello, UVA, PVCC, and even with a Border Patrol Course. About 7 years ago she began working with Rodan + Fields skincare, which led her to ultimately retire from corporate work and have a career that gives full flexibility in her schedule and day-to-day activities. Her gratitude for this opportunity is obvious, and she expressed that this career path has allowed her to pursue more things she loves, like connecting with CIC and being a mentor to Destinee. 

When the two first met, they say that something just clicked. “We got so lucky,” Destinee says, “Being transparent and open felt natural and helped us get to this level of relationship quickly.” With guidance from Jennifer, Destinee was able to create templates and a system of organization that streamlined her business operations as she grew her client base and learned to navigate a new space and new situations. They both credit coachability as a key skill that made their mentorship successful. Jennifer says she noticed when Destinee didn’t love an idea that was suggested, but admired that her mentee was willing to push herself to try new strategies.

A major milestone reached recently was Destinee’s first official event with Destinee Marketing LLC. She hosted a social media marketing workshop hosted for a small group of entrepreneurs that included lots of tips and tricks and (of course) a gorgeous selfie wall. Jennifer showed up and supported her that day, helping with set-up and last minute tasks, as well as navigating the needs of the participants. The event was a huge success, so much so that another one will be held on November 16! (Find more info on the Destinee Marketing LLC Facebook Page.) Destinee reflected on her gratitude for her mentor’s support through all the growth her business and personal life has seen recently. “Jenn has been right there with me, physically and emotionally. I’m so grateful for her support. At this point I feel like it’s much more like a friendship, and over the year I’ve really benefited from and felt the power of her support.”

Clearly, the bond they developed was one they both value.  “It’s really been a mutually beneficial relationship,” Jennifer says. “I’ve learned a lot about her world. Otherwise, I’d never know what it’s like to be a young, single, African American, woman entrepreneur in Charlottesville.” These two brought in to their mentorship a wide variety of experience that allowed them to be open to learning with and from each other, and will take away from it even more of that.
Thanks Destinee and Jennifer!