Jessica Sharp: The Brain Behind the Brain Consulting
If You Only Have 60 Seconds…
- Jessica Sharp is a multi-passionate person who is channeling her passions into helping people
- With a history of help, Jessica focuses her energies on young people and women
- Sharp Brain Consulting is all about managing stress and retraining your brain to think positive
When it was time to meet Jessica Sharp, I was soaked. There was a downpour happening outside, and no one wanted to let me cross the street. I was meeting Jessica at a local coffee shop so that she could tell me her story. I knew that she was helping women and youths with her brain consulting business, but I had no idea how she had been helping others her entire career.
As she arrives, Jessica has a huge smile on her face. She briefly tells me about how watching Call the Midwife has led her to be a few minutes late. Jessica is one of those people who instantly puts you at ease, you feel like you’ve been friends forever. She also made my job easier from the outset.
Personable and Passionate
“I’m just going to start talking, and you can stop me to ask questions or if I’m not making any sense.” Sometimes it is difficult to get people to talk about themselves, even to be interviewed. One thing that strikes me about Jessica, is that she isn’t much older than myself, but she has accomplished so much. However, how did she come to these accomplishments?
“I was born in Alabama, but when I was seven my parents moved, and we lived up north for seven years. Then, the summer before my sophomore year of high school we moved here to Greenville. I have been rooted and based in Greenville ever since.” I even found out that Jessica and I were high school rivals. “I went to Mauldin high school, and I flourished. I cheered, I was in all of the clubs. I went to USC for college. I started getting a degree in marketing, but I kept changing majors because I didn’t know what to do.”
This indecision led Jessica to try her hand at teaching. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I ended up signing up for Teach for America, and this moved me to Charlotte. Taught for a year, and then moved back here [to Greenville]. The school I taught at has since shut down. It wasn’t long before a friend of mine who worked at the YMCA all but created a job for me. When I started, I was a Program Coordinator for Youth in Government and Achievers. By the end, I was the Program Director for Youth in Government, then for Achievers.”
If you are like me, you know the definition of the word “achiever,” but might not be familiar with the program of the same name.
“Achievers, they work in high schools across Greenville county to help students who are at risk. It is a mentoring. They teach them soft skills, or study skills, time management. Achievers teaches life skills.”
Jessica thought she would be with the YMCA for the rest of her career. That was until she was told to apply for a job at GHS.
A Change Of Pace
“I wasn’t even sure about it, that I would get the job. I got asked to apply twice, the first time I said no because I wasn’t even sure I wanted the job.”
As fate would have it, Jessica got the job as the Diversity Coordinator for GHS. As a Diversity Coordinator, she dealt with a lot of HR issues that dealt with diversity, as well as work involving inclusion. After a set of changes, and running out of time in the day, it was time for a change. It was then that Jessica transitioned to Meals on Wheels, where she worked for about a year. It was around this time she started Sharp Brain Consulting.
We have almost caught up to Jessica’s timeline. Two months ago, she left Meals on Wheels, and she now works with the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
“We are based in Columbia, but I work remote here in Greenville. It is aligned with what I want to do long-term, helping young people. The campaign’s goal is to decrease teen pregnancy. South Carolina has gotten better, the rate is going down, but it is disproportionately skewed among lower income teens and black teens. The instances of STDs are also going up. We provide teens with medically accurate and age-appropriate information about sex.”
The Sharp-est Brain in Town
Now we are going to circle back. We know about what brought Jessica to where she is in life, but then I asked Jessica about Sharp Brain Consulting.
“Sharp Brain Consulting has been a part of my world for about a year and a half. I hope to make it full time, but I love my job. I just want to be involved in the community. I feel like for me, the reason I was put on this earth is to make the world better for people who can’t effectively advocate for themselves.”
A thread of empowerment runs through everything Jessica touches. It is at the forefront of all of her endeavors.
“I am on the board of a new nonprofit, Pride Link. I work with the United Way. Anything that I do is about empowering people and giving them skills and knowledge to live their best life. That is Oprah’s thing, ‘live your best life,’ but I have been saying it for years.”
What Does Sharp Brain Consulting Do?
“I started to doing research on the brain of teenagers when I was teaching, but more so when I was a the Y. It was similar demographics, low-income students have similar behaviors. Sought out to learn everything about the brain of teenagers. I became this student of our brains. I wanted to learn the fundamental foundation of the brain.”
In layman’s terms, Sharp Brain Consulting aims to help you live your life to the fullest. Jessica can help you manage stress, help retrain your brain from using negative thoughts.
“There has been a little bit of refinement in the business, at this point, for the most part, we work with youth-serving organizations, and women.”
How Did Jessica Come to This Idea? What Drove Her to Be an Entrepreneur?
“I was scared, I didn’t want to do it. I like mitigated risks, I like the routine of every two weeks having a check, and I quite frankly, didn’t think I had anything worth having a business. I am a multi-passionate person. Used to believe that I couldn’t have this job where I could empower young people. I always knew I had to have a job in non-profit. I needed to be in a job that aligned with my personal missions and passions. I finally took the jump.”
This mirrors her advice to women (or really anyone) who wants to become an entrepreneur.
“They need to figure out the story that they believe around entrepreneurship and see if it is true. It probably isn’t. I used to think I didn’t like risk, but I do, just not unmitigated risks.”
What Advice Would She Give to Any Youths Reading This Article?
“They have more time now than they ever will. Don’t let people use your age as a negative if you have a thought or passion. Feel empowered to do it.” So, you may find yourself asking…
What’s Next for Jessica?
“Long-term Sharp Brain Consulting will grow, it will have that base of who I work with, I have ideas for expansion. The next immediate step is going full-time. I don’t see a time where it doesn’t focus on women and youth.”
Finally, I wanted to get a quick tip from Jessica. What is Jessica’s best advice when it comes to stress?
“Two things: Number one, a little bit of stress can be our friend, but too much can literally kill you. The second, try to find the balance of some stress but not too much.”
You can find out more about Jessica Sharp and Sharp Brain Consulting, and follow her on Instagram @sharpbrainconsulting.
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